75, sunshine, light breeze, just about perfect, again.
Mac is his name and fantastic is his game. While I was touring an old Army post near town, Mac and I became acquainted. We must have visited for 2 hours plus. Mac is 72 and rides herd on the post two days a week. The rest of the time he writes books and does other interesting things. He has published a couple of cookbooks and has written a few children’s books. The excerpts that he was generous enough to let me read were good beyond belief. When he gets them published I will get a copy for future grand kids I hope to have. To top it all off, he is an artist in a couple of different mediums. Here is Mac the wonder man.
We talked about blogs and blogging. Seems his grand kids have been telling him he needs to write a blog. After I explained to him how easy it is to get started and how easy it is to add pictures, he was getting pretty excited to get going on his own blog. He was a little nervous about the computer use. After some discussion I had a little giggle at his expense. The fellow writes books using Microsoft Word, does graphics with MS Paint and emails his cartoons to other folks for publishing. A man with that much experience will have no problem with blogging.
At the laundry this morning I met another nice lady named Patty. She runs the laundry during the day. She and her hubby live in the RV park I will likely end up in when I return to Fredericksburg. She is a west Texas fan also. It was great off and on two hours + that we visited, mostly about were to go in an RV. Now am I lucky or not. Two neat folks in one day.
After laundry was done, propane was purchased and back to the trailer I went. The propane tank went back on the trailer tongue very easily. Sometimes my rebuilt shoulder gives me trouble picking that heavy tank up and positioning it properly. Not today. Maybe the exercises I have been doing for my shoulder every day are starting to pay off. After putting my clothing away, I headed out for lunch and diesel. The station had a flock of chickens running around on the fueling area. They were checking everything out all over the place. All told it seemed like dozen or so were on the loose.
After getting $90 of fuel it was off tho Cranky Franks BBQ joint. The special for the day was BBQ pork roast. It was very good, but slightly drier than I preferred. The sides were serve yourself at a buffet style table. Coleslaw and potato salad were the sides I tried. Both were excellent for my taste buds. The decor inside was as down home country as the outside. Amazingly clean to my surprise.
Now it is getting late and I still have chicken stew to make for supper tonight and freeze the leftovers for future meals. Now where did I get chicken for the stew?????
I had a lot of fun today and everyone needs to go out and try to have tooooo much fun tomorrow. TheOFM
75, sunshine, light breeze, just about perfect, again.
Today started out well and got a lot better. It was cool this morning but not cold. After a couple of days of being trailer bound I was ready for some road time. A wild look around and remembering about my day pack, more later, I decided that a trip to San Antonio (SA) was in order even if it was 50 miles away. So grab the camera and be certain it has the battery pack this time, the cell phone, my purse, and the keys, make sure I am dressed and away I go. With the trailer I usually run 60 mph. Without the trailer I run 60 mph as long as it is a 4 lane so I do not hold folks up. Today some of the roads were 2 lane so I had to waste precious diesel driving 70 mph so I did not cause unsafe passing attempts.
The route was south on 87 then east on I-10 into SA. Now when I left Texas, SA stopped about the 1604 loop around town. Today starting about 10-12 miles north of the loop I hit housing subdivisions and massive traffic moving very fast. By the time I got to the loop to head east to 281 and the loop intersection, the traffic was a real experience. It has been a long time since I have been in that congested and fast moving traffic. At any rate things flowed smoothly and I arrived at my destination in good time and relatively calm. Here is the picture of the store.
Now that sign my look like it says SPORTSMANS WAREHOUSE but it doesn’t really. Back in Washington, I had a good friend named Ken. He was born in China and came to the US early in his life. Now Ken and I had a routine. We would about once a month go to the Granny’s Buffet after work, then walk off the over stuffing at the nearby Sportsman’s Warehouse. For some unknown reason money seemed to always jump out of our pockets and get left at the store. Then one night Ken realized that sportsman’s warehouse was Chinese for TOY STORE. Now everyone knows that the one who dies with the most toys wins. So the mystery of our money is solved.
My day pack is well over 10 years old. In fact I cannot remember how old, but I have pictures of my using it 10 years ago. It is in good shape. Generally speaking I am not hard on my gear. However tremendous improvements have been made in the years since I bought mine. Trying out a couple during my travels had convinced me that a newer model with the better padding and suspensions would do me good. My old one was first class at the time, a North Face Wasatch 2000 ci. It only took a couple of minutes of comparisons to know for certain a new pack was leaving with me. Also I wanted a larger model so I could take stuff to overnight on a trail. The department manager and I spent about 30 minutes digging through the packs and trying them on before I decided on a Kelty Redwing 3100.
This new one is over 50% bigger than the old one but very noticeably lighter. The cost of good equipment is not low. This was $90, but should last me the rest of my life. The padding and fit makes my old one feel like a wooden crate digging into my back. The new style of waist belt doesn’t dig in like the older one. WOW I wish I had changed out a couple of years ago.
Along with the new bag, I decided that my over 10 year old hiking socks could stand an upgrade. Sportsmen’s was having a sale on their socks so I grabbed 4 pair and one new liner set. As soon as I get everything changed over and sorted I will be ready for the main trail at Pedernales Falls State Park. It is named Wolf Mountain Trail and I have never walked the whole trail. My son and I have ridden it on mountains bikes in the past where we had some very good time together. It looks easy from the starting trail head as you can see in this picture.
On the way home I decided to stop at a restaurant called The Country Cupboard in Johnson City. I started eating there about 35 years ago when it was a great Bar B Q place. I am sorry to have to say than it has degraded to just another acceptable roadside diner. It was just fine but not any where close to what it was in the past.
Arrival back home was with a few minutes to spare to pick up my mail at the office and have some friendly conversation with a few folks. Then back home to fix supper, write up the blog and get my new toys ready to go out and have tooooo much fun. TheOFM
At 7 am this morning it was 19 degrees here, not he 32 predicted last night. Then with totally clear skies and bright sunshine it was 69 about 3 pm. 50 degree temperature swings will certainly keep you guessing as to what clothes to wear.
My neighbor here apparently has not moved her trailer in a long time. A small bird was busy today building a nest inside the trailer bumper. It was an elusive little bird that could tell exactly when I was watching with a camera at the ready. It was way to quick for my reflexes, much less the shutter lag on digital cameras.
The income tax mess I mentioned yesterday took most of the day to straighten out. When the fussin and fightin finished, I am getting a few dollars less back than I thought. At least I do not owe any more and with a little luck that may be the last income tax I pay for a long time.
This evening I have been emailing with some folks over on the folbot forum about different upcoming events. The folboters have a 10 day trip down the Green River in Utah coming up that I would love to go on, but I am not really capable of safely being out like that for 10 days. These folks literally have absolutely no way to contact the outside world once they leave Green River State Park. When they get to the pickup point "near" Moab a boat is supposed to meet them and carry them up the Colorado to Moab. It would require me to purchase a lot of gear for the one trip. Maybe I am just being a coward.
That would be a trip where you can expect to have way toooooooooooooo much fun. TheOFM
Cool, excessively windy, clear
Yesterday it was 91 for a high and tonight it is supposed to be 32 in the morning. Wow extremes. The wind had the trailer rocking all day. Any cup had to have the liquid level at least 1/2 inch below the lip or things would get wet.
A grocery store trip was in order this morning after I finally woke up at 8:30 feeling great. Yesterdays illness must have really taken something out of me. I was in bed about 10:30 pm and slept all night without even a potty break.
On return home and putting the groceries away, I checked for mail and found a piece of good/bad news. One of the mutual fund companies forms had come in with information that goes on my income tax filing that went in a couple of weeks ago. There is no memory in my head about the transaction. So I have been working on taxes again this afternoon. As least it is working out that I will get even more back.
During a break in taxes, I went into the Escapees discussion forum. There was a person asking what RVers will do when they get finished traveling and move back into a stix and brix. In the first place I left stix and brix because I preferred the RV lifestyle. Most of us with more than a year or two have the same opinion. Why would we degrade our lifestyle to go into a house? My head cannot conceive of me wanting to incur all the headaches of house ownership again. Patooie on that. Houses too frequently get in the way of going out to play. I have now been living in an RV for 6 years and traveling for 5 months. My way is the highway.
The wind has been so hard that a small dog went out in the grass behind my trailer and got blown over while it was trying to do its business. Poor thing.
I got lazy after fighting the taxes this afternoon and went out for supper at a Mexican food place near the Walmart. The chicken fajitas were done to perfection. The pinto beans were capable of competing in a cook off. You can be sure I will return there before I leave the area.
On the way back home tonight I stopped at another campground that is a lot more expensive than this one, but with a lot nicer facilities and some social life. This place I am at is just fine as a camping spot, but nobody seems interested in any social activity. When my rent is finished here I think I will move on in search of a more social activity area where I can try to have tooooo much fun. TheOFM
Hot today, heavy winds, heavy pecans coming out of the trees.
This morning started in the wee hours when I woke up feeling rather miserable. You know the feeling, first am I going to die then afraid you aren't. For all day until about 6 pm this evening all I did is lay around and occasionally check on some email etc. The most productive thing I did is gather infor for a list of state parks and COE parks that I can visit in Texas and N Mexico. That was about all the excitement except for those 38 pound pecans coming down on my roof.
A slightly different method of cooking my chicken breasts was tried for supper tonight. Mostly they are stir fried in a skillet with a seasoning or dressing on them. Tonight the wild idea was to try slooow cooking them in a regular pot with Zesty Italian dressing. After they had cooked enough to turn the outside white, I added a dollop of water, lightly sliced the outside several places, put the lid on, turned the fire fairly low and let them steam for 9 minutes. The final result was excellent flavored and perfectly moist. A little more of a preferred seasoning during the steaming will go in next time. With that, some mixed vegetables and diet Root Beer, I was set for the night.
Am I the only one who dislikes the stupid behavior of the Vista operating system???
Probably my biggest event was the evening sunset pictured below. A little walk was in order since I was feeling fairly well. Whatever it was that got me was a real stomper. With all this said I believe I will rest some more to try to be ready for having tooooo much fun tomorrow.TheOFM.
85, sunshine, lite breeze, just about perfect, again.
One of the privileges of getting older is the tolerance of folks for stupid stunts. Today I took a small 200 mile trip. On down the road aways there was a great shot for the blog. When I picked up the camera it had an odd feeling. Upon checking I found it was missing the battery pack. The battery pack was at home in the charger getting ready for action. OK. A little later I reached for my always present water bottle. Yep Back on the counter next to the battery pack. There fore this trip was all experience and no pictures.
Northward to Llano provided a very nice ride and Llano was a very nice town. They have a small RV park right on the river that is in a very pretty location (Where is my dxxx camera) for $15 a night. The town and the rv park look like a great place to stay a day or two.
Again north to San Saba. They have an RV park near a nice pond in town.
East to Lampasas. This is a clean nice town. I checked at Boone RV Park and met a very nice lady who told me about all the neat things to do in and around Lampasas. There is a great municipal park and golf course just across the street from the campground. The campground is undergoing a significant upgrade. This is a place worth coming back to for adventures.
South to Burnet. Crowded and high traffic.
South to Marble Falls Plenty of cars and people.
South to Johnson City. I started going to Johnson City back in about 1975 and it has grown a little, but I still like it. There are neat shops and restaurants there. Pedernales Falls State Park is just east a little ways and used to be wonderful to visit.
From there west to Fredericksburg and a stop at Walmart for some decadent chips and bean dip to close out the evening trying to be the supreme lazy bum.
The good news is that there are a lot of places that need more attention as a tourist. The bad news is the drought is so bad I am afraid we will loose a lot of oak and other trees this year. Creeks and stock tanks are the driest I can remember ever seeing them this time of the year. Even the Pedernales River is dry in a lot of spots I remember it having water before.
One more bit of good news. All along this route at infrequent intervals were acceptable RV parks from which to base your trips for adventure in search of tooooo much fun. TheOFM
Another cookie cutter perfect day
This morning was piddled away on various things while waiting for my mail to come in. I sewed up a rip in some pants from the Big Bend hiking and finished adding an extension to a golf club and regripped it for use. When the mail came it was a large envelope stuffed to the limits. That took a good while to wade through and get things taken care of.
Some items needed to be mailed, so off to the Post Office I went. After the mailing I went wandering around the back streets of this town. There are a lot of old houses with a lot of gingerbread carvings on them. Most of the newer homes are duplicationg the look to blend into the tourist aura. This lead me to taking a loop trip to Willow City. As usual for me, a rustic back road became my path. It did show on my Delorme book but not on my Rand McNally book. It was some very nice country and had many very wonderful houses scattered on the large tracts of land.
Finally arriving back in town, it was very apparent that it was the weekend and the tourists were out in good force. I took this pic at the main intersection in town where I needed to turn left to go home. Check out the traffic in the side view mirror also.
It took three traffic light changes for me to get through the pedestrians. Next time I will take one of the neighborhood back streets on the weekends.
As the evening was starting to fade, the golf practice range called out for me to come over and practice. So after an hour or so I headed back home for supper and resting up for tomorrows effort at having tooooo much fun. TheOFM.
80, sunshine, lite breeze, just about perfect, again.
The dealer service folks and mechanic were both ready at the scheduled time. Careful examination of the truck by the mechanic came up with the results that the only thing wrong was the U-joints on the main drive shaft. None of the 4 wheel things or the seal on the rear differential or the transfer case needed attention. WOW I got off light. $175 to examine, replace and road test the truck. Crenwelge dealership did not try to get me to spend unnecessary money on worthless or unneeded work. And they did what they said they would in the time frame agreed for the price agreed. While talking to two nice women in the waiting room who have lived in the area for years, they each said that that is the style of the place. Not the cheapest in the world, but they do the job well and as stated up front.
To test out the road ability myself I took a ride down to Kerrville and back on a loop of backroads I have not been on before. Kerrville was a favorite town of mine in the past. Now it has grown so fast that the roads are very crowded and store fronts every where. There are a few campgrounds there I wanted to check out. Did not matter how nice the campgrounds, the area is so congested you might as well camp on the median of the highway in downtown Houston. Another place gets pink on my map. The map of the USA that I track travels on is color coded pink for areas I do not want to camp in.
The weekend bunch has been arriving this evening. Two slots down a man, wife and three kids plus the required large dog got set up for the weekend. There are more kids on bikes and running around laughing and hollering. I love it when kids get away from the TV or Computer screen to enjoy the outdoors. This is a great park for families to get noisy and rambunctious in. Sounds of happy families is some of the purest most beautiful music I ever get to hear.
Here are two shots through the fence at the airport. Last night about 8 pm I heard a jet take off and the later one landed. I had no idea this airport could handle jets. There is one to the left in the bottom picture.
We had a wonderful sunset that did not photograph well, so no pic tonight. It is time to get ready for an exciting day tomorrow of trying to have tooooo much fun. TheOFM
80, sunshine, lite breeze, just about perfect.
It seemed a good idea for a picture of the brochure for this park to help locate some things I talk about around here. My site is #28. The park is over a mile long and a half mile wide not including the golf course. It is kept very spic and span clean. By 8 at night it is so quiet that you can hear the ladybugs gossiping.
Washing the truck and trailer today was a fairly big chore. Both had caked mud from Amistad and Big Bend all over the under carriages and up the sides of the truck. Due to the location of the water utility hookup, I had to purchase a new hose to have enough to reach where the truck can be parked. By the time I got all the dirt off the two vehicles, I was afraid that the FAA from the airport next door was going to make me put an aircraft beacon on top of it all. I bet my fuel mileage goes up now .
Speaking of the truck, it now has birds in the drive train. Whenever you back up or go slowly forward there is loud chirping from under the truck. There must be 50 of them and they are big and loud. My appointment at the car dealer to get them taken care of is at 10 am tomorrow. I hope it holds together long enough to get there without the use of a tow truck.
If things work out right while the truck is in the shop, I will walk down the street and get me a library card. In this city non-residents have to pay $5 for a card. That is fair since I do not pay taxes to support the library. It is suppose to be in a very ornate and old building. The building may be more interesting than the library. It was a surprise to me to find out that Fredericksburg is not even up to 9000 folks. 30000 was more what I thought it would be. However it is a very full featured town. A large hospital, several grocery stores, movie theater, live theater and on and on. Also we are about a one hour drive from San Antonio or Austin. Of course it is important that there are dozens of golf courses within an hour.
Today my afternoon snack was pecans again. The outdoor table for this site was relocated to be in the shade from the trailer in the afternoon. After the vehicle washing and moving of the table, I rested and ate pecans from the ground for a snack. This picture shows how many are laying around.
The tennis courts in the park are used by several school districts for their teams to practice. Today there were at least five other school districts bussing kids in for practice sessions. That makes efficient use of the facilities for the schools. Those kids were laughing and shouting all afternoon long. They seemed to have my motto well in hand as they tried to have tooooo much fun. TheOFM
Bright sun and warm with gentle breeze
The trip today was sort of eventful. To put it politely, Arctic Fox trailers with handle roads of bounce and rough very well. In fact so well that you find that you actually need to start driving with the cabinet contents in mind. The one SCENIC road I took today called RR 2093 rivalled the Interstate highways in Louisiana for tossing the rig around. Luckily nothing was damaged but all the cabinets had to be straightened up once I got set up. Speaking of set up, here is the pic of the Fox under a pecan tree at the location for the next month. The ground is littered with hundreds of pecans, so I ate some for a snack today. Since the golf practice facility is very nearby, I spent nearly three hours practicing putting, chipping and pitching to try to get a feel of the greens back down here in the south. The grass here really rolls differently than up in Washington. From what I could set of parts of the course it should be a fun one to play. The guys (about 40 of them) of the Super Seniors that I intend to join for competitive fun were a real hoot to visit yesterday. Two requirements were mentioned: have thick skin and like to laugh. From the sound of the grill room yesterday that really is supposed to be laugh loudly.
Later in the evening after supper I took a walk around the north part of the park. As I strolled through some of the georgeous oak trees this scene appeared. The road on the top of this dam and waterfall is the one that goes to the golf course. This was taken from one of the many picnic areas in the park.
Cold this morning and warmed up nice by 10 am.
First let me answer a couple of questions I have received.
Boondocking or not boondocking is not my goal for rv living. My rig, from the factory, has gone 5 days without hookups just fine. Solar is not part of my lifestyle and if I need too I can add a third or fourth battery very cheaply compared to a solar system. My goal is adventures in LIVING and I camp as fits the circumstances for the adventures. Texas has virtually no place to boondock free and boondocking in general is along the Gulf Of Mexico beaches where even the fiberglas on my trailer seems like it wants to rust. When I go back into the more western states, boondocking becomes a more probable circumstance. Early on in Oregon it was apparent that restricting myself to "free only" camping was making many really good adventures impossible or the cost of diesel for commuting made it cheaper to stay in paid campsites. My rig works any which way needed.
For Jeff, usually I ask if I have options as to which sites I can set up in. Most of the time I get to choose from several. This comes as a benefit of getting to the next place on weekdays before 2 pm. I make a significant effort to stay put on Friday and Saturday. Sunday when you are going to arrive after 2 pm is usually just fine since most weekenders leave right after lunch.
Additionally I am adding my direct email address to my header, but "in code" so the spammers have trouble getting it with their auto scan programs. texnomad at hotmail dot com.
Today was a day of things that went different than expected but well. My morning started with a drive through the hill to check out a potential campground for longer term stays. The place was very nice and right on the banks of a river. However it is 40 miles out into the nowhere, my aircard did not work and their wifi was very weak with only me on it sitting 5 feet from the transmitter. No thank you and I moved on.
Out here in central Texas is the old German town of Fredericksburg. It has always been a fun place to visit for the weekend. BUT NOW I am moving to a campground there for a month to six weeks. It is in Lady Bird Johnson Municipal Park. There are biking paths and roads, small lakes to fish or kayak, walking paths all over the place and a GOLF COURSE with reasonable prices. All this will be accessed by walking out my door and just doing it without having to drive anywhere. The total camping cost for sewer, electricity, water and cable TV is $250 a month. The only downside is they do not have a laundry in the park. It is 3 miles outside of town and 5 miles from a Wal-Mart super center for groceries. Yes it has neighbors close by, but that gives me some folks to visit with. It fits with my goal of adventures in living not isolation.
Fredericksburg has so much stuff to see and do right in town that it will take me a few weeks to cover it all. Within 50 miles radius is world class off road and on road biking, hiking, rock climbing, several more golf courses and many streams and rivers to kayak. I move in tomorrow.
On they way back home, I stopped at the South Llano River Dam that makes a small water supply lake for Junction. The only fish that I got to bite were some very small bream. The day was beautiful so I took a couple of pictures. This is of the dam and the water spillway. Notice that some large trees do come down the river.
Also it is a paddling river from the state park down to the dam. Several years ago the television show about panning gold did an episode where they panned just down stream from this dam. They worked all day and had about 10 little flecks of gold. This picture is showing the downstream from the dam spot where the TV show was filmed.
Finally it was supper time so off to La Familia I rushed in high anticipation. RATZZZZZ it was closed. I guess the family is on vacation or hopefully not sick. The other restaurant in town got my business tonight and it was very adequate. Now I get to rest up for the move tomorrow and the super chance to have tooooo much fun. TheOFM
Warm and bright
The previous three days of blogs are now published. I wrote them each day but did not have internet service to publish down in Bibe. Now my aircard has service again.
On a spontaneous urge I left Bibe to head to central Texas for a look around. After hitching up and giving Nan, the campground owner, a hug and thanks for the nice visits, I pulled out to see how far I would get down the road. The road led North to Ft. Stockton and Interstate 10. At Interstate -10 I headed East to see what I could kick up for adventure. Here is a picture of I-10 just outside Sonora that is typical of the road in the “Hill Country” of Texas.
The road is excellent with a speed limit of 80. My speed is 60 when towing to save a lot on diesel costs. The highway cops were doing a brisk business today on the folks in a hurry back from the holiday. As I cruised gently by, I could see the apprehended drivers were excited to be meeting a new person in the uniform of the DPS.
Speaking of uniforms, as I was coming to a typical Border Patrol check point, the truck well in front pulled to a stop. Usually you see the driver and the guard have a short conversation then the driver pulls away. Today I came to full alert as two more guards come hurrying out to surround the truck in front with hands on firearms. I stopped pretty quickly to give them all the room I could. After a few minutes the truck was pulled over to the side with two guards right with him. The primary guard waved me on in, looked in my truck a little and wished me a nice day. Wrong kind of adventure material for me.
The traveling went well and I noticed some places to come back to later. My memory of La Familia restaurant in Junction had come to life and I wanted to eat there tonight. I went through Junction right at 5pm only to find the restaurant closed. The road leads to the South Llano River State Park so I followed it and am set up for two days in the park. Guess where I plan to have at least one meal tomorrow??? Here is a picture of the campsite at the park.
My plans are to go back to Bibe in late March or very Early April to catch the cacti in bloom for massive photo efforts. In the meantime I plan on intensive viewing and excitement in this area. It is my opinion that there are more fantastic restaurants in this area than in the entire rest of the world. On top of that, the spring bloom of Texas Wildflowers is coming up soon and this year I will be here right in the middle instead of just a quick weekend trip. Additionally there are some very nice hiking locations in the area Bicycling has always been a big thing her also. All in all I am certain I will find a few thing to do to try to have tooooo much fun. TheOFM
Bright sunshine up to 76 today
Nothing went the way I planned it. Neat huh. The hike in Grapevine Hills was a bust. I drove the several miles on rough gravel roads to get to the parking area/trailhead only to find it packed with vehicles (5) so I left to try on a week day. On the way out four more vehicles were coming in. Way more than the trail could handle for a peaceful hike. I imagine most were folks getting in a last hike before heading home tomorrow on the Monday holiday.
Since that was a never mind, I drove through the park to Study Butte, then Terlingua, Lajitas and on to the Barton Warnock Visitor Center for the Big Bend Ranch State Park. Study Butte has the gas station for the area and diesel was $3.849 a gallon. Can you say MAJOR RIP? The area has grown a lot since I last came through some unknown years ago. Lajitas is interesting because a big bucks fool tried to make it a foo-foo resort for the rich who stayed away in droves. It recently sold from bankruptcy. The area looks silly now with scattered expensive buildings among the wasteland of this desert.
Barton Warnock center is a beautiful and exceptionally well done visitor center. The exhibits are excellent. If I still had room for nicnaks I would have purchased several, because they were so original and unique. I recommend that if you are in the area make it a place to stop. Here is a picture of a cold winter day (69) in the area.
Lunch seemed to be appropriate since the temperature was nice and the breeze gentle. The center has a picnic area with a roof covered in sticks in the style of the area. The tables were very clean and the scenery was fantastic. See what I mean.
Touring the Rio Grande Village campground took the rest of the afternoon. It is a little cramped for the very large motor homes that had wiggled into the campsites.
Back home, my laundry made me start washing. Near the laundry room is the front porch to the Stillwell Store. Working diligently on the front porch was local rancher Kinley Coyan making arrowheads and dart points. It is illegal to pick them up on the public lands of Texas. Kinley is a very personable fellow who really enjoys making the points from rocks he get around Texas.
This is Kinley with a knife he has made. He sells these crafted items at very reasonable prices. Everyone handmade by him only. His work was excellent, just about the best I have seen. If you get to Stillwell RV Park be sure and ask about him.
The laundry is waiting so I better get it finished so I can get a good nights sleep to be fresh for another day of tooooo much fun. TheOFM.
Cool but excessively windy
Today’s adventures started in the Persimmon Gap Visitor Center where I was able to purchase the much needed maps for Bibe and Gumo. The volunteer, Mr. Jones, talked with me for some time on places to hike within my orthopedic ability. His information balanced perfectly with the Falcon guide book by Laurence Parent that I had purchased previously. If my experience with my hikes today and the book references are typical, this book is great.
The first walk/hike (what is the difference) was the Persimmon Gap Draw Pouroff. For those not in the know, a pouroff is a waterfall spot without water most of the time. My trail abilities have gotten VERY rusty, so I missed my first turn and ended up in a very interesting trip up and down over the country side. A lot of side. First you are supposed to come to the 70 ft. pouroff then later the 6 ft. pour off. The sizes of the pour offs were not in my memory bank so when I got to the 6 ft one from the wrong direction, I thought it was the first one. The climb around proved to be too dangerous for an old fat man all alone. So I started back down the wide wash I wish I had come up the trail on.
Suddenly I was standing on the edge of a cliff right in the middle of the trail. What???? Finally I realized that my wayward trail had completely gone around the first pour off. Here is a picture from on top of the pour off.
The “trail” around the side of it was loose material with lots of opportunity to become a statistic. But I am good, (lucky) so I made it down to take this picture from the proper direction to approach the pour off.
With all the mess-ups I turned a 40 minute walk into a 2 ½ hour HIKE. I checked back in with the volunteer so he would not send out a recovery party. I told him about a kitty cat foot print I had seen. He told me that it was a female that lived around there. When I returned to the Visitor Center, there was Sharon and Daniel that I had met at the campground in Rockport. We had a quick visit. They were doing a run through of the park in preparation of a longer stay after some other plans had been accomplished.
It was lunch time, so I wandered out into the desert to find a nice quiet place to fix my lunch and enjoy it. You can see I found a very deserted location. Deserted locations are easy to come by in Bibe.
For my next great adventure, I will attempt to hike DOG CANYON. Turned out to be a very easy hike of about 5 miles. This shot was taken from the parking area looking across to the canyon. The walk to the entrance was very anticlimactic.
As you can see from the entrance into the canyon there are lots of nice places for kitty cats to watch and choose supper. I had chosen to leave my walking stick at the truck, but I wished I had had it with me during my trek through the canyon.
The trail goes out the other side of the mountain range and down into the Black Gap Wildlife Management Area. The canyon in the background of the BGWMA sign in yesterdays blog is Dog Canyon. I guess I could have walked all the way back to the trailer. When I turned around to go back, the wind kicked up to very strong. As I reentered the canyon the funnel effect had the wind strong enough to cause me to have to stop and hold on to a tree or rock to stay upright on several occasions. That was bad enough without the sand being carried in the wind to peel your skin off your body. It was a long miserable walk back to the truck.
Just for the fun of it, the Dagger Flat Auto Trail caught the trucks attention. The proclaimed 5.1 mile road was actually 8.2 miles of rough graded rock “road”. An auto does not belong on it. It went back into an area full of different types of Yucca and Cacti that were interesting to see, but once was definitely enough.
Finally I headed home to rest up for another day of trying to have tooooo much fun. The OFM
About 40 miles south of Marathon, Texas
Weather beautiful and cool.
The travel from Del Rio to here went very well. Diesel in Del Rio was $3.179 and at the only station in Marathon it was $3.849. Can you spell captive customers and price gouging? We will see how bad the price is down in the Big Bend park tomorrow. Everything is so far apart out here that every store knows they have you by the pocketbook.
The scenery has turned into desert mountainous dramatic. The Stillwell rv park is somewhat plain and fitting for the area. The folks are very nice and the utilities work just fine so all is good. We are tucked into an alcove in the hills and out of the wind for the most part. When I climbed the hill behind the park to take the next picture, it was very cold up there in the wind. The temperature at the trailer was 58. Mine is the white rig in bottom left.
After settling in, I took off down the road to Black Gap Wildlife area. At the end of the road is a bridge to what is left of La Linda Mexico. The bridge has a big fence type thing in the middle of it to stop folks from crossing. Of course the Rio Grande down below is all of 2 feet deep with a rock bottom. That ought to stop any serious assault on our shores, right. Blocking the bridge pretty well killed the town since supposedly there were no roads into Mexico from there.
On my way back out a nice canyon scene came into view. So for all those in Washington who kept telling me Texas was flat, take a look at this. This is the Black Gap side of Dog Canyon that goes into Big Bend NP.
The entrance sign is framed by a different mountain range that sits between Big Bend and Black Gap. Things are somewhat green at the moment and may get better next month if there is any rain for the area.
Nan who runs the campground made burritos to sell this afternoon and I had one of them. It was excellent. If she does it again, I may have to try another again. Tomorrow I slide off into Bibe and see how many things I can find to have tooooo much fun. TheOFM.
Nice day with some wind and moderate temperatures.
A hundred miles was added to the truck today as I checked out every access point to the lake. There is not many for a lake this size. Here is a picture from Govenors Landing access point looking north alond the hwy. 90 bridge over a finger of the lake. It is a well maintained area, but the campground will only accept little rvs or tents. My 22 foot trailer is too big for this location. When you go to the 277North area this picnic area awaits you. The limited camping facilities there are $4 a night. Nice pad, gravel and level, shade shelter, table, area pit toilet. No electricity, water or sewage dump. However behind the COC in Del rio is a dump and water supply for free. That is about 8 miles each way. For those over 62 it is $2 a night. This camp is right near the water and you can put in a boat 50-100 feet from your camp. I may give it a try on my way through here next time.
On out and around to the north along the Devils River is the Rough Canyon Marina and baot ramps. See for your self it is rough out there. There were about 40 boat trailers in the parking lot so this is a popular place. If you are into fishing or water sports this is THE PLACE. Deep clear water without underwater obstructions near the surface.
Today while fishing I was fooled about how deep the water is. It is so clear that I thought my lure had hung on a rock in about two feet of water. I could see it very clearly. The water was deeper than my 7 foot rod. I tried to knock it loose with my rod tip and the tip could not get anywhere close to the rock. I have no idea how deep it actually was. On one of the information boards at a boat launch ramp, skin diving was the topic. Aparently Amistad is a major diving destination. They claim visability in the winter and spring in the range of 30 feet. That is very good. There were many locations that will allow me to launch my kayak very safely.
Kayaking in the future may be another way I try to have toooo much fun. TheOFM
70, sunshine and windy
It was a five hour travel day today. My initial plan was to stop in Uvalde, but I got there a good bit sooner than I thought I would so I went on. The campground I planned to stop at in Del Rio has a lot of spots available right now, not next month. My time here is paid for as two nights then I move on. Big Bend from here should be a nice easy day of driving. Here is a pic of the current campsite. You will not likely see any fantastic beautiful campsite from my travels. I tend to stay in developed spots for the ease of life they provide. I am alone enough that being around some fellow travelers is a nice change for me. Other folks want the isolation type of areas. It works out good for both of us.
About 3 pm an exploration of a dirt road that headed across the desert got started. Along the way it crossed what appeared to be open range grazing. The first critters I came across were very Baaaaaaad.
The road seemed to be about 8 miles of dirt. At the end was a small community of Box Canyon. There was a nice boat ramp and a border patrol dock with a border patrol boat waiting for action. A nice lady who was out walking her pups and I had a wonderful conversation. The pups were schnauzers and what a team of mouse hunters they were. The pic attempts all came out fuzzy with me wobbling in the ferocious wind.
On the way back out of the area, one of the home yards had several white tail deer feeding in it. As I got back near the main highway some more free range critters were along the rocky section of the road. More sheep Naaaaaah.
The road back is a state highway that is mostly 4 lane. The traffic was heavy. I saw three cars in the 8 miles back to my home. Along the way are several public access points to Lake Amistad. This one had a kind of pretty view I thought. The shoreline is huge just on the American side. Maybe I will get to kayak some of it when I come back in warmer weather. The water is very brisk right now. The body of water in the background is the Devils River branch from Lake Amistad. The foregrond water is a small cove about 1/2 mile long and a couple of hundred yard wide. The clarity of the water is very high. I would guess well over 20 feet of visible depth. There are several major bass tournament scheduled here in March and April. All the campgrounds and motels and cabins are going to be at 90% capacity those two months.
Tomorrow I will grocery re-supply in the morning then go out exploring some more roads looking for tooooo much fun. TheOFM
First a weather report.
Yep a lot of weather today. Started today with overcast and warm and very calm. About noon the cold front came in. Went from 73 to 58 in less than 4 minutes while I was down by the boat ramp checking out some fishes. Rain came in with the front, hard and sideways in the wind. It was good luck to have my jacket in the truck with me. 45 minutes later it was over and by 4 pm it was back to 73 and bright sunshine. What a day!
My goal for today was to take a walk after lunch and locate bank fishing spots on this lake. WELLLLL with that front knocking limbs out of the trees behind my trailer, there was no way I am going out into the woods to walk around. I saw one and heard two others come crashing down looking for somebody’s head.
Finally things quieted down enough to at least go out to check fishing locations. The first place I stopped was basically just a boat launch with no real access for bank fishing. The second place is this ramp with a good bit of bank access in the river feeding Choke Canyon. Here is a shot from the boat ramp.
Wilbur and his wife from Wharton, Texas were fishing here. They are actually staying in the same campground I am about 6 trailers down. They had been fishing in a creek on hwy. 16 north of Tilden. Here is the picture of the nice stringer of 5 plump white bass they caught that morning.
On the way back to the camper they decided to try at the place above where I met them. Wilbur caught one white bass here and then we all left.
Later in the day I went back to the creek where I met Wilbur to fish. There was a fellow from San Antonio fishing there with 6 rods. We had a great long conversation. Turns out he previously lived down the street from an old friend in the little town of Orchard. He and the old friend have both moved on now. An hour and a half later and neither of us had even a nibble. This is as bad as fishing in Washington State.
A little before sunset I went to the boat ramp in the park to try my luck. As I was giving up trying to fish in the 30 mph wind, up drives Wilbur and his wife. Delightful folks to visit with. Wilbur set to work filleting the two more white bass he had caught up at the same creek near Tilden that afternoon. While we were visiting a Hoover Hog
(http://www.barrypopik.com/index.php/texas/entry/hoover_hog_poor_mans_pig_poverty_pig_armadillo_nicknames/) came out of the brush and started rustling around. They are actually very funny critters. They can really tear up an area with their rooting around for grubs and worms etc. Here it is in all its splendor.
Tomorrow I plan to pull out early is the temperature allows me to. An early start is needed to really chase having tooooo much fun. TheOFM
Rain early, bright sunshine in the evening, 75, moderate DRY breeze
My departure from Rockport was delayed by all the goodbyes and good feelings. They really are a very nice group of folks there. The actual time of departure was exactly 10 am. Traffic was very light even on the interstate going toward San Antonio. There was a light rain most of the way, but nothing serious like sometimes happens out here. By 12:30 I had camp set up and was piddling around. At the request of some readers, I will try to publish a pic of each new campsite as I travel. All the sites in the park are excellent with this one 110 being about the worst. See how bad it is for yourself. The lake is about 100 feet behind the trees.
As I drove into the park, a large herd of turkeys blocked the road for about 3 minutes. Eventually they caught on I would run them down for supper if they didn’t move. As it was I had turkey patties from Wal-Mart for supper anyway. After finding I have aircard service to get on the internet, I took off for a short walk. My walks now are usually longer than before because I take time to observe and enjoy things I never noticed before and the next thing you know it is a lot farther back than was originally planned. The first thing I found to get a picture of is the turkey herd out behind the campsite. There they are just strutting around like they have sense about something.
Along the day use area, I heard a funny sound. Lo and Behold there was a STUPID woodpecker beating its head to pieces on a treated pine post that holds up a shade shelter. I do not know what that bird was up to, but it was still at it for a long time after I walked away.
About a mile on along I scared up an owl of large dimensions. Try as I might, I could not get a picture of it. Whenever I got within 50 feet of it, it flew away and finally out over the lake.
The huisache trees are starting to bloom and I have always enjoyed their yellow blossoms and special fragrance.
About the turn around point for the walk, I got to the 50 acre lake and something new had been added since the last time I was here in 2001.
This sign is at the YOUTH GROUP CAMP AREA. Maybe that will keep some of the little devils in line. Back over to the right of the photo I did find an alligator nest in the making. Having much more experience with alligators than I ever wanted to have I knew to get the devil out of the area.
I believe a decent size alligator can take out a grizzly bear without any problem at all. Back at Brazos Bend State Park near Houston, I think the alligators mainly ate poodles owned by fools that would bring their dog to protect them.
When the walk was finished, I had gone over 4 miles per the map and my feet were hurting. My feet no longer have any of the fat pads at the base of the toes like normal folks. You can feel the bone joint right below the skin with your finger. I have to use very good add on insoles in my shoes or I get lame extremely quickly. Most of us know that painful feet will really can slow you down. Tomorrow I will have to swap some insoles around so I can get busy having tooooo much fun. TheOFM
78, sunshine, gentle breeze
Good personal news for a change. My blood pressure has been staying in the 118/75 with heart rates of 57 now for the past week or more. The other great realization is I have about 6 more months until my government camping cost drops by 50% when I turn 62. That will make COE, BLM and parks like that cost 5 to 7 dollars a night. Yea me.
Since it looks I will start rolling toward Big Bend (Bibe) tomorrow morning about 9 or 10, I was sitting here tonight trying to work out all the logistics of food, camping, where to buy diesel etc. Suddenly Tioga George’s reply to an email I sent him came to mind. He does not worry about it. Any where you go that there are people is also a grocery store. Any where you go that there are towns is fuel available. Just drive off the top half of the tank. I have to quit being so much of a worrier. Relax and live for a change. I had been figuring out that I could make it to Bibe in 2.47 days easily. NO!!! I WILL BECOME A DAWDLER if it drives me nuts. So if my posting gets a little less often it will be because I am out of aircard range and when I get back I get back. Some posts may get kind of long, since I plan to still write daily, but I will have to merge them into whatever size it turns out.
This afternoon I took a break from chores of getting ready to go. Amazing how much you can scatter stuff in 7 weeks while in one spot. The nice warm weather and the beach were calling me for a last look. There were several families out on the beach areas doing all kinds of fun things. In this shot the guy on the left has a very young puppy at the water and the pup is having a wild time with the little wavelets coming ashore. Has anyone seen anything happier than a new puppy when it is having tooooo much fun. ( I need to pay attention to that). To the right is his wife with the newborn human baby out to enjoy the sunshine. The pic looks foggy because of all the salt mist in the air diffracting the light.
On back at the ski basin was a big Hispanic party of about 75 folks going on. I do not who has the most fun Hispanics or Phillipinos. Both are fantastic to visit with. The weather is warm enough that the bikini’s are out in force. This shot is of a new water skiing person learning. They made about 4 tries before the newbie got up and stayed up. In a few minutes they were really zooming around the ski basin.
And back toward Key Allegro the nice boats were starting to filter in from the bay or gulf through the narrow channel to the canals of the houses. This sail boat was coming in under sail and into the canals. Notice the jet ski to the left. Those two fellows had been showing off in front of the girls a few minutes ago. I was surprised at the courtesy of them. The minute they came to the controlled speed section they shut down immediately to the proper speed. Most of the boaters here have been like that to my surprise.
I have noticed some very interesting Adsense ads on my blog in the last few days. I am not allowed to click on them, but if you see something of interest to you, I have been assured you will not accidently sign up for any mailing list or other junk. If you have something like that happen or any other trouble, please let me know so I can put a stop to it immediately.
Today has been a recovery day from my ill day yesterday. Look out I am now ready to get going to have tooooo much fun. TheOFM
83 degrees today, hot sun fairly breezy
This morning presented me with a severe headache and an upset tummy. Needless to say not a lot got done toward pulling out tomorrow. Twice I had to lie down for a little while. The good news is that whatever it was is now a was instead of a is. Tomorrow I should be ok from the way I feel tonight.
The kayak was disassembled and packed away. It took me three sessions, but I got it done. Too bad I did not get to get it into the saltwater and play in the three weeks it sat there crying to be paddled. A reader asked to see it in disassembly, so here is a shot after the coaming is removed. The framing has been pulled out of the skin and is still together. It comes apart into about eight pieces. In good health the breakdown time is about 20 minutes. Assembly usually takes me 30 minutes of which a good bit of time is trying to remember what goes where. Click on the pic to enlarge it.
When it is all packed away, it is two nice reasonable weight bags. They fit up behind the cab in the bed of the truck just perfectly. Here they are in the hot sun waiting patiently for the old fat man to rest in the shade for a few minutes.
Flotation in the kayak is provided by blow up float bags. I have 5 total bags and can fill nearly every nook and cranny with foltation. Whenever it happens to get water in it, there is not room for much water, so I can put it out fairly quickly with my hand pump. If you would like to see a neat video of one going together, go online to http://www.folbot.com/ and look around for the assembly video.
The highlight of the day was when OLD friend John of Alabama called to visit for a few minutes. He is doing well and working steady and having a birthday tomorrow. He and his wife YOUNG friend Gail are very nice folks.
I do not remember going out in the truck today. The rest was much needed so I can be back to full strength to go out and have tooooo much fun. TheOFM