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Pretty Creek

7/31/19

Floating Trash

Adventure Location: Decatur, Alabama
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Here we are at the bitter end of July and the Teams still have no idea what we will do for the rest of the year. Yeah the OFM knows walk/ride the trails, take great photos occasionally, play bad golf, cook great stoup, visit the grand kids, paint bad pictures to waste good paper are all available.

In the meantime maybe a reader can figure out what this object was that was floating in the creek. It looked to be about five feet long. It never got close enough for a good eyeball view. This picture was taken with long zoom and cropped.

Trash

A day or two ago this neat pair of pictures was taken. It is a reflection shot and a direct shot taken a few seconds apart. First shot was at the reflection and the second shot was of the sky.

Reflection



Sky


We were amazed at how different the sky looked in the two shots so close together. I hope some one enjoys the mystery.

All the exercise yesterday of biking, walking and golf in warm weather certainly made for some sound sleeping for the OFM. Then when he had to get up he found out about something called  SORE MUSCLES. There was a slight joint pain but not much. The sore muscles kept him from getting busy early so he just did the laundry. By 0930 he had the laundry all done and the clothes put away and the bed made.

A good thing about this slowdown is that he actually started on a new painting. It is planned to be another water color/colored pencil combination painting. It should be ready in a couple of weeks or so. The new painting has new techniques for the OFM Painting Team to learn so don’t get too optimistic about it working out to nice. 

Pork chop stoup preparation is on the agenda for tomorrow.  Cooking is always a great way for trying to have tooooo much fun around the Castle.

7/30/19

Two Special Events

Adventure Location: Decatur, Alabama
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The OFM had two special events today. The first was 9 holes of golf without any physical pain or misery. It was hot but playing in the evening and mostly in the shade from the tall trees made it tolerable. Yes he was riding a cart. It is that time of his life.

The other event was more exciting. While digging around for some legal papers he stumbled across the address where his parents apparently lived when he was born. Then a look with Google and we had a current picture of the mansion he lived in in his early life.



This was the first time he can remember getting to see his first home. For him that was better than trying to have tooooo much fun.

7/29/19

Start Over Again

Adventure Location: Decatur, Alabama
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The OFM has been diligently working on his leg improvements for over two years now. Sturdy Steed, his previous bike, had been handed over to his son after several thousands of miles of fun. Since then the OFM has been doing things to help his leg joints heal. The speed walking we have been doing the last few months seems to have helped a good bit.

For the last two weeks, the OFM has been trying very short rides on borrowed bicycles to see how the joints feel about bike riding now after over two years of not riding. The joints did not complain at all. So yesterday we got a new team member to fill the hole left by Sturdy Steed. SS carried the OFM to hundreds of great adventures all over the west before moving on to the OFM’s son.

This afternoon was the final test and the OFM’s leg joints passed with rolling colors. The new bike is initially named Sweet Ride to blend in with the Alabama motto of “Sweet Home Alabama”. Here is Sweet Ride  meeting the exercise weights and the trailer hitch which will be a big part of its life in the future.

SWEET RIDE


Sweet Ride is a NISHIKI PUEBLO bicycle with a One OFM power propulsion unit. SR will normally be used at a very docile speed since the OFM doesn’t bounce so good any more when he splats.

This new addition brings the OFM back to square one about future travel since bike riding is now part of the Teams fun again. Even docile riding changes our radius of fun noticeably. The “fun radius” gets bigger by several miles now.  SR should be able to get us out on trails that the OFM cannot easily hike giving us 8 to 10 times as much meandering room and adventures opportunities. That could make a big difference in the trying to have tooooo much fun in the future.

7/28/19

What the OFM sees.

Adventure Location: Decatur, Alabama
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The OFM finally got around to reading the camera manual and the camera is working again. He also found out about lots of features the camera can do. A couple of those features were turned on and here is examples of two features he really liked. They are automatic and so far work very well.

One feature is to automatically go into close-up mode when in normal mode. That means the OFM does not have to think or remember for things to work out well. That is always a good thing. Here is the center of a large crape myrtle blossom. The camera lens was about 6 inches from the center and the OFM was having trouble keeping from wobbling in the breezes.



We were very happy with the results.

Next was another feature for low light situations. There are two situations we encounter often. One is the camera being out in good lighting and the wanted picture being in a dark area.

In these two pictures the camera was in the sunlight and the two horizontal logs were in a dark trees limbs “cave”. The first is what the OFM could see.


The second is what the camera could see.

Our next example is when the camera was in the low light area that we wanted a picture of.
Again this is what the OFM could see.


And this is what the camera could see.


This is going to be a very good and useful feature to the OFM Photography Team.

Having the camera working again and the new features will help us in the task of trying to have tooooo much fun in the future.

7/27/19

Plumes

Adventure Location: Decatur, Alabama
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Today is the day the OFM no longer has a youthful son. He turns “middle aged” today. We did our best to make him like turning 40. yea right. HAPPY BIRTHDAY SON.

We got one neat picture today. This vegetation looked like some sort of grass, but it was putting some mighty nice plumes out for the sunlight to play with.



The colors in the plumes would vary some as the breeze moved the stems around. It was a nice interesting site to see.

The OFM spent a nice amount of time trying figure out what he wants to waste paper on by trying to paint a picture. Nothing special was exciting.

That is about as close as we came to trying to have tooooo much fun during the summer doldrums..

7/25/19

A Miracle

Adventure Location: Decatur, Alabama
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The coolness was nearly gone for the walk this morning. But the OFM did get in more than 2 miles. Along the way he was taking a picture or three and hit a button by accident and took the camera into a far far away mode and could not figure out how to get it back into reasonable mode.

When we got back to the Castle he managed to get it in a better mode but not the mode he prefers. This was one of the before the mode change pictures. These critters had the right idea about being too vigorous about the morning.



The big news is the new Castle door lock arrived today. A few days ago when the OFM went to unlock the door to the Castle, it was a tough miracle he got it unlocked.  Liberal oil application and working the lock got it to work with very rough action. A new lock/latch was ordered. $30 and a few day wait and it was here.

The OFM set about putting the new latch in. After about fifteen minutes it was all finished with NO blood letting at all. A Miracle it was.
Here is the outside view.


And a view of the inside. 


Now we will be safe from all the might be alligators running around in the campground. Getting eaten by an alligator would get in the way of trying to have tooooo much fun.

7/24/19

Cool Walk

Adventure Location: Decatur, Alabama
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The morning started a bit cool. The tee shirt the OFM was wearing was a too thin for the first half hour but as the morning warmed it was OK. Then the sun came up enough that he started to sweat a nice amount and the cooling was just right. When he finished the miles we checked the thermometer at the Castle and it was showing a wonderful 69F.



This picture is from this evening about 1700. During the day it got up to 83F but by 1700 it was down to about 74F with a nice gentle breeze. VERY NICE for July.

On the walk today the OFM did notice that the lichen (we guess) has really liked the recent rains and less hot temperatures. This lichen has some really greened up parts.



It is a good representation of most of the trees near the creek along the trail. Even though many trees are starting the fall decline in the leaf fading, other growing items are spring forth from the recent severe rains.

Yep the doldrums are pretty much still here but we keep on trying to find ways of having tooooo much fun.

7/23/19

Swack

Adventure Location: Decatur, Alabama
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We made over to the grand kids home right at noon just in time for pizza. It is Gavin’s birthday. We all enjoyed the pizza and visiting. Then it was time to for Gavin to open his presents. Piper naturally had to do her best to rip the paper off before Gavin.

After the presents were open the OFM gave some golf lessons about the golf club and balls Gavin received. Piper tried her best to get in the middle of the lessons.



Then Gavin and the OFM went outside to continue the golf lesson and Piper was kept on the porch for safety.

Gavin is too hyper to keep a lesson in mind for more than a minute but he really enjoyed cutting grass while swacking the golf ball. These are light limited flight plastic balls to keep everything safe from breakage. Here we are tearing grass and knocking balls around for a good while. Gavin thinks this is great fun.



After a bit of cooling off and refreshments inside, the OFM headed for the Castle. Trying to teach a grandkid something they like is a pretty good way of trying to have tooooo much fun.

7/22/19

How Long Can You Hold It?

Adventure Location: Decatur, Alabama
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It was posted on the office doors, the rest room doors, and a few other places. Starting the 24th, sewer will not be available until the lift station is repaired.




The OFM naturally had to ask how long the expected work  would take to finish. About two days was the answer. Well that should not be a problem for the OFM Boondocking Teams.




We think this is the lift station that needs repair. It is next to one of the walking paths and the soccer fields. So far we have not heard any complaints about having to use your holding tanks for a few days. Most likely someone will complain unreasonably.

The OFM’s left ankle kept acting like something was not right ever since the birthday party. Then this afternoon while he was putting on his monthly clean socks he saw a large blue bruise on the right front part of his ankle. It is about 2“ x 3“ and probably marks the location the clumsy OFM twisted his ankle during all the fun at the party. It looks worse than it feels but the Teams will be making him take it easy on the ankle for a couple more days.

Today the OFM finished WILD SKY NIGHT and is willing to display it to the world. He has his earplugs in so the hysterical laughter of “He calls that art! HA HA HA JA JA JA” will not deafen him any worse than he already is.




Now matter what, for the OFM, art attempts are still a really fun way of trying to have tooooo much fun.

7/21/19

Busy Time

Adventure Location: Decatur, Alabama
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Busy today and tonight but did have time to grab a picture of a nice flower.
 
At Front Door of Grand Kids Home 


After a slow start it was a good day of taking care of chores. Getting chores out of the way is a great start on another day of trying to have tooooo much fun.

7/20/19

All Out War

Adventure Location: Decatur, Alabama
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Five hours of tooooo much fun is a LOT. Everyone made it right at 1100 and the chaos started with a vengeance. Ages ranged from 21 months to 72 years and 11 months. The OFM thought it was going good and wild but then it was outside time and the fun really began.



Things were getting set up and soon all the folks were out back trying their best to have tooooo much fun. A small shallow pool was set up on the deck for the two small girls private use. Here is Piper checking out something in the pool. This was a really great idea for the very young kids. Grandpa and Poppy (other grandpa) sat in the shade and provided the life guarding.



Out in the back yard all sorts of stuff was going on. Here is Gavin at the end of the slip and slide doing who knows what.



All sorts of water fun was going on. Water balloons were going every which way. Out of the magic air a water balloon slingshot appeared. It could shoot balloons a long ways. The first shot went the whole length of the back yard and was still climbing when it cleared the fence into the neighbors yard.

After that the operators were better able to aim it and after 1000 balloons were filled and busted the war was over. The OFM never did get a decent picture of that event. 

Then the hand to hand water balloon battle began. It ranged all over the back yard, across the playground equipment, beside the gardens and across the deck once. It was a grand battle.

And when there was a lull in the battle Piper had to come onto the back porch to tell the life guards all about it.



If you can believe it the back yard session went on for nearly two hours non-stop go go go. The OFM just minded his life guard duties.

Even with his painful hip the OFM had a fantastic time. He apparently was pretty tired because when we got back to the Castle, the second thing he did was lay on the bed to stretch and BANG it was three hours later when he woke. WOW what a nap!

Tonight  we think we came really close to having TOOOOO much fun.

7/18/19

Prunings Pile

Adventure Location: Decatur, Alabama
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A decent 3.5 mile walk happened today. As the OFM said to a couple of ladies, we need machetes to cut through the humidity. But you have to step through the slice quickly or it will slam closed on you. They went on their way giggling. It was too warm and no breeze so the pace was fairly slow but steady.

We have a couple of pictures of the “greening” of the area due to all the rain in the last two days. The first is of the area the maintenance folks dump all the debris from the clean up and pruning. This is three days worth.




Then on around the bend a little is hole 15 stretching out pretty straight in front of you.




On along the road where it begins to bend toward the main highway you can see the bend and the slough from the Tennessee River intruding into the golf course to collect golf balls.




And best of all is our favorite PVC pipe post. It is a regular turn around spot for many of the walks in the area.




It was cooking day and more wonderful chicken stoup was prepared. We got some bell peppers in this one and skipped something the OFM cannot recall from the last batch. This one is about the best yet and one meal is now gone. It was supper tonight.





The OFM is still pooped from the extra walk distance but we had a pretty good time of trying to have tooooo much fun anyway.

7/17/19

More Storms

Adventure Location: Decatur, Alabama
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JUST BEAUTIFUL


Yesterday a good friend mentioned to the Teams that the picture deserved a title. We told her that we had not been able to think of a good title for it. So she suggested “JUST BEAUTIFUL”. So now the picture can feel totally fulfilled by having a nice name.  We really like it when readers participate in the blog effort. Thank you Susan.

Today was going pretty good until late morning when a MAJOR rain storm hit here. We know that the campground rain gauge ran over at 2 1/2 inches of rain in 45 minutes. Ditches overflowed, campsites flooded a few inches deep at the back of the campground, some city streets were flooded and it was a general mess. 

The OFM Teams just hunkered down in the Castle and watched the world wash away. The good news is that it only took a couple of hours for the roads to get rid of the water on them.  The flooded campsites all were back above water by about 1600 this evening. 

During an afternoon walk around, the OFM went by the gravel trail at the west end and got this picture of some of the trail still underwater. The trail runs very near the river and has a few low spots that get water on them now and then. This is one of them.




On a garbage walk late this afternoon the OFM was able to capture this little picture of the sunset. We thought it was pretty nice.




After the storm it was a much cooler day than in the last couple of weeks.  That alone made it a nice evening for trying to have tooooo much fun. 

7/16/19

Multiple Reports

Adventure Location: Decatur, Alabama
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STORM REPORT
Another storm cell hit at 1800 tonight and sheets of rain fell for about 15 minutes and it was over. The ditches and streets were running over full. After supper we looked about and everything was drained off.  That is good.

WALKING REPORT
As the OFM was walking today he noticed his speed was a slight bit slower than recently. He picked up the pace a bit and wham his left foot and hip started to complain. So the Teams slowed a bit and it was very comfortable for speed. Then we also had 77F temperature with a nice 15 mph breeze. The final outcome was a mile longer walk at a slightly lower speed and no hurting joints when we finished. The OFM was breathing deeply and slightly sweaty.  It sounds to the Teams got it just about right today. We even got to take a couple of pictures along the way. It was a good start to the day.

GRAPES REPORT

Since the black berries are all finished for this year, and they were excellent, the OFM has been keeping an eye on the wild grapes. They seem to be developing well and on schedule. Certainly this rain of the last week will help them mature well. We are ready for them when they get ready.




ART REPORT
A good bit of the day was spent enjoying scribbling with colored pencils on good paper. A painting we had been piddling with for almost a month was the object of the OFM’s attention.  After a few hours the OFM decided the painting was finished. We are not sure if it was finished as in completed or finished as gave up on it.  No matter which it is, the fun was in the trying and learning. Here it is in all its misery.




BBQ REPORT
Then for supper we hit up the local Lawler’s BBQ place for a great BBQ Pork sandwich with half and half sweet tea..As in half sweet tea and half unsweetened tea. The OFM really likes their BBQ Pork since it is not greasy. All the folks at the BBQ place greet the OFM by name when we walk in!

SUMMARY REPORT
After reading over the posting we decided it has been a great day of trying to have tooooo much fun.

7/15/19

Storm Damage Report

Adventure Location: Decatur, Alabama
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The storm that hit last evening late was significant in rain quantity. As the OFM lazed around in the Castle, havoc of all types was active in the area. After clearing some limb debris from the campsite the OFM Speedwalking Team hit the trail for damage assessment. El Camera came along to record some examples.

The first example came along right soon after the speedwalk started.



The red line shows the approximate location of the original shoulder of the trail. About seven inches of height was washed away.

Onward the OFM trudged and soon we found the next erosion point at a trailside bench location. Again the red line shows the former trail edge. The erosion was not as deep this time but it went for several feet along the slope. 



Several places along the trail had small deep gullies worn across it and into Flint Creek. They were all about nine inches deep and about fifteen inches wide at the top. Apparently most of them were gravel paths as the water washed the gravel from the adjacent trail areas.



On this short mile and a half portion of the much longer trail system that we speedwalked, the erosion was enough to cause trouble for inattentive walkers/runners.

The OFM stopped and chunked several larger limbs from the trail into the woods. However this small tree down across the trail was much too heavy for the OFM to move.



At least we could still get past it with little problem.

One thing we noticed is that a lot of trees must have thought it was going to be a big exciting party. Many of them had painted their toenails orange for the excitement.



And that was the OFM’s morning of trying to have tooooo much fun.

7/12/19

Acrobatics Involved

Adventure Location: Decatur, Alabama
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The OFM got out of bed early this morning and did not mess around. No Walk but fixed breakfast, washed the dishes and got himself busy with the batteries. It was 0739 when he started taking the bed apart so he could get to the batteries without killing himself. There was plenty of stooping, twisting, squatting, bending over and other silly acrobatic moves to keep him limbered up pretty well.

When the assembly of the wiring started the first trouble showed up. The bolts for fastening the wiring to the battery posts were about a half inch too short to hold all the wire terminals in our wiring harness.

So Sierra got to run the OFM over to Home Depot to get two more longer bolts. We finally got him to go ask where the metric bolts were located. Once we found the metric bolts it was easy to grab two of the right size and head out. But the whole affair took an hour.

Back at the Castle the acrobatic work continued. The OFM was excessively careful not to have any wires hooking up to the wrong terminal. After the wiring was all attached and the circuits validated and the bolts checked again for tightness, the OFM eased back a little. 






Now all that was left was to put the bed back together, and the bed clothing back on the bed.  Then put all the tools back in their proper place.

And last but not least was to give the Castle a hard going over for misplaced tools or other items. There was two tools still out.

More re-checking showed the two controllers behaving properly. The batteries were already in float mode. Then a bit of vaccuming was done and it was all finished at 1113. Yahoooooo. And the OFM was definitely worked over physically. We are really thrilled that the Castle is now ready to roll as soon as the weather gets to our liking for getting out and trying to have tooooo much fun. 







7/11/19

Heavy Suckers

Adventure Location: Decatur, Alabama
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Another very hot day but a rain storm in mid day made it even worse but we survived. Our new “boondocking” batteries arrived late in the morning at the office. Other chores in progress kept them there until late afternoon.

The batteries got to the Castle late in the afternoon and even later the OFM started the change out process. Once those heavy suckers were unpacked and lifted to their general location under the OFM’s bed things started going not right. Here is what the  current state of the area looks like tonight.



Since the new batteries are AGM instead of Lead Acid like the small emergency purchase last February to replace the destroyed AGMs we had had for two and a half years, we needed to reset both charge controllers to the AGM charging pattern.

As you can expect, the OFM did not remember correctly and put one of the controllers into “ I can’t work like this” mode. So the next thing was to find the operating manual and read it again. By the time that was done and the controller reset properly it was well into supper time. That ended our efforts for the night. Do you think there is a chance the OFM might read the instructions first next time? NOT A CHANCE.

So anyway tomorrow is swap the batteries out and verify the electrical  is all completely ready to get out of Alabama for some serious trying to have tooooo much fun.

7/10/19

Quiet Time

Adventure Location: Decatur, Alabama
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Another very doldrum day here on the Tennessee River bank. With heat indexes running in the 110 range,you can count the OFM out of nearly everything in the way of outside activity. 

Consequently there is very little blog worthy activity. In the time of this heat the blog will be somewhat dormant. The blog is not shutting down but when you have nothing worthwhile to write it is better to keep your typing fingers still. We hope to get a nice picture now and then but not much outside activity for the OFM in the way of trying to have tooooo much fun.

7/9/19

Too Hot

Adventure Location: Decatur, Alabama
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A new sign magically  appeared overnight on one of the trails here in Point Mallard Park. Apparently someone heard about someone who heard about someone who heard there might be critters in the water around. So the whoevers must have thought that warning the locals would be a good idea. Now all we need is a critter to actually show up some day.



With a heat index of over a hundred by 1000, it was too hot for the OFM to hit the trails today, especially after he slept until 0830 this morning. Retired is great since he can sleep until he naturally wakes instead of an obnoxious event waking him at a set moment. What is an obnoxious event? Anything that wakes you before you naturally awaken.

Not much will be happening while the heat indices are running above 90. So the OFM decided it was finally time to cook the boneless pork chops that were in the freezer patiently waiting for their turn at the stove.

When they were thawed, their size was reduced to half inch cubes. Into the pot they went to be steamed with water and olive oil.

Next was to add canned unsalted pinto beans, canned beanless chili, and some Mc Cormicks Italian Seasonings.  All of that got to slow boil for awhile. Then the OFM taste tested and added a huge dollop of BBQ sauce of choice and a good amount of pancake syrup. He doesn’t eat pancakes for breakfast any more and we have a bottle of pancake syrup in the cabinet. It makes great sweetener for lots of foods.

Another twenty minutes of slooow and looow heating to really get it all blended together very well. The OFM had some blackberries while this step was progressing. WOW that guy can put away a lot of blackberries in twenty minutes.

Yep it is very delightful eating. Cooking something wonderful to eat for supper is a good way an a slow day to try to have tooooo much fun.

7/8/19

UUUMPH

Adventure Location: Decatur, Alabama
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The new Goodyear Endurance tire arrived at Walmart this morning so we got the old tire and rim loaded into the bed of Sierra with a little umph. Walmart folks were really nice and assured the OFM this was a common happening at their location. It was going to be a bit of a wait so the Teams went back to the Castle to wait it out.

When we went back the tech was just finishing the mounting job and we went it to pay up. The new stem, a disposal fee and balancing came to $17. The magic credit card did its chore and away we went to take the new tire to Sierra.

As the OFM rolled the new tire with the old rim across the parking lot, he thought the new tire weighed a good bit more. Then when he tried to lift it like the previous tire he found out it was quite a bit heavier. It took a big UUUMMMPPPHHHH to get the new tire into the bed of Sierra.  WOW there is a lot more material in that tire than the old ones.

Back at the Castle it was time to unload the tire. It was slid carefully to the edge of the tailgate and given a guided slide down to the gravel. That worked thank goodness. The tire was rolled around to the back of the Castle to be lifted onto the spare tire rack. It required a precision lift to get a bolt hole over the stud projecting out.  The OFM did a lot of umphing, ughing and good griefing to get that heavy tire up and on the bracket. You do not want that tire to fall on a foot or ankle. Any way it is now secured carefully on the rear of the Castle.



When the new batteries get here on Wednesday  and get installed, the Castle and Teams should be ready for cooler weather for some rolling in search of trying to have tooooo much fun.

7/7/19

Treding Lightly

Adventure Location: Decatur, Alabama
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It was trailer tire day. The right rear trailer tire was due for replacement when we got to Decatur.  When we got here it was much more worn than when we left Rockport.  In the picture the center tread is what we had on all of the tire when we left Rockport.



Those balding spots and a sidewall lump all came on the tow up to Decatur, Al. We have a place where we keep all the trailer tire manufacturing dates. By referencing that we know when to plan on buying new tires. Here is what it looks like.



ST tires have a five year life expectancy and you can see where the OFM noted on May 1, 2019 that that tire would need replacing in Decatur due to aging out.  Well it showed bad tire wear when we arrived here so a new tire is on order. We will be replacing it with the new Goodyear Endurance ST tire that they brought out a little over two years ago.

So today was the day to put the unused spare that is two years old on the ground. After the morning rain and a bit of drying time, the OFM got busy getting the tire changed. Here is the after changing with the axle still jacked up. You can see the red jack handle between the tire and the mud flap. The lug nuts were snugged with the tire off the ground. Then the jack removed and the lug lugs shown who was boss by the 210 pound OFM. When he puts that fat to tightening bolts they get TIGHT.  And now it is wait for the tire to arrive at Walmart.  Then we will get the bad tire replaced.




Changing trailer tires on the side of the road is not a great way of trying to have tooooo much fun.

7/6/19

Another Long Tow

Adventure Location: Decatur, Alabama
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We got rolled this morning. The trip with the Castle was a long and arduous one. The roads were narrow and slow going but we made the run in about eight minutes. Our distance was close to one thousand one hundred and forty six feet.

The new nest for the Teams is right across the street from the campground office. It is a much bigger site as in over six times as big according to the measuring tape. Here is a picture of the site from the office porch.



This puts us really close to the laundry which makes the OFM really happy. It is still standard eastern crowded camp sites. Here is the site from the edge of the campground road.



A good point is the area lighting pole is immediately behind the Castle so the OFM can use the site and picnic table at night without needing a flashlight. We like that.

The bad part of the move is the heat and humidity. The OFM had to cut the morning walk short when he began to feel an uneasy stomach.  Then came the pack up and move couple of hours. Others in the area were also noticing the extreme heat index due to the humidity. The actual temperature was in the upper 80s but the heat index was in the really high 90s. We think that the main problem was the total absence of any breeze.

The long nap this afternoon in the AC was a wonderful event and was a perfect way of trying to have tooooo much fun on a day like today.