Sunday, May 12, 2019

Big Bend Recap....Feb-Mar 2019......

(c)2019horst kelly photographer
(c)2019horst kelly photographer
(c)2019Horst Kelly Photographer
I'm guessing that I'm a little behind the power curve in providing an after actions trip report of  my adventure to Big Bend back in March....I left early the morning of 25 Feb..First order of business was to get a set of tires for Ms Casita...the old ones looked brand new, but have 3 1/2 years of sitting in the hot South Texas sun....felt more comfortable getting  some new ones... got there just as the doors where opening and half hour later was beginning my adventure... It was overcast, in the low 50's. Perfect day for travel.

I was traveling east on US 90 enjoying the open road, no real traffic...no issues, just humming along...about 100 miles out I stopped for gas and more importantly to empty my bladder(seems like I have to do that more often these days)  :)) As I was doing my walk around making sure all was secure with truck and camper, I happened to glance at my Casita license plate....yup u guessed it it had expired....WHAT, that can't be right.  without boring you... they where expired. It was all caught up during the time my Bride had the month stay in the ICU, hospital and physical rehab.  ok ending, called them, wife got new sticker, took photo and sent me what I needed...I finally  found a useful application for smartphones, texting and phone cameras...I do feel old!!

I decided to stop in Del Rio at the National Recreation Area-Amistead( San Pedro Campground). It's dry camping with pit toilets,,,couple of bucks with the Senior Pass...campground was almost empty, sun was out which fed  my solar panels....very relaxing.... grilled a filet of salmon, coleslaw, Texas toast and a German "Dunkel" Bier.....watched the sun set, read some Texas history and fell asleep.
(c)2019Horst Kelly Photographer
(c)2019Horst Kelly Photographer

Got up before the crack of dawn, the area was covered with early morning fog. I was rolling before the fog lifted and headed west for the "Promised Land"..Big Bend....Before I knew it I was in Marathon Tx.,  got gas, turned south on US 385 and 70 miles later was pulling into the Panther Junction Visitors center to procure  a primitive campsite.....Did my Dream balloon of staying at a primitive site just get busted...yup, they where all filled up and  BTW it doesn't look like any of the   sites will open up in the next 10 days or so....and that's a whole other post...Two of the established campgrounds where filled...I scrabbled down to Cottonwood which is  my favorite established campground...no large rigs, a different type of "camper folk" stay there...Anyway that's where I settled in for two weeks...
(c)2019 Horst Kelly Photographer

And it was a enjoyable time...2 more Casita's there so we had a "Mini rally" a couple of nights...One Couple was from northern Nevada,retired Army, had a '14 Casita, the other couple where from New Mexico had an '09, Professional photographer..maybe semi-retired. After the Casitas left,  2 VW campers(Montana folks) adopted me for the duration of their stay(a week)...and then a  class C Guy, retired, enjoys photography, hiking etc ...from Minnesota pulled in next to me and we hung out and shared experiences for a couple of days....
(c)2019Horst Kelly Photographer

You couldn't asked for better weather though it was pretty windy most days...I have never seen that many Bluebonnets and that hardy. what was nice is though not complete solitude, there was alone time...some evening I would venture up to the middle of nowhere to see if I could get some night photography shots or witness some wildlife roaming around....
(c)2019 Horst Kelly Photographer

The last 3 days things cleared out and the stillness of the evening was  refreshing...So I would say that this trip trip I had the best of both Worlds... camaraderie and solitude.  I did take some photo's and did some hiking and testing my Ram, as this was the first camping trip with it and it worked great.

In summary I had a terrific time....not the way I had planned it out, but worked out better for the most part. Big Bend as a Park has changed....up until recently it was , in reality, a Texas Park....maybe 1-5%  or so where visitors from out of state...and for the most part the park was close to empty...In my opinion  that has all changed...it is now truly a National Park, with its Tour Buses, Foreign visitors , and at times impatient,  demanding people, etc. The down side of this is that the infrastructure is gasping to try to keep up with this increase in visitors, need more pull-offs, wider roads,  larger staffs, more campsites....and the reality is most of that won't happen.. The Park  was never meant to be explored like Yellowstone , Zion, Bryce, Grand Canyon or the like. With the increase also comes stuff like an increase in trash on the roads, trails, campsites...  dirt bikes using the primitive roads , etc...  I realize Big Bend isn't alone in this boom/increase in visitors...Zion and Yellowstone are maxed out, as is the Grand Canyon and other Parks.  The Slot Canyon in Page is like a major metropolitan area during noon rush hour . I also know there are still places that have vast emptiness...nevertheless, I miss the old "hideaways"....So now the adventure is one where I seek out and find new places as yet undiscovered...and to me that's a big part of this "experience" called exploring/camping ...
(c)2019Horst Kelly photographer
(c)2019Horst Kelly Photographer

All in all I had a terrific time, and am looking forward to my next trip. The only "wart",  I need to fix  my fridge. It stopped working about 4 days into the trip. It looks like I may need a new one.....maybe I should sell the Casita and get a another one or maybe a very small slide in truck camper like a Capri or  four wheel popup camper(truck camper)....stuff to ponder!
(c)2019Horst Kelly photographer

Thanks for stopping By...Until the next time........Happy Trails , Horst sends
(c)2019Horst kelly Photographer
ps...And Happy Mothers Day

Monday, February 25, 2019

One Happy Camper....Vintage 2019

Me and My Buddy...the Casita...Tetons in the Fall
The day has arrived.....all systems are go...only open item is a set of new tires and I'm getting those put on as I begin my adventure.   Don't know where I'm going to land the first night. Somewhere between Del Rio and Langtry Texas... and then on to  Big Bend...I've got four primitive campsites picked, so we'll see whats available....and doable considering washouts and other hazards of the back country.

I am looking forward to this trip, not so much for photo-ops, but more so for "relaxing-ops"...if a photo happens to present itself, so be it....but its not going to get in the way having a "cowboy breakfast" or an afternoon nap......or spending an evening watching a shooting star while sipping some Makers Mark.....Yup, that's what this trip is about... no agenda, no decisions and definitely no expectations!

I'll keep this short as I still have a few things left to do ......I'll post when the mood strikes and if/when I have internet coverage ....Take care...Happy trails....Horst sends


I always enjoy listening to Guy Clark



Monday, February 18, 2019

If Opportunity doesn’t Knock, Build a Door..... Milton Berle

I thought I would do a post to update those interested as to  my happenings and plans for the near future.
Guadalupe Mts, Texas..(c) 2016Horst Kelly photographer

Originally I had thought if all the stars lined up and the Brides Medical Team felt that she was at or near 100 percent, and more importantly she felt secure and had no anxiety...that I might take a trip in the Jan/Feb. time frame to Alabama Hills in Ca. with a couple of side trips to include Death Valley. It would be the first extended trip since early 2017.
Though I don't have a "Bucket List", Alabama Hills is a place I have wanted to go to for quite some time..and what made it even more special this time is that Jerry and Wanda of Eggrolling had decided they were going to go there this year, and there could be a chance of finally  meeting up and sharing a campfire or two...maybe even a flatiron steak and a Moose Drool.  :))...but the opportunity did not present itself..  My Sister passed in January, in addition, we also needed to go to Kansas City....
On the way to Big Bend Tx 2011. (c)2011Horst Kelly Photographer

Since there is a window of opportunity in the next two weeks, I talked to the Bride about going to Big Bend and to Monahans Sandhills State Park, Texas. She was quite happy that my first outing since her illness will be short and in Texas....So this all works out for the best. If there is a "hiccup" at the Home Front, I can be back in short order vs. roaming around somewhere in the Southwest . It will also provide a good marker to see if there is any anxiety....and if all goes well, Alabama Hills this Fall will become a reality....and I get to test how the Ram handles the Casita....I won't use the weight distribution hitch, though I will put on a sway bar.

Now its off to do the million and one things prior to the trip.I want to get a new set of tires for the Casita. Though they haven't gotten that many miles under their belt,  they have been sitting in the Texas heat. Also want to build a primitive slide for the bed of the pickup....plus, food, camera stuff, test the propane lines for leaks...test the heater, AC, generator, solar, battery, etc.....all the fun stuff I have missed doing the past couple years.
Piney Woods area, Tx...Solitude at its best!

.....And then its off to find my little slice of Texas Heaven....More to follow! Thanks for stopping by. Horst sends



Monday, December 31, 2018

2018...The Good The Bad The Ugly...and the Good again.....Plus.a little Utube recap of Mother Natures Work

             
                  ......And a Very Happy New Year to the "Wanderlust" Blogging Family!


Six months.......Though I haven't posted, its been a "sporty" six months and never Dull.

First My Bride continues to be moving to a complete recovery. The Cognitive engine is running on all 8 cylinders, she is maintaining a healthy diet, controlling the level of fluid intake is a daily task....however her sodium is at a healthy level.  she has maintained her daily exercise routine. In fact is now walking 30 minutes with me and then "peels off". :)) So all in all I am very happy as to the progress she has made towards her full recovery.

I still have not been comfortable in taking any of my  Casita  trips, however I think that will change for 2019.

We have had the kids down here at various times of the year and that has been a comfort and blessing! In fact they took the helm in our House hunting venture....we  have not advanced too far in that direction, but I thought it best to stabilize our current environment before we beginning a new "Adventure".
So in short the Brides recovery and welfare has been my number one priority for the better part of 2018......
I  have had a few medical hiccups, but so far have kept the "Wolves at Bay"

The other major issue that has come about this year is the decline of one of my younger sisters health. She has been in and out of the hospital for the better part of the last three years. She lives in St Louis , single, though one of her sons also resides there. About three months ago she ended up in the hospital and at first it appeared as though she had a mini stroke, but the conclusion is that it was a respiratory problem, pneumonia,  low oxygen, high CO2 levels, etc... I received a call a several weeks ago that it didn't seem like she was going to survive this bout so I went up there as did my other sister from Va.....her memory was for the most part gone, she was not able to walk and needed a Bipap machine to assist her breathing, etc....right before Christmas she made a 180 degree turn...though not out of the woods and will now be in a Rehab Facility and long term care she has about 80 percent memory recall, can walk short distances, talk, smile, laugh and cry., argue(hehe) and eat on her own! ..Since she was stabilized and wanted to  spend/share Christmas with her son and family, I decided to get back home for Christmas  and arrived  here Christmas Eve .

We had a nice relaxing Christmas with son and his wife and felt very blessed given how this year started unfolding ...This evening will be one of reflection, looking forward for 2019 and New Horizons.

I wish each of my Blogging Friends a New Year filled with Good Health, Much Love and Lots of Memories Makers!

Instead of some of my photos I leave you with what I think is a magnificent YouTube video of Mother Natures wonders'! Horst sends




Wednesday, June 20, 2018

As Yogi Berra said... "The future ain’t what it used to be."

Yes its been two months...….but its two months I won't  soon forget... I think I left you when I had returned from my Bluebonnet trip and preparing for a trip to Florida and then to the East Coast to see the Gkids, Daughter and SIL....Will we made it to Destin, Fl....I noticed the Bride was not walking very well and going up stairs was a struggle...I wanted her to go to the ER, but she insisted it was just due to weight gain and not exercising...after two days and her not improving the decision was made to return home and see her physician....after arriving home, she said she felt somewhat better and wanted a "wait and see" before calling her Doctor...A couple days later, she fell trying to stand up, due to a lack of muscle strength and I called EMS....
(c)2018Horst Kelly Photographer

I'll skip all the details, but say she ended up in ICU for several days and then hospital and then Physical Rehabilitation  Inpatient Facility...Things were touch and go for a while and by all medical accounts she is very fortunate  to be here today. My prayers were answered and I will say the folks in ICU were truly Guardian Angels as was the staff at the Physical  Rehab Facility. The care she received was second to none...it was like she was their only patient. Not something you find to often these days.

The Bride is now back home and  keeps improving by leaps and bounds...Its been too hot to do much outside, so other than an early morning walk, I mainly stay indoors trying to stay out of trouble. I did buy a new vehicle prior to the Destin trip...The Xterra had managed to accumulate 165000 + miles, and though nothing was going wrong, I thought it best to not push my luck. I ended up with a Dodge Ram 1500 Truck, Quad cab, 5.7 Hemi. I look forward to it towing the Armadillo on many  adventures in the future.
(c)2018Horst Kelly Photographer..Destin Fl.

Well folks, I'll leave you with this short update and go to reading some Blogs, especially enjoying EggRolling  Jerry and Wanda's trip north to Alaska...Give them a look, I think you just might get envious! :))
(c)2018 Horst Kelly Photographer..Destin, Fl.

Until next time, enjoy life...Horst sends

Sunday, April 15, 2018

Another Memorable Trip

(c)2018Horst Kelly Photographer
It been almost a week since I returned from my camping trip to Lake Somerville in search of Bluebonnets...and what a terrific adventure it was. First, let me say Lake Somerville State Park is a great park. It was only about a third operational do to mass flooding 2 years ago and they have done a outstanding job in getting things up and running. The campground is wooded with the majority of the current sites being back in type. They have a picnic table, fire pit with grill, water and electric and wooded space between sites. The staff is very friendly, informative and professional,  no Wi-Fi, however my Verizon cell worked fine.  During the week the Park was pretty empty...the weekend, pretty much filled up. Mostly fishing enthusiasts. Met some fantastic folks, had some relaxing fireside chats...good stuff!
(c)2018Horst Kelly Photographer

The lake has two campgrounds, the one  I stayed at is on the north side(Birch Creek) and the other one( Nails Creek CG) is more on the western tip of the lake. I spent the day there hiking and enjoying the scenery...Between the two CG's there are numerous trails....

Bluebonnets where not as prevalent as compared to previous years and must locations it was hard to pull over and get good shots.  I was mainly looking for  unique photo compositions....and at the end of the day, photo's or not it was a super trip. It is a place I will return to.
(c)2018Horst Kelly Photographer

My "training" on my large format camera was marginal at best...It does slow you down and the checklist is longer than an airplane's pre-fight list.  There are so many opportunities to screw up an exposure, and I think I managed to hit all of them..If 10 percent of my shots are exposed I will feel it was a success. Looking back it was a satisfying experience and one I will keep trying.

(c)2018Horst Kelly Photographer
Since my return, the dermatologist has practiced his surgical skills on me by doing some whittling on my back  which amounted to  8 or so stiches,  I am somewhat limited on my activities...no lifting, bending, sweating,  exercising,  etc...which in turn has given me opportunity to sit and cruise eBay and Amazon each day looking for things I don't need. :)) Also am nailing down the trip East(no camper), which will be happening soon.

It was a great time...great weather, great hiking, Great new Friendships, , great grilling, solitude and a few awesome sunsets...Life is Good!!!!

I have posted some photo's of the trip and other photo's on my website, so if you are interested click here... Bluebonnets   Until  next time.... Horst sends

(c)2018Horst Kelly Photography...Lake Somerville sunset.....

Saturday, March 31, 2018

Happy Easter....My Egg is Rolling!!

The stars have all  lined up
...All is pretty stable on the Homefront and so I thought  a quick trip to Lake Somerville, Texas would be just the ticket. Only for a week or so take a few Bluebonnet photo's, practice on my new old film camera and relax...washed the camper, got provisions, charged all the batteries for laptop, phone, camera, packed some clothes, checked the tires, set the GPS for Northeast....and away we go......

An Egg




Bluebonnets

Food.....smell not included

Image result for steak and beer on a campfire


Beverage

Image result for steak and beer on a campfire

Campfire



Image result for campfire





Mix all that up in a pot of Enthusiasm and you got yourself a face full of smiles....and memories, Just saying....This Old Man is outa here! Happy Easter.....Horst sends

Sunday, March 25, 2018

Update.....

...Its March, I haven't gone on any trips...I thought I would be able to put a trip together to venture to the Alabama Hills, Ca. in Jan/Feb, but that didn't work out...Thought maybe a short trip to the Monahan Sand Dunes in West Texas....Nope, didn't happen, neither did Big Bend or a trip to the Coast....of course there are good reasons for not going.......
(c)2017Horst Kelly Photographer

I may still be able to take a short trip north to get some time with the Bluebonnets, then a planned non camping trip to Florida and South Carolina.....Time will tell
(c)2017Horst Kelly Photographer

The problem when I have idle time is I get on Ebay, just to see what people are selling, never to buy. Ha... As much fortitude and self- restraint I have,at the end of the day I bought stuff....yup, camera stuff. I did sell my medium format camera on Craig's list...someone drove down from Ft Worth to buy the camera and lens...first day I listed it....now I have no guilt feelings about buying stuff on Ebay.  :))
Wista 45 large format film camera ..Horst Kelly photographer

I decided to buy a large format camera and stuff that you need to get to go with it...I've always been interested in that medium, but never had the patience, but I though I'd give it a try...the appealing feature about this camera is that I can get various backs and also use a roll film slider....its like still having a medium format, plus the 4x5 and all the neat stuff you can do with this platform. I went out and tested it the other day to back sure it was light tight and everything worked....it is 50 years or so old....all worked fine, I was able to scan two negatives and stich them together...mega pixels...yup this is what happens you have bad weather, no honey do lists and way to much idle time....
(c)2017Horst Kelly photographer



I do need to do some work on the Casita...would like to redo the Battery bank, and get two 6 volt batteries, plus I found a stand to fit over the propane tanks at Etrailer...which is where I would like to relocate the generator and use the back platform for the Battery bank. Need to do some more research on weight distribution, etc...
Dimensions
Fits on Tongue over Propane tanks....Photo by Etrailer
Other than  a few odds and ends, not much has been happening at this end...I have been keeping up with my Blog reading and getting envious of all the terrific places folks are going...I figure my turn is coming soon!
(c)2017HorstKelly Photographer

Until the next time keep following your Dreams and catching a sunrise or three.  Horst sends
(c)2017HorstKelly Photographer

Sunday, December 31, 2017

Celebrating the First Sunrise of 2018--Happy New Year !.......or Happy New From Frigid S. Texas...27 degree's and Droppimg

As I sit here and reflect on the past 12 months.... it may seem as one of little activity compared to past years....and in the way of adventures with the Casita, or Grandkids, or multiple trips up to Kansas City and Charleston, etc, it was kinda benign. Though I did take The Albino Armadillo(Ms Casita) on two short  trips...which I thoroughly enjoyed....and we did go to Kansas City and attend the wedding of one of our Daughters...which in itself made this a very memorable year.
(c)Horst Kelly Photographer..Sunrise Monument Valley, Sept  2015


More important is that it was a year that was good to us in terms of health, agility, mobility,  and so many more blessings..The Children and Grandkids are doing well  in all respects, our Friends are well. Yes we are doing better than "just fine".......sure there where speedbumps this year that slowed us down or caused us to change direction, but that seems to  continually occur, Its called ageing....and as long as I can put one foot in front of the other and can call it "walking", I'm happy... and the good news is, it hasn't yet changed our life or lifestyle...
(c)2017Horst Kelly Photographer, Moonrise...Blood Moon & Lunar Eclipse, Lake Powell, Page Az Sept 2015

Instead of  celebrating the last sunset of 2017...I am elated to be able to witness and celebrate the first sunrise and moonrise of 2018...with that I close and  share one of my favorite photo's of each.....To all of my Blogging Friends, I wish the Coming Year be Filled with Good Health, New and Exciting Adventures...and much Joy....Thanks for stopping By!  Horst sends



...........and one more "reminder" why it is that all of us love this Lifestyle!

(c)Horst Kelly Photographer....The Perfect Sunrise...You just know its going to be a GREAT Day