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Bored Pelican, Port Aransas, TX


Coyotes Needed!

 Adventure Location: Brantley Lake SP, NM

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We need COYOTES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

The rabbits are a lot of fun to watch and do not seem to cause any trouble at all.

We have lots of rabbits that entertain us each evening with either a circus or Olympic quality events.

On the other hand we also have too many rodent critters. The main one we are seeing is the 13 striped ground squirrel. They are fun to watch but also cause plenty of damage and trouble.

They are notorious at tearing up stuff. Recently Sierra needed the hood lifted and under the hood were the beginnings of a nest on the engine. There were rodent fecal droppings all around. This is not good. So now Sierra gets to keep the hood wide open in an attempt to discourage the rodents.

Bring on some COYOTES or FOXES.


Evening Buddy

 Adventure Location: Brantley Lake SP, NM

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He lives a few feet from the picnic table and shade shelter. The years have been rough on him but he is still got lots of stories to tell. The way he talks out the side of his mouth is unique. The Teams have met other folks who talk out of the side of their mouth especially when telling stories. Most of the time he wears a wig of Texas sagebrush but on windy days the wig is swept away and displays his bald top works.

Old Man Stump

In general Old Man Stump is a wonderful companion for a nice visit while enjoying the rabbit circus in the evening. Just in case anyone wants to know, cottontail and jack rabbits love shredded wheat biscuits.



Free Forest Camping Report

 Adventure Location: Lincoln National Forest, NM

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When Monday Sep. 4 arrives the OFM Teams must vacate the Brantley campgrounds for a minimum of 6 nights. There are many locations for us to enjoy and are free. The OFM Teams went to re-acquaint the Teams with the Lincoln NF possibilities. 

We left the Brantley Lake campground and crossed highway 285 and headed westerly on highway 137. Highway 137 loops around on a bunch of BLM land and dead ends in Dog Canyon campground in the Guadalupe Mountains. It also goes through a huge chunk of free camping BLM land. Here is a picture of the lower elevation BLM land along the road. This is near the turn off to Sitting Bull Falls.

There is private land in some places that is not available for free camping but that only leaves you a few hundred thousand acres to choose from for your boondocking. The Teams have found several very nice locations through this area over the years.

But we kept on going on up into the Lincoln NF to check out the easy to get to parts and especially some places on forest road 540. The small community of Queen is up there. They now have a small RV park with hookups. The café is up and running again. They used to have the best hamburgers of any place in the world in our opinion. Yep they were even better than a Whataburger.

A few miles past Queen highway 540 takes off to the left. It is a graded gravel road that runs for miles off into the forest. We explored a lot of it when we had The Truck which was 4x4. As you travel along the road there are places to pull off and set up camp. There is a 14 day limit per stay. One thing for certain, if you will need or want it, bring it with you. Your location will be about 85 miles from the nearest store in Carlsbad.

There are lots of nice meadows with easy pull offs that even Sierra can drive into and back out. We checked that out carefully since Sierra is a 2wd truck. Here are a couple pictures of the scenery from on hwy 540.

Guadalupe Mountains NP in the distance
 If you chose the wrong parking spot you might need several leveling blocks.




Great Picture

 Adventure Location: Pecos River, Texas

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The OFM Teams friend Scott has put up a wonderful picture for our pleasure at his website.

It might be nice for your eyes to look at some of the other great photos he has posted also.


A What???

 Adventure Location: Brantley Lake SP, New Mexico

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The laundry was washed and partially dried. The Tee shirts were spread over the picnic table under the shade shelter. The OFM was seated nearby. He was supervising the Tee shirts drying so that none of the birds would leave presents on the Tee shirts. Along with that job he was also really enjoying the sage brush that was blooming next to him.

The small hummingbirds that flited about were also keeping him alert. They were here in good quantity. Suddenly a limb on the bush exploded in activity. It was on the far side of the bush so we could not see what happened.

In a couple of minutes we noticed a roadrunner sneaking around under the bush. Then the roadrunner started climbing up into the interior of the bush. That was weird we thought. Everything was peaceful for a bit. A hummer came over to the limb near where the roadrunner had disappeared.

Suddenly the limb exploded and the roadrunner was there holding the hummer in its beak. One big gulp and the hummer was swallowed. Hmmm that did not seem right. The hummers we have experienced in the past would have put up a lot more heroic fight. These hummers have very distinctive tan stripes across their body.

OK it is time to chase info on what we are seeing.

It turns out the hummingbirds are really a moth named Hemaris Thysbe. They are frequently mistaken for humming birds. We had never heard of or seen anything like this before. Here is a picture from the internet.


It has been a great day when an OFM gets to learn something new.


Mitzi and Maynard

 Adventure Location: Brantley Lake SP, New Mexico

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It has been a wonderful windy but very nice temperature day. The bright sunshine and fluffy windblown clouds have made the sightseeing in the sky very interesting. The OFM has been taking it easy. This morning’s walk was only a couple of miles around the area. It made a great compliment to the potatoes and ham for breakfast. We just might get used to this living gently instead of rushing around chasing fantastic adventures in the desert.

In fact we were sitting our under the shade shelter after lunch just living, Oh look there. Here comes Maynard the lizard down the tree. After he checked for predators and found none he hopped onto a rock and lay down in the warm sun to nap.

It was only a couple of minutes when Mitzi Cottontail came easing along to join in enjoying the great weather. She was looking good this fine day. Maynard sort of roused up and we had wonderful conversation on how the day was going for each of us. See Gavin the critters can be friendly if you are.

Well, all this typing is wearing me out and the OFM wants to go sit outside and meet a few of the many roadrunners in the area. They ought to have some interesting stories for us.


Major Lightning Show

 Adventure Location: Brantley Lake SP, New Mexico

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It had been a warm to hot day with nothing eventful. Some folks were down at the lake on the sand fishing.

Around 1600 the OFM noticed a rain line moving our way. It looked like a nice rain shower that the plants need badly.

A few minutes later it turned into a concentrated squall that was starting to look nasty.


In just a couple of minutes it turned into a full-fledged storm. There was not time to take pictures. Winds hit us with great force. The lightning started hitting the desert and setting off fires. One stroke hit the edge of the water near the shore causing a major eruption of slop into the air.

Next was the sideways rain. First it went from right to left through the shade shelter and within five minutes it was right to left. The drops were huge and hurt when they hit you. The rainfall was not huge but ferocious. It was strong enough we could not see the dark truck down at the lake during the storm. It was still there afterward.

Between the lightning, desert fires and wind the OFM Teams were more than a little worried and awed. Then just as quickly it was all over and sunshine hit us to make the humidity go way up for a few minutes.

The whole event took about twenty minutes. BUT there are still lots of storm cells running around trying to entertain us here on this knob of a hill we are camped upon. Plenty of lightning still striking all around us. We are a little apprehensive about what dark will bring us. This is not the desert at its finest.


Pasture Lake

 Adventure Location: Bottomless Lakes SP, New Mexico

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At the end of Bluff Trail is Pasture Lake. It is a seep lake that has been set up as a picnic area. The entrance trail to Pasture Lake is off Bluff trail near the north end. A marked trail leads up to the lake and day use area. Wheel chairs will need help to make it up to Pasture Lake. Here is the trail.

Once up the short but steep trail you can see down into the area. Several picnic tables and one shade shelter are available down in the depression. It seems like a place made for exploring.

The small pond will vary in size according to the amount of rain lately. On this warm day in August it was down to a small puddle.

On the cliffs above the pond were many cracks and small caves. We would guess that being this close to water the cracks and caves would be home to at least a few critters like foxes and rattlesnakes.

 The OFM just rested at the bench under the shade shelter and enjoyed the peace and quiet. It actually was not quiet but rather full of natural sounds.  It did make a great relaxation spot before the long walk back to the Castle. The Bluff Trail and this side trip made for a very nice couple of hours of serenity.



Bluff Trail

 Adventure Location: Bottomless Lakes SP, New Mexico

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This morning started with rain before the sun came up. The OFM was lazy about getting going but we finally roused him from the mattress. As he glanced around the 50% full campground, the sights reminded him that tents and rain are not the best combination for camping. One tent had been set up in a low spot. The muddy puddle it was in had to be two inches deep minimum.

The Bluff Trail is a walking trail along and at the base of the cliffs in the park. In dry weather it is navigable by wheel chairs, canes, walkers, crutches and even an OFM. It is about 8/10 of a mile one way. Resting benches with shade shelters are available along the trail. It is a nice but not exciting trail. We enjoyed it.

This is the scene just after the start of the trail from the camping/day use area. The bluffs are to you right.

You get to wander along gently enjoying the pleasant scenery that doesn’t change much until near the end of the trail. This is what you see ahead at the end of the trail. There are necessity facilities at the end of the trail including drinking water and vault toilets.

There are several explanation signs along the trail to give you an idea of what you are looking at. Here they are in no particular order.

The next blog will cover a special seep lake they have set up for your pleasure. One important reminder, this is a desert environment and walking this trail in hot weather would be miserable.

So choose a cool day like the teams did and have a nice relaxing stroll along the bluffs.


New Toy

 Adventure Location: Bottomless Lakes SP, New Mexico

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We have been busy like crazy but something new to us popped up over at the children’s playground. It is a piece of equipment meant for climbing upon. It looks to be a neat idea and pretty safe also. The OFM wishes he was still agile enough for trying to have tooooo much fun on it.



Gentle Rolling

 Adventure Location: Bottomless Lakes SP, New Mexico

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This morning was a gentle wakeup for the Teams. In the spirit of the morning we decided that a gentle rolling was in order. After a bit of hitching trouble due to some certain old person being a dummy, we got on the road about 1000. The dump station episode went fairly well for a dummy that was driving.

The destination was north somewhere. After an hour on the road, the OFM decided that a short drive was the choice for today. That put us back at Bottomless Lakes SP by 1200. There is something nice about only driving 85 miles or so and then setting up camp again. Since we have never really looked over this area well, the Teams voted on spending $20 for five days of camping with decent Wi-Fi.

We also took the “back way” to the camping area. There is an overlook of Lea Lake we wanted to experience. The day was fantastically beautiful so it was a good choice.  Our camping location is on the extreme left of the lake just behind the cliff. Once again this is a very peaceful campground.

Roswell NM is the nearby town and it has a Walmart for our resupply needs. We will drive around the town a bit to see what we can see also. Who knows what alien happening will be our adventure.


One Sunset

 Adventure Location: Brantley Lake State Park, New Mexico

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It was a big surprise to the Teams plan came together. The license plates and registration sticker came in right on time. The OFM wasted no time in getting them on Sierra.

Now that business and some other personal business is all finished. Today is choosing the next week’s location for the Teams.

Speaking of sunsets DD, here is a series of three pictures of the same sunset. From start to finish the time frame is about twenty minutes. All three were taken from our patio here at site 39. This will show the reason the OFM sets in for a stay of about an hour for a single good sunset scene. Other than cropping no “help” was given to the pictures. It is hard to believe the difference that a couple of minutes make in the appearance of the same sunset. They are arranged from first pic to last pic.

It amazes all the Team members at the sky colors here in New Mexico. No wonder Georgia O’Keefe did a lot of her art work out here.



Soaring Painting

 Adventure Location: Brantley Lake State Park, New Mexico

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The area around here is a sedimentary rock area. The hills look to have been an ocean or lake bottom a long time ago. Today the OFM paid attention to what he was walking upon for a change. Soon he noticed that many of the rocks had imprints of vegetation and other things in them. We have no idea the process to produce these imprints. This set of rocks is definitely stems of some plant. Other rocks have had leaf impressions. Still others looked like seed pod impressions.  Anyway we enjoyed looking for all the different impressions.


While near the lakeshore we noticed some campers over in the wildlife area outside the state park. Years ago we looked this up and it is an area that you can camp for free and be right on the shore. There are no facilities and it is a fairly long rugged rocky road to get to the shore area. We chose back then to not attempt the road for the free camping. Here is a picture of the shore accessible area.

When the OFM turned 70 he decided to do a piece of art effort again. This one is in colored pencil and has the name of Soaring. We sincerely hope it does not cause anyone an upset stomach.

We have a few days of cooler weather in store now and we will enjoy tremendously.


Sunset For Dizzy

 Adventure Location: Brantley Lake State Park, New Mexico

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It has been a lazy day of mainly dodging thunderstorms.

The drought here has been significant. We asked the ranger if there had been a wildfire through here lately. Nope everything is dead from the drought. This picture is of a bush skeleton. Notice all the bark eaten off by the rabbits. The rabbits are very desperate for food. Most of the rabbits are not fat by any means.

Since DD asked for one, here is a normal sunset for this area. The sunsets frequently create some wild views when the waning sun lights up the Virga from the side.  This one did not capture that event but it did capture the wild skies of the thunderstorms that were happening during sunset.

We got a tracking notice that the license plates and inspection sticker for Sierra should be at the Lakewood post office on Monday sometime. We will check on them first thing Tuesday morning. When we get them the tether will be cut and the Teams will be free again. Somewhere there is a place with tooooo much fun for us.


Chores and Changes

 Adventure Location: Brantley Lake State Park, New Mexico

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The Teams got a surprise this morning when we arrived at the laundry. The building had undergone a massive upgrade. It was still an old building but all the building seemed to be in good repair now. Additionally new washers were in place and off a very good brand. The one we used worked very well.

The OFM had a wild idea that since we are in the desert now and the laundry basket is a mesh basket, we would just carry the wet cloths back to the campsite and let the basket sit on the table. Then when the cloths were dry we could put them away. Every once in a while he would tumble the cloths basket around to put fresh wet clothing near the top. It took about an hour to dry everything this way. The OFM was so proud of himself he strutted around for about ten minutes patting himself on the back for saving about a dollar.

Next was a stop at the grocery where the planned expense of $25 turned into $54. The good part is that we remembered several little things that we have been needing for a few weeks. Now we have them and it sure is nice.

After much misery in thinking the OFM finally decided to put the Verizon jet pack back into service. Off to Carlsbad we went and the Verizon store folks were very happy to sell us new service. The upside is that the OFM asked about a veteran discount. Surprise!!!! They gave him a little bit more than a 15% discount. That is good news to the SSA budget.

What this means is that the Teams can quit worrying with where to find Wi-Fi and just worry with finding places for trying to have tooooo much fun.


Rabbit Olympics

 Adventure Location: Brantley Lake State Park, New Mexico

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The Teams took their time getting ready to roll this morning. We did not want to get to Brantley too soon. The overnighters needed time to get clear of the campground. The Teams rolled in right at noon and great luck was with us. We snatched the prime spot of the campground. It will be a nice place for our several days stay.

Site 39
Main window View
For entertainment this evening we sat quietly as five cottontail rabbits were feeding and playing around our shade shelter. They were used to humans apparently. Frequently they would get within 8-10 feet of the OFM during their activities. We made a great audience and had a good time.

When dusk started to settle in the soft desert breeze settled down to just a murmur of air movement and a temperature of 74. The OFM started noticing the sunset and wow WOW was all he could say. We had forgotten how spectacular the New Mexico skies are and especially the sunsets.

There is no internet at this campground but we hope to find internet tomorrow when we go to the laundry and grocery shopping.



 Adventure Location: Bottomless Lakes State Park, New Mexico

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CRASH BOOM POOF That was the sounds of very carefully laid plans disappearing into nothingness. It was a hot afternoon so the OFM carefully spent several hours on the internet making plans for an important event. Sierra needs to have the correct license plates and inspection sticker put on it. We were notified they would be mailed to our Escapees mail service yesterday.

So the OFM was working out travel plans to be at a proper spot to receive them from the Escapees mail service in a couple of weeks or so. Sierra also has a noticeably shorter span of miles between required fueling events than the Truck did. So he was planning on where to get fuel. Out here in parts of the west there can be a good distance between fueling opportunities. The Truck could comfortably go about 265 miles per fill up towing but Sierra is more like 210 miles. The Teams are still adjusting to that difference.

About the time the OFM had it all worked out we received an email from the Escapees mail service that the plates had arrived and would be ready to ship on to us by tomorrow. We figured it would take at least four days for the dealer to get them to the Escapees. Then a few more days to get them to us after we notify the Escapees where to send them. We thought we had about two weeks to kill before getting the plates. Suddenly it was C B P time and all the plans went away. So tomorrow we roll back to Brantley Lake State Park to wait on the plates to arrive at the post office for us to pick up. We will be glad when that job is complete.

During one leg stretching session the OFM took a couple of pictures of Lake Lea, the swimming lake. They have an interesting and good rule here. If you are in or on the water of Lake Lea and not inside the marked swimming area you are required to be wearing a PFD. We think that is a wonderful rule.

This picture is viewing from near the swimming area out to the cliffs.

This is the marked off swimming area and the shade shelters nearby. It is a pretty good setup in general.

It is a pleasant campground and is well maintained. We will likely be back again sometime.


Wi-Fi Yea

 Adventure Location: Bottomless Lakes State Park, New Mexico

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During the evening at Brantley the OFM finally decided we needed to head on north for some cooler weather. Late morning today we got rolling for the two hour drive to Bottomless Lakes State Park and less hot weather. We arrived about noon and had many sites to choose from.

This one was close to a Wi-Fi antenna and restrooms. A big plus is that there is no campsite out from our front door. The Wi-Fi put the Wi-Fi in Rockport and Davis Mountains SP to SHAME. The OFM had been thinking the computer was giving up the ghost, but here it is running quickly without all the junk we were getting at the two previous places. The OFM paid for two nights but we may stay longer since the weather is supposed to be generally decent. He still has to figure out the altitude limitations. The stay at the Davis Mountains proved he is still a severe wimp.

Suring one of our walks around the park, a path through the salt cedar was chosen. A lot of the vegetation around here has died from thirst this year. The salt cedar trunks and limbs dry out into some strange configurations. Here is a trunk from one.

While we were ambulating around in the brush this track was spotted.


We think it is from the widely feared and dreaded chupacabra. What do you think? The OFM put us into stealth mode and got on out of the brush.


Into New Mexico

 Adventure Location: Brantley Lake State Park, New Mexico

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It did not take long before we were in New Mexico on Monday morning. The trip through Guadalupe Pass with a gasoline powered vehicle reminded the OFM of how much superior diesel engines are for towing. Sierra did just fine but had to work very hard to get us over the pass. We will need to plan routes more carefully with Sierra.

Soon after entering NM it was obvious the desert was different by the smell. Shortly after setting up camp, we noticed a new event in our travels. It was very hot and the sun was relentless with its power. Nearly every RV in the place had a rabbit or several under it. The shade and probably AC leaks made the location attractive to the cottontails.

When the OFM returned from a walk he noticed the Castle and the AC drainage from the roof had attracted our own cottontail. His name was Ralph Cottontail and was a distant cousin of Peter Cottontail.

Ralph Cottontail
In the afternoon the usual NM skies prevailed with scattered rain showers and wild cloud formations.

NM Clouds

A Walmart run was needed. It proved to be a non-adventure in the 102 degree heat. The Castle’s AC is working just fine now and we hope it keeps on doing its job.

Already the OFM’s altitude headache is easing off so our plans of some over 6000 feet camping will need to be revised. It will be interesting to see what happens next.


Inconvenience Strikes (Updated)

 Adventure Location: Seminole Canyon State Park, Texas

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Sierra pulled the Castle just fine. Our fuel mileage was only 10.5 but Sierra handled the Castle without a hint of hesitation. 300+ miles later we got settled in about 40 miles north of Del Rio Texas in the 99 degree heat for the night.
In the morning we are headed back for Del Rio in hopes we can find a repair place or person to put a new AC on the Castle.

The 10 year old Coleman with about 7 years of corrosive salt air wear on it has decided that it is ready to retire. After three hours of running it has cooled the Castle down about 6 degrees is all. It will be a hot night. We took a look inside the unit and the coils are very corroded from salt corrosion. There is a very loud squeak coming from deep in the darkness of the unit. The fan shaft is wobbling in the bearings. The whole unit is showing the miseries from being in the salt environment so long. All in all it is just like the OFM…all worn out.