New Starting Trail Chosen

Adventure Location:

Decatur, Alabama

Date: January 31, 2024

We settled on a new walking trail starting trail to replace the section we got locked away from. It starts very near the old locked gate and runs a quarter mile east next to a low area and intersect the old trails near where we normally have walked. It will be very convenient. So tonight my readers get s short picture tour of the trail.

Starting at the east entrance going to the same campground back entrance we have been using this is what it looks like.

The next three pics are pics along the way and have no special meaning about anything, just a viewing of the terrain.

While we were walking this afternoon we found this scene just crying out to have its picture taken. It is one of the drainage sloughs taking rain water back to Flint Creek.

This will complete all the rerouting of the walking paths we plan to do. We still have to figure out the mileage for each good path but that is the fun part.

We spent a lot of time today checking paths and considering other options so this is about it for today. It was just as well because the OFM had a bit of a gimp in his walk this afternoon he wants to baby along for a day or so.

We declare tomorrow a sleep late morning. Good night.



New Trails Worked Out


Adventure Location:

Decatur, Alabama

Date: January 30, 2024

First thing this morning this morning we got an email from the Escapees who handle our mail that a large envelope shipped yesterday to our current location. That should be the income tax stuff we need to finish the tax preparation. YAHOO.

During preparation of some stoup yesterday we got a big surprise. As is usual when getting ready to cook meats the OFM checks his cookbook known as the Internet for meat preparation recommendations. A couple of the new sites we visited stated we should not cook pork chops in micro wave ovens. They never did explain why with any actual details.  We have been preparing pork chops in the microwave since starting to cook for myself 26 years ago. And these we ate tonight came out just wonderful. Cooking to meat temperatures is still the best way to prepare meat in our opinion.

Speaking of wonderful here is a picture of the bowl of stoup made with thin pork chops meat and Knorr Spanish Rice mixture with a few bits of bell pepper and some diced green onion.

The day was good weather and we made good use of it to map out a new walking route to get a walk in of around 2.5 miles. Our first try came in at 2.6 and the second try at 2.7. So know we have two routes to use for variety in our life. The path out the front of the campground along the golf course is about 2.8 miles. We now have three total to choose from and that is nice when the wind is blowing and we need to block it for comfort.

Healthy moderate exercises and good nutritious foods are the mainstay of a good life we believe.

And one more minor event. At Walmart yesterday a new coloring book was purchased with smoother and much heavier paper to try out. Our first impressions are that the OFM may need some serious learning to learn how to use this better paper well. Our reaction as the revelations came to us was O BOY, NEAT NEW THINGS TO LEARN! Do it looks like the OFM has new stuff to keep him happy for a few months again.

OK every one eat well, exercise with what fits you and try hard to have tooooooo much fun.


New Place To Visit


Adventure Location:

Decatur, Alabama

Date: January 29, 2024

First thing this morning we hit the tax prep office and got our business all straightened out. So within a couple of weeks we might be cleared to roll if we stay lucky.

On arrival back home we went out for a walk trying out a new routing to see what mileage we get on it. It was a very bright sunny day but a hint cool. How is this for bright blue skies?

From here we went on choosing new routing to suit our whim. We made the turn onto the main trail and grabbed this sparkling lake picture.

That really looked inviting from the trail. By the way the lake came up well over a foot from the rains of the last couple of days.

This is the old stump the OFM photographed many years ago when he first walked this trail before grandson Gavin was born.

We went on to the planned turnaround point and returned back to the Castle by a different trail. The final total was only 1.9 miles so we need to add a bit over half a mile to the walk to help get the FAT off the OFM so he will feel better and live better.

Reader Linda sent us the location of a new to us attractive place about thirty miles from us. THANK YOU LINDA WE ALL APPRECIATE YOUR HELP.

Even better news is it is near a good BBQ Beef Restaurant so we will try to get in a visit there also. Sounds sort of like double the fun to me.

There is a short small cold spell soon to hit here so get your coats back so we can keep on trying to have tooooo much fun outdoors.


A Runaway Train Life Today


Adventure Location:

Decatur, Alabama

Date: January 28, 2024

Here we are running late again. It is time to be publishing the blog instead of just starting to write it. Since lunch it has full blast ahead and CLEAR THE TRACKS AHEAD CAUSE HERE WE COME.

We were sitting here driving the runaway train we are on when The OFM got inspiration to make pork chop stoup. This scene caused the inspiration.

The gear is ready and the chops are looking ready to get busy right now. So the train driving got put in good luck mode and it was cooking time. So a new style gets an early style try out. We have been thinking of making a bit of a recipe change on the stoup. Tonight we made the first preliminary change but the full report will have to wait until tomorrow night. The preliminary taste testing came out well but not just right yet.

Next item tonight is the OFM finally found a pill chopper while grocery shopping today. ( The shopping was whole story of its own.) When we got home we started chopping on a bottle of 200 tablets so the OFM could take half a tablet in the morning and then one at bedtime. The tablet is loratadine and if the OFM takes a full tablet with in an hour he is asleep for the next several hours. But he has found that a half tablet at breakfast time and another half at supper time works very well. So we had to take action to make that happen.

We sure like thin pork chops for stoups and salads. Hint: stoup salad is real good.

Everyone have fun tomorrow. We have a suspicion that it will be another interesting day for the Teams.


Flipping And Flopping


Adventure Location:

Decatur, Alabama

Date: January 27, 2024

We hit the floor running this morning as we needed to get on the road to the gymnastics competition that our grandson was in over in north Huntsville Alabama. The heavy rain was serious competition to stay safe while driving. We made it safely with a few minutes to spare. The competition got started right on time and ran for four hours. Some of those kids are pretty good and the rest of them are very enthusiastic if not as talented. It was a very good contest and the OFM Teams it was a morning well spent. The drive back to the Castle was rain free and pleasant.

That rain was a heck of a rain storm until after lunch, but it moved out of the area leaving us bright sunshine and blue skies.

With an afternoon to use but being in a rain saturated location we chose to start a new coloring and stay inside.

The OFM has developed a lump next to his left lower jaw hinge. It only hurts when the OFM leans on his hand on it when coloring. So now we have to change a life long habit. That might not be easy.

After watching all that twisting, turning, flipping etc this morning the OFM is ready for an early bed time tonight. So everyone have some extra fun for me and sleep extra well tonight.


Locked Out


Adventure Location:

Decatur, Alabama

Date: January 26, 2024

We did well enough this morning to get in a short walk. When we got to the soccer field entry, the new gate was locked.

We do not understand the reason for the modifications but the trail system has so many interlocking parts that it really does no harm. It is just a change.

In fact about twenty feet before we get to the new gate that is locked, the old trail to the trail system works just fine. We preferred the soccer path since it did not get you with morning spider webs across the trail like the old one does.

It works just fine but really screws up all the trail mileages we had worked out over the years. So now we have a new chore ahead of us to re-plot our walking paths incorporating the new route changes. We have no real reason to gripe since we still have over ten miles of great trails to walk, run or bike ride at our disposal. We are hoping that when the new pickle ball courts get installed we will get new restrooms there for this end of the general park facilities.

The nasal trouble is behaving well and we can do things if we take it a bit easy. The fever has dropped to about a hundred so we think the worst is over but we are still being careful about pushing to hard. So every one be careful and have some extra fun for the OFM.


Running A Fever


Adventure Location:

Decatur, Alabama

Date: January 25, 2024

It was a surprise this morning to be feeling badly and aching all over. A little ache from the under counter gymnastics was expected. But the feverish feeling was the big surprise. We registered right at 101F on our thermometer. Later in the day the OFM decided we would not push it and canceled our reservations at the Texas State Parks. That move saved us about twenty five dollars in cancellation costs.

So now we will wait out the healing time before making another plan. At this time it feels like a bad cold developing and we choose not to fight it while traveling the highways of the west.

The high spot of the day was lunch at Carl's in Somerville; Alabama. The Cole slaw and chicken and dressing was excellent. The OFM always chooses a double serving of the Cole slaw since he likes it really well. Their iced tea is also very good. About $12 drive out for the whole meal. It looks like what the OFM feels like will be setting our excitement for the next couple of days. Everybody try to have some extra fun to make up for the OFM pretending to be sick.


Mystery Gift In The Sink Trap


Adventure Location:

Decatur, Alabama

Date: January 24, 2024

Here we are another day closer to leaving but the sewer is now fixed after giving us an unexpected surprise. The OFM got out of bed ready to scrunch up to fit in the small cabinet under the sink to get to the plumbing. And have to get out and back in at least a dozen times. We came close to that count but a major solution was achieved.

After the cabinet was emptied this was the working room he had to fit 200 pounds of OFM into.

This is the P-trap assembly that needed to be disassembled. Yep those sewer pipe nuts were on plenty tight but the OFM plopped his tummy on the wrench handle and the nuts behaved.

Once we got our hands on the clogged p-trap we quickly found the trouble maker.

Some one before the OFM owned the rig had apparently broke about seven inches of a fishing rod tip in the p-trap and that was what closed down the water flow to the gray tank by accumulation of food particles from dish washing.

So we did a big clean up of everything and assembled the system to check it out. So far about eight hours later we have not had even one drop of leakage.

What we have had is lots of rain and flooding starting in the area and hopefully the rain will slack off and give us relief from flooding. The rivers are low enough to handle the flood waters if the too small size drainage ditches can get the water to the Tennessee River.

Now it is time to relax and let the sore joints heal tonight so we can do something good tomorrow.


Squirming In The Cabinet


Adventure Location:

Decatur, Alabama

Date: January 23, 2024

Well tonight it is a stopped up kitchen sink that makes me late on the blog. It is not fixed but is diagnosed and should be repaired tomorrow morning with a lot of squirming in the cabinets under the sink. Just what the OFM needs is a lot of up and down efforts in a confined area. We will see what happens next.

As we were returning from lunch we noticed that the golf course had taken the freeze covers off the greens on the golf course. The OFM sure misses his golfing days on that very fun course. But they are ready for play now and a few folks were on the course as we passed by.

We were considering things earlier today when we counted up how long we had been here thanks to all the repairs that have come up. We arrived June 1, 2023 planning leaving by September 15 2023. Well that did not work out very well. That makes eight months here thanks to lots of repairs on equipment and the OFM. But it still looks like February 1, 2024 is still the rolling date. Rockport Texas is still where we are heading to visit old friends.

The OFM Teams are looking into moving into a style of snowbird type RV travel. We started rving in 1972.The OFM started full time rving on October 7, 2007 so we have over 16 continuous years of doing it this way. In the last few months the OFM has started to try to understand if he needs to modify his activities to match with his actual abilities as a traveling single 77.5 year old man with a do not hold back attitude. The OFM has a hope of turning 87 still out rving in some fashion. But the RV world is changing fast with all the Baby Boomers retiring and filling up camping places.

Well that is a lot of writing and tomorrow morning is a cabinet squirming day so we are going to hit the bed in hopes of having toooo much fun after the sink plumbing is repaired.


Bad Luck Came By To Try To Stop Us Again


Adventure Location:

Decatur, Alabama

Date: January 22, 2024

Just like the last five months as soon as the OFM got some plans going for rolling, trouble showed up. About 0830 this morning the shut down plans call came in. The Teams credit card showed it was involved in a bunch of stuff in something in Australia and needed to be stopped until the situation was resolved. Yep here we go again something to slow down or prevent us from rolling.

At lunch with Jerry, The OFM went to order our burger and our credit card was declined. A nice loooooong lunch time talking with Jerry let the OFM calm down a lot. It was about 1400 when we rolled back to the Castle and tackled the trouble again.

To make the story a lot shorter the situation was resolved in our favor as we did nothing wrong (beyond trying to get rolling) and they would unlock the credit card “ in bout three minutes.”

Since our confidence level was very high (yeah right) the OFM waited four minutes by walking to the campground store and found that they had actually done what they promised in the promised time. The credit card worked correctly and the candy bar we purchased to try out the credit card went into the prize bucket for the campground coloring competition. So for now we are back on schedule for leaving Feb.1

Then later tonight the OFM got an email that an Amazon package that was being delayed will now be received tomorrow. Maybe we used up all of our four months of bad luck during the miseries of this fall of getting the Castle, Sierra and the OFM repaired and ready to roll.

The good news is the afternoon weather will often be nice enough to get out and do some walking again to help the OFM with his attitude lately.

It is time for everyone to work on trying to have tooooo much fun again.


Here We Go Again


Adventure Location:

Decatur, Alabama

Date: January 21, 2024

Another exciting bit of info is that historically tonight in Decatur Alabama will be the last night below freezing until next year in January according to historical information records. We certainly hope that is correct. It will still get cold like in the mid thirties but freezing temps after tomorrow are seldom part of the concerns.

Now we have to get busy and get things in order for trying to have tooooo much fun again.


Very Late Post


Adventure Location:

Decatur, Alabama

Date: January 20, 2024

Here it is after 2200 hours on Saturday night and the OFM is just getting to write a blog entry. This evening we had a lot of evening spent helping folks getting water lines flowing again. When we got back from late lunch Sierra's outside temp reading was 23F with a predicted low tonight of 9F. High tomorrow is supposed to get up to 38F. One more freezing night and we are supposed to be safe for a couple of weeks.

The only other news is that the Team feels that we can start planning a get away date tomorrow for in early February.

Every one have a nice night and we will see you tomorrow. Good Night.


Still Freezing


Adventure Location:

Decatur, Alabama

Date: January 19, 2024

Only three more days of bad cold. By 0800 this morning the OFM was checking our black and gray holding tanks to be certain the holding tanks were working properly with the low single digit temps for three days in a row. Having to run water continuously for three days had not been done before. We were thrilled to find the rig was handling the new need with not a hint of trouble. We were REAL GLAD about that.

Then we decided to hit up BK for lunch in hopes of running into Gerry there today for some more story swapping. He showed up right on time.

The main reason was to check out the roads for going shopping tomorrow. The roads inside the campground were still iced over for the most part and slush slop for the other part. Here is the campground mess.

And here was the public road for every where else we went today. So roadways should not be a trouble tomorrow.

Everyone still be very careful in case a sneaky icy patch is waiting to harm us.


Ice Driving


Adventure Location:

Decatur, Alabama

Date: January 18, 2024

The big event today was driving on ice practice. It is treacherous for sure. At least after two good sessions of practice the OFM is confident he could slowly make his way to the local emergency room in Sierra by himself.

We found out this afternoon a lady fell in the campground and broke her ankle. An ambulance came and picked her up.

The day warmed up to a little higher than 40F. Consequentially ruptured water lines, both in rigs and the campground, showed up and were quickly handled. We have three more freezing nights and then we should be finished with all the low single digit night time lows until next year. We will like that a lot.

Here is a picture from the do every thing table taken at 1700 today. Down on the right you can see part of the coloring the OFM has been working on for a few days while waiting for warmer weather. Every one try to have tooooo much fun.


A Bigger Drip


Adventure Location:

Decatur, Alabama

Date: January 17, 2024

A day to be especially careful we found out. All the white stuff in the photos is not snow, it is 2 inch thick ice and incredibly slippery. The OFM did not fall but he did get lessons he did not want in ICE DANCING. He even tried out Sierra for driving. Several working folks were seen leaving for work. Here is some of the small tracks their vehicles left in the ice.

Sierra behaved very well as we slipped around the campground very carefully trying out this new driving on ice thing. We slowly went back to our campsite and carefully got Sierra parked with no new damage.

This stuff on the window is a thin layer of ice on the morning window opening. It slowly melted as we did our morning computer mess around.

How about some dripping history about the OFM? All his life he has had an important habit of letting water drip at an inside faucet in bad cold weather. Well yesterday morning we went somewhere and he left the bathroom lavatory dripping the usual amount so the pipes will not freeze. We got back from the excursion to we have no recollection of where and the dripping had stopped. Hmmm A bit of checking and we found the water line into the Castle frozen solid. That is not good. We had some water in the on board drinking water tank but we did not know how much. So we went to work on thawing the hose. It turned out even the campground water service and valve were frozen. YIKES.

Today we went to work fixing our error. Our water hose was removed and brought into the Castle and hung in the bathtub area with an electric heater blowing on it. In about twenty minutes the hose dropped a load of partially melted ice rods in the tub. Now it was ready to use and was reinstalled outside.

Now the hose was ready but the outside supply line and faucet were frozen. We wrapped a rag around the faucet assembly and poured some boiling water on it while we did some more thinking. Finally The OFM remembered we have an incandescent drop light with a 40 watt bulb. So we grabbed a plastic storage box and the light . The light was hung on the frozen valve and the box put over it all.

The black stripes are tree shadows on the ice. After about two hours the water came back on with a wonderful splash.

It was a very wonderful song it was playing.

Now we know that in low single digit temperatures, the dripping stream needs to be a stream closer to a pencil in size.

Having that knowledge is wonderful for peaceful times in miserable cold weather.


Central Heat


Adventure Location:

Decatur, Alabama

Date: January 16, 2024

Wow the .75 inch thick foam insulation we added years ago to all the windows and vents in the Castle had again proved extremely worthwhile. The window next to the table was doing a good job we found out when we removed a section of the foam to see what is happening outside. The inside of the window glass had a big patch of thin ice in the center of the glass.

That is the morning sun starting to get to us in the campground and it is welcome.

Later in the day when it got up to 14F we went out and started Sierra and let run to melt some of the ice off the windshield area. We even backed it up a few feet and drove it forward a couple of times. So far every thing is working OK.

It was a bit cool for a bit this morning so we put the stove burner to running on low flame. Since it is in the center of the trailer we termed it our central heat. That burner got us interested in fixing a batch of stoup. So now we have five meals of chicken and Mexican rice in the freezer.

From mid afternoon on we had bright sunshine and a heat wave came through and got us up to about 16f until the sun went down.

That is all the big excitement for us today. Tomorrow it is supposed to get up to about 34F tomorrow and we will get excited if it does.

Supposedly we have nearly a week more of this garbage weather to put up with before we can get busy trying to have tooooo much fun again.


A Little Bit Cool


Adventure Location:

Decatur, Alabama

Date: January 15, 2024

It was cold enough that we did not even consider going out for a walk the whole day. The high for the day was 22f with sleet and snow falling out of the sky often during the day. Tonight it is supposed to get down to 13F. Then tomorrow is a high of 23f and a low tomorrow night of 5f and then only a week more of this mess.

Last year we found out that the black tank valve might freeze in position at these temps so we dumped the tank this afternoon so we now have about two weeks before we need to dump it again. Since we are on sewer, the gray tank stays open full time. For those who do not know the black tank needs to have a good volume of water in it when flushed to carry the solids and paper residue out to the sewer so it is not good to leave the black tank valve open all the time.

Here is a picture of the campground to the south of us from the window of the Castle at the do everything table.

Every one have a great night and stay warm.


Cleaning Out Unneeded Stuff


Adventure Location:

Decatur, Alabama

Date: January 14, 2024

It was cold enough and windy enough that we did not even consider going out for a walk the whole day. When lunch time came along it was finally up to 37F and we hit up the Burger King as usual. So we had a rearrange the Castle and art efforts kind of cold day. You can be certain we will not be doing much unnecessary driving around with snow and ice predicted for the next two days along with some one digit temperatures. Here is what the COLD evening sky looked like at 1700 from the Castle door.

We did some productive effort today by cleaning out un-needed art items from the storage box. It was not a big mess but a few things we have not used in a few years went away. We sorted brushes down to a few that fits how we do play now.

We also got rid of several things that newer techniques has made obsolete. We held on to these burnishing tools in case we need them again. They are being replaced with solvent washing instead of burnishing but we are still too new at solvent use to get rid of the tried and true tools yet.

And this coloring Desert Evening was finally finished this afternoon and is ready for viewing.

We have a week of nasty cold and sloppy weather ahead of us. It looks worse than any weather we have seen since we have been coming here for about fifty years. So everyone be careful and try to have tooooo much fun.


New Gate


Adventure Location:

Decatur, Alabama

Date: January 13, 2024

Cold and a bit windy today with snow and ice in our near future to keep things interesting. Maybe the OFM will be healthy enough to leave right after Christmas next year and head down to south Texas where 45F is a bad cold spell and the camping is free. But now we have to survive this weather that has us sheltering in place.

At least we have plenty of good food in the area like tonight's supper of chicken and mixed salad with BBQ sauce and cheap root beer, Wow we like that.

Meanwhile we suited up in warm clothing and hit the road for a walk this afternoon in the bright sunshine. Going out the back entry at the soccer field let the OFM team admire the new lockable gate on the path. This picture is from inside the soccer field looking back into the campground.

We went on from there on the walking trail to where the main drainage from the campground heads out to Flint Creek. We were surprised to see about a foot of new water in the drainage.

The local egret had set up for food hunting already and posed for us to get a picture.

The rest of the evening we spent time trying to get a traveling plan figured out or reading our favorite travel blogs for inspiration on places to go. Have a nice evening every one.


Keeping Warm


Adventure Location:

Decatur, Alabama

Date: January 12, 2024

Late this afternoon the OFM decided to attempt a decent walk in spite of the outside conditions. When we opened the door here is what we found. Lots of rain puddles left from all the rain during the day. But the temp was acceptable so off we went.

To see what was happening with the new fencing was the goal. It now looks like there will be a gated opening in the fence line to come from the campground to the soccer field area. We will eventually see if it is locked or not.

Today we walked through the opening and kept on walking. When we turned the far corner and got out from behind the tree line the cold wind hit us and it was not welcome. The cloud cover looked like the cold front was just arriving.

Sure enough in just a few minutes the temperature dropped a good bit. We got a bit farther down the path and decided to head back to the warm of the Castle. It was a great choice we quickly realized. This is the start of about ten days of nasty cold rainy weather to keep us entertained with occasional freezing conditions, 26F tonight. The good news is that the traditional last day of getting colder in this area and warming starting to happen is in about 8 days. We definitely like that idea.

We finished on a coloring today. It did not work out just right but once again the OFM received some more good education on being a colorist type of artist.

That is it for tonight so every one sleep well and warm and we will write to you tomorrow after trying to have to much fun in the cold rain.


Cold Coming


Adventure Location:

Decatur, Alabama

Date: January 11, 2024

One more day and the cold weather hits here for a week or so. We spent some time today plotting on the planning calendar the days it will be pretty cold. As it works out we only have two days it does not get nicely above freezing during the day according to the latest forecast for this area. That will be a good day for extra napping.

The nice walk today went out the back of the campground to the soccer field and the new fencing project that we have not found out what is going on.

So far it does not get in our way and we had a nice warm 2 plus miles of walking today in bright sunshine. That was very nice.

And we had some fun doing coloring and finishing this piece of fun art. We tried out binder clipping it to the blinds in the Castle to take the blog pic and it worked out decent. Taking pics outside with the winds we are getting has been an impossible task.

Sierra seems to be fixed this time and has been performing very well. Tomorrow we plan to start planning some rolling and hope every body and all the equipment is all finished breaking down so we can get on the road trying to have tooooo much fun again.


Get Ready Time For The Freezing Weather


Adventure Location:

Decatur, Alabama

Date: January 10, 2024

Get ready time is here and we got busy getting ready today. What are we getting ready for OFM? The ten days of freezing nights we are about to endure way up here in north Alabama. The weather folks say starting night after next we will have ten days of below freezing temperatures every night including one where we stay below freezing that day also. It certainly makes the Team glad we are in an Arctic Fox RV that is set up for freezing weather and boondocking.

We checked the food supply again this morning and headed to the grocery store. We left $65 dollars there and walked out with enough to feed us for two weeks. There is not likely much trouble will happen beyond a short power outage or icy streets for a day or two. Since we do our normal camping heating with electric or stove top, our loud LPG guzzling central heat was removed several years ago. So this afternoon the OFM checked our LPG tanks to make sure we had plenty of fuel for ten days of heating. But if the electric is down they cannot refill LPG tanks. It seems we have covered everything on our safe camping list of things to be certain we will be safe and comfortable during the cold weather.

Supper tonight was a big experiment that came out very well. We built a stir fry omelet of sorts.

Th dregs of a bell pepper, onion and a chopped carrot were stir fried in olive oil until nearly done. Then the three ” large” eggs were slopped into the mess of vegetables and stirred together for supper. At the last minute the drizzle of BBQ sauce was unceremoniously splattered all over everything.

Naturally cheap Root Beer was the beverage.

YUMMMMITY YUM YUM. That was a bit better than the OFM's usual output.

Now we need to get well rested for a big day of trying to have tooooo much fun tomorrow.