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Tooooo Much Fun

Adventure Location:Decatur, Al.
Adventure Date:July, 2018
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Grand daughter Piper decided it was time to show everyone what having tooooo much fun looks like.



Adventure Location:Decatur, Al.
Adventure Date:July, 2018
Click a pic to enlarge it.

Flash, crash and rumble started the day for the OFM. He rolled out of bed to the sounds of the approaching storm.

Before long it started to rain. It was not a massive intense rain but it was plenty to get everything sopping and water running in the ditches. But by noon it was over and the steam started to rise from the ground. We have decided this is a rain forest this year. It has been a huge amount of rain storms hitting the campground this year to go with the over temperature heat. It would be nice if it averaged down a nice amount.

The OFM decided it was a good day for taking Sierra to get new tires. That way we get to hit the road with really good tires on all wheels. Walmart had some decent tires in stock, The Goodyear Trailmark tires were chosen by Sierra.  It took a bit over an hour to get them installed on Sierra.

Next was paying for them and taking them for a ride. Yep, they are a lot better traction than the stock tires that came on Sierra. This should be a good change. We got back to the campground and Trailmark tires and the Castle got to meet each other. After a bit of sniffing they decided it would be an acceptable match for traveling.

The OFM got is some walking and sweating again but that was about all for today since he was a bit blah today. However he did some searching on the computer in his archived photos for some inspiration toward another failure in art attempt. At least it is a good way for him to try to have tooooo much fun.


TEXAS Cooking

Adventure Location:Decatur, Al.
Adventure Date:July, 2018
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Twenty more days until we roll again. It will be wonderful. The current jello plan is to get to Rockport and try to set up with the VA in Corpus Christi for medical care if the OFM ever needs any. The stay in Rockport is planned to be until the end of December. The best fishing runs from late September until just before Christmas. That is how the length of stay was chosen. That gives us a few days to chose what to start 2019 like.

This area is deep south and there is plenty of good cooking in the restaurants but it is no TEXAS cooking. The OFM chose today for some of his non-standard chili to be attempted. It is on the stove right now simmering. He is way to lazy to make it from scratch although he does a lot of head scratching trying to figure out what to do next.

Here it is with rice, onions, chopped tomato, canned chili, power pooter pinto beans, KC Masterpiece BBQ Sauce, fresh ground black pepper all cooked slowly in a 3 quart pot.

In the mean time he got in two nice 2 mile walks, a nap of great value and some paper wasting. The entire Teams member are really looking forward to a lot of coastal shore time. The OFM is studying up on jetty fishing.  He has never done much jetty fishing and is planning to change that history. We will find out what really happens in a few more weeks.

Just went and stirred the chili and tasted it.   MMMMMM GOOD.

The paper wasting was fun again. This one is done with cheap Walmart oil pastels but on good Strathmore paper.

Tomorrow is a total mystery as to what that Old Fool Man is going to be doing in the way of trying to have tooooo much fun.


Great Restaurant

Adventure Location:Decatur, Al.
Adventure Date: July, 2018
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The OFM woke early again. This is getting to be tiresomely old. So it was an early breakfast and then to work. There are three outside compartments in the Castle. The under couch one was first. The stuff was pulled out and the compartment was swept nice and clean. Then all the worthwhile stuff was placed inside in an orderly fashion. All the reject things were moved to the bed of Sierra. The OFM sweat was dripping on the ground by now.

Next was the rear compartment under the bath closet and dinette seat. This is where the hoses, tools, spare Castle parts (water pump) and other heavy things are stored. The same sequence went on for this cabinet. This time very little had to be eliminated. Mostly it was just clean out desert dust. That dadgum desert dust can get inside a ping pong ball.

By the time this was finished the OFM had sweated a soup puddle where he was standing. We learned that phrase from Grandson Gavin. So the OFM drank a gallon or three of water and we headed up to the front compartment under the bed.

For some reason the Castle kept on wiggling. The OFM noticed it and was concerned. The under bed compartment was mostly emptied. The batteries are in there and they were left in place during all this. But we did get a couple of barrels of dirt out of the compartment. This is where the air compressor, trailering mirrors, vacuum cleaner, golf clubs, and other bulky things are stored.

By now the Castle was so much lighter it was trying to float off. So the OFM let the ordinary air out of the tires and replaced it with heavy air. Now the Castle rested quietly while the cleaning and repacking was finished. All the leftover stuff was moved to the back of Sierra and the pond of sweat was three inches deep.

With the Castle all finished the Teams took Sierra over to the recycle dumpster and off loaded all the stuff removed from the Castle. On return to the Castle, the OFM decided he deserved a fine lunch. First of course was a shower. Then we headed to the best Mexican Grill we have ever eaten at Casa Santiago next to Walmart. WOW that was great food as usual. It ran us $11 with tip. Of course a nice nap was called for, but we made the OFM wait until he drove us safely home for the nap in the AC.

Now that he is up again and somewhat functioning he decided that not making sweat puddles was the best way of trying to have tooooo much fun for the rest of the day.


He Went Crazy

Adventure Location:Decatur, Al.
Adventure Date:July, 2018
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The Teams were certain the OFM had gone completely nuts this morning. He rolled out of bed at 0630 exhibiting too much energy for him. Soon the pancakes and peanut butter were eaten and he went to WORK. He said his goal today was to do a SEVERE cabinets clean out of items not used within the last year. 

Then as another thought, he decided to bring down the supply of clothing to a 12 day supply. The rest was leaving the Castle. His feeble amount of cold weather clothing was exempted.

And ZOOM things were flying into plastic trash bags and boxes. Three bags of soft goods and two copier paper size cardboard boxes of hard goods were loaded into the back of Sierra. When the dump station run was finished, the OFM sat down at the table to regroup and rest a minute. It was 0745 is all. We all knew this was going to be a day of interesting experiences and it was.

Then he uttered some scary words.....”that was a good start”. What could be next? He carefully went through the closets next. Good grief he was really serious. Every pair of pants and every shirt hanging was pulled out and evaluated for retention. Then the clothing in baskets in the bathroom closet were counted and evaluated. The winners were repacked and the rest was bagged in old Walmart bags. The bath closet is pretty good sized double door model. Then every item in the closet was pulled out and evaluated. Some went back in and some went to the disposal bags. It was a surprise how much stuff was a duplicate that we did not know about.

This went on through the kitchen where the skillet with a lid and a pot with lid went into the “Get Out’ bag. He kept on moving like a possessed man with a dastardly purpose on his mind. He made another pass through the bedroom cabinets and closet. then the dining room cabinets got a second going through. All this stuff was carried to the back of Sierra. The four bags of stuff said good by to us at the dumpsters.

And then he rested. It was 1020 is all. That was the end of the clean out effort for today. It was massive and much more needed than my wildest guess.

Here is a look at a cabinet that used to be so crammed with stuff seeing the green readout for the battery voltage was at times very difficult. By the way that plastic cabinet is office supplies and was given to the OFM 50 years ago when he was 12 years old.

This is the wall cabinet that is critical when boondocking since we get the battery readout in here and check it against the note stuck on the plastic cabinet to know what the status is on the battery charge.

The OFM announced that tomorrow we will be trying to have tooooo much fun by cleaning out the three outside compartments. 


That Was Close

Adventure Location:Decatur, Al.
Adventure Date:July, 2018
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The day started gently with no major chores in front of us. We still have 24 days in front of us before rolling. That means the OFM can take it easy getting prepared to roll. He meandered outside into the heat and was piddling around  when something glinted in a spot of sunshine.

What is it that can glint off the top of a tire he wondered. Little did he know the excitement that awaited.

He moseyed over and looked at the tire for the shiny rock. Only there was no rock only metal tire cord fragments. This is not good he thought as he went back inside for a flashlight.

The flashlight illuminated a major GOOD GRIEF. The tire had tread worn down badly in several spots. Then a look to the back side found a split about ten inches long with the tire’s metal belt hanging out. But the tire was still inflated properly.

YIKES!!! The jack was brought out and tire removal commenced. The better view we got the worse it looked. This tire was within a few miles of exploding.

This tire was inspected when we had the wheel bearing repack in Del Rio Texas in April of this year and showed no signs of trouble. Closer examination indicated that it had taken a bad high speed whack by something that broke the belts in the tire. A couple more places were worn down very badly and soon to be trouble.

Here is the close up of this tire.

The gentle morning had gotten tougher as the sweat poured off the OFM while doing all the jacking and wheel removal. The tire and rim were loaded up and taken to Wal-mart here in Decatur. They had five new tires of our size, so we got a new one installed. It is a Goodyear Marathon like all the other tires that gave no trouble in the 200,000+ miles driven with the Castle in tow.

After we got the new tire installed, the OFM did the flashlight trick on the other tires and they all looked to be in great shape and ready to roll. Now it was once again time to relax.

Sierra is also needing new shoes which we plan to obtain next week. We will be rolling out of Decatur with good shoes on all the vehicles but a lot less dollar bills weighing the Castle down.

Hmmm what can we do tomorrow for trying to have tooooo much fun?


Engineering Magic

Adventure Location:Decatur, Al.
Adventure Date:July, 2018
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Last evening this area had about 2 inches of water puddled in it. During the morning walk we noticed that the water was gone and ant engineering and construction team had built a road across the soft mud to the small grassy hump out in the middle. This road was around 15 feet long and a real marvel to build in less than a day.

Not a lot has been happening here but some new pictures from the rest of the family’s trip to the beach a couple of weeks ago came in. Here is grandson Gavin working hard at trying to have tooooo much fun.



Adventure Location:Decatur, Al.
Adventure Date:July, 2018
Click a pic to enlarge it.

An open air (hot) mall in Huntsville Alabama was having a Pokeman event of some sort. Folks from all over would be there Pokemaning around having fun. Naturally the OFM’s DIL had to go participate. Grandson Gavin is mixed up in that stuff also. Then  the OFM got to go along to provide companionship for Piper (grand daughter) and his son.

The game plan was for Piper’s escorts, grandpa and Dad to walk her around the mall in her stroller while the other team did the pokemanning. And that is how it happened for three hours in the nice bright sun of North Alabama. It is a secret but the OFM forgot his hat and that he was not wearing a hat. The heroic red glow from his dome reminded him when we got home and looked in a mirror.

As it turned out Piper was wonderful. She even slept for a good hour or so.

There were lots of pretty flowers blooming. Piper’s Dad used his phone to take a picture of one of them the OFM thought was extra pretty.

The center of the flower was very dramatic so we enlarged it for our readers to appreciate.

The OFM’s worn out shoes was not nice to his feet during all that walking. The best we can tell it worked out to be about the same as four and a half trips around the equator of Earth. New shoes are on the agenda now.

A new future plan has been firm jelloed up. The Teams are rolling out for Rockport, Tx and the redfish runs of September thru November on August 5. At this time we are planning on being there through Christmas 2018. No plans have been made for after that time period. 

We are looking forward to time spent beach and jetty fishing.  Of course a good bit of beach combing is planned on. The most important part is NO HURRICANES ALLOWED.  They can get in the way of trying to have tooooo much fun.


Harvest Soon

Adventure Location:Decatur, Al.
Adventure Date:July, 2018
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We hit the morning trail a bit before 0800 and it was not cool at all. The trail this morning was along Port Mallard Drive and the golf course. Then right onto the paved walking path that goes around the golf course. The OFM was hip gimpy this morning so we were making moderate time along the path. 

After a few hundred feet a pleasant older gentleman caught up with us and we visited until he turned left onto the gravel path that borders the shoreline. He was ten years older than the OFM but had no knee or hip troubles. When he turned off we said our Howdys and away he went.

We turned back at this point because we were at the one mile point and the OFM was having moderate pains in his hip now.  So a couple of swallows of water to replace the voluminous sweat and back we headed.

On the way back to the road were lots of bushes and other growth. A close look revealed our next crop of edible fruit in progress. The blackberries of a couple of weeks ago have been all harvested by the two legged and four legged critters of the area. Now we are ready for the next crop harvesting.

These wild grapes back in East Texas make very good wine and jams. We bet these will do the same for the energetic.

The heat was making a major up tick in the humidity misery so we did not dawdle for long any place on the return mile. By the time the OFM got to the Castle he was drenched like he had gone crick swimming. A quick “cold” water shower certainly was welcome. Today it took us 45 minutes for the two miles with the hip pains. Our pain free walking usually runs a little over three miles an hour, but not when gimpy is the mode.

Morning walks can be a nice way of trying to have tooooo much fun early in the day.


Shadows and Solar

Adventure Location:Decatur, Al.
Adventure Date:July, 2018
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It is time for a solar and shade report. Supposedly even a little bit of shade on a solar panel nearly kills the output. So the OFM Teams decided to put that concept to the test. Why? you may ask. Because we have been boondocking for 3 to 5 months each year for the last three years and keeping batts charged is important to that lifestyle.

We have been camped in this dense trees campsite for a couple of months now. It never gets really bright. The Castle has been running with the convertor hooked to the 120 volt system so the panels have not had to work much if any to keep the batteries charged.

On the Castle, unhooking or hooking up the convertor to the 120 volt is as simple as unplugging the convertor from the dedicated circuit at the wall plug.

Converter Plugged In

Since rolling time is about four weeks away, we decided to test the boondocking systems to be sure they were ready for rolling again. The Castle was put into full boondocking mode about two weeks ago including unplugging the converter. With all the shade we expected to get very little charging from the highly filtered sun since we are deep into some tall trees. See the pic.

Deep in the Shade, nice for the A/C.

It has been a real eye opener for the OFM. Our two 95 AH AGM batts would drop a bit at night and early morning as was expected. We expected to get a little bit of charging  but eventually run down to the point that we needed to reconnect the 120 volt to the converter to bring the batts back up to full.

Every evening about 2200 we would check the voltage reading and every evening it was about 12.7 volts for the batts. Every day by noon they were reading 13.02 volts, otherwise known as fully charged again.

So after two weeks of electrically boondocking here in the trees, our solar panels are getting the recharge done very easily in spite of all the shadows on the panels. We do not know why or how but we are very glad that the solar electrical charging system is doing an excellent job.

Having plenty of power while boondocking is really important while trying to have tooooo much fun.


Peaceful and Calm

Adventure Location: Decatur, Alabama
Adventure Date:July, 2018
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The park has been very mild today for the most part. Folks have been very reasonable without any obnoxious behavior near the Teams. The fireworks show this evening should be a loud one. Then the folks using the shuttle will be exiting right through the campground. Well before midnight it shuld all be calmed down.

We caught a couple of nice pictures. This is an egret (we think) that was peacefully attempting to capture supper. The OFM took the picture with max telephoto and cropped it down. That kept us from bothering the hungry bird.

We have been telling you of the lack of wind in this area. Here is a picture of what we mean. As we looped on a trail near some 3 to 4 foot high grass this stem appeared right in front of us. The OFM messed around for a couple of minutes taking a few pictures of it. It was dead calm and sweaty hot but the grass never moved. In fact it was a lot steadier than the OFM.

At least today we did have a lot of folks out trying to have tooooo much fun politely.


Just Too Hot

Adventure Location: Decatur, Alabama
Adventure Date:July, 2018
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The park has been in a hurry up cleanup for the big festivity on July 4. Lots of American flags flying all over the place. Every campsite is full or running over with folks. The weather is HOT. Nature has the crape myrtles showing that the southern summer is here in full force. The crapes are blooming like crazy. Here is one of the red models. 

We also have white and purple to keep things interesting. The crapes also tell the Teams it is too hot and humid for doing very much outside for trying to have tooooo much fun.


Shred Master

Adventure Location: Madison, Alabama
Adventure Date:July, 2018
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Yesterday was deliver birthday presents day. Piper, the grand daughter, was ready to open a few presents even though it was not her birthday for two more days. She did a pretty good job of ripping the paper to shreds. Then the toys got a serious work out.

She is taking a few steps these days but the big surprise was the dancing when she hears music. Then she stands, holds onto a table, chair or whatever is available and dances like a wild woman. It is really cute. It is pretty obvious that she already knows how to try to have tooooo much fun.


Piddled on Paper

Adventure Location: Decatur, Alabama
Adventure Date:June 30, 2018
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Well the day started out with a crash dive. The OFM was feeling rough and about 0900 the migraine hit. So for once he did a smart thing and just rested after breakfast. Sure enough before lunch he was up and around again and doing much better.

Since he and the day were stuck in first gear he did a little gentle maintenance on his massive fat body. He whipped out a machete and carved off a few rolls of belly fat from his Happy Buddha Belly. OH, wait a minute that is just what he dreamed he could do.

What he actually did is cull some of the excess golf clubs out of the Castle. The Castle is now a BUNCH of pounds lighter. Sierra will appreciate it when we head back to Rockport in mid-

For the rest of the day he piddled with PRISMACOLOR COLORED PENCILS for drawing artsy junk. Then he got the wild idea of using his watercolor pencils dry to do artsy drawings also. Well a lot of nice art paper was used up (wasted)  in piddling with that idea. The good news is that the dry watercolor pencil seems to be a great idea. We will know more in the near future but it looks promising.
Piddle Paper

Scribbling and wasting paper is a lot of fun and a great way of trying to have tooooo much fun especially when recovering from a migraine.


Down into the Holler

Adventure Location: Cullman, Alabama
Adventure Date:June 2018
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Tonight we dip into the holler below the Clarkson Bridge. The land starts to fall away immediately from the edge of the parking lot. The front porch of the dog run cabin has a short ramp for wheelchair access to the restrooms in the right hand cabin. The backside of the cabin is two story high.

From the rear porch you get a nice view of the mill pond and the water driven mill house. The stairs and wooden walkways are definitely not ADA in design. In fact very little down in the holler is wheelchair accessible. There are lots of steps and dirt sloped paths.

After we meandered for a while we came up to the mill house from the back side and captured this nice picture of the waterwheel. Notice also the small water fall coming from the mill pond we saw in the first picture. This was a nice shady place to take a short rest.

When the OFM was rested enough we climbed up to the mill pond walkway and started across it. Naturally when the OFM got to the  water flow that was creating the water fall, he had to stop and take a picture of the waterfall from the top. It made a nice picture as you can see.

From this point we had a great meander around the holler. The upstream portion of the crick had some really nice places but it was too dark for the pictures to come out well. The hill up to Sierra was a steep one but the OFM made it well. There is lots of nooks and crannies for looking into if you want to do that. Personally we were getting tired and hungry. There was the sound of lunch calling us back in Cullman. This turned out to be a nice place to visit after not having seen it in over forty years since the last time. Yep a good place for trying to have tooooo much fun chasing memories.


Clarkson Covered Bridge

Adventure Location: Cullman, Alabama
Adventure Date:June 2018
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You have to drive a bit out into the country west of Cullman Alabama to get to the Clarkson Covered Bridge Park. The drive is easy and on good roads. There was plenty of room for parking vehicles like Sierra but even small motorhomes will have trouble if more than a couple of other vehicles are there. Trailers need to stay away.

We rolled in on a very warm morning and Sierras AC had been doing a great job of cooling the camera as well as the OFM. So when Mr. Knucklehead jumped out to take the first and only  picture of the sign, the lens was still fogged. We did all we could to make the writing legible but it is still a struggle to read it. 

After that we meandered on over to the covered bridge to get some more pictures. It is a rebuilt as was structure due to horrific floods but is a really nice place to visit. 

We did and do recommend taking the walk across the bridge to the other end. It gives you a nice view up and down stream of the hollow that the bridge crosses. The little crick at the bottom does not look dangerous at all but apparently it can have a real temper tantrum now and then.

We meandered on down into the holler bottom to look around. It is a nice place to visit with picnic tables and rest rooms. We went over to check out the bridge supports since we had risked our life crossing earlier.

The towers have visible lines where new stones were stacked on the older base to rebuild the bridge. Look closely and the lines can be seen in the picture above.

As the OFM gazed at the far end of the bridge he realized that the far end appeared to rest on a ledge projecting out of the cliff wall. And that ledge looked to have a large cave under it. The brush was thick and the OFM a wimp so we will not know the whole story on that until a reader goes there and checks it out for us.

The rest of the holler is pretty neat also and we meandered it pretty well, but that story will wait for the next blog writeup.

There were lots of flowers blooming in the area and one of them was near the bridge entrance. The Teams spent a good while talking to another tourist that walked up while we were deciding which flower to photograph. And the winner is 

Rose of Sharon Flower

We still have a couple of very neat pictures to show but they will wait to decorate the next blog entry. We were very pleased with our visit of a little more than an hour. It is a nice place for meandering around with a camera trying to have tooooo much fun.


Break Dancing

Adventure Location: Decatur Alabama
Adventure Date:6/27/2018
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We headed out to the trail through the woods. The first special thing we see as we enter the trail is an old tree knocked into pieces by the storm the night before. It had the Castle dancing a nice amount but as we found out some of the old trees really were break dancing. You can see in the photo two of the broken spots on the tree trunk. There were a couple more pieces that looked like they snapped when the tree hit the ground.

After seeing some more snapped off trees, we decided that the Teams had come through that storm very well. Several of the downed trees were large enough to have meant the end of the Castle. But none got us so here we are meandering around again.

Back off near the lake was some sort of weird object in the lakeside brush. After we got some brush pushed aside without getting alligator or snake bitten we could see it was an old stump from a tree that had been cut down. The stump was lying on its side and the core had rotted away. The hole was oriented just right for us to see light coming in from the evening like a flashlight shining towards us. That is what caught the OFM’s atten we think. Here is a picture of the camera captured while attempting to photograph the hollow interior of the stump.

Another interesting to us thing we have been seeing is rows of holes in living trees along the paths. The holes always go around the tree trunk. They are about 3/16“ in size and about an inch apart in the row. The rows are usually around 3“ apart vertically. We are wondering if these are rows made by woodpeckers drilling for bugs.

We get to see lots of strange things just by looking closely wherever we are at any moment. It certainly has a habit of making any moment a good effort at trying to have tooooo much fun.


Tree Teeth

Adventure Location: Decatur Alabama
Adventure Date:6/25/2018
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A couple of years ago a tall tree got blown over and laid across a small gully. The tree stayed mostly rooted and kept on growing. Upon returning this year the Teams went to check on the horizontal tree. We got a neat surprise. The tree was putting out vertical branches. Notice how the new branches are all growing vertically toward the sunlight. 

We think that within a few years this will be one interesting tree formation.

And now speaking of weird formations on trees, there is a tree over on the golf course that looks like it has teeth! It grows near hole four at the edge of a golf ball collection pond. You know the ponds that folks seem to just have to waste a ball in regularly. 

The OFM was not able to get a really good picture of it but here is his best effort. There is an old wound in the side of the tree near the ground/pond. In that wound is something growing that looks like snaggled teeth.

To get the above picture the OFM risked life and limb to ease out on an old root while balancing on one leg and leaning against an adjacent tree with one hand and the other hand holding the camera way out there trying to be still. We are certain that if anyone had seen the event we would have got great applause for the acrobatic act.

This next picture was taken with the zoom of the camera while still balancing on the root but now squatting. That shallow muddy bottom pond did not look like a nice swimming hole to him. Fortunately he stayed out of the pond. However the closeup did not give him any better clue what the teeth are.

If you can tell what the “teeth” are, plese let us know.

Getting those pictures was a very interesting way of trying to have tooooo much fun.


Trail Styles

Adventure Location: Decatur Alabama
Adventure Date:6/24/2018
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Tonight we get to see what the trails are like in  Point Mallard Park. Sometimes the walkers are not the strongest limbs on the trees. The tourist came hurrying over to the Teams when he saw we were taking pictures. He said that we needed to go to a special wonderful viewpoint nearby to take pictures. It is fantastic over there and "nobody has ever been there before me." Just follow that gravel surfaced trail to get there. And away he went.

Now back to reality. The park has basically three types of trails. Some are paved and walkers, golf carts, bikes and bikers are allowed on them. Sometimes, like July Fourth, these are really busy with golf carts and bikes. 

Some of the trails are gravel surfaced and normally passable even when it has been raining. These trails run through the woods back away from the lake edge. These are mostly foot traffic and bikes trails. They frequently can be a bit muddy or damp during rains. Lots of trees surround these trails.

The third trail style is close to the lake or creeks. They are usually fairly nice with a softer style of footing. There is gravel in smaller quantity and in rainy weather there will be pockets of shallow water to dodge. Bikes and walkers are allowed on these. Sometimes you will also see red wagons etc carrying small children out for the scenery,

Something the Teams finds unique is the lichen laden tree tunnels. For some unknown reason to the Teams, every now and then there will be a hundred feet of trees lining the trail covered with lichens or what we think are lichens. The lichens vary from light gray to a faded blue green.

Tomorrow we will talk about some of the unusual things we sometimes sight on our trail travels as we work on having tooooo much fun.


A Bear in the Woods

Adventure Location: Decatur Alabama
Adventure Date:6/22/2018
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Awoke early this morning to torrential rain pounding the area. Minor street flooding was already well underway by the time we could get the OFM to look out a window.  But the rain quit and it was nicely almost cool outside. The OFM decided it was a chance to practice golf so right after breakfast we hit up the golf practice area. 

About an hour and a half later it got hot enough for the Teams to chase down the air conditioned part of the Castle to cool off.  Then it was off to grandkid present hunting. That kept us busy until well after lunch.

During all the last weeks sick time the OFM had started to attempt to set up some sort of general plan for September and onward. Our sticker for no more cost camping in New Mexico State Parks is good until until the end of April 2019 and we are thinking of making good use of it in the near future. We are wanting to stay in Decatur until at least middle August. We have a couple of months to make up our minds as to what is next.

Back at this campground the OFM was finally well enough to also take a small couple of mile walk but there was very few things to photograph. 
There are some berries growing off in woods. Some critters four legged and two legged have been picking them for food. They are small but plentiful.

While walking along a very heavily used trail along Flint Creek we notice some fungi that had a black bear crawling up the fungi. At least it looked like a black bear at first. The “bear” was only about an inch long but it certainly caught the OFM’s attention. WOW we got to see a bear in the woods.

Now that the OFM is more mobile again maybe he can get busy running around trying to have tooooo much fun again.


On The Contrary

Adventure Location: Decatur Alabama
Adventure Date:6/21/2018
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It has not been the best of times but it is OK times. The OFM decided to quit using the Flonase a few days ago and is feeling lots better and no migraines since the day after quitting. Flonase worked well on the allergies but if the OFM is sensitive to it, then it has to go away.

A few other chores around the Castle are taking up a good bit of time so it is not surprising that we have had to push the blog writing to an un-lit back burner for a bit. Hopefully this will line out soon.

 Tied in with this is shopping for birthday presents for two grand kids who have 13 of everything ever marketed. It is unreal what the prices of kid things are these days. Anyway we found something for Piper but Gavin is proving to be a much more difficult search. 

Contrary to a lot of folks statements, we do not find shopping for grandkid presents in crowded stores a a great way of trying to have tooooo much fun.


Gnome Home

Adventure Location: Decatur Alabama
Adventure Date:6/18/2018
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This mornings walk was a pleasant little stroll along the lake and golf course. Most all the flowers are finished blooming and the forest is maturing. It is a nice place to walk/ride a bike just for the fun of it.

Along the way the OFM spotted a Gnome Home made from a hollowed out tree next to the creek. This gnome has some nice waterfront property to enjoy and watch the folks pass by on the adjacent path. We bet there might even be some fish and turtles in the back yard.

Here is the hollowed out tree the Gnome lives in.

Gnome Home

And it is even decorated with some pretty flower buds outside the front door. They will soon be pretty flowers if the OFM recalls correctly.

The heat is not slacking off so all exercise walking is done early in the morning. But that is OK because a nice early morning walk is a pretty good way of trying to have tooooo much fun to start the day well.


Way Too Hot

Adventure Location: Decatur Alabama
Adventure Date:6/16/2018
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At least the two migraines today were lighter in intensity and lasted a good bit shorter time. That means the OFM is not near as bad as yesterday. It was still a lot of bed time day. 

By supper time the OFM was good enough to head out to a new restaurant he had been told about down in Priceville, Al.  It was supposed to be very good and it was. We will be going back again.

 The menu is catfish and other good meats with excellent vegetables tonight. His meal was much larger than we expected. Two LARGE filets of catfish, 6 hush puppies, a cup of cole slaw topped with fresh slices of onion, a sweet potato and iced tea made up the meal. From the looks of the other diners meals, the meals are all large.

The miserable heat is keeping most folks inside during the day. The pine trees are dense enough that the Castle only gets a minor amount of sun on it during the day. Even without the sun heating the campsite, Sierra’s temperature gage about 1600 today was still reading 97 degrees in the shade. There is no golf happening for the Teams in those conditions.

Tomorrow is a visit with the OFM’s folks over in Madison. Their home AC works very well and we will enjoy it.

The heat is not letting the OFM run around outside to have adventures or take pictures. Do not worry if no blog is posted for a few days. The OFM teams are not going to fight the near 100F heat in an attempt of being outside for trying to have tooooo much fun.


OFM is Mentally Out of It.(Update)

Adventure Location: Decatur Alabama
Adventure Date:6/15/2018
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The OFM is having a couple of migraine attacks each day the last two days. He is about beat to a rancid pulp by them. We will return when we have nicer news. Migraines are not good for trying to have tooooo much fun.

UPDATE: The OFM took it real easy today. Might have been due to the crowbar I was threateningly holding next to his head. Anyway it has been recovery time without any new attacks so we are hopeful. The big trouble is the extreme unusual heat in the area. Mostly we just stay in the AC.

We actually did dump the black tank this afternoon with no trouble but that was about it. If you did not know it, a 20 foot long trailer can get much smaller on a day of not getting out of it for trying to have tooooo much fun.


Location Assistance Requested

Adventure Location: Decatur Alabama
Adventure Date:6/13/2018
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It started innocently but the OFM imagination took it onward at light speed or faster. The Boondork had mentioned south Alabama as a place to spend some time. The OFM knew a little bit about the area from several years in the past.

Fast forward a couple of hours worth of the OFM brain whizzing with thoughts. The Teams are Escapees members of nearly 22 years. The Escapees campground at Summerdale, Al has been our home once for a couple of weeks. So the OFM started digging through the Internet to check out things down that way. Records for temperatures were checked and it is a couple of degrees cooler in the winter than Corpus Christi Tx. That is well inside our tolerance.

Next we checked for golf. Good grief lots of golf in the area.  Ok now how about shore fishing.  A major nice pier on the surf in the Gulf and another pier at Fairhope in Mobile Bay. Then we were able to determine there is a nice amount of shore fishing on the bays. Maybe even some kayak fishing! A lot of things have changed in the last few years.

OK so far so good. What we are asking for is personal experience information in the area including including the other side of Mobile Bay from September until April. Good, Bad, and whatever you wish to help with would be appreciated. We have not really explored that area very much so we think a few months there might work out pretty nice.

You can email the OFM directly at texnomad@hotmail.com or you can leave a comment. We are very willing to dig into Internet sites that you might recommend.

Of course we are REALLY interested in places where we can take great pictures to post while trying to have tooooo much fun.


Healing Again

Adventure Location: Decatur Alabama
Adventure Date:6/11/2018
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This morning dawned with the OFM not ready to get going. The migraine that started last Saturday evening was a mean one this time. This morning was not a feel good morning yet so things moved slowly. It seemed to the Teams that the OFM needed to get some gentle exercise outside.

Eventually he got himself together enough to grab the camera and his hat for a walk. We heard activity at the soccer field and headed that way. The maintenance crew was into a big maintenance job. It looked like an aeration of the field in progress. Other chores were going on out there also but the OFM could not tell what it was. One thing for sure, it was pretty large equipment working.

Along the north soccer perimeter road is a heavily wooded drainage ditch. We had never looked into the foliage for fear of something insectual biting us. Today the OFM was doing his usual GrannyJ impression and noticed a narrow path going into the ditch area. It looked like a critter trail so he was very careful when going into the brush.

Well it was bright sun outside but in the jungle the light was about 80% less. In this next picture the flash had fired so it looks brighter than to regular lighting.

It was a nice little crick and no insects attacked. But he did not dawdle any longer than needed for the picture.

From there we had a nice meander at a gentle pace down to the river and along the river trail toward the water park. Trees and shoreline on our left and play fields to our right most of the time. A few pictures of tree leaves were taken trying to make the light of the morning create a magic effect. None turned out well so they went bye-bye .

We did find one fungus getting a good start. It is about the size of a quarter in this picture. The natural color was tending toward a beautiful purple in the dark spots. We will keep an eye on it for future photos.

Most of the rest of the day involved beds and chairs as the OFM continued to get better. By evening he was doing well and decided a yard bird salad would be good. A large bowl was centered on the counter and the refrigerator was emptied of lots of good stuff not the least was a double handful of sliced and cooked yard bird from a couple of days ago.

8" Wide Bowl

It was wonderful.

Meanwhile our friend Darrell Goza (http://gozatravels.blogspot.com/)  is hitting the road tomorrow after being held up for several months helping taking care of a family medical trouble. His blog is definitely worth reading. He is completely capable of trying to have tooooo much fun. 


Three Generation Family Gathering

Adventure Location: Decatur Alabama
Adventure Date:6/9/2018
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Early this morning the e-mail came in from the OFM’s son. Somebody was needed to hold the backup wrench and be the general laborer for the lawn mower deck repair. So naturally the OFM took time from his hectic schedule to get over there and help.

When we got there disassembly was well on its way.

There were some boxes with the new parts in them on the garage floor. There was some old parts scattered around. We were hoping someone knew where the parts went during the repairs.

A conversation with the OFM’s son revealed the failure of the mower blade jack shafts and the new parts were on site. Several other parts were inspected to find out how near failure they were. They all seemed to be adequate for another season or two but the whole rig was definitely worn from the previous ten years of use.

The mower deck was in the yard being blasted clean by grandson Gavin with serious effort being applied.

Then the OFM and his son moved the deck to the sun baked drive way to dry to a crisp. That did not take long. We were still discussing parts and potential repairs until well after the deck was dry. Then the deck was moved inside the garage to the shade and in front of the fan for the real work.

Now more clean up was done to the deck. A torque wrench was brought into play and assembly began. It was slow going because we were very careful to read and follow the instructions. We did not want carelessness to result in a whirring lawn mower blade coming off to injure someone.

It took a good while to get everything done on the deck. Then it was time for lunch. The whole family and the OFM headed out to a burger place nearby for a good lunch. Grandson Gavin was so good he even got a DOUBLE SCOOP ice cream cone for desert.

Now it was time to put the mower deck back under the mower and get it all put together. The OFM’s son did the rolling around on the floor hooking up the connecting parts while the OFM wobbled around handing him parts and connectors. When that was all done, the OFM did a quick check of the whole piece of equipment to see if any loose tools were evident.

Now it was proof time. The key was turned and the equipment sprang to life. Nothing seemed wrong so it was put in gear and a test mowing strip was done. OFM’s son pronounced it ready to work. 

During the testing the OFM swept the old grass clippings and other debris out of the garage and stood in front of the fan until testing was finished.

A successful repair was declared and it was a wonderful day of visiting the OFM’s family and being of some use. This made for a wonderful day of trying to have tooooo much fun.