Beach Entrance

Adventure Location:  Del Rio, Texas
Adventure Date: 3-31-2020
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Morning started with a light blast.


After computer and breakfast the Teams hit the “go find something good to photograph” trail. Sierra was raring to go also. We naturally hit up a few places on the lake shore. No decent luck but the OFM did get in a LOT of walking/scrambling on loose rock and small cliffs.  He wore out and we headed back to the Castle and it was already 1142. 

Nothing special was happening so the OFM took a nice short nap to combat some of the rock scrambling.  Then while he was culling some photographs there was one of the beach entrance from the road on (we think) Mustang Island somewhere.  Any way the OFM had been wanting to try out oil pastels again and this seemed like a great opportunity.

We dug the oil pastels out from under a few things. For those that do not know about oil pastels, they are sort of like soft Crayolas. Got a few items we figured we would need and went to work. Good grief oil pastels are a lot more physical labor and difficult to work with than he remembered. Any way the painting is a simple on and was sort of fun. The OFM is glad he tried out oil pastels again but they will not be a mainstay of his efforts FOR SURE.  Here is the dirty wasted paper for your enjoyment.

On looking back on the effort, at least the OFM did a pretty good job of trying to have tooooo much fun with the oil pastels.


OFM Art? Studio

Adventure Location:  Del Rio, Texas
Adventure Date: 3-30-2020
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It was a calm day today and a lot of painting with colored pencils was done. The work spot for art is the same spot for eating meals or repairing small things or oiling the circulation fans or whatever needs a small flat area. Here is what it typically looks like during an art session and it is also why the OFM does not paint bigger than the 5“ x 7“ size.

OFM Art Studio

A telephone call from an old friend in Alamogordo, NM lasted a long time.  We had a grand visit and discussed a few of the thousands of great things to go see in New Mexico.  

Other than that it was mostly sharpen the pencil. Wear down the point, sharpen the pencil for most of the day.  So what good was that effort. We managed to waste another sheet of art paper.

It was a good day with the colored pencils so it was automatically a good day of trying to have tooooo much fun.



Adventure Location:  Del Rio, Texas
Adventure Date: 3-29-2020
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The Boondork (link) asked to hear a report on the Waltmart trip today. At an early time we pulled into the parking lot to see a line of folks wrapped around the corner of the store. Sierra said NOPE and we headed back to the Castle.

Little to nothing happened except finding out lots more places are shutting down and our planned trip to grandkid land is in danger now. So we are in limbo and who knows what is next.

Along comes later afternoon and we rolled over to Walmart again about 1700.  Sierra got us parked. The OFM Shopping Team along with the shopping list for a change went over to the line to get in.  Walmart even has lines marked on the pavement at six foot intervals to you can stay at the right spacing. That was nice of them. About four minutes later the OFM Team was released to go in.

Everything we needed was available except the jar of sweet pickles.  Even the OFM’s soy vanilla milk was in stock. We cleared the store and was back in Sierra in about 25 minutes. 

While we were in line to get into the store, shoppers leaving had their one package of toilet paper in their basket and it was the right type for RV tanks. When we went by the shelves they were empty.  We have about a six week supply in the cabinet right now, but we would like one more package to feel secure about this issue.

Now that Del Rio has four corona virus cases, it may be time to gather some spare stuff for when the OFM gets sick. Being single and sick is usually not the best way of trying to have tooooo much fun.


Ravine Critter

Adventure Location:  Del Rio, Texas
Adventure Date: 3-28-2020
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The Teams hopped out of bed early enough to be up before sunrise. The first plan was to head to the reopened park and see what had really happened. Yep it was just like they said on the website. So we went to take pictures at Spur 454 area. A couple of fishermen had beaten us there but that was all the folks in the area. The wind was ferocious today and really churned up the lake in the open water areas.  Later we saw on the Internet they had recorded some 40+ mph gusts while we were out there.

This picture was taken from the parking area at Spur454. It is looking mostly north and is in a fairly well protected finger of the lake. The water was looking pretty nice.  The shore line was catching some splashed up onto the rocks from the wind driven waves now and then.

Our next stop was Blackbrush area. We meandered both picnic areas and then the long trip down and back up the boat ramp. As we topped out the boat ramp the OFM remembered a paved walkway down into a ravine nearby. So we wobbled our way over to it.  The ravine did not have any water left in it but we went on down to just see what there is to see. Man that is a steep walkway. Here is a picture of it from the bottom of the ravine looking up.

As we were going back up, at a very slow pace of course, a doe stopped to check out the fools on the trail.  The OFM managed to grab one picture of her before she decided to move on along.

Speaking of pictures, here is the last one the OFM attempted.  It was inspired by a location north of Richland, Washington.  The OFM spent several days riding his bike on the “road” down to the river and back up to his truck parked outside the gate.

It looks like the big adventure tomorrow is to go to Walmart for some food. Maybe we will find some way to make it a great adventure of trying to have tooooo much fun.


Amistad NRA Important Part Opens Again

Adventure Location:  Del Rio, Texas
Adventure Date: 3-27-2020
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I do not know how it happens but this morning the OFM took an inventory of electronic folders of un-sorted folders of pictures waiting to be shown in the blog along with their story. There are eight of them with various piles of pictures waiting.

Well today did not help the matter any at all. The OFM finished one painting. Then the delivery truck came by and dropped more new toys for fun.


Next thing we knew the OFM was sketching planning drawings for working upon. Then it was near noon so he decided to get a walk in before it got too hot.  Of course there are flowers all around us that need their pictures taken so he tried his best to fill the camera card. The first two are from a fruit tree in the campground.

This last flower picture is from near the dog run and dog washing area. We wonder what the red ones will turn out to be.

Then the OFM spent most of the afternoon working on his next big flop of a painting.  In the interest of being nosy, he opened the Amistad NRA web site to some wonderful news. The facility is opening parts of the area for use again.  The parts they are opening are the areas where the desert flower explosion normally happens.  That means that we will be back on to the daily run around in the park getting more picture we don’t have time to process.

There are folks here in the campground that have complained they are bored and have nothing to do. We do not seem to fit into that category. Just today three more paintings have been planned.  Most of them will take5 -7 days of work each. The OFM says he is getting to old too fast for all this fun and frolicking.  But he still does his best at trying to have tooooo much fun.



Adventure Location:  Del Rio, Texas
Adventure Date: 3-26-2020
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There is an old trail that leaves the campground and heads north for a ways. Here is the gate to the trail.

The round trip is about 1.5 miles. When you get to the first turn, the trail goes up the steep hill to the right of the gate. Then it turns right across part of the hill. Then it turns left  an makes it way down the hill to the gate again.  It is a pretty good hike.

When the OFM went for a walk this afternoon, there was a pretty blue flower showing him the way to go.

So through the gate we went and shuffled on           along the trail for a good ways. Then suddenly the OFM Walking Team was horribly attacked by large black mosquitoes. It did not take the OFM long to get himself headed back to the Castle. The trail can wait until the mosquitoes are gone.

At least we had pretty Texas Sage flowers blooming in great quantity along the part of the trail we did get to see.  The fragrances were going crazy in the brushy area. Here is a typical single bush in full bloom. WOW.

That was about the only thing the Teams did for excitement today.  The lock down in Del Rio must be working since there are very few vehicles on Highway 90 in front of the campground. It looks like the OFM is going to have to work a little harder at trying to have tooooo much fun.


We Got Lucky

Adventure Location:  Del Rio, Texas
Adventure Date: 3-25-2020
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Walmart was on the morning agenda for some food products. Breakfast done and into Sierra we hopped. Rolled into Walmart and bought gas for $1.849 a gallon.  That was a nice surprise. After Sierra got us parked in a decent spot, the OFM Shopping Team grabbed the grocery list and headed for the door.

Something was odd though. When we got to the side door we normally use it was locked. The sign on the door says the Del Rio powers that be had changed the rules to Shelter in Place in general. The next set of rules said that Walmart and may other stores could only have 50 shoppers in them at a time.

OK, so we went around to the front door to get in the short line.  A lady there was keeping count and when folks came out she let the same number back in. While you waited another  employee went to everyone with hand sanitizer for cleaning your hands. It was only about three minutes of waiting and as soon as the hand juice dried the Teams went right in.

There were more stockers and other store workers than customers. We did quick work on the shopping and were soon on our way back to Sierra. In the parking lot the OFM heard two fellows mention that the entire Amistad NRA was closed. Hmm we had more pictures to take yet.

Back at the Castle we learned that we got lucky that we had a “long term rental” in the campground and could stay there until we wanted to leave. But the rule is Shelter in Place. In other words don’t go running around for the fun of it. Those folks boondocking out in the Park had to pack up and leave today. Del Rio is treating monthly RV rental the same as apartment rentals.  Neither can rent to new monthly folks until the restriction is lifted.

We were researching the ramifications of all this mess when the OFM looked out into our back/side yard and saw this view.

The sun came out HOT about 1300 and the weather station said this.

So the OFM decided that the upper half of the bathroom window needed to be insulated since he could feel a lot of heat coming through it. Foam was retrieved and cut to fit. Placing it in the frame was a brute force event but it worked out well as you can see. The bottom half is yet not decided what to do about it.

The weather forecast is for another HOT day tomorrow and then at least 10 days of decent and warm weather afterward.  So this might not be to bad of a lock down for doing inside things. Now to catch up on the trying to have tooooo much fun part of this lifestyle.


Breathing Bench UPDATE

Adventure Location: Black Brush Boat Ramp, Lake Amistad, Del Rio, Texas
Adventure Date: 3-24-2020
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In accordance with the President’s Coronavirus Guidelines for America and recent Val Verde County ordinance regarding COVID-19, the entire park will be closed as 3/24/2020 until midnight, Apr. 3, 2020. We do apologize for this inconvenience. The OFM man awakened not in great shape this morning so he took it easy for a while. It was nice weather outside with 71F and no drizzle. After a good while on the computer he decided he needed to do some walking. Careful thought and he decided that Black Brush Rec Area would be a good place since the boat ramp is closed due to low water.

Sierra did a great job of getting us there safely and parked at the premium spot in the crowded parking lot.

The lot will hold about a hundred trucks with boat trailer and we were the only folks there the whole time.

We got out of Sierra and the OFM prepared for the slow walk. Walking staff, water, Grock, camera, OFM.  Ok we are ready to go (we thought). As we neared the first gate, the OFM noticed his shoes were not tied. So he went to the gate to have something to put his feet up on. As he was tieing his shoes he noticed a small about 1 and 1/2 inch high cactus. In fact there were three of them. This one had a bloom in progress and was really cute.

After the shoes were tied we checked for the OFM’s brain to be turned on. It was so we headed over to a picnic table that looked interesting.  It was interesting since it had a view down the arroyo on the left side of the ridge looking down to the fishing pier. 

Yep nearly empty. The lake is about 39 feet low. We headed on around the loop until we got to the picnic table we used to park at a lot. From that spot we took a trail down to the water and fished along the bank.  It was a 1/4 mile to the water back then. The trail was a mess of brush and loose rocks to trip you. Hear is Grock taking a look at the trail.

He studied it carefully and finally said “No thanks. I don’t think either one of us should be on that so called trail.”  The OFM agreed. And we went on to more adventure.

We went back past Sierra to the closed boat ramp to look around. The OFM decided to go down the ramp. He checked with Grock and asked if he wanted to roll down the ramp. Grock took one short look and said “No thank you, I will just continue riding in your shirt pocket.”

We got to the bottom of the ramp and the OFM took this picture from the bottom of the ramp looking out the arroyo into the main part of this section of the lake.

And this next picture is looking from the bottom of the ramp up to where the ramp starts to slope less steeply which is at the 1/2 way point.

What the OFM learned today is that the elevation change going down is only about 50 feet from the top of the ramp.  Going back up it is exactly 139 feet 3 inches and the OFM legs could feel every sixteenth of an inch of it.

However when he got to the top of the ramp and the breathing bench where most folks stop after the walk back up to breath for a while, he realized it had already been a great day of trying to have tooooo much fun.


Toilet Paper

Adventure Location: Lake Amistad, Del Rio, Texas
Adventure Date: 3-23-2020
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The drizzle rain was here again with chilly temperatures. The OFM decided we needed to hit up Walmart for fresh fruit so we headed out about 0930. When we got there the first thing we noticed was the current price for gas.

We will need to take advantage of that price in the near future.

After Sierra got us an excellent parking spot, we headed into the store expecting a mob scene again. It was not many folks and everyone was pleasant for a change. The fruit seemed to be fresh and reasonable priced. So some cantaloupe, apples and bananas jumped into the basket. We saw a basket with some toilet paper in it, so back to that part of the store and there were several cases on the shelf. The limit was one four pack per shopper. We grabbed a pack and smiled really big.

It was even septic safe, which means OK for RV tanks also. The OFM tested the paper and it fell apart in a few seconds of immersion into the water. We think the OFM is still grinnnnning.

When the sun broke out, the Teams went out meandering to see what we could see in some rough locations. The OFM is feeling the effort required to do all the walking around but we did get a LOT of nice pictures. We think he needs to pace himself a little better in the future.

But all we have ready tonight is these pretty yellow flowers to celebrate a great effort at trying to have tooooo much fun.


Stoup Again

Adventure Location: Comfort Castle, Del Rio, Texas
Adventure Date: 3-22-2020
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The drizzle rain was not forecast to go with the chilly temperature and mild breeze. So we piddled around until the OFM realized we had time and ingredients for some stoup.

So some frozen chicken was put to boiling. then when it was ready the OFM managed to cut it into small chunks without slicing his hands. It was amazing.

The chunks were put back into the water at a gentle boil to finish cooking. A spoon full of chicken powder was added to kick up the flavor of the stoup to KAZOW level like the Teams like it. The next ingredients were seasoning of choice and a package of Knorr mix.

Some chopped green onions were added along with some fresh ground black pepper. Then the stoup was cooked per the envelope of Knorr mix.

The fragrance was wonderful inside the Castle. When the cool down was finished, we sampled it and WHOOPEE it was wonderful.  One portion was put aside for lunch and one portion is in the refrigerator for another meal soon. As the OFM was eating his portion for lunch he got to wondering how some finely chopped cashew nuts would work out in this model of stoup. Hmmm. Start to finish the food preparation took 45 minutes. 

We added a bit of water during the cooking so that it would be closer to soup so some saltine crackers could be crushed and added. This is the type that the Teams use.

This evening the skies finally cleared enough that for a change that we had a sunset. It was nice but not spectacular.

And that was it for a mildly exciting day. However eating the stoup was a pretty good attempt at trying to have tooooo much fun.


Extended Our Stay

Adventure Location: Comfort Castle, Del Rio, Texas
Adventure Date: 3-21-2020
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It turns out the OFM needed some recuperation time today so the weather started out cold, wet and generally nasty and stayed that way all day. What does the OFM decide to do? Well play with the colored pencils and stay inside dry and warm.

There is a great website on the Internet for rvers to reference about closures of camping facilities in the country. It is here. Some of the closures seem not well thought out. We figure about 1 million RVers will suddenly have no place to camp or go. The OFM Teams are fortunate to be at a great campground and extended our stay today.

To have some fun and enjoy the day better the OFM decided he needed to wear down some colored pencils for a change. Here is NEW SEEDLING for your amusement. It was fun to paint and used up about four hours.  Colored pencil art is very slow at best.

And that is a good way of filling up a nasty day and trying to have fun.


Diablo East Boat Ramp

Adventure Location: Diablo East, Amistad NRA, Texas
Adventure Date: 3-19-2020
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Tonight we view the boat ramp and a special place for the OFM. This next picture was taken just to the right of the trail picture start in last nights blog. It is the top of the boat ramp that is notorious in the fishing the west stories. It is very long and STEEP. It is a long hard walk down to the boat launch. ALL of the boat parking is back up on top in designated parking.

We walked about half way down to a rest/shade shelter and took the rest of the photos for tonight’s blog. That was enough walking steep inclines after walking the trail first.

Notice the several points of rock to the right of the ramp area. On those points are some good fishing. The hike over to them is a killer. The OFM always carried a small pack with him. There are at least three folks in this picture fishing on the points. 

You can get there by walking/stumbling from the boat ramp around the water line. Or you can start over at the nature trail entrance and walk along the high ridge to the right and finally walk/scramble down to the water.

The last point out there has a single tree near the end and a fisher person at the tip. That is the area the OFM used to go to from up on the ridge and catch a lot of fish in the past. The OFM cannot any longer handle the acrobatics required for the scramble down and then back up the cliffs.

By the time the OFM made it back to the top of the ramp we knew that we were finished trying to have tooooo much fun for the day.


Into the Canyon

Adventure Location: Amistad NRA Texas
Adventure Date: 3-19-2020
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The trail today starts at the left of the Diablo East boat ramp, which itself is another blog entry later, and winds down into the canyon to the left of the boat ramp. It is a developed trail that is easy walking surface with sufficient up and down to give your legs some exercise. Sierra found us a fine parking spot in the boat ramp parking lot near the trail entrance. If we recall correctly the trail is 1.5 miles total.

We definitely recommend taking water with you for this adventure.  A camera for recording the fun would also be nice. There is benches a few places along the trail in the canyon.  Basically you follow a trail notched into the side of a canyon and get to view down into the canyon. Flowers can be a special treat at the proper times of the year.

Ok lets get started. The entrance is just left of the top of the boat ramp and right behind the necessities building.

As we got into the brush it was quickly apparent that the rains had made a big difference from two weeks ago.  This batch of really happy cacti was one of the first sights to greet us to the trail.

Just follow the trail along and look at everything and in every direction. There are hundreds of neat views along this trail, both scenery and vegetation.  Shortly after the first curve to the left you get your first look down into the canyon. Since the lake is low because of furnishing irrigation water for crops the upper part of the canyon is dry.

Along the way you might get to see these large centipedes that we have seen at about 5 inches long. This one turned toward the OFM’s foot when he put his foot near to give a size reference. This is a small centipede for the area.

As you walk along the trail the views change often. Several times you will get to see one direction or the other down into the canyon. This view is looking back toward the mouth of the canyon.

Along about mid trail we caught this 12 power picture of some flowers down in the canyon. As we said the trail is fairly easy walking but walking off trail is not easy walking. So the OFM stayed on the trail.

When you reach the upper limit of the canyon the trail starts to slope gently up until you top out the canyon. Then it is a short walk to the RV dump station and fish cleaning station. From there it is a left turn and follow the trail back to your starting point. At the left turn point you can look back the way you came and see the whole canyon you enjoyed on the walk.

By the time we returned to Sierra the OFM was ready for some rest as the clouds had gone away and the sun was bearing down with a vengeance only the desert can provide. This is only one of many trails in the area and every one of them is an adventure in trying to have tooooo much fun.


Income Tax Finished

Adventure Location: Amistad NRA Texas
Adventure Date: 3-18-2020
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Another slow  day. The Teams did get in a short ride over to the 454 day use area for a couple of photos.  This is pictures of a finger off the main lake bottom. The lake is down 38 feet as of tonight.

This picture is taken looking east.  The sun was not bright but somewhat faded by the light cloud cover. The top of the brush and rocks to the right at full lake level is under about 18 feet of water.  When the lake is down the NRA uses this area and boat ramp for day use. We have had some good hikes and yak trips in these lake fingers in the past.


Now we are looking west at a small cliff that is about 15 feet high. When the lake is low like now, this spot is popular with swimmers because of the deep water  close to the rocks.  Jumping/diving from this cliff top is not good due to some large boulders about five feet under the water just out from the cliff. The water is normally clear enough to see 15 feet or so under water and is a great swimming spot.

It was not the best feeling day for the OFM but he did get his income tax done and ready to mail tonight. It is fairly easy when your only significant income is SSA.

So we are hoping for an exciting day tomorrow while we are searching for having tooooo much fun.


New Toys

Adventure Location: Amistad NRA Texas
Adventure Date: 3-17-2020
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The biggest good thing that happened today is some art supplies the OFM ordered came in a day early. He ordered a new set of 72 Prismacolor colored pencils so he could have a decent set of grays. The hope is that they will be plenty of different shades for all his wants now.

The day was mostly bright sun and 82F. Nothing of good interest or bad happened so it was just a nice day with no serious troubles for a change.

The hour plus long nap this afternoon was wonderful.  Now all we need is to find something fantastic for trying to have tooooo much fun.


Out of Kilter

Adventure Location: Amistad NRA Texas
Adventure Date: 3-16-2020
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Rain came with a vengeance last night. Hard rain and lightning was the story for nearly two hours. The rain we have been saying the desert needed arrived and mostly had soaked into the parched land by morning. It was a good thing for the flower explosion we hope for.

Today was a shopping re-supply date but a few items were not available due to folks putting extra in the pantry so they will not have to go shopping if they get sick. Walmart is doing a pretty good job of resupply each morning in normal quantities.

The OFM was a bit out of kilter today so we took it easy. A picture taken yesterday is the only picture for tonight. It is a dead tree that has been under water for several times over the last ten years.  We thought it was worthy of a picture while the rain sprinkles were coming down yesterday.

Tomorrow might be a good day to roam a bit more as we try to have tooooo much fun again.


Rugged Country

Adventure Location: Amistad NRA Texas
Adventure Date:3-15-2020
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The day was gray and damp to actual rain so the Teams decided it was a good day to hit up some spots to see what was there or how they had changed. What we ended up with is some stop and look around spots without any significant on the ground meandering. The wetness will be good for the desert plants growth we hope. These spots are in no particular order.

We checked on the floating dock at a group area. The dock was down there on the rocks hollering to the lake “COME BACK HERE”.  But the lake just kept on going down lower. It has dropped about 6“ since yesterday. The OFM did not feel competent to go down the cliff safely so the photo above is from the top of the concrete walk that goes down to the dock.  It is definitely a rugged area.

Another location is a pull off to a Hunt Area.  This gap in the fence is the people entry to the area full of rugged ravines and prickly plants of all sorts. About ten years ago the OFM went in at this spot on a well traveled wider trail. The trail winded all over some very rugged hiking territory and the OFM was glad to get back to the truck that day. It appears to have grown a lot more brush with stickers since that day.

This is a place we came to years ago and it was too rough and full of brush for the Team to meander around in at that time. The trail is still mighty rough but the brush is less than the OFM recalls it being before.  However it is a rather close environment to be in with other nasty critters that live there so we passed on entering as a solo meanderer.

This rock pile is about 150 feet off Hwy 90. Years ago there was evidence of some tent camping going on in the hollow. However even then we did not like being in such close quarters to snake homes. So we never stayed there or returned until today. There was no evidence of recent stays by folks but we still did not like the general area as a camping spot.

This is a picture of Sierra patiently waiting for the OFM to return back up the hill from the campsite mentioned above.  It is a bit of an effort to climb back up that hill with all the loose rock.

And finally this is the scene to the right just as you clear the hwy 90 bridge on the north side of Del Rio Tx. Sierra took it easy going down to the “parking area” where a trash container waits. It will hold about six vehicles.  We meandered about a good bit since decent trails were in abundance from the parking area. Trails did go down the sides of the “hills” but the loose rock was more than the OFM thought he should attempt.  It was still a pretty place. Most likely it would be even more interesting if the lake was full.

That takes care of the meandering in the drizzle for today. We think it was a pretty good day anyway for trying to have tooooo much fun.