Friday, March 18, 2016

Spring Break Land Cruise 2016

Spring Break 2016

This was kind of an odd Spring Break in the conceptual stages. Rachel's mom had been pretty touch and go for awhile. First she had surgery to remove a blood clot from her leg. Then a week or so later, she had a minor stroke. She was in rehab for awhile with us on pins and needles. Now she is stable and back in her apartment with 24/7 care. It is what it is.

With all that going on, I decided to stay fairly close to home. But, I didn't want to go to the same go to parks that I always go to. I made reservations for two nights at Ink's Lake followed by two at Pedernales Falls. The two parks are pretty close to each other, and I could be back in San Antonio in about three hours, if I had to.

My trailer friends went to Big Bend. I wasn't really up for that. I need some time off to just work around the house and snooze on the Lazy Boy. My new special education job wipes me out. I knew that a long trip for the whole break would not work well for me. Just the same, when my buddy John signed up for the trip, I was feeling a bit envious.

Ink's Lake, March 14th - 16th

I woke up really early on Monday morning. I wanted to get on the road by 7:00 am with hopes of beating the worst of the rush hour traffic. Rachel got up then, also, to go walk with her friends. Everything went smoothly until I got on that access bridge from Bandera Road to 410. For those of you not from here, it is a bridge that takes you on a 90* angle and drops you off about a mile away on 410. It is usually awesome. Monday, however, there was a major accident that had the two left lanes of 410 shut down. We crawled along for 45 minutes an agonizing pace. Then, once we passed the problem, everything was smooth again.

I took 281 all the way to State Park Road 4. Then it was twelve miles of dips and winding curves to the park. They gave me several site choices. I chose 289 because the ranger said it was more secluded than the others. With all those Spring Break families, I definitely wanted that. Unfortunately, the site was still occupied. The people in the site had until 2:00 to vacate.

I drove around the park looking for a place to park the truck with the Colby T hitched up. I finally found the boat launching area by the park store and pulled into one of those long pull through spaces they have for trucks and boat trailers. I asked in the park store, and they said I was fine there even though it might be four hours.

With nothing else to do but hike, I went into the Colby T and changed clothes. I grabbed my old fart hat, some paper towels for sweat, and my camera and headed off. I hiked up towards Devil's Hole and took a trail that led me up to the bridge on 29. I crossed the bridge and took another trail that went right to where the guys were jumping off the cliff on the way to the bird blind. It was a long hike. My Fitbit went off to tell my I had my 11,000 steps (my daily goal) before I even got to the bird blind.

At first, I wasn't very impressed by the bird blind. When the trail ended onto a paved park road, there was a rickety old wooden hunting blind sitting there. It took me a few minutes to figure out that I had to walk down the road a ways. A sign would have been nice. 

The bird blind is beautiful. It is fully enclosed with glass windows. There is room for about twenty people to sit there on nice benches. I sat for a while to rest from the hike. Even though it was a very nice trail with lots of hills and turns with amazing views, the thought of hiking three more hours to get back to the camper wasn't thrilling me much. Besides, I would be getting back to a trailer that had to be moved, set up, and COOLED down.

For whatever reason, the hike back seemed faster and easier. I went past my site and saw that it was cleared out. While I was there, I noticed that the loop it was on was one way. My site is the only site on the loop that backs in the wrong way. While I was there several cars went by so the thought of pulling in the wrong way was a little scary.

When I got back to the park store, I went in and bought a cold Gatorade. I asked the ranger working there what I should do. She asked another ranger and that one knew what site I was in before I even said anything. They called for a park host escort to meet me and block the traffic to keep me safe.

Anyway, I got all set up and made a batch of ice right away. I was pretty thirsty from my walk, even though I carried water with me. Since I had already taken an long hike, I decided to go into Burnet and see Fort Croghan.

The fort was interesting. They have about ten frontier structures there and lots of old-time farming implements. The museum has a lot of stuff on display. The walk around to see the buildings only took me about a half hour. When I went back to the museum on the way out, I got to talking to the docent. She and her husband moved to Burnet to be closer to their adult sons who had gravitated her by way of UT and the military. She was a retired special education teacher maybe ten years older than I. She got her masters in special Ed in 1981, the same year I graduated and started my career. We talked for about an hour about the changes we've seen in special education. She was fascinated by my going back after seventeen years.

After the fort, I wanted to go to Twin Liquors and buy a bottle of Scotch. I saw that they had one there on Google before the trip. Siri disagreed. He claimed the closest liquor store of any kind was in Marble Falls. I am weaning myself off of OnStar since we are letting it go to offset Rachel's retirement. I broke down and used it this time, and they were able to find Twin Liquors for me.

When I got back to camp, I was suddenly really hungry. Then I remembered I hadn't eaten anything all day. I had planned on eating breakfast in the camper once I was set up. Of course the 5 hour delay between traffic issues and waiting for my site changed all that. I ate one of those instant pasta meals.

I decided to take another hike around the park. I wanted to go by the park store for an ice cream bar. It was a pleasant enough hike, but my legs were kind of tired. I lucked out at the store. They had a food truck in front selling soft serve yogurt. I got a cup and ate it as I hiked.

I was really tired by about 7:00. I decided to just have a Scotch over ice, read for a while, and go to bed. I was too restless to sleep, so I tried watching a Netflix movie on my phone, but just couldn't commit to one. Instead, I decided to walk to the fishing pier and see what was happening there. That took all of twenty minutes. I think I was asleep by about 9:00.

Ink's Lake, Tuesday March 15

I forgot to turn off my 3:10 alarm on the Fitbit that lets me check and make sure Jared is up in the morning. (It has been three weeks now, so I think he can do without me.) It woke me up just enough to get up and pee. I fell right back to sleep and actually slept until 7:00am. Of course, my body thought it was 6:00 because of the time change.

I lounged around the trailer for awhile. I ate a nice breakfast of scrambled powdered eggs, Sriracha sauce, and squirt cheese on white bread. Then I cleaned up a bit, got dressed, and hit the trail. I went to the opposite end of the park this time. I stopped at the park headquarters on the way to the trailhead to ask if I needed and escort to pull out, or if I could just drive the whole loop the wrong way. They gave me a number to call when I am ready to leave. Seems they are used to this with site 289.

The hike took me up over the granite rocks to a great view of the lake. I took some panoramics with the iPhone and posted them on FaceBook. At one point, I lost the trail and came up on a big dome of granite. There was a huge family there trying to take a picture with the lake in the background. They were trying to use a timer, but had difficulty finding a place to put the camera. They asked me if I would help them out, and of course I did. They were from Clear Lake. One of the men, most likely the patriarch of the bunch, showed me some rock holes that were filled with water. Brine shrimp were swimming in them. It was amazing. Coincidentally, Rene Howard has some growing in our 1st grade class right now as part of our science unit. I took some photos, but you can't really see the shrimp.

I found the trail again and followed it across the highway to the interpretive trail and primitive camping loop. It was a nice pecan covered forest area. I wanted to go on an off-shoot, but I was running low on water and didn't want to risk it. Instead,  I hiked back to headquarters and filled my bottle with cold water. I still had nearly a mile to go to get back to the Colby T.

When I got back, I started up the ice maker and made a batch of ice for the rest of the day. Then I did some work I needed to do like fill the fresh water tank. I will dump my tanks tomorrow on the way out, and need some water in the fresh tank to put in the toilet. You can't just leave the black tank empty. That causes problems. I wanted to add some bleach to the water and ended up breaking one of my mini blind supports when I opened up the storage compartment under the couch. Fortunately, I keep a stock on hand. They break easily. This new batch is metal. They might last a little better.

When I was at headquarters, I asked if they knew if I could take a tour of Buchanan Dam. They said that was stopped as a result of 911. But, there was a pub where I could see it from the patio. That was called Reverend Jim's Dam Pub. Since I could use a beer and the burgers were reputed to be awesome, I headed over when I was done with my work in the camper. Besides, they used to call me Reverend Jim at SWTSU, so how could I not go there?

It was just a short ten minute ride over there. The beer was cold. The patio was nice. The burger was great. While I was eating, I got a phone call from Jane's phone (Rachel's mother). They were trying to get ahold of Rachel, but only had my number for some reason. They said Jane was fine. I texted Rachel and she said it was something about food. She told them to call her sister. 

I was stuffed and tired when I got back to the Colby T. I succumbed to a nap for about two hours. Then guilt set in and I forced myself to take a hike. 

I went back up to the Devils Hole. I stayed there watching the young bucks jump off the for about thirty minutes. One kid named Victor kept going to highest point, but couldn't get himself to jump. He couldn't even get himself to stand up on top of the rock. His friends were brutal. I don't blame him. I wouldn't of even climbed up there, let alone jump.

I hiked around the campsites for a little longer and came back to the Colby T. I know I should have walked longer, but my legs just didn't feel up to it tonight. Instead, I got out my keyboard and wrote this. Now, I'm going inside to watch the Spurs. Or, maybe I'll just sit here at the picnic table and watch it. It is really a beautiful evening.

Wednesday, March 16, Pedernales Falls SP

Well it is 8:13. It has been a long day. I went to bed right after the Spurs game last night (they beat the Clippers). I had planned on getting up at 6:00, but I ended up going back to bed until 6:30. I ate breakfast and got the Colby T ready for departure. 

At about 8:00 am, I called for an escort to get me safely around the loop. A ranger came right away and guided me out going the wrong way on a one way street. That site was wacky, but really nice. Heavily shaded and right by a little finger of the lake.

On the way out, I dumped the tanks at the dump station, then hit the road. I took a little over an hour to get to Pedernales SP. When I arrived, they only had three open sites. The ranger recommended #58, so I took it. By 11:00am, I was all set up and ready for adventure.

I decided to walk up to the Wolf Mountain Trail. I had never even realized that area of the park had trails on my last trips here. It was only supposed to be a six mile hike plus the mile it took to hike to the trail head. I had two bottles of water and my camera. Fortunately, I used some sun screen, which I often forget to do.

The trail was really nice. It crossed several different creeks and went up into the hills. I decided to take the loop through the primitive camping area just to see what kind of camping the people were doing after hiking four miles to get there. I was amazed at how much stuff they had with them. Some had some heavy duty wagons at their sites. Those people had elaborate camp sites with everything tent campers have in the regular loops. Lots of ice chests, bikes, huge tents, and hammocks strung up all over the place.

Unfortunately, when I came off that loop, I read the map wrong. My 6 mile hike turned into a half marathon. I had gone 13.4 miles by the time I got back to the Colby T. I rationed my water pretty well, but I was getting worried about electrolytes. I should have taken one of my little squirt bottles that has them with me. They had a drinking water spigot at the parking lot, so I filled up both of my empties for the mile hike back to camp. It was uphill a lot of the way and really wore me out.

I drank lots of Gatorade in the camper and ate lunch. I was feeling a lot better, so I hiked over to the Twin Falls trail. It is only a quarter mile long, so I figured I could handle it. My legs were wobbly and my feet hurt quite a bit, but I made it down into the ravine and back up. The falls were really pretty splashing down into a lush little pond. There is an observation deck to look down on them, but the area is closed off. I saw two idiots down there who were toweling themselves after an illegal swim. Sad how some people can't respect rules.

When I got to the Colby T, I had a minor panic attack when I realized I only had four bottles of water left. I decided to run into Johnson City (nine miles away) and buy some. While I was there, I also filled my gas tank.

On the way back to camp, I stopped at headquarters, which is up on a hill and has phone service. I posted a few things on Facebook and checked my mail, etc. Down here at camp, I have one little dot of service (4G) outside of the camper and none inside. They only thing I seem to be able to do successfully is text Rachel. I don't really mind being off the grid. I'm just not used to it.

Tonight is the 200th night in the Colby T. That number seems ridiculous, but it accumulates. I am going to celebrate by drinking scotch and ginger, eating pork rinds with canned salsa, and reading the rest of my novel. I hope I have an hour or to left to go. I forgot to download another one up on the hill.

Thursday, March 17, 2016

Well as fate would have it, my book only lasted about 15 minutes. I was able to download another one from my Kindle Library, but when I did, I realized right away that I had already read it. I was able to play my three word games. They downloaded when nothing else would work on the phone but texting. To sum it up,  the 200th night in the Colby T was shortchanged. I went to bed at about 9:15.

I didn't set an alarm this morning. No need to. I had no events to attend or moves to make. I woke up at 7:00 am or around that. I wasn't hungry this morning, so I decided not to have breakfast. Instead, I sat at the picnic table and drank a couple of cups of coffee.

The sky was overcast most of the day. It felt like there was rain coming sometime, so I decided to get motivated and take a hike too the falls. This time, I carried three bottles of water, but still forgot to put the MIO squirt bottle with electrolytes in my knapsack. I never really needed it since the sun was never out. Even though it was muggy, I didn't "over sweat".

I hiked out of camp and took a little trail called Warfle's Trail. It is a shortcut to the rode that leads to the swimming area. When I got to the road, I turned away from the swimming area and headed out to the main park road. I followed that for about a mile until I got to the bird blind.

There was a ranger weed-eating all over the bird blind area. As a result, I only saw one bird, a huge bluejay. I got a photo of him, but most of him is behind a tree. Oh well. 

From the bird blind, I took the North Loop Equestrian Trail headed for the Duck Pond. It is actually two different ponds. I saw three ducks, but they flew far across the pond as I approached. I did see what might have been a sand piper. I'll look it up when I get home.

From the pond, I hiked on until I could join the Pedernales Falls Trail System. The first part took me right down to the river. I was cursing myself for not bringing my walking stiff. It was very steep and slippery. The extra support would have been nice. I  hiked for about thirty minutes along the river never seeing another human being. It was awesome. Then I came to the popular area and was joined by about a hundred people scattered over the rocks.

I spent about an hour walking around the falls area. It really is a special place. I took loads of pictures. After awhile, too many people were there for me. They were running all over the place like ants. Parents were screaming at there kids to be careful and so on. I headed up a rocky and evidently rarely used trail to get to the observation area. I couldn't figure out how people were coming down. The only ones I saw were climbing down a cliff. Not my thing.

I looked around at the observation area and took a trail off it that I thought would lead to the Hackenburg Trail. I planned to hike it later in the day and just wanted to see where the trailhead was so I could find it easily. It turned out that I wasn't on the right trail. I ended up in the parking lot.

I took the road back to the bird blind. While I was gone, the ranger must of weed-whacked the observation area. There were two cardinals there, but nothing else. I drank a bottle of water and rested awhile anyway.

I started to head back on the road, but realized my knapsack had broken. One of the ropes was just hanging there. I threw it over my shoulder with the good rope and hike on. I was planning on taking the road to the Organized Youth Group Camping Area. Just as I got to the road, a ranger turned in. I wasn't sure it was open to the public so I passed it and took the road to the swimming area. There was a picnic area, so I sat at a table, readjusted my right sock, and drank the second bottle of water. As I passed the dumpster, I threw my trash and the broken knapsack away.

It was about a quarter mile to the trail that leads down to the swimming area. The actual trail was a stair case. I took it down, gritting my teeth because my old knees did not like the stairs at all. There wasn't much to see when I got down. There weren't many people and the river didn't have much of a beach to swim from.

I started back up the stairs but had to stand off to the side so a group of 6 college boys toting fishing equipment and coolers went down. Those coolers were huge and heavy. They weren't having an easy go of it.

When I reached the top of the stairs, I leaned against the rail breathing out slowly trying to get my heart rate down. A bunch of kids ran up the stairs and kept going. I heard their dad shout at them to wait. When he and his wife (they were in their forties) got up there, they joined me on the rail. I left them there and headed back up the road to Warfle's Trail. As I went that large family passed me in a truck. I heard the dad say, "Damn, he walked all the way over here!" It made me chuckle. Most of the people in the state parks get in their vehicles and drive to the trail heads. Some even drive to the bath houses. That seems crazy to me.

I got back to the Colby T and stripped off my sweaty clothes and did a sink bath. Then I ate a delicious lunch of sardines on white bread. I fixed a cup of coffee and went out to the picnic table for a while. Then I took a 90 minute nap. It was one of those drift in and out dreamy kind of naps. It felt good.

I went back out to the picnic table just in time to see a man pulling a HUGE silver trailer. It was gorgeous. I have never seen anything like it. He turned into the loop and then slammed his brake right in front of my site. He threw it in reverse and had trouble with his gears for a minute. They were grinding like crazy. I could smell clutch. He backed up and then pulled back in. He yelled at me and asked, "How do you get to highway 71?" I told him I had no idea where highway 71 was, but that he needed to go out of the park past headquarters. He said, "Really?", threw it in reverse, did an awkward semi controlled reverse onto the road and drove back out of the camping area. I wondered if me meant "site 71", but there doesn't seem to be one on the map.

After he was gone, I remembered that I wanted to set the time on my truck's clock. I couldn't figure it out the other day and didn't think about it again until today. I got the manual out and figured it out. When I realized it was almost 4:00, I got back in hiking garb and drove down to the falls to hike the Hackenburg Trail. I wasn't up for the extra two and a half miles it would have added to get to the trail head and hike back after the trail. 

The parking lot was way overcrowded. I found one spot that was a little tighter than I like, but beggars can't be choosy. I walked up to the road I thought would lead to the trailhead. It did. The trail was marked with a sign that said "River" and pointed to the right.  Took it all the way down to the river. It was beautiful. They hike back on the second part of the loop was more grueling than I like, but I made it. At one point I had to squeeze sideways through a crevice between two giant boulders. My but was touching one side and my stomach was rubbing the other. I had to keep my hands over my head with my camera, water bottle, and hiking stick. For just a minute, I felt a little stuck and had a little tiny panic attack. Had I misinterpreted the trail? I sucked by big belly in as hard as I could and just forced myself through. How exciting.

Celebrating freedom, I hiked up about a quarter mile hillside until the trail became more trail-like. Maybe I had gone the wrong way. After that, it was an easy hike to the truck.

I drove up to headquarters to use the better phone service and park WiFi to download a book to my phone. It was taking forever, so I locked the truck and took the tiny trail to the scenic overlook and took a few photos. When I got back to the truck, it still hadn't finished downloading. I switched off the wife and downloaded in a second or two over the phone service.

Finally back at the Colby T at about 6:30, I changed into my comfy camping clothes and ate a quick dinner. I heated up one of those PACE brand rice pouches. It was pretty good.

I forgot that I made ice while I was napping. I filled my little ice chest with it. It makes 8 cubes every eight minutes. The cubes get bigger the longer it runs. I love the thing. I went ahead and drained it and dried it out. It is safely stowed in it's box sitting in the bathtub.

Since then, I've been sitting at the picnic table writing this with a scotch and ginger beside me. The sun is setting and the sounds of the campers around me are getting that evening amplification thing. I'll sit here with my drink for a little longer before I head in to the Colby T to read until bedtime. I think the Spurs are playing tonight, but there's no way for me to see or hear them without phone service. Hey, wait a minute. I could try to get the game on my radio. I doubt I could pick up a San Antonio station, but it's worth a try. What else have I got to do.

Tomorrow, I will get up early and head home. I want to be there before noon. We have a repairman coming, and Rachel doesn't like to be alone when they come. I'll upload my photos and blog sometime tomorrow. Until then, Happy Trails.

Follow up: I was able to get the Spurs on my radio, but only outside. I took my sports chair, the radio, my box fan, and my scotch and ginger and listened under the trees. It was kind of nice.

This morning (Friday the 18th), I got up at six and prepped for departure. I actually got on the road at 8:00. I decided to go through Kendalia and Bergheim instead of going all the way into San Antonio. I think that was actually closer. I was at Packrats at 10:03. It was a smooth trip.

Saturday, December 26, 2015

Blanco State Park December 2015

Blanco State Park December 19 - 22, 2015

Well, it has been a long time since I blogged about one of my trips. This is the first time I have visited a new park in ages. I go to Kerrville Schreiner and Guadalupe River SP so much that there isn't much new to blog about there. This time, everything is new to me.

I came here with three other couples under the guise of celebrating Lisa Moran's birthday. But, everyone knows that it doesn't take much to get me to go camping in the Colby T. I just went last weekend at GRSP. That was so I would be close to Stacey's house for her Christmas party. That was an interesting trip because my battery went out. I opened the door and smelled death. When I looked for the source, it was my camper's battery. The box was full of water, and the battery was actually sizzling and spitting. I bought a new one, and all was well.

For this trip, I opted to wait until Saturday morning to come. I promised Rachel I would set up the Christmas tree before I left. Jared was at the house last night, and we got it done. I got everything ready for the trip and went to bed early.

I woke up at 7:00 am to discover that Rachel had gone to walk with her friends, so I loaded up the truck and got on my way. I had to go buy gas first, since I totally forgot to do it yesterday as planned. I decided to avoid the construction and traffic on 281, so I headed toward GRSP, drove through Bergheim, and caught 473 in Kendalia. Then it was a short 7 miles to 281. I was far enough out of San Antonio to avoid all the mess. It was only 9 more miles to Blanco.

When I checked in, I learned that I had two reservations. I had originally grabbed a full hookup site, but knowing that I would be winterized, I booked a water and electric with the intention of cancelling the other. They had two other full hookup sites available, so I didn't feel too guilty about it.

I got set up in site 19. It was a straight back in. Within 20 minutes of hitting Blanco, I was all set up, and sitting at the picnic table planning my day. Just then, John Moran walked up with breakfast tacos. I declined, because I am hoping to lose at least 10 pounds over the 16 day Christmas break. 

A few minutes later, I headed over to where the others are camping in the full hookup circle and talked with Doug, Stacey, and Randy before heading on a little hike to explore the park.

I walked along the beautiful Blanco River enjoying the falling leaves, light breeze, and sunshine. Even though it was somewhere in the 40's, I ended up taking my jacket off and tying it around my waist. The weather is as close to perfect as you can get. The sky is blue and absolutely stunning.

On the way back, I ran into Stacey, Randy, Lisa, and John. They were carrying fishing poles and heading to the river to try and catch some of the trout that the Texas Parks and Wildlife release in it. They are full-size trout put there for catching- not to repopulate the river. I went along with them and watched for awhile, but wanting a cup of coffee, came on back to the Colby T.

That is when I decided to write about this trip. I got my Bluetooth keyboard out and connected it to my iPhone. I will keep adding to it as my time here progresses. Then, it will be ready for posting when I get home.

We are all going to the Real Ale Brewing Company for a 3:00 tour later. It is 1.9 miles from camp. I am going to walk over and meet them there. Then we are going to eat at the Red Bud Cafe. I'll join them late for that, because I plan on hiking back to camp, also.

8:15 PM Saturday
Well, I walked over to the other people's area to see if they caught any fish. Lisa was at their trailer and told me that they did not. Just then, John came and said that someone had pulled their limit from the other side of the bridge. He was going to go and try again, but Lisa told him he didn't have time. That's when I discovered that the others were going earlier to Real Ale to drink beer before the tour. I went back to the trailer and got myself ready for my hike over there instead of waiting until 2:00 to leave. When I got to the bridge, John was heading back with a broken line.

I hiked down Main Street until I got almost out of town and crossed the highway to take a back road that I thought would go to the brewery. It didn't, so I ended up walking the last half mile with my back to traffic. I was off the road, but it was still scary. The others honked at me as they passed me about 900 yards from San Saba Street were I eventually turned off to get to the brewery.

I went upstairs and found them in the tap room. We drank a few beers ad then went on the tour. It was great, but I was already half polluted from drinking on an empty stomach. We took a beer with us as got a free one on the tour. Towards the end, all I could think of was going to the bathroom. I found one and left the tour to use it

After the tour, the guys went back up to the tap room and had another beer. The ladies finally figured it out and joined us for a few minutes. Then we all got in cars and headed to the Red Bud Cafe for dinner. John stopped at the Hill Country Liquor store on the way so I could buy some scotch. Then we met up with the others.

I ordered a piece of chocolate cake and a meatloaf sandwich. It took a while for the food to come, so I ate the cake first. The sandwich was really good.

I left them there at the restaurant and hiked back to camp. John came by the trailer just as I was getting ready to go over to the gang's fire. We walked together and saw some of those new-fangled laser lights. They were awesome- a lazy man's dream!

We sat by the fire talking for awhile before I left and came back to the trailer. Everyone was pretty much winding down for the night, even though it was only about 7:45. I stopped at the bathhouse on the way to the Colby T. Now I am ready to go to bed at 8:30! It is crazy that it is that early. It feels like about 11:00 after all I've done today.

Now, I am going to enjoy a scotch and read until time for bed. Tomorrow, John and I are going to try and get some of those trout in the morning.

10:09 Sunday, December 20

This was an amazing day! I got up and had a breakfast of powdered eggs and squirt cheese tacos, and waited for John Mora to text me that it was time to go fishing. His wife forbade me to come until I got his signal, as they did not have their kids with them yet, and would be sleeping in. The call never came, so I decided to take a morning hike. When I passed their trailer, Lisa was outside and told me they thought I was supposed to text John when I was ready. That is possible, because I drank way too many beers at Real Ale, and went to bed drunk.

Anyway, I went and joined John down at the river and fished for a while. He caught three trout. Lisa and I caught nothing.

I came back to the Colby T and relaxed for a while. Then, I went on a hike. I went to the end of the park, crossed the bridge and walked on the street. I entered the park and walked to the end of the road the other way. there was a gate there that took you to a concrete path that led to the town square. I walked all around it and headed back to the park.

I stopped by the Moran's site. Johns inlaws had brought their kids. There was a lot of food there, as the Shuddes were eating with them. I did not eat, even though it was tempting. I stayed long enough to be social and came back to the Colby T to read for awhile. Then, I repeated my earlier hike, egged on by the damned Fitbit.

At about 5:30 pm, John texted and said that everyone was going to Johnson City to see the lights. I told him to give me 5 minutes to get ready, but Doug and Margie were at my site to pick me up almost instantly. I threw on a clean shirt and went with them. I told them that I would had liked five more minutes to comb my hair, brush my teeth, and shoot some nasal spray, but I went.

Johnson City was amazing. They had lights all over the town square. We went to the  Pecan Street Brewing company, and I had a flight of all the beers on tap. It was really crowded, but we had seats at the bar. After they fed the kids, we left to see the lights.

We went into the courthouse, but it was just a bunch of Christmas stuff for sale. Doug, Margie, and I drove over to the Pedernales Electric Coop. They had the most beautiful lights I have ever seen.

All of a sudden, John's girls came up to me. The little one did a nose dive. Instinct came in, and I picked her up and comforted her. I honestly think she thought John was holding her. Anyway, after a while, Doug, Margie, and I got in Doug's car and headed back to camp with one stop at a gas station. They dropped me off at my site because Margie wanted to see the laser lights that one guy has at his site. It looks like he strung thousands of green lights, but it is all done by laser. I need to get some for our house. Lazy man's Christmas lights!

I was sitting at the picnic table smoking a cigar when John, his girls, and his dog came over. I was surprised that they were already back. He invited me to come sit by their fire, so I did that for a while. When Doug and Margie, called it a night, I left and went to the bath house. 

I noticed that Cindy Craven, was coming close to beating me for steps, so I went on a hike around the park before heading back to the Colby T. There was a couple setting up their tent at the next site. I offered to shine light on them, but they said they were okay. That was when I saw that I only had 22 floors on Fitbit. So, being the compulsive ass I am, I hiked down to the river and climbed the hill three times.

I finally got back to the Colby T and started writing this crap. Joshua texted some things which led to a twenty minute text exchange between us. When we were done, I finished writing this.  Now, I am going to bed.

6:26 PM Monday, December 21st

Well I woke up a bit congested this morning. I guess all that obsessive hiking in the night air wasn't such a good thing. I lounged around for a little while before taking a quick short hike through the park. I was feeling better, but decided a nice hot steaming shower might help break it up.

I headed over to the bath house. This park has the nicest one I have ever used at a state park. You have to punch in a code to access the shower area. Once inside, you have your choice of three private bath suites. I stayed in the shower longer than the environmentalists would like, but it did the trick. I felt totally refreshed and had no more congestion.

I went back to the Colby T. I shaved, brushed my teeth, got dressed and headed out to see what the others were up to. The Shuddes were gone. They left while I was showering. John says they looked for me, but I wasn't at the trailer.

Anyway, I chatted with John for a while and took off for a hike. I told him to text me when he took the girls fishing. I just wanted to watch- NOT fish. He did text me once I was about a half mile from the campsites. 

I finished finding a Geocache that I remembered to look for and rushed over to watch. I was standing on a cliff about 5 feet above them looking down as they fished. After awhile, I started getting a little dizzy. I think it was my sinuses messing up again. I headed back to the camper.

Lisa was walking the dog with McKenzie just as I got back to my trailer. We were looking at the cows in the field behind my site. I asked her if they had a time frame for eating BBQ on the square. She thought they would go at four. 

When they were gone, I went in the Colby T, put my grubbies on, and started to get a light lunch. Before I could, Lisa texted that they thought 2:00 would be better. I was glad because I already had to work hard before and after dinner to make sure I ate in my limits. 

 Stretched out on the bed for a few minutes and actually fell asleep for about an hour. I got up and dressed for dinner. My plan was to leave the trailer at 1:15. I thought it would take about 45 minutes to get to the restaurant. I was hiking over there to meet the Morans. After only ten minutes of walking at a fast pace, I was already half way. I decided to sit at a picnic table and watch the water flow over the dam. That was pretty hypnotic, because the time zipped by.

I took the gate from Blanco State Park that opens into a little City Park. There is a concrete path that winds around and finally drops you off safely on the town square. The Morans where there early to look at some stores, so we connected at a good time.

The BBQ was really good. I had the Willie Nelson. It is a hoagie with 1/2 pound of brisket, 1/3 pound of pork tenderloin, and 1/4 pound of sausage. It was way more than I could eat. I brought the rest home and will have a late supper (2:00 is more of a late lunch) when the Spurs game comes on.

After we ate, we got another pitcher of beer and sat on the patio. It was really nice weather, and just being on the square in Blanco made it a magical afternoon. The girls were getting a little restless with nothing to do but watch Uncle Jim drink beer, so we all said our goodbyes.

I hiked back to camp the long way. I hike the park road to headquarters, left the park and followed a street to the next bridge. Once I crossed the bridge, I was in the very back of the park. I was going to let that be it for the day, but I hadn't burned my calorie goal (3,100 per day), so I took another long hike at 5:00. This time I went under the bridge and walked in the park on the other side of the river. Most of that area is still closed off from the flood, but I managed to find a route to follow.

I stopped by the Moran's camper. They were winding down for the night. After a brief chat with John, I came on back to the Colby T.

I decided to do a Periscope broadcast of the Colby T. I was supposed to broadcast something exciting at school, but I didn't read that until school was out for break. Anyway, I broadcasted something exciting to me- camping in the Colby T.

There is a Spurs game on at 7:30. I'm going to have a few nips of Clan McGregor, watch the game, and go to bed early.  More tomorrow.

8:33 Saturday, December 26

Well, I totally forgot to finish this when I got back from Blanco state park. I got up on Tuesday morning and got everything packed and ready to go. It was another beautiful day. I almost wanted to stay longer. But, Christmas was coming, so I needed to get home.

I gathered my trash and hiked over to the dumpster. From there, I went over and talked with John Moran. He was getting some of his stuff ready for departure also. They were going to leave a little bit later.

I started up the truck and headed on out of the park. Instead of turning right to go to 281, I turned left and took that bridge that I had been hiking over several times. While I was hiking, I noticed that it was called Kendalia Street. I knew that made it had to go to Kendalia, so I decided to take it all the way there. It was a beautiful Hill Country drive through ranches with twisting turns and the low-water crossings. I loved it! After that, it was just the routine trip that I normally take from Guadalupe River State Park. There was absolutely nothing exciting about the trip home. That usually is a good thing!

When I got home, Rachel had decorated the house for Christmas. It put me right in the mood to start the holidays.

Since I'm posting this so late, I'll give you a quick update about Christmas itself. I got hit with a virus the night before Christmas Eve. I was up every hour on the hour being sick for over 12 hours. It was miserable. The next day I was a little shaky, but started feeling better. Christmas went on as usual until about 7 PM Christmas Day, when Rachel was hit by the same virus. She was sick most of the night, but was fine today. Jared, my youngest son, got hit at about 6:30 PM today. He's been throwing up pretty regularly ever since.

Josh, my oldest son, headed home for Austin earlier today. So far he has not succumbed to the virus. Anyway, that's all for this report.

Happy trails!

Friday, June 26, 2015

Austin for iPadpalooza June 2015

Well, I have been excited about this trip for a long time. I won a discounted registration to the iPadpalooz conference almost a year ago in a Twitter contest. Att that time, I was totally enamored with using iPads for education from a technologist's perspective. Now, I want to learn things to apply to my new position. It should be great. On top of that, I am staying at McKinney Falls State Park for five nights- how cool is that!

I originally planned to come up today (Monday, June 22), but Josh asked me to come up on Sunday so that we could go play trivia with his awesome girlfriend Cat. I had to make a second reservation, but that just caused me to go checkin for the remainder of my stay this morning.

Yesterday, June 21st, 2915

The trip to Austin was totally uneventful. There was more traffic on I-35 than I like, but that is just how it is these days. Rachel was shocked at how fast I got here when I texted her to say I made it safely. I drove a steady 65 MPH, which is faster than usual for me when pulling the trailer. You can't do 55 on I-35 and survive it.

They assigned me to site 29. It is a beautiful pull through site. It started to sprinkle just as I pulled into it. I hurridly got the trailer off the hitch, plugged into electricity, and stablized. I had just enough time to get my stuff (clothes, food, supplies, etc.) in the Colby T before it started to pour for real. I just spent the storm setting up the inside. It takes about 30 minutes to get everything stowed properly and set up the cabinets and countertop for use.

Once I was convinced that the rain was over, I hit the trails. I took the long Onion Creek Trail, then walked to both the upper and lower falls. Then I got back on the stretch of the Onion Creek Trail that goes in between my campground and the park headquarters. I noticed that it was getting a little darker. Then the wind started blowing and a light rain was begining to fall. I still had about a mile to get back to camp. Then  I saw a white truck through the trees. It was my Silverado. I could see it and the Colby T, but didn't want to bushwhack to get over to them. Last summer (the same week in June), I suffered the worst chigger bite episode of my life. Ths time I am bathing in DEET, but still paranoid of high grass. Anyway, I kept walking on the trail, albeit a lot faster. Suddenly I saw the Colby T through the trees from a different angle. There was a footpath headed right to the site near it. I took it and got inside right before another downpour.

I spent the rest of the afternoon reading and playing games on my iPad. Then at 6:00 I went to HEB on Riverside to get some meal replacement bars for my lunches at the conference. I forgot to get them in SA. I also left my ten oranges that Rachel made a special trip to get for me. I am missing those. They are my main snack these days. Now I am snackless! I should have picked some up at the store while I was there. But, NEWSFLASH- I'm an idiot!

I got to Josh's apartment at about 6:45. I was supposed to be there at 7:00. It worked out though. We just drove over to pick Cat up. She was going to walk over to his place by 7:00.

We headed out to the Blackstar Coop Brewpub. I love that place. They brew some really nice beer and the food is really good. Josh and I ate, but Cat wasn't hungry. Because it is a coop, you don't tip. You also bus your own tables and wipe them down before you leave. Weird. I know. It's Austin. I love it.

We played great for 7 rounds. We were actually in 4th place out of 21 teams. Then the 16 point 8th round killed us. We ended up in 10th place at the end.

I dropped the kids at their apartments and headed over to the park. I was dreading it. You have to get out of your car on a dark deserted road and open a combination lock, open the gate, drive through, close the gate, and lock it back up. As much as I love camping, that little process gives me the heeby jeebies. By some really amazing stroke of luck, the gate was open late last nght, and I just drove on through.

I got home at about 11:00. I pretty much went straight to bed and read for awhile.

Today, June 22, 2015

I set an alarm for 6:30 so I could get up early enough to get a long hike in before going to pick Josh up. I needed to help him with his truck. There were some electrical problems, but he couldn't really do anything about them until he got his battery charged or replaced. 

I took my time with breakfast. Today I had oatmeal with sausage flavored TVP and Mexican seasoning. It is one of my favorite meals these days. I prefer savory to sweet for breakfast, and this hits the spot. After eating, I cleaned up the camper and made the bed. Then I dressed and headed on the trail at about 7:30. It was a nice walk. There was nobody else on the trails until the end of it. I got to take some really nice shots of the falls without people standing all around, The ony bad thing was the humidity. I felt like I was pulling the Colby T behind me most of the way. I just can't get enough air in my lungs when it is humid. I was dripping wet and couldn't wipe enough sweat away to make a difference.

I am going to stop here. I am suddenly really tired. It is probably the glass of Merlot.

Okay, it is now 8:46 on Wednesday night. I was out too late last night to get any writing done.

Back to Monday morning... when I got up to the area past the falls, there were some red mini vans from the Austin Fire Department. About 30 or so fire fighter recruits got out and started stretching and doing some excercises. Later, when I was finishing my hike, I got a glimpse of them running in formation through the trees, They went some odd way that took them past the campsites instead of on the trails. At the very end of my hike, they were somewhere in the distance running and singing in cadance like soldiers. It was pretty neat.

Back at the camper, I got cleaned up and then headed to get Josh. I drove him out to O'Reiley's to get his battery tested. He has had somme electrical problems. It was going to take 90 minutes to charge it and test it, so we headed over to Pint House Pizza and had a pizza and some beers. 

When we got back to see the results of the battery test, it was dead. It wouldn't even charge. I suspected as much. It may have been the original battery from 1999! I bought him a new one. We put it in his truck and it took care of all the problems.

It was late afternoon by then, so I came on back to camp and took a nice long hike. My friend Susan texted me and told me she had shingles and wasn't coming for the conference. When I got back from the hike, I set up a shared folder in Evernote so she could see my notes. Then I wored on this for awhile.

right before going to bed, I saw some tiny ants on the counter top. I sprayed some ant poison and haven't seen any sign of them since. I inspected the outside looking for trails, but there weren't any. They probably came on board at the storage lot or maybe even at Kerrville Schreiner.

I set my alarm for 5:30 and went to bed. I wanted plenty of time to eat breakfast, shave, dress, and get to the conference. I wasn't sure what traffic would be like, or if the gate would be open. I pulled out of here at 6:45 and made it to the conference by 7:15. I sat in the truck for a while until I saw soone go in the school. When I got in, they were already setup for registration, even though it was supposed to start at 8:00. I got my badge, a purple knapsack, a water bottle, and some sunglasses. I took it all into the auditorium and sat there until 8:30 when the keynote was going to start. I got to watch all the sound and lighting checks.

I started to worry that I was in the wrong place. then suddenly at about 8:20 people flooded in. I guess they weren't letting people into the auditorium. They didn't seem to mind my being in there.

It was a full day of sessions. I didn't even break for lunch. I brought some meal replacement bars like I do for TCEA. By the end of the day my behind was really sore from sitting all day. Most of my sessions were clustered pretty close, so I barely walked the length of a football field all day. 

Westlake High School is beautiful. They have a lot of really nice features that only a really rich area would ever have. Their auditorium had two huge sections that rotate and form two smaller (but still huge) auditoriums. It is amazing.

I came back to camp for awhile to freshen up, etc. Then I headed out to pick up Josh for trivia. I was pretty late because of the traffic, even though I left super early because it was raining at camp. We drove over and picked up his girlfriend before heading over to a parking garage. then we walked to the Drag Bar and played triviia. (It is a bar on the drag- not a bar for people dressed in drag). We really stunk this time. We ended up 13th out of 14 teams. It was brutal.

We still needed dinner so we went to some bar with anchor in its name for burgers. They were cheap and really good. Josh wanted to stay later and play darts, but I begged off and dropped them both off before heading back to the  Colby T. 

I messed around for a little while then set my alarm for 5:30 again and went to bed. I wanted to have plenty of relaxing time in the morning.

This morning (Wednesday) I got to the school at about 7:30. I went to the cafeteria and found John and Doug sitting at a table. I joined them. After awhile we headed on over to the auditorium for what they called a "keynotathon". There were about 8 or 10 presenters who each got to talk for 3 minutes each. It was great.

The rest of the day was spent in sessions. They were all pretty good. The last one was a kenote address by Guy Kawasai who worked with Steve Jobs during the early days of the Macintosh. He was pretty good. As soon as he finished I took off. I wanted a headstart on the traffic. I had been invited to go eat BBQ with the NISD group, but I didn't want to 1) eat the calories, 2) spend the money, and 3) most importantly miss out on an opportunity to hike the trails.

I got a 4.20 mile hike in. It was pretty uneventful, but very nice. I got back and had good scrubbing. I noticed that the black tank is pretty full. Now I am debating whether or not to stop using the toilet the rest of the trip and dump it on the way out Friday, or jpulling the Colby T over to the dump station tomorrow after the conference, dumping it, and pulling it back to the site. I will probably just stop using it. I don't use it when I camp in the winter, and that hasn't been a problem. The bath houses at this park are really nice. This time of year the park is mostly full of RVers. They use their own bathrooms.

Anyway, I am done writing for today. I can already tell I got pretty lazy with what I have done today. I am really tired and ready for bed, but I am afraid I will forget everything.

Thursday, 8:16 PM

I am going to try and have this finished before 9:00. Rachel told me that Rookie Blue is premiering tonight on ABC. I hooked up the TV and see that I get 48 channels here. One of them is ABC.

I got up at 5:30 this morning and took my time getting ready. At 6:50, I drove over to the closest bath house to do my business, since the black tank is nearly full. It was locked. They only open that one on the weekend. I just got back into the truck and went to the conference. I got there at about 7:10, but the doors were opened. I hiked way back to the back of the school before I saw a bathroom that wasn't locked.

I went back to the cafeteria and got a cup of coffee. Before long, John Moran joined me. We compared sessions and sat and talked for awhile. Then we went our seperate ways. 

My sessions were all good today. Even the one that really didn't show us much new stuff for augmented reality had some great nuggets that were exciting. I got a free teacher's account to a great AR site that actually does all the work for you. It was free for attendees to the session only.

John and I both decided to skip the closing keynote. I had no real interest in hearing someone's opinions about whatever. I also wasn't interested in any of the drawings. I never had time to enter any of them. John headed home to San Antonio. I headed back to the Colby T, stopping to fill up the truck on the way. I also bought a huge cup of diet Dr, Pepper. It was mostly ice and will last me through tomorrow.

I changed clothes and headed off for a 5 mile hike. I took water with me this time. It was damn hot! The thermometer in the Colby T said it was 103 outside and 81 inside. I'm not sure about that. Yes, it was hot as hell outside, but Weather Bug said it was only 89 here. Inside, I was comfortable, but 81 seems a litttle outside of my comfort range. Regardless, the hike was hot. It felt good to get back. I cleaned up and just sat here for awhile. 

I ate a quick dinner of beef tips over mashed potatoes. It was one of those Hormel Complete meals that I am so fond of these days. I'm going to have some microwave pork rinds later. That will bring my calorie count for today to 1440. I try not to pass 1500, so I am pleased.

As I said earlier, I hooked up the TV. Then I ended up watching the Mexican version of Ameirica Has Talent, Mucho Talento  (or something like tha). Now I am finishing this up and waiting for Rooky Blue.

This trip has really worn me out. the week after next, I am supposed to go to Stephen F. Austin SP for three nights. I am thinking about cancelling. I'm afraid I will be too tired for the drive to St. Louis. I haven't driven on a long trip in six years. I am a little worried about doing it again.

Like the last several posts, I won't add more when I get home unless there is something out of the ordinary to tell you about.

Happy Trails!

Friday, June 26, 2015

Well, Here I am updating, so you already know something must have happened.This is what I posted to the Open Roads RV Forum:

 I was heading home from a great five week stay at McKinney Falls in Austin, Texas this morning. Suddenly, I felt a strange vibration. I pulled over on I-35, but the traffic was so heavy there was no way I could get out of the truck. I could see the trailer tires in my mirrors. They didn't seem flat. The Truck computer indicated the truck tires were fine. I slowly drove on the shoulder to the next exit and managed to pull in behind a gas station. The tread had come off of one of the trailer tires. It did a little damage, but nothing compared to what could have happened. I have heard horror stories about blowouts.

I immediately used the GS app on my iPhone. I got a call from a rep almost the second I put my phone back in my pocket. She was very nice and told me that I would get a text telling me who was coming and what the ETA was. The text came about 20 minutes later with an ETA of 90 minutes. While I was reading the text, the Jack Rabbit Network people called me to tell me the tire service was on the way and would arrive within 45 minutes instead of the 90 mentioned in the text. 

About 50 minutes later, the tire guy arrived. He jacked up the Colby T, changed the tire, aired up the spare, let the Colby T back down, handed me his receipt book to sign, gave me my receipt, and drove away with a $10.00 tip.

I got back on the road within two hours. I was very satisfied with Good Sam's response, the wait time, and most important to me- the quality of service I received from the tire service.

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Kerrville Schreiner Park: June 2015

June 16, 2015, 8:32 PM

It was only a few weeks ago that I was here for Memorial Day. That was the weekend that most of Central Texas flooded. I was in the same site. Today was another rainy day. A tropical storm is hitting the Texas coast. I hope this isn't going to be a flood-filled time. There was already too much damage from the last one.

I woke up yesterday morning with one goal in mind. Get to Kerrville and work on cleaning out the fresh water system of the Colby T. On  and off for the last few years, the water in the fresh tank has had a really foul sulphur odor. This summer, however, the smell has been non-stop! I have only myself to blame. You are supposed to sterilize the tank every year at a minimum. Since I don't drink the water, I never bothered. It sounded like a lot of trouble just to make water safe to drink, especially since I had no intensions of drinking it. I am  strictly bottled water when camping.

I skipped breakfast and rushed to get ready. As usual, everything had been packed, except a few lastt minute essentials, beginning the day I returned from the last trip. I through it all in the truck, kissed Rachel goodbye and went to Packrats.

I arrived at the park around 9:30 AM. I got to pick site 129, which is now my favorite. It is level, heavily shaded by giant pecan trees. has decent phone service, and when wanted, gets all of the Kerrville over the air channels. (There aren't very many.)

I did most of my usual set up stuff, but completly postponed my inside work. I had to take everything out of the bathtub and put it on the bed during the process, so there wasn't room for much indoor activity. I mixed a half cup of bleach with a gallon of water and used the hand pump I normally use to add potable anti freeze in the fall to get it in the fresh tank. I had hooked up the sewer pipe and run the tank dry using the fresh water pump. I filled the tank the rest of the way with the hose, ran all the faucets and the toilet for about two minutes each, then turned them all off and let the bleach water sit in the system for four hours.

Whille I waited for the four hours to end, I brought my stuff in and fot as much of my inside stuff done as possible with a bed full of extra stuff. I took the three handme down throw pillows Rachel gave me a few weeks ago when she changed the den from maroon and forest green to teal over to the picnic table and got rid of all the dog hairs that were on them. 

Then, I decided that I wanted a cold drink, so I hiked the two-mile round trip to the convenience store across from the park and got a Powerade Zero. On the way back, a strange deer and her fawns walked across the street. I didn't have my stinking camera with me. I knew they were some kind of exotics that had escaped from one of the area exotic game ranches. I was bummed to not have the camera with me, but hoped to see them again. When I got back to camp, I sat under a tree and read for an hour or so. 

There was still some waiting time left, so I got the bright idea to go to HEB and buy some tripas. For those of you who don't know, they are beef intestines. They are one of my favorite foods, but I am not allowed to cook them at the house. Every once in awhile, I cook them while camping, since I know I can hike and burn the calories. Unfortunately (or maybe fortunately) HEB didn't have any. I spent about an hour walking around the store putting things in my basket and taking them back out. I just couldn't bring myself to any agreement on what to buy. I decided to just go back to camp with nothing and eat dinner at Brewdawgz later.

By the time I got back to the Colby T, it was time to flush the system. I ran each of the faucets for a few minutes, then let the kitchen faucet run until the pump started to stress at empty. I filled the fresh tank with clean water, ran all the faucets again until the bleach smell was gone, then turned them off, shut the sewer draiin valves, and did a little victory dance around the trailer. No more nasty smell!

I celebrated by taking a nice five-mile hike on the trails. Before I got to the trailhead, I saw two of those exotic looking deer across the field from me. I used the camera to zoom in close. They had spral horns! I managed to get a picture of one of them that is pretty clear. Later, I looked them up and saw that they were actually blackbuck antelope!

The rest of the hike was pretty nice. It was a gorgeous sunny day. There were lots of rabbits and deer along the trail. I didn't see any humans whatsoever. Yesterday, there were only three trailers in Deer Field Loop. Nobody else arrived during the day. I had the trails to myself.

I just had a minor panic attack. I am using my bluetooth keyboard to write this on the Google Blogger app so I can upload it to my blog tomorrow when I get home. I just hit save and got a message that I was offline and could not save. I knew I was offline, but I thought you could save on the device. I cut and pasted what I had to far into the Notes app. Then I totally closed out of Blogger and opened it up to see that it was all still here. 

Anyway, I got back to the Colby T from my hike and took one of my at the sink baths. Then I sat in the AC and read for awhile until I was cooled off enough to dress for dinner. As I opened the door to leave, I saw that there were two deer in my yard, so I took some quick photos before going. Then I went on over to Brewdawgz, which is just outside the park gate.

I hhad planned on havinng a few beers and eating fish tacos. They were out of Mahi Mahi, but said they could substitute salmon. I just wasn't feeling that, so I ordered an oyster poor boy instead. It was really good. It wasn't until I paid that I realized it was the special. That made me a little nervous. I don't usually eat oysters in the summer time. I got a bad one in New Orleans a few years ago and squirted bright green liquid for nearly a week. I know- TMI. If they had oyster poor boys on special I figured they were tryig to use up their oysters. Fortunately, I dodged the bullet on that one.

Just as I left Brewdawgz a down pour started. I was glad I had driven over instead of walking like usual. It rained on and off the rest of the night, so I didn't get to take a late evening hike. I went on the internet and estimated my caloric intake. I figured out that all told, I had about 1800 calories for the day. I have been sticking to 1500 for the last six weeks, losing 23 pounds in the process. It was a good thing that I had skipped breakfast and eaten a very light lunch. I had only just undone the damage from all those kolaches on the last trip!

I spent a quiet evening reading and playing a game on the iPad. I wasn't in the mood to watch bad TV, which is pretty much all I can get here. I never even brought the TV out of the closet and hooked it up this trip.

I woke up this morning a little after 8:30. It was raining a bit outside. I spent a lazy morning reading, playing the game, and texting Tara Mastin, the TSS at my two schools. She was working her last day and was having a hard time finishing her inventory. Several items that we knew where disposed of during the 2012 deployment were suddenly back on it. She couldn't fiind my records. I told her that they were in the bottom drawer of the file cabinet in the lab. She said the file cabinet was gone. Sometime during the school year, it was taken somewhere else. Neither of us noticed. We think they did it to make room for the extra furniture they brought in for the teachers to use when they brought their classes for math. She finally found it somewhere on campus, but my folders were all missing from it. The only things in it were from before 2010. We must have texted back about 50 times trying to figure something out.

I also spent some time on a survey for the Lower Colorado River Authority about my trip to Oak Thicket  Park. I only had one bad thing to say. That was about the poor condition of that three-mile trail I hiked on. It was so overgrown I could barely see where I was stepping. That's no fun during the summer when the rattlesnakes are active.

At around 11:00, I decided to get my ass in gear and take a hike on the park roads. It was threatening ran, so I didn't want to be deep on the trails if it came. Just as I was bout to go, it started raining. That lasted for about two hours on and off. I ate lunch and read some more until I finally didn't hear anyone dancing on the camper roof. I went out and the sky seemed pretty clear, so I grabbed my hiking stuff and a gallon-size baggie for my camera (just in case) and headed off. I walked through all the camping loops along the way. Just as I was leaving one, it started to sprinkle, so  stood uner a tree to wait it out. After about five minutes, it stopped, so, I started hking again. I got about two hundred yards before it started pouring really hard. I ran to the bath house and stood under the overhang for about thirty minutes. Then I stuck the camera in the bag and went back to hiking in a light sprinkle.

I saw a lot of deer on the way. The rain didn't seem to phase them. I got shots of three different kiinds. I hope they turn out. The white tailed deer are not as skittish as the others. They are escapees from nearby exotic ranches, and have experienced being hunted. The white tails are like boardwalk pigeons- nearly domesticated. They only run off if you approach too agressively. Notmally, they stop, assess the danger, and go back to grazing.

I went throught the other RV loop and was amazed to see the red Winnebago again. He has been here the last two times I came, also. He was walking to the dumpster so I asked him if he comes every two weeks like I have been. He told me that he had been camping here for ten weeks and was finally leaving tomorrow. He hadn't planned on staying so long, and ended up at one point getting a new reservation, which forced him to change sites. I wanted to ask him why he was here for ten weeks, but didn't. All I know is that I am jealous of him. That is one sweet rig, and living at this park for ten weeks must have been freaking awesome!

It was raining pretty bad by the time I got back to the camper. I used some of the bleach in a spray bottle and gave my awning a good scrubbing. The part that shows when it is rolled up was filthy from exposure, and some of the underside when open had some moldy spots. I guess I didn't dry it as well as I thought during the floody Memorial Day Weekend trip. I didn't use it at Oak Thicket. I was too busy taking day trips around the area.

The rest of the day was spent reading, facebooking, and playing that game on the iPad until about 7:00 PM. I had just finished eating dinner when I noticed that the sun was out a bit. I quickly donned my hiking duds, grabbed my camera, and started walking on the roads again. I got about a mile in with no rain in sight. Then I sat outside watching the deer grazinng for an hour or so utnil the gnats started bothering me too much. Ever since then, I've been sitting here writing this.

I'm going to read for awhile now before crashing early. I want to get a head start on departure procedures in the morning. With that tropical storm, Weatherbug is predicting a lot of rain tomorrow. I need about 30 - 45 minutes of outdoor time to drain the tanks, get my gear in the truck, and hitch up for the trip home. I figure that by starting early enough, I can get it done in increments whenever the rain stops for a few minutes. If it doesn't rain, well lucky me. I'll just get home earlier than expected.

I am going to post this to my Hot Air Depot blog site tomorrow. I won't add anything more unless there is something out of the ordinary tomorrow morning or on the way home

Happy Trails!