Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Two Weeks at Bull Shoals

It has been a couple weeks since I have posted anything. We left the ranch on June 14 and went down to the Beaver Creek Campground on the upper end of Bull Shoals Reservoir. We did not have a good cell signal at the campground. It would work good enough for some minor things, but I could not get blogger to post pictures, so no blog posts.

Beaver Creek is a COE park. We love COE parks. This one has some large sites and most are level. Check out site #8, we can fit both the rig and the boat and truck parked end to end.

We had a great time the first week. Shannon and Amelia came and stayed with us for 3 days. Here is picture of Amelia in my boat and one of me skiing.

Check out that water. I just love the sound the ski makes cutting through glass smooth water.

After the first week, Kim left to go to Texas with Shannon. No boat driver means no skiing.

I took the time to focus on conditioning. I did some fast paced walking on the big hills around the campground and surrounding area. It is enjoyable to walk and check out the wildlife. There are many different varieties of birds including Geese, Ducks, Eagles, Hawks, Turkey Vultures and Black Buzzards.

Black Buzzards and Canada Geese in the water
One morning I was awoken by something on the roof of the trailer. It was those Big Black Buzzards. I later got up on the roof and found that they had done some significant damage to my roof. I do carry patches, so I was able to fix it, but it will require a better fix in the coming months.

We did have a couple of significant storms with wind and hard rain. The rood did not leak. I could get mad, but that is why they call them WILD animals. It is all part of living like we do.

I did get the Sea Eagle kayak out and did some paddling and fishing. Here are a few shots of that experience.

Beautiful morning on the water.
Decent size Bass
Sea Eagle 420X configured for one person. Great Boat.
We had some excellent sunrises and sunsets while we were there.

Cool Sunset
Full Moon over the lake.
One of the best things about this site is the views right out the back window.

Back Window view
I had a conversation with one of the COE Rangers during our second week. She set me straight on a rule that I did not totally understand. We were planning to continue on to another COE park after our
2 week stay, but that is not allowed. You are not allowed to stay at another COE park in this "Project" until you spend 7 days away. The good news is that they do not enforce the limit other than Holiday weekends. We were really not looking forward to being at the lake over the 4th of July. It is always crazy and we tend to just stay inside and wait for the weekend to end and everyone leaves. So, we decided to just head back to the ranch and spend the next week or so and then head back to the lake for more skiing and fun.

Thursday, June 16, 2016

At least I am not working...

We planned to leave the ranch on Monday, June 13 to head to Bull Shoals Reservoir. Our first stop was going to be Beaver Creek COE park. We have stayed there before and were hoping to get our favorite site #8.

We had everything ready to go and I was doing the final hook up when I noticed that the right side landing gear leg would not move. I had just moved it a minute before, but now even though the motor was running, the leg did not move up or down. NOT GOOD!

I took the cap off and saw that the crown gear was turning, but the main shaft was not. I thought I had a sheared pin, but no, it turned out the shaft itself had snapped. I had just replaced that entire leg last October when we got back to the ranch from our big trip out west. The same shaft had failed last year, but this was a brand new leg.

I will not go into any more detail, but I ended up having a machine shop build a replacement shaft. I even had them make a second one. Now I am carrying enough parts to rebuild a leg when I have another failure. Notice, I said WHEN. I am sure that these legs will keep giving me problems.

We ended up spending another night at the ranch in a fairly unlevel trailer, but no big deal really. At one point I was getting a bit frustrated and needed to make the walk out to the shop for a tool. I am sure that Kim was dreading my return, but on that walk I thought to myself, "At least you are not working". I was in a much better mood when I returned.

We did make it to the lake on Tuesday with the Ti. Shannon and Amelia joined us that evening. We were able to get our favorite Site #8. This awesome site is only $18 per night.

This site sits out on a point with Beaver creek behind us and the main lake to our left. We used to come here before I retired. I have spent many a night sitting on that picnic table thinking and dreaming about being able to spend all of my time living in my trailer in campgrounds like this one. Now my dream is reality. YEAH!!!

On Wednesday, we went back to the ranch to get the boat. The days are getting very hot with highs close to 100 degrees with stifling humidity. The only place that is comfortable is in the lake.

Kim, Shannon and Amelia
Kim with some strange lighting and her new short haircut. 
Amelia was playing hard, kicking her feet and really enjoying herself. Then she fell asleep in her floating chair.

Amelia is the youngest of our 8 grandchildren. All 5 of her siblings could not be at the lake with us, so we got some much loved one on one time with her. She seems to like the boat. She is not too sure about the life jacket, but she will grow into it.

Kim and I both did a little water skiing. This is only my second time skiing in the past two years. I was pretty sore after my first time two weeks ago, so I decided to take it easy and ski my way back into shape. That is my story and I am sticking to it. Shannon took some video to document the event.

It is going to be hot here at the lake for the next couple of weeks. We are fairly close to Springfield, so I am hoping to have some other family and friends come out and spend some time playing in the water. We will hang out here for the next couple of weeks. Kim is going to make a trip to Texas with Shannon next week for a few days, so I will be here by myself for a few days. I guess I will have to get out the kayak and do some fishing. It is a rough life, but someone has to do it. 

Sunday, June 12, 2016

We are ready to move, YEAH!

Another couple of weeks have passed since my last entry. Life around the ranch has continued to be interesting and fun, but I still feel uninspired to write in this blog.

The weather in SW Missouri has turned hot. It is the weather that we usually avoid. The Ozarks hold in humidity and it becomes very uncomfortable. The only relief is AC or the lake or a river. Thankfully, we have some great rivers and lakes in close proximity to us.

We had a visit from our son Mark over the Memorial Day weekend. We decided to take a trip to Bull Shoals Reservoir. The lake water was still pretty cool, so we just ran the boat and enjoyed the beautiful lake. I did not take a single picture.

On the way home we saw a huge thunderhead looming over an area just north of where we were. I looked at the weather radar on my phone and the storm was right over the ranch. There was not another storm in the entire area. I got a couple of shots of it from the Walmart parking lot in Ava, Missouri.

Here is a shot including my pride and joy. My classic 1986 Correct Craft Ski Nautique.

It rained everyday at the ranch for two weeks. The wetness made riding more challenging, but the place sure is green. We have a few flowers and lots of berry plants that are looking great. Here is a shot of some lilies and some blue berries.

We had a fun weekend on June 4/5. Eric decided to organize a night ride for Saturday night. That is right, riding dirt bikes at night! They put good lights on their helmets and go ride the same trails that we ride in the daylight. I did not participate, but it got my son Scott and his buddy Jim out for some riding. Scott loves to night ride and he is pretty good at it. It was a fun weekend and it was great to see all of the young fast guys at the ranch riding together.

We went back to Bull Shoals on Monday, June 6 with Bob and Linda. There was no wind and it was pretty warm. I jumped in to cool off and the water was much warmer than a week earlier. I decided it was time to ski. It has been two years since I had skied and was worried that I could get up on my slolom ski. The concern was unfounded and I was able to get right up and had fun skiing. I did feel some significant soreness the next couple of days, but that is to be expected. Once again no pictures, but I am sure those are coming.

I decided to smoke some ribs this past Thursday. I pulled my smoker out and cleared out the cob webs. I thought all was good, but when I put my hand inside to set up the grate, I got stung by a wasp. I am very alergic to bee and wasp stings. I took a benadryl, and kept ice on the sting. I went ahead with the preparation of the ribs. I did take a long nap, due to the benadryl, but the ribs turned out great. Here is what my hand looked like:

I got a call from my daughter, Shannon on Thursday evening. She and Brian were heading to a concert in Kansas City on Friday. They had an extra ticket and wanted to know if I wanted to go. Kim was going to be watching Will and Amelia anyway and the plan was for us to just go with them and stay with Shannon's friend Tina for the night after the concert. I was not very familiar with the bands playing, but I love live music so I said, lets go! The headliner was a band called the Lumineers. As it turned out, I really liked the band. I stood in a crush of people for over three hours on a sweltering night and loved it. I even made some new friends. I am sure they were wondering what this old guy was doing there. I had two thoughts about this concert:

1. I need to come up with some new bands. My favorites are starting to die off.

2. I need to go to more concerts, I love live music.

Here is a shot of the venue and the Lumineers playing.

We made it back to the ranch and the weather is getting hotter. We have decided to take a trip around the lake. This trip may take as long as a month. We are planning to stop for about a week at 4 different COE parks around Bull Shoals. We will have to make two trips to move the boat along with the trailer, but the distances are all around 50 miles, so that is not too bad. I would like to work up to skiing each day and just relaxing around the lake. Hopefully, I will be more inspired to write and take a few more pictures.