Thursday, September 21, 2017

24th Annual Arkansas Canoe Club Rendezvous, Part 1

So, last week I was on the fence about what I wanted to do this past weekend. I had planned, for a long time actually, to attend the ACC 'vous, as it's known, but as the event drew near, a plethora of reasons why I shouldn't kept running through my mind..... "It's so far to drive", "I don't know anyone", "I hate car camping", "I hate loading my boat by myself", yada yada. Finally, I decided to suck it up and go for it and I'm so glad I did!

The event was held at the beautiful Lake Catherine State Park, which I had never been to before. It was a four hour drive for me but thanks to Sandy and Sirius XM channel 301, the drive was quite pleasant. Oh, in case you're wondering..."Sandy" is my sweet new ride, a 2017 Jeep Renegade Deserthawk Edition. She is "sandy colored" due to the desert theme so I thought the name was fitting. I miss Lola very much, though. She was so good to me for 10 long years but she just couldn't handle all those Arkansas dirt roads and rough river accesses.

As I was heading down highway 7 from Russellville, I stopped at this little burger shack for lunch in the town of Jessieville. Yum!

I highly recommend "The Shack". I had the pulled pork sandwich and sweet tater fries.

When I arrived at the campsites, I met some real nice guys from Ouachita Outdoor Outfitters and their doggy, Lucy. They were just setting up and were kind enough to tell me I was in the right spot. I am pretty sure I was the first person to arrive aside from them and a few other vendors. I had the awesome privilege of selecting the best campsite and therefore set about unloading and setting up my home for the next three days.

After I finished setting up, it was still early and not very many people had arrived yet and since registration for the event didn't start until 5:00, I decided to go have a looksie around. I stopped at the Visitor Center and enjoyed browsing in the store and touring some of the interesting sites within the vicinity.

This old oven is right next to the Visitor Center

An interesting walkway down to the swim beach.

The only inhabitants of the swimming area were a flock of geese.

My friend, Matt Boulton, was one of the vendors at the event. He makes the best granola/energy bars that I have ever tasted, handsdown! Check out his website at for information on this fine product. He let me try the new Pumpkin Spice Puck and all I can say is WOW! It's really, really good, and I don't typically like pumpkin. For those who know me well, you know I strive to eat a clean, healthy diet most of the time. His bars are made from exceptional, high quality ingredients with minimal processing. I can feel good about eating these while I'm out on the trail or pursuing other outdoor activities. And, another good thing.... each bar is only $2.50. I am pretty sure that's cheaper than most of those nasty, dried out, name brand bars you get at those "health food" stores. 

Almost spoiled my dinner with this yummy treat!

Well, 5 o'clock finally arrived and I got myself registered and secured a wrist band to make it official. I am a fairly new member of the Arkansas Canoe Club but I have yet to join the American Canoe Club. Members of the American Canoe Club got to attend for free but I paid $5 to cover the cost of the insurance for the event. I didn't mind a bit as it was sure to be a fun time and eventually, I'll get signed up for the national club, too, so I'll be all set for next year.

At 7 o'clock, dinner was being served at the pavilion for a small fee. I believe it was a fundraiser event for a gauge fund, or so I read. I sure didn't mind....they were feeding me! I headed over and met this lovely group of volunteers waiting to serve me a piping hot plate of spaghetti and fixin's, and it was oh, SOOO good, too. I ate every last morsel. 

After dinner, I quietly headed back to my campsite to await the arrival of my friends, Crystal and Matthew, who were both expected later in the evening. It was fun people watching as the campground started filling up with event participants and more vendors. I knew I had made the right decision coming down for this event, no matter how long the drive. The new friends I had made and the anticipation of a Saturday full of exciting activities had me rearin' to go! But, first...sleep. Yes, I slept like the dead...even while camping. 

Part 2 coming soon....

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