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Water Diamonds, Lake Amistad, TX

12/31/16

Bird Talk

Adventure Location: Rockport, Texas

The camera we have had for years is getting to be a big pain with all the trash that keeps accumulating inside it. For the last two years the Teams have worked around the trash to take usable pictures. The OFM has decided to get a new camera as soon as money and opportunity arrive at the same place at the same time.

Here is an example of a picture we took this afternoon down at the pier.

 


Notice all the disturbances in the picture. We want nice pictures again but it may be a bit before that happens.

As an example of the cropping and devilment the OFM goes through, here is the same picture cropped for our blog.



Another picture received a lot of cropping to come up with this bit photography.



There is not any way to clean the trash out without spending more than a new camera would cost.We have blown into the camera with compressed air. We have sucked through the camera with our shop vacuum. All we get for our troubles is the dirt changes places on the chip. In the world of easily carried cameras (shirt pocket size) optical viewfinders are non-existent. So the OFM is trying out cameras to see what the next least undesirable option might be. We really want to be able to record our attempts at trying to have tooooo much fun.



12/30/16

SPLATTER

Adventure Location: Rockport, Texas

Splatter was the final sound of the OFM Teams plans for January 1, 2017. No matter how the OFM rearranged his hitch itch plans, they did not fit together in the time frame he needed them to fit. So today the OFM checked with the campground owner about a solution. He got very lucky that a cancellation had happened. The OFM Teams have signed up for January here in Rockport. That will give the OFM some working room with his hitch itch planning. For right now, there will be “No Room at the Inn” for the Teams come Feb.1. We will have to move by then if not sooner.

Meanwhile Eddy from Utah cooked his second ever brisket in the outdoor BBQ pit. Man o Man he is a natural. It was wonderful. With a little luck he will “practice” again before we move out. WAY TO GO EDDY!!!!!

The OFM is hoping that having sufficient breathing room for planning will result in some time for trying to have tooooo much fun.

12/27/16

Destination Chosen

Adventure Location: Rockport, Texas

We have to visit with the eye doctor in the morning in hopes of getting the all clear to head out soon. Sure enough something has come up to keep us here in Rockport a bit longer. Master Chef Eddy is fixing a brisket Friday for our devouring. It promised to be a great meal with enormous quantities of swell belly in residence. It is reasonable to assume that some nap time will be required that afternoon.
Assuming that everything goes properly, the OFM Teams are headed for Lake Amistad National Recreation Area Sunday morning. This will be the start of the 2017 wandering with a special event, that is a secret for now, coming up soon. In the meantime try this out for a picture from the soon to be home near Del Rio.




That surely has to be a great place for trying to have too much fun.

12/25/16

Perfect Weather

Adventure Location: Rockport, Texas

It has been a very busy day. It got up to 77 degrees F. with bright sunshine and gentle breezes. Perfect weather for playing with new toys.

Over at the fishing tackle store Santa has been reminding folks that fishing tackle makes wonderful gifts.




The campground owners came through last night bringing wonderful peanut brittle to everyone. The Teams had magic peanut brittle that evaporated after just one bite or it seemed that way. It was very EXCELLENT.




Then later a neighbor gave the OFM a largemouth bass he caught at the store. It was chocolate and very good also.




Now all that is left to do is start getting the rig ready for travel next Sunday. We intend to hit up San Pedro Campground on Lake Amistad and check on the old Billy Bob tree. It promises to be a fabulous year coming up. We are planning on lots of chances of trying to have tooooo much fun.







 

12/23/16

Fat City Tomorrow

Adventure Location: Rockport , TX

There was not much adventure today but there was a lot of very nice warm day.



Down around the Rockport Beach area were plenty of gulls out sunbathing.



As far as the OFM, he mainly just lollygagged around being old fat and homely. Gosh he enjoyed it.

The Teams are joining a feast at a local buffet place for lunch tomorrow. We have a concensus that we will all not need any more food until next Monday if we do it right.



What do you call someone that is afraid of Santa Claus?

 

 

Claustraphobic.



 

12/21/16

Special Marsh

Adventure Location: Aransas Pass, TX

A few days ago on a cold windy early morning ride the OFM Riding Around Team happened to stop near the marsh area close to Aransas Pass Community Swimming Pool. We were just looking around to see who knows what. It turned out to be a nice morning adventure. Lots of wildlife was seen. They were way to quick for the OFM and his Camera to get pictures. However the marsh grass, mud and water was slow enough we got a few pictures of them.

The kayak launch there is right next to the community swimming pool so this area is a secret except for about 2,000,000 folks. It is a well done launch point that leads immediately into very fishy waters.Don’t expect to find world record size fish in here but world record quality of fish for eating is readily available.

 

When you first leave the launch area you enter one of the many shallow lakes in this small 5 square mile marsh. They usually range from very shallow down to around four feet deep. The bottom in the area varies from black muck to hard sand. Oyster reefs are scattered in many areas.

 
An important part of the eco system here is the multiple cuts through the barrier oyster reef bordering the IntraCoastal Waterway. You can park your yak right next to a channel and be protected from the boat wash of the traffic on the ICW. It makes for a very productive fishing experience while being exceptionally safe for being so close to the big fish action. Think hundred pound fish.

Also in this area are these large mud flats that get covered and uncovered by the tidal salt water. They are a special highly productive area for some of the fish species. This is the realm of the ultra shallow fishing nuts. A five pound red fish in four inches of water is a never to be forgotten experience of a lifetime. It is definitely very close quarters fishing. Expect to get water, mud,grasses and who knows what else flung onto your body. Man O Man it is great fun on a bad day.

 

The best we could do for a panorama picture is below. It covers about half of the fishing area. A really strong yakker fishing heavily will need a very full day to really cover this small area. The ODD part is the OFM sees someone out here only about one trip in 15. But he doesn’t mind this being his special fishing hole.

 

While there on this day we were accidentally able to get a picture of one of the shallow flats boats running in the ICW. Power boats seldom fight all the shallows to attempt to fish this area. We like that .

 

If you get a chance to fish this it pretty much has to be from a very shallow draft boat. If you step off into some of that sticky soft mud, you might never leave the area or be found again.



12/19/16

Corrosion


Adventure Location: Rockport, TX
 
Cold and miserable is the weather here for now. How cold is it? For warm bodies critters it is way colder than the ambient temperature. With the strong cold wet knife winds cutting through your body it plain old hurts. This bird was not having much fun it seemed.




How bad is the corrosion down here on the saltwater coast is a repeated question we get. Another question is “is it really as bad as you say?”. Here is what we discovered today and you choose if it is bad with corrosion down here. We arrived on October 3 with a Verizon Jet Pack working.




Since there is wifi that works somewhat in the campground, the Jet Pack was turned off and placed on a ledge next to the table. As we started preparations for leaving for the desert on January 1, 2017, the Jet Pack was brought up to the table to verify it was ready for use when boon-docking in the desert. Nope it would not connect to anything. Hmmmm.

So the Verizon account was opened on the computer. Yep the bill got paid so that is not the trouble. Next the troubleshooting guide on the web-site was opened and we started the trouble shooting. About eight steps later we got to the part where you take the battery out so you can take the Sim card out, whatever that it. The instructions were very adamant to be careful with it.

The OFM had trouble getting it to come out. Finally he noticed the corrosion on the contacts. The contacts were polished with a handkerchief and the card replaced. The battery was checked and it had some discoloration of corrosion cleaned off even though it still worked. The Jet Pack was put back together. Lo and Behold everything worked again. It was the corrosion on the contacts of the Sim card inside the case that was the trouble. The case had never been outside the Castle since the Castle has been Rockport this trip. You make the judgment call as to whether we have lots of corrosion here or not.

For fun and giggles the OFM has started another painting. He has made this rough sketch of his planned painting. This is the sketch where he will be erasing and redrawing the scene until he is ready to start the actual painting. The scene was inspired by a water runoff at the Homer Wilson line cabin in Big Bend National Park.




We hope to make it a presentable painting sometime in 2017.

12/18/16

Hugging Warmth

Adventure Location: Rockport, TX

Cold and miserable is the weather here for now. The OFM was hugging warm places today. It was below 40 here most of the day and naturally nice and damp thanks to being right on the coast.

The OFM occasionally does sketches of things he hopes to turn into a painting. Today he started in on a preliminary painting of a West Texas scene he had sketched about a year ago. It was looking so bad he decided it would be better to view a few hundred teaching videos on the Internet. So he did. Now he knows lots of more things he doesn’t do right. But you can be certain that he is having a great time smearing soft oil pastels all over the paper.

Everyone have a Happy Holidays and try to have more fun than the OFM Teams.

12/17/16

OFM Tree

Adventure Location: Rockport, TX

The OFM forced some of the Team members to go with him on a nice walk this morning. It was at the Community Park. This park has more than two miles of trails. The trails are like a bunch of loops that intersect with each other now and then. That gives you lots of options on how far you can walk without repeating a stretch of trail.

It was a huge surprise to see a tree this morning that reminded us of the OFM. Check out this tree carefully and you will see what we mean.



Yep it is just like the OFM. Used, worn, abused and rotten to the core.

For some reason some folks have gotten the idea that Comfort Castle is parked in a location with lots of room all around us. We wish that was true and the OFM would really love it. The truth is far from that. Rockport is a very small area/town and has an unreal quantity or winter Texans when it is cold time and an even bigger quantity of fisher folks the rest of the year. The campground here is a pretty much standard campground with RVs lined up one after another.

At this place the owners are some of the finest folks you will ever meet and that makes a major difference. But make no mistake we are in the middle of Rockport and not out in the wilderness. Almost anything you can need is within a very few miles of the Castle. Like most campgrounds around here there is a long waiting list to get in here. Here is a picture taken from the front door of the Castle this afternoon. As you can see we are not isolated.



It is still one of the better places in the area. There are some much more expensive and fancier but they are not necessarily better. The name of this Campground is Angler’s RV Retreat in Rockport, Texas. They have a good web site if you wish details.

12/16/16

Good Onion

Adventure Location: Rockport, TX

The OFM has fallen in love with a type of onion. It is a sweeter onion of the green onion variety. He gets them at Walmart and they look like this.



Tonight he got busy with some chicken breast and chopped it up. It went into the stir fry pot with a dab of oliver oil, coarse black pepper and powdered garlic. A low fire was heating it up in the covered pot while the other ingredients were prepared. A small yellow crook neck squash was thinly sliced. Slicing it thin helps it cook more quickly. Then a few leaves of Napa Cabbage were chopped. Lastly the onion was coarse sliced. Coarse slicing keeps the onion from cooking to quickly.

When the chicken was completely cooked, the vegetables were added to the pot with 2 tablespoons of water. The contents were intermingled well and the lid put on the pot for a few minutes of steaming over medium flame. About two minutes before the vegetables were finished a couple of glops of Italian dressing was added. The entire assembly was thoroughly stirred and agitated into uniform coverage of the food with the dressing. The lid was replaced on the pot for about two minutes of steaming.



Then the food was dished out onto a plate and a picture taken for everyone to admire the wonderful supper awaiting the OFM. Yep it was good.

This was the best of a day interrupted about noon by a really bad migraine.

12/15/16

Rolling Date

Adventure Location: Rockport, TX

The OFM has been spending a lot of time in bed recovering from something that made him very tired easily for the last three days. At least he is getting his energy levels back enough to PLAN for our rolling date. After a last medical test late in the week after Christmas, we will be rolling on January 1, 2017. Nothing is quite so good as starting a new year by scratching some serious hitch itch.

The OFM’s medical testing bad news has shown some evidence of glaucoma developing in his eyes. The good news it is easily treated and stabilized. Glaucoma is not currently reversible but is stoppable. Tonight he starts a new life time effort of special eye drops every night. His other choice is to go blind in a few years. After 65 have your eyes checked frequently for glaucoma and save yourself some serious misery.

This morning was cold, moist and very windy. Still two very hardy men (Don and Eddy) from the campground went out early to gather in fish. There was fish caught down at the pier. A regular catcher man was there and caught several fish. All of them were slightly too short to be legal to keep. He is known as Santa Claus for some reason the OFM cannot figure out why.



By the time the OFM made it to the pier, after a lazy morning and breakfast, the sun was rising up for what looked like a good beginning for the day. In reality it was still quite cold.



Not too long after the OFM got there Don and Eddy were finally ready to leave the cold for a while. So we all gathered at Whataburger for warmth and refreshment of the cold bodies. But before they left the pier we had to have a fishing team picture of them.



Aren’t they a happy crew?

After the warming, the OFM talked them into trying once more. We did not last very long before it was unanimous to get back out of the cold. We all scattered for warm trailers. Maybe tomorrow will result in a huge haul of fish for a fish fry.

12/11/16

Another Spy

Adventure Location: Rockport, TX

Fantastically beautiful describes most of our day today. Bright sun and cool breezes followed the Teams on their exploring adventures. At one location there was an explosion of beautiful flowers. Pink and creme make for some dazzling displays of beauty in flowers. OFM does not look good in pink and creme. Check out this beauty.



We made it to a few places just meandering around the areas. One area is known as Light House Lakes. It is a large marsh area with small channels that go all over the place. It is very easy to wander around for hours and get so turned around that you are in trouble. You might be able to see across the grasses and muck to the place you want to go back to but there is such a maze of routes that may or may not lead you to a good place that it is not unusual for someone to have to spend a miserable night in their yak slapping mosquitos. The OFM does not go play in the marsh in this area.

However right across the channel from LHL is the LHL Park for day use. Sierra took us to one of the parking spots to do a bit of checking out of things. We had not been there in quite a while. This shows the sand trail to the water. It is also one of the places you can drag a paddle boat to launch.



It is about a hundred feet from the parking to the water. When the OFM got to the water there was about a foot of dry sand between the waters edge and the weeds. As he was standing there looking around he felt his feet sink a little. When he looked down it was obvious the tide was coming in and his feet were about to get soaked. He quick hopped up onto a rise in the sand to save his feet. Please do not try to visualize 200 pounds of blubber “hopping”. It would be a horrible sight.

Just to our left was the actual normal launch site. It is a good sand bottom with a gentle slope. The grasses on each side help keep the wave action to a minimum.



As is usual for this area you get the feeling of being spied upon. By carefully and stealthily slithering around we found the spy and got a picture of it. Not a movement could happen without it being seen. Right after this picture was taken the spy realized it had been spotted and left the area with loud squawk.



It was definitely a great day of trying to have tooooo much fun.

12/10/16

The Boondork

Adventure Location: Rockport, TX

It has been a very productive day so far. The OFM had Sierra at the Rockport Mail Center when it opened this morning. On board Sierra was all the Christmas presents that needed to be sent to Alabama. The crowd was negligible and in a few minutes and dollars the Teams had that chore completed. We headed back to the Castle and the Christmas card chore.

After a bit of diligent effort the Christmas cards were all ready for mailing. Sierra happily accepted the next load and off to the Post Office we went. The drive thru mail deposit box got loaded up and away Sierra went with great joy. Since we were near Walmart that was the next stop for a couple of things to make life go smoother. and in the twinkling of an eye we were all back to the Castle.

The normal highly critical things that Sierra carries, fishing equipment, were loaded back into Sierra.

Now it was 1030 and time to rest a minute. A critical look around at the Castle showed that the disaster of the last few weeks of Christmas shopping was showing inside. It was time to start the holiday recovery process. So the OFM took a nap.

Yesterday we were the guide for Tom from Colorado for fishing spots near North Padre Island. We had several hours of good visiting and touring the fishing places down that way. While at Packery Channel we were fortunate enough to see a small black drum caught. That made Tom anxious to get out and catch some fish. You can catch up with Tom at his blog http://www.theboondork.com/ . He has some nice pictures over there like this one of North Padre Island.


 

12/8/16

Knock The Top Off

Adventure Location: Rockport, TX

The day turned out to be just plain old ugly. Cold and damp for most of the day. Then tonight it was a light rain and 45 when the OFM just had to get out of the Castle for a few minutes. A grilled chicken sandwich and conversation with an old guy of 93 that was planning on a trip up to north Texas to see his daughter this weekend helped the OFM’s spirits a lot.

Down at the fishing pier was a sight we have never seen before. Somebody managed to knock the top off a boulder. That boulder is a bit over 24 inches across. It took a pretty stout event to knock that layer off the boulder.



The OFM spent most of the cramped inside day studying about painting with oil pastels, oil paints and watercolors. The decision was to eliminate the oil paints and water colors because the oil pastels were so much easier to use without all the extra junk the other mediums require. The oil pastels need only the pastel sticks, something to paint on and paper towels to wipe your fingers. No bowls, soap and water cleanup, no extra devices or nothing is required. Simple to the point art is great. And when (not if) he makes a mistake you just scrape the mistake off and try again. It was still a long day inside a small room even with all the education going on.



12/7/16

Study Time

Adventure Location: Rockport, TX

The day turned out to be not nice for fishing or beach combing so we came back to the Castle and put the OFM to work studying about painting with oil pastels. He did manage to find out several things bad about his technique so we have hope again.

Recall that we will be rolling onward between Christmas and New Years Day. Considering plans or planning some of the near future events brought an Old song to his mind. It goes like this

Oh give me a home

where the buffalo roam

and I will show you a dirty house.
At least that is how the OFM recalls it.

Anyway we have a tentative plan for now of getting ourselves over to these locations:

Lake Amistad for some kayak fun and walking/photography fun

The Pecos River mouth for more kayak fun

Rough Canyon Area for camping and kayaking near the boat ramp area

Big Bend National Park for some walking (not hiking) and photography

Seminole Canyon State Park for more walking/photography fun

That is enough listing but be very assured that there is still a few years of things the OFM Teams have not seen out in that part of Texas. The temperature in that area will hit uncomfortable highs by May 1. So we do not have any extra time for wasting.

The evening meal was a great success. Stoup was again on the menu. Tonight it was a can of Navy beans, a can of creamed corn, some thin sliced sausage, thin sliced celery, coarse ground black pepper, garlic powder, ground cloves, fat bulb Mexico grown onion. Bring to a boil and simmer for five minutes. Kill the flame and let it be still and mingle the flavors for about five minute. Then serve. Put any remainder into storage containers and freeze for later enjoyment. It was better than it looks.



Time is getting short for preparations for desert living again so we will be busy preparing for great boondocking out in West Texas.

12/6/16

Weak Hands

Adventure Location: Rockport, TX

A couple of weeks ago the OFM received some professional level oil pastels to play with. Tonight he finished (gave up as being beyond saving) on a sunrise painting he has been working on.

The major surprise has been the hand and finger strength required to push these colors around. He could work on blending and pushing a color for about twenty minutes before his hands needed a major rest. Those utube videos make it look easy. It isn’t.

Since this is our his first attempt we did not expect much and we got it. Gypsy if you show your attempts then the OFM should show his less than perfect attempts also don’t you think?

Mean while here is the disaster after the final error.

Sunrise
One thing we know for certain is that watercolor is a lot less strenuous than oil pastels.

12/5/16

Winter Scenery

Adventure Location: Rockport, TX

Thirsty kept us nice and dry for the night. That gave the frisky OFM (frisky???) the idea of running around in the winter weather taking pictures so that our readers can see what the beginning of winter looks like here in the central coastal area of Texas.

The location of our meandering adventure ended up being in the town of Fulton near the harbor and convention center. It is a pleasant area on the waterfront. Occasionally the OFM fishes at this location and other times he has done exercise walking around the area. Today he paid attention to winter scenes for our readers. Here is the entrance to the convention center.



There is a nice bench for resting nearby with decent views of the area.



These next pictures are of one of the main winter attraction for all the visitors down here from the snow country.

 
 
 
 
 


Gathering these pictures was a nice way of relaxing for a good while today.



12/4/16

Thirsty

Adventure Location: Rockport, TX

Our newest Team member has been named. Everyone welcome Thirsty to the Teams. Thirsty is a very important member whose job is to keep the OFM from rusting. WELCOME Thirsty.

12/3/16

No Water

Adventure Location: Rockport, TX

The wet air and chilly temperature today soon had the Castle running water down the inside of the windows. Between the saturated air and the water vapor from cooking, making hot chocolate and just breathing we had a case of too much water for the air to hold it all. Obviously we needed another dehumidifier to keep the Castle from turning green inside. We have experienced algae growth in the Castle before and it is not nice.

Late morning saw Sierra taking the OFM to Walmart to purchase a dehumidifier. $175 dollars later a dehumidifier joined the Teams and went to work. Remember that the Castle is a very small trailer which causes the interior to be unable to hold much water in the air without leaking water onto everything. The dehumidifier worked very well and in a half hour the inside of the Castle was much better. Now this evening the air is feeling very nice inside.

Yes, the new dehumidifier is a hard working piece of equipment that needs a Team name. Any suggestions for this hardworking member.



A choice was made today and the OFM gave notice of vacating the campsite no later than January 1, 2017. In a short two months we have gone from thinking home base for years to come, to needing to roll and scratch the hitch itch. Yep, we are once again using the life goal of causing the Grim Reaper to be huffing and puffing and sweating profusely when he finally catches up with the OFM.

12/2/16

Pods , Knees and Plans

Adventure Location: Rockport, TX

The rain promised for today still has not shown up. Some of the wind has arrived. At least the temperature was nice for walking. A trauma knee injury ( do not ask ) that happened a few days ago has nearly healed. Today was a walking day for the first time in a good while down at the Beach Park. The OFM managed a slow but good mile and a half. One flight of stairs up to a pavilion told the OFM not to do that again today so the ADA ramp was used to return to the ground.

The ramp led us down to a really neat plant growing in a planter at the bottom of the ramp. The plants have starred in this blog several times in the past. The surprise for the Teams was the seed pods the plants had produced. This was out first time to see this event and it was interesting. Here is the plant itself and notice the pods sticking up in the middle.



There were several pods sticking up around the interior of the plants. The OFM was able to flop around and get a picture from close range of these pods. They were almost 2 inches in diameter and about 9 inches long. The OFM was afraid to touch one incase they explode on contact. I think he is nuts. Anyway here is a close up of the seed pods.



Over a little way was a striped leaf plant of some sort that looked lonely in the cluster of other plants. The OFM decided to make that plant feel loved and shot some pictures of it to share with the world. The striped leaf plant broke out in a smile and thanked us for visiting.



This afternoon was spent somewhat resting the nearly healed knee. It seems to be doing well and the OFM has been able to cut way back on the ibuprofen he takes for the pain. He needs his knees to be in good shape very soon. We are fast closing in on prime beach combing time for this section of the beautiful Texas coast.

12/1/16

Trying Day

Adventure Location: Rockport, TX

A very trying day but there was a 17“ trout caught. Then later a nice flower helped cheer up the OFM.