After loading my backpack with bread and honey sticks, I headed back by way of Glenstone, Galloway and the Galloway Creek Greenway. They really need to put a Greenway connector bike/walk path in at the north side of the Springfield Conservation Nature Center sometime. Getting south of James River Freeway on a bicycle can be a nightmare. The few arteries you have available are pretty much deathtraps.
I got home around 10am, met the Mrs. and kiddo and we went to Houlihan's for lunch. Gwen and I left her mom here with a friend and we drove down to Highlandville and Mountain Springs Trout Park to make up for the skunking we got last weekend at Roaring River State Park. Mountain Springs is barrel shooting fish, for certain, but awesome for kids. It's a guaranteed catch and likely to be a big one. Gwen caught a 3.5 pounder, which they cleaned for us. The owner and I had a good conversation about knife making and game processing. He was a really nice guy. If you have kids and want to make sure they catch a fish the day you take them out, I recommend them. But be prepared, it's $6 a lb. Cleaning is free, though.
Back home and we busted out all the camping gear from the weekend before for a little backyard camping. I made a fire in the fire pit, broke out the cook tripod and then set up the tent. After the coals had built up a bit, I threw in some potatoes and warmed up the cast iron skillet. We cooked steaks and then our day's catch, a la Hemingway - with salt, pepper, thyme, lemon, corn meal and wrapped in bacon. Unfortunately, it was too big for my largest skillet and I had to cook it directly over the coals. It might've been better if it were smaller and pan-fried.
After dinner, we made vanilla, caramel, chocolate, graham cracker and toasted marshmallow s'more Sundays, then hung out around the fire for a bit before turning in.
In the morning, we woke to the sounds of traffic, owls hooting and my wife letting the dogs out for their morning constitutional. We got up, I made oatmeal pancakes, we got ready and then hit the road to check out some fall colors.
We drove south out of Springfield, through Ozark and Sparta and out Bradleyville, past Hercules Glades and out by Longrun, then up to Ava and Mansfield, then took the main highway back. It was an awesome drive in places with massive hilltop views. A great way to blow a couple of hours and half a tank of gas. We had lunch at a mom'n'pop in Ava. Nothing to write about there, though. With small town restaurants, you win some, you lose some. Some are amazing, some, well, they're alright.
Last night, after dinner with some friends of Abby's from her old place of employment, I managed to get a large part of lashing the kayak done, as well. All I have left is to lash the keel in two places and fashion a rear deck plate and get it lashed to the frame. Then I have to make the cockpit hoop and varnish everything before skinning begins.
A busy weekend, but a fun one. Most of them are or at least I try to make them so. The weather we've got right now, you have to take advantage of it. It's too good to pass up.