Greenway V

_C1_7396.JPGIt only took eight months, but yesterday I got past the Fayetteville section of the Razorback Greenway and into parts I’ve never seen before. A beautiful Saturday brought a few more miles of the 36-mile thread that carries characters like this pair, who were taking a break during a ride from one end of the trail to the other and back — I’d need a breather, too. Others included some disc-golfing fraternity brothers and a bulldog puppy named Princess that got doused with water to cool off from the trek around Lake Fayetteville.

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_C1_7449.JPGWe’ll see what’s going on in Springdale next time. Thanks for looking.

The Greenway

Bike trails are a big deal around here.

For the first time, an unbroken thread of paths and trails connects all of the Northwest Arkansas metro, from Bella Vista in the north to Fayetteville at the south end. The cities marked the project’s completion Saturday with a festival of biking, train riding, history walks and food that drew at least a thousand people by my reckoning. A few dozen of them told me the best way to celebrate was riding all 37 miles.

I started the day in Fayetteville, where a couple hundred people gathered in the morning for a bike and train ride to the main event up in Springdale.

But before that, something I didn’t expect: a march, about 40 strong, for Freddie Gray, whose death after being severely injured in police custody sparked protests across the country and has led to criminal charges for six Baltimore officers.

_C1_8877It was a blink-and-you-miss-it deal; I had time for the one photo and they were gone. The cyclists, meanwhile, kept gathering, cheering the train from Springdale when it sounded its horn.

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_C1_8945The bunch arrived in Springdale by train or bike half an hour later. More bikers and others flocked in by the hundreds.

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_C1_9050Several mayors and other officials gave speeches and thanks to everyone involved; this is a project planned for a decade, under construction for three years and built for $1 million a mile. The speakers touted the trail’s economic impact as well — a topic my co-worker Joel dug into in today’s paper — before leading the crowd in a spirited round of “Woo Pig Sooie.”

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_C1_9075Finally, bikers cut the ribbon for the trail at noon.

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_C1_9164Not a bad party. Thanks for looking, and take a look at some more photos here, if you like.

Early Sunsets

_C1_3313Suddenly it’s November and the nights get below freezing and sunset is at 5 p.m. The trees and shrubs retreat around us and we have holidays about death.

Sadly I missed most of those holidays, just catching the tail-end of a Halloween event in Fayetteville’s square, then wandering around Springdale for a few hours in an unsuccessful search for a little Day of the Dead action.

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_C1_3324That’s OK, though. Springdale had other attractions: a man who had no concern with me taking his picture while his car was repaired, a high school choir concert and a series of strikingly geometric store fronts.

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_C1_3410I always love taking pictures of groups of people right before their group portraits. Instead of a dozen of the same face, the mask is gone, and you can see a dozen different facial expressions, with their focus inward and outward and somewhere in the middle.

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_C1_3442One last thing this weekend: shooting a few photos for a pair of acquaintances, Taylor and Jess, who are in a relationship together. It was sort of an impromptu favor to give them some photos for their families. That earlier sunset I mentioned gave us about an hour of gorgeous light, while Lake Fayetteville and these two provided the scenery and cheesy sweetness.

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_C1_3772Thanks for looking,

Dan