Adventure Location: Decatur, Alabama It was a hot one today. We came back to Sierra about 1730 and Sierra said it was 95. No wonder the OFM was feeling less than wonderful. On our walks there is one lake bridge we get to cross. It is situated over a small finger of Flint Creek which is a finger off Wheeler Lake. There is a whole lot of water around here for folks to use for water sports of all types. We have actually seen kayaks going under this bridge. They were having fun.
At one spot in the undergrowth was a red thing. We do not know what it is but here it is for you to enjoy. There was only one of them in the brush and the OFM was not about to crawl back in there to get the picture. It is about the size of a large grape.
At another place was this nice reflection. It was dim enough that the OFM had difficulty telling exactly which part was reflection and what part was real. There are all sorts of neat things to see all around here if you pay attention.
At one point the OFM was squatted down and shifting around trying to get a good picture. After finally taking the picture and getting up, he turned around to leave and this sneaky flower had Tarzaned over to right at his face. It is a pretty flower but that sudden appearance at a distance of three inches was a bit startling.
Tomorrow is a visit to Gavin/Piper Land for a lunch of cornbread and chili. YUMMY. That will come close to being tooooo much fun.
Adventure Location: Decatur, Alabama The OFM had some very enjoyable years many years ago as a golf club fitter for 12 years. He had lots of very satisfied customers among the Houston area golfers with disabilities of different sorts.This is to let you know he does know a lot about golf clubs. There are better fitters now days with $200,000 of equipment to get things done just right. The OFM is in the process of putting together a set of golf clubs that fit his fat old weak body. This afternoon the last shipment came in with a Driver that is an older model of a Callaway driver. He buys most of his clubs from Callaway Preowned because they are good clubs and Callaway will tweak them to be just how he wants them to be. It took a few days longer to ship here with the length, swingweight and grip changes, but it did get here. The OFM was really excited since there was time to go across the street to the driving range to see how the clubs performed. Of course the OFM always performs perfectly (right?). We grabbed a small bucket of range balls and headed to the driving range out in hot sun. The OFM chose his spot and limbered up a good bit. Then he swung each of the clubs a few times to get the feel and see if they had the right feel. They did. OH BOY he thought, this might be pretty decent for old clubs and an OFM. Now that he was warmed up and reasonably limber he grabbed the driver. A driver is just about the most difficult golf club to hit well. He was expecting to scatter a few balls all over the place until he got his rhythm back, ball position and foot position worked out and any other details. He carefully set the tee into the ground at his best guess of a starting height for a drive. He carefully placed his feet to put the ball contact point at his guess as to the right location. All the usual stuff was checked and he did not feel right. OK back off and start over. He did. Now it seems right after a couple of minor adjustments. He steadied himself, took aim at the flag pole with the red flag way down there in the driving range at the 200 yard mark. As he was hoping the ball would at least stay on the driving range so he would know what adjustments to make, the crack of the ball and club fled through the trees. The range ball took off climbing swiftly into the sky IN A PERFECTLY STRAIGHT LINE. Now that was a big surprise. He watched as the ball screamed on down range and began to peak out on the climb. As the ball started its decent it still was covering lots of ground. The forward motion started to slow and the rate of descent picked up. The OFM finally got through posing from the hit and settled in to see which way the bounce would go. The ball neared the ground and it was unbelievable, IT HIT THE FLAGSTICK THE OFM HAD AIMED AT! And there was nobody else in the area to see it happen! None of the Team members have ever seen the OFM dance around like that before. We hope he didn’t pull something again. We managed to keep our laughing at him to a mild roar but he totally ignored our comments. It must have really been a great moment of having tooooo much fun.
Lately we have mostly just been walking or riding around the park taking a few pictures of summer slowly starting to fade into fall. According to historical data this week is the peak heat week for the area and we will soon be starting on a lower temperatures trend. That might be a really nice thing. In the mean time all we have to show for the OFM efforts is several more nice pictures. When we first got here the crape myrtle were in good bloom. They have the red, pink, white and purple varieties in the area. This is a decent shot of one of the pink ones. The wind was blowing pretty hard that day so a sharp focus did not happen. It is pretty anyway.
Along the road behind the soccer fields is an over grown ditch with tall trees and lots of vines with all sorts of flowers and berries. Here is one of the clusters of berries that we think is nice to view. Again the wind made it difficult to get a sharp picture.
Back over down by the river was some brush and vines with a few down trees rotting away. The white flowers were so bright in the sun that they came out as a washed out white blob. They were really nice in person. Come on out and see for yourself!
And for no special reason at all except that it is a bit of a different photograph, check out the end of this tree truck sticking into a drive area trying to bite a vehicle as they go by. Chomp, chomp.
Today was a bit of an illness day for the OFM. His body disagreed with something he ate yesterday. The battle raged for most of the day but seems that his body finally won the battle. Tomorrow should be a great day for trying to have tooooo much fun.
Adventure Location: Decatur, Alabama The OFM slept until almost 0900 this morning. That was over ten hours of straight through sleep. Good grief he must have been exhausted from all the activity yesterday. We made a trip to a store or two and got back to the Castle by 1130. Then it was take it easy time for a good while. He was a bit sore he said. After lunch was the usual nice nap. The rest of the afternoon was spent being lazy and thinking about where to go if we leave here this fall. A late evening walk resulted in a brand new dime being found laying in a parking lot near the ice skating rink. That was a nice surprise. The evening walk was about a mile and a quarter. Yep the OFM is definitely getting a lot more exercise here than back at Rockport. Some left over pictures are of the many fungi in the area. We have no idea which day they were taken or where along the trails they were found. This first one is a rather large on that looked about 12 inches wide growing from the base of a living tree. It was back off the trail and would have required wading through calf high unknown leafy things that may have had ticks, spiders and other creepy crawlers. The OFM stayed on the trail and used the zoom feature of the Team camera.
This next one is a white lacy model very much like some we had in the blog from pilings in the harbor at Rockport.
It was a surprise to see the near duplicate from the salt water up here in the fresh water. Either way they are pretty and delicate in appearance. The last one was also back in the “will not go in there” brush, so the telephoto zoom was again wonderful to use. The orange was a very glowing orange that seemed to light up the area near it,
And now it is nearly shower time for the OFM and then another good nights sleep. Trying to have tooooo much fun is hard work.
Adventure Location: Decatur, Alabama Gavin started kindergarten last Monday.
As you might expect when a mob of kids gather many viruses get exchanged. Thus when the OFM Grandpa was supposed to go to Gavinland today for his birthday cornbread lunch, it had to be canceled due to family illness. The good side was that Gavin and his dad put together a video of Gavin singing Happy Birthday for my enjoyment. The teams could not figure out how to put it in the blog. It has been a week since the knee injury that sent the OFM into a knee brace for an over extended tendon. The brace was finally removed Friday evening. Then today the OFM made a longer walk in the park of 1.65 miles at a slow speed. Later in the afternoon he took a nice bike ride of about three miles at a slow speed. Tomorrow we will find out if that exercise was too much. We are hoping that keeping the speed down will allow the stretching to happen and assist in the healing. During the slow walk the Team passed some trees with very large leaves. Here is an OFM hand holding one of those leaves for a picture. They are huge.
Now we have to see what kind of mischief the OFM will get into tomorrow while trying to have tooooo much fun.
Adventure Location: Decatur, Alabama There is a walking trail near our campsite. It cuts along a swampy area and is fairly thick with trees and underbrush. It is a foot traffic only trail that is normally very pleasant to visit. At the end is a termination spot for five more trails to enjoy. It is named the Chief Double Head Walking trail.
After we were a few meters along the trail the OFM turned back toward the Castle to grab this picture of the Castle and Sierra waiting for our return.
As is usual we meandered along looking at nothing and everything. Down close to the ground and way up high in the tall trees. Down near the ground the OFM spotted this bug art leaf. We have no idea what did the art work but it was quite intricate.
There were several of them scattered along the trail. All of them were close to the ground as in 6-8 inches high. If you pay careful attention you will find many odd but interesting things hidden in the forest. This particular rock eating tree is very close to a graveled trail that gets lots of use. The OFM has asked folks several times if they have seen it but nobody has paid enough attention to notice it five feet from the pathway.
At some places in the trails there are wild grapes growing high up in the trees. As they ripen they fall loose from the vines 50+ feet above you and can put lumps or grape juice on your head. Here is a few that were already down on the ground when the Team came by. A little later in the month there are frequently folks gathering the grapes to make liquid refreshments for later use. You may have heard of the refreshment known as wine.
There are those in the area that think making wild grape wine is a good way of trying to have tooooo much fun.
Adventure Location: Decatur, Alabama The Point Mallard has many neat things for folks to enjoy. One of the major attractions for the OFM Teams is the several miles of developed trails. Some are paved and very wheelchair accessible. Some are dirt and gravel and can be a little tough for people using walking assists like wheel chairs or canes. Overall there is a lot of use of the trails. They are well marked and very few high places. Those high places are all on the along the river trail and are in general not more than ten feet high with a reasonable slope as the trail goes up. To take it to another level of helpfulness, the park management has summer help (high school kids) do some pretty good things. The one we noticed the most over the years we have been coming here is the painting of tripping hazards on the natural surface trails.
There is about four miles of natural surface trails and hazards are marked as shown in the picture. It helps to keep folks more aware of the hazard of not paying attention while jogging or walking. Banging your nose into the gravel when walking is not a good way of trying to have tooooo much fun.
Adventure Location: Decatur, Alabama Saturday was an adventure of chasing Grandson Gavin around the front yard on two bad knees. It was an awkward event but both of us had a great time while the OFM lasted. Sunday was an adventure of gentle bike riding that was very enjoyable to the OFM. Very early Monday morning the OFM’s right knee would not work. It was the start of some miserable attempts at sleep. It will hold the OFM up if it is straight up and down but do not even think of bending it. The screaming will make even the ants go away at a high rate of speed. He has been treating it with all the usual treatments used in his other knee events during his misbegotten life. It was not helping. Maybe because the injury was still too fresh. 600 ibuprofen tablets did not faze the pain and misery. Finally after much research on the internet the OFM decided to try a knee brace. He gathered his money and keys, opened the door to the Castle and started down the steps. Here is a picture of the landing area where he hit when the injured knee collapsed.
Once again the OFM has to thank the U S Army Combat Infantry training for keeping his injuries very light. He actually rolled out of the fall with no injury from the impact. However his left had caught something on the door and tore a triangular flap of skin up about an inch and a half long and an inch wide at the hinge. Another small cut on his wrist area turned out to be just a minor cut once the blood was cleaned off. It was back into the Castle on a bum knee and a less bum knee to administer First Aid. The First Aid equipment box was opened and it was almost empty! That is not nice. After lots of washing of wounds and stopping the bleeding, three bandaids (the only thing in the First Aid kit), were applied as compression bandages. It worked and we set off for Walmart for First Aid supplies and a knee brace.
We were in the store for a few minutes when a nice employee asked if he could help. The OFM explained his need. The nice employee lifted his pants legs to show he always had a knee brace on each leg. Then he helped the OFM choose a good model in the correct size. The OFM sat down on a nearby bench and put the brace on RIGHT NOW. It immediately gave some relief to lateral movement pain. After that the OFM went to another aisle and resupplied the First Aid Cabinet. Then the Teams headed for the Castle.
Then in the late afternoon the UPS finally delivered the new to him used golf putter the OFM ordered last week. So now the OFM is like a kid looking at a Christmas present that got opened but he has to wait to play with it. And that is how the OFM has been trying to have tooooo much fun lately!
Adventure Location: Decatur, Alabama Life continues to evolve around here. A bit over a year ago the OFM gave up SightSeer his beloved bicycle because he was no longer safe riding a performance bike. After a mourning period for the end of a life long joy in riding bikes, the OFM put his mind to work to see if there was any bikes he could still ride. It has been a year long search and research project. He worked his way to what used to be called slack geometry bikes. These are bikes that are easier to ride gently and in fairly straight lines. They do not do log jumping and crazy fast speeds very well. What they so well is social riding that lets you look at things and talk to a fellow rider without having to “drive the bike” for every minute. The OFM has tried several of the different styles like crank forward and others. Years ago he rode a recumbent bike so he has experience with them also. The one thing he noticed was that the bikes with the drop center (old name for them was womens bikes) was much better for him when stopping and starting. He no longer had to balance on one bad knee leg to swing his other bad knee leg over the seat while twisting his less than perfect hip in odd angles. He could get both feet on the ground immediately and them take his time getting the rest of the way off the bike. His research had led him to several easy to balance and ride multi-geared social drop centered bike. Yesterday while over at the grands home, my wonderful DIL mention, again, that she had no intention of ever riding her bike again and maybe it would work for the OFM. The OFM had done some tuning on her bike a few years ago and recalled it as a very comfortable and docile riding bike. He went out to the garage to refresh his memory and liked what he saw. He sat on it and rolled in the driveway a bit and like it even better. Into the bed of Sierra it went. Today he has spent a bit of time getting in some riding it and found it to be just about perfect for his limited abilities. So now the OFM has wheels again. Back in Rockport he had found that walking was causing lots of knee and hip pains unless done at a very slow pace. The OFM is looking for aerobic activity to keep him heart healthy and smaller stomached. Today the first ride was about 2 miles and had the OFM breathing moderately heavily.The late evening ride was about twice as long but at a slightly slower pace so the OFM wasn’t causing as high of a heart rate. It is not good to be sedentary for months and then jump out and cause your heart to have to work really hard. Here is the yet unnamed new OFM Teams member.
Now that there is a bike back on the Teams it is time to re-think our plans and available options for trying to have tooooo much fun.
Adventure Location: Decatur, Alabama The temperatures have let the OFM be over busy outdoors. He awakened this morning sore muscled all over his body. We tried to get him to ease back a little today. Nope he is sitting over there worn to nothing. In the mean time let us go back in time to Roosevelt State Park and a walk the Teams took in the evening. The walk went through the trees along the shores of the lake inside the park. The evening sun gave us lots of special scenes and we brought a few with us for tonight. The evening sky was lit up with lots of bright colors and as the evening progressed it seemed a new scene happened every two minutes. It was a very entertaining walk. This first picture shows the evening sky when we first started the walk.
As we meandered the shore we came to this paddle boat launch pier. From this vantage point we took several pictures.
Then we went back onto the trail through the trees taking lots of pictures. Many did not catch the light just right, so they went away. This next one is another view of the sunset but as a reflection on the water. The OFM was excited that this one worked out well.
When the sunlight finally faded out, the sky glow from the stars and moon gave us just enough light to record this basically night reflection of the trees on the lake.
That is a nice picture we think. By now it was time to head into the Castle, shower and hit the bed for an early start on the last leg of the trip to Gavinland. We have been here two days now and are taking pictures on the trails, practicing golf, walking the trails and generally trying to have tooooo much fun.
Adventure Location: Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama No Internet means a long post of the travels until we get Internet again. 7-30-2017 The OFM was up and ready to roll when daylight came to the campground. He was anxious to try out the new hitch settings with Sierra and the Castle. We hit the road about 0715 and was rolling smoothly. The OFM immediately put the Tow/Haul mode into action on the rolling short steep terrain for this leg of the trip. We rolled easily with a rest area stop about 2 and a half hours into the day. It was a fairly short to take care of necessities and a bit of walking. We got to Tatum right on time after lunch. Before we got to Tatum, we actually pulled into the Henderson TX Walmart for an item that the OFM thought he needed. They did not have the item but the OFM did purchase a sandwich from the deli and apparently from the speed it disappeared it was delicious. The state park welcomed us and we were soon at a site with electricity and plugged it. It peaked at 93 today and was gentle enough in the shade that the OFM worked up a MAJOR sweat making sure all things were ok for the next part of the travels. You know who is tuckered out tonight and keeps falling asleep leaving the Teams to do all the work of putting together a story of our travel of today. 7-31-2017 With a little over 300 miles of road ahead of us the OFM was not excited over the distance. We rolled about 0745 and traffic was light for the whole distance. Once again we found the worst roads in the world are in Shreveport La, Monroe La, Vicksburg Ms, and Jackson Ms. They will show you any weakness in your rig of any kind. WOW YUCK. It was a tiresome run today but the temp here at Roosevelt State Park in Mississippi was 88 when we checked in about 1400. It has been a good evening looking over the lake and being glad that with any luck at all we will be in Gavinland this time tomorrow.
8-1-2017 The OFM got us out and rolling by 0715 this morning. The rig rolled very well and traffic was light. A smart move by the OFM saved us from navigating the suicide merger required when you go from I-20 eastbound to I-65 northbound in Birmingham. It is a blind merger to the right with a trailer and into four lanes of full speed traffic heading north. Last year the OFM did it for the last time in Sierra and nearly had a wreck. this time we turned off on hwy 69 in Tuscaloosa and came out on I-65 near Cullman. That was a lot more scenic and safe. We still made it to Point Mallard Campground right at 1400 hours like all the years before.
During one of the bouncy rough road events the OFM heard something metal hit the highway. He immediately recognized the noise from the tubular bar that is used to engage and disengage the spring bar chains on the weight distributing hitch. Yep when we got to the campground, the bar was not in our possession any longer. He thinks he left it on the bumper. So now a trip to Home Depot is in order for a replacement. The campground folks had a site already for the Teams. It is a good site and we had an easy time of the setup. Next we found out the wifi would not talk to our computer. It is the first of the month and bills need paying! We talked to the OFM’s son tonight and it will be sometime this weekend before we get over to their house for tickling grandkids. They are taking care of some medical treatment for Gavin and the get ready for kindergarten requirements. The OFM has plenty to do until then so it will work well for a delay until the weekend so we will not be rushed during the visit. 8-2-2017 As you can see we now have very good wifi. A great morning walk in the 71 degree “heat”. The walk kept getting interrupted so the OFM could take another picture. Enjoy the catching up as we work on trying to have tooooo much fun.
Adventure Location: Hwy 77, Texas The OFM had the Teams up and rolling about 0715 this morning in hopes of escaping most of the over 100 degree heat predicted for our destination. We almost made it. However we did have a very comfortable trip. Sierra seemed to like the new weight distributing hitch in general. The first thing we noticed is the hitch had too much lift in the setting. Sierra kept spinning her rear tires when we left from a stop. Other than that things went well. The other new development was the OFM had been reading the book on the Tow/Haul setting on the transmission. The Castle’s weight is within about 300 pounds of the GMC recommended weight to use the T/H feature. So the OFM put that feature to work today when we got inland a ways and the road was no longer flat. Yep it makes a lot of difference and he tried with and without and it will definitely be with in the future. For the 185 miles today Sierra managed a bit over 10 MPG. After a couple of hours of easy traffic rolling it was time for a respite and a nice rest area came along at the right moment. There were huge trees in the rest area. One of them was just right to shade the Teams from the bright sun.
After a nice walk around in the shade and a snack inside the Castle the Teams moved on. The road was nice and rolling. This is one of the nice areas in Texas.
It is rolling farm/ranching land and has nice scenery in general for miles. In the spring it sometimes is wildflower spectacular. Right now they are needing some serious rain instead of 100+ temperatures. After a few more miles the OFM noticed we were way ahead of schedule. Shortly after that a nice looking and shady rest area came into view. He whipped the rig right into it like he knew what he was doing. Parking in the shade of a couple of trees was a great choice. We got in a nice long rest and a walk around. Then the OFM took a morning nap that seemed to make him feel great. A bit of a snack again and then we set off for our destination. Check out the shade at this place.
We pulled into Sonnys RV Park in Lexington Texas just about 1300. It was a nice finish to an easy day of rolling. We want to be well rested for tomorrow’s 225 miles.
Adventure Location: Rockport, Texas This is the last post from Rockport, Tx. for now. We do not know of any wifi available until we get to Decatur, Alabama so it could easily be four days until you hear from the teams again. We are coupled up and mostly ready to roll. The weather is supposed to be miserably hot for the first two legs of the trip. Meanwhile back at Rockport let us enjoy the rim trail photographs. The OFM walked along the edge and took pictures of the rocks and water down below us. Three of them turned out pretty nice. The first two are showing where the rock wall goes down into the water. Sometimes there is some substantial wave action there, but the wind was low this day. The OFM thought he was safe to walk near the edge on this day. As it worked out he did not fall in.
This last picture shows where some current sometimes back flows around the structure to make cute swells you could play in if you went down there.
Now ya’ll be careful and safe while we head on out to try to have tooooo much fun.
Adventure Location: Rockport, Texas One part of RVing is choosing where to go. The OFM uses lots of Internet resources as well as personal recommendations for choosing where to go have fun. Sometimes folks forget that when you go to a place can be very important also. For example Phoenix Arizona is a neat area with lots of great walking/hiking to enjoy. However if you go there in August it will not be a fun place for outdoor activities in general. So what method to the OFM Teams use to attempt to be in the right place at the right time. Again it is the Internet to the rescue. There are a few nice sites that give historical weather information on locations. We have been using this one http://www.usclimatedata.com/. We have found it to be easy to use and versatile enough for our needs. Over the years we have looked up a lot of places and saved a lot of data. Early on it proved to be very valuable for staying in more comfortable temperatures during our travels. The way we use it is to first decide the upper limit temperature the OFM’s body can handle. Then we chose the lowest temperature the OFM’s arthritis can stand. For us those two temperatures are 85 for the high and 45 for the low. Those temperatures likely will be a lot different for different folks, so just choose your comfort zone. Ok now we have a comfort zone to work with. The OFM then looks at the date that the high and low temperature happens. For instance city Fun, Tx in the spring may average starting to get hotter than 85 on May 12. That lets us know, that in general, we want to not be there after May 12. Get the same date for the fall when the average high starts being below 85 on October 3. So the same thing for the low temperatures and now you will have your high and low times defined. In this case say you have this data. Goes over 85 on May 12 in the spring. Goes under 85 on October 3 in the fall. Goes over 45 on Feb 19 in spring. Goes under 45 on Nov 22 in fall. This data lets you know that your probable best time to go to Fun, Tx is in the spring between Feb 19 and May 12. The fall best time is between October 3 and November 22. We quickly found the data pile for the USA to be huge. The OFM wanted an easier way to read the data. He came up with a graphic spread sheet that helps. We only put places of current interest on each spreadsheet and color code the spread sheet. They are named Where/When 45-85. The too hot times are colored red. The too cold times are colored blue ( like his fingers get ) . The better times are colored green. This gives him a good graphic to read and guess about timing our travels. Here is an example from a few years ago.
Naturally we store any graph generated to keep from having to start from scratch on a new one every time the OFM gets a wild hair to go somewhere. Since he started this project many years ago, it is very seldom we get caught in a temperature unpleasant area unless some other outside event (Sierra wreck, medical emergency) keeps us there. It has worked for us very well in our pursuit of trying to have tooooo much fun.
Sierra is finally out of the hospital. It was nice to hear Sierra’s first words to the rest of the Team members...”When are we rolling??????” Now that is a great attitude. The OFM can now make plans for stops along the way that will have electrical hookups. It was a month yesterday from that miserable wreck and it is time for some serious trying to have tooooo much fun.
Adventure Location: Rockport, Texas The Alabama crew is doing pretty well at taking pictures of folks up thataway to keep the OFM frustrated with his situation. That situation will change pretty soon. You can count on that. In the mean time here is Piper in another great pose we titled “Here Comes That Camera Again”.
Here Comes That Camera Again
When we get there in person it is our guess that between grandson Gavin and grand daughter Piper maybe we can figure out something to do for trying to have tooooo much fun.
Adventure Location: Rockport, Texas Here it is Saturday morning and Sierra is still at the repair shop but is finished with the repair. The problem is getting National General non-Insurance to do their part. Answering phones and returning calls is not part of their business plan. When the OFM went to the repair shop he found out that National General non-Insurance has sent the shop a few hundred dollars less than the agreed on amount. So Sierra is being held for payment from National General non-Insurance to the repair shop. Naturally National General non-Insurance has not been answering the phone as the OFM tries to get more days added to his rental car contract. Speaking of the rental Hyundai Veloster, after five days of living with it the OFM has changed his opinion of the little car. It is no where near as good as he reported in the previous blog. So now the Teams are trying to figure out how to get a bit of service from a non-service non-insurance company. And Folks that is not the way for trying to have tooooo much fun.
Adventure Location: Rockport, Texas With a lot of time on his hands for the next week and a half before we leave for north Alabama, the OFM has been just moping around because it is too hot for him outside during the day. We finally got him going on a painting he has been off and on planning. It is a simple painting done in oil pastels. It has to be simple for him to even attempt it. It was inspired by a much larger picture of some flowers that he took last month. The OFM took a liking to a particular pair of flowers and sketched them. Then while reading about a new to him technique he got busy and started the painting. Today it got finished. He is still learning a lot about artistic painting. The plan is to print a photo of this painting on some regular paper from one of these photos and then mark up the print with the things he notices he would like to do different or correct. That should be a good learning tool don’t you think? After about a dozen oil pastel paintings, this effort convinced him he needs to work larger than the 5x7 rough size he has been using. The Castle is small so he was trying to limit the storage space needed. However the small size that worked well for watercolor is really cramping his ability to smear the “crayons” around. So it is time for an improvement by using larger paper. If you have followed this blog for a while you may recall that the campground in Decatur Al is in an area the OFM did a huge amount of artistic photography in during the preceding few years. The Teams are thinking that this same area will inspire a lot of paintings due to its variety of views and beauty. OK. Enough. Let us see the paintings!!!!!!!! Well not so fast. It seems that we discovered something interesting during the photography session. So tonight we have two different shots of the painting and the lighting makes a lot of difference. They will be shown without frames tonight so you get the RAW painting to laugh at. Here is the front lighted painting.
Then the OFM happened to stick it up on the insulation covering the window to store it for a minute. The difference astounded us all. Here is the back lighted painting.
One other thing was extremely evident while painting this scene. The cheap oil pastels purchased at Walmart were not even close to being able to handle the painting. They are heading for the dumpster in the morning. The professional quality Sennelier oil pastels were infinitely better and worth every penny more they cost. On top of that they made it easier for trying to have tooooo much fun.
Adventure Location: Rockport, Texas Monday was an important day in the life of Sierra. The OFM had to get up early that morning to make sure Sierra got to the truck hospital for its surgery. We made it with a few minutes to spare and the OFM is confident that Sierra is in good hands for the surgery and recovery. We were picked up by Enterprise and taken back to the rental location and treated very well by the folks there. The vehicle we received is a very new Hyundai Veloster and it is by far the worst vehicle the OFM has ever driven including his dads worn out garbage trucks. However the AC works well and the insurance is paying for it. Speaking of insurance, the claims jerk finally called and we got a few questions answered. The main one was about the $500 deductible that the Teams has to pay to get Sierra out of the truck hospital. The agent says they are trying to get total compensation for the expenses including the $500 deductible for me. So maybe in a few years the OFM might find a check to him in the mail. We will not hold our breath. Now that things are moving better towards rolling down the road, the OFM is feeling a lot less stress. Flushing the water system went very well today and everything is ready to roll. Our overnight test that included a shower for the OFM’s unwieldy oversize body. We made the 24 hours with water to spare. Now we have a benchmark to work with and that is a very good thing. It will be nice to not carry the excess weight when we are not needing to carry a full tank of freshwater for boondocking. Now we can turn our attention to setting up campground reservations for the four day tow to Decatur Alabama. It is summer time and we will be traveling into a weekend so reservations is likely wise for at least two of the days. If it was cool at night, the Teams would just boondock at the interstate rest areas along I-20 like we have done in the past, but the hot nights cry out for AC and 120 volt power. Sweating while you try to sleep is not a good way of trying to have tooooo much fun.
Adventure Location: Rockport, Texas An onslaught of pictures came in on the family website and the OFM has been busy catching up on his family. A lot has happened in the last month and it was great getting to see some of the new family adventures. Check out this Gavin and Piper picture.
Gavin and Piper
The best that we can tell down south here is that things are going well up north. We are ready to get rolling shortly after Sierra is repaired. It is time to get serious about trying to have tooooo much fun again.
Adventure Location: Rockport, Texas The OFM was not really ready for such a busy morning but it was too late to back out. The cereal was in the bowl and vanilla soy milk had been applied so he had to chew on along in spite of the bed calling him back. After breakfast we made a short stop at the bulkhead near the Aquarium. Shortly an 18 inch speckled trout hit the wrong thing and was unceremoniously flopped on the pavement. After measuring and unhooking the fish, it was tossed back to grow up. A few more casts and it was time to move on. As Sierra was rolling along its fancy system alerted that it was time for a lubrication change. So we pulled into Walmart and was second in line for the DEED. The nice lady that checked Sierra in told the OFM it would be about 45 minutes. She missed it by 3 minutes. The OFM decided it was time enough to make some laps of the store. He got in a few laps and stopped to check on Sierra just in time to see the fellows letting Sierra back down to earth. Soon the credit card was put to work and Sierra was rolled away. BUT the OFM remembered we needed some things from the grocery department. Sierra went around the the RV parking area and parked to wait on the OFM Grocery Shopping Team to do their job. And we did a great job of it. The credit card got another work out and away we went to the Castle. It was 0923 is all. The major change (news) is that the OFM canceled his reservations for Rockport for the winter. We will be rolling to be in Decatur Alabama on August 1 and no idea of when we will leave or where we will go if we leave. The OFM wants to get back to a less restrictive adventuring mode. We have never done any winter time in SW Arizona and many other places. All the Teams agree with him that it is a better way for us to try to have tooooo much fun.
Adventure Location: Rockport, Texas OK the OFM is eating breakfast and reading the Internet items of interest when he loses part of his vision. Oh Great another migraine. So most of the morning was spent “getting extra bed rest” as the symptoms slowly ease away. Now we get to take it especially easy today since it is way to hot for a well old person to be out in it. He did go out for a Whopper and senior drink. But it was right back into the AC he went. So what can an old sick fool do? He leaves a message on the insurance jerks recorder to call back to answer a question please. The the OLD Fool decides to play with his paints and paraphernalia to see what happens. A technique the OFM is using with some success is to paint essentially the same scene in several different mediums and styles. The purpose of this is to find a style that the person likes and or does well. The OFM has a couple of mediums he likes to use. One is watercolor and the other is oil pastels. He is well aware that he will never do any art effort well so he is striving only for the likes (fun) part. In other words he is having fun making colorful garbage fodder. This after noon his aching (remember migraine in progress) head is having weird thoughts. Why not just use the watercolor paint just as it comes from the tube? A search on the Internet found only one reference to an artist that does that. That artist does it a lot and his nice work has a brightness like oil pastels. So the OFM set to work wasting watercolor paints smearing them on paper. It turns out that it is a good way of painting to have fun in his opinion. It also pointed out that his extremely cheap paint brushes are extremely incompetent for spreading paint with some body to them. Here is the result including obvious errors of learning.
At least it has been a nice way to stay inside the AC while trying to have tooooo much fun while waiting on an insurance jerk.
Adventure Location: Rockport, Texas The OFM finally got some information out of the insurance company. Sierra is now scheduled for entering the vehicle hospital in Aransas Pass on Monday for a five day stay. Sierra should be well rested for the travels on over to Alabama by August 1. This is really good news for a change. A couple of days ago this next picture was taken. We call it Net The Moon. A shrimp boat in the harbor and the moon lined up for the picture. We liked it and used some electrons on it.
We have about two weeks left here so it is time to start putting the Castle in order for traveling again. The Teams feels like we will enjoy a couple of months in north Alabama again. Of course, Piper and Gavin will be willing to help the OFM Teams try to have tooooo much fun.
Adventure Location: Rockport, Texas The OFM awoke very early for him this morning. The outside temperature at 0600 was only 79 so he hurried his breakfast and we headed for the harbor to try to get in a decent walk. We made a pretty good size loop of the area. However he kept on slowing down with the excuse to take a photo or two. We think he was just too fat to keep up a good pace. He did get a few nice pictures we will be seeing for the next few days. We were there in time for the first light fishing sun to peep over the horizon. It made for a nice photo we think.
Over at the Education Center is a new sculpture on the porch. This rusty pelican is pretty cute at a distance but up close it is really nice piece of art work. Stop in to see it and sign Jessica’s visitors book.
As the OFM whizzed past some of the finger docks this still reflection caught his attention so he used it as an excuse to rest AGAIN. cheeesh. Wimp.
The OFM was able to have a nice long phone call with his DIL this afternoon. They talked of many different things, not the least was the OFM's hoped arrival date. Then towards the last Piper started to awaken and the OFM got to hear her squealing with joy. Wow that was neat. Now the Teams are really antsy to get rolling. With a little luck things will start to happen tomorrow. There are emails and calls to both the insurance company and the repair place to see what is going on. It would be nice to have Sierra back in complete repair in time to make it to Alabama by August 1. Then the OFM really would be having tooooo much fun.