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Bored Pelican, Port Aransas, TX

9/30/16

Bear Bryant in Texas


Adventure Location: Junction, TX

There is a historical marker down the road from the Teams campground. It is at the Texas Tech facility here in Junction. Form the marker we learned that “Bear” Bryant learned how to coach winning football teams here in Texas. Afterward he moved over to Alabama with that knowledge and made a name for himself and his teams.

 

9/29/16

Mystery Solved


Adventure Location: Junction, TX

We chased the mystery object reason for existing down today. It is a bridge abutment from one of the per-Interstate 10 bridges over the South Llano River. It probably was one of several that got washed out over the years.

The route across the river was reasonably easy to follow on the county park side. The abutment was approached by way of the loop road from I-10. When we got near the mystery item it was very visible from up on top. There was a surprise up on top of the abutment. A Disc Golf tee box was on top.

 
Here is the north edge of the abutment and the anchor bolts still in the concrete. It apparently was a single lane bridge.

 
The view from the top of the abutment made it easy to track the bridge when we got back down. The Disc Golf hole ran to the left just left of the car in the picture. The bridge route ran pretty much straight out.

 

When we searched the area down below it was obvious that some fill had occurred in the past. Most likely some flood silt had covered the area. We did find a couple of vertical steel columns that had been cut off at the dirt line. We would guess that there are concrete feet buried under the silt.

When we followed the route alignment down to the river, there were two footings still there in the river.

 
With a little luck tomorrow we will find where the old road went up into Junction through the city park. If we keep our eyes open we might even find something else of interest. It never hurts to keep a careful eye on everything around you when you are out being a Meanderthal.

9/28/16

SKREEEEEEEEEEECH


Adventure Location: Junction, TX

SKREEEEEEEEEEECH, BONK, SCWAAAAAK.

SKREEEEEEEEEEECH, BONK, SCWAAAAAK.

SKREEEEEEEEEEECH, BONK, SCWAAAAAK.

Any time there is a nice breeze we get this “special” serenade from the worn out windmill across the street next to the abandoned small house. It is not too bad during the day but during sleeping time it sometimes gets a bit undesirable.

The OFM took a picture of the serenading windmill. The abandoned house is to the down left of the windmill.

 
During one of our walks in the county park a long hollow tube was noticed in the dirt. It was about three and a half feet long. The OFM messed with it a few minutes trying to figure what sort of kid toy that he had never heard of the tube could be. Then he had a brain fart and realized it was the rib from a turkey tail feather. A lot of turkeys live in the area so he should have recognized it sooner. He is getting a bit slow in his ancientness. Here it is leaning against a tree.

 
There is a structure partially hidden in the brush on the side of the hill that we have noticed before.

 

If the weather is good enough we plan an expedition over there to determine what the structure is or was used to do. The Teams are welcoming an adventure for a change. There is not too much excitement around here but the town is a nice peaceful friendly place with good restaurants.

SKREEEEEEEEEEECH, BONK, SCWAAAAAK.

 

 

9/27/16

Mystery of the Universe


Adventure Location: Junction, Texas
Edit: The OFM is not causing all these garbage text changes.

The OFM has no idea why there was a broom propped against the wall of the office porch, but it was there. The new kittens were playing nearby and having a great time. The OFM noticed Momma cat was nearby as he left the porch. A few steps away he heard the handle of the broom hit the porch deck.

Usually he would just keep on walking but the disturbance in the FORCE was strong, so he looked back. Something looked odd through the uprights of the porch railing. The OFM headed back to see what was disturbing the FORCE so much. He spied the trouble right away.

One of the kitties was splayed out under the broom handle like a fresh poured pancake. Belly splat down and four legs were going everywhere. We have to give the kitty credit, it was not crying but it was not strong enough to do more than wiggle. The broom handle was square across the kitties “shoulders” pinning it down for the three count. Why the broom was knocked over will forever remain a mystery of the Universe.

First the OFM made sure Momma was ok with the Teams helping. She was. So the OFM lifted the broom off the kitty and set it on a nearby table. The kitty got up, looked around and meandered off to play with its fellow kitties like nothing had happened. Momma had already lain back down.

The OFM meandered on his way searching for adventure on the soaked ground of the campground. And the river was down to only two feet over normal.

9/26/16

Major Adventure


Adventure Location: Junction, TX

The OFM waited too long but my friend Scott is doing his best to help the OFM enjoy the Pecos River. Here is where you can enjoy part 2 of his last river adventure. http://www.flyrivermedia.com/dudes-trip-2016-part-2-rapid-success/#comment-12

The Junction City Park has a few tree stumps in it. Two of them have received some artistic changes. Here are the pictures of them. We think they are pretty neat.


 

9/25/16

Little Islands- Update 3


Adventure Location: Junction, TX

The rains came and stayed for a while. We are at South Llano River RV Park and Resort. Please do not confuse this in town commercial campground with the South Llano River State Park that is four miles south of town. The day has been spent wondering how high the water would get and pushing the walls of the Castle back into place as they slowly closed in from being inside too long.

We took these pictures from inside the Castle around 1600 today. Here is our front yard.

 
To the back of the Castle and to the right of the front yard is the county park which the Castle backs up to. Here is the county park.

 
Now looking forward toward Sienna and leaning out the Castle’s door in the rain we get this view of the driveway for our site and a view of some of the rest of the campground.

 
And the last picture is from the kitchen window of the Castle of our neighbor’s front yard.

 
The OFM does not have any tall rubber boots at this time.

Update 1: About 45 minutes after publishing the above blog, the owner and maintenance man came around to see why we suddenly had all this flooding. It seems that the water now flows from the county park into the campground because a low dike was breached. The campground owner says they will be fixing that mess as soon as it dries enough to get his equipment into the area.

Update 2: About 2145 the OFM was notified by the maintenance man that the Sherriff had just come to the campground telling us of an expected rise in the river of 6-9 feet tonight. The Castle is above that level so we should not have any trouble. It could be interesting pictures in the morning.

Update 3: The river rose some and the water is already receding. The Teams never had any real danger thank goodness. The campsite construction schedule has definitely been given a setback.

 

9/24/16

Life Decisions


Adventure Location: Junction, TX

The OFM has been on a testing himself journey this last two months. He has found that his eliminating bicycle riding from his life to be a wise decision. There are a few other small things also. He has recently proven he has no business climbing steep trails and even less business coming down steep trails. His altitude ability has lowered a few hundred feet to the 4800 feet elevation. That is for sustained living. A major part of aging well is finding out what you have to do to accommodate the aging without just sitting down and waiting to die.

Today we got a good start on accommodating the aging and decrepitness. The OFM likes the saltwater fishing and beachcombing and his body seems to agree with it also. With that in mind and the winter closing in he chose to take a spot in Rockport Texas again for the winter. It is a fortunate event that he was able to get a spot because the whole Corpus Christi Texas area seemed booked solid for the winter. We plan to use that spot a base for some trips during the colder weather.

We are planning on the trips to be motel based for traveling fast. Why travel fast? We have been on the road 9 years in another week and have seen most all the country the OFM wanted to see at least twice. Now we are thinking just get to the special spot and spend the time there. The travel may be flying or driving but towing the Castle is not part of the plan at this time. Of course that may change at any moment. In other words we are planning on coming off the Rving road for other alternatives.

The Castle will still be our home and will be maintained in ready to go condition. We have not seen any reason to stop living in the Castle. With the cessation of a few activities the Castle now has even more empty cabinets than before. With fewer toys now, the OFM does not need a place to store the toys and the maintenance things that goes with the toys. In other words we are getting lighter again. However the OFM did order himself a set of professional level oil pastels to use in his “art” hobby. As if he would ever come close to that level of performance, but sometimes the Teams have to humor him.

The OFM feels that as long as he is still alive to keep adjusting and visit Gavinland now and then he is doing well.

 

9/22/16

Tree Tales


Adventure Location: Junction, TX

Many of the old trees in the county park have been injured time and time again. They have some picturesque scars. This particular tree is the most scarred of them all. The OFM took these four pictures of the most major of the scars on the tree. It is quite dramatic to stand close to these trees and check out the history showing on the outside. We wondered what sort of stories these trees could tell us if they could talk. Here is just one tree of many.




To the Teams a lot of different faces were seen in the healed areas. Do you see any?

9/20/16

Dam Ducks-Update


Adventure Location: Lake Junction, Texas

An early morning walk caught up with the ducks out for a swim near the bridge. It was a peaceful time.

 

The Castle is parked nearly under the end of the bridge. Sometimes early in the morning and late in the evening it gets a bit loud for a few minutes but the rest of the time it seldom gets a vehicle going across. There is a marker on one of the bridge supports showing where the Great Flood came to ( http://www.texasescapes.com/TexasRivers/Texas-Flood-of-1935.htm ). The marker is about three feet under the metal part of the bridge. The Castle would have had about eight feet of water over it.

As the walk swung around and over to the dam we saw that the ducks had outrun us. They were feeding on the top of the dam and down the face of the dam. You might say they are a bunch of Dam Ducks.

 
Upstream from the dam a nice ways is the required rope swing. This afternoon two kids were having a great time making big splashes in the lake. They were very active about using the swing and their laughter could be heard a long ways away.

 
This morning the OFM managed to catch a nice picture when the sun was just right on the river below the dam. It took some cropping but the color balance is pretty well how it was when the shutter was pressed. We think it is a nice picture.

 

9/19/16

Great Scenery


Adventure Location: Junction, Texas

For some really great fun areas see http://www.flyrivermedia.com/dudes-trip-2016-part-1/

Scott goes on some really neat adventures.

This county park behind the Castle has a nice feature we call the Hall Of Trees. The old pecan trees line the eastern perimeter and interlace over a nice walking area. On the very hot days like we are having lately, it makes a much less miserable walk to get some decent exercise. A loop of the park and back to the Castle is one mile.

 
Within this park is a Frisbee golf course. It seems like that might be fun once in a while. One hole has a unique hazard. There is a Texas sized pebble right next to the disc catcher. A bad shot off the pebble might lead to an interesting next shot.

 
On around the park where the lake dam is located is usually a good spot to stop in the shade and cool off for a minute. On this day the lake was about an inch higher than the dam. Little waves were washing over the dam and creating interesting extra wavelets going down the face of the dam.

 
The OFM was fortunate that there are many benches in the area. Even more fortunate is all the pecan trees giving away free food. The OFM sat on the bench “to rest his knee” for several minutes and ate fresh fallen pecans. He scattered the shells around but still left evidence of the feast at the foot of the bench.

 
We walked on down and near where you can get close to the water and fish. In the afternoon he caught a small Largemouth Bass. Thanks to the OFM using barbless hooks the little bass was easy to release. It waved bye bye with its tail and whoosh was gone.

We will be glad when the temps drop out of the 90s next week.  The Castle does get small after a long session of staying inside.

OOPS we nearly forgot. The OFM actually crawled under the Castle and got the brake wiring all repaired and once again checked the copper tubing LPG lines. Everything is good to go now.

9/18/16

Odd Ducks


 Adventure Location: Junction, Texas

Click on the pic to enlarge it.

The day was very HOT. About 1700 the OFM went outside and that glass tube with the red stuff in it told him it was 100f in the shade of the oak tree. We turned the AC on at 1100 and it has been running frequently all the rest of the day.

The OFM did crawl back under the Castle and re-examine and re-verify what was there. Then he went back on the internet to check his findings versus the way things should be. Yep he has the right things to fix it and verified that he knows what needs to be done. Most importantly he is competent to do the repair. So now we have something to do tomorrow.

For tonight we have a few sights to show you of the area. The first and most surprising thing to the Teams is there has arrived in the Lake a flotilla of BLACK ducks. They are totally black, a very dark black. In this picture they are not backlighted, they are really that dark.

 
We do not remember ever seeing totally black ducks before.

During a slow stroll in the heat around the county park next door we encountered this nice view of the Lake Junction Dam through the shoreline trees.

 
Also growing in the area are thistles with very pretty “flowers”. Here is a picture of one of them.

 
This area does not seem to have gotten as much rain as other parts of Texas. There are large cracks in the ground all over the county park. Some are large enough to twist an ankle if you step into it.

A quick glance out the window shows that we have a dark cloud cover out there. With a little luck we might get some cooling rain.

9/17/16

Damage Report


 Adventure Location: Junction, Texas

Click on the pic to enlarge it.

The OFM did not get rolling bright and early this morning. However it was a very successful day. The trip into Kerrville was pleasant and the Walmart had the tire we wanted in stock. In fact they had ten of them in stock.

To our surprise they were ready to get to work on it very quickly. The tire changer tech had some “fun” getting those two “hula skirts”, as he called them, of left over tire off the rim. The equipment was having a rough time getting enough left over tire to grab to pull them loose from the sealing surface. The OFM decided we needed to go shopping instead of watching the misery.

After wandering the store and finding they did not stock FishBites and a couple of other items, we headed back to the Auto section of the store. The counter lady saw the Teams coming and told us our tire was ready. $120 later we were on our way back to the Castle.

When we got that heavy tire back up on the bumper rack, the Castle mentioned how nice it was to have a new spare tire riding back there. The Castle likes for the Teams to be properly prepared for travel.


 
The maintenance worker at the campground stopped by just after we pulled in to tell us the water would be off for a while due to someone causing a leak at their site. It is good the Castle has some water in the fresh water supply tank.

After the tire was mounted and secured, the OFM applied his effort to the gray water valve handle that was damaged by the tire explosion. Some serious brute force bending and some skillful plier application resulted in a repair to the handle that should last. A little lubrication with the proper silicone lubricant and in less than an hour we have a decently but not like new functioning gray water tank valve. This was good news.

Other damage was noticed though.  The tire tread had smashed the copper tubing going to the refrigerator to about half flat. We are very glad that Arctic Fox used oversize tubing for strength. The refrigerator still has plenty of propane flow to work for boondocking. A bubble test of the line showed no leaks. We got very lucky on that issue.

A few other very minor abrasions were found under the Castle but none of serious consequence.

The brake wiring to that wheel has only one brake wire that was broken. The damage was surveyed and tomorrow we hope to get that wiring put back into good repair. It is 94 outside at 1700 and the OFM will wait for the cooler morning air for that repair effort. We feel that we have been very fortunate with this tire explosion event.

9/16/16

Rest and Destress Day


 Adventure Location: Junction, Texas

Click on the pic to enlarge it.

The OFM is starting to feel better after all the stress from yesterday. The campground is in a state of major size increase and large construction equipment is running around constructing the dirt part of the new section. It should be pretty decent when it is all finished.

In the meant time here is our site. The construction zone is behind the OFM when he took the picture.

 
That is the bridge over the South Llano River above the Castle. The large county park is right behind the Castle. It is a very nice walk around the park in the shade of old pecan trees. On the other side of Lake Junction is the Junction City Park where you are allowed to boondock for three nights for free.

When you sit at the table in the Castle this is the view you get under the bridge and through the county park.

 
On our first day here the OFM walked across the construction dirt to Lake Junction and took this picture from the shore. A good chunk of this campground has river/lake frontage with decent paddle craft access.

 
Today the OFM went to the grocery store and purchased his new fishing license. We also learned we can purchase the new tire for the Castle at Walmart in Kerrville. We have reports of lots of large catfish in Lake Junction so when we go to Walmart we will buy some Fishbites if they are available.

Over the last few years we have explored most of this area carefully but we intend to do some more exploring over the next four weeks. It soon should be getting a bit cooler here in the Texas Hill Country. That will make the walking be a lot more pleasant.

9/15/16

Thump Thump


 Adventure Location: Lake Amistad Area, Texas

Click on the pic to enlarge it.

The OFM took the picture of the deer and did some fantastic magic with it. Now it is in an un-natural state but the deer image is much easier to see.

 
We were rolling along nicely today when there was a thump thump from the Castle. The OFM glanced in the mirror in time to see tire chunks flying down the highway. No difference in the handling could be felt. So we slowed down and quickly found a place to pull over to check things. It was not good. The driver side rear trailer tire had disintegrated. Air pressure had been checked right before we pulled out. The trouble was likely caused by road trash putting a hole in the tire.

Here is the wheel and the tire residue after we got the rim off the hub.

 

It was bad enough to have to change the tire for the spare, but when we got the blown tire off the Castle things got worse. The whole tread was wrapped around the axle behind the backing plate for the brakes and the leaf springs.

 
The OFM proved to be insufficient in strength to pull it loose. While the OFM was on the phone to our road service group a nice young man stopped to help us. The OFM finished telling the road service where we were located in the middle of nowhere. Then we went to see about the young man. He was struggling with the tread. The OFM did what he could to help but the heat was nearly too much for him to do anything.

The young man finally managed to get the tread off. It was a miracle. Then the OFM put the spare tire on and tightened the lug nuts. After trying to tip the young man and being refused, the OFM thanked him profusely. The young man was a genuine angel. Next the OFM called the road service back to cancel the emergency. He found out they were not having luck finding a road service to come out to the middle of nowhere, but were still trying. It was about an hour and a half of no fun at all.

Tomorrow starts the search for a replacement tire. At least we made it to Junction Texas and a campground with no more excitement. We wonder if the OFM is getting too old for that kind of fun,

9/14/16

Checking for Changes


 Adventure Location: Lake Amistad Area, Texas

Click on the pic to enlarge it.

We headed south to here yesterday for an event. When we were about 80% of the way to Lake Amistad from Davis Mountains SP, an email was received cancelling all the plans. The Teams took a roadside vote and decided to come on to the area and check it out for changes in case there had been some. Not much changed in the last year or even in the last few years. BillyBobs tree is still here and doing well.

We feel at this time that the Lake Amistad area will be our wintering location for 2016/2017. It just has a great feel to the OFM and a lake full of fish.

During the checking of things we had a surprise.  At one of the campgrounds we use is a boat ramp that has not made it to the water in several years. The OFM has been using that ramp as a walking road down to the cliffs that did go into the water. Today we were surprised to fine the end of the ramp in the water. The last time we were here it was about a hundred feet down a sloped dirt bank to the water.

 
In the picture above the OFM used to walk out through that brush in the water to a trail that lead away from the ramp to the left and along a fish laden creek. Now you need a kayak to get over to that area. To the right of the ramp end was a wide trail that led down through the brush to the cliff edge trail along the water. In the picture below that opening through the brush is where the trail went. The fisherman you see in the boat was staying busy unhooking fish while we were there.

 
It is a good camping location with picnic table and shade shelter at each campsite. Two vault toilets are also in the campground. Patrols by the Border Patrol, National Park Police and County Police are frequent. The Teams feel very safe in this area.

We got a big surprise when we went to use a vault toilet and cruised right up to it in Sierra.

 
When we stopped that critter looked up from his nap and just stared at us. We decided to just take the picture and go to another necessity shack nearby. You never know what you will stumble upon out in the desert.

Sunset tonight was an unusual multi-pastel sky. The camera did not pick up all the subtleties of the hues in the sky. Here is the best we could get it to look. It was definitely pretty.

 

 

9/13/16

Pecos River


 Adventure Location: Pecos River, Texas

Click on the pic to enlarge it.

West Texas is catching lots of rain these days. This afternoon we crossed the Pecos River near the mouth of the river. The surprise was the small amount of water in the river in spite of all the rain upstream.

 
There is still only a little trickle of water exiting the river through the sandbar into the Rio Grande.

At least the high bridge of highway 90 over the river is still looking good.

 
The day was beautiful. This evening a couple of rain squalls came through the area but we did not get rained on for a change.

9/12/16

Rain Storms Again


 Adventure Location: Balmorhea SP, Texas

Click on the pic to enlarge it.

West Texas is catching lots of rain these days. This afternoon we had an extremely severe storm of rain and wind. From a little jar that was sitting out we got over an inch of rain in about twenty minutes. Those storm cells can frequently be seen in several locations around us at the same time.

Tomorrow is rolling day and we know exactly where we will go first. We are headed to the front gate of the park. After that we have to make choices again.

The Castle had a nice location for this stay. Here is a nice picture from across the campground.

 
During walks around we found a few interesting things. Right after we finished the setting up, a wonderful fragrance came wafting through the campsite. The OFM just had to track it down. It comes from some brush flowers near the Castle. The very little white flowers are a very sweet fragrance and abundant on the shrubbery.

 
One of the many dramatic clouds we have been blessed with during the last few days looked like an explosion of some sort. However over the course of the last three days several of these have occurred in different places. It does catch our attention.

 

Over at the marsh land pond is a very large turtle. This turtle must be 18 inches long and 13 inches across. In this picture all of it but its snout and eyes are underwater. Look at those claws.

 
And these quail gathered at an unusual spot.  We call it Quail on the Barby.

Quail on the Barby
We are getting short on food so we have to find a decent grocery store very soon. Sometimes those are hard to find in the Chihuahua Desert.

9/11/16

Elmer


 Adventure Location: Balmorhea SP, Texas

Click on the pic to enlarge it.

We got on the road bright and early this morning around 1245. It was a long hard trip that got us to Balmorhea SP about 1330.  The set up went easy and by 1400 we were in relax mode. This place is about 1500 feet lower than Davis Mountains SP and 15 degrees hotter. There was little cloud cover to divert the hot West Texas scorching sun. The air temperature was about 85 F.

Later in the evening after a fantastic supper of chicken enchiladas the OFM did some kicking back in the shade of the Castle. Soon there were cottontail rabbits scampering all over the place. Then along came an arrogant roadrunner named Elmer. Elmer hopped onto a curb nearby and commenced to tell us all about it.

 
After he finished that lecture he sauntered along the curb to head behind where the OFM was sitting. Elmer passed about four feet from the OFM’s feet then suddenly broke into a screaming fast run. The big surprise was that the OFM was quick enough to get a picture of Elmer in full stride.

 
Elmer quickly disappeared under Sierra and that was the end of it we thought. So when the OFM Photography Team decided to meander around looking for pictures for our readers, it was a surprise to see Elmer on top of Sierra. At first Elmer had an “I dare you to do anything” look in his eye.

 
When the OFM did not scare all that easily, Elmer tried the fluff up his feathers and scare us routine.  Elmer did not seem to understand how small he was compared to the OFM.

 

 We left him with his attitude and headed off to find some more pictures worth being on the blog. We found a lot of pictures and got some that are pretty neat. They will be coming in the future.

And for the finale for tonight is a special picture for Dizzy again. The clouds this evening have been wild. This was our cloudy sunset. The clouds were changing every couple of minutes and the OFM finally had to just choose one from many that were taken.