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Recently, my sister came in town to visit from Chicago. She arrived in town just before the snowstorm hit us here in Texas. I sort of blame her for the weather, because I’m pretty sure she brought it with her from Chicago. So, for the first few days of her visit, we spent most of our time either playing in the snow, or snuggling under blankets near the fireplace trying to warm up because we had no power.

During that time, outside activities were not the best option. Well…other than sledding. We did that for a while, but because of the power outages, warming up after playing outside was difficult. It was mostly board games and puzzles for our entertainment…

Once we survived all the crazy snow and power outages, we were both ready to do something outside. After all, the snow had passed us, and it was now getting up to 70 degrees outside in the afternoons.

It was still too cold to try out my new kayaks, so I decided that a fun adventure would be “mountain” bike riding at Erwin Park in McKinney. And I was right. It was such a wonderful adventure, and a great way to spend a cloudy, cold morning. It’s a good thing we ventured out early too, because that afternoon, the sky opened up and it rained and rained and rained…

If you haven’t been to Erwin Park, it’s definitely a place you should add to your bucket list. It is great for hiking and biking! Their trails are so well maintained by DORBA, the Dallas Off Road Bicycle Association. We were both impressed. I had been to Erwin before, but it was so many years ago, that it was almost like discovering a new place to ride my bike.

If you are a hiker or a biker, DORBA should be in your browser! It is a wonderful site whose mission is providing access to great local trails. Your membership provides the tools and infrastructure used to build trails. It also lets local municipalities know that you care about and use the trails on their properties. Whether you are an experienced rider or someone who is just starting out, we hope you’ll find the site full of useful information. 

Certainly worth checking out. You can also visit this site to find out if trails are open or closed. Most of these trails close when it gets too muddy, because we all know that riding (or hiking) the trails after a storm just destroys them! Anyway…check it out if you’re looking for a nice place to hike or bike.

Our adventure for the morning was chosen, so now it was time to get my backup bike all polished up and ready for an outdoor adventure. My husband surprised me with a Trek Roscoe 7 many years ago, a nice upgrade from my “mom” bike I had for biking around the neighborhood with my kiddos.

My so-called “mom” bike is a very nice Canondale hybrid bike that I bought in a weak moment many years back when I thought I was getting too old for mountain biking. I had my road bike that I rode most of the time, but I just felt like mountain biking was a thing for younger people. Boy was I wrong…

We got the “mom” bike aired up and ready for our adventure. It wasn’t the best bike for Erwin Park, but it was all we had. So off we went to the park! Me with my awesome mountain bike, and my sister with her “mom” dirt bike.

It didn’t take her long to figure out how to work the gears and how to sit back on the seat in a scary downhill and ride the rear break just in case. We had more fun on this adventure, and the “mom” bike didn’t’ slow her down at all. I was so impressed, and wishing she lived closer so we could go mountain biking more often.

That wonderful feeling when you make it to the top of the hill!

We took our time and stopped for pictures along the way to rest our weary legs. I had lugged my “real” camera with us, because I was certain that after 5 minutes she would change her mind and decide to hike. I thought I’d spend the morning hiking with her and taking pictures of birds.

Nope…instead, we pulled out my camera every now and then for a few quick photo sessions, and I even set the camera up for her to get a few shots of me. It was so funny. She did a great job! She got some awesome pictures, as well as some epic fails! But since I’m almost always behind the camera instead of in front of it, it was fun to have a few of me participating in the adventure as well!

And of course the funniest pictures were when she missed me completely (well almost completely). Look closely at the pics below, and maybe you’ll see me (or just a small part of me). Ha! Learning to pan and follow a quickly moving subject is harder than it looks!

The video below is included in this blog post just for your enjoyment. Especially if you need a reason to laugh. The video quality is horrible – it was recorded from my cell phone that was attached to my bicycle handle bars. I often video trails so I can show my kids and my husband.

Fortunately, for me, I was videoing when my sister took the plunge down this hill. She would not go first on the trail after this experience. I always had to lead. Because of the angle of the camera, it doesn’t look very steep. But believe me…it was quite a drop, especially for a first time mountain biker…

Since this adventure together, we have started a list of other adventures we want to go on. Because who says these adventures have to slow down just because you’re getting older? Well, I say bring on the adventures. I am ready. And as soon as it gets warmer, I’m certain we will be heading out on the two new kayaks I just purchased…

If you’d like help getting some photos of you on your mountain bike adventure or any sporting event, you can contact me over at Paula Mason Photography. Just let me know how I can help!

Until next time…