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Rockport, Texas

3/31/12

Hooker Wanted

Adventure Location: Falcon State Park, Texas
Teams Location: Falcon State Park, Texas

The storms that came through here again last night were not nice.  The OFM Teams did not receive any damage. Maybe that nonsense is finished now.
For a change the OFM Fishing Team beat BillyBob to the lake.  In fact we were well into fishing before BB got there.  But when the fish are calling BB does not take long to rig out Bubba Boat and get to the fishing.  Man that guy can move fast when the fish are calling.

Today was an experiment for the OFM Team.  We were trying out a very light weight rod to see how much fun it would be with those three to seven pound bass that have been biting.  BB had been complaining that his light rods could not get the hook set well in the hard mouth of the largemouth bass in this lake.  Well we proved him correct.  There were three very nice bass on the line this morning.  All three threw the hook with the first leap and headshake.  The hook had been set as hard as the rod could be bent to set the hook.  Here is the label on the rod.

This is a good rod that has put many speckled trout on the pier in Rockport last winter.  Those trout were all a pound and a half or less.  It worked well with the soft mouth trout.  With these bass it did not do the job.  Since it was close to lunch time by now the Team headed back to the Castle for lunch and swap to a stronger rod.  This rod is labeled as this.

It had no trouble setting the hook when the foolish bass hit the OFM lures.  It was a lesson well learned.  The weather was beautiful.  Lots of folks were out at the lake enjoying the water with their kids.  It is wonderful to see great family activities going on.

Tonight is the last night here on the border of Texas and Mexico.  It has been a great time these last few weeks.  Everyone has been so friendly it was almost ridiculous.  Another trip along the border is in the Team’s future.  It has proven to be a perfect area for trying to have tooooo much fun. TheOFM.

3/30/12

Pretty Flowers

Adventure Location: Falcon State Park, Texas
Teams Location: Falcon State Park, Texas

The storms that came through here last night were not nice.  The OFM Teams did not receive any serious damage like Shoeless Joe down in the RGV did.  Check out his story of the storms. WOW.

It is likely by now everyone is tired of the fish catching reports. Falcon Lake really is a special place for catching largemouth bass.  This morning the first fish caught by my lure was a barely legal 15” bass.  It really reflected the sunshine and gave my “freshly washed” camera trouble getting a decent exposure.  Contrary to my usual procedure this next photo has had some work done on it to bring out the fish behind the glare.

The two little birds were working the shore line heavily and not really bothered by my presence.  What they are is not known but they were delightful to watch cavorting along the water.

We have had some very decent flower shows in this area during the last week. There is no particular story for any one of the flowers.  These are the ones that made the display list because they were pretty.



The plan for now is to roll out of here on Sunday morning and spend the next month back in Rockport.  It feels like it is time to be casting some gold spoons for redfish. Bringing in redfish to eat is a wonderful way of trying to have tooooo much fun. TheOFM.

3/29/12

Going Swimming

Adventure Location: Falcon State Park, Texas
Teams Location: Falcon State Park, Texas

BB and the OFM got a good start this morning on the fishing.  It was a great day of catching for BB.  My catch was only two small bass.  BB set the pace with his hunnert mph blowup boat right from the shore.

My slow paddle yak made its way down to the eastern end of the shore line.  After looking around some we found an area where there is a rock cliff of a few feet just under the water. It was here that a very nice bass hit my white jig and gave me a great battle.  The yak and I were given a fun Nantucket Sleigh Ride.  When the fish was finally landed it was unhooked and released to make some more great fighters.

After a bit the Team meandered back down the shore line to where BillyBob was tearing’um up again.  During a drift along this area a small bass hit my brand new $1 each plastic worm and knocked the worm off the hook.  This bass was landed and unhooked.  It did not get the nice release of the first bass but was just tossed out into the lake.

A bit more fishing near BB and it was getting hot to me.  So the OFM Fishing Team started for the Truck to head to the Castle and some late lunch.  Paddling along was causing more and more heat buildup in my body.  Now looky here fool.  There is this nice lake you are on, just jump in.  So it was done.  A better idea next time is to take the camera out of your PFD pocket first.

After taking the camera apart and drying it, then letting it sun dry for a while, the camera works again.  That is a big miracle. Yep catching nice fish and playing in the lake made for a great day of trying to have tooooo much fun. TheOFM.

3/28/12

Walmart Trip

Adventure Location: Falcon State Park, Texas
Teams Location: Falcon State Park, Texas

For a high class piece of literature on the road trip today to Rio Grande City and the Wal-Mart there please check out BillyBob’s report for tonight. He nailed it perfectly.  The restaurant was rather interesting.  That is the first time that the OFM has eaten in a restaurant in the USA where nobody spoke any English, or at least pretended not to.  There were actually very friendly and the food was decent. 
While walking in the Wal-Mart lot to put away my groceries this tire came into view.  It could not have been any fun to be running down the highway when the tire self-destructed like this.

 Late in the afternoon BB headed out to put BubbaBoat in the water, or at least that is what my thought was.  After some chores got finished the yak and gear was loaded into the Truck and away we went.  BB and BB were not at the boat ramp. Hmmm maybe they were at the day use area.  Yep that is where BBob was.  By the time we arrived he had already caught two bass.

The wind was too much for BBoat so BBob was sitting on a rock, bank fishing.  It looked like a good idea so the OFM Fishing Team joined right in. Right away my lure went into the area BBob tole me to cast.  In short order a nice fat bass was landed.

After another hour or so another fat bass was fooled and landed for its picture to be taken.

These are some very husky and active bass in this lake.  Both of them gave me a nice tussle while landing them. Catching bass like those is a great way of trying to have tooooo much fun. TheOFM.

3/27/12

Anchor Trolley

Adventure Location: Falcon State Park, Texas
Teams Location: Falcon State Park, Texas

Internet here in the park by way of the Sprint air card is basically nonexistent. Either the park Wi-Fi must be used or the Truck takes me about four mile up the road where we can receive internet on the air card.  This is a pain.  Now for our normal programming.
Using an anchor has not been a significant part of my paddle boating.  However it is proving to be a valuable asset here on Falcon Lake.  Most yaks that anchor use an anchor trolley.  It is a loop rope that runs from the front of the yak to a chosen point rearward.  At a point in the loop rope is a place to attach the anchor rope.  The attachment point is then positioned at the location that makes the yak ride in the best angle for fishing that particular spot. Today a trolley of sorts was rigged on my yak.
One important consideration for me was to make the trolley capable of being put on or removed with very little trouble. Using materials on hand was also desirable. After a lot of trial and error a solution came forth from the rubble.  Now the anchor line can be clipped onto the trolley from the seat.  Then the anchor line angle to the yak can be adjusted.  There are many designs for trolleys on the internet for all sizes of boats. This is just one style.
Here is a picture of the side of the yak to give the overall picture.

The front tie point is just a small loop tied to the front handle of the yak.

Notice the clasp tied into the trolley line to act as an easily removable pulley.

Next along the trolley loop is the point for the attachment of the anchor line itself.  All that extra knotting on the right is just to take up line until a final size of the loop is determined from use.


Then back at the seat is another clasp grabbing the handle for lifting the yak.  It acts as the rearward pulley for the trolley loop.

Hopefully this will prove to be sufficient for the needs of the Yakking and Fishing Teams in their quest of trying to have tooooo much fun. TheOFM.

3/26/12

Away All Boats

Adventure Location: Falcon State Park, Texas
Teams Location: Falcon State Park, Texas

That darn BillyBob just keeps on hauling in the fish. The afternoon was spent tuning boats or fishing.  BB is really getting Bubba Boat rigged to be a fish chasing machine. Here he is making havoc with the local fish population. Those low blue hills in the background are Mexico.  We do not go there.

We both have been trying things to get our respective vessels to be better for the task at hand.  Bubba Boat will get the latest mods tested tomorrow.  The winds were fairly stiff this afternoon but that did not deter the Bubba Boat Team from strutting their stuff.

After some more tweaks to the arrangements of the OFM yak, we will be back at playing in the water or hopefully more like on the water.  It looks like the OFM yak will work out very well for a general purpose boat.

That is good news since the OFM likes to do lots of different things in the pursuit of trying to have tooooo much fun. TheOFM.


3/25/12

Summer Is Here

Adventure Location: Falcon Heights, Texas
Teams Location: Falcon State Park, Texas
WOW that BillyBob is a much better fisherman than the OFM. He went out this morning and caught a giant bass again.  Whereas the OFM just stayed at the campsite and washed the Truck and the Castle.  By the time the washing was finished the decision had been made to head for the State Park and some 120v electric for AC.
While checking the park for campsites this picture of BB out catching fish in BubbaBoat was taken.

Back at the Castle the Teams got busy preparing for the move to air conditioning.  It was a unanimous vote.  As we were pulling out BB was returning from the fish catching. He thought that it was a good idea also.  Due to the huge amount of afternoon traffic stacking up at the entrance gate, it took most of the afternoon to get both rigs moved over to the park.  We are talking about a four mile move is all.  At one on point 41 vehicles were in line.
Here is the new site for the Castle in the E/W section of the park. The AC definitely is needed now that summer is here.
At one point Sadie Mae and I got to wait in the Truck while BB went in to transact business in the ranger station.  Here is Sadie anxiously waiting for BB to return.
And last but not least is the view from the campsite across the top of the shade shelter while looking out the door of the Castle.  That is Falcon Lake out there.
It looks like a great place to try to have tooooo much fun. TheOFM.

3/24/12

$19 Fish

Adventure Location: Falcon Heights and Zapata, Texas
Teams Location: Falcon Heights, Texas

BillyBob and the OFM decided during a morning coffee conference that the thing to do today was head back to Zapata to resupply our tackle boxes.  So off we went like we knew what we were doing.  At the first tackle store we came to, my request to the owner was simple. “I will be in the area for about a week. I need a bag of a good lure, some hooks to fit and some worm weights of the correct size.”  What he suggested was purchased for $19 and BB chose some other good stuff also.  Then we stopped at the second tackle shop and BB finished his purchasing of fishing stuff.

It was lunch time so my choice for lunch was tried out. Naturally as we waited for our food my new toys had to get a try out.

The meals arrived and mine was adequate but BB’s looked quite wonderful.  He chowed down with gusto.

A bit more running around town and then it was time for the long trip back to the other end of the lake and the campground. On arrival we split up to take care of personal things for a while.  Then my feet wandered me over to the patio in the trees where the chairs are set up.  BB was already there napping in his chair.

A few major concerns were taken care of and then BB talked me into going fishing in the state park.  We drove over in separate vehicles.  BB was there first and had scoped out the area in great detail.  As my rod was unlimbered BB told me where to cast and generally made like a great fishing guide.  So my first cast was decent but not just right. The next cast was right where BB told me to cast and the result is seen in the next picture.

This fish did tail walking, head shaking, hard charges and all manner of exciting things before it was skidded onto the shore for this picture.

When we started to unhook the fish we had a big surprise.  After my hook and lure was removed BB noticed more stuff in its mouth.  I pulled another hook out of its mouth.  Then we could see two more plastic worms and a well embedded hook still to be removed.  By now it was a concern that the fish was getting traumatized by so much handling and time out of the water.  BB held the fish well and my pliers were able to get the rest of the stuff out of its mouth.  BB then swished the fish in the water a bit and turned it loose in the shallows to rest and recover.  It took a few minutes but the bass finally recovered and swam off looking good. Here is some good advice for you.  If fishing guide named BillyBob tells you to cast right there, just do it. OK.

After a few more casts with a hit or two but no hookups my scratched eyeball was hurting from the bright sun. TheOFM packed it in and headed to the Castle to fix supper.

It looks like the Teams will be sticking around this expensive campground for a few days trying to have tooooo much fun. TheOFM.

3/23/12

Safe Arrival

Adventure Location: Texas
Teams Location: Falcon Heights, Texas

It was pretty much a day of driving.  Check this site for location hints.  We missed three turns during the trip. One in Eagle Pass, two in Laredo was the count.  While sitting in traffic on Loop 20 in Laredo Texas waiting on a broken down truck to get moved out of the way, the Truck thermometer had a reading of 101.  Winter is gone.

Tomorrow looks like a good day for trying to have tooooo much fun. TheOFM.

The Day After

Adventure Location: Texas
Teams Location: Falcon Heights, Texas

Now that there has been a bit of sleep and rest we can tell more of the story.  Yesterday a phone conversation with BillyBob convinced me that moving back to Falcon Lake would be the best thing to do. So in our usual piddling around indecisive manner the Teams were on the road in twenty minutes.  Late evening after many traffic adventures better forgotten, but no damage to the Teams, we made it to Falcon Heights.  BillyBob was waiting to greet us and help get set up.  It is nice to pull into camp and meet an OLD friend.

This morning the view from the Castle door was pretty marginal.  Wouldn’t you hate to have to wake up to this every morning?

A short walk out into the pasture gives the opportunity to see our whole camp in the trees.  Since it is starting to warm up here, the shade from the trees will be welcome.

The cost right now is $0.  They supply water and a trash bin.  Dumping the tanks requires a trip of about five miles over to the state park. So far it has proven difficult to sleep late due to all the hordes of noisy chirpers flying around.
While BB and OFM were waking up this morning enjoying the day sitting under the trees drinking coffee, the major decision was finally made.  A check of our fishing gear told us we needed a trip to the fisherman’s toy shop in Zapata.  Dang while we are there we might as well have lunch at one of the good Tex-mex places in town.  Sadie Mae had some thoughts on all this activity which she expressed very eloquently.

Now it is time for the Teams to get busy trying to have tooooo much fun. TheOFM.

3/22/12

Under Scrutiny

Adventure Location: Del Rio, Texas
Teams Location: Lake Amistad National Recreation Area, Del Rio, Texas
It was pretty much a recovery day from yesterday’s migraine attack.  Eat, drink and lay around was the job today.  That is except for a twenty minute period of showing some nice folks about SOT yaks and why they are best for some types of fishermen.  Late in the evening the Fat Making Team insisted we go out to the Tex-Mex place and devour too many chicken enchiladas.
On the way back my head was feeling pretty good so we stopped at an access point to the lake just to wander around some.  It was a nice warm evening with a gentle breeze.  It will not be long now until this area is plain old HOT.
There at the access point was a very nice fellow with his son doing some evening fishing.  The three of us had a great time visiting.  Even the Park Rangers that came by to check our vehicles and fish catching were in a good mood and joined in the visiting.
Folks to visit and a nice outside temperature make it easy trying to have tooooo much fun. TheOFM.

3/21/12

Nice Town

Adventure Location: Del Rio, Texas
Teams Location: Lake Amistad National Recreation Area, Del Rio, Texas

About 0200 the fresh vicious migraine woke me with a vengeance.  It was nice that the Castle is less than twenty from one end (my bed) to the other end (the bathroom). When you are sick it is nice for things to be compact and close.

Of course an email came in this morning that my automatic payment had not started yet for my air card, so a trip into Del Rio to the Sprint office was needed to get that paid and the screwed up password and login fixed.  It certainly was nice to get back to my bed after that.  The bed and occasionally my chair were the only places desired today until well after 1800 when my body insisted on not cooking.

The folks at the Whataburger and the Sprint store are typical of the Del Rio inhabitants. EVERYONE that I have met in this town for years has been extremely friendly if they are local. That is a nice feature of the area.

It was about 1930 when the Truck was hauling the Teams back from town and the decision was to take a gentle look around at Diablo East on the lake.  As we pulled into the parking lot close to the nature trail, it was starting to cool off. It was 75 at the start of the trail and 64 by the time the Walking Team got back to the Truck. During that twenty minute stroll 48 photos were taken. Editing took a good while as usual.

And before it is forgotten, by 1000 this morning the batts were back up to full charge. On top of that the computer had two long recharges today.  The bright sun really makes a huge difference in the charging of the batts on solar.  Tonight for the photo culling and edited we started with 13.8 volts.  Full batts feel good.

The lake nature trail at Diablo East starts in a far corner of the main parking lot and follows a ridge out into the lake.  Along the way is marked and signed vegetation of the area.  Some of it is pretty dramatic but most of it is just nice like this yucca.

Sometimes the vegetation gets close to the path and of course will cause you harm if you rub up against it.

As night was falling there were a few folks heading out for some night fishing. Actually there are quite a few folks who fish at night out on that lake.

 As the Team was standing watching the evening fall, a very odd sound came to us from out on the lake.  It was the Border Patrol boat patrol chasing down fishermen to check them on the water.  Why is not known by me.  There were three BP boats working out there.  In this next picture one BP boat was working with a fishing boat on the right side of the pic.  The BP boat on the far left started after another boat right after the shutter was snapped.

Both the fishing boats halted immediately and the BP folks pulled up close.  Why is still not known to me.  One thing for certain around this area is it is not far between law officers when you are out and about. By the way it was so dark I took the shot by guessing at where the boats were located.  This camera catches a LOT more light than my eyes do.

With that excitement under my belt it was back into the Truck for a gentle ride back to the Castle. Along the way back in to the campground care was needed because herds of deer were piddling around on the roads.  There was even a gobble of four very large turkeys running along the road.

Being able to get out of bed and move around certainly helps in the attempts at trying to have tooooo much fun. TheOFM.






3/20/12

Wiggling Boulders

Adventure Location: Del Rio, Texas
Teams Location: Lake Amistad National Recreation Area, Del Rio, Texas

What an aggravating day this has been!  The light rains carried enough dust in them that everything was covered in a thin film of dried mud.  It dried quickly in the strong winds moving things about.  Even the basketball size boulders were wiggling in the wind.
The solar panels did not seem to be producing like they should have been. A trip up on top of the Castle was interesting in this wind. Crawling across the roof was the safest way of getting to the panels.  Standing up was out of the question between the wind and the Castle rocking around.  Sure enough the panels had a coating of dirt on them.  The dirt was wiped off the panels.  Then the long crawl back to the edge of the Castle was about a mile and a half it seemed.  By the time the Cleaning Team made it back into the Castle, the output from the panels had zoomed up a lot.

Off and on during the day the Planning Team had been trying to put together a tour of the Texas Hill Country.  We had very rude surprises on the prices of the state parks now.  Apparently they recently went up $4 to $6 a night on their rates. But it does not matter to the OFM Team since the parks are all booked every Friday and Saturday night for the next few weeks. That would put us into some not so desirable priced commercial campgrounds every weekend IF there was one not booked solid. So tomorrow more sitting and sipping will need to be done.  New Mexico is looking good again.
Here are pictures of two coves that did not yield any fish.  They were protected areas where at least you could cast without having too much trouble.  The hills around you made it at least pleasant to be out of the wind.

The flat rocks inthe foreground were my bench while fishing here.  They were under water last week.

It was not all a waste of time.  A Zebco rod and reel with a nice lure attached was removed from the water in the location of the last picture.  It even works as filthy as it is. They need some clean up and will be just fine for trying to catch some crappie.

It is a guarantee that wandering around on your roof in 30mph gusting much higher winds is a very interesting way of trying to have tooooo much fun. TheOFM.

3/19/12

False Weather Warning

Adventure Location: Del Rio, Texas
Teams Location: Lake Amistad National Recreation Area, Del Rio, Texas

This morning’s weather check showed lots of warnings about very bad weather moving through Texas for the next forty eight hours.  A recheck a couple of hours later confirmed the coming trouble.  Therefore the decision was made to pay for three more nights here in San Pedro and wait out the storms in a safe location.  Then this evening as this blog entry is beginning, a check of the weather predictions shows all the bad storms gone and decent weather ahead. OBOY!
More visiting with Glenn was great this morning also.  We discussed travel information on his move to the west and north.  He has a friend out westerly from here that he might get to meet again.  There were lots of other places to consider.  At least when he departed the campground he had lots of options for travel.  He is a very nice gentleman that is worth taking the time to meet if you get the opportunity.

A bit later the Team went to the RV store here in Del Rio that had ordered the part needed for the screen door on the Castle.  They did not even order it because they did not have enough to bother with an order.  At least they were honest about their style of business. No wonder they look like a failing business.
Back at the Castle it was time for some “BillyBob ing” otherwise known as sitting, sipping and thinking.  The seven amps allowed receptacle for a television to plug into is what we have been using for making 120 volt power as needed.  That is only 84 watts maximum allowed.  All too often the computer requires a little more than that to use it while charging. It is also the only location to plug in my volt meter to check the Castle’s battery status. Battery voltage alone does not tell the whole story but is close enough for my needs.

Suddenly the pain was awful.  A genuine intelligent thought entered my head and ricocheted all over the empty skull. The echoes were unbelievable. Back when the built in solar wiring was abandoned, my superior intellect caused me to leave the wiring from the dining area cabinets to the batteries on the front a frame. (Editor Note: The real name for it is lazy blind luck). This means that there is a nice 10 gage wire already in the walls that could be used to feed the inverter directly from the house batteries.
So the Construction Team set to work to implement the wiring utilization.  The cabinet contents were unloaded onto the bed.  The inverter was moved to the new cabinet location to see where it would fit best.

Proper terminals were put on the wires.  The terminals were attached to the inverter and the food put back in the cabinet.  It worked out well.  Now the cabinet will need to be vented to let the heat out and the solution was to leave the door open a little bit.

 Now the voltage meter can stay in the old socket to give me continuous reading which makes me feel good.

Next the exterior wires were prepped.  A marine grade fuse holder was purchased and installed in the hot wire right at the battery.  The wiring in the Castle is 10 gage which is good for thirty amps.  For no good reason except it makes me feel good a twenty amp fuse was installed.  My largest planned load is less than 20 amps so this should be just fine.  Here is a picture of the inline fuse hiding under the battery cover.
The new system has already been put to use and works well.  It certainly is nice to have the inverter on its own separate circuit.

Now the way things are working out there will be two days of great weather to find some way of trying to have tooooo much fun. TheOFM.

3/18/12

The Chinook Visits

Adventure Location: Del Rio, Texas
Teams Location: Lake Amistad National Recreation Area, Del Rio, Texas

Once in a while the Teams have something spectacular happen to them.  Today was really special.  Glenn from To Simplify has found me hiding in the desert. Here is his world famous Chinook and the Castle sniffing at each other like puppies.

On board is his wonderful navigator Emily the Cat.  Emily is an elder cat with impeccable taste in choosing owners to care for her.  She accepted me quickly and proved to be a very nice kitty to visit.
Glenn and I were having wonderful conversations on lots of subjects. He is a very knowledgeable young man and a great delight to visit.   Suddenly it was 1800 and we split for a little while so he could do some work.  A bit later he came over to use my internet to check his email and other things.  Then we talked some more. 

Visiting with Glenn is a great way of trying to have tooooo much fun. TheOFM.



3/17/12

Fragrance And Beauty

Adventure Location: Del Rio, Texas
Teams Location: Lake Amistad National Recreation Area, Del Rio, Texas

The hunt areas are scattered all around the lake so a stop at each of the available ones has been made to familiarize me with the parking and what is needed for a good walk.  During those short visits a very short walk was taken to get a feel for the particular area. The side effect of this is several pictures taken of flowers but which location had which flower is gone from my “memory”.  So tonight we get a flowers tour of the area.  The desert flowers definitely know how to show off in person.  The camera does not pick up the brilliance that emanates from each and every blossom. The fragrances are second to none in the world either.
Here is a typical gated entry to a hunt area.  There is a vee gate in the fence for hikers.

The trail is visible past the gate heading into the vegetation.  Contrary to the usual rules, in these areas you are free to roam anywhere you choose within the designated area.
This is the first cactus bloom of the year for me.


These little flowers seemed to grow only in the pathways.
The ocotillo were about to explode into glory.
Purple Majesty seemed to glow in the sun.
Mesquite blooms
These yellow flowers were absolutely vibrant.
 Roaming around among flowers like these is a very pleasing way of trying to have tooooo much fun. TheOFM.