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Sticks and Leaf, Decatur, Al.


New Rod

Adventure Location:  Del Rio, Texas

Firm Rolling Date: Tomorrow

It was a chore day and get ready to roll day but good progress was made. The laundry was completed; the tires on the rolling stock checked and miscellaneous other get ready to roll chores completed. About 1600 the OFM decided that all the preliminary stuff was finished. He was glad he had signed us up for the Broke Mill supper tonight. Now it was time to go fishing.

The Truck got us to the parking lot safely again. The nice fellow who catches all the fish had just come back up the hill to his truck. With a great effort he tossed his catch into his truck and allowed the OFM to grab a picture of the catch.

He only caught four this afternoon. We chatted for a bit. He worked for TxDOT for 35 years and now fishes.  He showed me what lures he used and how he fishes them. Then it was time for him to head off to the cleaning station. The OFM grabbed his fish gear or at least he thought he did. The Team headed out on the Nature Trail and then down the rocks and loose junk along the water to the end of the peninsula.

 After fishing for a few minutes he reached for his long nosed pliers and they were missing from his pocket. Oh no. We started the long walk back to the Truck with careful attention to the route we descended from the mountain top. All the way back to the Truck we hoped to find them but it was not to be. When the Truck door opened, there the pliers were waiting on the seat to be put into the OFM’s pocket.

Oh well. Everything was carefully checked and back down the hill we went. That is a tough hill that one should not traverse but once a day. Pay attention FOOL was the thought that kept going through his head.

As we descended the hill AGAIN, the Team took a new route along the top of the ridge. About halfway to the end there it was lying on the rocks, a fishing rod.  It was very dirty, one line guide was broken and the rod tip had been broken.  Both of those items are in the Castle’s repair kits so it will be easy to replace the broken line guides. Scrubbing all the cemented on adobe may take a bit more effort.

We set it up against a dead bush and went on to the fishing hole. An hour later we still did not have a fish and the wind chill was starting to get noticeable. We gathered all our stuff and headed back along the ridge to get the fishing rod. It was hard to spot at first. We are about one third of the way back to the Nature Trail in this next picture. The important points are labeled.

The long walk back to the Truck was uneventful. That means the OFM did not leave any blood on the rocks or thorns. Keeping all your blood inside your body is a great way of trying to have tooooo much fun. TheOFM.


Chisel Magic

Adventure Location:  Del Rio, Texas

Rolling Date: Feb. 1, 2013

Situations have advanced far enough to have firm plans. On Friday morning the Teams will roll out of Broke Mill RV Park and head north and set up for a few days. We don’t want to strain anything after setting still for a month. This will be boondocking and making sure that all systems are go before heading off into Bibe, Black Gap WMA and Big Bend Ranch State Park.

This afternoon the OFM Fishing Team headed back to the Diablo East parking lot and more bass fishing. The wind is still too strong but there is one small slightly sheltered cove to fish.

Within an hour the wind chill of the coming cold night was settling in and it was time to head back to the Castle. One itty bitty fish was the total catch for the effort.

All RVs have to have maintenance on occasion. Most maintenance is better done as needed or as preventive maintenance ahead of time. This is one or the other and the reader gets to put it in whichever class that they wish.

While on the roof dusting the solar panels, cracks in the caulk at the left front of the Castle were noted.

All the OFM’s life he has heard how difficult it is to remove the old roofing caulk on an RV, so he was not excited at the prospect of the effort. He decided that he would take his sharp wood chisel and see if it could do the job. The concept is to put the chisel blade bevel down so it will not dig into the Fiberglas or roofing. He got the chisel set and gripped very firmly. Then with steady push the chisel dug right in and peeled back a half inch wide strip of caulk.

Hmm that was not bad at all. Before you could say “Calf rope” the part of the caulk that needed to be removed was gone. It seems that a sharp wood chisel may be a good way of removing RV caulk.

The proper tube of fresh Dicor sealant was opened and placed in the caulking gun. Then it was work time. In just a few minutes the new caulk was in place and waiting for the caulk to set.

The OFM only had to make three trips up and down the Castle’s ladder. His knees do not like that ladder or any ladder for that matter.

In an effort to make the 95% of the tube of caulk that is still left last for a few months longer, the tip was wrapped tightly with a sandwich bag. Tape was then wrapped tightly around the snout of the tube. With any luck at all the caulk might last a few months now.

Getting an ugly chore done before real trouble pops up is actually a nice way of trying to have tooooo much fun. TheOFM.



Whistling Windows

Adventure Location:  Del Rio, Texas

Rolling Date No Later Than: Feb. 1, 2013

Talk about getting skunked, the OFM got skunked fishing today. Before the front came through, the Truck took the Freshwater Fishing Team down to the Diablo East parking lot. Then the Team headed out through the Nature Trail and then on down to the shoreline. The Team did note the truck of the fellow with all the fish two days ago was parked in the lot also.

As we stumbled our way across the loose rocks and other obstructions, we noticed the other fellow was fishing along the left side of the peninsula so we went over to the right side to start our walk along the shoreline. It was slow going and after an hour or so we were rounding the end of the peninsula at the same time the fellow was coming around from the left. Our Team had caught a total of zero fish. The nice fellow showed me his stringer of three nice size fat bass.

We exchanged pleasantries for a few minutes and the OFM Team started back on the left side of the peninsula.  The other fellow continued around to the side we had just fished.  Finally the OFM was ready to head back to the Truck and get some lunch.

 As we were loading the Truck, the other fellow came walking out from the trail with his stringer. He seemed to get great joy in showing that he had caught two more bass fishing where the Team had not done any good. He managed to limit out with five bass and we managed to get out of the parking lot without catching any at all.

Later while sitting in the Castle, the high winds started with a vengeance. There was a funny wind whistle in the Castle that we have not experienced before. The OFM hunted for where it was coming from for a long time. When we found the cause of the whistle, it was coming from the drain holes in the window frame. The drain holes left the condensation drain to the outside when it runs down the window on the inside. Here is the outside view.

The drain hole on the inside view is a lot harder to see. They do a great job of letting water leave the Castle. These ferociously high winds certainly do some serious whistling with those holes.

Now that we know the whistling is not something failing, we can relax and enjoy the music. The winds are supposed to last until late tomorrow.

Yes the high winds do get in the way of trying to have tooooo much fun. TheOFM.


Baker's Crossing

Adventure Location:  Out in the Desert north of Del Rio, Texas

Rolling Date No Later Than: Feb. 1, 2013

For most of his paddling life of over fifty years the OFM has heard of Bakers Crossing as the starting point for folks wanting to run the Devils River by paddle craft. Power boats cannot make the passage.

The Devils River is an extremely remote section of the USA. Once you leave Bakers Crossing there is no contact available with the outside world until you get to Rough Canyon. The distance is unknown but the travel time runs about three days if things go perfect.

The place you start the trip is Bakers Crossing. The Meandering Team had never in our memory been to Bakers Crossing so we had to go look. It is very unimpressive and undeveloped. Apparently you have a shuttle drop you off and take your vehicle down river to Rough Canyon. Please check on the internet for exact CURRENT details about what you need to do. There are even a few videos of trips down the river on the internet. It is nice but way too tough for the Teams.

To get to the crossing from Del Rio you head north on hwy 90 to Comstock and turn on hwy 163 to the north. Twenty miles +/- later you are at Bakers Crossing. In between you drive a nice paved road through some very historically ornery terrain. The area around Deadman’s Pass has a lot of history during the Old West era of the USA. The road is the old wagon route. Here is the pass itself.

However for several miles either side is serious country in the Indian and highway men days. Holdups and other trouble were very common. Here is a sign to help with the story.

From the sign it is only a few miles to the Crossing. The Devils River runs south from the crossing.  ALL the land except for a small campsite way down river is private and trespassers may never be found again. Folks have been known to just evaporate when they trespass onto the private ranches.

The sign next to the road explains a lot about the Devils River State Natural Area. Research on the internet will gather many more details on the SNA.

The launch point is the drainage ditch on the side of the highway.  No longer term than launching parking is available.

This next view is from the hwy bridge looking upstream.

This is the direction you will be headed when you launch into a wonderful, if everything goes ok, adventure. It looks wonderful to the Teams.

After the few minutes looking around and getting a few pictures we headed back to the Castle. Since the Meandering Team had no prior knowledge of Deadman’s Pass, it was a good day of trying to have tooooo much fun. The OFM.


Boat Wreck

Adventure Location:  Lake Amistad, Del Rio, Texas

Rolling Date No Later Than: Feb. 1, 2013

As usual lately the morning started cool and wet. So the OFM just did not do anything worthwhile until nearly lunch time when we headed for Whataburger. By the time we left Whataburger, the sun was screaming at us and the temps were climbing fast.

Back at the Castle this weather change gave us a chance to so some needed exterior maintenance that will be in a later blog. By the time the chores were finished the temps were just right to go fishing.

The walk from the Diablo East parking lot to the point of rock from yesterday’s blog is long. Coming back up the hill it is LONGGGG.

But the Fishing Team made it safely without any bloodletting to our surprise. The footing is loose but with care not really difficult. The new soft tackle box is working out very well and certainly is large enough for our needs.

As we were getting set up at the water’s edge, a sailboat motoring into the harbor was noticed. The wind was very brisk from the harbor toward the sailboat.  The harbor has offset breakwaters made of large tires. Just after the sailboat passed the first jetty the motor quit. Within a few seconds it seemed, the wind pushed the sailboat up against the jetty tires. It was a lot better than the boulders down at Port Aransas. This pic is just before they hit the jetty.

The man was heard to say OOPS we are out of gas or something of that sort. There was a lot of hollering between his female crew and him during the next few minutes. Apparently he found some more gas somewhere because after a few minutes the motor started again and they made it the hundred feet to the mooring slip. It was interesting to see a twenty six feet +/- sailboat with an under powered outboard work its way of the windward side of the jetty.

The OFM somehow accidentally managed to land two small largemouth bass. The first one was 19” long and put up a good fight. It was caught on a reddish plastic worm.

The second largemouth bass was caught on a green with metal flakes plastic worm. It measured 17” long. This one was caught way out in the lake just after a long cast so we had a few minutes of fighting to get it to the land for its photograph.
Between those two fat fish the filets would have lasted for four meals. We fished for a while more but the tummy was complaining about no food lately so we had to pack it in and head UP that HILL (mountain) to the Truck. It took the OFM three (yep counted them) rest stops to get back to the Truck.

It was a nice day all in all. And it was definitely a wonderful day of trying to have tooooo much fun. TheOFM.


Rest Day Required

Adventure Location:  Del Rio, Texas

Rolling Date No Later Than: Feb. 1, 2013

The body was insisting that it get a day off from all the walking and biking. Since it was a nasty morning with lots of cool misty rain and a bit of wind, the Teams agreed to a gentle day today. Finally in the later afternoon the body agreed to a gentle walk to get out of the Castle.

The Truck got us over to the big Diablo East parking lot safely in spite of the OFM’s driving. After parking in the single vehicle part, the Team meandered over to the nature trail. It is a nice trail along a ridge with some good views when there is water in the lake. The trail just winds around in the desert with little info signs here and there.

The OFM took his time and read all the signs again. When we got to the fork in the trail we took the right fork. This part of the trail dead ends overlooking the marina. We took a few hops, skips and a jump or two to make it down to a ledge with rocks to sit on. It was a wonderful nice gentle spot to rest for a little bit.

A movement was notice to our left. Then the sound of scraping rock on rock reached our ears.  Hmmmm somebody is walking along that finger of rock out there. Now wait a minute what is he carrying. Could it be fish??

We set off on a path to intercept the person. As we wound around the knob where we had been seated, we found the path he was likely following. Sure enough in a few minutes here he comes up the path.

This is steep walking but he was not even breathing hard. And sure enough he was carrying a load of fish.

When he got close we exchanged greetings. He said he had culled these out of the dozen or so he caught. This is what five small Amistad largemouth bass looks like.

As he was heading on up the cliff to get to the trail back to the parking lot, we noticed he uses a daypack to carry his fishing gear, snacks and drinking water.  A lot of the jetty fisherfolk at Port Aransas use back packs in the same way.

Now where was he fishing or more importantly catching. At the end of this ridge of rock where the red arrow points is where the Teams first noticed him heading back. From the parking lot to the end of the ridge is a long walk.  A lot of the walk is on loose rock.

When he moved on up the hill, his smile told me he was doing a good job of trying to have tooooo much fun. TheOFM.



The Finger

Adventure Location:  Rough Canyon Area, Texas

Rolling Date No Later Than: Feb. 1, 2013

The responses to my question in last night’s blog have been wonderful. Both the comments and emails have been supportive and full of helpful suggestions for improvements.  Thank you very much. TheOFM.

Now that HE has gotten his fat fingers out of the way we can get busy reporting HIS silly adventure of the day. By the way that OFM is one lucky fool. He tried to go swimming several times today but miracles happened and he staid dry!

Summer has arrived and it is not even February yet!  It is 2030 and the windows and door is wide open to let the cool desert night air cool off the Castle. It was a sweaty hot one this afternoon. Less than a week ago it time for heaters to run and now it nearly needs AC around here. Keyboards don’t like salty sweat dripping into them.

TheOFM decided to swap tackle boxes this morning. All the junk was gathered.  A survey of the stuff showed the Fishing Teams had a lot of old left over stuff that needed to go out. Out it went. Then the consolidation began. When it was over, all the fishing gear fit into the new soft tackle box with room to spare. This seems like a good move. I could have written an entire blog on the junk that fool was carrying around.

With a new tackle box and sore knees from the SightSeer riding, it seemed that BillyBob’s command to go fishing was a good decision. Off we headed for Rough Canyon to see what we could catch. The drive is nice and the scenery as you get to the area is pretty nice.

We had lunch at The Point. It is the only food in this remote community. The pizza was good and freshly prepared as the Eating Team watched. Pizza and a Root Beer was $7.02. And check out his view to enhance your lunch event.

It was now time to get to work and work it was. With the water way down, as in 41 feet low, the loose rocks are very loose and the ones uncovered in the last week are coated with slimy mud that looks dry. They can send you swimming in an instant (see the above about the luck OFM).

We eventually made it out onto “the finger”. There is a hydroelectric dam out near the end of the finger that is covered by the lake. Those tanks and a lot of other infrastructure you will see in the pictures are for things the dam used when it was operating before Lake Amistad was formed. This pic was taken from about half way out on the finger. The finger offered water access that was not too bad.
The Finger

The loose rock was not as bad out here. Those tanks looked to be some sort of water tanks. They had pipes running out into the lake from them.
 Some of the stairs remaining from the dam operational days are still in good enough shape to use them for access to the water’s edge. There is still 3’ more water to head on down to Falcon Lake and BillyBob.

Near the end the Fishing Team was able to meander around and get a view back to the Truck. It is in the red circle. Once again the picture was shot with 3x zoom at its max. Yep it is a bit of a difficult walk but it was fun too.

Three and a half hours later the sun burned Team had lost three lures to the Boulder Bass. Not even one fish bite had bothered the Team.  The hot sun had whipped us to a sweat puddle. The EPA was going to write us a ticket for lake pollution if we stayed any longer. The long uphill loose rock scramble back to the Truck was made without any blood loss to our amazement.

We did work hard at trying to have tooooo much fun. TheOFM.


Lake Bottom Ride Again

Adventure Location:  Del Rio, Texas

Rolling Date No Later Than: Feb. 1, 2013

OK readers, here is the trouble. The warm weather has gotten the adventures piling up. For instance there are four sets of pics waiting for a chance to write a blog entry about them.  Today we had enough adventures for at least four of the normal blogs. In the past when the adventures piled up, as many were written up in detail as time allowed. Then the rest of the pics and stories were discarded. This was usually a minimum of 40% of the pics and stories.

For the next few entries a new style is going to be tried. The blog will hit only a couple of high spots in each adventure and TRY to get more of the adventures covered in a LOT less detail. Please leave comments or send emails to let the Teams know which is the preferred style.  Thank you.

The new versatile pack (tackle box) has not worked out just right for the rack on SightSeer (SS). A smaller bag was purchased and the quantity of items carried was made a lot smaller.

As you can see the size difference is substantial. When a ride (which will not make the blog) was done with the small bag, the balance on SS was a lot better.  The trouble with the smaller bag is that there was no room for a snack, my wallet or my keys.  That will not work.

After more thought and looking at a picture of SS, it dawned on the OFM that the back rack was sitting way too high.
So we set to work and lowered the rack. (No details in the new style)

Now the old truck fits with all its extra storage space. There is even room for a change of clothes in the old trunk.

But a ride needed to be made to see if the change was good. It was a great change as it worked out. We headed off to Spur 454 to ride the closed road that used to be highway 90. It was covered with water until a few months ago. We reported on a ride of this road in this entry http://ofmadventures.blogspot.com/2012/10/across-lake-bottom.html .

The lake has dropped a couple of feet since then and the Parks folks are developing the end of the road as a boat ramp and day use area. The boat ramp will be interesting with all the underwater ledges in the area.

Three fingers of rocks stick out into the lake to the north. They will become day use areas.
SS was ridden over some pretty gnarly loose rocks to get the OFM into walking distance to a finger of rock that stick out into the lake to take that last picture.  About half way back we took this picture looking up the slope toward SS.
(Leaving out a lot of info now) Back at the Truck the OFM was pleased with the way SS is handling and wanted some more riding in preparation for Bibe soon. He looked up the road toward the San Pedro campground entrance and away we went.
The campground had three rigs in it. We road on down to the tent area. We cannot remember if the tent area has been shown before but here it is for now.
From here it was a nice bike ride back to the Truck. (WOW that is simplified). As we were putting SS away the mileage was noted.

Then we came back to the Castle and fed the OFM some ibuprofen and put him into bed for a nice nap.

There it is the HIGHLY condensed and EXTREMELY SIMPLIFIED version of three adventures today. We definitely had a good time trying to have tooooo much fun. TheOFM.


277 Bridge Hike

Adventure Location:  Del Rio, Texas

Rolling Date: Feb. 1, 2013

For some silly reason the OFM had a fixation to go to see the dirt at the bridge on highway 277. The Truck got us to the day use parking lot at the 277 North campground. From there it was a steep slip and slide on loose rocks to what used to be the bottom of the lake. A little brush busting and we had a clear view of the objective.
The walking was treacherous with loose rocks and mud under the dead grasses and weeds. We worked our way along for a long time. At one point the OFM picked up a softball sized rock and tossed it onto some “dry” dirt in front of us. The rock arched gracefully toward the “dry” dirt and disappeared into the mud right under the crust. So we had to meander around a bit to find another way along the shoreline.

A big trouble with busting brush is the left over fishing lures and hooks. They are scattered in the brush and trees waiting to create unpleasant injury to your body. Check out this picture of one of the tree skeletons we passed. At least two hooks waiting to pounce on us.

It took a surprisingly long time to get to the bridge, but we did make it. The area was unimpressive and the Team was disappointed. We had hoped it would be interesting but it was not. This next picture is about as exciting as it got.
The OFM decided that we would not fight the brush and rusty hooks to get back. The choice was to climb the embankment and walk back on the highway shoulder. As we started to find our way this view of a badly constructed bridge column came into view. All that rusty rebar should not be visible. This is not good for the life of the bridge.

After getting a ways up the embankment of loose rocks this is what the “trail” looked like. The interesting thing is that there is a lot of evidence that other folks have traveled this same path to the highway.
We had to take several rest stops since the footing was so bad. It was the old three steps up and two back kind of scramble. Finally we made it to the highway and climbed over the guard rail. The OFM’s first thought was that the Border Patrol would likely come check out the fool walking on the highway.

Guess what? Within three or four minutes a BP truck passes the Team, stops and comes back. The very nice fellow checked to make certain everything was OK. The OFM told him about the nasty brush and our walk back to the Truck on the highway. That was ok with him and we thanked him for stopping to give assistance if needed.

When we turned to head on toward the Truck this next picture was taken. This is at full zoom and the Truck is in the black circle.
The OFM has roamed the campground enough to know about an old abandoned road bed that winds through the brush to the Day Use Area.  Eventually he spotted the old road and we climbed the fence. He only got one stab from the rusty barbed wire. From there it was a nice stroll in hot sun back to the Truck. According to Google Earth the whole event was only 1 ¼ miles long. However getting finished with the walk was a welcome end.
It was good hike to take ONCE. Afterward it seemed like a decent attempt at trying to have tooooo much fun. TheOFM.


Possibles Bag

Adventure Location:  Del Rio, Texas

Rolling Date: Feb. 1, 2013
Great news: Blogger has fixed the add pictures trouble that has plagued us for a few weeks.

A "possibles bag" is a bag that adventurers carried in which they carried everything that could possibly be needed for the day. A couple of years ago Tamia mentioned that that was what the OFM needed for his meandering. The Teams agreed. Since then the OFM has tried several bags of different sorts will less than spectacular results. Tonight the search may have ended. Actually the search for three different bags may have ended in one bag design.

One of the other searches has been for a shoulder carry tackle box for fishing gear but in a small size. The other search has been for a smaller bag for carrying things on SightSeer. This one design bag may fulfill all those needs. If it works out tomorrow on SightSeer, the Teams will be back to get the other two bags. There were three on the Clearance shelf tonight.

This is actually marketed as a tackle box bag by Plano. The Clearance price was $15. The exterior fabric is a typical outdoors coarse fabric. The fabric is not of the super tough strong type of first class outdoor goods for climbing Mt. Rainer, but should be entirely sufficient for the gentle use by the OFM. The inside has a plastic water resistant lining which can be wiped out with a damp rag to clean the interior.

The bag came with one Plano plastic lure tray. There is room for a couple more to fit inside if needed. They can be purchased separately. The plastic trays will be great when the Teams are out meandering to hold items that are legal to bring home. Beachcombing comes to mind first on the list. Sea hearts and other seeds will be easy to carry now.

The shoulder strap can be detached and reattached to serve as a waist belt to convert the bag to a waist pack.  The sleeve on the back can also be used to fit a regular belt through instead of using the shoulder strap. Notice also the loops oriented for use on a bicycle. Depending on your set up on your bike, it can be used as a handlebar bag or a behind the seat bag. This seems to be a very versatile bag.

At first planning, it looks like one with fishing gear is needed. Another with meandering gear like magnifying glass, compact binoculars, plastic gloves, scissors and other possibles would be nice. After some trying it out on SightSeer tomorrow, the bag could replace the much larger bike trunk that is over 25 years old. The OFM no longer makes the kind of expeditions that require that size of trunk.  

The bag has pockets to carry snacks but does not have any dedicated place to carry a water bottle. That is perfect to the OFM since he has other water bottle carriers he has used for years and really likes the way they work.
Getting better outfitted for adventures is a great way of trying to have tooooo much fun. TheOFM


Wierd Yellow Flower

Adventure Location:  Del Rio, Texas

Rolling Date: Feb. 1, 2013

The last is first tonight. A fellow blogger and his wife happened to stop at a National Park campground here in Del Rio. When the Teams returned from another adventure, the OFM checked to see what Thom and Dar were up to. They were very near the Teams so we hopped into the Truck to go meet them. Their blog is http://tdhoch.blogspot.com/  . 

It turned out to be a wonderful meeting with great folks. We talked until dark. Many ideas were exchanged and the OFM gave them some information on Bibe. That is their next stop. Check out their blog it is a good one.

How about a walking trail that is great for hindered folks? It was designed to handle crutches, wheel chairs, walkers and almost anything else a person might need to help them get outdoors and have fun. This is a recently opened trail at Diablo East on Lake Amistad.

In this picture of the sign, the trail is the blue loop that the Teams explored. It is good surface all the way. We started at the red arrow, but it is recommended that you go on closer to the boat ramp where the parking is much better.

The start of the trail gives you a choice of clockwise or counter clockwise for your walk. We recommend clockwise so you will be facing the best scenery as you are meandering along the trail.

The path surface is compacted natural material of some sort. It is firm and should handle any expected traffic very well. However if you run a wheel off the edge of the compacted trail, expect a bit of unsteadiness. The trail is wide enough that that trouble should not happen, unless you are watching the scenery instead of the path at the wrong time.

Half of the trail goes through the standard desert brush of the area.  It has neat things to see on occasion. The other half of the trail goes along an arroyo that has lake water in it on normal lake levels. Right now with the water so far down, what you get is lake views a bit of distance away. It is still worth the trouble to see the view.

Here is one of the nice views from the trail.  Notice one of the benches thoughtfully places along the trail for our enjoyment.

The OFM Teams had an ulterior motive for taking this trail. We hoped to find some cacti in full bloom. It did not happen.  We did find this funny looking flower on several bushes along the trail.

We think it is a bloomus plasticus. What do you think it is? All intelligent answers will be deleted! The trail did make it a good day of trying to have tooooo much fun. TheOFM.