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277 Bridge, Lake Amistad, Texas

6/30/12

The Yuk

Adventure Location: Rockport, Texas

First day on the job and nothing happened. The job runs until about July 9 and by then it is certain that the experience will remind me why it is nice to not be working. The day was decent rain nearly all day. One of the campground occupants left his shade shelter up to catch water.

Now the shelter is in the garbage bin awaiting transport to the dump. The shelter lasted a few days and definitely longer than the OFM thought it would.  The wind gusts usually send them on a trip.
Now for the fun stuff. TheOFM has about decided that he has no business in the salt water ever again. You will see why shortly.  A trip to the pier before lunch was made to spend a little time enjoying life.  Actually several folks were happy to visit so it was a great time as well as very educational.

The first fish to hit the deck was a large ugly toad fish. No picture was taken because the camera might not have been able to stand the sight.  Man they are ugly.
Another couple of fellows were fishing nearby and we visited as I fished along the rail of the pier. We actually visited for quite a bit of time. This is where it gets odd.  Will hooked a fish that did not fight in the usual manner.  When he got it in, it was identified as a puffer fish.  At the moment we both knew the fish was poisonous but not how poisonous.

The best that the internet would yield is that it is a stripped burr fish. The internet also mentioned that puffer fish are the second most poisonous critter on the earth. It actually had a cute face. When it was released it swam away like nothing had happened.
Some background is needed now. There are rocks in this area and the OFM has located all of them at one time or another. In the area of this next event, the OFM has never hooked anything on the bottom in four years plus. Many lures have been dragged across the bottom in this spot trying for flounder with never a hint of trouble. Shortly after telling Will the bottom was clear he hung up solidly on something.

The something seemed to move but did not act like a fish. Hmmmm. Will worked on it for a few minutes and something gave on the bottom. He was then able with effort to reel in the something.  But at the last minute it caught in the rocks at the base of the pier.  With a mighty heave the line and hook was torn loose.  Then to our surprise something came up still attached to the hook. It was not identifiable by any of the several folks on the pier.

The piece was about two inches long and ¾” in diameter.  It had a feeling like stiff liver. Then Will cut it open and there was some sort of living organism inside.  No blood came out but the innards were definitely moving. The picture came out a bit fuzzy but you will see the innards that we are talking about.

What in the world is this is still the main question??? Man, there are too many things in this water that can hurt you to no end.

This job babysitting the campground will restrict my movements for a few days so do not be surprised if the OFM does not report in about trying to have tooooo much fun. TheOFM.


6/29/12

School Time

Adventure Location: Rockport, Texas

A little safety topic first off.  This fellow is experienced and a regular on Texas Kayak Fisherman forum. http://www.texaskayakfisherman.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=58&t=181697
This is the video of him having a problem in not really that bad a surf situation. It also shows why this OFM will not be seen paddling in the surf with gear in a yak. The OFM has taken enough unplanned exits from boats to know his limitations.

Meanwhile the morning began early for some strange reason and the Fishing Team hit the pier early. The jellyfish were so thick that the spoon had trouble penetrating the mass of bodies.  A few ladyfish were present again but only one was hooked.  They are actually too small to hook reliably.

While we are talking fish catching here are pictures of two birds from late yesterday.  A fellow at the end of the pier was catching small fish and feeding the birds.  The seagull just pecked around on its fish.

This white bird however worked on its fish for several minutes until it got the fish oriented just right.  Then it was swallow time, but the bird still had to work on it to get the fish swallowed. It was actually funny to watch.

Later this afternoon the OFM headed over to the campground office area to get put to work.  After the “training” the needed books were gathered and now he is on the job for the next ten days. Mr. Manager to you fellow!

With a little luck the only things the OFM will get to screw up is feeding the dog and filling the yard fountain. At the moment we have four spots open for next week. This is not a popular “weekender” campground because we do not have swimming pools and things like that.

Naturally the OFM gets wild ideas once in a while. Here is his latest silly wild idea. If he ever gets any sense it will surprise the whole world.

Now how in the world is that going to help in trying to have tooooo much fun? TheOFM.


6/28/12

Bubbles In The Water

Adventure Location: Rockport, Texas

Today was much better than yesterday.  This morning the OFM body made the rest of me get up early and go fishing at the harbor pier.  As the Truck was getting situated in the parking lot, the Teams noticed a boat anchored near the end of the fishing pier.
When the Fishing Team made it to the end of the pier, we could see that the boat was a dive boat. The air compressor was running and the deck hand was controlling the air line for the diver in the water.

After a few minutes looking, my eyes were able to detect where the air bubbles were surfacing.  The diver was working a grid layout and moving pretty fast in my opinion. In the choppy water it was sometimes difficult to tell exactly where the bubbles were located.  Here is one of the better bubble bursts at the surface.

The silver spoon on the end of my fishing line was catching foot long ladyfish while my eyes were watching the boat and diver.  After about a dozen ladyfish were caught, it was obvious the diver was heading for the boat.  A long yellow device was brought aboard first.  Then the diver climbed up the ladder and onto the boat. After the deck hand removed some of the divers gear, the diver sat down to rest.

A Rockport Fire and Rescue fellow came walking out on the pier just before the diver came out of the water.  He was wondering what was going on too.  This particular area is not used for boats normally and is pretty much a smooth bottom with no real obstructions.  Eventually it will come to light as to what this activity was all about.
Having something curious to watch while you are catching fish makes it a lot easier to try to have tooooo much fun. TheOFM.

6/27/12

A Giggle

Adventure Location: Rockport, Texas

Since nothing happened but napping and healing from the combination of the blood letting, migraine and the vaccination, here is a joke for you.
There was a bit of confusion at the store this morning.
When I was ready to pay for my groceries, the cashier said, "Strip down, facing me." Making a mental note to complain to my congressman about Homeland Security running amok, I did just as she had instructed.


When the hysterical shrieking and alarms finally subsided, I found out that she was referring to my credit card!
I have been asked to shop elsewhere in the future.

They need to make their instructions to us seniors a little clearer!!!!!

I hope you are giggling as you head out to try to have tooooo much fun. TheOFM.


6/26/12

The Instructions That Did Not Work

Adventure Location: Corpus Christi, Texas

The first event this morning was getting to the Vet Admin to find out that last Friday the OFM had been told a story that did not work for the rest of the staff.  The triage nurse Friday said to walk in, ask for a nurse and the TDAP shot would be given and away the Teams would go. SURE.
What happened is that the clerk assigned me a nurse appointment for 12:30.  The doctor that had been assigned to me was also changed to the new kid on the block. Anyway the Teams headed over to the Blood Center to lose some weight.

At the Blood Center the OFM was allowed to be the training dummy for two new workers.  Of course that slowed things a bit but we did get some laughs from the event.  The blood flowed easily and the OFM was soon enjoying his cookies and lemonade. The new shirt and the OFM were out the door in plenty of time.

 After messing around in an air conditioned store or two for a bit we headed to get a hamburger before the OFM fainted.   Did you know he can nearly swallow a whole Whataburger whole?
Back at the VA in plenty of time for our appointment, we were informed the appointment had been moved forward to 1300. So Ok we wait for over an hour and about 1330 the Shot Taking Team headed in for the TDAP shot.  This will allow for safe hugging of my soon to be born new grandkid. Let the Team warn you, that shot HURTS and will for a few days according to the explanation given to the OFM. In less than three minutes the Team was out the door headed back to the Castle in the unbearable heat.

And that was the big adventure for today. It was definitely not the best way of trying to have tooooo much fun. TheOFM.

6/25/12

Another Headache

Adventure Location: Comfort Castle, Rockport, Texas

You know the OFM is ailing when he doesn’t even want to get out of bed for a Whataburger.  While eating breakfast this morning the migraine hit with a running start and a full head of steam.  When lunch time rolled around he still did not want to get vertical, but cooking also was not a wonderful thought. Eventually he made it out of bed and to the Whataburger shop a couple of miles away.  Thank goodness the Truck knew the way.
The rest of the day has been very low key. But some nice pictures are coming now.

The owners got some surface topping delivered a few days ago.  Yesterday the tractor guy came over and did an excellent job of leveling the site and filling some of the holes. Here we get the before and after pictures

The lady owner has many types of plants in the area.  These next three are in bloom at this time.



And now the OFM is headed for the shower and bed to rest some more. BillyBob finally showed up again on his blog so he is OK after all.  BB take over for a bit as the OFM heals and try to have tooooo much fun. TheOFM.

6/24/12

New Operator

Adventure Location: Comfort Castle, Rockport, Texas

Long, thin strong fingers with no hint of arthritis are what were needed.  The OFM had short, fat weak arthritic fingers to work with, but the window needed repair.  The gear operator quit working several days ago.  The new part came in Friday so the chore had been put off long enough.
This was new territory for the OFM.  Carefully the operator was taken apart and nothing was spring loaded thank goodness.

The failed operator was removed and checked with its exact replacement.  
Failed Operator
Nope the new one was not identical at all. However it looked as if some rotary tool work and a small bit of hammer application would bring it into shape to work.
About three inches of the window frame had been bent outward to get the old operator out of the window frame.  That bent section was cut away with the rotary tool to provide room for a lot easier install than the removal was.

After several cutting wheels were worn out all the modifications were finished.  The reassembly went rather well.  It only needed to be dismantled twice to get parts together in the right order or orientation.  Then it was time to test the system.  IT WORKS!!!!

Notice all the excess space to fit fingers and tools in to the screws.
 Then it was time to reinstall the very difficult screen and the knobs and trim.  It came together very well.  The cut out does not eve show much.

Being a contortionist would have helped quite a bit.  Since the OFM is not a contortionist he will likely be sore in weird spots tomorrow. At least this OFM can still so some things well.

Hopefully the soreness will not get in the way of trying to have tooooo much fun. TheOFM.

6/23/12

Sniffing Around

Adventure Location: Goose Island State Park (GISP), Texas

The OFM fat body needed some exercise. SightSeer (SS) was screaming to be let out of the back of the Truck to play. So we teamed our needs and wants and went to GISP to ride.  SS was really excited and flopped all over the place as the OFM brought it out of the camper to the parking lot.  SS was well behaved besides the giggling as the front wheel was put into the frame, the front brake installed and the tires aired up to 65 psi.
When the OFM finally remembered all the things he needed to do, like put on his brain bucket, the OFM Bike Riding Team go on the road. Yes, water was even remembered. The minute the OFM was seated, SS grabbed a gear and away we flew.  It took a few minutes to get back into the mode of shifting gears at the proper time but the feeling came back quickly. The friction shifting is still my preference for my type of riding.

SS lived up to its name.  Every few minutes it had to stop to check out the scenery. On the first leg of the journey SS decided that the back bay marsh needed a close examination.

After some serious tugging at the handlebar, we moved on down the road. Realize that this stretch of road in the park is at a nominal elevation of three feet so the up and down is not very serious.
Sure enough SS smelled some flowers and had to stop to check them out.  It stuck its front wheel in to get a good sniff.  The OFM was watching the water behind the flowers for signs he needed to get a fishing rod into action.

A little ways along the way were these tall flowers.  SS did not want to stop. The OFM thought maybe SS was afraid of those large flowers.

From here we left the park to make a loop over by the Big Tree and back along St. Charles Bay.  It was getting pretty warm but a lot of the loop is in the shade of old oak trees. It is a great loop to ride except for the mosquitos if you have to stop to adjust something.  When the Team got to the Big Tree, SS said we needed to rest a few minutes.  TheOFM did not argue.  SS pulled in to the fenced shady spot at the Big Tree. The Ofm got off to take this next picture.  The mosquitos swarmed quickly so there was not much rest time at this location.

The portion of the loop by the water is out in the sunshine. SS was running well and in top gear we were making 14 mph.  That is plenty fast enough for the OFM and his bad eyes.
On returning to the GISP we rode on around to the wooded camping area and made a couple of loops of that area.  About then the OFM was starting to feel the heat too much, so SS headed for the Truck. With SS stowed in the Truck and the AC going full blast the teams headed back for the Castle.

Since we quit in time before the OFM got too hot, it was a wonderful riding adventure. Maybe in cooler weather we could do a lot more of the Lamar Peninsula in our effort of trying to have tooooo much fun. TheOFM.

6/22/12

Bad News

ALERT ALERT
Old Ben of An Older Texan Remembers has  passed on to his new adventures location.  I will miss his blogs and humor.

Adventure Location: Rockport, Texas
The only adventure today was the morning fishing at the harbor pier.  The first fish caught was a Ladyfish about a foot long.  The pier great blue heron, all piers seem to have one around here, started easing over closer when the fish hit the concrete top of the pier. The fish looked too big for the bird to swallow to me.  However when the fish was unhooked, it was left on the topping. My feet took me a couple of steps away and my hand reached for the camera in my pocket. Before the camera was unlimbered and started up that bird grabbed the fish, flipped it in the air and caught it head first. Then it was down the throat and gone. This picture was less than a few seconds after I stepped away from the fish. The action was already all over with.

Later this nice speckled trout was landed.

The bird headed for this fish before it was even on the topping.  My hand and arm thrashed to keep the bird at bay while the fish was photographed and unhooked. The bird was getting pretty pushy by now.  My boga type fish gripper was put into action, the fish unhooked and tossed back into the water to grow larger and come back for supper.
Maybe the fish will return and grab my lure again to help in the quest of trying to have tooooo much fun. TheOFM.

6/21/12

Rain

Adventure Location: Rockport, Texas

The rain was intermittent but frequent.  It was raining when my eyes opened and still raining when the Truck took me for a ride in the area.  Here is one of the parking lots near the Allegro Channel. The stripes on the paved portion are under water.  Those fisher folks must have been really hardcore.

The sinking platform in last night’s blog apparently got fixed. Here it is from about three miles away up right and level. Nothing about what happened was in the local news.

Then all the time from lunch on till late was spent visiting with Paul.  He is a super nice fellow and is a CSI for a county north of here. We chatted at length about getting his RV ready for boondocking.  As it turns out his choice for his first travel trailer was very excellent.  His need is weekends and vacation only. Full time rving is not on his horizon. Here is his rig.

He had it raised about four inches when he bought it.  The holding tanks are very good size and his fresh water tank is more than adequate.  It is a light weight rig with a maximum weight of under 3500 pounds.  We determined that all he MIGHT need for a week of boondocking is another battery like the one he has. The R-pod trailers had not been carefully examined before but this one impressed me as a good camper.
Paul is so much fun to be around that the OFM teams hope to cross paths with him in the wild for the purpose of trying to have tooooo much fun. TheOFM.


6/20/12

That Sinking Feeling

Adventure Location: Rockport, Texas

A busy day it has been with chores and chores and more chores. The main adventure was changing out attachments for most of the cabinet doors.  The cabinet doors on the Castle are made of solid pieces of oak and HEAVY.  That looks good and is strong but the hinges are the standard light weight hinges for lighter doors.  The screws holding the hinges are barely adequate.  The top hinge screws have been loosening for the last year.  It was time for corrective action.
The top screw and sometimes both screws were changed out to bolts with washers except for two hinges where the back side of the attachment point is not accessible. In that case much larger screws were installed. Over the last five years the old trick of putting tooth pick pieces in the hole to increase the screws holding power has helped but not solved the trouble.  Hopefully this latest effort will do the trick.

First the screw was removed. Then the hole was enlarged to a size that gave an interference fit to the #8-32 machine bolt that went into the hole.  The head chosen was a taper head to help hold the hinge in the proper position.

After the bolt was laboriously screwed into the hole with the OFM in contortionist positions, a flat washer and locking nut were tightened on the bolt.  This is the only one that the camera could get a picture of the tightening.  All the other had obstructions that made for difficult touch only tightening.

When the bolt was snugged down well, the fix seemed to be a good one.  Ten screws in all were replaced.  There are several more that might need replacing in the future. Here is the final appearance.

It is a long way from “factory” but also MUCH stronger.  Those heavy doors can really put a knot on your noggin when they swing open and catch you on the head.
This evening a couple of hours of fishing produced a mixed result.  About every five casts a fish would hit my silver spoon.  But the fish would get off.  The eight or ten that held on long enough to be seen were all ladyfish.  My guess is the spoon was too large for the fish to get into their mouth.  But it was fun.

The unusual thing was there was a Coast Guard cutter messing around in one spot out in the bay. This is taken at full zoom and then expanded a lot.

That is the end of the harbor pier in the picture.  It is about two miles across the water to the cutter according to Google maps.
Finally after quite a while it came to my mind to look around for something causing the cutter to hang around. My first thought was a drug runner interception. But when my vision moved far enough south, there was the trouble. 

Apparently some sort of drilling rig type platform seemed to be listing rather badly. My guess is that one of the barges that normally transport rigs had ripped a seam and sank. This is another maximum zoom then enlarged a lot picture.
To add to the fun, a friend and blog reader, Paul, emailed me to meet up with him tomorrow down at Light House Lakes. That is making it easy to try to have tooooo much fun. TheOFM.

6/19/12

Late Maintenance

Adventure Location: Rockport, Texas

It was over a month late for checking the battery water on the Castle’s batteries.  With the heat and the constant use of the solar power to recharge the batteries, they need checking every month. They were low but still above the plates.  Each cell took about two thirds of a cup of distilled water.  That is too close in my opinion.  The once a month routine needs to be kept and not let the OFM get lazy again.
Since maintenance was on the schedule already it was time six months ago to check the water heater anode rod and flush the tank.  The tools were gathered and the procedure began.  As the anode was being unscrewed from the tank, my super intelligent brain figured out that the water needs to be turned off. Whew that was close.

The anode screwed out just fine and it was obvious it was doing its job well.

After the anode was removed, the water coming out of the tank brought lots of slop out with it.  Then a stream nozzle was repeatedly shoved into the tank to blast more slop out. Here is one of the many pieces that came out.

After about five flushes the final crop was caught on the heater outside access door.
Slop Crop
After the slop was cleaned away, new Teflon tape was wrapped on the anode rod threads and the rod reinstalled.  Amazingly on the first try there were no leaks to correct. The tank was filled and all the air evacuated.  Then the heating element turned on.  It will be a warm shower tonight. YEA.

Later in the day a ride into Aransas Pass to go to the Lowes store was made.  AP usually has the lowest price diesel in the area.  This was a nice price after paying over $4 a gallon in New Mexico.

This next item was actually seen a couple of days ago and tonight the OFM decided to go ahead and show the silliness of the solar panel installation down near the Port Aransas ferry.  Notice how three of the four panels are shaded by another panel. Solar panels have to have DIRECT SUN to generate anywhere close to their rated capacity.  This is a really silly design.
The parts purchased at Lowes will help in the repairs scheduled for tomorrow during the heat of the day.  That story will be told tomorrow with pictures and reasons for the repairs. Meanwhile everyone work hard toward trying to have tooooo much fun. TheOFM.

6/18/12

More Lures

Adventure Location: Mustang Island, Texas

The Writing Team is running very late again tonight.
In The Texas Kayak Fisherman forum was an entry about a beach area that the Exploring Team had tried to get to in the past.  The entry showed a map of the area and the “road” to use to get to it.  So about 1400 the Team took off to find the “road” and beach.  It looked like it could be an excellent wade fishing area.

The ferry crossing went well and the Team was soon on the way down the island to the “road” entry. When we found the entry an idiot had left his car parked blocking the “road” into the area.  The Truck of course just went into the grass and around the idiot’s vehicle. This “road” turned out to be a very unfinished route through the marsh land. Please have a very high clearance vehicle like the Truck to even attempt the passage.
At a less rough spot the Teams stopped to get a picture of the “road’.

After a few minutes of bouncing around like a super ball on a trampoline we arrived at the beach. The road ran off into the water just before it got to the beach.  So the Truck backed up to a double track through the grass and away we went.  Man this is a nice beach area with a lot of area that should be interesting wade fishing.

This is on the bay side of Mustang Island near the south end of Mustang Island State Park. There were all sorts of fishy activities going on out in the water. Since the correct equipment for the area was not with the Teams, we decided to take a walk and see what there is to see.  A bottle of water was grabbed and away the Foot Exploring Team went.  We found several great places to enter the water for shallow water fishing.  This should be a great place to return to in the future.
On the way back to the Truck was a nice surprise.  Someone had dropped their tackle box like the one the OFM carries onto the piers.  A truck tire had smashed the tackle box but the lures inside were fine.

Now the Fishing Team has some new lures to try out.  Maybe they will change our luck for the better. Finding a way into a few square miles of new fishing territory is bound to help with the goal of trying to have tooooo much fun. TheOFM.

6/17/12

Art????

Adventure Location: Rockport, Texas

It has been a long and interesting afternoon and evening. As this entry is started the time is 2300 and the OFM is tired.  We old guys need our rest you know.  Just ask BillyBob or Dizzy Dick.
This person was ready to do some cooking.  This is quite a BBQ set up on the vehicle. Maybe the meats were in the ice chest ready for the cooking to begin.  The OFM even thought about following the folks to their destination to beg some food.

Over at the Art Center is this contraption that its reason for being had puzzled me for a few years. Finally it downs on me that it is a piece of “art” sitting in the grass.  It is up to the reader to choose if it is art or an outdoor coat rack.

One great flash of brilliance came through the castle scaring the bejabbers out of the OFM.  When wearing my nylon cargo pants, the left lower pocket is the depository for my carry tackle box.  The flap has a large Velcro tab that is ornery about letting me open the pocket to put my tackle box into the pocket.

 The brilliant flash of genius told me to take the flap off the pants.  That son of a gun was sewed on to stay there no matter what.  About 45 minutes with my super sharp Swiss Army Knife working on the threads was enough to remove the flap.

Now we are ready for fishing again. This evening it was given a good tryout down at the harbor pier.  It works great.  The tackle box can now be put away using only one hand.  This is great.

Now that that major earth shaking problem has been solved, the OFM Teams can get back to the most important job of trying to have tooooo much fun. TheOFM.

6/16/12

Wayward Trout

Adventure Location: Rockport, Texas

Since this is an adventures blog and not an I did this or that blog, the only adventure story for today is a 22” long fat speckled trout caught on a red tail glow white shrimp tail jig on the last cast before going home for lunch.  It put up a great fight and stripped line several times.  After landing the fish, it was given to a couple fishing nearby.
 Cleaning one fish did not fit into my idea of trying to have tooooo much fun. Although catching a nice fish like that is a great way of trying to have tooooo much fun. TheOFM.

6/15/12

Nothing Is Easy Anymore

Adventure Location: Rockport, Texas

All that was wanted was a simple old popping cork to help keep my lures above the bottom grasses in one of the fishing areas.  So off to the Fishing Toys Store here in Rockport. Its real name is Tackle Town but it is actually a toy store for foolish fisher folks.
When popping corks were used in my past during ancient history times, they were a simple foam float tapered from a small end to a larger cupped end that could be caused to splash the water a little.  That attracted some species of fish to your bait or lure. Supposedly.

In happy ignorance the OFM meandered into the toy store to grab a couple of popping corks and be on his way.  Little did he know that he was about to earn a PhD in popping corks before he purchased even one.  There are now popping corks, rattling corks, clicker corks, clacker corks, egg shaped corks with and without rattles, cigar shaped corks with and without rattles and it goes on seemingly forever.  Of course all these corks also come in weighted or unweighted.  To my surprise they even had some of the old style foam corks also in five different sizes and weighted or unweighted.  This was too much information for the OFM.  He needed to go lay his head down and rest from the overload.
Here are four pictures covering the majority of the available corks for fishing this area.




What actually happened is a long session on the internet learning about all the changes in popping cork designs.  It definitely will not be considered improvements.  Mostly it seems like it is just great marketing to move more money out of shoppers’ pockets.
So after three hours of learning of the “new” techniques for the new types of popping corks, all of which is exactly like we did it a hunnert years ago, the OFM Fishing Team headed out for a second round of shopping. This time we hit Wal-Mart to see what the lower co$t equipment looked like.  Wal-Mart even had some corks that were not at the toy store.  OH MY GOODNESS.  The Ofm prefers to have a cork that can be taken on and off the line as needed instead of having to cut the line and re-rig the set up for each change in water depth.

A trouble with the switch to braid line is that it is so slippery that the normal foam cork that is held in place by a small plastic plug in the end will not stay in place like for when monofilament is the line in use. The Fishing Team wanted a removable float that would not slip. Wal-mart had some!  We chose two models to try out.  These have small spring loaded hooks on each end that the braid can be wrapped around to hold the cork in the proper position.

OFM corks get a white stripe on the end that is supposed to be up in use. That lets the OFM have a chance to see if they are workinf correctly.
And on trying them out today they worked very well.  The lure seen in the picture above did not entice any fish to need unhooking though. That is not the corks fault.

The OFM Fishing Team is now set up to fish the 1 to 3 feet deep water in the area and not get the lures all tangled in the sea grasses.  Catching those ten pound fish in the sea grass area will go a long way toward trying to have tooooo much fun. TheOFM.