Both of us have family in the Tyler area, so we go back to visit from time to time. A couple years ago we stayed at Tyler State Park, but have avoided going back there because it was really tight to get our rig in and out of the campground. When recently looking at the map, I realized that was due to the camping area we stayed in – Cedar Point. So when it came time to book a trip to East Texas for Thanksgiving, we gave Tyler State Park another chance and reserved a site in the Big Pine area. The park itself is beautiful woodlands, and this year was exceptional – the trees turned bright colors like they do up north, and leaves fell to the ground. The camping area we chose had plenty of room, all pull-through sites with full hookups, and ran $24/night. We consider that a good deal. What led me to looking at the Tyler State Park map in the first place was an ultramarathon called Running the Rose. I’m not ready for an Ultramarathon yet – in my training, I might be able to complete – but not be competitive – a half marathon at the moment. But Running the Rose follows an eleven mile course through the park, allowing you to exit at one, two, three, or six loops depending on your fitness level and dedication. I wanted to run the course, once, just to see if I could make it. I mapped out the course in GAIA GPS, and uploaded it to my watch. The course looks like this: Upon arriving, we found our spot and set up camp. Since we arrived on a Sunday afternoon, we had most of the park to ourselves. The site was spacious, though not at all level, and had full hookups. Fortunately we just about have setup down to a T, and I was able to head out for my first trail attempt within an hour of arrival. I hit the trail around 4:30PM, and shortly after five it was so dark under the tree cover that I couldn’t see the ground. I pushed through about 8 miles before my headlamp died, and after tripping over a bunch of tree roots, pulled out my phone for enough light to get back to the campsite. I clocked just over 9 miles, and kicked myself for getting so close to my goal and not reaching it. We had a friendly little visitor come that night, as well as a opossum and some squirrels. We spent the next few days hiking the park and visiting family. We grabbed a few good photos, and had my parents out for a campfire. Kelly brought out her bike for a few rides. The weather stayed really nice. On Thursday, I made another attempt at the 11mi run. I was able to complete it, but it took longer than I had hoped, clocking in at 2h32m and an average pace of 13:45/mi. I didn’t really feel up to running that day, and think if I were feeling better I could have knocked a couple minutes off that time. C’est la vie. On Friday, Kelly and I went on a run on the trail around the lake and she caught her foot under a tree root and pulled. It caused her a pretty nasty sprain that will take a few weeks to recover from. We got her back to the site and settled in, then I resumed my run. Overall, I was able to clock 32.5 trail running miles on the trip, plus several miles of hiking. Tyler state park is definitely a place we’ll be returning to. I’m contemplating an actual attempt at Running the Rose, when it takes place on January 26, but due to how soon that is, probably won’t commit to it. We have family there, so there are always reasons to go – but there are other places in Texas we want to check out before the next time to visit.
Since starting this blog back in May 2016, we’ve accumulated some 206 posts. That comes to average one post every 4.5 days, which seems impossible – we must have gone through a few periods of heavy posting to offset the periods I remember more clearly… the periods of not posting at all. Over those two and a half years, which were kicked off by the purchase of our new fifth wheel RV, and the beginning of the process to modify our tow vehicle to meet our expectations, a lot has changed. We briefly got into crypto, made bit of money, and cashed out just in time to beat the market crash. We bought and restored a boat, only to find we’re not comfortable using it (too large to launch with one person, too unwieldy for small, usually low, lakes we like to visit) and are contemplating selling it to cash out and possibly downsize. We went through numerous phases that eventually faded to an end, such as trying to turn our suburban lot into a sort of homestead (not practical with HOA regulations and less than a quarter acre), fairly extensive DIY home renovations and updates (enough is enough), ham radio (still using VHF, but have sold our HF gear because we gave up on antennas here), and many more. In the last six months or so, we’ve discovered new fitness activities, and they’ve moved to the forefront of our lives. Kelly has really fallen in love with endurance cycling, which is big change from the years that she’s spent embracing and evangelizing ToneItUp. I’ve gotten off the couch and found endurance trail running and aspire to at least cross the finish line of a fifty mile or longer ultramarathon one day. We cross train in each other’s sports to spend time together and better grasp our own. My health has improved to the point where I feel like spending extensive time outside the house – doing things I love, like backpacking – are on the table again. These things take focus, dedication, time, and yes – changes to almost every aspect of your every day life. Going back through old posts, we saw a lot of fruitless endeavors, and very few posts about the things we created this blog for. We wanted to document our RV adventures, to record where we went, what we thought, how we’d change things and spend time differently; what sites we might request — if we visit those places again. We planned to take and post lots of photos (something we never do – we have DSLRs and drones we always plan to use, but we fall back to easy-access cell phones all too often if we remember to take photos at all) of the nature we witness and how places vary as you travel throughout the country. That is why we called this LifeEnRoute – it’s to document our life traveling in the RV, not the life of gadgets and gizmos and gear that really seem to fill all the posts we’ve made. So moving forward, we decided to archive them. They’re hidden, but still available for us to pull occasional content from if we so choose. We are, at some level, gear heads – and I mean that in both the conventional ways that phrase is used. We love all sorts of vehicles, all sorts of technology, all sorts of modifications — pretty obvious if you look at my truck –, and we love a lot of the latest and greatest gear and technology — pretty obvious if you look at our running and cycling gear (for example). But we’re chipping away at the contents of our closets and garage and finding the things that don’t matter so much now that we’ve had them, and unloading them to new homes via Craigslist, Offerup, and Ebay. Some time in 2019, we may do something a bit drastic. We may sell our house, store our furniture, unload our clutter, and embark on the journey we dreamed about back in May 2016. In our early 30s, and able to work 100% remotely, we have the rare opportunity to tour the country and take in all it has to offer. It’s something that a lot of people aspire to do, but most have to wait to retire to experience. With our new fitness aspirations, came new motivations and goals – as a trail runner, for instance, I know of tons of trails I would love to run and places I would like to train, that are scattered all over the country. We can target our travels to tick them off, one by one. It’s not a permanent lifestyle for us, but it seems like we can fit it between our starter home and forever home, which is a jump we will inevitably make. 1350 square foot and a a fifth of an acre aren’t what we’re looking for anymore. And we think if we do it, despite our few remaining reservations about it, we’ll find it to be great.