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Flint Creek Alabama

7/29/17

Highway 77 North

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. 

7/28/17

Rim Trail Photos

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.

7/26/17

Where-When

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.

7/24/17

Welcome Home

Adventure Location: Rockport, Texas




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. 

7/23/17

Better Thoughts

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.

7/22/17

Non-Insurance Company

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.

7/20/17

Front To Back

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.

7/18/17

Bad Car

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.

7/16/17

Grand Kids Picture

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.

7/14/17

New Game Plan

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.

7/13/17

Wasting Paper

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.

7/12/17

Sierra Repair Scheduled

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.

7/11/17

Bucket

Adventure Location: Alabama

This picture came in. It is grandson Gavin after a HARD day at the beach. Sometimes you have to wonder what is going on in a five year olds thought process. 


Maybe Gavin came close to having tooooo much fun!

7/9/17

The Squeal

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.

7/8/17

Significant Progress

Adventure Location: Rockport, Texas

Bright and early this morning about 0930 the OFM tangled with the bathroom closet. That is the closet with the hanging clothes and some in small baskets. When he started the clothes went from the right wall in the next picture to past the door divider just out of view to the left. That is a lot of clothes that left the closet.


While he was in there, he attacked the upper shelf and its myriad of things. Now the top shelf has a trouble since there is room for whats left to slide around during travel. That will be addressed tomorrow he says.
After some rest and lunch he confronted the sink area cabinets and drawers. The cabinets were in good shape since they had had a big clean out in the last year. The drawers were a different story. Each drawer was dumped onto the table and then washed out and given a light application of chlorine to help purify them.


Then things that should be there were put back. Things that should not be there were put over on the couch for relocation. By the time all this  was done and the dining room cabinets checked it was supper time. The dining room cabinets had very little to change since they were part of last years big clean out also. But a little bit of stuff did leave the Castle.
We hope that tomorrow will bring to completion the clean out/reordering of Comfort Castle. This will give the Teams a chance to see how much stuff we actually need and what storage facilities will be needed for our travels.
Some good news is that the outside storage has always been in minimum content. We will go through them but likely very little will need to be changed. From the looks of things this effort needed to be done no matter what happens in the near future anyway. Too much stuff to take care of can get in the way of trying to have tooooo much fun.

7/7/17

Whatcha doing?

Adventure Location: Rockport, Texas

Whatcha doing OFM? “I am frentically cleaning out leftover things from my past life.” The OFM doing things in a hurry, oh give us a break. The only thing he moves fast for is a chicken fried steak.

His real objective is to lighten the load in Comfort Castle. During the last year or so he has had to cut back on his physical endeavors like yakking, biking and wild country hiking. Most of the equipment for his past fun has been moved to other folks that can still do those things. He is a bit sad he has aged out of some of that fun, but on the other hand he is extremely grateful that he did all that wild stuff while he safely could. Of course sometimes he was more successful than others but he did try and did not wait (see blog motto above).

What started this off was a little cabinet reordering. Suddenly there it was; a remanent of a past activity. Why is this still here? We will not use it again so out it goes. That really sparked some cleaning out, repacking and general “get that out of here” activity. It has been quite a surprise at the amount of small items hidden in the corners that no longer belonged in the Castle.

We even found clothing that has not been used in over five years and definitely will not be needed in the foreseeable future. Three pair of pants and a few shirts left the Castle. Some other “spare” clothing items that have not been used since we have no idea when have joined the exodus. 

A major side effect of this is more empty cabinets and storage bins. Then a side effect of more storage bins and empty cabinets has led to the OFM taking a close look at Comfort Castle to see if the Teams need to get smaller in the trailer department. Our box is about 148 square feet now with a lot of empty space. Comfort Castle has always been bigger than we really needed but being built for off road use it was very handy. The rolling weight of the Castle is about 5800 pounds. Dry, Comfort Castle weighs 4888 pounds according to the builders listing.  Looking at other trailers that seems to fit our needs now, it appears that we can drop about 2500 pounds of towing weight and not lose any significant ability other that of off road on bad terrain. That would really make Sierra a very happy light duty truck.

We are still waiting for the insurance company to take action on Sierra. Then a week for Sierra repairs will be needed. So we have chosen two objectives to fill the time in this miserable hot part of the country while we wait to hold Piper.
1. We will be taking a careful look at what we can and want to do during the next few years.
2. After number 1 is understood we will be giving a change of trailers some serious consideration.

Who knows what the Teams will do but you can bet that we will be out trying to have tooooo much fun somewhere.

7/5/17

Piper Day One

Adventure Location: Rockport, Texas

Piper and Mom made it home today. Both are doing well. Here is Piper in her one day old pose.


The OFM is over there on the couch practicing holding a baby again. He recalls that holding a baby is a good way of having tooooo much fun.

7/3/17

PSW

Adventure Location: Rockport, Texas

Her name Piper Scarlett Ward. 


Grand daughter and Mom are doing well. According to Dad she came into the world bigger than her brother Gavin. And grandpa is stuck in Rockport until his truck is repaired. This is not the way to have tooooo much fun.

7/2/17

Super Nice Lady

Adventure Location: Rockport, Texas

Her name is Pat and has been a blog reader for a good while. She happened to be in the same RV park the Teams moved into in April. Little did we know how nice a lady we were about to meet in person.
Pat and her husband are setting up a nice place to live here in town. They are from upper east Texas. She is an artist and will be making art here when they get all situated. Here is Pat showing the OFM one of her nice bits of recent art work.


Her Koi painting is very nice.


We are hoping she will rub a little art ability off on the Teams so we can have better paintings to show on this blog. We know she has the knowledge but she might have to beat it into the OFM’s empty head. He seems to only think about trying to have tooooo much fun you know.

7/1/17

Rusty Electrical Equipment

Adventure Location: Rockport, Texas

Rockport is packed with folks for the festival and fun of this Fourth of July  holidays. The Teams swung by the harbor to see if it was time to do a little fishing before it got too crowded. There was not a place along the breakwater for us to fish. We guess that was alright since the waves were running to high for decent fishing anyway.

The OFM took us back to the Castle and we stayed in the AC most of the day looking for something for tonight’s blog entry.

The only thing he found is a couple of corrosion pictures of some equipment on a power pole down by the big tent.This first picture is of the galvanized steel equipment for throwing a switch mounted way up high on the pole.


Grounding that equipment to the pole’s ground wire was this mesh wire and a few bolts. Notice the nice green patina that the salt water has given the conductor.


As you can tell this has been a rather slow day for trying to have tooooo much fun.