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Wild Rose Pass, Texas

6/30/10

Report On Lake Texana SP

Lake Texana State Park, Edna, Texas

Ratzz it looks like my comment section needs to be more complicated. The little type in the letters you see protection will be incorporated tonight due to the spam and other garbage that keeps trying to post as a comment.

Now back to the good stuff. How hot is it in Texas??? A friend sent me this picture to explain how hot it is.

The campsite that was chosen was one of dozens that are excellent in this park. In fact the worst one is better than the best in half of the parks that the Team has been in around the USA.


The grape vines that were mentioned in the early spring have done a great job of producing this year. The native grapes here in Texas make some really excellent jellies, jams and wine. But if you try to eat them straight form the vine, they are some of the nastiest grapes ever to enter my mouth. The bad part about them is they are high pulp and low juice content grapes, so it takes LOTS of them to get enough juice to make your jellies, jams or wine.

There are four fishing piers in the park. Three are wood structures and one is a jetty style of construction. A cute story from way back in my past is when my son and I were fishing at one of the piers in the late evening. There were about twenty folks on the pier visiting and having a good time. One of the park rangers came walking out onto the pier. I think he was bored riding around the park. Any way he and I and my son got to talking about things. The ranger suddenly giggled. It was then I noticed we had the whole pier to ourselves. Apparently no one else had a fishing license so they just melted out of sight. He told me that they normally do not bother folks about fishing licenses when they are behaving themselves in the park.

That concept has now become state policy. If you are legally in a state park in Texas, there is no fishing license required if you are fishing from the bank or a state provided pier. That seems like a great way to help get folks out into the parks.

The path to the closest pier to me passes through a wooded area on a short path. The foliage is fairly dense around the lake except where the park personnel cut it back.

However there are still plenty of those bobber thief trees to keep you occupied. One small slip of the cast and the tree has gotcha. Click the pic to easily see the bobber in center left.


There are also waking trails in the park. With the weather being so warm, see pic at top of blog entry, my feet refused to go on them. The entry to one of them is shown here for your enjoyment.


The heat has decimated most of the flowers that were abundant in the spring. The trumpet vines are hanging in there.


The skies were influenced by Tropical Storm Alex last night. The clouds and lighting were very dramatic.

That makes a fine finish to a nice day of trying to have tooooo much fun. TheOFM.

6/29/10

Run For It

Lake Texana State Park, Edna, Texas

OK the plan is to ride out the rain from rain squall Alex right here in Aransas Pass. So it was up and at’em this morning. Laundry, vacuum and shovel out the front driver side of the Truck so the pedals are at least visible. Things are going smoothly. A nice breeze, warm and good sunshine were making it a nice day. After the laundry was brought back to the Castle and put away, a southward glance outside made me do a double take.


Hmmm. Checking the weather at the NHC showed a lot of rain coming to Aransas Pass and the surrounding area. Hmmmm My Truck wheels are fine. My Castle wheels are fine. ROLLL IT TIME. So in thirty minutes the Team was at the front office to check out. Some money changes hands and good byes said and the Team rolls NORTH. After a short stop in Sinton at the Community Center parking lot for a necessity and checking the weather forecasts, we turned toward Victoria on 77. Just past Victoria at a rest stop more research was done. OK We are clear of all the main rain mess, now where.

Not far along the road is Lake Texana and a State Park that used to be on my visiting list. So that was set as the destination and the Team was set up by 3 pm.



Since pulling into the park over a hundred photos have been taken of the multitude of small adventures that just kept on coming. Now it is well after dark and time for preparing for bed and the photos still have not been edited. Adventures that keep on going until after dark can put a crimp in the blog writing for that day.

My internet service is very slow and weak also. On one of the pier visits, a glance into the trash can revealed a Zebco 33 spin cast reel in pieces. After retrieving the pieces, they were reassembled and the reel worked! It needs cleaning for certain but looks like it might be OK after a good maintenance job on it.


This internet service may give me trouble loading pics and text. It is after 10 now so tonight’s blog will stop WAY before all the adventures are related. It certainly has been an interesting day with all sorts of things to keep it from being boring. Maybe that is the best way to try to have tooooo much fun. TheOFM.

6/28/10

Squall Line Alex

Aransas Pass, Texas

It has been really interesting to listen to all the folks in a panic about the "bad hurricane" going into Mexico. Lots of folks are planning on leaving here in the next two days to get away from the hurricane. It is not a hurricane at this time and the reliable National Hurricane Center is predicting rain squall line Alex will go into Mexico over three hundred miles from us. We are estimated to be on the most northern edge of the rain shadow at the most. It does pay to be watching the action of the disturbance, but no panic is needed. Two hours of towing puts the Castle way out of the path of difficulty.

My evening was spent helping these folks get ready to depart from THE HURRICANE. I wonder what they would think if a real hurricane was aimed at us. One fellow insisted that a ten foot surge would have water covering our campground which is at elevation 35 feet. Logic and reasonable is not part of the mass panic. Yep as has always been said the average person is a sheep and will follow any sensational leader---Hitler for example.

The local news is not helping any since they need something to wring your hands about to draw viewers. The folks ask me what I am going to do. My reply is to move down to Rockport at elevation nine feet. My history with Texas coastal hurricanes goes back to the late fifties. The local TV folks are never accurate.

Since the weather will not be good for taking my yak out, it was packed up tonight and stored in the back of the Truck. This morning was spent starting to get ready to take it out, then a thunder head would form and the wind picked up strongly. Then the attempt would be abandoned. Then nice sunshine and calm winds would occur. Then it repeated again. After four attempts, it was forget it time.

So tonight it is kick back and relax, reflecting on the days efforts at trying to have tooooo much fun. TheOFM.

6/27/10

Barketts

Aransas Pass, Texas

On a foray into the heat was an interesting surprise awaiting me. Another home built sail boat and it really looked like one. The fellows that were about to take it out were very personable. The boat was built well and finished like a good craftsman had done the work.

My assistance in launching the boat was appreciated. It was a major surprise to me the amount of force that hoisting the small mainsail put on the boat. My task was to hold the boat at the dock until they got things situated for blast off. When that main sail went up but not really trimmed to the wind, the force nearly dragged me off the dock. A ready at hand bolster saved me from taking a salt water bath. With the heat beating down on us, that might have been a good idea anyway.

When the boat was released and they trimmed the sail in, it looked like the boat was going to hit a fast enough speed to go on plane before they had gone twenty feet. Man it took off. A quick foot race to the opposite of the docking area allowed me to get this telephoto shot of them underway.


By now it was 3 pm and HOT, so it was back to the Castle and the air conditioning.

An adventure over in Seadrift, Texas was a pleasant surprise. They have a wonderful long playground and park along the shoreline right in town. Lots of kid playthings and most important is the restrooms.


From at the shoreline park this next picture was taken of the small harbor. Upon examination it proved to be a sea food harbor. It was full of harvesting boats for shrimp, oysters, crabs and fish. It appears that they process and sell the catch right at the harbor. That would get you some fresh seafood for sure.


But the best is saved for last. My stomach had gotten way past hungry and was getting very belligerent with me. So a place that looked ok was chosen to lunch. This little town of about 1500 is one of those places you have to want to go there because you will not get there by accident. Now what are they doing with a first class restaurant that beats all of restaurants of Corpus, Aransas Pass, Port Aransas, Rockport and Fulton to pieces?

The wait staff was impeccable, the food delicious, the d├ęcor very nice and the prices very modest. My meal was grilled pork chops, mixed vegetables, salad, iced tea, roll and one other small thing I cannot remember right now. The vegetables were steamed perfect, the salad was very fresh, the roll wonderful, and the tea must have been made with distilled water since it tasted so good. AHH but the pork chops were beyond my hopes. They were grilled to exactly my preference. The chops had a “crust” of black pepper and honey and ??? that made them fantastic. All this set me back almost $14 including the usual 20% tip. WOW can you tell I was impressed.

If you are ever out toward Seadrift, Texas, it will be worth your time for the ten mile trip of State Highway 35 to get your mouth wrapped around some of their food.

Food like that is a great way to wind down a day of trying to have tooooo much fun. TheOFM.

6/26/10

POGO Shows Off

Aransas Pass, Texas

Lots of pictures. Little talking tonight.

A sign of the event.

First some of the boats at the beach. This next boat was built in the mid sixties. The twin forty horse Johnson engines are original.

Here is a friendly fellow in his home built coming into the beach.

And later in the morning as it was getting tooooo hot for me these racing yaks came in.

This row boat that was built by another nice fellow to talk to.



Now we have the instigator of the event, The World Famous POGO aka Kurt. In his hands is a model he built to assist in his classes on kayaking.

He builds his own paddles also. Here he is showing the style of the hollow handle paddles he builds.



Now we get to see one of his masterful kayaks. He builds them out of western red cedar from the local lumber yards in Houston, Texas.


Here is an inlay at the cockpit.


The bow and stern are every bit as beautiful.

Pogo loves to roll his boats. Getting a picture sequence of him rolling was impossible. The best that this OFM could do is a shot of him finishing a roll.

Of course Pogo is not above some clowning around.

There were more adventures today away from the Bash. They will have to wait for another telling time. The evening air is reasonably cool for a nice finish to a day of having tooooo much fun. TheOFM

6/25/10

VA Success

Aransas Pass, Texas

Late afternoon edition

There was major success at the VA clinic today. The minute my ugly body entered the facility a very nice young man asked to help me. The situation was explained to him. After checking his computer screen for a bit, he asked me to wait for a moment as he needed to go to the back area. About five minutes he came back with ANSWERS.

Now things began to happen. He set me up with a doctor, lab appointment and a doctor’s appointment. WOW. Of course they are short handed enough that the lab appointment is late July and the Doc appointment is early August. Well at least the system seems to be working. It was told to me often that appointments were always strung out for a long time. By the time of my appointment it will have been three years since my last visit to a doctor.

When the Truck arrived back home it was lunch time so we took off to the local Tex-Mex restaurant for some pretty good chicken tacos. Then it was back to the Castle to work on some blog changes to make my life easier. Now the blog has its own hotmail account. That ought to keep some of the spammers out of my normal email account.

Night edition

http://mysite.verizon.net/ngc704/TKBB_Messabout/ is the goal for tomorrow. The plan is to take lots of pictures for my readers here and at TexasKayakFisherman forum to enjoy. It will be a great day of trying to have tooooo much fun. TheOFM.

6/24/10

Sweating

Aransas Pass, Texas

Not much happening this day. The heat is bad enough that Sneaky the Yak, while resting on the picnic table, is sweating. In fact it is sweating so much you can see the sweat staining the picnic table. The humidity is ferocious.



As you can tell from the time the Castle spends here, this area is apparently suiting me pretty well. One of the main attractions is it is the place in Texas that has things I like to do. My plan is to stay in this area until some other part of Texas cools off. Then a trip to that area can be made while this area catches up on the cooling off. All the gulf water around here keeps the area from heating up as fast as the rest of Texas. That same water keeps this area from cooling off as fast as other parts of Texas. The corrosion just has to be handled and it is significant.

Remember the plan is sunshine and 70 degrees. North Texas gets back down to 70 at least a month sooner than Aransas Pass does. So it is likely that some where around September the Truck and Castle may roll out for cooler climates to the north. Big Bend NP is still on the bucket list as well as some of the area west of Dallas/Fort Worth.

Tomorrow is a day to go into Corpus and try some in person time with the VA and see what happens. Maybe they will decide that assigning me a doctor so treatment can begin will be a good idea. At least that is my hopes.

How about a cute story? While the Truck was making me stay down at Light House Lakes Park at the water today, it was noticed that several yakkers were across the shrimp boat channel wade fishing the edge of the channel. The channel is about nine feet deep. You can walk right off the underwater edge of it if you are not careful. Any way the fellows were scattered along the edge of the channel and standing in waist to chest deep water. Some porpoises were working the channel over pretty well for supper. Suddenly about fifty feet from one of the wade fishermen a porpoise came straight up out of the water in a spectacular leap, turned over and did a big splashy belly flop. That fisherman screamed and squealed ferociously from the surprise. You could hear the other fishermen laughing clear across the channel.

Who knows what will happen during the next day of trying to have tooooo much fun? TheOFM.

6/23/10

Aliens Invading????

Aransas Pass, Texas

In response to a comment from a nice reader an addition to OFM Details has been made. It covers how the Castle is heated. Check it out at http://ofmdetails.blogspot.com/search/label/Heating

Sleeping was going really good around 5 am when all kinds of ruckus started outside. Big diesels roaring, people hollering, large metal objects clanging around and bright lights lighting up the inside of the Castle. As my fundamentally still asleep head followed my body into an upright position, my hands were grabbing for my pants. Out the door to see what is going on???? Concrete trucks, workers, flood lights illuminating the area and who knows what else was in a pile of cacophony in the campground. After a minute it was obvious they were pouring some more of the campsite pads.

The manager, Clara, has told me they are full for next winter including all the sites not yet poured. So maybe the owners are getting busy trying to get the sites ready for the folks coming back next winter. At my last count they had forty more sites to pour and finish out by November. Here are some pictures of this morning’s activity around ten am.

A bit later in the morning the paint that was purchased at Wal-Mart yesterday was put to work making the vent board less ugly. An artists brush was used for applying the acrylic paint. That type of brush gives you good control of where the paint gets slopped on.

Late this evening a ride was taken down to the preferred kayak launch spot to check out the water levels. The water levels are back to normal now. There was a young family there gathering bait for a fishing trip tomorrow. Dad was tossing a cast net. Mom was herding a very headstrong young male child. Mom and child were gathering the fishes from the cast net and putting them in a tub with water in it to keep the bait alive. The young one was really having a grand time of it all.
And for a nice finale we have a pretty sky with a moon in it.

That is a great way to end the day to trying to have tooooo much fun. TheOFM.

6/22/10

Don't Fall In

Aransas Pass, Texas

Here is the noon weather report for AP. YUK.
Partly Cloudy
96° F
Feels Like: 107° F
Wind: From SSE at 14mph gusting to 20mph
Details
Webcam

There is a guide service for yak fishing down here in Aransas Pass owned by Dean and Jennifer Thomas. http://www.slowrideguide.com/
They are well respected in fishing and community service fields. Dean takes pictures during his trips out into the bays and marshes. This was published in the TexasKayakFisherman forum this evening. The picture is of a school of redfish just waiting to be caught. A fisherman yakker drools all over the yak at a sight like this.

As for the OFM, he had a small but important repair to make to the Castle. Even though the central heat is not used anymore, the duct outlets are still in the floor. The one in front of the sink is in a bad spot for my left foot. My heel bears directly on the grill when the sink is used. My fat body overloads the grill louvers and breaks them off. Another one snapped this morning so it was time to repair the grill.

First the grill was removed from the floor leaving the large opening. That is not dirt but is the metal marks the louver makes on the sheet vinyl.


Some serious engineering design had to be done to figure out a way to support the louvers. Finally it was decided that a 1x2 piece of wood would be screwed and /or nailed in the vent to help hold the OFM fat body. It was an easy decision since some 1x2 boards were on hand to use. One was cut for a press (hammer) fit into the louver.


OOPS almost forgot. Here is a shot of the broken grill parts.


Holes were drilled in the ends. Then small nails were driven through the metal and into the wood. Then two holes were drilled in the long side and two sheet rock screws were screwed in from the long side to help with the load. Here the two holes are ready for the screws to be installed.


Finally the broken parts were bent back into place and the whole assembly placed back into the floor hole.


Now a trip to Wal-Mart to get so white acrylic paint to make the wood white is needed. Hopefully the whole job will be finished then. If this fails it will be time to get very $eriou$ about this repair.

By 8:30 pm it was down to 88 degrees and feels nearly cool. With a successful repair and a very nice fish picture, it makes for a good day of trying to have tooooo much fun. TheOFM.

6/21/10

Small Adventures

Aransas Pass, Texas

Laundry day it was. But it showed 82 at 8am this morning. WOW that is a strong start for the first day of summer. At least at this place there are sufficient washing machines and dryers to handle the expected number of campers. There are eight washers and eight dryers. Every one of them is large capacity equipment. It certainly makes the work easier with proper equipment for the job.

After a lot of piddling and several emails to folks, the Castle closed in on me and the Truck saved me. The Truck took me out for a ride and we ended up at Mustang Island State Park again looking for another sea heart. There was no luck on that quest. However a large quantity of pictures was taken of the waves and dunes so that there is a good supply of reference photos for my artistic endeavors,

The sun was ridiculously strong at the beach. The first thing that was noticed was that the parking lot had a lot of blown sand on it. It needed a serious cleaning off of sand. Here is a dune at the parking lot.


The beach toward the jetties is still marked 4x4 only, so naturally a 2 wheel drive truck full of young idiots was stuck immediately after the paving stopped. They were only sunk in about four inches but the truck was not going anywhere. My path went on past them to the waters edge. They were not in any danger and a phone is ¼ mile away back at the parking lot to call for a tow truck. When my walk was finished the truck and the idiots was gone.

There was lots of seaweed and no oil on the beach. However the seaweed was covering several “sinkholes” of fluid sand sometimes called quicksand away from the beach. Several were marked with red cones. From the evidence many vehicles had hit the spots and mired very deeply. It was not pretty. At one spot my path started across the seaweed and my leading foot went down and hit water. OOPS and a few quick steps back. This location was about forty feet inland from the waters edge. My stepping became a lot more careful after that near mess.

This big surprise to me was that as you got within about ten feet of the water the temperature dropped significantly to just hot instead of MISERABLY HOT. As my path went out onto the jetty the phenomena stayed true. The air around a boulder next to the water was a lot more tolerable than the air around the boulder next back from the water.

The water was beautiful but cluttered with seaweed. Fresh green moss was on the rocks in the wave action area. Trying to walk on the green stuff is a guaranteed hard lesson on landing on rocks. It is a pretty green in my opinion.



When the walk was near the end of the jetty this next picture was taken to show the beach, sea weed and dunes. Figure on a temp of about 90 at the water and around a 100 at the dunes. At least there was enough wind to keep the mosquitoes at bay.


About a two mile round trip gentle walk used up a liter of water before my feet got back to the Truck. Then it was back home to the Castle and the AIR CONDITIONING. Now resting in the A/C is a pretty good way to trying to have tooooo much fun. TheOFM.

6/20/10

YUK Success

Aransas Pass, Texas

A wonderful day because my son called and we talked for nearly an hour. It is always nice to talk to him whenever we can get time. Here is a picture of the Fathers Day card he and his wife sent me.

The rest of the day was spent staying cool and out of the way of the weekend tourists. Some practice with the pastels was tried with yuk success. No matter, it was a nice day of trying to have tooooo much fun. TheOFM.

6/19/10

Rockport Market Days

Aransas Pass, Texas

My name this summer is the The Old Grease Puddle Man. It is tooooooo hot for the fat to stay in a blob, so now it is a grease puddle. There was a market days event over in Rockport this morning. One of the vendors is Dixie Kayaks. They handle Malibu kayaks. My research on SOT yaks had lead me back to Malibu, so a serious look at them was needed.

The event starts at 10 am. My careful looking at the yaks started about nine thirty am since Dixie was already set up for business. Ryan and I had a short discussion on bicycles before the flocks of folks showed up to look the yaks over. Then as Ryan was selling yaks, my time was well spent examining the new yaks. My first SOT was a Malibu Mini-X and it was excellent. The larger Malibu yaks had never been carefully checked out. Today they were.

By 10:45 it was miserable sweaty HOT and time for me to hit the A/C. So a stop at the library was made. One good book on drawing composition was checked out. Most of the rest of the day was spent inside either reading the new book or checking temperatures around the states of interest for less heat. Alpine Texas and Fort Davis Texas have better temperatures. Most every where seems to be having a serious heat problem.

Finally around 5pm when the temp got back down to 92 it was time to check the waterfront and relieve the cabin fever. For several days the water has been excessively high in this area. Today it was back to normal. In this next picture, a couple of days ago the water had only the tips of the grass sticking out. Now it is more like it should be. Lots of shallow water wading birds were back in action also.
The cleaning station there at Cove Harbor was getting a good amount of action also. This fellow was filleting his catch with his electric knife and the white bird on the right kept on easing closer and closer. For a bit it seemed that the bird was going to try to grab a chunk of fish away from the fellow doing the cleaning. The seagulls were also making a real nuisance of themselves. So far none of the seagulls has come under the roof of the station to grab things.


On the way back home the grocery store provided me the opportunity to gather in some vanilla soy milk and other food items to keep me going.

Tomorrow should be a kick back and do laundry day. Wow that sounds like and exciting way to try to have tooooo much fun. The OGPM.

6/18/10

Too Hot To Play

Aransas Pass, Texas

It certainly is the time of the year to be very careful when you are outside trying to have tooooo much fun. The heat index hit 110 this afternoon and this body stayed in the A/C most of the day. On a trip to a store in Corpus, it was noticed that several folks were out in yaks and power boats cooking what ever is left of their brain in the sun. It is impossible for your stomach to adsorb enough water in this environment to keep you hydrated.

The trip to Corpus was to get a small set of soft pastels again. Even though my ability with them causes uncontrolled hysterical laughter from a real artist, it is fun for me to play with them. When my effort looks horrible, it is necessary to remind myself that the purpose is just to have fun doing the “art”. The trash can will hide it to keep other folks hurting themselves by laughing too hard.


Mid-May to Mid-September is indoor hibernation season here on the coast. Mid-September thru Mid-May is very good here. That’s all there was in the effort of trying to have tooooo much fun. The OFM.

6/17/10

Nothing

Aransas Pass, Texas

Today was a frustrating day. Several calls were made to the VA to try to get set up with a doctors appointment. The message is that they would call back. Never happened. So tomorrow gets a repeat of my efforts. Nothing emergency like going on, but several small things need to be looked at, one of which is a frowing mole on my nose. Things like that that are cared for can make a big difference in the quality of the rest of your life. A quality life is essential to trying to have tooooo much fun. TheOFM.

6/16/10

Another Ugly Critter

Aransas Pass, Texas

What is that in the reflection? It sure is ugly!


All right up moderately early to get the yak out for its maiden voyage. Just a matter of sliding it into the back of the truck and tying it off and we will be gone. WRONG AGAIN. The previous yaks carried that way were rigid plastic. This yak is tubing and fabric. It was impossible to snug it down to keep it still in the back of the truck. Plus a dimension must have been read wrong when the preliminary planning was done. The yak sticks out at least a foot farther than what seems safe for the frame work. So back to the planning stage we go.

By the time things were put back in order it was 10:30 AM and 91 degrees. So some A/C time was taken and some other measurements taken and a LOT of liquids consumed. My body was still not sweating in the heat. Finally the decision was that the yak will have to be carried on top in the normal travel position.

Now during lunch my infamous brain came up with a new idea. In the following pictures you will see my short ladder that is required for me to reach the roof and rack. When yak is in the center of the rack it is very hard for me to reach the rack location for tying down the yak. Why not move it to the side of the rack and make the tie down easier. No reason not to was my final decision. In decent cooler weather, this would be a thirty minute job. With my heat sensitivity it was closer to three hours including a lot of drinking of lemonade and cooling in front of a fan. But the chore came off very well at the end.

Here is the rack with the mounting points; they are named gunnel brackets, centered on the bars.

Next we have the left brackets moved over to the guess location. The yak is up there to help choose the initial location.

Multiple iterations of shifting the brackets were needed. Up the ladder, shift the bracket, come down walk away and look, then repeat many times. The yak needs to be parallel to the center of travel of the Truck so no weird side ways forces will happen. Finally success was achieved.


The across the yak ties will be cam cleat straps so no special effort is needed to get them right. The front and rear safety ties are another story. This Truck is so long and high that nothing ever seems to fit at first.

Here is the first rear tie attempt like was used on the previous yaks.

Then the front tie was tried with the tie points left from the previous yaks.


Not good. Nothing prevents forward movement if a cross strap lets go. OK now for a different rear tie. Yep this looks like it will work.


Since the first front tie attempt is at a not so good angle, another try was attempted. This time to a front tow hook recessed into the bumper.

Yep that looks a lot better.
Will the rope wear the paint for wind vibrating it going down the road is the question to be answered? At least we are now mobile. Having the yak closer to the driver’s side will make it a lot easier for my short arms to get the yak secured for travel. My hopes are to leave the yak assembled for travel if the next stop will have water available to play with the yak.

How’s that for a HOT day of trying to have tooooo much fun. TheOFM.