Wednesday, March 31, 2010


There is a geocache there, right near the famous golden driller statue. He stands head and shoulders above a large oil well derrick. Here is a look.


There were lots of vehicles there when we pulled into the parking lot to get the geocache, and, plenty of muggles too.

We decided to overnight on the parking lot after talking to the roving security patrol. Soon we were set up to overnight on the quicktrip center of the fairgrounds in Tulsa Oklahoma. Here is a look at 

our campsite. All asphalt and lit up like daylight all night long. That night we had to pull all of the blinds it was so bright.

 100_1634 It didn’t take long to discover that the reason for all of the vehicles in the parking lot was because of a RV show.100_1635 Then, it wasn’t long before we were rubber necking all of the various manufacturer’s latest offerings  for 2010 and even 2011.

100_1636Though they were flashy looking with graphics and multiple slides, mostly their quality couldn’t hold a candle to our Ollie out in the parking lot.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010


Prices of diesel fuel vary wildly across our nation, mostly because of each State’s spin on how it is taxed. Where we host the campground up in Colorado, the fuel is often times as much as .25 cents per. gallon cheaper than in surrounding states, and is usually cheaper than gasoline. Our neighboring State, Oklahoma, eleven miles away, seems to usually  be .15 cents per gallon less than here in Arkansas.

We chose to be pro active about that, and installed a 60 gallon, gravity flow, hidden in the aluminum tool box, fuel tank. This allows us to search the internet along our route for the cheapest fuel prices and purchase there.  While driving past the higher priced fuel stops because of our extended range that the extra fuel capacity gives us.

With the normal pickup trucks fuel tank size of, say 20 gallons, you could potentially save $5. at a .25 cent per gallon price reduction. However if you can buy 100 gallons of fuel because of a larger tank capacity, your savings jumps to $25.

It doesn’t take long for that to add up over a year’s traveling. Here is a look at our tank set up.

100_1610  100_1607 100_1613

The tank is below the top of the pickup bed, should we want to put a bed cover on the truck.100_1608

The fill port has a lockable cap and the tool box it is in can also be locked. I like the idea that there is a fuel gauge in the tank. The dashboard fuel gauge also works as well.

 100_1609Lakeside Metal Fabrication in Mena, Arkansas, owner Johnny Herring is doing the install for us. He is the one that made our cool generator cover for the front of our Ollie.

100_1606  There is no fuel pump required, there is instead, a check valve where the auxiliary tank ties into your regular fuel tank’s fill up line. Check valve ? Here is a quick video look:

Monday, March 29, 2010


Our first test drive of our new tow vehicle was a major success for us ! We had a sill empty aux. fuel tank, so we drove over into Oklahoma and up over Kiamichi Mountain. We wanted to check out several things, such as, when in tow/haul mode, how much “hold back” the 6.4 liter diesel engine gave us. Kiamichi Mountain is steep and has many switchbacks. It also has a reputation for brake failure runaways and massive wrecks. We topped off with fuel at a savings of .13 cents per gallon and headed over the mountain.


At the top of Kiamichi Mountain is Three Sticks Monument. President Kennedy Heilo'ed in to dedicate this memorial while I was away in S/E Asia on my senior trip. It is a very special place and I stop here often .


After a quick check of things, we bailed off of the mountain. Soon I became nervous about just how little I actually had to hit the brakes ! The diesel engine while in tow/haul mode was doing all of the work, with me just giving occasional “light throttle” to the fuel pedal.

We went on over to Poteau Oklahoma and overnighted at the fairgrounds where we awoke to a heavy frost and a freezing fog !



This photo shows how much frost my thumbnail scraped up after just a short distance.


Because we know that our aging body’s will require longer and better periods of rest and recovery time, we know that one day we will, out of necessity, need a larger trailer.

We think that we will likely move into a fifth wheel of some kind. A sad day it will be indeed, it will be, when we have to part with our beloved Ollie !

But knowing that nothing halts the march of time or the deterioration of our bodies, we are trying to get ready. We have bought a fifth wheel hitch for the new tow vehicle. You should have seen the look on the guy’s face when I asked him to install one ! He gave us an incredulous look and exclaimed, ‘but, you don’t even have a fifth wheel trailer !”

What could I do but give him a “sheepish’ grin and say “yeh, I know”.

Here is a look at “harm’s folly”


The truck already had a “Hidden Hitch” by B & W . Which was for a “goose neck” trailer ball. Here is what it looks like with the ball in the hidden position.


The B & W “ companion hitch also fits into that same socket and latches down with a “pin release” rod/handle that is out of sight under the driver’s side rear fender well.


The fifth wheel un pins and sets out of the pickup bed, to return it to a useable hauling space.

He, he, that companion hitch looks kind of funny, sittin’ there in the Ollie shed, on the ground, all by it’s self.

Even Betty, is beginning to call the hitch “Harm’s Folly”. No amount of explaining that I am just trying to look ahead has been able to convince her that I have totally “lost it !”

So far, in my defense, I have only been able to say, “well it was a bargain at that price !” 

Saturday, March 27, 2010


Most of the wind chimes we’ve seen over the years are small “tinkey” sounding chimes. One year we put together a wind chime from lake trash. Stuff we found out on or down in the lake.

The sound chamber is a 72 cubic foot galvanized scuba tank. The clapper is a old stove damper and the prop was found in about 30’ of water, laying by it’s self , on a rock ledge. I can’t remember just where the boat fenders were found, they seem to wash up just about anywhere.

Here is a look.

100_1626 When the wind gets up to about 20 miles per hour, the chime becomes active, giving off a deep, resonant, long tolling BOOOOOOONNNNNNNNNGGGGG.

Thursday, March 25, 2010


Three bait traps & a live box.  100_1620 Here is the stack of Bait traps and the live box, just after unwrapping the protective tarp.  No Puff Adder excitement this year. But I did notice that Betty was standing in the back door of the house looking out towards the boat shed. You know, just incase something funny might happen. He, he, she’s rotten like that !100_1621The bait trap sits at the correct depth , flat on the bottom. The small square cage in the center, holds the bait. The vee slots in the four sides let the bait fish in to the bait.100_1623The live box is designed to stake or tie to the bank, and float in deeper water . It is designed to be accessed out on the water, from the boat if needed. And it lets us keep fish in good shape until ready to clean them.

Fishin’, we got it on our mind !

Wednesday, March 24, 2010


Though they are somewhat dented, dinged and a little misshaped, the bait traps and live box are good working tools. And one of the main ingredients of a successful Spring time fishing trip to the Lake.BaitTraps They have sat for a year now, out in the boat shed. Wrapped in an old tarp to protect them from the elements. Their last use was at Jugfest2009. As usual they did their job well, and it was a good time at the lake with friends and family.

They have gathered a few leaves from the large oak trees that the boat shed sits under. One year there was a puff adder in one of them. The snake had been in there catching mice from a nest. He gave me quite a start.

I guess that i’ll pull that tarp off a little more carefully and look the traps over closer this year before I pick them up. If there had been a camera on me that time, there would be some great video footage of my finest hillbilly break dancin’ !

It’s time to start getting them there traps ready for Jugfest2010.

Monday, March 22, 2010


Our boat trailer has a permanent license plate on it, so, why not our boat’s registration ?

It didn’t cost much, but it does come up every so often. Why not a registration number that is owner applied and permanent ? The trip to the county seat cost more than the registration renewal.


I was able to update the boat’s insurance and pay the premium on line as part of the getting ready to go to the lake for Jugfest2010.

Checked up on the bait traps, they are still wrapped up in a tarp out in the boat shed and the two dozen jug lines are still in the boat shed, all wrapped up in a tarp, waiting to go to the lake !

Talked to AL and he said that he had found some true turn hooks of a size that we like and picked up a few. The reason that we like the true turn hook is that they have an offset in the shaft portion of the hook that results in a better hooked fish. Meaning  less damage to the fish by tearing out due to a poorly set hook.

Al & I will both be bringing tackle and traps as well as live boxes to Jugfest. Hope to see everybody there !

Sunday, March 21, 2010

NO !

After spending weeks on Padre Island we thought it was safe to come home.   .  .  .  .  . NOT !

The horrible S word has insidiously crept back into our vocabulary.


A fast moving front has deposited a couple of inches of snow here and one side of the large hardwood trees in our yard, have a layer of pasted on snow, from top to bottom.

A fresh pot of coffee,

100_1598 A couple of big chunks of wood in the stove,

100_1599 Then, outside for a couple of quick photos.

100_1600 Ollie in the RV shed.

The latest Tow


Vehicle for us. Woo Hoo ! Just look at that grill guard on the front ! Man, it looks like the cow catcher on a locomotive ! Oh, yeah, a redneck boy’s dream come true !

100_1601Oh, but this snow can’t last for very long. Yesterday, Spring arrived in the afternoon and it was tee shirt warm at 70* ! The ground temperature is too high for it to last. And, we’ve gotta’ get ready for the Lake ! It won’t be long now before we’re with our friends at JUGFEST2010 !

Saturday, March 20, 2010


I guess that we all trade tow vehicles from time to time. As our towing needs change because of various factors, such as the highway types we travel, elevations that we spend a lot of time at, fuel costs and so  on and so forth, we may need to trade. When high mileage begins to rear it's ugly head, or, we are just simply doing things differently, or, maybe, we just might see a tow vehicle that we really like.
A tow vehicle that suits me just fine right now, may not be as suitable next year. We recently found ourselves in that position. Luckily, a Recently retired State Trooper friend decided to trade in his farm truck, that had been some what depreciated, in on a lighter truck that met his current needs.
His old truck was one that just simply struck a responsive chord in our hearts. Though it was the same year, an 08', as our Jeep, it had only a little less than 1/4 of the miles on it, that the Jeep had. A Ford dealer friend called me to say, "harm, ya' gotta' take a look at this one !". We did, and he was right, we fell for it instantly. He had been after us to trade in our Jeep, he also has the Jeep dealership, because he had his eye on it for deer hunting, ect..
It just seemed right for all of us, so we put a pencil to it, made a few adjustments, decided that it was good for all, and did it.
The dealer has a Jeep he has been wanting. The Trooper has the new pickup he was wanting. And, we now are pulling our Ollie with a 6.4 liter, twin turbo, diesel Ford pickup. White of course, to match our Ollie !
It is dark outside and sleet is spazmodicly falling, so photos will have to wait till later.
We are about to learn what it is like to climb those Rocky Mountain Passes with ample horsepower this Summer !

Friday, March 19, 2010


The U.S. Corps of Engineers has decided not to cut the value of our Senior pass ! It is still good for a 50% discount !  Huuh Raah !


Never been to Jugfest before ? Want a quick ( 28 second ) look at last year's campsites ? Here is a link to a YouTube video that was taken on March 14th of this year.
The lake level had risen about a foot since Al & Fran had been over there looking at it a couple of weeks earlier. Rising lake levels generally mean better fishing. Dropping lake levels generally mean poor fishing.
In the Spring of the year, quickly passing thunder storms can bring brief periods of high winds. Because of that we camp beside a well sheltered small inlet, just off of the Bear Creek inlet, that leads out into the main body of the Lake. Because the boats are shore tied, they need the shelter. The short Spring time thunder boomers usually pass through quickly and the sunshine comes back out. Many times they pass through during the night leaving behind a fresh, mild, Spring morning for us to pick up the jugs.  AAAhhh, yes, easing down the inlet at an idle, coffee cup on the dashboard, honey bun in one hand, good friends chatting and joking, while seated around the boat. The excitement and anticipation of a good catch as we pick up the jugs, then suddenly, a dazzling flash as the first rays of sunshine zip past us down the Lake ahead, illuminating the islands in the distance. You can hear the instant hush of the crowd and their collective sudden intake of breath as they take in the magnificence of the moment.
That's when you know that it was well worth the pre dawn wake up.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010


I had heard Aubrey talk about his plug that he had designed. However, I hadn’t had a chance to actually see it, or try one out, until we met up at Jugfest2009. Knowing that this was the perfect accessory and useful tool to go with the newly designed power cord cover, I sweet talked Aubrey out of one of them. This is a very cool plug that eliminates cold air and insect intrusion into the area between our trailer’s inner and outer fiberglass hulls. Most of us don’t have the knowledge, tools, imagination, or the skill, to design and build such a useful device.

But as Paul Harvey used to say, “Now for the rest of the story”. The plug is light, waterproof and impervious to insect attacks ( no termites can penetrate this one !)

Then there is the Green aspect of this cool plug. It is made from recycled materials ! Enough, you say ? He, he, but, there is more yet ! This plug is machined from a 4x4 plastic post that is commonly available from most building supply chain stores, and it matches the color of our trailer’s exterior finish !

Here is a look at Aubrey’s Plug.


No plug in power port.100_1589

Plug installed in port left view. 100_1590

Plug installed in port right view.100_1591

Plug pulled part way out and turned to show the perfect fitting cord slot.

The cord in the center of the plug is military specification parachute cord that passes all of the way through the plug, to assist in removal.

Here is a short video showing how easy it goes in place and the snug insect and wind barrier it provides.

Ain’t it just the best thing since sliced bread !Aubrey, my Cajun Buddy, I don’t think you have any idea, just how clever you are ! It just comes naturally to you ! See you at Jugfest2010.

Monday, March 15, 2010


Out with the old and in with the new.

Our old power cord door left a lot to be desired. They say that Jim Oliver never did like it. It comes up short in so many areas, but mostly it looked somewhat flimsy. And, indeed the small trap door that the cord passes through, comes off, and gets lost so often, that we just finally quit looking for it.

Ollies that were made after ours, had a new and vastly improved design that we liked, so we called Robert and the guys in the shop prepared one for us to install.  Jason the parts guy shipped it right on out to us. We have been carrying it around with us for awhile now. My only excuse is that we have been so busy chasing sunshine down on Padre Island, that we didn’t take the time to install it.

Today however, was install day. Here is a look.


The finished job.


The old door.


The old cord fairlead. The foam sleeve was used to wrap the power cord, filling the gap around the missing trap door.

Here is a short video of the old and new together.

Sunday, March 14, 2010


This one is a bit harder to get into, but has it’s own rewards for the effort. Here is the link to a video and photos along with a description: write up and photos link

At this point we have looked at three options. So, I guess my next question to my fellow Jugfesters is, “ what is your pleasure ?

A. Stay at our old Kirby Landing site and pay the higher prices and 14 day limit.

B. Move to Big Fir (4+ miles of dirt road) and share solar and Generator times, so we can stay longer for less cost.

C. Move to Rock Creek (6+ miles of dirt road) and share solar and Generator time, so we can stay longer for less cost.


This short video starts off right at the campsite where our cook shack, kitchen and camp fire were last year. There is no construction here. The construction is over on the West camp ground side.

The construction may cause overflow from the new side, into this side. The total number of campsites is reduced by maybe as much as 40% at Kirby Landing.

Here is the new sign at the entrance, with the cost increase and “refreshed” stay limits. There is no definite word as of yet about the value of the senior pass.


The new senior pass rate should be $9.00 per day if the card isn’t devalued by the Corps of Engineers.

If the pass is honored at it’s stated value then the 14 day stay would be $126.00 . However you would have to move out for a day or two before returning, possibly loosing your campsite to someone else.

There is another FREE, No STAY LIMIT camp ground at Lake Greeson. It is Rock creek CG, and it is about six  miles of dirt road into it. I’ll post a link to photos and narrative of it on the next blog entry.


Because of rising campsite rates and the possibility that our Senior Pass may be devalued by the Corps of Engineers, at the Lake Greeson, Kirby Landing Camp Ground. Along with construction type growing pains, we took a look at other options should the majority of the Jugfesters deem a move necessary. This blog entry is somewhat of a report to our fellow jugfesters

The one that Betty and I have always liked the best is the Big Fir Campground. It is FREE and there is NO apparent STAY LIMIT. Which would be cool for those that want more lake time. It has recently been refurbished with some new grills, lantern poles, picnic tables replaced on some sites and the outhouses redone. It looks better than I can remember it ever looking in the last fifteen years. They have ran electricity out there, but haven’t installed it.

There is no water or electricity. It would require some jugfesters to share solar or generator time with a neighbor. However, our trailers are small enough that we can double up on a space and readily share, if that is the way the majority  decides to go.

Lake Ouachita, Housley Point, Big Fir Camp Ground. A quick video look:

Here are a few still photos of the Big Fir CG:


The entrance sign.


Campsite #2, looking West towards Mountain Harbor Marina. The closest place for Ice.


The vault type toilets have new screens Paint and shingles.


The old hand pump well house has new shingles and paint.


This campsite is right out on the point and is looking right at four of the over 100 islands in the 34 mile long lake. The closest two are called Hot Dog and Hamburger because of their shape.


A look across a campsite to the boat launch .100_1577

Many of the areas old time fishermen camp here faithfully and you won’t believe the tales that they tell about the good old days.

We also videoed the Kirby landing CG where we stayed last year. That report follows in the next blog entry.

Friday, March 12, 2010


APRIL 28th until MAY 5th ( come earlier or stay later )

It’s our annual gathering of friends and family at Kirby Landing Campground, Lake Greeson, Arkansas. Located just off of US Hwy 70 between Daisy and Kirby Arkansas. Which is South West of Hot Springs.

New construction to add sewer and water to some of the camp sights may cause some or all of us to have to relocate from last year’s campsites.

Full Moon ( when the bait fish spawn ) is on the 28th of April

The main focus of the annual gathering is on Jug Fishing with lots of fish fry’s and pot luck meals around the campfire.  Domino matches optional.

Since Betty and I live closer than others, we will bring our boat, complete outdoors camp kitchen, lots of firewood and all of the necessary large pots, pans and fish cookers, complete with propane.

Steve & Tali have volunteered to bring 5 gallons of cooking oil for the fish fry’s.

Maybe there are those that could volunteer to bring other items such as:

Cole Slaw Mix

Frozen Hush puppies

Frozen french fries

Paper Plates


Plastic silverware

I have probably forgotten something on this list ! Please call Betty at 479.216.2504 if you would like more input on special diets, ect.

Please call me at 479.243.5450 if I can help with questions about jugfest2010.


In the past some have chipped in to help with boat gas and we really appreciate that. I guess we could figure that out around the campfire one evening.

This is the first year that we have had this small bit of planning for Jugfest. However, last year,  we had enough folks that came and went as their schedules would permit, that  hopefully this small bit of organization will facilitate their enjoyment of  this years gathering.   We hope this kind of loosely organized effort won’t distract from the normally laid back environment.

In the past we have deliberately had no list of attendees, agenda of any sort, scheduled meal times or menus. All daily planning seems to just naturally happen around the campfire the evening before.

In the event of weather, domino matches or plain old fatigue, we usually monitor the FRS radio channel 7, for cool stuff like, “ Hey, Fran, any chance you can bring a few eggs to the campfire this morning ?”

“I am about out of eggs, maybe we could have pancakes ready for when the boat gets back in ?”

Or maybe something like, “ Hey ! You sleepy heads, the boat leaves in ten minutes to go pick up the jugs ! “

We always look forward to meeting first time jugfesters, (oh geeze is that a real word ? Sounds like a oozing sore that has had the scab knocked off ) and hope there are some that have considered it, but haven’t made it yet, that we will get to meet this year.

We will be fishing and if you don’t have a license, they are inexpensive and readily available at local stores. I am so ancient that I have the permanent license, so maybe someone will post current costs ?

There is a thread of conversation at:

It is located in the campfire section if you would like to see photos and read more about how we roll at jugfest.


The salt air during our beach stay for the Winter had little effect on our Oliver. However it was easy for even the un trained eye to tell which of the hardware fittings were really stainless and which were merely chrome plated.

Here is a look at the curbside outside light. Obviously it is stainless.


Here is a look at our wheel hub covers and lug nuts after weeks at the beach. Obviously they are chrome .


But there is good news. They readily clean up with just a little Auto wash that has carnuba wax in it. Here is a after photo.


Here is a look at the wash and the scouring pad that I used.


After a light scrubbing, the rust was gone. I then took the full strength auto wash and applied it to the hub and lug nuts, let it sit for a couple of minutes then rinsed with tap water.

By the time we meet up with folks at Jugfest 2010 we will know how well it holds up.

He, he, you know I “borrowed” the scouring pad from Betty’s Country Kitchen.


And used the bathroom sink as a work area. The project seems to have went ok, but I am wondering about that “tight lipped” expression she is wearing this afternoon.

Thursday, March 11, 2010


During our bearing inspection, we took the time to take a good look at our brake shoes and 12 volt solenoid coils. Here is the way it looked with the hub removed.


A check of the brake drum showed the wear to be consistent with our towed miles. I was a bit worried about excessive brake shoe wear and heat damage to the brake drums because we had the brakes hotter than I like for them to get, while coming off of La Manga Pass in Colorado. La Manga Pass is a three thousand feet drop in five miles.


Cleaning and repacking the bearings was the next thing on our list.


After cleaning the spindle, I flushed the ez lube zerk and grease channel with fresh grease before reassembling the repacked bearings.