Fayetteville is My Favorite ‘Ville’

Fayetteville is very cool! Our primary draw to this area was to attend the US Trail Running Conference and participate in the Spartan Trail US championship races. But there’s so much more. 

We camped at a new campground, Hog Valley RV & Treehouse Resort, just 10 minutes from downtown Fayetteville, which gave us easy access to the University of Arkansas, a great downtown area, and Kessler Mountain Regional Park, which is well known for its hiking and biking trails. Kessler Mountain Park is where we started.

We hadn’t been here an hour before we set out on the trails to explore where our races would be held the following weekend. The fall colors made for a spectacular hike. And check out those bike trails! We are certainly not in Prescott anymore!

We had a few good days during the week in which to explore Fayetteville, and we took in some live music at George’s Majestic Lounge, which seems to be the place in town. In the process we discovered a great new band, The Arcadian Wild. Check them out!

Then the rain began. It rained and blew and turned cold for three days. We enjoyed one day in the trailer just listening to the rain, reading, and hanging out.

Rain and more rain…Brr…

By the second day we were ready to explore. Despite the weather we headed up to Bentonville where we visited last year. Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art is one of the most incredible art museums we’ve ever seen, and a rainy day was the perfect invitation to explore it again.

Luckily, the bad weather cleared for the weekend and our race activities. On Saturday we attended a conference for trail runners, which provided us with some new perspectives about the sport.

The big event was Sunday morning which greeted us with clear skies and cool but tolerable weather. I ran the 10K and while I wasn’t fast, I wasn’t last. It feels good to be able to take on challenges like this again after two foot surgeries last year. 

Steve took on the challenge of the 50K, which is about 31 miles of running on trails. He’s done one race like this before, the Whiskey Basin Trail Run in Prescott which is 54 miles.

Still, the Arkansas hills, with many rocks, roots, and wet leaves proved to be a challenging event. He finished the course in about 7 1/2 hours and only suffered a skinned knee and some sore muscles. Now Arkansas is counted as another state where he’s finished a marathon or more. Only 27 more states to go! Next up is a marathon in Florida in a few weeks!

A Season of Family and Friends – Midwest Style

We’re back out on the road with the RV and the dogs and we’ve got six months of travel ahead of us. We hope you’ll follow along and keep in touch. Hey, if you are going to be in our area, let’s connect! 

Our itinerary will take us to the Midwest to spend time with family in Nebraska, Iowa, and Kansas City. Then we’ll head south to Fayetteville, AR for a trail running event. From there we’ll hit Vickburg and Natchez on the Great River Road before settling down for awhile in Gulf Shores, AL and Pensacola, FL. After another marathon on Florida’s Space Coast we’ll hang out in the Keys for the months of December and January. Eventually we’ll head north with stops in Tampa, Fort Lauderdale, Ocala, and St. Augustine before finishing our trip with the celebration of St. Patrick’s Day in Savannah. After that, who knows?

Steve left home with the dogs and the trailer at the end of September, spending a few days in Colorado with Sam and Russ. When these three guys get together it’s always fun!

From there Steve headed to Nebraska and moochdocked for two weeks at his brother Brian’s house in Elkhorn, NE. In what’s become an annual event, Steve helped around the house, attended Lydia and Nathan’s games and practices, and attended two Cornhusker football games.

By the time I got there, Bob was a full-fledged Husker, well taken care of by our niece Lydia!

While we love hanging out with the Greens, it was time to move along, eastward to Des Moines. The Des Moines marathon was Steve’s 21st state and 30th marathon. What made it even more special was that he was joined by high school buddy Kent Ferris. These guys ran cross country together in high school, so it was like old times. I ran the 5K and then took care of the pups while the boys covered their 26.2 miles on a beautiful fall day.

Also while in the Des Moines area we connected with our friends and Prescott neighbors, Jackie and Dan (and Smeagol). They live in nearby Polk City and showed us the beauty of their midwest home.  We explored the Saylorville Lake area, had yummy Mexican food, and finished up with pie back at their house. Thanks, Jack and Diane, for a fun day!

On an extra day in the Des Moines area we drove to the town of Winterset to check out the famed Bridges of Madison County. You probably know about these covered bridges from the 1995 movie of the same name starring Clint Eastwood and Meryl Streep. At one time this area had the largest collection of covered bridges west of the Mississippi. Now, the six bridges that are still standing are a draw to this pretty area, made even more beautiful in its fall colors. 

From there we headed south to Maryville, MO to pay a visit to our niece Elise. She is a busy sophomore at Northwest Missouri State but found a little time to hang out with her aunt and uncle and introduce us to a few of her fun friends. Thanks Elise!

Our next stop was Kansas City for a few days with Gary, Kristy, Hudson, and Brynn (and the dogs Ruby and Nellie). We always enjoy our time with these guys and especially love the home-cooking offered by Kristy. Mia and Bob barely hit the ground and Brynn and Hudson took extra special care of them. We even got to help celebrate Hudson’s 11th birthday while there. Happy Birthday big guy!

Our final midwestern stop was for Steve’s aunt Sandy and uncle Jerry’s Celebration of Life in Prescott, IA. Sandy and Jerry passed just five days apart last month after 65 years of marriage. Their five girls and the large Freshour family are a testament to their love and commitment.

Attending the service was an honor and the celebration that followed would have made them proud. Steve’s entire family, including Mom, Dad, and brothers Brian and Gary were in attendance, along with Brynn, who was a great dog sitter. Connecting with the cousins from near and far was a great bonus. Thanks to cousin Linda for hosting us in our trailer on her property.

We’re heading south now, away from the impending winter and towards warmer weather (we hope)! We’ll have another update in a week or so. As always, we love reading your comments.

Theodore Roosevelt and the Maah Daah Hey

It’s a little out of the way compared to other western national parks, but we highly recommend a trip to Medora, North Dakota to explore the town, its history, and Theodore Roosevelt National Park (TRNP). We spent six days in Medora and loved every minute. The Maah Daah Hey Trail Runs brought us here to begin with but the scenery, the park, and Teddy Roosevelt’s story kept us enthralled.

To continue Steve’s pursuit of running a marathon in all 50 states, we made the Maah Daah Hey (MDH) Trail marathon our first priority.  The MDH trail runs a total of 144 miles from the north unit through the south unit of TRNP. The trail markers for the MDH is a turtle, which symbolizes patience, determination, and steadfastness, all of which are required when you run on this trail.

Steve ran the 27 mile race fast enough to win his age group. Yep, he beat all the other guys aged 50-59! I ran the 10K, which was closer to seven miles, through the beautiful and rugged Badlands. The race itself was enough of a draw but there was so much more!

TRNP, the only national park named after a U.S. president, was established to honor his contribution to conservation, having preserved and protected an estimated 230 million acres of land including 18 national monuments, five national parks, 150 national forests, and dozens of federal reserves. As national park geeks, we really like Teddy!

The park itself includes three units covering over 70 miles. Roosevelt ranched in this area in the 1880s and artifacts from his time are on display at the visitor center, including rifles and ranch clothing. We immersed ourselves in all things Teddy while we were here and enjoyed seeing his original cabin and the land he loved. 

In the park itself we drove the South Unit’s 36-mile scenic drive and took in the park’s numerous prairie dog towns, numerous bison, and the park’s herd of wild horses. In the North Unit, we took the 14-mile scenic drive and learned about the unique rock formations called cannonball concretions, created by erosional forces. The badlands are rugged, desolate, and yet, beautiful in many ways. 

The town of Medora is a living tribute to our 26th president. In fact, much of the neat town and its attractions are run by the Theodore Roosevelt Medora Foundation. We attended two afternoon shows that paid tribute to T.R. and taught us about his impact on Medora. He came here to find solace after the death of his first wife and his mother on the same day. His ranching days here were short-lived, but his love of North Dakota endured. 

The Medora Gospel Brunch is also worth checking out when you visit Medora. In fact, all of the entertainment in town was top-notch. High quality singers and musicians, polished re-enacters, and New York-level productions. We were really impressed.

The star of the Medora entertainment scene is the Medora Musical which has been running since 1965. Set in a striking outdoor amphitheater with sweeping views of the badlands, the musical pays tribute to Medora’s history and the legacy of Theodore Roosevelt.

With a mix of classic country music and original tunes, the company sings, dances, and rides with high energy for a full two hours. In our second row seats, we had a great view of the action.  The Medora Musical is a not-to-miss event in Medora.

Of course we went back out on the Maah Daah Hey trail a bit on our bikes and just enjoyed being in this unique place. Beautiful views, a well-groomed trail, and sunshine always make for a good day.

We hope to return in 2025 once the Theodore Roosevelt Presidential Library is opened.