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West Texas

3/31/18

Home On The Road

Adventure Location: Road to Fabens, Texas
Adventure Date: March 31, 2018
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The OFM woke up to happy squealing little girls as only little girls can squeal. They were flying kites right out side of the bedroom window. But the OFM quickly realized he as partially blind with a migraine attack.

 What a way to start a rolling day! Getting ready went on along and the Teams got through with the dump station at 1000 on the dot. Now we knew the roads we were going to take but not where we would stop for the night.

It was 395 miles later and we got here. The roads were not busy for the most part.




But since we are such high class travelers tonight we are sleeping in a parking lot next to Interstate 10. It is the Fabens Tx Rest Stop.



Some quiet sleep time would even be better than trying to have tooooo much fun for now.


3/30/18

Memories

Adventure Location: Del Rio, Texas
Adventure Date: March 30, 2018
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When the OFM wakes in the morning we will have been boondocked here for 34 days straight. That is no big record but it certainly has passed quickly, comfortably and pleasantly. There is something right about this area of the desert. You can be sure we intend to be back again.

Our plan is to head off into New Mexico for about three weeks and then head to North Alabama for the summer.  This is a special summer for the OFM Teams and the Alabama bunch. We are going to have some conversations about the future travels and events. Boring it will not be, you can be certain of that.

In the meantime the OFM has cleaned up all the left over pictures from our stay here and culled them down to just three. THREE! Yep he did an amazing job. These three kind of typify the area.



First is the yucca and lake picture taken in the evening. Amistad/Del Rio has some of the nicest yucca blooms and water scenes we have seen in our travels. This is very typical of the spring scene around the lake.



This is a good representation of the general foliage as you move a bit away from the lake front. Lots and lots of thorns and blooms. In fact the OFM got a mesquite thorn in his upper lip this morning while picking up trash a critter had scattered over the area. They HURT.



The cacti have a mind of their own about when it is time to bloom. The yellow ones have been blooming for a while. These just popped out in the last three days. In a few days there will likely be lots more cactus blooms in the area. That also means the honey bees will be out in full force.

So in the morning we will be heading out for new places for trying to have tooooo much fun.

3/29/18

Lots Of Campground Traffic

Adventure Location: Del Rio, Texas
Adventure Date: March 29, 2018
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There has been a lot of traffic coming through the campground today. Most of it is folks looking for lake access. We have lake access just fine only the water is a mile and a half tromp through the desert brush. If the lake is full about a third of the campsites are waterfront. But the lake is over twenty feet low now.

We guess they traffic is folks scouting for the Easter weekend follies. The other four campgrounds on the lake have some water access at the campground. We bet those will be a madhouse at best.

Speaking of Easter weekend, the Teams are planning on rolling on Saturday with hopes of being in New Mexico Sunday evening after the crowds have moved on. The general goal is Mr. Boondork land for a nice visit with him again. He has a wonderful unique sense of humor.

The OFM has been wasting paper again. This time he started with colored pencils again and within a few minutes he knew once again that they were definitely wrong for anyone with arthritic fingers. They now have a new home. This bit of wasted paper was finished with watercolor pencils that seem to work well if you use them correctly. The OFM is still learning as you can see from all the errors of commission.

Here is the picture of the moment.


When all else fails just waste some paper and make it a successful day of trying to have tooooo much fun.

3/28/18

Trail of the Cliffs

Adventure Location: Del Rio, Texas
Adventure Date: March 28, 2018
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Tonight is short of time for a lot of blabberfingering. Sleep is on the immediate agenda but the pictures are piling up so desperate measures are being taken. Tonight is the Trail of the Cliffs report. You can see the trail in several of the pictures and the OFM shadow in one of them. It is a nice place to see the scenery and try having tooooo much fun. Here they are.








3/27/18

Blackbrush Canyon

Adventure Location: Del Rio, Texas
Adventure Date: March 27, 2018
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It has been a drizzle day off and on all day. This evening it is drizzle time again. So what we have tonight is a quick trip to another fishing hole nearby. This is on Blackbrush Point at the Blackbrush Boat Launching Ramp. There are two picnic areas there. This location is achieved by parking at the first picnic area on the left hand loop as you get to the boat ramp.

Sierra managed to park safely. The OFM Fishing Team managed to get the OFM decently outfitted for the dangerous down hill round rocks hike to the water. In years past the OFM could tip toe lightly down the hill with no excitement at all. Those days are gone.

The Teams made it to the closest flat spots to the water but we were still at least ten feet above the water. The “little” cliffs that were stretching out to either side were definitely way outside the OFM abilities now.

So the OFM cast from upon high and managed to not leave a lure in the lake full of brush.  All was not lost. We at least got pictures of the little canyon for future reference. The OFM has kayaked in this canyon a few times in the past and it is excellent kayak country. The launching ramp works well for yaks also. Lots of parking back up the hill from the ramp. But your legs will tell you all about all the steep uphill walking you have done.

From the spot where the OFM was “fishing” looking left you can see where the canyon starts to open into the lake. Kayaking leaving the canyon leads you to several more winding canyons for your enjoyment. Watch out for the wind.



The right hand view is looking up canyon past the boat dock. The canyon bends to the right and then the left and quickly ends. So far the OFM has not had a wind that make that area difficult. wwe expect that it would take near tornado winds to get down into that part of the canyon.  However the brutal summer sun can make it down there easily.



At least the OFM remembered to take a picture of the “trail” back up to Sierra over the ball bearing rocks interspersed with the slip and slide rocks. Make no mistake it is treacherous walking going up or down that “trail”.



If you want a nice exciting hike, start at this spot and hike all around the end of the point and around to the other side where the floating dock is. Then walk up that path and back to your vehicle. The OFM has done it several times in the past and found it a decent way of getting lots of good views and trying to have tooooo much fun.

3/26/18

Bleeding Legs

Adventure Location: Del Rio, Texas
Adventure Date: March 26, 2018
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The hot days seem to have arrived. Pretty soon we need to be gaining altitude and losing latitude. The days need to be about ten degrees cooler for the Teams to be comfortable.

Today we headed over to one of the picnic areas near Diablo East. We looped one of the areas on the road as well as meandered a bit out in the desert. In this area most of the picnic shelters are about a hundred feet from a cliff that goes down into the lake. The lake is about 22 feet low now. When it is full the water would be only a few feet below the top edge of the cliff. The sure footed folks actually walk down that steep slope to play in the water.



As we walked around the area, it was apparent that blossom explosions were happening every day. There were many blossoms to photograph but the OFM held back and photographed only blossoms he could not recall reporting on already.

There were plenty of prickly pear cacti clusters blooming. We risked severe leg stabs to get these next few pictures. Those fresh thorns are SHARP to say it mildly. This cluster was about 50 feet off the road. (Can you say OUCH real loud for us?) But the OFM got the pictures anyway.

All of the blooms we got to were a glowing yellow. That glowing yellow means that they wash out in the sunshine unless heroic measures are taken. What are the heroic measures? It means getting very close to your picture subject. Very close means well within thorn range. Shorts like the OFM had on today are NOT recommended.



Next we eased gently in really close for this macro picture of the interior of the blossom.



There was a pink bloom just starting to open so the OFM went for it. It came out ok and maybe worth the blood shed.




There were hundreds more blossoms available to photograph while searching for better composition. However by now the OFM had at least six long scratched on the front of each leg and he was whimpering pitifully. So we cleared out of the brush for the road. 

It was wonderful to stumble along that rough graded caliche and rock road. As luck would have it we found what the OFM recalls as a lantana blooming right by the road so no more scratches were needed to acquire the photograph. YEA!



We got some neat pictures and some exercise the OFM badly needed. Except for the bleeding scratches it was a pretty good time of trying to have tooooo much fun.

3/25/18

Wasting Paper

Adventure Location: Del Rio, Texas
Adventure Date: March, 2018
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The campsite we had been at was at the wrong end of the campground when the summer (hot) winds came to town. Those winds pick up the heavy dust from the roads and area and blast the Castle with them. The second day of that mess, the OFM had had enough. He got the Castle coupled to Sierra and moved camp to the far south end of the campground.

Now we are very near where the line where the dust and rocks start as the vegetation is mostly gone. We still get the winds but the dust is just starting to get picked up.


The OFM got wild the other night and started an oil pastel painting. He worked diligently on it and finally had wasted enough paper to just give up and call it finished. He named it Storm in the Desert.



No matter how much paper is wasted it is still a great way of trying to have tooooo much fun.








3/24/18

New Tools

Adventure Location: Del Rio, Texas
Adventure Date: March, 2018
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Another hot miscellaneous day. The OFM decided it was time to outfit the Castle with cleaning tools that did not require 120 sine wave electrical supply. Our inverter is a square wave device so it works well for charging thing but some other things not  so well. On top of that it is only a 350 watt unit. 
  
The first item the OFM bought was a hand held vacuum. We have the 120 volt shop vacuum we have used for years but it draws too much power for our on board system. This new vacuum is easily recharged from our small inverter. Since we are hooked to regular 120 volt for about 8 months of the year, a larger inverter does not seem like a necessary expense. The hand vac does a decent job of cleaning so we feel it will be satisfactory for the boondocking uses.



Additionally our long time broom was checked out and found to be worn enough to be time for a replacement. Here is what we purchased.



The frizzy tips seem to do a good job even on the fine desert dust. We gave it a nice work out to break it in and it preformed well. Now that it has been shown what to do we expect it to do the job at least once a week without further bother to the rest of the Teams. 

At least the day came to a brilliant finish with a great sunset.



In a way we did accomplish a lot and having a trained broom to clean Castle should lead to a lot more trying to have tooooo much fun.








3/23/18

Flower Crazy

Adventure Location: Del Rio, Texas
Adventure Date: March, 2018
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The pictures have been piling up and the vegetation is changing fast. The spring flowers are starting to bust out all over the place. While wandering back from his delicious Whataburger breakfast in Del Rio, the OFM let Sierra divert down hwy 277 and we saw our first bluebell flowers for this season. That was a great thrill for the OFM. We did not have the camera along so they will get to grow a few hours more.

What the OFM noticed was a few flower pictures hiding in the left overs file from the last few days. So here some of them are today. As you may have noticed, that fat boy likes his flowers.

These blue beauties grow all over the area in clusters normally near rocks. Their color is much more brilliant but the sun washed them out a good bit.



A flock of flutter bys were molesting the yellow flowers near our path. They were the dickens to get a focused picture. We have here the least bad of about 20 attempts to get a focused photograph. It is still a nice rewarding sight we think.



The Texas sage brush are starting to really set flowers. The sweet scent of the sage brush is a very welcome addition to the generally nice fragrance of the West Texas desert. You can see a bit of the OFM pointing finger in the photograph to give some idea of the size of the blossom.



Since the picture was in fair focus, the computer decided to work on getting a close-up of the flower interior. It is a beauty isn’t it. We think the OFM got lucky on this picture.



Now this next flower is the only orange blossom we have seen so far. Maybe that makes it a Orange Blossom Special. We will let our readers make that call.
Orange Blossom Special

The computer worked over time to get this interior picture right. We need to start carrying a magnifying glass to check out the centers of the flowers while in the field. We named this picture Heart of the Orange Blossom Special.

Heart of the Orange Blossom Special


We hope you enjoy todays trip in flowerland. The OFM Teams certainly enjoyed having tooooo much fun bringing it to you.






3/21/18

The Old Fishing Hole

Adventure Location: Del Rio, Texas
Adventure Date: March, 2018
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Today was another busy day. First it was laundry time. That takes about 2 1/2 hours start to finish. So the mid morning was off to a good start. 

Then we hit Walmart for some food resupply. That worked out well. Next was an hour or more of deciding what our next move would be. Since the weather is still a bit cool in NM the decision was to stay here until Sunday at least.

We had been 15 days since the last dump station visit so that was incorporated into changing campsites this afternoon. Yep the tanks were Real full. It seemed like it took 20 minutes for each tank to dump. Then we had to move over to the fresh water and fill that empty 40 gallon tank.

Next it was back to the new campsite and set up for the next few days. The OFM is needing to pace his OLD FAT BODY better. There is so much for him to do he is wearing himself out physically and not resting enough. We have been here nearly a month and he has not stopped long enough to even make a rough sketch of some of the great scenery.

Speaking of great scenery, we visited an old fishing hole the other day. It is somewhat rugged hiking to fish it but the OFM wanted to see what he could do with it in his current condition. Amazingly well turned out to be the answer. We did not cover near the territory that we did the last time we were there a couple of years ago. But with careful adaptations he was able to do quite a bit of rock scrambling as you will see.

Sierra got parked in the “parking lot” (bare desert area near the walkway) and the OFM even took a fishing rod down with him. Here is the walkway going down to the lake area. There used to be a floating pier here but the lake fluctuations seem to have caused the removal of it. So now the fisherfolks get to scramble the banks and short cliffs to fish.



The path we took on this day was to the right when the concrete pathway quit.  We have overlaid a thin green line on the general path of the adventure. Be assured that all the loose rock will keep your attention riveted to the path and not the scenery while you are moving along.



This particular small canyon is still with about 20-30 feet of water in it. The path is just a route someone picked out amongst the loose rocks sometime in the past. It is not a developed trail or pathway. You are on your own in this area.

This next picture is at the approximate mid part of the limited portion of the path the OFM took. 



Some where in the photo is the rock that the OFM two years ago took a two step run and jumped onto to continue on the trail (while he had a fishing rod and tackle box in his hands). 

On this day the OFM without anything in his hands backed up to the rock. Put his hands on it and pushed up while using his feet to help get his fat butt onto the rock. Then he rolled on his fat belly and scooted onto the rock far enough to roll back over and get back up. Yep age and decreptednes is requiring adaptations in hiking. Again the green line is the approximate path taken.

We got on around to the end of the small canyon where the footing gets really tricky and the OFM wisely decided to turn back. Here is a bit of an enlargement of the turn back point.

The return followed the same basic path. The rock, mentioned before, from above was an easy slide down on the return trip. The fishing rod had been left at the end of the walk from the parking lot. It was waiting politely for our return or the coroner to come get us. 

Here is a picture from near the bottom of the walkway. The top edge of Sierra is barely visible. It is not a long hike back up the walkway but it is very steep. If it was any steeper it would need ladder rungs.



All in all we drank a liter of water in this little hour long adventure. It certainly was a great effort at trying to have tooooo much fun.



3/20/18

Raring To Roll

Adventure Location: Del Rio, Texas
Adventure Date: March, 2018
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Morning got here too soon. It was cold. It was barely enough light to see to couple up the rig. The OFM was not excited about the upcoming expense but sometimes you have to take care of the equipment. It had been well over 100,000 miles and 8 years since the Castle had a running gear physical.

The “hospital” opened right on time. The exam folks were on top of everything in a first class manner. The Castle was backed into the garage bay for the procedure and the OFM got out of the way. Repack the wheel bearings and repair/replace any thing not right so the Teams can wonder the land again.

After a little while the OFM stopped by to check on the damage  status. The tech, who goes by the nickname of Panda, had things laid out well and was deep into the project at hand. The OFM got to check out everything and the news was generally good.

 The spring shackles assembly showed little to no wear. Thats one excellent.

The brake drums did not need turning or replacing. Another excellent.

The braking magnet was less than 1/2 worn down. That is a very good. 

The brake shoes were right at 1/2 worn down.
That is a very good.

The spindle was in immaculate shape. That is another excellent.

The bearings and races showed some rolling pattern on them but did not evidence any heating or unusual wear. That is a good.

So after a couple of minutes of discussion the OFM decided to replace the bearings totally. Which the tech did.

So what it boils down to is the running gear of the Castle is now in perfect condition for another 8 years of wear. Can you imagine the OFM towing the Castle around the country when he is 79 years old. Heck that even scares the Teams.

Here is a copy of the invoice. As you can see RVing is not free.



The Teams will rest much better tonight knowing all the equipment is ready for the challenges ahead as we run around trying to have tooooo much fun.

3/19/18

Sunset Came Too Soon

Adventure Location: Del Rio, Texas
Adventure Date: March, 2018
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It has been a busy day and the OFM is running late on getting the Castle ready for the trip to the trailer shop in the morning. So all there is time for is a view of the sunset from the campground. 



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

3/18/18

Lucky, Really Lucky

Adventure Location: Del Rio, Texas
Adventure Date: March, 2018
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We got lucky, really lucky. When we went to dump for the first time out here in the desert, the Castle was positioned at the dump point, the sewer hose was attached and stretched a little bit to the dump hole.  The vinyl suddenly split in a couple of places with small tears. That hose has been in the Texas UV sun since who knows when. The splits were on top of the hose and very little waste leaked out. Of course it was black water first.

After the minor clean up and refilling the fresh water tank, the Castle was taken back to the camping spot. Then yesterday we tried to install new slip on end connectors on the new spare hose. The OFM fingers were just not able to get the job done. It was time for a more modern style of sewer hose.

 Off to Walmart we went. While in the RV section, we met a nice fellow who had had the same finger trouble a couple of years ago. He went to the Rhino brand of hose with the connectors already attached. He has had his for two years without any troubles at all. He did have to purchase an extension one time but the original hose was still going strong into his third year. So we took that as a special omen and purchased a Rhino hose for the OFM Teams.

New Hose in Box


Now we are set for a good long time of trouble free (we hope) sewer hose use. The old style couplings etc have been discarded. Old fingers eventually hit limits we guess.

Not a lot exciting is happening these days. However the OFM did notice a life event that happens close to the dusty roads out here. The spider webs that get put up each night near the roads seldom last a whole day.  The heavy dust clouds that passing vehicles cause as they pass by collect on the webs. By noon the webs collect enough dust that they get weighted down.  The resulting sag can be several inches. Apparently the dust coats the sticky parts and the webs no longer work.

Early Dust and Sagging


When we notice the webs later in the day, there is seldom any critters caught in the web. Whereas the webs farther out into the desert will have lots of insects caught in them and very little dust coating.

Do you think the OFM is getting simple minded when he thinks looking at dirty spider webs is a great way of trying to have tooooo much fun?

3/16/18

Looking For Paradise Again

Adventure Location: Del Rio, Texas
Adventure Date: March, 2018
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We have been piddling around for a few days trying to make something worth blogging about happen. Finally a tidbit has happened. Night before last we had the Castle shut up tight and heat going strong to keep us warm. Then last night we had the windows open and the fans going to keep the OFM sweating to a minimum. And here it is mid afternoon and SUMMER is in full force.

The OFM got to checking the wheel bearings on the Castle and decided that it was time for a repack since we had an excellent service location nearby. We are also needing to piddle around in the area until after the weekend to let the Spring Break crowd dissipate into the population centers. 

So a stop at Arc-rite here in Del Rio got us a first thing Tuesday appointment for a Castle wheel bearing repack and a brakes exam. The brakes are not having any trouble but it is a good idea to check them after nearly 200000 miles of service. When the brakes are viewable for exam, if anything needs maintenance it will also be done. The leaf springs system will also get a close checkout.  When we leave here we want eveything to be in great shape on the Castle because we are heading to New Mexico to teach Sierra about mountain climbing.
Where in NM you might ask, but probably not. Well here it is anyway. The target area is the part of NM that is inside the red line. We have been in there before and it is a neat area with a few thousand square miles left for us to explore and only five weeks to do it.



The OFM guarantees that we will not have any trouble finding something in that area for trying to have tooooo much fun.

3/14/18

Luxury Facilities

Adventure Location: Del Rio, Texas
Adventure Date: March, 2018
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Sunsets are usually at the end of the blog entry. So tonight we are starting off with a great sky light show.



Oh and by the way that is a sunrise from our campsite.

During the running around on the major roads off in the desert you can raise a lot of off-white dust. And before you know it your vehicle will weigh about a hundred pounds more. Take a gander at the rear of Sierra. We gather a lot of dust but the dust clouds are even more huge as they layer the vegetation with dust for a quarter mile every direction.



Just so you will know that this is not some low rent location. The cost for the luxury campsite here is $2 a day for the Teams. Our necessities facilities are of the highest order. At least once a year all the dead insects, varmits and dust is flushed out of the facility. It does get a little warm in the summer and brisk in the winter but it is really first class boondocking.



We hope you have enjoyed this update on our campsite where we work hard at trying to have tooooo much fun.

3/13/18

Isolation

Adventure Location: Del Rio, Texas
Adventure Date: March, 2018
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The San Pedro Campground at Lake Amistad is about eight miles from the SuperWalmart in Del Rio Texas but it is really an isolated feeling place.  As we were heading back to the Castle the afternoon sun was bearing mightily on the white sides of the Castle showing its location out in the desert. We thought it might interest someone to see the desert vastness and isolation even just outside town.

This first picture was taken with the camera lens at a normal setting. That would be about what your naked eye would see. The camera location was near spur 454 and highway 90 looking toward the San Pedro camping area.




Then the OFM did all the zoom the camera has and took the next picture. After cropping we ended up with this picture which is well more enlarging than simple regular binoculars would give you.




Yes it is remote but easily accessible by the gravel roads.

Later that evening the sunset was playing around in the sky and we were playing along. About a dozen sunset pictures were taken. These next two were taken about ten minutes apart from essentially the same spot. It was hard to believe they were the same sunset.





Yep the deserts of West Texas can be a great place for trying to have tooooo much fun.