CROWN OF THORNS

7/31/21

Well Again Finally

 

Adventure Location: Decatur, Al.

Adventure Date: 7/31/2021

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It was an amazing morning wake up. Nothing was in pain. Sleep had been decent and the OFM was ready to fix breakfast. As breakfast was being prepared he realized that he was looking forward to a good walk for a change. Yesterday was gone and he is over with the vaccination misery. The remaining evidence of odd activity is a 4 inch diameter splotch of red irritation just below the injection point. It was causing no trouble.

We hit the tougher stretch of trail first this morning while still fresh just to test the old body. Everything went so well it was amazing. In fact we added about a half mile to the normal today.



Since we had not been on this part of the trail system in about four days, we got a big surprise at all the fresh and active growth of the vegetation. In this next photo there is a vine coming up from the bottom and another coming down from the top. Neither one was there four days ago.





Things are really sprouting with vigor around here.

This area of the world does lots of thing a bit different. We have noticed that when a tree falls into the lake water it become a fishing pier. There have been as many as five folks out on this fallen tree fishing for catfish and crappie.





We have been really watching the heat wave closely to help decide when to leave this area. So far it looks like we will be waiting until after Labor Day before we leave. It is just tooooo darn hot back west to be comfortable. So we have pretty well decided we will stay here until mid September and get in a couple more grandkid visits to check on how school is going this year. It will also give this Delta flu more time to be better defined as to how to handle it.

Hopefully in a week or so it will cool down a few degrees and the OFM Golf Team will get a chance to hit the course and show the locals how not to play golf. But, of course, we will be trying to have tooooo much fun.











7/30/21

More Yuk

 

Adventure Location: Decatur, Al.

Adventure Date : 7/30/2021

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Well we started the morning sleeping until 0800 and waking feeling not so good again from the vaccination yesterday. Today was not quite as bad but it ran until about 1700 and now at 1930 the OFM is doing pretty well. We are really glad there will not be more of those vaccinations any time soon.



After supper tonight the temperature had dropped to about 88F from the 94F of mid afternoon and the OFM wanted to take a nice stroll to see how he is doing. So we headed out toward the main park area. Just as we were getting into the main area a huge rumble behind us got our attention. It was some huge nasty looking clouds.





A few rain drops fell and the wind got downright cold and strong so we ducked under some shelter and checked things out. A decision was made to head for the Castle before any strong rain hit and we set off at a comfortable pace.

We made it in good time and just closed the Castle's door when the wind and rain hit HARD. But it only lasted a couple of minutes and for a good bit now it has been just occasional showers. The weather radar shows lots of nasty storms in the area until after midnight. This Tennessee Valley area has lots of tumultuous weather whenever we have been here.



Mean while while healing the OFM looked up how far north we are. Someone today made a comment about this area being so far north of Texas that such and such. That did not sound right to us so we went to looking (since all the OFM could do most of the day was play on the computer or try to sketch) to see the facts.

As it turns out to get as far north as the Texas panhandle/ Oklahoma border you would have to leave the campsite and drive north a long ways. From here you would drive north through Nashville Tennessee to a spot just short of the Kentucky border. That is something around 135 miles north of us here at Point Mallard Campground.

This shows that idle time can create all sorts of irrelevant questions for an OFM mind.

Again, we have high hopes for tomorrow to be a good day of trying to have tooooo much fun here in Alabama.



7/29/21

Shingles Disease

 

Adventure Location: Decatur, Al.

Adventure Date: 7/29/2021



The OFM is a prime candidate for shingles illness due to his childhood chicken pox sickness. About two months ago he learned about a shingles vaccination to moderate if not stop a case of shingles from occurring. After careful reading, he decided to get vaccinated against shingles.

Here is the part this blog entry is about. Supposedly the vaccination is two shots two months apart. The first one put the OFM down for almost two full days. He could get up and take care of an emergency and fix his meals but it was not fun.

Today we had shot number two about 0930 and asked about the second shot reactions. Answer was maybe a little or none at all. WELL LET ME TELL YOU, by 1000 the OFM was reacting and to bed he went. The reaction was about 80% as bad as the first time. He got up to go to get lunch and back to bed. But about 1700 he suddenly got a whole lot better and as this is being entered at 1930 he is recovered. So the second go around was fairly intense but only lasted a few hours. That was wonderful.

Now we can concentrate on trying to have tooooo much fun tomorrow.





7/28/21

STUPID Walmart Rule

 

Adventure Location: Decatur, Al.

Adventure Date: 7/28/2021



The center of the rear tires of Sierra were worn out due to having 32# of air in them when they were first being used. 32# is correct when the Castle tongue load is on Sierra. Most of the time Sierra is running around with an empty bed and not hitch load. Per factory Goodyear spec the tire is supposed to have 28# in them. The excess pressure caused the middle part of the rear tires to wear out.

Ok so it was time to get some replacement tires for the back. Now some history. On the trip back to Texas last year the left front tire of Sierra got badly worn down to the cords on the left front tire. The trouble turned out to be a failed lower ball joint. But before we knew that we had to purchase a replacement tire and the little town in East Texas did not have the same Walmart tire available. So we purchased another major brand in the proper size and went on to Rockport, Tx.

So now we have one different brand of tire, Firestone, than the other three. No problem with driving etc. When we got back to Decatur, the rear tires center had worn enough we thought replacing them to be proper.



So we went to Walmart this afternoon to price the identical tire that was on Sierra. They had them in stock but would not sell them to me and install them on Sierra because of the Firestone tire that had a different shaped street tread than the Walmart brand. So they expected me to throw away the Firestone with about 5000 miles on it and buy three Walmart branded tires instead of two. They are only allowed to put on the same tread pattern as is on the other tires of the vehicle. So it seems that Walmart has sold the OFM Teams its last tire.

Inevitably a single set of four tires never makes it to the end together. There are too many things on the roads to damage tires when you are rampaging the country like Rvers do.



We went to a local tire store that we had heard of and got fantastic service when we bought the two needed tires for the rear. The response is that the Walmart rule is NOT a state or federal rule. Apparently just a Walmart stupidity trying to force you to unnecessarily purchase replacement tires.



Now Sierra is all set for when we leave here to get back on the road trying to have tooooo much fun.









7/27/21

Clean Out The Cabinet

 

Adventure Location: Decatur, Al.

Adventure Date: 7/27/2021



We did a big clean up of a set of cabinets on the kitchen side of the trailer. After looking carefully at the cabinet and culling the long time residents that no longer need to be around, we found that a nice clean out was due.



After the cabinets were emptied and cleaned inside carefully we worked on getting rid of things that no longer played a game in our travels. That amounted to a good trash bag of things sent to the garbage.



Then we spent a while deciding on stacking our remaining things in the cabinets. Now we have a lot more space available.





About the time we got that ready to close up the migraine fight started. When the OFM came to be awake again it was right at 1800 and time to go get some supper.

So you can see it was a day of clean a cabinet and have a migraine attack. We hope everyone else had a great day of trying to have tooooo much fun.



7/26/21

Too Hot This Morning

 

Adventure Location: Decatur, Al.

Adventure Date: 7/26/2021

Click the pic to enlarge.



The morning walk was a bust over all. By the one mile point the OFM decided the fast walking was over. The running sweat was too huge. Absolutely no breeze was moving and the temperature was only 88f but he was having heat trouble. So we settled into a slow gentle walk and headed back to the Castle.



However one nice thing happened. We got a nice picture of the flower where the camera zoom stopped working a couple of days ago-. It was a squat and scoot effort but we got the shot. The flower looks like it has little bananas growing from the center.



We think it is a pretty flower. It is only about a nickel in diameter.

The too larger pot found a new home and the 2 liter pot did a fine job of stir fry for breakfast this morning. But of all things for an Old FAT Man to forget, he forgot to go to the grocery store this morning. So it is on the first thing agenda for in the morning. And sometimes going to the grocery store first thing in the morning can be a great way to start a day of trying to have tooooo much fun.

7/25/21

Trail Warning Again

 

Adventure Location: Decatur, Al.

Adventure Date: 7/25/2021

Click the pic to enlarge.



We did get out for a HOT walk this morning. Not long after starting we came along to this warning on the ground. WATCH OUT FOR TREE LIMBS FALLING. It wasn't a sign in writing, it was a fresh limb since yesterday.





Do not be surprised if the OFM blog does not get a new entry now and then. Things are so dull for now that we might not even have a bland and boring blog to write. We still plan on writing some sort of gibberish anyway.



Speaking of getting old and arthritic, here is a picture of the OFM hand trying to handle this 3 liter pot empty. When it was full of chicken breasts and water a bit ago, the OFM found that it was no longer a pot for us to have in the Castle. It takes him two hands now to handle it when there is a pot of food in it. The old 2 liter pot is still very “handle able” by the OFM hands so it will be doing cooking duty in the future. Getting old stinks.





In the mean time enjoy the new header picture. We have started another small picture today. It might be ready by September if we are lucky. In the mean time we have to work harder at trying to have tooooo much fun.

7/24/21

Bland Day

 

Adventure Location: Decatur, Al.

Adventure Date: 7/24/2021

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Not much excitement but a hot humid day. We stayed inside in the A/C most of the time except for a couple of visits under some shade trees with neighbors.



After supper we got the OFM outside for a nice walk of a bit over two miles which was plenty of sweating in the heat. Along the way we grabbed a couple of photos of very ordinary things just so we would have a picture or two to put into tonight's blog.


Then over near the golf course was this trio of buddies hunkered down in the grass watching folks walk by on the walking path.




And that is about all we did today for trying to have tooooo much fun.







7/23/21

Grapes and Berries

 

Adventure Location: Decatur, Al.

Adventure Date: 7/23/2021

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It was too hot and humid this morning for a safe walk in the OFM's opinion so we just did not walk. Our usual dumb bell exercise was enough to create a big sweat.

So we spent a lot of time today planning and doing preliminary sketches for new paintings. A few new to us techniques were attempted and evaluated.

Grocery shopped for some fresh vegetables like squash, bell pepper and radishes. It is nice being about five miles from the store so we can keep our supply of vegetables very fresh.



An order of some replacement art supplies arrived right on the scheduled time. Now we have a full supply of colored pencils for attacking the sketches we were working on.



About 1800 after supper it seemed the temps had dropped a bunch or at least enough to take a walk. So we grabbed the camera, hat and keys and away we went. We had not walked this exact course before and it turned out to be a very nice route of about two miles. The whole route is on paved pathways so hip pain was minimized.



Along the way we got to check on the berries progress.





There are still a few and they are ripe for the picking.



A little farther along we were able to get a grapes report. There is a small crop here and there on the vines but they do not look ready to harvest.



Over all this route is a very nice route for good aerobic speeds of walking. The whole way is smooth and the slopes are gentle. There is even a couple of spots along the way where a restroom is available.

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

7/22/21

Dead Digital Zoom

 

Adventure Location: Decatur, Al.

Adventure Date: 7/22/2021

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Yep it has been an eventful day. As we rounded the curve near where a slough comes from Flint Creek and goes to the campground to handle rainwater, they attacked with a vengeance. They are seldom in the area but today they were ready for battle. But the OFM has lots of experience fighting the devils and we knocked them around and got away from the area. Mosquitoes of course, were the evil critters.

Back to finishing the 3 mile walk, the OFM was feeling ready to get finished. The Castle was only a half mile away and was a welcome sight.



After the morning resting we went back out to chase a few pictures for tonight. We got pics over there and over here and yonder a bit. Suddenly the OFM realized the camera was not working correctly. We headed back to the Castle to do the trouble shooting with computer access to help.

About four hours later we had done everything suggested in the internet sites including doing a total re-format of the camera. The camera zoom is a mechanical 8x zoom and a digital zoom taking it to 32x power. The digital zoom is dead. So now we will work with this a few days or so and see how well it works.

To test that the camera still works we went out this evening to the flower bed near the office and took three pictures of the flowers. They were just fine and have been edited a bit for the blog tonight, Please enjoy the flowers.













We hope you enjoyed the flower show. Tomorrow we will find out how much a replacement camera would cost. In the mean time everyone please try to have tooooo much fun.

7/21/21

Gutter Cleaning

 

Adventure Location: Decatur, Al.

Adventure Date: 7/21/2021

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The morning started with the OFM a bit sore from the acrobatics on the roof and getting up and down from the roof yesterday. So he wisely decided on much more gentle things to occupy our time. It was just as well because the heat came in strong early and the humidity packed it in solidly. Then frequent short showers began. Basically it was a big mess.



Later afternoon the weather got much better behaved and the OFM got to work on cleaning the gutters of tree debris. He used the folding ladder set next to the Castle for support while doing that chore.





We cleaned the gutter, brushed some of the debris off and checked the caulk in the area. There were some spots that the caulk needed maintenance so that was also done. The OFM was a lot steadier on the ladder leaned against the Castle than yesterday squatting/sitting on the edge of the Castle. As you can see from this picture taken from up on the ladder, the fall is likely to damage OFM type of folks.


While we were up on the ladder we took a picture looking across the Castle that took in the locations of all three solar panels that power our fun boondocking times.



Notice the 10 gage wire cables hooking the panels together. When sizing the wire for solar it is very important to size by voltage drop instead of amperage. When the wire is big enough to handle the voltage drop it will be much larger than required for for the amperage.



The solar panel on the front far side was the playground for yesterdays frolicking. When the fun was finished we went to get a fish sandwich for supper. Then when we got home the weather was decent enough for a nice couple of miles of walking at a full belly pace. Along the way we grabbed a decent sunset picture to enjoy.



Then it was time to get busy on the evening chores like writing this blog about all the great things we did while trying to have tooooo much fun.







7/20/21

Fire Truck Visits

 

Adventure Location: Decatur, Al.

Adventure Date: 7-20-2021

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The morning walk was easing along at a nice pace. The OFM had chosen to walk the 3 mile paved road around the golf course. That is 3 miles from the Castle and around the course and back to the Castle. It took about an hour. As we got close to the spot where we cut back into the campground, a very loud fire engine came flying by with blaring sirens and whipped into the campground.



Of course the OFM's first thought was what did he forget to cause a fire in the Castle. We kept on walking toward the Castle. In a little bit we could see the red flashing lights over in the area of the Castle. Finally we got close enough to see there was not a fire and the fire truck folks were interested in a rig across the street from the Castle. We were relieved that there was no fire in progress.


The Castle Far Right

We got to the Castle and stayed out of the way and watched. Firemen were inside the RV but no fire fighting gear was being activated. About then a new siren could be heard and it made its way to the rig of action.





It was an ambulance and its folks went right into the RV and shortly after a fireman came out and got a stretcher and went back into the RV. About now the OFM decided he needed to stay out of the way and went inside the Castle. The activity cleared out after a little while and all was quiet. When we looked outside again, the RV was all closed up and quiet. We have not yet asked the hosts what happened.

And it was only a little bit after 0900.



The Teams had an easy morning after all that excitement and worked on a painting and did some house cleaning. Lunch was half of a large baked potato with pulled pork. It was big enough that it was also supper tonight. The afternoon was the start of another adventure that will have to wait until tomorrow night for details of that adventure in trying to have tooooo much fun.

7/19/21

Close Encounters

 

Adventure Location: Decatur, Al.

Adventure Date: 7-19-2021

Click the pic to enlarge.



Our plan was an ordinary food resupply at the local Walmart Neighborhood Market. The first thing the OFM noticed was the total absence of shopping carts at the door. So we picked up a hand basket and headed on over to the fresh vegetables. Then next was over to the eggs. Things got odd after that point.

As the OFM walked down an aisle his left knee decided to quit working holding up his body. Luckily we were right next to a shelf rack and the OFM could grab it to prevent him falling. He paused and tried out his knee and it seemed to be just fine, so we carried on with our shopping.

To make this shorter, that same knee gave up twice more and the OFM was becoming an expert at grabbing the food shelving to stay upright. We still have no idea why the knee is having trouble but it has done it less dramatically twice more today.

Our site is on the inside corner of a left turn that goes behind the Castle. For some reason unknown to sane people, those who operate large fifth wheels or motor homes frequently cut the corner very close to a good size tree that protects the Castle from the turning rigs.

While we were sitting at the computer this afternoon, a large motor home cut so close it had to back up a little and make another attempt. The second attempt was successful but we thought it was a bit too close to the Castle. Check out this photo.





After it was gone the OFM walked outside and the tire tracks were about two feet into our site. And the poor tree had tire tracks on the roots next to its trunk. They must have had a good 6 feet on the other side of the road to have been over and a lot safer. We can usually count on at least five a week to cut it this close. Good Grief.



When we finally got the knee to cooperate, a nice medium walk in the sweltering heat was taken. Along the way we noticed that several more of the trees from the storm a few weeks ago were being sawn up to get them off the playing areas of the golf course. This next picture is of the latest clearing we have noticed on the course.



We are hoping that the OFM will soon quit having minor physical events that are keeping us from hitting up the course for a fun half round of golf. We have always thought playing golf was a great way for trying to have tooooo much fun.

7/18/21

Puppy Love

 

Adventure Location: Decatur, Al.

Adventure Date: 7-18-2021

Click the pic to enlarge.



Not a lot happened today. The afternoon walk was nice because we got to visit with a few folks along the trail. One lady in particular had a nice black and white Boston Terrier? we think it was.

We passed them early in the walk and had a short Howdy visit. Then after the OFM hit the turn around point and started back there they were again. We visited for a few minutes about RV life.

Then she told me about her dog and its breathing troubles. It was a really nice pup but it has a breathing trouble where it cannot get too active for too long or it just has to lay down and breathe for a bit. The lady would let the pup walk for a while and then carry it for a while etc. Here she is picking up the pup for the next stretch of the walk.



She really liked the pup and the pup really liked getting outside on the trail to just doggie around. They seemed to enjoy the trail quite a bit. Actually they both seemed like they were coming close to having tooooo much fun.



7/17/21

Chess and Acrobatics

 

Adventure Location: Harvest, Al.

Adventure Date: 7-17-2021

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We arrived at the grandkids home at 1100 and the fun began. Lots of giggles and activity was followed by fried fish for lunch. It was all good.

Gavin had received a chess set from his Grandmother Spain for his upcoming birthday.

He read the instructions and played a game with his younger sister and “beat “her. Then he played his mother and got beaten.



During lunch he challenged the OFM “grandpa” to a match. He was ready for the big time he thought. We have to give him credit for doing really well for a kid of 8 years and only on his third game. The OFM had to work a little bit to stay in the game a couple of times. But in the end he was disappointed in his loss to someone who used to play competitive chess for twenty years.

Acrobatics were displayed by both kids. Many other items of kid play were displayed until the OFM was worn out. So he finally headed home to the Castle ready to rest and calm down after the big afternoon of trying to have tooooo much fun.

7/16/21

Shoestrings

 

Adventure Location: Decatur, Al.

Adventure Date: 7-16-2021

Click the pic to enlarge.



The migraine headache went back to the old schedule of recovery this morning, we had to change paths for the day and take it a bit easy. A walk did happen and it was 2.5 miles at a pace almost brisk. But when we finished the OFM had to take a little longer to recover but it was OK. This evening we are pretty well on a normal recovery schedule.



The OFM was checking his clothing situation and decided we needed him to have another couple pairs of pants. Even another new pair of shorts or two might be good. So we headed out to Academy that carries the pants preferred.

All the OFM needed was to be two sizes bigger and we would have bought some pants. They did not have his size.

 But the OFM recalled that our neighbor had showed him some stretchy shoe strings that allowed his feet to swell while walking without making the shoes too tight. Academy had some of them, so a pair came home with the Teams. Here is the little box they came in. $8.99.





We got them sort of installed and have been wearing them since right after lunch. So far they seem like a good deal. The OFM can get his shoes on/off with out having to untie or tie them. They definitely need to be adjusted a little bit as we get used to wearing them. The outlook looks good but we are not sure yet.



A horizontal time was required for a little while after the string job on the shoes and the shopping. But it made a good difference in the migraine recovery so we were happy.

In the later afternoon we got some stuff gathered up and got it out of the rig. So now the rig is a few pounds lighter. Serious figuring is going on about when will the Teams roll and where will the Teams roll toward. As usual it is a difficult choice since there are lots of good choices to consider. But all of them are great locations for trying to have tooooo much fun.



7/15/21

Unusual Migraine Behavior

 

Adventure Location: Decatur, Al.

Adventure Date: 7-15-2021

Click the pic to enlarge.

Things were going OK this morning. The OFM was a little bit not perfect but we were on the way to a great walk. Breakfast was almost cooked. The eggs were in scramble mode when the aura of zig-zag multi colored lightening bolts showed up in the OFM's vision. Within seconds the blindness of a migraine hit and the cooking and eating of breakfast was done in ¾ blindness. Breakfast was finished, dishes cleaned, teeth brushed and the bed occupied again in very quick time.

A couple of hours of rest followed. The pain did not get really intense this time, but it was there. After about three hours the OFM was feeling like some gentle exercise would be in order. So we got the walking stuff in order and went out for a gentle short stroll.



Of all things we never expected, the gentle walking for the first quarter mile cleared most of the troubles from the migraine. There was some headache but we ended up putting in 2.5 miles at meandering speed. It seemed to do wonders at clearing the headache. This was by far the shortest lasting strong migraine the OFM can recall in his life. But we will take it.



After late lunch, we made a short walk around the entrance to the campground. As we meandered out to the trail we saw a bright reflection in the tree line we did not recall from the last few days.



It turned out to be the sunlight reflection from one of the pine tree needle clusters. That was another new event for the OFM Teams to be astounded by.

Things continued to improve until tonight when there is almost no residual troubles to bother us. So there is great hopes for tomorrows effort at trying to have tooooo much fun.

7/14/21

Down Time Required

 

Adventure Location: Decatur, Al.

Adventure Date: 7-14-2021



The faster and longer walk with our neighbor yesterday took a big toll today. The right hip was not cooperating with moving around this morning. Even the short walk to the garbage dumpster was a slow meander. The result was a long day of taking it extremely easy. And three truck loads of ibuprofen.



This gave the Art Team a chance to put a lot of work into the ongoing picture. It is a slow moving piece since the OFM reads on the internet about how to do something and then tries to do it. He is not good at remembering all the details. But it did help the OFM be able to walk well by supper time.



Yep you can count on the OFM controlling the speed and distance of a walk to our known ability in the future. We feel that this was a good experiment to see how his joints were doing and now we know for sure. Tonight the troubles are pretty well over it seems.



Originally we had planned a 9 hole golf outing for this afternoon, but that was a total no-go for today. With all this resting today, tomorrow should be a heavy duty day of trying to have tooooo much fun.



7/13/21

Walk and Talk

 

Adventure Location: Decatur, Al.

Adventure Date: 7-12-2021

Click the pic to enlarge



We got the morning rolling at a decent time. Breakfast was good. We did not know celery made some good stir fry to mix with the hash browns, but they do.

Then we got ready to walk. When we headed off to the trail, our neighbor came from his trailer and asked to walk along. Sure we said and away we went. Turns out he is a former long distance runner and has done four full marathons.

The OFM warned him of the OFM's restrictions and it was ok with him so off we went. We took the gravel trail and made good time. At a location on the trail farther along than we had been in a month or so, there was limbs and debris down on the trail. Mr. Neighbor knew the path through the mess and led the way.



We had a great time talking the whole way. To our surprise the OFM made the whole 3.x miles with only minor pains. That was great news to the OFM Teams.



Most of the rest of the day was spent working on a new bit of art work. Here is a hint of what is going on.





We are hoping to finish this piece within 2-3 more weeks of learning/working. In the mean time it is a good effort at trying to have tooooo much fun.