header pic

header pic
Wild Skies at Campground

5/29/18

Mr. Alberto's Visit

Adventure Location: Decatur, Alabama
Adventure Date: May 29, 2018
Click the picture to enlarge it.

Mr. Alberto de la Storm came by for a visit this afternoon. It was not welcome. However we had no say in the event so we sat it out. About 1700 it pulled out to bother other folks and let us get started in the cleanup.

The Castle was noisy during this event. We kept on getting KA BOOMs on the roof and sides of the Castle. Our site is inside a tree cave formed by 80-100 foot tall trees.



That means lots of nice shade during the summer and plenty of tree droppings all year round. Keeping the roof cleaned of debris is a continuous chore for the OFM. However it is required for the protection of the Castle from all sorts of troubles.

Here is one of the tree droppings that hit the roof and came over the side to join us in the campsite. As the OFM looked upward he could see several other leafless limbs that would also be good candidates for penetrating the roofing of the Castle.



We were very glad when Mr. Alberto moved on to the northwest to leave us alone. The rain was pretty hard for about an hour. To the Teams surprise we did not see any flooding in the area from this incident. Dancing in the streets and waving goodbye to Mr. Alberto is a GREAT way of trying to have tooooo much fun.

5/28/18

Storm Report

Adventure Location: Decatur, Alabama
Adventure Date: May 28, 2018
Click the picture to enlarge it.

The golf course beat the OFM to a pulp AND THEN LAUGHED AT HIM.

In the mean time we received another picture of the storm at the Gulf Shores beach.



Apparently the storm moved just enough east that the area is not having serious effects from it. Now we know from experience missing storms from the ocean is a great way of trying to have tooooo much fun.

5/27/18

Weird Boat (UPDATED)

Adventure Location: Decatur, Alabama
Adventure Date: May 27, 2018
Click the picture to enlarge it.

It was a very crowded day today as lots of folks came into the campground to visit other campers. In other words it was PACKED. Lots of kids were having a great time. But the best of all is we did not hear even one cross word in all the activity.

There was a funny boat parked along the road. It apparently was a jet drive. I will let the readers figure out what it was used for. No one on the Teams could even hazard a guess.




After the OFM went out for supper, a large black and green roiling cloud formed near and moved toward the campground. It was ugly for certain. When we returned it was only a few minutes before the news was being passed around about the rainstorm headed for us in about thirty minutes. During that thirty minutes six million, seven thousand and thirty four folks bailed out of the campground. Ten minutes later the rains hit here and the OFMTeams went into hibernation inside the Castle.

The bad side is that the fireworks show did not happen. Maybe tomorrow they will get to set it off. Then the big weekend will be over. One thing for sure the folks here this weekend knew how to have a really pleasant party while trying to have tooooo much fun.

UPDATE ON THE STORM ALBERTO
The OFM Teams has a member on the beach at Gulf Shores Alabama. Mr. A Ward has sent us this current picture of the weather there. It is just starting to become something to catch your eye on the horizon. We will update as news arrives.

Gulf Shores Alabama Beach Front


5/26/18

Happy Folks

Adventure Location: Decatur, Alabama
Adventure Date: May 26, 2018
Click the picture to enlarge it.

BOOM, BOOM, BOOM, BOOM echos all through Point Mallard Park as the Memorial Day Celebration gets underway. The music is loud and incessant. The mood is jovial and upbeat. The crowds are beyond belief. Here is the road from the highways that leads to the park. 



The lines have been like that since about 0900 this morning. Out the road about a mile is a parking lot with transportation to inside the campground to a long walk to the public celebration part of the park.



Once out of the van they have about a half mile walk  to the entertainment area. At least it is a pleasant walk since the temps are in the mid 70s. Here is the other end from the transit van stop.



That is a view right up one of the streets in the campground part of the park. We get the idea that every campsite has visitors to go along with the campers that belong there. It is definitely crowded. We have two more days of this.  So far it has been a very happy crowd of folks just trying to have tooooo much fun.



5/24/18

Nap Time

Adventure Location: Decatur, Alabama
Adventure Date: May 24, 2018
Click the picture to enlarge it.

It seems the OFM is finally starting to feel better after two plus days of less than the best. Boy o Boy did his appetite return with a vengeance. It was getting on toward lunch time and he was HONGRY!  Then the BBQ place in town came to mind and their large stuffed baked potatoes.

Now that was a good idea. Sierra got busy and took us over to the BBQ place and got parked in their very tight parking lot. The OFM nearly ran, OK let us just call it speedily wobbled inside and ordered up the biggest potato to go.

A few minutes later the counter person wheeled it out in a wheelbarrow. Two other guys came out to help us load it into Sierra. Then away we went. When we got back to Comfort Castle, Sierra backed up to the open door at high speed and slammed on the brakes and the potato slid right up the ramp onto the table.

The OFM got Sierra put away and waddled into the Castle licking  his chops with great enthusiasm for the forth coming feast.



And feast he did and did   and did. Then it was NAP time. And that is how to have tooooo much fun at lunch time.

5/23/18

Making The Boys Look Silly

Adventure Location: Decatur, Alabama
Adventure Date: May 22, 2018
Click the picture to enlarge it.

The days have not been really exciting but still very much worth living. This evening the OFM was wanting a gentle walk after supper, so the camera was grabbed and away we went to see the sights. (?)

Over at the soccer field it is training time for the new recruits. This group is apparently just getting started on the techniques of soccer.



Then over to the left is some young players being supervised in their practice by what looks like some 12-13 year olds. They seemed to be in great spirits. A cute event was when a smaller girl was chasing a soccer ball with two larger boys right behind her from the other team planning of getting the ball from her.  She made a deft move and while at a full run made a backwards heel kick that sent the ball right between one of the pursuers legs. She immediately did a quick pivot and gathered the ball and kicked it back to her team mate by the goal. Those two boys sure looked sheepish after that.
Here is the group where that event happened.



The OFM walked on around the soccer field to the sounds of all the laughter and meandered on down to a small creek. While standing there he realized that all that cloud cover was the beginning of the weather event headed our way by way of Florida. We are supposed to have a long session of rain type weather for over a week. The Teams are really hoping that the river stays out of the campground.



If that weather event actually comes this way, we bet the hot air balloon launch will be canceled. We were hoping to get some close up pictures of that event.  We will still have golf, biking and trail walking for trying to have tooooo much fun.



5/21/18

Dripless

Adventure Location: Decatur, Alabama
Adventure Date: May 20, 2018
Click the picture to enlarge it.

It was that time again. Maintenance time that is. Water heater anode rod changing time. The OFM got on his getting wet clothing. Then he got the fresh water hose set up with the jet nozzle for flushing the tank. Then the tool box was robbed of the socket, wrench and teflon tape. Then he flushed the hot water out of the tank and turned off the heater switch. Next was turn off the water to the tank.

After doubling checking that everything was ready he put the wrench to the anode and started to remove it expecting a shower at any minute. BUT for the first time in his life he did things right and the anode rod unscrewed easily from the heater.

Then it got a bit more interesting. There was such a build up of rocks that the worn anode did not want to come out. So he back flushed the heater some through the clogged opening. That disturbed the rocks enough to let the worn anode come on out of the heater. Good grief it came a landslide of chunks of rocks out of the heater opening.

The water jet was activated and flushing commenced. Flush after flush was done until it seemed we had removed enough rocks to fill Palo Duro Canyon. Finally we could hear the water stream hitting the heater walls again. That was a nice sound. Here is a picture taken just after the flushing was finished.



Now it was time to put the new rod in. The teflon tape was carefully wrapped on the new rods threads. Then the rod was carefully threaded into the heater mounting hole. Careful tightening of the anode rod commenced. Firm tightness was achieved and not any over tightening.

The telling moment was here. The water was turned back on and the heater filled. The air was all burped out of the heater and we let it sit under pressure for a few minutes as things were put away and the area cleaned up.

The moment of truth was upon us. A dry paper towel was wiped on the under side of the anode mount. NO LEAKING WATER WAS EVIDENT. The OFM wanted to dance a jig but he was not coordinated enough. So he was happy to just smile big. Having a job go right is a great way of having tooooo much fun.

5/20/18

Manipulated

Adventure Location: Decatur, Alabama
Adventure Date: May 19, 2018
Click the picture to enlarge it.

The photos in OFM Adventures are edited with the great free program Photoscape. Search for it on the Internet and down load a copy for free if you wish. It is a simple program that does all a simple fool like the OFM needs for his blog.

While the fool, OOPS I mean OFM, was messing around today he found a new set of buttons that did some neat things to the picture. What they are good for, we have no idea but it was fun looking around at the effects.

Here is the red flower original we mutilated.



Then we tried the SEPIA key on it and got this.



A little more piddling got us this with the GRAYSCALE key sent us this.



The usual key for black and white change from color gave us this.



Then the big surprise was the invert negative key which presented us with this shocking result.



We have no idea what this information is good for but here it is. Messing around in photo manipulating software can be a great way of trying to have tooooo much fun.









5/18/18

Dull Day

Adventure Location: Decatur, Alabama
Adventure Date: May 18, 2018
Click the picture to enlarge it.




Some days Decatur Al. has less than perfect days for trying to have tooooo much fun.


5/17/18

Grape Crop

Adventure Location: Decatur, Alabama
Adventure Date: May 17, 2018
Click the picture to enlarge it.


The weather is sometimes very rainy and with lightning close by. Other moments it is sunshine and beautiful enough to get you well out on the golf course or on the bike path when the next storm roars through. The OFM got to experience both.

There is not much exciting going on around here. The Point Mallard Park is getting all the decorations and set ups installed and in place for the big festival on Memorial week end. We plan to hibernate that weekend. Could happen we will finally get to do some painting.




The rains have made the wild grapes get going. Here is one near the campsite showing signs of a large grape crop this year. Last year was a huge crop and this year looks to be just as big if not bigger.

The Teams are still keeping the OFM active. His knees are doing much better with very little climbing of steep hills or boulders being required. He is still gimpy but the gimps are smaller now. And of course we are still working really hard at trying to have tooooo much fun.




5/15/18

ERRRRRK

Adventure Location: Decatur, Alabama
Adventure Date: May 15, 2018
Click the picture to enlarge it.


We recently noticed a set of tire tracks at the entrance to the campground. The straight road from the stop sign a couple of blocks away seems to entice high speed foolishness. That is not good since the road has a fairly sharp right turn to go into the campground. There is no left or straight ahead available. Left or straight finds the upper end of the deep drainage creek heading for the Tennessee River.

This is the skid marks on the bike path next to the road.



In this case the skid marks head right on out across the ditch and into the trees. You can see them very well in this next photo.




It appears that this person was lucky enough to get stopped a few inches before encountering that nice tree between the tire ruts.

A couple of years ago a drunk made it off the road between two trees that mutilated his vehicle sides and partially hit a tree on the left front of his vehicle before taking a nose dive into a deep gully. He lived but he must have used up an enormous amount of his luck from the looks of the mess he left behind.

A message to any RVers headed into the Tennessee Valley during the summer. It seems that all the campgrounds we hear about are booked solid until well after the Fourth of July. Point Mallard is definitely booked solid for that time period.

The good news is that we are, at 2000 tonight as this is being written, getting a good soaking rain that the area needs. The crops are planted and starting to grow well so this should help bring in a bumper crop this year.

Feasting on fresh local grown food is another good way of trying to have tooooo much fun.

5/13/18

The Joy of Small Spaces

Adventure Location: Decatur, Alabama
Adventure Date: May 13, 2018
Click the picture to enlarge it.

A well known and well cussed fact of RVs is that the smallest part that will wear out first is the one that the rest of the RV is built around. So this morning was the day of disassembly of the Castle was done. One of the jalousie windows in the kitchen had the operator go bad.Today was finally the replacement day. The best news is there was no red fluid spilled.

The operator is placed inside the window frame behind the levers and bars that operate the window. The functional room to work is just right for fingers the size of toothpicks with the strength of Godzilla.

After careful consideration of using the sledge hammer to open up the access, the OFM calmed down and we went to work on the window. Upon most of the window being disassembled we found that the two visible screws were reachable. The surprise was the screw above the operating rod hidden in a very small access port only visible by small flashlight illumination would have to be taken out by feel since the available area would not allow a thin shaft screw driver as well as a flashlight.

The screw was “calmly” removed and placed on the counter. Of course all the work had to be done while leaning over the kitchen sink and dodging the faucet spout and the overhead cabinet.  

The new operator was placed into the proper spot. Now the trick was to hold in midair 8 loose pieces of window while your other five hands hold the operator in place and put the screws back into the mounting holes that you can’t reach with your short fat fingers. After threatening the window pieces with the sledge hammer again they decided to cooperate and went back together with minimal “special instructions” from the OFM.

WOW that was a chore. We carefully turned the operator knob and EVERYTHING WORKED. Talk about astounded!!!!
Here is the only picture taken.




Soon we need to change the water heater anode rod. That is also another great way of trying to have tooooo much fun.

5/12/18

2 Years Later

Adventure Location: Decatur, Alabama
Adventure Date: May 12, 2018
Click the picture to enlarge it.

It had only been 2 years since the OFM noticed his then 8 year old golf club grips needed replacing. Grips are like tires on a vehicle. They wear out and require replacement now and then depending on the mileage.

So the OFM hopped right to the task two years later and set up the OFM Golf Club Repairs shop to take care of the task.



The grips were part of a kit from Academy. They are good grips but not A+. The OFM’s golf playing ability does not require even Z- equipment. Of course no chore involving sharp items like knives can be done without leaking some red liquid and using several pre-manufactured bandages.

After a couple of hours of difficulties and leaking red fluids on things the chore was completed. The rest of the evening there has not been any new leakage spots on his body. Not springing new leaks is a good way of having tooooo much fun.

5/11/18

What To Do?

Adventure Location: Decatur, Alabama
Adventure Date: May 11, 2018
Click the picture to enlarge it.

After way too many shots on hole 9 including a couple of his famous foot wedges, this is what the OFM faced when he finally got close to the green.



The Teams left because we could not stand to watch the OFM cry again. Does he really call this trying to have tooooo much fun?

5/10/18

Fun Golf Again

Adventure Location: Decatur, Alabama
Adventure Date: May 10, 2018
Click the picture to enlarge it.

 The last of the pile of pictures coming your way tonight. Things are going to be a bit busy until next Monday so we do not know when we will get a chance to publish again. However you can be sure we are stockpiling pictures again.

Along the trail by the golf course was this one simple shaft of light coming down out of the high trees to illuminate a pair of blossoms. They would likely go unnoticed except the OFM Teams were on the meander and noticed them in the dim forest light.



We thought they were pretty.

Another trail in the area, there are a lot of them, had a tree with blisters on the leaves. None of the other trees nearby had these blisters on them. If anyone knows what they are please let the rest of us in on the knowledge.



Here is something that had the OFM  puzzled for a couple of days. We see these backyard playhouses frequently around this area. Seemed odd to the OFM until he remembered we are in a major highway for tornados.



Today is the first day the OFM got to play a full nine holes of golf since we have been back. Something was always getting in the way until this afternoon. He walked the front 9 holes and made it all the way with minor pain. It was also a hot day so that was even more surprising. He managed to score a 47 for the nine holes. It was disappointing how much he had forgotten of the “how to” part of golf in the six months since our last chance to play. But he still enjoyed it for trying to have toooo much fun.

5/9/18

Explosion

Adventure Location: Decatur, Alabama
Adventure Date: May 09, 2018
Click the picture to enlarge it.

It is here! The huge allergy explosion has arrived in full force. The dark little creek nearby has produced its share of mold and mildew to add to the onslaught.



All along the roads and paths the bushes are pounding out the pollen generating flowers to assault anyone walking the area.



Naturally the pine trees are bringing us trouble from the skies with their pollen dropping from every place we can see. The oak trees are coming in with reinforcements at a rabid pace.



Every way you look the vines are climbing to fill the open space from the bushes up to the tree limbs. At least they are very fragrant.



And as if that is not enough, the lake is putting out pollen floating on the surface. 



You can’t even get away from it out in a kayak trying to have tooooo much fun. WHERE IS MY FLONASE?

5/7/18

Always Something

Adventure Location: Decatur, Alabama
Adventure Date: May 07, 2018
Click the picture to enlarge it.

Flint Creek is a large creek coming off Wheeler Lake. The closest trail to the campground runs down to Flint Creek and along it to Wheeler Lake. That trail is heavily used but is still a never ending story. Every time the Teams meander along that trail something new happens. Today was no exception.

The OFM was pretty gimped up today and we had lots we wanted to do but most of it had to wait. The OFM decided we needed for him to get some gentle walking done at a slow recuperative speed. That easy short and close trail was the choice and away we slowly went.Around the soccer fields, then past the ice skating building and down the slope to the water front pathway. So far so good.

 No big special adventures yet, but of course, the OFM is known for finding crazy adventures where none existed for decades until three minutes ago. The camera was at the ready and the Meanderer was ready for any excuse to pause and rest.

Naturally he had to check out the creek for turtles, frogs and snakes. He carefully was pushing the brush around to make a viewing spot through the underbrush for a picture. Finally he gave up and backed out to the trail. 

He glanced over his shoulder just in time to see this huge snake coming down the tree close behind him for a visit. WOW that fat boy can jump. After a few minutes his heartbeat slowed to about 694 BPM and he could stop quivering enough to see where the snake went. It went nowhere.



Now it was giggling time over that scare. Always something isn’t there.

OK now we continued on along the trail and soon found this tree with a secret message in the bark. Please let us know if you are able to decode it.



What we see is a castle turret on the far left. Then a plus sign. Then a large squirrel straddling the new branch doing something. We have not been able to decide what the message is about.

Jump over the other adventures for the day to tonight and to supper time. The OFM had boiled chicken breasts( our favorite way of cooking chicken) for supper, and future suppers, when he got the idea of putting together a chicken salad for our meal. After putting a lot of stuff into the large bowl here is what it looked like.



It was only a few minutes later when it looked like this.



WOW the OFM put away a lot of food didn’t he. That’s OK. You can work up a big appetite running from Tree Snakes when you are out trying to have tooooo much fun.

5/5/18

Puff Balls

Adventure Location: Decatur, Alabama
Adventure Date: May 05, 2018
Click the picture to enlarge it.

We have no idea what you may have called them in your childhood but the OFM’s neighborhood called them Puff Balls.  When you pick it and hold it up in front of your mouth, a strong breath would send the airborne seeds frolicking all over the place. The OFM was so simple minded back then that a great afternoon could be had blowing seeds around the front yard.

Here is the puff ball growing next to Flint Creek.



Since we thought the ball was so pretty that we enlarged the photo to show some of the puff ball details.



As you can see the OFM is still simple minded enough to really enjoy the puff ball respite from the long walk as we meandered the banks of Flint Creek searching for tooooo much fun.

5/3/18

The Big Nothing

Adventure Location: Decatur, Alabama
Adventure Date: May 03, 2018
Click the picture to enlarge it.

An interesting day it was. The OFM started the day with a bicycle ride that was too long and too fast, so he ended up with a very sore leg muscle. Do you think there is even a tiny hope he will learn better? We don’t?

As he was laying around the Castle moaning about how his head feels, he suddenly had an idea to check the allergy reports. Sure enough grass pollen is way toooooooooo high. Flonase had been recommended to him by the Boondork when he was in New Mexico. So the OFM purchased some and is giving it a trial. So far it has already made some improvement in the stuffy sinus situation. We will see what happens tomorrow.

Since he did not feel like heading out to eat, the OFM cooked a pork chop to go with the asparagus he had and pigged out to the utmost. That fat boy can eat for certain.

Then this afternoon he tried to make some art. It was a picture using oil pastels on cold press watercolor paper. What a disaster! The OFM definitely does not like working oil pastel on cold press watercolor paper. YUK YUK YUK

Tonight we are trying to figure out what we are going to do tomorrow for trying to have tooooo much fun.

5/2/18

Fantastic Find

Adventure Location: Decatur, Alabama
Adventure Date: May 02, 2018
Click the picture to enlarge it.

We had an extremely lucky event this morning. The morning excursion to Academy was not working out well. As we turned the corner in the shoe department a box caught the OFM’s eye.

As you know the OFM has miseries finding comfortable shoes for his weird feet. We had unpacked the shelves where the proper shoe was supposed to be located and not gotten even close to the right shoe. Frustration was running high since we were soon to start using our new backup pair.

Lo and behold what is that stuck way over here out of place by the tennis shoes. It is the right shoe for the OFM. Can’t be. Let’s check it out really carefully. WOW everything matches perfectly. OK put them on. WOW perfect again. So the OFM took careful possession of that pair of shoes.

The checkout folks took our money and we hugged the shoes all the way back to Sierra. The shoes even made it back to the Castle with us. The OFM was so excited to have a spare pair again he would dance a jig if he could.




At his advanced age these might be the last pair of shoes he ever needs to purchase. One thing for sure is that we will work really hard at wearing them out by trying to have tooooo much fun with comfortable feet.

5/1/18

Lesson Learned

Adventure Location: Decatur, Alabama
Adventure Date: May 01, 2018
Click the picture to enlarge it.

The picture showing the near flooding happening here in the campground showed water just about on the roadway. This morning as the OFM Walking Team went past that same spot we noticed the water was down over a foot. Check this picture out. The blue line is the high water mark.




It was a nice cool morning for a walk. We managed about 2.5 total miles. One thing that helped was the nice trail that had mostly dried out overnight. The flowers were starting to get really serious about the spring blossom special time. We thought this was an especially nice section of sunlight and trail.




The OFM was having some trouble with the shoes he chose to wear today. They were purchased many years ago for some heavy duty mountain country hiking. They never seemed to get broke in. Good hiking shoes will not need to be broken in, they will be good from the first time you wear them. By the time we were past halfway the boots were hurting the OFM’s right foot. 

The OFM has feet that are quite different from each other. We are not talking just left and right either. So he tried several lacing differences and finally decided it was time for some “custom fitting”. It is not unusual for him to have to do some “custom fitting” with his knife, but he normally remembers to take his feet out of the boot first. Lesson Learned.

Any way the pressure/rub/obnoxious trouble spots were removed from the right boot.




After that the walking was much better. It still was not right but at least we could make it back to the Castle with a lot less pain. Having comfortable footwear is important for trying to have tooooo much fun.