Life is always easier if you're in the right gear.

Family Fun?

Why is it that family vacations or day trips are such a troublesome venture? Just the idea of a day trip to a nearby lake can be fraught with tension. A family vacation can place the stress, tension and conflict on levels that resemble something of a national disaster. I don’t know why we go tithe trouble, because all along the way it’s seems like everyone has to argue about something and no one, especially the parents are having any fun.

Last weekend, we decided to forego a day-long ride, which would have been great fun for only three of us, for a trip to a swimming hole we recently discovered on one of our rides last year. This was intended to be fun for all 5 of us and the friends that were invited to come along. This swimming hole is alongside the Applegate Lake in Southern Oregon, just barely north of the Oregon-California border. Locals know to take Highway 238, the Medford/Provolt Highway out to a little small berg known as Ruch. Turn left off Highway 238 onto Upper Applegate Road. Follow Upper Applegate Road all the way out past Applegate Lake. You will pass the dam on your left, Hart-tish Park on your left and you will wind your way to the end of the lake without turning off Upper Applegate Road. This road will eventually end at a “T” intersection. At this intersection, Upper Applegate Road actually continues left (according to online maps), but I’m not sure that’s what the signpost out there says. At this point to get to the Best Swimming Hole you want to turn right onto Carberry Creek Rd. There is a dirt parking area along the right side of the road. It’s the first right turn you can make off Carberry, and if you are there on a weekend, you’re sure to see others already there. The joy of this place is that there is a beach of sorts, and the water has no current. The shallow parts are sandy, not rocky or uncomfortable and even very young children can play in the shallow edge of the lake without fear of a current pulling them in or waves toppling them over. The best thing, the water is incredibly warm considering this lake is filled with mountain runoff.

On this particular day, it seemed as though our family was completely at odds. We couldn’t agree about anything. Which chairs to bring, how much food to bring, who was riding in which vehicle and, of course, what kind of soda we should purchase for the kids for the excursion. Wouldn’t you know each of the three children have different preferences so they insisted on three different soft drinks. At this point, and we were only about 20 minutes in, I very nearly lost it. Finally, we were loaded up, had our last minute shopping trip done and we were on our way. At this point, I believed things might settle down. I was thinking it was unfortunate that I had never had cause to be prescribed sedatives. They could have come in handy on days like today. If not for me, then for the others in my entourage. At any rate, we made it to Jacksonville with some silence. Then, my son, who had his iPod and ear buds on, decided he was going to vocalize the Family Guy podcast he was listening to. Yeah. That didn’t go over well.

I thought once we arrived at the lake all would be well. Of course, I’d talked with the kids in advance, informing them that they were not to just jump out of the vehicles and take off, but they had to help unload and set up our spot. No problem, except that everyone had a different idea of what the ideal spot was. I had to pull rank and just make a decision. I was ready to turn around and head home. Of course, my decision was the wrong one, but it ended the arguing. Finally, we got the stuff unloaded, the rafts blown up and the kids were off playing in the water.

The rest of the day was completely idyllic. The kids played in the water, floated on the new raft we bought, jumped off the rocks on the other side of the lake, and had a great time. On the way home, everyone was blissfully silent from exhaustion. Two days later, they are already begging me to go out there again and they can’t stop talking about how much fun that day was.

Why are family excursions like this?

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Hi, I'm Cat A.Olson, @According2Cat on Twitter, or @TheDigitalCat on Instagram, and I write about my cycling adventures. In 2010, after 25 years off the bike, I decided to get a bike and start riding again. In 2012, I was diagnosed with DCIS, an early and completely curable form of breast cancer. I had five weeks of radiation treatment and I rode my bike to nearly every treatment. In 2013, I decided to get a faster bike. I'm finally getting serious about losing weight, and riding really fast with the cool kids.

I ride every chance I get, as fast as I can, for as long as my body will allow. I'm learning how to embrace challenges like helmet hair, padded pants, clipless shoes, flat tires, bugs in my teeth, and...ugh...hills. I'm learning that both cycling and life are easier and a lot more fun when you're in the right gear.

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