TWW Monthly Recap – August, 2022

Mountain bike leaning against railing of wooden bridge leading to drop onto singletrack trail in Arkansas

Thereโ€™s a good chance that affiliate links are scattered throughout this post. If you click on one I may receive a small commission at no extra charge to you and Iโ€™ll definitely be using it to buy bike gear.

Welcome to my first monthly recap! Most of what I write here on Two Wheeled Wanderer is practical stuff like biking how-to’s, destination guides, gear reviews, trail reports, and other ‘helpful’ blog posts, but not so much personal stuff.

I’ve been blogging for a long time (I had several blogs before this one) and one thing I really like about having a little corner of the internet is being able to share both sides: the how-to guides (in this case, tips for exploring the world on two wheels) and my story.

I miss writing just for the sake of writing and not for SEO purposes or on topics that I think will ‘do well’ (if you have an online business you know what I’m talking about!)

So, here’s my recap of August, 2022.

Where I was

After spending much of the summer in the PNW in Bend, Oregon and Bellingham, Washington, I said goodbye to the West Coast (for now) and started driving east toward Arkansas. This was actually my 6th time driving across the country! I first drove across in 2012 when I started my master’s degree in Nutrition at Bastyr University in Seattle and then my ex-boyfriend and I drove across to Vermont (my home state) the last two summers in a row. All I can say is that this is a big country ๐Ÿ˜….

I wish I’d had more time to make a trip out of it, but I did enjoy a really nice first night on the road at Crystal Crane Hot Springs in Oregon. This is such a cool spot out in the middle of nowhere with rustic rooms, a beautiful soaking pool, and great views, especially at sunset.

Crystal Crane hot spring pool at sunset
Cyrstal Crane hot springs was such a nice way to start my cross-country road trip

From Oregon, it took me three long days of driving to get to Arkansas. I splurged with a two-night stay at Bike Inn Bentonville’s Bougie Bike Suite and after a day of just lounging, I headed over to Coler Preserve for some riding after a week of no pedaling. Such a fun place!

I’d visited Arkansas once before about two years ago, but I wanted to come back this summer for two reasons: the first is to see if I’d like to call Bentonville ‘home’ (the jury’s still out on that one) and second, I had two housesits lined up, both in Fayetteville. Housesitting is hands-down my favorite way to travel!

Cat sitting on pile of puzzle pieces on table
Housesitting struggles…

On the bike

Highlights

August was a pretty good month for bikes. I did a few final rides in Bend, Oregon with my brother and sister-in-law (who were starting their drive across the country back to Vermont, too!).

My favorite ride/trail was a shuttled descent from Dutchman Flat via the Metolius-Windigo trail. It’s super pretty and has one of the best descents in Bend (and also plenty of climbing…).

I also got quite a bit of riding done in Arkansas. I checked out:

  • Mt. Kessler in Fayetteville
  • Centennial Park in Fayetteville
  • Hobbs State Park
  • Devil’s Den State Park (a fave!)
  • Blowing Springs in Bentonville
  • Coler Preserve in Bentonville

Phew! Good thing I like to ride my bike ๐Ÿ™‚

Mountain bikers that the top of a dual slalom track at Coler Preserve in Bentonville, Arkansas
Dropping into the Thunder Dome Dual Slalom track at Coler Preserve

Lowlights

I will say that I really wish I had a better cross-country bike for all the rides I did in Arkansas. I only have my Santa Cruz Bronson right now, which I love, but it’s definitely better for downhill-oriented trails rather than pedaly, cross-country rides.

I also got ambushed pretty badly by chiggers. I’m no stranger to chiggers – I used to work in Central America where they abound – but I didn’t realize they call Arkansas home, too. I actually thought I was coming down with monkeypox because my ankles had so many welts and blisters, but nope… chiggers.

Chigger bites on ankle
Itchy and annoying chigger bites!

Off the bike

If you’ve been following along for a while, you have probably noticed that I’ve redesigned Two Wheeled Wanderer several times and I decided to do it again this month. I’m a bit of a perfectionist when it comes to design and my website just never felt ‘right’.

I really love how it turned out this time, though, so fingers crossed I’m done with overhauls! (Although I’ve discovered that I enjoy building websites, so if blogging falls through, that may just be my backup ๐Ÿ˜…).

I also added a Bike Art page because I really love fun and unique art, especially if it ties into my love for cycling. And it supports small artists, so win-win!

Screenshot of bike art page on Two Wheeled Wanderer
Check out my new bike art page for unique art, jewelry, and more!

Other than riding and working, I’ve been enjoying my two housesits. The first came with four hilarious cats and the second with two slightly neurotic dachshunds. Housesitting is never a dull moment!

What were some highlights and lowlights of your past month? I’d love to hear them in the comments!

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