A wonderful beautiful day of sunshine and warm temperatures it was today. The highest I saw on a gauge was 75. Spring has sprung. From this picture at the ski basin you can see all the green vegetation that has come up in the last couple of days. The water in the background is the designated ski area and is tidal salt water. Weekends it has folks playing in the water with all kinds of boat related toys.
This nice windmill with the hawk in the lower left looks like it is miles out in the country when in fact it is right in the middle of town at the municipal park where I walk. It supplies water to the wetlands they constructed to help the wildlife survive better. The wetlands are a very nice place.
Even along the trail are flowers starting to come out in bloom. I bet this place is really nice with flowers in about four weeks. A big thanks to you who are having cold weather, and keep it away from here thank you.
Tonight’s potluck surprised me that only about 25 folks came to it. I did win top honors with my chicken noodle soup. Probably half the folks there came by to compliment me on it. That makes me feel good to do something folks appreciate.
My walk this morning had to be curtailed a little. There was pain in my knees so I only walked 3.3 miles in the park with my pack. Skipping the 2 mile walk on the beach seemed like a good thing for my knees. It really shows any weakness in your legs to walk in the lightly loose sand.
The last big thing today was that all the shipments I was waiting on came in in good shape. Now the only thing holding me back is the weather out west and north. Del Rio is still a little cool in the mornings and Big Bend is down right cold some mornings. Perhaps the wise thing is to use some more of my already paid for time at this campground. After all I still have to bike ride the Aransas Wildlife Refuge and do some serious kayak paddling with the additional prospect of some good fish catching in the near future. Now matter what I will be gone by Feb. 17 on my search to have tooooo much fun. TheOFM
This back packing thing is a big deal to me. I have wanted to do some all my life, but never "got around" to it until I thought I was too beat up and weak. Today was the third day of my exercise routine to get ready for the mountain desert hiking in west Texas. A lot of email to folks on bigbengchat has given me a lot to consider. After tonights 2 miles with a full pack weight on the beach, I have decided to wait on spending money on a new pack and tent. The first few hikes in a couple of weeks will let me know if my knees can handle any real backpacking. Hard facts are always nice when making decisions.
The next hardest decision I have to make is which receipt for Checken Noodle Soup to use for the Soup and Salad themed pot luck tomorrow night. No matter what else goes into it, I always cook my chicken with flavoring just like it would be served on a plate. Then I cut into small cubes and start on the soup/stew. I used to grill it first, but I am without a grill at this time so it will be done on the stove. The potluck is at 5:30 so I want the soup simmering by 4 at the latest.
As I was organizing myself tonight, I realized that I still had not biked the Aransas Wildlife Refuge. That has to be done before I can leave. All my shipments of stuff are due in this week so I should be free to fly by Monday. I guess I better get my lazy bod out and do some riding. One of many different goals on my way to having tooooo much fun. TheOFM
E-mail took a lot of my morning. A few folks from Washington emailed me and some from in Houston. My old friend Pete ( and former near perfect boss) sent me an email updating on him and his family status. They were one of the wonderful families I met up there. Several of the families had extremely neat pets so a big PETTING goes out to Harry, Spaz and Popeye.
A little statistics in response to an email question. It normally takes me between an hour and two hours to write up a blog entry if pics are in it. Since I hit the road 10-7-07 I have taken over 600 pictures and towed about 4000 miles. This mileage rate is going down since I am not having to run from imminent snow and ice like the first couple of weeks.
Later today, I went down to check out the fish catching at the local pier. No one was catching anything, but the small bait fish were back along the rocks. Apparently the tidal movement has gotten most of the fresh water from the rains out of the bay. I imagine the fish will return in a day or two. Then my freezer will get restocked. There was a motor home parked at the bulkhead enjoying a day at the water.
They had fishing lines out in the water and were sitting at the dining table drinking coffee while waiting for a bite. Now that is the way to go. This evening I took my equipment down to the pier to try my luck. No luck fishing, but good luck in meeting a very nice man, Don, to visit with. He is retired to the area. Some of his youth was spent in the area and he filled me in on a lot of history of the fishing in the area. With a little luck I will be able to use that information to help me stock the freezer. He said that the catching will not really get started good until mid February. I will be gone to do some desert hiking by then. But I will be back.
Speaking of hiking, this website http://www.bigbendchat.com/ has beautiful pictures of west Texas and lots of hiking tips. I am tooooo excited for my own good. Backpacking has got my interest after getting some answers from the folks at the forum. A lot of the nice areas of the west Texas parks are within a one night backpack trip, but virtually inaccessible by day hike.
So now I am seeing about a tent and backpack for me to use for overnight trips into the wilds (and I do mean wild) of Big Bend, Guadalupe mountains, Black Gap WMA, Big Bend Ranch State Park and any other target of opportunity. According to several resources it is a tossup as to which is the most remote park in the USA, Denali in Alaska or Guadalupe Mountains in Texas/New Mexico. There are so many places to visit and so many things to do that I am afraid I may have started too late in my quest to have tooooo much fun. TheOFM
Now that the weather is warming a little, it is time to plan some moving on down the road adventures AND get into shape for them. Today I went for a mile walk on the sandy beach. Finished that and went to the truck, got out my daypack and loaded it with whatever I had and did another mile.
A fellow I met at the beach told me about a public pier that I had overlooked down in Fulton. Off to Fulton I go and wonder how in the world I ever missed it while driving around.
It is very long with a huge t-head and very well built. They charge $2 a pole for fishing and have it lighted for night catching. It is free just to wander out on it. Next to it was the Fulton harbor with a lot of shrimp boats moored at the docks. I had not realized there were so many down at this small harbor. This picture only shows about half of them.
Later in the day, a trip to utilize the municipal hiking trail and exercise circuit yielded the information that the old fat man is in way worse shape than he thought. With the pack on my back and a brisk pace (at first anyway) I set off to do what I could do. 3.2 miles later (2 Laps) the backpack fell off my back right into the backseat of the truck for some reason. My rubbery legs could not have made a difference could they? The exercise circuit equipment was about 400 yards away. An easy walk brought the torture, I mean, exercise things into range. I did all I could on each of them. It really was not much, but it was all I had to give. To my amazement I was still able to walk the balance beams with very little difficulty.
Knowing I was worn out and hungry, the truck found its way back home for me. A quick check of the mail room gave me a big surprise with a package from old friend Kevin from Washington. The exterior was decorated by a fantastic artist of his family. Several folks in the campground had seen it and thought it was really nice. See for your self in this picture.
Isn't thank great. The best was yet to come. When I opened the package, inside were RANGER COOKIES like only Kevin’s family can make them. OINK,OINK,OINK. UMMMM, UMMMM, GOOOOOD. After the first cookie I looked into the box and saw some photos of his wonderful family. They are big believers in FAMILY and about as nice a family as can be found on the earth. I was fortunate to get to know several wonderful families of this quality up in Washington that I miss getting to visit with. The package yielded another SURPRISE. Kevin is a great woodworker and he had made me a special screwdriver with a black walnut handle he had made. It is PERFECT. His talent is way beyond anything I could even think of myself doing.
Today a lot of folks were at the fish cleaning tables filleting fish. They all had been out in boats. This gives me hope that a tide change or two will have the fish back in the bay and the fresh water from all the rain gone. Tomorrow I will most likely get on down to the piers for some catching and having tooooo much fun. TheOFM
What an eventful day of adventures!!!!!!!!!!! After laundry and lunch, the truck insisted that I needed a fishing trip to Lake Corpus Christi to check on if the crappie were moving to shallow water yet. So with no fanfare and no adventures in sight, off we went. The trip down was uneventful and smooth. There is nearly no traffic down here. It is amazing. Show my annual pass at the registration station and in I go. The annual Texas Parks Pass has already more than paid for itself. A little wandering around and here we are at the pier that is open. Bright sunshine, 72 deg and gentle breezes. 2 ½ hours later not even a nibble. Even the catfish catchers soaking tasty morsels of catfish food are getting no action at all. At least there are some families out for the afternoon with the kids and older folks.
While driving along a road to the old pier area, I was held up for a procession.
As you can see it is a family of javelina. Maybe I should jump out of the truck and shoooo them on along. NO I think I will leave that to someone else. Javelina are friendly to no person. This group had some young ones in it and I never mess with mad mommas. Later I went for a walk and rounding clump of trees I captured this shot of a campsite raider. They are not the least bit afraid to come right on in and tear up anything they feel necessary.
This guy gave me the evil eye several times as I got a little too close for his comfort. I tucked my tail and backed off.
On down the road I came across some brand new to rv folks trying to figure out how to set up their canopy. I helped them as much as I could. They live in Puerto Rico and came here for two weeks to buy a motor home. Then in a little while they will be back to try it out again. Back to PR for a bit, then back here to take a trip to Alaska in the new motor home for a few months. They were extremely nice folks and I wish them the best of luck.
After leaving the newbies, I was walking along the road next to the normal thick brush when I heard very near to me a WOOF and jumped about 330' 3 1/2" up in the air. I just knew the javelina had gotten me. I think my heart rate is still over 150. Nope just some whitetail deer hiding in the brush about 5 feet off the road. They probably laid there most of the day as cars went by, but an old fat man on foot was more than they could take.
As the daylight came to an end,I can say that I made a good try at having tooooo much fun. TheOFM.
There is one thing I have done right in my life. I donate blood very often. Today a blood center from Corpus brought a motor home to Aransas Pass to the H.E.B. store for local folks to donate. It is my displeasure to announce that I was able to walk right in, do the paperwork, donate my blood and talk with the blood center folks for about 20 minutes afterward without any person to interrupt us. I would have some sympathy for people who can donate but don’t if we could make synthetic blood that worked. For the first time in my life the blood center I was giving to gave me a gift. It is a nice tee shirt and certificate for a free Whataburger. Please save lives by donating blood.
After donating blood I have to take it easy for a couple of hours. This started about 5 years ago. I think it is cause I am an old fat man. Since I was very close to the bridge from AP across Laguna Madre, I rode down to some saltwater flats near a popular paddle craft put-in location. It was bright sunshine and the truck thermo said 60 degrees, but I did not need a jacket. A couple of fellows from the several paddlers out and about were heading in. I thought I recognized the canoe so I waited around to see it. I was right. It was a Mad River Special Commemorative Canoe. They are Kevlar hull and really nice woodwork thwarts, seats and gunnels. A beautiful and very functional work of art. It certainly was a wonderful afternoon.
The golf course up at Sinton is the cheapest decent course around. A trip up to the course proved to be very fruitful. The course is cheap, well maintained, nice and not overly crowded. It will be fun to play there I am certain. As I was leaving the town, a small section of downtown caught my attention. Several ornate architecture buildings were along main street. The pictures I tried to take at 35 mph with one hand and control the truck on the bouncy street did not work out very well. The least undesirable one is here for you to see what I mean. I need to get back up there and check this out more closely.
A little running around in Rockport to do a chore or two then back home to get ready for another day of having tooooo much fun. TheOFM
While cleaning house this morning, I became totally unhappy with the new hand held vacuum I was trying to use. It just would not pick up the dirt like I feel is desired for a clean place. Finally I gave up and went to the local store called Wal-Mart to see what was available. On the shelf calling to me was a Shop Vac small compact wet and dry model that obviously was designed with an RVer in a small unit in mind. It is very compact and will suck the paint off a board if you are not careful. Now I am a happy cleaner.
All my life I lived in the humidity and corrosion of the warm salt water environment of Houston Texas. I ran out to the western desert every chance I got. About 6 years ago I had to go to the desert of Washington state to feed myself. When I got there, I thought to myself that I am going to like living in the desert. WOW was that an understatement. I love it. However that area up there is wonderful for about 7 months of the year, then winter takes over. YUK.
Next month starts another life phase for me. I have noticed that I have gone through a lot of different life phases in my 61 years. This spring I will be ambulating around west Texas and New Mexico for sure and later maybe into southern Utah. Notice the areas are all very desert. It will be interesting how this next phase of life plays out. At least it is guaranteed to be interesting.
Last October when I spent a week in Elephant Butte, NM, the whole week went by so quick that it was all a blur of events and exciting adventures. The pepper fragrance in Hatch, NM still lingers with my memory. The problem was I had to get back to Texas to get my full timing things taken care of, like insurance and registrations. Now I am totally free to roam at will, except for an high school graduation in late May, searching and chasing having tooooo much fun. TheOFM
Once again I awoke to the “music” of rain on the roof. Oh how wonderful. The gray day led me to staying inside and cleaning out more things I do not need anymore. The way I live now has only slight resemblance to what I thought full timing would be like. The nuts and bolts of hitching, dumping and so on is the same but the rest is a lot better if different than what I had thought. After lunch, I took some extra books to donate to the library.
When the mail came, it had the check for my old trailer from the dealer in it. Naturally I had to get that on the way to the bank. As I left the post office, I noticed the city park that I had never been to. It called to me very loudly so I had to visit. Turns out to be a fantastic park. The first thing I noticed is the basketball and baseball fields. Three or four baseball fields and I did not count the basketball areas. This shot of one of the soccer fields shows how nice the area is. There were six soccer fields I could see.
Across the parking lot form the sports field was an area set up for smaller children. The playground equipment was top notch. Around the equipment was tables and benches in the shade of the lovely live oak trees. The parents could enjoy the shade while keeping an eye on the kiddoes.
Going all over and around the park is a walking trail that goes through some very pretty wooded areas. A nice lady, Joyce, at the campground here thinks the trail is about 1.6 miles long. A very important part of the trail is the two restrooms spaced nicely next to it. Here it goes around a lake of some type, but it was too cold for this wimp to walk it today. Notice the benches along the trail.
Even safety signs are along the trail so the super speed walkers will not have a crash. This trail is definitely on my list to get back too.
At the potluck dinner tonight, there was lots of great food. In fact I think we could have fed at least another 50 folks without any more food being brought in. Since I had spent so much energy riding in my truck taking pictures I celebrated by having two plates full. I sure hated to see it come to an end. It turned out to be a good day for having tooooo much fun. TheOFM
As usual lately , I awoke to precipitation. So after a lazy morning of breakfast and goofing off in a very superior way for a long time, a DOT required red flag for over-length loads became the purpose of leaving the trailer. As you might expect they are not to be had anywhere nearby. A fellow camper recommended that I go to Jerry B's in Corpus. I have to be careful when I get near toy stores. The place looks like a typical waterfront store from the outside. Kinda gaudy and not exactly pristine.
However, step inside and find the best boat store I have ever been in and the nicest most knowledgeable folks I have ever encountered. Here is Capt. Josh who at the ripe old age of 20+ has his Captain rating for up to 40 ton "boats". The young man is also extremely knowledgeable about kayaks and is a certified instructor also. The bad part is he seems to be genuinely nice and a great salesman. He was very patient with my tons of stupid or ignorant questions and did not even giggle at my ignorance. After getting what I came for, he spent about 45 minutes with me explaining a lot of things I did not even know to think about. At no time did he even try to sell me a kayak. In fact just the opposite. He suggested that I should try out at least three of them side by side to get a better feel of what I think might be best to have. SERVICE with a friendly smile too. WOW.
The end result is that I had to take my flags home and get on the Internet on some sites Josh recommended to educate myself enough to hopefully make a good choice later. I think a sit on top (SOT) will be a better boat for me than the current sit in type I have. Their prices seemed to be competitive or a little better than some other "big box" stores I have been going to. Josh and the lady there, I did not get her name, were the type of folks that a very particular person like I am will deal with in the future.
On the way back along Mustang Island, the power company is putting in some new power poles and stringing new wires on them now. They are using a helicopter to pull wires and place them in the pulleys on the poles. The little two lane road and traffic precluded me from stopping to take any pictures of this event. The stupid fog that is still hanging around would have made the pictures not very good anyway.
A quick stop at the Mustang Island State Park showed that the rain was making things even more difficult. The parking lot that I pulled into a couple of days ago was totally under rain water now and part of the picnic area also. That will be a mess to clean up when the water goes down.
Tomorrow is a potluck dinner here at the campground with an Italian theme. It should be a great time to try to have tooooo much fun. TheOFM
Let us hope that this is the worst thing that happens the rest of your life.
Those who are around me much will recognize that is a favorite saying I came up with several years ago to deal with frustration. It is raining very heavily right now and was wet from one thing or another all day. A truck ride down near the coastline in search of adventure and sunshine proved to be interesting. The fog was very thick. Many things have a different perspective when in dense fog. Here is a picture of one of the Port Aransas ferries passing mine in the channel. It is only ¼ mile or so across the channel, but the other side was totally invisible from our departure shore.
One thing I checked out carefully was some rv parks closer to the Gulf beach for when I return to dodge temperature problems with the weather. The coast usually only gets up to the low 90’s in the summer, while inland the temperatures get into the low 100’s. I may be back in this area to sit out some heat and get in on the fish catching.
Here is a picture of a fisherman and his “buddies” waiting for some action. The catching is usually so good here that if you are out fishing some bird or another will stop by to visit so they can get the throwbacks. Enlarge the picture to see that this fellow has at least a heron and two seagulls standing watch.
Back inland a few feet were the barrier island sand dunes. They are not huge. Mostly only 10-15 feet high and these have some grasses on them. The flowers are blooming and critters in the grass are crittering around.
The animal tracks book from my sister came into good use again today. Thanks Sandy. It is truly amazing how many more interesting things there are to notice and enjoy when you do not rush so fast as I have all my life until now. It must have “wasted” twenty minutes of my life to stand on the boardwalk long enough to hear and see the rodents, or whatever is the correct term, crittering around in the dunes.
In spite of or because of the fog (I am not certain which) I got to see and enjoy several small experiences today on my way to having tooooo much fun. TheOFM
Today has been a farmer's rain all the day. A slow steady drizzle was going on the first time I awoke this morning at 5am and has not let up all day. I did take a trip to Victoria to look around and get out of the house. 160 square feet gets fairly small on rainy days.
Most of the afternoon was spent trying out some techniques with water colors that I am trying to learn. When I look at the artists forums, I get very disheartened of ever being even a hint of the ability of a lot of folks. Late in the evening I decided I needed a break, so I took a ride down to the public pier to get a picture for this blog of the great weather.
An adventure awaited me to my surprise. As I was taking pictures of the wonderful atmosphere, one of the feral cats that hangs around the docks came out of the tall grass like he was stalking a seagull. He had no chance. Seagulls are the wariest animals I have ever been around. The cat stalked and the gull just giggled and stayed just far enough away. My thought is that the gull would have hurt the cat badly. He was definitely larger than the cat. Finally the cat gave up and looked back at me with disgust all over his face. Most of the cats get plenty to eat most days. They are not skinny by any means. With all the seafood cleaned around here I am surprised they aren't too fat to walk. Of course the pelicans also clean up on the remains. So I guess there is some competition. Usually it seems like plenty to go around.
It will be nice to have a different location at the head of this blog. Hurry up winter and get out of Texas. There was a layer of FROST on my kayak this morning. It was gone about an hour after sunup. This pic does not show it very well because the flash wipes out the white frost on the black hull.
A little plug for my favorite radio station of all time. It is 89.5 KLUX in Corpus. They also broadcast on the web at http://www.klux.org/. Just so there is no surprise, it is Christian affiliated. The music is lite rock to easy listening with Christian messages gently placed occasionally between songs.
To help ease the cabin fever I decided to visit the Rio Grande Valley today. It will also give me a chance to go to Port Mansfield. PM is another of those places I have heard about for years and never visited. As you travel south on Hwy. 77 you drive through what is left of the King Ranch. It is all typical south Texas brush, mesquite and cacti of various types. Residing in the brush are the biggest and meanest rattlesnakes of the earth. As you start to enter the RGV near Raymondville, the road scene lets you know you are getting close. The RGV is classified as sub-tropical in the gardening books I used to have.
From 43 degrees in Rockport to 61 degrees in Raymondville was the temperature change. Bright sunshine greeted me just a little south of Kingsville. It was a great day for a road trip. In Port Mansfield there was a very nice small local park filled with a motorcycle group resting from their ride. I would guess about 50 motorcycles were there. As I road around looking for access to the water for fishing, it was apparent that virtually all fishing was done from boats. The harbor was very nice and there were several places to eat during tourist season.
One motel and a lot of houses available to rent took up a lot of the town. There are at least three rv parks in town. However the only thing I saw to do in the area is go out fishing or sit in the shade and drink beverages of choice. The closest grocery etc is in Raymondville about 20 miles away. Another adventure goes into the history books and tomorrow will be another day for tooooo much fun. TheOFM
It was somewhat crisp this morning. My electric heater was running full blast for the first hour I was awake. Tonight should be the last of serious winter for the area. At least today was cloudless and bright sunshine as you will see in the pictures. When I finally went outside this morning it was obvious that we had a LOT of rain. There were debris lines in the campground where the thatch had been flooded into rows in the yard areas.
Just for the heck of it I went to Mustang Island State Park again to wander around the dunes and beach. OOPS. The two entrances to the beach were closed. The parking lot was still mostly under water from the rain. It seems that a higher tide than normal coupled with all the run off created some trouble this morning.
I took a short walk in the ice knife wind down to the beach area. The beach last time was about 120 feet wide. Today the debris line was right against the dunes and the water was washing within 30 feet of the dunes and it was low tide. No wonder it was shut down for vehicles to enter the beach area. The water was brown from the turbulence and the waves fairly forceful. Back neat Port Aransas there were even surfers out playing in the waves.
Back at Rockport Beach the rain had taken it’s toll also. In this picture taken about 4 pm you can see the remaining water in the picnic area.
When it was draining forcefully, it cut into the beach at several spots. This shot shows the erosion.
As I did my 2 mile walk, I had to be very careful about paying attention where the water was migrating under the surface. One spot let me sink about 4 inches before I could jerk my foot back. If one was careful, the usual event was about 2 inches of sink into the surface at those locations. The rest of the sand was actually very firm and made for a lot easier walking than usual.
When I returned from my walk, I was able to leave my door open for an hour or so. The temperature amongst the trees out of the wind here and in the sunshine was delightful. This was a good end for a day of trying to have tooooo much fun. TheOFM
Light rain all day. Mid forties temperature. 15-20 mph wind. YUK The grocery store this morning was nice inside and I probably took longer in the store just because I did not really want to go back outside into the nasty.
While researching possible playing locations, I noticed that if I go north as little as 30 miles the night time temperatures get below freezing. This Gulf water really does a good job of moderating the temperatures.
Getting the laundry done was a pain because one of the two washers was down for the count. So off to the laundramat I went. I think every person in town was there washing and drying clothing. I got mine washed and came home since the dryers had a line of three folks waiting to use them. The ones here in the park do a great job and I was able to use them to finish the job.
Tonight I tried out the turkey patties that I bought today. To my surprise they were very good. I looked at the cow ones, but they had over 50% saturated fat in them. Way to much bad stuff for me to be eating.
I guess thats about all, so I will get back to planning how to have tooooo much fun tomorrow. TheOFM
Started the day by paying rent and electricity. $239 was the cost for the month. Since the weather is still too cold for my liking to the north of us, I am signed up for another month right here. I have spent a lot of time looking for a better area and park in this part of Texas and have concluded for my criteria this is it. The only thing missing is a good, cheap golf course. There is good and there is moderate priced but not in the same package.
Itchy feet got me out for a drive up to Lake Corpus Christi located near Mathis. The drive up there was very boring like most drives through cotton growing country. The fields seem to have been prepared already for the crop. Lake CC is a very nice lake, but is an irrigation lake with a lot of runoff. This keeps the lake a little on the brown side. In the past I have caught a lot of fish from the pier in the picture. Right now the pier is shut down for some reason. They have a very large number of excellent campsites for RV or tent folks. The roads wind up and down and around to make for a nice bicycling event. In the summer the lake is great for water sports. Today it was blowing about 20 mph and the air temp was 43 deg. BRRRRR.
That was to cold for me to get out and try to have toooo much fun. TheOFM.
No fish were caught by any of the folks that I saw out fishing today. None from the piers where I fished twice had any action. Checking the fish cleaning station by the boat dock showed no fresh evidence and the pelicans were looking at me as a maybe I could be satisfactory for supper. We had over two inches of rain last night. Probably we need a tide change or two to get the fishing back to good. There was freshwater flooding behind the beach park sand dunes. It was funny to watch the SEA birds washing themselves in the rain water.
During my 2 mile walk in the loose sand of the beach, I found several soft wet spots where apparently the surface water trapped behind the dunes was oozing back to the ocean.
The library had a few magazines that were interesting, especially the Texas Parks and Wildlife magazine. I read 4 or 5 during the afternoon while sitting in their very comfortable chairs.
And very important before I forget it. I got my hair cut at a little one man barber shop on Corpus Christi street here in Rockport. There was one man in the chair, and one walked in just in front of me. While I was there three more fellows came in. The haircut was done expertly and was one of the best I have ever had. The barber seemed to know most of the fellows. It seems that most of them were small businessmen from town or one was a rancher from nearby. They were an interesting and polite group.
A lot of time today was spent in searching for information to decide on my next direction of travel. Most likely my next location will be near Lake Amistad as I search for tooooo much fun. TheOFM
Two other good things happened today. My insurance company was able to figure out they had made a billing mistake and my "Paid in Full" bill was correct. The nice lady could not find where the second very high price bill was ever even mailed out to me. All is good until the next episode.
The second thing is Becky from Adsense wrote me a very nice email explaining that the Adsense computer system had a problem and would not post the required code from me correctly. She cleared it up. Now I guess I can urge anyone wanting information from an ad on this site feel free to check out the offering. I am not allowed to click on them and some look interesting to me.
The Aransas Library here in town is a very good small town library. They have 6 or 7 computers for folks to get onto the Internet and search for information o check email. The book section has had several different books on each subject I have looked for information on. They gave me a library card by just showing them my drivers license and waiting about 4 minutes. Probably 2 minutes of that time was waiting for their laminating machine to warm up. Everyone I have interfaced with here in town has been wonderful to deal with.
I reckon it is time to assume the lazy bum position again and try to have tooooo much fun. The OFM
Today a goal of long standing since at least as far back as the early 1970’s was achieved. It was only seeing a sign in person. This sign was very familiar to me from many other folks pictures during that time. A good number of folks I worked with at the time were big fisherman and 4-wheel jeep fans. North Padre is a natural for those folks. The sign is five miles south of the north entrance to the beach and marks the fartherest an ordinary vehicle should go. This can be a very lonesome place during the week.
It made a believer out of me cause when I tried to turn around, my rear wheels started to head for China. OOPS. As Scott Kiser of Idaho fame taught me, 4-wheel drive is for when you get in trouble in 2-wheel drive. Ok stop, push the 4 wheel high button and hope it is enough. I did have a shovel and boards along just in case. It was enough and the truck just leaped forward right at the water about 15 feet away. ERK. Any way I got it turned around and back into 2 wheel. The trip back was easy since I found the soft spots on the way in and knew where to avoid. Once again the surf fishermen were catching fish. I did not stop to see what they were catching.
The National Park warns you at the entrance that if you get stuck they will NOT pull you out. A tow truck from Corpus will be called for you and expect a bill of at least $500. On top of that if the tide comes in and floods your vehicle and it spreads oil or gas or diesel, they will write you a federal ticket for hydrocarbon pollution of the ocean. Can you say Exxon Valdez?
Tonight it is getting cold down to the low 50’s and the prediction for the next five days is a miserable low 40’s at night and high 50’s to low 60’s during the day. Enough with this winter junk. I had to push my plans to leave out a couple of weeks at least since my destination is still seeing mid 20’s for the lows. No Thanks.
Now back to the rest last Saturday’s pictures and adventures. The day was beautiful and warm as is evidenced by these folks walking barefoot along the water wearing warm weather clothing.
However the beach was heavily littered with ManO’War jelly fish and they hurt very badly when the tentacles get on your skin. For those who do not know what one looks like see this picture. There are long thin tentacles that dangle from the main balloon. Do not get one on your skin. I know from my shrimping days what it feels like. GUARANTEED WRONG.
Out by the jetty was a lady fishing while sitting on the rocks. The waves were not but 3-4 feet high that day. Enlarge the picture and see all the white wave foam on the rocks around her. I am certain she got a little wet from that one. Rogue waves are a fact of life on the ocean and you better always be looking out for them.
Afterward, a walk into the dunes yielded some interesting observations. My sister gave me a book on animal tracks for Christmas, so when I came across this critter highway intersection in the dunes, I had to pay more than usual attention. I failed to have the book with me, but none the less had a nice time checking out all the different critter tracks. All the other times in my life I have been in too much of a hurry to notice things like this.
This retardment life and starting this blog has given me a change in lifestyle. Now I not only stop to smell the roses, but also look around the rose for anything else interesting. For example, a ¾ mile nature walk at Padre NS today took me and hour and 20 minutes instead of the former style of about 30 minutes. I have learned to stop very often and just look around for anything that might be fun to see. The result is that I have found literally dozens of more things that help me have tooooo much fun. TheOFM
Pictures are now clickable to see a larger version. I am slow at learning, but I do get there.
Started this morning very easy and at a reasonable 7 am for a change. Breakfast, coffee and another email trying to get Google off their dead butt and get my Adsense fixed. Then off to Wal-Mart for groceries. HEB here does not carry but a third of what I want to eat and are slightly higher that WM on the stuff they do have. On the way home with groceries I noticed a few kites flying. Then I came around a bend and there were lots of kites flying. So I went home and put the groceries away in a hurry and came back to the beach park where the show was. It turns out that about four times a year there is a convention of local kite clubs come in to show off their great stuff. This was at the entrance to the park.
On down the beach aways was another cluster and then down by the saltwater pool was a few more. This group had a lot of folks around so I stayed back to take this picture.
Sometimes a wrong turn can turn out right. Coming down a wrong street I found a small local park in a neighborhood. It was nice so I stopped to look around. Apparently Gen. Zachery Taylor camped by this tree during a trip through the area. The tree is in decline but you can see it was quite a specimen in its earlier days.
The rest of the day was spent walking the beach after the kite flyers went home then getting my kayak out and prepared for use. Folbot builds a good boat and my Yukon is very easy to put together if you do not have a fat belly to get in the way when you squat to get near the ground. Finally I got the doormat and used it for protection from the grass burrs. After assembly I fitted it into the truck to see about carrying it locally with a flag on the stern. It looks like it will work. The law allows 1 inch more than I have behind the truck.
Things happen in strange ways. A nice fellow asked about us sharing links between our sites. I had been putting off learning how to do that cause I am lazy. Well his site is very nice, clean and interesting so I added The Camping Machine at the left. Nice site. He mentioned that he found my site at a place I had never heard of. On investigation it turned out to be a site with some of the most wonderful photographs I have ever seen. The site is http://lakeshoreimages.com/index.html. Only visit it if you like spectacular scenery. I have not had time to look at all of it, but WOW what I did get to view.
Tomorrow I need to run back into Corpus to get a couple of things that I cannot get easily locally. There is also an RV park I want to check out and I may even go back to the coast to see if I can have tooooo much fun Again. TheOFM.
What a beautiful winter day it was today!! Warm sunshine, mild temperatures and gentle breezes. Naturally I had to go to the beach to chase fun. The trip started with filling the truck with diesel at 1 gallon a minute. The service station pump was incredibly slow. I finally quit after I had enough for the trip. I was wasting too much sunshine waiting on a fuel pump.
My goal was a visit to Mustang Island State Park and wander the beach. As I entered Port Aransas (PA) I saw an RV park I wanted to check out. Real nice from the street, but the spaces were set up with about 2 inches to spare between trailers and the rest of the place was tighter. Nope. I asked about where to eat lunch and a fellow from Maine said to try the Moby Dick restaurant. So I did. PA is a very small town, approximately one mile by one mile. The restaurant has a distinctive exterior that is very subdued compared to the interior. Once again I left the camera in the truck when I should have had it to take a picture of the inside.
The food was good but not excellent and moderately priced but not cheap. A fried shrimp dish was my choice. As I left I notice the building across the street. It had a large shark laying on the front of the building. A lot of businesses in PA have large sea critters like this laying on or around them. One has a big octopus climbing the front wall.
The trip out to the park passes a lot of high $$$$$$ development going on. I saw sign advertising new lots for only $395,000. These are small lots too. There is a beautiful golf course going in along there also, but it obviously will be a lot more expensive than the old fat man can afford. Shortly the State Park entrance came into view. Turning in I got out my already well worn Annual Pass that is good until the end of October. The entrance ranger waved me on in and I went down to the beach parking area. From there I set out for a little beach walking. Little did I know that I would have sooooo much fun that it would be over four hours before I got back to the truck. This is the first scene as I entered the dunes and beach area.
It was a stunning day. The jetty in the far background ended up being my destination. While down by the jetty, so much was going on it will have to wait to be told another day. As I wandered back near the water, there were nice folks frequently to visit with. I visited with folks from at least Minnesota, Maine, Utah and Missouri. Richard and Myra from Missouri and I visited for over an hour. He was busy catching whiting of good size for their supper and a several more meals it looked like to me. Myra and I talked for a good bit about RV lifestyle and other interesting things. She is still working, but Richard is retired. Richard had run out of bait so he waded in to get some more. He grabbed his “slurp gun” to get some more “ghost shrimp”. Sure, right, yea, ok. Here is the picture of the slurp gun in action.
You stick one end down over a ghost shrimp vent hole and pull the plunger into the bigger tube and it sucks sand and the ghost shrimp right out. Then you push the plunger forward and squirt the contents on the beach and grab the ghost shrimp. I was so astonished that I forgot to take pictures at first. He did about 10 sucks and caught about 15 ghost shrimp for bait. Here is what they looked like.
The fish seemed to be just nuts about them. Between Richard and the three guys just down the beach from us, I bet I saw 35 to 40 fish beached in the hour or so I visited. None were big, just 2 to 3 pound good eating size fish.
Since I had planned to be out for 20 minutes I did not put on sun screen or bring water and by now I was getting cooked in the sun and dried out from not drinking. A watch is never around me and I thought I had been out about an hour. When what seems an hour turns out to really be four hours plus when you get back to the truck clock, you certainly have been trying to have tooooo much fun. This adventure will have to be continued. WOW. TheOFM
Don't get me wrong, this is a nice campground and a great area, but the hitch itch is getting pretty severe. Today was spent cleaning and rearranging the entire trailer. I know a lot more about what I really use and do not use now, so out with the unneeded weight. Under the bed was a Xerox box from early on that I had no idea what was in it. Examination proved to be worthwhile. In it was a couple of computer disks I could need in the future and some junk that I have no idea why I had it. Out with it. In another bin was an extra ice chest I had purchased while traveling long weekends in the Camry. Now I have a refrigerator with me. Out with it. And the list went on and on. The junk must reproduce faster than mosquitoes. It probably was not more than 50 pounds of stuff so my fuel mileage will not be affected, but my storage space was considerably affected. My leveling boards even got cut down a good bit.
On a side note, I have been checking the fuel mileage under different conditions of highway speeds.
Apparently while not towing, 60 to 65 is optimum speed. I already know that 70 towing eats fuel fast enough to really see the fuel gage change faster than at 60. 60 is about the slowest on the faster highways that I can go without becoming a problem for the other drivers. On the 55mph highways I have not been able to tell any difference in fuel use over driving 60. I seem to get the same total miles between fill ups at 50 to 60 mph while towing. I hope this helps anyone planning their great adventures on the way to having tooooo much fun. TheOFM
Tonight was a hotdog potluck at the park. Lots of extras were available to gorge on, but I was a good old fat man and ate only enough. The high percentage of folks who overeat continually amazes me. Some even feel good about overeating since they mostly have a “good diet”. I am down to about 35 pounds over weight and I can still feel the misery of the fat roll.
It seems Google Adsense is having an internal problem. They sent me an email telling me I needed to verify my phone number. Click a button on the email and they will call for the verifying number from the email. So I clicked on the button and the automated system called me. I punched in the numbers and the required pound sign 3 times and three times the auto system says it is not the correct number in their system. My cell phone screen says I did it right. A message on the email says to contact them by email. I have sent the same email to them every day for 4 days now and they do not have the minimal decency to even acknowledge that I sent them anything. Of course talking to a human is not allowed. It looks like I may have to drop Adsense just as my total was getting close to enough for them to send a check. Now I wonder if it is all a farce.
On to good things. After trying out my new table arrangement last night, it worked so well I went ahead and put in some more substantial legs on it. It took visits to three lumberyards to finally get the material to do the job right. I still had to run to Wal-Mart to get a few more screws before I finished. Now the new chair fits under the table without any table leg interference. The comfort level I am experiencing as I type this is huge in improvement over the dinette seats. This I have needed to do for several months. It even leaves room for the table to be used for eating from the dinette seats for two folks, if they are not too large. It helps to have a split personality when you need to take a picture of yourself.
With the nice bright sunshine and warm temperatures, even the arrival of my income tax package did not keep me from having tooooo much fun. TheOFM.
Let’s start with my biggest and best news of the year. I received a call last night from the dealer (Thompson RV) in Pendleton, Oregon who had my larger travel trailer on consignment on their lot. It finally sold after six months. I purchased the current trailer from them, because they treated me straight forward. No lies, no BS, just straight up information delivered in a very pleasant manner. Six months ago Carolyn told me what she thought the trailer would bring. All the little details of cleaning and touch up work it needed after I had lived in it for 2 ½ years would be billed at an agreed rate then deducted from the sales price. The entire deal was handled very well. The deal on the trailer I am in now was also just a forthright.
Now all I have to do is delay my leaving Rockport until the check gets here so I can forward it to the bank. Going to Corpus Christi to chair shop was today’s chore. This was the first time I had gotten off the freeway in Corpus at the major shopping area. It was very nice with excellent access and parking, a major thing when you drive a blunderbuss of a truck.
Leaving Rockport, my attention was on the roadwork happening on the bypass and I forgot to set my speed control up to highway speed. Therefore the trip over was at a leisurely 55 mph. Maybe 5 vehicles passed me in the 40 minutes of driving. This horrible traffic is getting to me. On the way back I did kick it up to 60 since I was getting hungry for lunch.
The new arrangement in the trailer and the new chair is proving to be very good. You can see in this picture that I even have room now for both computers to run at the same time. The old arrangement only allowed one at a time.
My other excitement for the day was finding out Hobby Lobby carries the tubes of watercolor that I want to use now. They even had them on sale!
Today was fun, but tomorrow promises to be tooooo much fun. TheOFM
Today was the day I finally made a choice and put it into action. Since I have had this trailer there has not been a comfortable seat for me while working on the computer. Discussions with the RV folks where I purchased this trailer led me to decide to only change things I can put back as original. Supposedly it will be easier to sell set up as an original instead of significantly improved. With all that input and seeing what Brian Gore and Diana Tolerico did with their dinettes, I chose to just rotate the table 90 degrees. This will allow me to put a comfortable office chair at the table and be comfortable. Here is the as work progresses picture.
This next picture shows the after arrangement of the table. Tomorrow I hope to purchase a comfortable office chair to fit the area.
As usual none of my original plan on how to rework the wall came even close. Turned out Northwood had put in a substantial board below the window and all I needed was a couple of angle brackets from Wal-Mart to hold the table to the wall. Relocating the existing folding leg was easy and with only a small amount of bloodletting the project was finished. Us old fat guys tear skin and bleed easy. A contortionist would have a tough time with some of the access in an RV.
Tonight there is a fun card game going on over at the clubhouse. Every now and then I can hear the whoop and hollering. I hope they are having tooooo much fun. TheOFM