Wednesday, May 16, 2018

My new 1957 chevy, sort of.........

I've been thinking about purchasing a travel trailer to roam around the country and to visit more lakes. My current vehicle does not have the tow capacity to tow a nice size travel trailer. In fact, back in December of last year I bought a new vehicle that would fit the bill. I evaluated whether to purchase a pick-up truck or a full size SUV. I finally settled on a full size SUV because it is a bit smaller than a pick-up truck and easier for my wife to drive. Now, which SUV should I buy? For some reason, I was drawn to the Nissan Armada. It was like a moth to a flame, sort of.  Anyway, I purchased the Armada and love it.
After having it for a few months, I started wondering why I was drawn to it so strongly?  Was it because this vehicle met my needs and looked nice or was something else pushing me toward this SUV? Then I realized something, my new Armada reminded me of my father's old fishing vehicle, an old beloved 1957 Chevrolet Station Wagon. Little did I know, but I was really looking for a comfort vehicle. 
See it? Doesn't the 1957 look a little like the 2017 Armada? Now remember that the difference between these two vehicles are 60 years apart, but you can still see some similarities. Here's what I mean.   
It's red, it's wagon like, it has lots of chrome, both have a seven in the date, it has a fin, yes a fin...... See it now, sort of? This proves it to me, deep down I wanted a comfort vehicle. What is a comfort vehicle? I define just like comfort food, its any vehicle that provides consolation or a feeling of well being, typically any vehicle associated with fond feeling during childhood. No doubt about it, I had strong feelings for the 1957 Chevy and I guess this new vehicle called them up. They say, as you get older, you go back to your childhood, looks like I have.  Oh yeah, my daughter named the Armada. We call it "Abe" because the color so close to a new shiny penny.


Oh Yeah, I paint beautiful lake, river and bay decor maps. Paddle over to my website, LeoLakes.comFolks are discovering that these decor maps are wonderfully unique gifts that become family heirlooms. Oh yeah, I hide things in the lake waters, such as a tiny mermaid/fish. Folks love to search for them. I call my maps, treasured maps because most folks have that special body of water that they treasure. My treasured maps make a great gifts for the fisherman, lake lover, or Lake house. 

As you can see, my maps make a great gift.   Click here www.LeoLakes.com for more information.


Just remember: "Life is short, get away from the big screen and get on a big stream".

Thursday, May 10, 2018

My magic lure........

When I was a young fisherman about 9 or 10 years old, I had a lucky lure that bordered on magic. When nothing was biting, it was my go to lure because it would always produce a fish, not necessarily a big fish or a prized fish, but a fish every time. This made a kid feel good and feel like a wizard fisherman.
You just don't know how lucky this lure is. Think about this, most kids end up losing their lures to trees, underwater logs or rocks, but not this lure. I still have this lure after 50 years. Do you still have a lure after 50 years? Now that's a lucky lure! In fact, it's such a lucky lure that I had to paint it in one of my fishing art pictures. 

Little did I realized it when I painted this picture, but I painted it as being lost, as shown by it being all tangled up on a stick. I guess the humor in my painting is the loss of my "lucky lure", which is not really lost, but is my most beloved, lucky, magic lure. 


Oh yeah, I do beautiful canvas lake maps of beloved lake LeoLakes.comI've been doing lake, river and bay maps for approximately seven years.Over the years, I have experimented with different elements of map art in order to provide the best and most unique map on the market. Most folks add a star to a special place on the lake such as a lake house or where they caught that big fish.  

Folks will be drawn to the map like a crackling fire on a cold winter night.  I try very hard to make my maps special by adding interest to the maps. LeoLakes.com
Also, each framed map or map over 16x32, comes with a certificate of authenticity, lake poem, and interesting facts abut the map. 


I have hundreds of maps on my website that can be purchased right from the site, or I can do custom and personalized vintage style lake maps, too. Lake maps will add beauty to your Lake House Decor! Find out more interesting facts about my treasured maps by going to LeoLakes.com

Tuesday, May 1, 2018

1960's Travel Trailer Adventure

Have you seen those cool looking 1960's vintage-style travel trailers traveling down the highways? I have! They bring back memories for me. I remember in the 60's, when I was about 8 or 9 years old, my dad decided to purchase a travel trailer. One weekend, we ended up at Bob's Trailers. Bob sold trailers from a little white block building surrounded by a gravel lot that was loaded with 12 to 16 ft recreational trailers. We looked around and found a 13 ft trailer that was called "The Plaything", yep "The Plaything".

It was white with a blue strip down the side and had all the typical accessories  such as, dining table, three fold up beds, sink, stove and closet. It's weird, but I remember my dad paying Bob $350.00 cash. Luckily, they delivered, because my dad didn't have a trailer hitch on our car.


The camper, as we called it, arrived home and it was beautiful. We couldn't wait to get this baby on the road, but first my dad had to get a hitch on our 1965 Mustang. After two weeks, the yellow Mustang was ready, the camper was loaded and we headed to a state park called "Cedars of Lebanon", about 45 miles away. We started on our way and I noticed that you could feel the weight of the camper on the back of the mustang. It would struggle up a hill. When braking, it would slowly come to a stop, kind of like a one-hundred car freight train coming to a stop, slooooowly. It was obvious, anticipation was the key to safety. Just wondering, do you see a problem here?  Not me, I'm a kid and it's not my job to worry about such things. My thoughts were on my new knife that had a spoon and fork with some kind of curly screw thing on it. I couldn't wait to try it on my dinner..... 

Everything was going great and I was looking forward to sleeping in an actual bed tonight, rather than on a blow-up mattress in a canvas tent that smelled like burnt candle. No I wasn't, again I'm a kid and I was looking forward to an adventure at the campsite with my new spoon and fork knife.


Anyway, we were about at the halfway point and all of a sudden, My dad said the car is overheating. I could see little wisps of white steam coming from the front of the Mustang. Luckily, there was a pull-over spot on the side of the road. You know, the old 1960s roadside rest areas that had the white, concrete picnic tables and no bathroom or water fountain. We pulled over, while steam was rolling out of the engine compartment. 

He said " Well, I knew this could happen. We will just have to wait and let it cool down". Fortunately, there was a creek near by where we got water and filled the radiator up after it had cooled. After a while, we started on our way. My dad was very nervous for the remaining part of the trip, but we made it! Man, I had fun camping for the first time in the camper, but mostly I loved using my spoon and fork knife to eat each meal. Going back home was uneventful. You know why? It was mostly downhill, but braking was a little nightmarish.   



Looking back, I have come to the conclusion that we could have died. Yeap, in a massive wreck by not yielding the right-of-way. I've done a little research and determined that it was totally unsafe for a 1965 Mustang to tow a 13 ft camper. The best that I can find from my internet research, a 1965 Mustang is rated at around 1,500 lbs. tow capacity.  The camper was approximately 2,500 lbs and had no trailer brakes, plus we had 500-600 lbs of baggage. It's likely that the Mustang was towing over 3,000 lbs. Bottom line, the Mustang was well over the it's towing capacity and was unsafe to drive with this trailer attached, but man it was fun! In fact, we went on many other trips with the "Mustang and The Plaything". This is how the 60's almost killed me. 

Oh yeah, as I got older, I finally figured out what that curly screw thing was on my spoon and fork knife, corkscrew! Lastly, my dad finally got tired of the mustang and bought a 1972 Ford F-150. Believe it or not, the mustang remained parked in the driveway for a number of years, leaking oil, transmission fluid, rear differential fluid.....etc.  

Paddle over to my website, LeoLakes.com. I paint beautiful lake, river and bay decor maps. Folks are discovering that these decor maps are wonderfully unique gifts that become family heirlooms. Oh yeah, I hide things in the lake waters, such as a tiny mermaid/fish. Folks love to search for them. I call my maps, treasured maps because most folks have that special body of water that they treasure. My treasured maps make a great gifts for the fisherman, lake lover, or Lake house. 

As you can see, my maps make a great gift.   Click here www.LeoLakes.com for more information.

Just remember: "Life is short, get away from the big screen and get on a big stream".

Thursday, April 26, 2018

Chipmunk attacks wasp nest......

A few years ago, I was lucky enough to see a Chipmunk from our front window. I always have my Nikon handy for photographing wildlife because we live on ten acres and many animals come near. I grabbed the camera and quietly headed out of the front door in hopes of getting a few photos of Mr. Chipmunk doing Chipmunk stuff. Little did I know that I just happened to be in the right place at the right time to experience an unusual event and likely one that only a very few have photographed. To begin with, here is Mr. Chipmunk thinking he is sneaking across the walk to enter our planter where there’s moist mulch, flowers and seeds, but I was there with my camera.
Lucky for me, Mr. Chipmunk was oblivious to my presence and I was able to photograph his every move. He seemed to be on a mission and I wasn't clear on what he was up to.
Anyway, I noticed that Mr. Chipmunk kept looking up the brick wall and I wasn't quite sure why, but I did noticed a wasp nest in the corner above the garden hose. It was about 8 ft above the ground and it appeared that was the target of the chipmunks attention as you can see below.
If you look closely, on the right of the nest, you can see a wasp guarding the nest.
Believe it or not this little Chipmunk may have saved me from a trip to the hospital. You see, I am allergic to bee stings. Actually I’m 1 in 1000; that’s how many people are allergic to bee stings. If I’m stung, 2 Benadryl pills and a trip to the hospital parking lot to sit. I wait until the symptoms disappear; if not, a trip inside for an adrenalin shot. Almost always, Benadryl does the trick for me. If anyone around you gets stung, watch them for any sign of hives, swelling and difficulty breathing. Get immediate medical attention if you suspect someone is having a reaction.  You can become allergic at any time. I wasn't allergic until I was in my early twenties, just be aware. Now back to my story.
In a flash, Mr. Chipmunk quickly climbed straight up the brick wall and to the nest. The Chipmunk plowed right into the nest, head first and the wasp didn’t have time to react. In fact, so fast I wasn’t able to capture a picture until the Chipmunk started back down. As you can see, Mr. Chipmunk has a wasp in his mouth. It became a quick snack as he headed down and afterwards there was a lot of chatter which either suggests it was delicious or ouch that hurt. Check-out that curled tail. 
It was pretty amazing, I learned that Chipmunks are experienced wasp tracker and realized that I would have made a terrible Chipmunk because that would have killed me (bee sting). 

I did a little research on chipmunks after this happened and found that chipmunks love wasp and will attack the nest. I felt lucky to have seen this unique event in nature.  

Hey, guess what I do! I do beautiful lake maps and they've actually been on TV. You see, Folks are drawn to the my maps like a crackling fire on a cold winter night.  I try very hard to make my maps special by adding interest to the maps.


You will find no road names, county, or state lines on my maps. I have found that folks enjoy traveling the roads with their eyes, while trying to get their bearing. I call this the "Leo Lakes gaze." 
You can add a star or symbol with a few words to mark that special place, it maybe the location of the lake house, the spot where you caught that trophy fish or some grand view. This will make a very special gift for the lake lover. I hide a few fish and even a tiny mermaid in the waters of my lakes. Yep, but they're very shy and don't want to be found. Folks just love'm, especially the kids. You might even think they move around overtime.

Did you know that you can always tell if its morning or evening on a Leo Lakes map? Just look at the shadows cast by the wildlife, is the shadow on the east or west? If it's on the west, then it’s morning time. Oh yeah, I have had folks tell me that they change through the day, but don't believe them.
Also, each framed map or map over 16x32, comes with a certificate of authenticity, lake poem, and interesting facts abut the map.

I have hundreds of maps on my website that can be purchased right from the site, or I can do custom and personalizes vintage style lake maps, too. I have maps, such as Lake Bob Sandlin Vintage Style map, Lake Logan Martin Vintage Style Map, Center Hill Lake vintage style map, Lake Texoma vintage style map, Gaston Lake, Choctawhatchee Bay vintage style map, Toledo Bend Lake Vintage style map, Raystown Lake vintage style map. Lake maps will add beauty to your Lake House Decor! Find out more interesting facts about my treasured maps by going to LeoLakes.com

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Making Bobbers fun again...

I've been very busy lately, I haven't posted in several days, so I thought that this would be a good time for a fresh batch of fishing cartoons....... Also, I'm still on the bobber cartoon kick, because I'm trying to "Make Bobbers Fun, Again". 

This Bobber is for you.............enjoy.




Ain't she pretty! She's all dressed up in a beautiful frame and ready to go to that "lake house warming party". you will be so proud when you walk in with the prettiest gift at the party..........LeoLakes.com



Paddle over to my website, LeoLakes.com. I paint beautiful lake, river and bay decor maps. Folks are discovering that these decor maps are wonderfully unique gifts that become family heirlooms. Oh yeah, I hide things in the lake waters, such as a tiny mermaid/fish. Folks love to search for them. Also, you can personalize your lake map with a star where your lake house is located.  I call my maps, treasured maps because most folks have that special body of water that they treasure. My treasured maps make a great gifts for the fisherman, lake lover, or Lake house. Order soon to avoid the rush!
As you can see, my maps make a great gift.  Orders pick-up during the holiday's, so order soon. Click here www.LeoLakes.com for more information.



"Hanging a Leo Lakes Treasured Map in a lake house, is like christening a boat with a bottle of champagne!" 

Thursday, March 22, 2018

First Tackle Box.......

I recieved this hand-me-down tackle box from my dad. He had used it for years and decided that he needed a larger box and it was time for me to have "my very own tackle box". It was a small, light green, metal box with no trays inside, so you just piled your fishing stuff in the box, which worked well for a kid, sort of. I remember that I thought that I had hit the fishing jackpot, my very own tackle box. Do you know what the first thing a kid does to his own, hand-me-down tackle box?  He paints it! So, I had a can of red spray paint that I had used on a small plastic model car and painted my first tackle box, red. My dad wasn't too happy about it, but he didn't say a word. I guess he thought that it was a sign of me valuing it, which was true.  



I carried it around to all of our secret fishing holes. The only problem was that everything inside turned into a tangled mess. I quickly learned, that I hated my first tackle box. It took 15 minutes to untangle the mess every time I wanted a lure, hook or what not. After a few years, I think that my father finally got tired of the frustration and bought me a new tackle box with "trays". It was a beautiful thing! I repurposed my "little red tackle box" to my new "little red paint box" to hold all my tube paints. It's amazing that the "little red tackle box" has traveled to all of my favorite lakes, rivers and bays and now it's used to paint all those lakes, rivers and bays! Funny how it connects the past with the future. I cherish it very much.....

Paddle over to my website, LeoLakes.com. I paint beautiful lake, river and bay decor maps. Folks are discovering that these decor maps are wonderfully unique gifts that become family heirlooms. Oh yeah, I hide things in the lake waters, such as a tiny mermaid/fish. Folks love to search for them. I call my maps, treasured maps because most folks have that special body of water that they treasure. My treasured maps make a great gifts for the fisherman, lake lover, or Lake house. 

As you can see, my maps make a great gift.   Click here www.LeoLakes.com for more information.


Just remember: "Life is short, get away from the big screen and get on a big stream".










Thursday, March 15, 2018

Lake Cartoons Two......

Misunderstanding the bobber? They are really alive, well in my mind! Yes, I am still doing bobber cartoons. I thought that I would have moved on to some other subject by now, but no..... I am still pumping out more bobber toons, in fact, I have ten completed and ready to go in the future. I am pretty amazed by myself for continuing the bobber cartoons. Enjoy......
I like this "Reel Emergency". I made one mistake, the building should have been a multi-level tackle box. 



Yes, bobbers have needs too! If you want your bobber to reach its full potential, "Treat your bobber right!"

I do custom and personalized lake, river, island or bay decor maps. They make a great gift for the lake lover. If you would like to see if we have your body of water, go to LeoLakes.com