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Leaf Cluster, Decatur, Alabama

8/20/17

Home Made For The OFM

Adventure Location:  Decatur, Alabama

Opening the Gavin made birthday card.



Anybody know of more fun than this?

8/19/17

Hot Day

Adventure Location:  Decatur, Alabama

It was a hot one today. We came back to Sierra about 1730 and Sierra said it was 95. No wonder the OFM was feeling less than wonderful.

On our walks there is one lake bridge we get to cross. It is situated over a small finger of Flint Creek which is a finger off Wheeler Lake. There is a whole lot of water around here for folks to use for water sports of all types. We have actually seen kayaks going under this bridge. They were having fun.



At one spot in the undergrowth was a red thing. We do not know what it is but here it is for you to enjoy. There was only one of them in the brush and the OFM was not about to crawl back in there to get the picture. It is about the size of a large grape.



At another place was this nice reflection. It was dim enough that the OFM had difficulty telling exactly which part was reflection and what part was real. There are all sorts of neat things to see all around here if you pay attention.



At one point the OFM was squatted down and shifting around trying to get a good picture. After finally taking the picture and getting up, he turned around to leave and this sneaky flower had Tarzaned over to right at his face. It is a pretty flower but that sudden appearance at a distance of three inches was a bit startling.



Tomorrow is a visit to Gavin/Piper Land for a lunch of cornbread and chili. YUMMY. That will come close to being tooooo much fun.

8/17/17

Freak Accident

Adventure Location:  Decatur, Alabama

The OFM had some very enjoyable years many years ago as a golf club fitter for 12 years. He had lots of very satisfied customers among the Houston area golfers with disabilities of different sorts.This is to let you know he does know a lot about golf clubs. There are better fitters now days with $200,000 of equipment to get things done just right.

The OFM is in the process of putting together a set of golf clubs that fit his fat old weak body. This afternoon the last shipment came in with a Driver that is an older model of a Callaway driver. He buys most of his clubs from Callaway Preowned because they are good clubs and Callaway will tweak them to be just how he wants them to be. It took a few days longer to ship here with the length, swingweight and grip changes, but it did get here.

The OFM was really excited since there was time to go across the street to the driving range to see how the clubs performed. Of course the OFM always performs perfectly (right?). We grabbed a small bucket of range balls and headed to the driving range out in hot sun. The OFM chose his spot and limbered up a good bit. Then he swung each of the clubs a few times to get the feel and see if they had the right feel. They did. OH BOY he thought, this might be pretty decent for old clubs and an OFM.

Now that he was warmed up and reasonably limber he grabbed the driver. A driver is just about the most difficult golf club to hit well. He was expecting to scatter a few balls all over the place until he got his rhythm back, ball position and foot position worked out and any other details.

He carefully set the tee into the ground at his best guess of a starting height for a drive. He carefully placed his feet to put the ball contact point at his guess as to the right location. All the usual stuff was checked and he did not feel right. OK back off and start over. He did.

Now it seems right after a couple of minor adjustments. He steadied himself, took aim at the flag pole with the red flag way down there in the driving range at the 200 yard mark. As he was hoping the ball would at least stay on the driving range so he would know what adjustments to make, the crack of the ball and club fled through the trees.

The range ball took off climbing swiftly into the sky IN A PERFECTLY STRAIGHT LINE. Now that was a big surprise. He watched as the ball screamed on down range and began to peak out on the climb. As the ball started its decent it still was covering lots of ground. The forward motion started to slow and the rate of descent picked up. 

The OFM finally got through posing from the hit and settled in to see which way the bounce would go. The ball neared the ground and it was unbelievable, IT HIT THE FLAGSTICK THE OFM HAD AIMED AT! And there was nobody else in the area to see it happen!

None of the Team members have ever seen the OFM dance around like that before. We hope he didn’t pull something again. We managed to keep our laughing at him to a mild roar but he totally ignored our comments. It must have really been a great moment of having tooooo much fun.

8/16/17

The Battle

Adventure Location:  Decatur, Alabama

Lately we have mostly just been walking or riding around the park taking a few pictures of summer slowly starting to fade into fall. According to historical data this week is the peak heat week for the area and we will soon be starting on a lower temperatures trend. That might be a really nice thing.

In the mean time all we have to show for the OFM efforts is several more nice pictures. When we first got here the crape myrtle were in good bloom. They have the red, pink, white and purple varieties in the area. This is a decent shot of one of the pink ones. The wind was blowing pretty hard that day so a sharp focus did not happen. It is pretty anyway.




Along the road behind the soccer fields is an over grown ditch with tall trees and lots of vines with all sorts of flowers and berries. Here is one of the clusters of berries that we think is nice to view. Again the wind made it difficult to get a sharp picture.


Back over down by the river was some brush and vines with a few down trees rotting away. The white flowers were so bright in the sun that they came out as a washed out white blob. They were really nice in person. Come on out and see for yourself!




And for no special reason at all except that it is a bit of a different photograph, check out the end of this tree truck sticking into a drive area trying to bite a vehicle as they go by. Chomp, chomp.




Today was a bit of an illness day for the OFM. His body disagreed with something he ate yesterday. The battle raged for most of the day but seems that his body finally won the battle. Tomorrow should be a great day for trying to have tooooo much fun.

8/14/17

Brand New Dime

Adventure Location:  Decatur, Alabama

The OFM slept until almost 0900 this morning. That was over ten hours of straight through sleep. Good grief he must have been exhausted from all the activity yesterday. We made a trip to a store or two and got back to the Castle by 1130. Then it was take it easy time for a good while. He was a bit sore he said. After lunch was the usual nice nap. The rest of the afternoon was spent being lazy and thinking about where to go if we leave here this fall.

A late evening walk resulted in a brand new dime being found laying in a parking lot near the ice skating rink. That was a nice surprise. The evening walk was about a mile and a quarter. Yep the OFM is definitely getting a lot more exercise here than back at Rockport.

Some left over pictures are of the many fungi in the area. We have no idea which day they were taken or where along the trails they were found. This first one is a rather large on that looked about 12 inches wide growing from the base of a living tree. It was back off the trail and would have required wading through calf high unknown leafy things that may have had ticks, spiders and other creepy crawlers. The OFM stayed on the trail and used the zoom feature of the Team camera.



This next one is a white lacy model very much like some we had in the blog from pilings in the harbor at Rockport.



It was a surprise to see the near duplicate from the salt water up here in the fresh water. Either way they are pretty and delicate in appearance.

The last one was also back in the “will not go in there” brush, so the telephoto zoom was again wonderful to use. The orange was a very glowing orange that seemed to light up the area near it,



And now it is nearly shower time for the OFM and then another good nights sleep. Trying to have tooooo much fun is hard work.

8/13/17

Cornbread

Adventure Location:  Decatur, Alabama

Gavin started kindergarten last Monday.




As you might expect when a mob of kids gather many viruses get exchanged. Thus when the OFM Grandpa was supposed to go to Gavinland today for his birthday cornbread lunch, it had to be canceled due to family illness. The good side was that Gavin and his dad put together a video of Gavin singing Happy Birthday for my enjoyment. The teams could not figure out how to put it in the blog.

It has been a week since the knee injury that sent the OFM into a knee brace for an over extended tendon. The brace was finally removed Friday evening. Then today the OFM made a longer walk in the park of 1.65 miles at a slow speed. Later in the afternoon he took a nice bike ride of about three miles at a slow speed. Tomorrow we will find out if that exercise was too much. We are hoping that keeping the speed down will allow the stretching to happen and assist in the healing.

During the slow walk the Team passed some trees with very large leaves. Here is an OFM hand holding one of those leaves for a picture. They are huge.


Now we have to see what kind of mischief the OFM will get into tomorrow while trying to have tooooo much fun.

8/12/17

Chief Double Head

Adventure Location:  Decatur, Alabama

There is a walking trail near our campsite. It cuts along a swampy area and is fairly thick with trees and underbrush. It is a foot traffic only trail that is normally very pleasant to visit. At the end is a termination spot for five more trails to enjoy. It is named the Chief Double Head Walking trail.



After we were a few meters along the trail the OFM turned back toward the Castle to grab this picture of the Castle and Sierra waiting for our return.



As is usual we meandered along looking at nothing and everything. Down close to the ground and way up high in the tall trees. Down near the ground the OFM spotted this bug art leaf. We have no idea what did the art work but it was quite intricate.


There were several of them scattered along the trail. All of them were close to the ground as in 6-8 inches high.

If you pay careful attention you will find many odd but interesting things hidden in the forest. This particular rock eating tree is very close to a graveled trail that gets lots of use. The OFM has asked folks several times if they have seen it but nobody has paid enough attention to notice it five feet from the pathway.



At some places in the trails there are wild grapes growing high up in the trees. As they ripen they fall loose from the vines 50+ feet above you and can put lumps or grape juice on your head. Here is a few that were already down on the ground when the Team came by. A little later in the month there are frequently folks gathering the grapes to make liquid refreshments for later use. You may have heard of the refreshment known as wine.



There are those in the area that think making wild grape wine is a good way of trying to have tooooo much fun.

8/11/17

Piper Eyes

Adventure Location:  Decatur, Alabama

Sometimes kids get devilment in their eyes!



8/10/17

Trail Marking

Adventure Location:  Decatur, Alabama

The Point Mallard has many neat things for folks to enjoy. One of the major attractions for the OFM Teams is the several miles of developed trails. Some are paved and very wheelchair accessible. Some are dirt and gravel and can be a little tough for people using walking assists like wheel chairs or canes.

Overall there is a lot of use of the trails. They are well marked and very few high places. Those high places are all on the along the river trail and are in general not more than ten feet high with a reasonable slope as the trail goes up.

To take it to another level of helpfulness, the park management has summer help (high school kids) do some pretty good things. The one we noticed the most over the years we have been coming here is the painting of tripping hazards on the natural surface trails. 




There is about four miles of natural surface trails and hazards are marked as shown in the picture. It helps to keep folks more aware of the hazard of not paying attention while jogging or walking. Banging your nose into the gravel when walking is not a good way of trying to have tooooo much fun.

8/8/17

The Landing Area

Adventure Location:  Decatur, Alabama

 Saturday was an adventure of chasing Grandson Gavin around the front yard on two bad knees. It was an awkward event but both of us had a great time while the OFM lasted.

Sunday was an adventure of gentle bike riding that was very enjoyable to the OFM.

Very early Monday morning the OFM’s right knee would not work. It was the start of some miserable attempts at sleep. It will hold the OFM up if it is straight up and down but do not even think of bending it. The screaming will make even the ants go away at a high rate of speed.

He has been treating it with all the usual treatments used in his other knee events during his misbegotten life. It was not helping. Maybe because the injury was still too fresh. 600 ibuprofen tablets did not faze the pain and misery. Finally after much research on the internet the OFM decided to try a knee brace.

He gathered his money and keys, opened the door to the Castle and started down the steps. Here is a picture of the landing area where he hit when the injured knee collapsed.




Once again the OFM has to thank the U S Army Combat Infantry training for keeping his injuries very light. He actually rolled out of the fall with no injury from the impact.

However his left had caught something on the door and tore a triangular flap of skin up about an inch and a half long and an inch wide at the hinge.  Another small cut on his wrist area turned out to be just a minor cut once the blood was cleaned off.

It was back into the Castle on a bum knee and a less bum knee to administer First Aid. The First Aid equipment box was opened and it was almost empty! That is not nice. After lots of washing of wounds and stopping the bleeding, three bandaids (the only thing in the First Aid kit), were applied as compression bandages. It worked and we set off for Walmart for First Aid supplies and a knee brace.




We were in the store for a few minutes when a nice employee asked if he could help. The OFM explained his need. The nice employee lifted his pants legs to show he always had a knee brace on each leg. Then he helped the OFM choose a good model in the correct size. The OFM sat down on a nearby bench and put the brace on RIGHT NOW. It immediately gave some relief to lateral movement pain.

After that the OFM went to another aisle and resupplied the First Aid Cabinet. Then the Teams headed for the Castle.




Then in the late afternoon the UPS finally delivered the new to him used golf putter the OFM ordered last week. So now the OFM is like a kid looking at a Christmas present that got opened but he has to wait to play with it.

And that is how the OFM has been trying to have tooooo much fun lately!

8/6/17

New Team Member

Adventure Location:  Decatur, Alabama

Life continues to evolve around here. A bit over a year ago the OFM gave up SightSeer his beloved bicycle because he was no longer safe riding a performance bike.  After a mourning period for the end of a life long joy in riding bikes, the OFM put his mind to work to see if there was any bikes he could still ride. It has been a year long search and research project.
He worked his way to what used to be called slack geometry bikes. These are bikes that are easier to ride gently and in fairly straight lines. They do not do log jumping and crazy fast speeds very well. What they so well is social riding that lets you look at things and talk to a fellow rider without having to “drive the bike” for every minute.

The OFM has tried several of the different styles like crank forward and others. Years ago he rode a recumbent bike so he has experience with them also. The one thing he noticed was that the bikes with the drop center (old name for them was womens bikes) was much better for him when stopping and starting. He no longer had to balance on one bad knee leg to swing his other bad knee leg over the seat while twisting his less than perfect hip in odd angles. He could get both feet on the ground immediately and them take his time getting the rest of the way off the bike.
His research had led him to several easy to balance and ride multi-geared social drop centered bike. Yesterday while over at the grands home, my wonderful DIL mention, again, that she had no intention of ever riding her bike again and maybe it would work for the OFM.

The OFM had done some tuning on her bike a few years ago and recalled it as a very comfortable and docile riding bike. He went out to the garage to refresh his memory and liked what he saw. He sat on it and rolled in the driveway a bit and like it even better. Into the bed of Sierra it went. Today he has spent a bit of time getting in some riding it and found it to be just about perfect for his limited abilities.

So now the OFM has wheels again. Back in Rockport he had found that walking was causing lots of knee and hip pains unless done at a very slow pace. The OFM is looking for aerobic activity to keep him heart healthy and smaller stomached. Today the first ride was about 2 miles and had the OFM breathing moderately heavily.The late evening ride was about twice as long but at a slightly slower pace so the OFM wasn’t causing as high of a heart rate. It is not good to be sedentary for months and then jump out and cause your heart to have to work really hard. Here is the yet unnamed new OFM Teams member.


Now that there is a bike back on the Teams it is time to re-think our plans and available options for trying to have tooooo much fun. 

8/5/17

Busy Lap

Adventure Location:  Decatur, Alabama

HEY OFM, what did you do today?

Dog and Kid 

8/4/17

Wide Eyes

Adventure Location:  Decatur, Alabama

HEY MOM, is that steak you are fixing for supper?

8/3/17

Roosevelt State Park Walk

Adventure Location:  Decatur, Alabama

The temperatures have let the OFM be over busy outdoors. He awakened this morning sore muscled all over his body. We tried to  get him to ease back a little today. Nope he is sitting over there worn to nothing.

In the mean time let us go back in time to Roosevelt State Park and a walk the Teams took in the evening. The walk went through the trees along the shores of the lake inside the park. The evening sun gave us lots of special scenes and we brought a few with us for tonight.

The evening sky was lit up with lots of bright colors and as the evening progressed it seemed a new scene happened every two minutes. It was a very entertaining walk. This first picture shows the evening sky when we first started the walk.



As we meandered the shore we came to this paddle boat launch pier. From this vantage point we took several pictures.



Then we went back onto the trail through the trees taking lots of pictures. Many did not catch the light just right, so they went away. This next one is another view of the sunset but as a reflection on the water. The OFM was excited that this one worked out well.



When the sunlight finally faded out, the sky glow from the stars and moon gave us just enough light to record this basically night reflection of the trees on the lake.


That is a nice picture we think. By now it was time to head into the Castle, shower and hit the bed for an early start on the last leg of the trip to Gavinland.

We have been here two days now and are taking pictures on the trails, practicing golf, walking the trails and generally trying to have tooooo much fun.

8/2/17

Catching Up

Adventure Location:  Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama
No Internet means a long post of the travels until we get Internet again.

7-30-2017
The OFM was up and ready to roll when daylight came to the campground. He was anxious to try out the new hitch settings with Sierra and the Castle. We hit the road about 0715 and was rolling smoothly. The OFM immediately put the Tow/Haul mode into action on the rolling short steep terrain for this leg of the trip. We rolled easily with a rest area stop about 2 and a half hours into the day. It was a fairly short to take care of necessities and a bit of walking.

We got to Tatum right on time after lunch. Before we got to Tatum, we actually pulled into the Henderson TX Walmart for an item that the OFM thought he needed. They did not have the item but the OFM did purchase a sandwich from the deli and apparently from the speed it disappeared it was delicious.

The state park welcomed us and we were soon at a site with electricity and plugged it. It peaked at 93 today and was gentle enough in the shade that the OFM worked up a MAJOR sweat making  sure all things were ok for the next part of the travels.
You know who is tuckered out tonight and keeps falling asleep leaving the Teams to do all the work of putting together a story of our travel of today.

7-31-2017
With a little over 300 miles of road ahead of us the OFM was not excited over the distance. We rolled about 0745 and traffic was light for the whole distance. Once again we found the worst roads in the world are in Shreveport La, Monroe La, Vicksburg Ms, and Jackson Ms. They will show you any weakness in your rig of any kind. WOW YUCK.
It was a tiresome run today but the temp here at Roosevelt  State Park in Mississippi was 88 when we checked in about 1400. It has been a good evening looking over the lake and being glad that with any luck at all we will be in Gavinland this time tomorrow.

8-1-2017
The OFM got us out and rolling by 0715 this morning. The rig rolled very well and traffic was light. A smart move by the OFM saved us from navigating the suicide merger required when you go from I-20 eastbound to I-65 northbound in Birmingham. It is a blind merger to the right with a trailer and into four lanes of full speed traffic heading north. Last year the OFM did it for the last time in Sierra and nearly had a wreck. this time we turned off on hwy 69 in Tuscaloosa and came out on I-65 near Cullman. That was a lot more scenic and safe. We still made it to Point Mallard Campground right at 1400 hours like all the years before.



During one of the bouncy rough road events the OFM heard something metal hit the highway. He immediately recognized the noise from the tubular bar that is used to engage and disengage the spring bar chains on the weight distributing hitch. Yep when we got to the campground, the bar was not in our possession any longer. He thinks he left it on the bumper. So now a trip to Home Depot is in order for a replacement.

The campground folks had a site already for the Teams. It is a good site and we had an easy time of the setup.  Next we found out the wifi would not talk to our computer. It is the first of the month and bills need paying!

We talked to the OFM’s son tonight and it will be sometime this weekend before we get over to their house for tickling grandkids. They are taking care of some medical treatment for Gavin and the get ready for kindergarten requirements. The OFM has plenty to do until then so it will work well for a delay until the weekend so we will not be rushed during the visit.

8-2-2017
As you can see we now have very good wifi. A great morning walk in the 71 degree “heat”. The walk kept getting interrupted so the OFM could take another picture. Enjoy the catching up as we work on trying to have tooooo much fun.