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Wild Rose Pass, Texas

3/22/17

Water Shortage

Adventure Location: Big Bend NP, Texas


The Teams decided to let the OFM test his legs on a very easy trail in the park. It is named the Dog Canyon Trail. The gear was assembled and away we went to the trail head. There was a few vehicles already there. We had waited until mid morning in hopes the smoke from Mexico would be gone. It was not and gave us some less than the best photographs.

After parking and getting the OFM decked out in trail gear he was ready to go. The first picture is of the sign next to the road with Dog Canyon in the back ground.

 

The first mile or so of the trail is just a flat plain with desert foliage on it. The trail is well trodden and easy to follow for anyone that pays attention.

 
After a good bit of walking you reach the place where you drop into a wash. The sign at that point directs you to Dog Canyon or Devils Den canyon. You really want to start with the Dog Canyon for your first hike out here.

 

Now you are walking in a wash with lots of loose round rocks to twist an ankle. Yep the OFM twisted an ankle right after starting along the wash. Then just as we got to the mouth of the canyon he bruised the forefoot sole on his other foot. So now he is really having a tough time walking. So he stopped and took a picture into the mouth of the canyon.

 

Then he reconsidered his options. The decision maker was when the water supply was checked. He had already consumed one half his water supply and still had a half mile of canyon to go. That made it a no decision to make situation. At half the water already used we HAD turn back. We also hoped that the feet injuries would not slow us too much and cause the Teams to run out of water going back.

As it worked out the OFM drained his last water a couple of hundred yards from Sierra, so we made it just right. Sierra had a gallon or more water waiting inside for us. The Teams NEVER push the water limits on purpose.

It seems that the OFM uses a good bit more water now than he used to use. In the future we will be carrying more water than needed in the past. Having enough water sure helps when you are trying to have tooooo much fun.


3/21/17

Santa Elena Canyon

Adventure Location: Big Bend NP, Texas

Santa Elena Canyon in Bibe is a very popular attraction. The OFM has been to and into Santa Elena several times over the last 40 years. It is always a new adventure because there is always something changed by nature.

The road takes you very close to it and the parking lot is normally in good shape. The restrooms have a sign on them showing the water height of one of the floods in the past, unless a new flood has washed it away.

Sierra got us parked at a good spot. We took the main path toward the canyon and noticed these nice yellow flowers just asking to be photographed.



When we broke out of the trees the first thing the OFM noticed was the pretty view down stream. That stream is the Rio Grande River that forms Lake Amistad.



There is a boat launch downstream with some really great picnic facilities. It is all well accessible from the road. We have many snacks eaten at that boat ramp.

We turned and there was the canyon and a million folks. Apparently a canoe trip from upstream had very recently landed and they were getting all their gear loaded onto the vehicles back in the parking lot.



In the red circle is three folks on the trail coming from the canyon. It is really fun to take the trail all the way back to the point the dirt ends at a tall cliff. There are places along the cliff that you can look up and see a spot where a big rock fell loose. Then look around yourself and see the big rock. It is an interesting feeling.



In the enlargement of the circle you can see the folks on their way back and get a feeling for the size of the canyon. We have had many fine times crawling over and under the big rocks while making our way to the far end. Walking that path is a good way of trying to have tooooo much fun.

3/20/17

The Restaurant

Adventure Location: Big Bend NP, Texas

There is one very special restaurant in the world to the OFM. His first meal in the restaurant was in May of 1979. Since then he makes a point to have a meal there every time he comes to Big Bend National Park (Bibe).

It is the only restaurant in the park and is located up in the caldera known as The Chisos Basin. The restaurant is usually very good food with excellent service. The prices are high but not too high for a place over a hundred miles from everything. A really excellent taco lunch with a Root Beer cost the OFM $15 with a tip.

The view is not too bad. That notch you are looking at is named The Window. There is a developed trail all the way to it so you can get your jollies trying to fall “out of the window”. The OFM kept putting going there off for the “next time”. The next time never got there until his legs will not allow the trip to happen safely. DO IT NOW. DO NOT WAIT!



When you have had a wonderful meal then head on down to the trailheads. Try the ADA trail. It is paved and really a nice easy wheelchair friendly walk. Plus the views from it are wonderful.

In this next picture we have labeled the restaurant to let you oogle at the small bit of rock right behind the restaurant named Casa Grande.

Some folks have actually hiked to the top of it, but not the OFM Teams. Climbing a small hill like that is way beyond our idea of a good way of trying to have tooooo much fun.

3/19/17

We Are Here

Adventure Location: Stillwell Store, Texas

When we got here the OFM almost did not recognize the place. The new owner and employees have really made a major difference in the appearance and general upkeep of the entire operation. It is now a place I can freely recommend without worry about how nasty or messy it might be. It is not fancy but it is generally orderly and clean. Still more catch up is needed but it had years of neglect to rectify. Check their website for all the extra details.



Even the inside of the store is much better. Now there are “get by” food products on the shelves in sufficient quantity to be reasonable. The Teams were really impressed. Here is the inside. Once again very plain but clean and organized.



The laundry has been cleaned up and organized. The first day we were here a washing machine was sitting on the front porch of the laundry building. The next day it was gone and a new machine was in its place inside working. There is even a small lending library in the laundry room.



The Teams even looked into the mens facilities. The showers and toilets were clean and ready for use. The rooms had obviously been cleaned recently. Again not fancy but very serviceable and clean.



This makes Stillwell Store an excellent campground in general at its fantastic location 8 miles from the Persimmon Gap Entrance to Big Bend NP. And Bibe is a perfect place for trying to have tooooo much fun everyday.



3/18/17

Highway 90 Decisions

Adventure Location: Hwy 90, Texas

The OFM finally got us out on the highway about 0900. Then we had to stop at the dump station and unload a couple of weeks of residue. Then a circle around to the fresh water station to take on a little water.

The road beckoned and we went on in great anticipation to our next place to choose a direction of travel. A couple of hours later we arrived at the destination for choosing and pulled into a rest area for lunch and thought. The lunch was simple but the choice was not.

Back on the road the OFM just had to take this picture while driving. That is highway 90 stretching out in front of us.



We hit another junction and had another decision on direction to make. The decision was made and we headed onward. Here is a picture of the road a little ways before the OFM made the last choice of the day.



The Teams were not used to all this hard traveling after two months sitting around at Lake Amistad getting soft and fatter. The Castle was ready for some rest and the rest of the Teams were a bit worn also. The campground was a wonderful choice for the night.



The OFM meandered around a good bit and ended up sun burned and wind burned with sand blasted eyes to make things more fun. However it is looking like a great location for trying to have tooooo much fun.

3/17/17

We Are Back.

Adventure Location: Del Rio, Texas

RATZZZZZ HE IS BACK AGAIN.

Summer with its warm temperatures has arrived in the desert of West Texas and it is still officially winter! But the flowers are telling us it is spring. So what season is it? How about just relax and enjoy the flowers.

The wonderful fragrance of Texas Sage is flowing across the land with exceptional sensory delight. The shrubs are not at full force yet but they are definitely making a show.





These are small flowers about the size of a quarter but with fragrance like a bowling ball.

A couple of other flowers that are making a show are worth looking at also. This quarter sized orange/yellow one is very vibrant in the sunlight even though it is not so brilliant in the photograph.



To add to the fun of spotting the flowers, some of them are so small a magnifying glass would be a good addition to your searching tools. Notice the OFM fingernail in this picture. We only spotted the flowers because they are so powerfully fragrant. In other words the OFM followed his nose into the brush.



Our delightful neighbors of two weeks left for Bibe this morning. Sierra reminded us that it needed new slip and slide lotion in its engine. So it was off to Walmart for a service call. We watched them very carefully and are happy to announce that the two techs did an extremely good job of taking care of Sierra. We were exceptionally please with the service.

Having a well performing vehicle is critical when you are miles from everything trying to have tooooo much fun.

3/16/17

Failure

System Registration Error was the last thing the OFM computer had to say. We will see you whenever we get all back together again someday.

3/15/17

Got Stuck

                         Adventure Location: Del Rio, Texas

Geocaching is a hobby many folks are involved in. The OFM was an early geocacher but grew away from it after a few years. It was a fun hobby. Today the OFM was out taking pictures and found a Geocache. It was a fun moment with lots of memories of times past. In this next photograph there is a Geocache under the rock on the top of the post.


While we were photographing flowers the OFM noticed that not only the flowers are going nut but the prickly pear cactus is putting on lots of new growth. Check out these new pear parts in progress. Before long these plants will be huge and ferocious.
 


The OFM managed to find one of those prickly pear pads while slopping around getting flower pictures. He quickly stopped all other activity other than removing spines from his shin bone. It hurt bad enough that he did not even consider taking a few extra moments to grab a picture or two. All energy was focused on removing spines RIGHT NOW. Late this evening as this is being written the puncture wounds are not hurting and only slightly reddened. Kicking prickly pear pads is not a good way of trying to have tooooo much fun.

3/13/17

Exciting News

Adventure Location: Del Rio, Texas

There was only a tiny bit of excitement today but it is very important news.


GRANDKID 2 WILL BE



A GIRL.

How is that for real excitement?

3/12/17

Income Tax Chomp

Adventure Location: Del Rio, Texas

It has been a busy two days. The good news is the income tax is finished and mailed to the government office. The bad news is two months worth of money had to go with the 1040 form this time. Sierra’s purchase caused funds to be activated and those funds counted as earned income according to the IRS. OUCH.

In the spare time the OFM has been helping a nice couple, Thomas and Tina, get a quick start on their RV fulltiming. Planning a solar array for their trailer has been a major discussion with many side tracks along the way.

There has also been lots of discussion on places in West Texas to visit. Those discussions are another way of trying to have tooooo much fun.

3/10/17

Low Profile Day

Adventure Location: Del Rio, Texas

It is easy to tell that Spring Break has broken. Lots more vehicles on the road to already full locations. We are considering carefully about when to roll on to bigger adventures. Most likely around Mar. 18. Until then the Teams are trying to keep a low profile.

Today was very low profile. It got going as much as it could get going with another chopped brisket sandwich eaten down at Governors Landing day use area.



The view was a bit overcast but still really nice. We even had a parade of fishing boats coming by about every five minutes. Lots of money floating out there on the water in the cause of catching fish.



The OFM put out some effort at fishing after lunch. He stumbled his way down to the shore from the lunch spot and went to work trying to fool the bass. He had no luck because you have to be smarter than the bass to catch it. At least it was a pleasant fishing spot.



On the way out of the area heading to the Castle we got to travel through the Drive of Blossoms. Those are blackbrush blossoms and they will soon be finished blooming. They are dramatic and pretty when they are in full action.



And to end the “exciting “ day we had a huge sunset of dramatic effects.



Throw in naps late in the afternoon (think “big sandwich” stupor) and working on income tax as the likely big adventures for a few days. Still the nap part sounds like a good way of trying to have tooooo much fun during spring break week.

3/8/17

Window Winder Wreck

Adventure Location: Del Rio, Texas

A couple of months ago a window winder broke on one of the two kitchen jalousie style windows. We ordered and received two winders. One for the repair and one for later repair if required. Getting in a hurry for the nasty little job of replacing the winder was not required since the adjacent window was working just fine.

Without any warning that adjacent window winder failed a couple of days ago. With neither window working the Castle could not get flow through breeze and we are having a few warm days lately. That nasty little job needed to be done and was finally accomplished by the OFM. He has done the repair before and knows he has the wrong hands for the job.

The job would be very easy for someone with long slender and strong fingers with no sign of arthritis in the hands. The OFM has short stubby fingers with arthritis and wears trifocal glasses that are not the optimum tool for closeup work in difficult positions. The winder is located above the sink and stove top just so the repair person can practice their contortionist moves.

The OFM did his usual careful logical approach to a repair project and grabbed his short handled 3 pound sledge and the heavy duty diagonal wire cutters and beat the living dickens out of the winder and window until it came apart. The failed winder came right out after that vigorous effort of vengeance. That left us with the knowledge that the OFM had been cranking down on the closer way two hard. He has caused the two raised spots to shear off of the operator.



Now it was a mild task for strong slender fingers to fit the new winder in place. You may recall our description of the OFM fingers was not strong slender. So he pushed and prodded gently and then firmer. The new winder slipped into place. Wow that was nice.

Now all that was require was to fit three screws up into their mounting holes. The available room was about half the width of the OFM fingers so he had to try to hold needle nose pliers in one hand to fit the screw into it hole while occupying the same location with the screwdriver at the same time as standing on his head looking out the corner of where two lenses come together in his glasses. We are certain there are many glasses wearers that can well understand what we are trying to describe.

After two eternities of attempts the OFM managed to throw each screw at the proper mounting hole and get the screw to stick long enough to get the screwdriver on the screw by feel since his hand blocked all sight of the screw. From that point it was a simple tightening of the screw with arthritic hands screaming in pain. No problem he is used to it now.

This next picture after the winder is installed will give you an idea of all the estra room we had available.



And here is the new winder in place and looking pretty. It is also giggling at all the “fun” it caused the OFM.



We hope that you have enjoyed reading about how the OFM managed to try having tooooo much fun yesterday afternoon.

3/7/17

Camera Cleanout Update

Adventure Location: Del Rio, Texas

It is photo clean out time tonight. We do not want to be carrying old pictures around when we roll tomorrow. They are too heavy to be wasting gas carrying them.

This is a recent picture of the mouth of the Pecos River. It is deep enough for an outboard boat to pass through for the first time in many months. There is reportedly some good fishing in the junction with the Rio Grande River.
 
 
 

From the overlook the goats across the Pecos could be seen running around on the cliff. those critters can walk on the bottom side of a ceiling it seems like. They are fun to sit and watch.




Back in Seminole Canyon is always plenty of great scenery to view. A lot of it is canyon wall caves and trails. This is a picture from the start of the canyon rim trail. After this dull and boring start it the viewing gets a lot more interesting all the way to the Rio Grande River and the views of Mexico.



Update 0900 3-8-2017
Travel has been delayed for OFM decrepitness to ease back.
As far as the Teams can figure out, in the next travel movement we are planning on hitting up Stillwell Ranch, Jal, New Mexico, Monahans Sandhills SP, Marfa Lights Viewing Area and maybe Balmorhea’s Bears Den Restaurant. It might even work out to put in a day or four in the Davis Mountains. This shows that trying to have tooooo much fun can be major work.



 

 

 

3/5/17

Tortilla Delight

Adventure Location: Del Rio, Texas

You lay the tortilla down flat on a clean surface. Then you spread an ample amount of slaw dressing all over the tortilla. Next is a slice of ham cut to fit the tortilla. Then you add the brocoli slaw and roll the tortilla around it and chow down.

What? You never heard of brocoli slaw! We had not either until grocery shopping recently.



Well it is very good. Not quite as good as a well done cole slaw but never the less it is a good substitute. The OFM has been really enjoying it.

 It was a wet dripping mess around here this morning so that was the excuse the OFM used to go to town for scrambled eggs, bacon and a biscuit with strawberry jelly. Under $4 including tax with the senior drink at Whataburger. Then he had to figure out what to do all day while it precipitated on us until early afternoon.

So he did his level best to use the computer enough to run the batts down since the cloud cover was thick. Well his solar array foiled his efforts and we are headed into the night with only two and a half days of power stored. Sun is expected tomorrow so by early the batts should be back into float mode. It makes boondocking much easier if you have enough panels and batts to suit your life style.

In the hard work of planning, the OFM decided very conclusively that he has no idea which way we will go next but we have seven weeks until Sierra turns its grill for Gavinland in search of trying to have tooooo much fun.

3/4/17

Desert Flowers

Adventure Location: Seminole Canyon, Texas

The OFM woke to an odd morning cloud set. He thought it should be photographed and woke the Team Camera up. The result was this interesting cloud formation.




Later in the day the Teams headed out to do some canyon, cave and critter adventuring. Yep it was a great day. Several very nice pictures of desert flowers were taken. This next five pictures are some of the delightful flowers that were blooming. We noticed that spring has not sprung here like back down in Del Rio. It is quite a bit cooler here.


 
 
 
 


The evening sunset was pretty nice also.




It was a good finish to a good day of trying to have tooooo much fun.



 

3/3/17

Question

Adventure Location: Seminole Canyon State Park, Texas

Adventure Date: 3-2-2017

WE are now in wild country, critter wise that is. Some of the know critters are mountain lions, Mexican wolves, rattle snakes, coyotes and many other critters that do not consider the humans to be at the top of the food chain.

After arriving here today and getting a decent lunch put to work generating energy, the OFM took the Teams out for a walk which turned into quite an adventure. But before we get to all that the Teams have a question for our readers.

We were carefully exploring a new to us canyon and followed it up to where it went under the old railroad bed via a culvert. The opening to the culvert is about two feet wide and three feet tall. From the side we were on there is a scramble of basketball size rocks about six feet tall to get to the opening that is slightly covered with woody brush.



If an old fat man was to get on his stomach and slither up that pile of rocks like a snake that is probably already hiding in the rocks to take a picture through the culvert, is he being brave (his word) or stupid (our word)?

Please vote in the comments. The Teams do not consider that to be the best way of trying to have tooooo much fun.

3/2/17

Better Than Before

Adventure Location: Lake Amistad, Texas

It was a beautiful day and the OFM was drooling all over himself thinking of the large chopped brisket sandwich of a few days ago. Naturally the Teams did not attempt to deter him in his desire to repeat that lunch again. So it was off to the little red trailer where those wonderful sandwiches come to life.

Now the cooks there so protect their recipe and product with a sincere effort. Just check out the cowboy gun they keep near in case of trouble.



After some nice conversation it was grab the sandwich and run for the picnic table near Diablo East for lunch. We thought we were going to have to tie the OFM up to give us time for the pictures. But he relented for about 6 seconds then picture time was over. Maybe this sandwich was even better than the previous one.

TEXAS SIZE

Since the flowers are getting busy with the blooming job we know the scenery and fragrances were excellent.



It certainly did not take long for that huge sandwich to disappear. Thank goodness no critters tried to get a bite of the sandwich. Getting between the OFM’s teeth and that sandwich would not have been a good way of trying to have tooooo much fun.

3/1/17

Too Many Choices To Make

Adventure Location: Lake Amistad, Texas

Here we are early Wednesday morning planning things. We have been here at Lake Amistad for over a month and it is time to get rolling. Wednesday will be dedicated to getting the Teams all ready to roll Thursday morning. We have a few routes plotted for after the starting direction. Mostly we need to get busy chasing the warmer weather line that is moving north now.

The initial direction is take a right turn on Highway 90 toward El Paso. Then as we progress west we have to make a new choice now and then. Somewhere around the Pecos River we have to choose to stop for the night or not.

Then at Sanderson Texas we have to choose to turn right to sort of follow the Pecos river northward. Or continue straight for a few miles more.

Then at Marathon Texas we have to choose whether to turn left toward Bibe/Stillwell Ranch or go on straight for a few more miles.

The next bit of interference with calmness comes in Alpine Texas. There we have to choose to turn right and head up into the Davis Mountains and towards Carlsbad New Mexico. Or continue straight toward the Marfa Lights Viewing Area and a good nights free camping.

The next morning we have three things to choose from. Good grief this is a lot of thinking for an OFM isn’t it. Any way the choices are head north into the Davis mountains, turn south toward Presidio and more Texas desert and guaranteed adventures or head on toward El Paso. Once the Teams would enter New Mexico at El Paso even more choices will have to be made!

The OFM says he is too old for this much responsibility of choosing so many things in only 250 miles. All he wants to do is try to have tooooo much fun.