Friday, October 14, 2016

Great American History West of the Mississippi

Monday came early as I was leaving for Canyon de Chelly….I was looking forward to a stop there and to once again visit this interesting piece of history that travels back in time some 5000 years and travels forward with important events as recent as the 1800 to the early 1900..
The where five different “peoples” that pasted through this area starting with the the Archaic from 2500-200 BC  that lived here as season settlers….until the last group that where the Navajo that entered the Canyon about 400 years ago….in between where the the Basketmaker , Pueblo and Hopi that all left a mark in Canyon de Chelly…and there is the recent history of Kit Carson brutal campaign against the Navajo.
Canyon de Chelly(c)2016Horst Kelly  Photographer

I left the banks of the San Juan River at  Bluff on 10 Oct heading towards Chinle NM…It was a pleasant enough drive, no real traffic and some great vistas, especially the last third of the trip …. had no pull overs that would accommodate a no photos. Arrived around 1pm and decided to stay at the Cottonwood CG which is next to the visitors center…My book on free campgrounds showed it was still a freebee, but that was not the case, a non-hookup site is now 14 dollars..go figure. sorta like Gooseneck which was free a couple years ago and is now 10 bucks, or the View CG at Monument Valley which was 20 dollars last year and I was told its 40  this year. I digress….I paid the 28 for two days, got a great site with some western sun for my solar and I was set…the CG only had a half dozen or so campers spread out…made for some nice solitude…
Canyon de Chelly(c)2016Horstkelly photographer 
I took the south rim drive late afternoon and as usual was totally in awe by the views. I again got lost in time and put myself in each of the different era’s that occupied this space…its probably childish….I suppose I just enjoy getting  immersed  with the history….cloud cover didn’t make for great photo’s but that was ok….I was enjoying walking back in history. It was a great way to spend an afternoon…since I have been on the “in canyon” tour, I opted out of that.
Canyon de Chelly(c)2016HorstKelly Photographer
The next morning I went on the North Rim for some viewing of the  cliff dwelling,  …another terrific ride and then off to see some of the surrounding area …The afternoon was spent doing some shopping, cleaning the camper and grilling a salmon fillet….then I sat outside and watched the sun set and the moon rise…

Now its off to see the Bisti Badlands and points south
...until next time Happy Trails…Horst sends

Saturday, October 8, 2016

Sausage and Eggs instead of a sunrise

I think its been almost a week since I last wrote…the internet is been sparse at best and my smartphone GB’s  likewise…I have been to Canyonlands and  now back to Bluff for the 3 day weekend…
Monument Valley Area(c)2016Horst Kelly {Photographer

Photo opportunities seem to be getting slim  and my enthusiasm for chasing early morning and evening light has dwindled. When the temps are in the 30’s outside in the early morning my old bones just don’t want to deal with running all over the wilderness searching for the “best  light” Instead it wants to enjoy making a breakfast of eggs, sausage, hash browns and the like…and just sit outside watching the sun peak over the horizon stretching its rays for some warmth while having that last grilled sausage and strong cup of hot coffee… I suppose this camping lifestyle is just evolving as I continue to enjoy the “Back Roads” of America. I seem to savor the sights and sounds of my immediate  surroundings more than in the past, when I chose to click the shudder and have it on Kodachrome as a memory.
Moab Area(c)2016HorstKelly Photographer

Another evolution I have noticed is the volume of  folk who have turned to experiencing the joys of Boondocking and appear to have continued to be chasing the perfect isolated campsite……the only problem is that as more are searching for perfect dispersed camping sites, the fewer of the places remain….It is amazing to see places like Horse Thief CG at Canyonlands being filled up…3 years ago you might share the CG with one other person, especially after Labor Day weekend,….what seems to also have changed is type of Rigs that now use these CG’s….to see a 40 ft RV back into a site at Horse Thief,  Sand Island or the like was nonexistent a few years ago, a nd this past week it seemed almost half at the CG where 30 ft plus….As the Bob Dylan song “The Times they are a Changing”….,
Off the Beaten Path(v)2016HorstKelly Photographer

Next on my list is to revisit Canyon de Chelly….its just down the road and the last time I was there it had rained and therefore couldn’t venture into the North end….from there its still open ended as I began my journey back to Texas…. Until next time Horst sends

Sunday, October 2, 2016

Enjoying America....One Mile at a Time

Its now 1 Oct…..I did not go to either the North Rim or Bryce…stayed around Marble Canyon waiting  for some half way decent  weather..and the day I hitched up I still had hopes…one of the folks camping across stopped by and he was told there where no sites available..Mmmmm well decision time…
Vermillion Cliffs Sunrise(c)2016HorstKelly Photography

I decided to venture North…Made it to Sand Island and got a nice site…will stay here through the weekend and then head to Canyonlands and do/see some stuff I have not done before in that area….This morning I ventured up to Devils Canyon…did not realize they had a campground there…two loops, no elect…but looks promising.also went to Recapture Reservoir…and messed around looking for some Fall Foliage..not yet…

This evening I may drive towards Monument Valley for some evening shots and maybe read up on and hope to shoot the milky way…it was a terrific night sky last night…and numerous falling stars…I slept well!.
Abajo Mtns(c)2016Horst Kelly Photography

All systems are working perfectly…my solar combined with the new Converter and my MPPT controller is satisfying all my energy needs…I have had to crank up the genny only once and that was due to all the rain and overcast weather …and the new generator works very well…very quite….
Campsite sunrise(c)2016Horst Kelly Photographet

I’m off and running looking for some petrographs…I’ll try to post this tomorrow …somewhere…no “G’s” on my phone…Photo uploading very slow...Horst sends

Thursday, September 29, 2016

Next Right for Some R&R...

Got up bright and early, made coffee and waited for there to be a little light..hitched up and then tried to get my last post to publish…kept knocking me off last night..I guessing too many folks on the internet getting info about the Debate….3rd try this morning(Tuesday) and away it flew…and reappeared in blogger land.
Vermillion Cliffs By CG...(c)2016HorstKelly Photographer

About 0800 I started heading over to Konrads place….. arrived almost on the button at 0900…what a nice  Guy….If you are ever in the area, even if you don’t  need work done, he’d be happy to have you stop and chat a while and compare notes.
Spent a good 2+ hours chatting and working….as with Larry Gamble, Konrad had no problem with me watching and seeing how he does “stuff” and he explained as he went along…I also bought 3 of the short shelves….…he got in all put together, checked it and then came the moment of truth…Mmmm my frig did not go to  the electric current, AC would not start…perplexed…Konrad tested everything…nothing…just for grins I hooked up my extension for the 30amp has a light that comes on when connected with shore power…nothing…this indicated that it must be  something with the outside connection, nothing wrong with the converter…sure enough, he had a blown fuse in his garage…Bingo we had live current…not so fast, now we had a problem with outlets and lights…looked like maybe the GFCI outlet went bad….no problem, I’ll get a knew one…it now works…
Storm Highway 89a(c)2016Horstkelly Photogapher

So finally, all was well with the world..I hitched up .said our goodbyes and I’m ready for my next adventure North…to the North Rim…plugged in my 7 prong connection to the Xterra…nothing comes on, no lights on the trailer, brake controller is dead, etc…By now I am sure this trip has been jinxed by some voodoo person sticking pins into a “Casita doll” …He did some checking on the plug, and no current running through…I look for a fuse..we open up both boxes and can’t find any for that function…I see 2 wires running directly to the battery with a inline fuse attached,,we check..dead..I have a large box of assortment of fuses, replace the dead one and bingo..all is finally right with the World again…By this time Konard says “go” before something else goes wrong…we both have a good laugh and I pull away….

……I  make it to the Flagstaff area and call it a day….straighten up the camper, grill some steaks, Have a Moose Drool or was it two? I sit putting things in order, I read the invoice and notice I short changed Konrad by 85 cents…the final insult for the day…I do write him an email and let him know I just noticed my sin and will rectify post haste….

Camp site(c)2016Horstkelly Photographer

28 Sept….My destination today was North Rim…the weather was suspect, but I ventured on…It was drizzling at Flagstaff area when I left…but cleared up…toped off my propane tanks and off I went on US 89 north….nice drive, not too busy…looking forward to a little R&R….got off onto 89A and as I looked towards the direction of North Rim, it really looked ugly…so the weather folks used a good model this time…I kept going,  but it only got worse…so I decided to go to Marble Canyon…there is a no hookup campground right above the Colorado River…I had driven through there a couple years ago and kept it filed in my memory bank, plus the Vermillion Cliffs are there, Page is pretty close and the Rim is only 85 miles away…

Got here not many folks, I got a site overlooking the Colorado,,,you can hear it rushing down stream…R&R is about to start…somewhat overcast but my solar was still doing a good job and along with my new converter I was home free..temps low 80’s tonight mid 50’s..perfect…got out the Barbie, called the Bride…yup there is cell coverage….so far.
Colorado River Living(c)2016Horst Kelly Photographer

I am now signing off…will try to upload this tomorrow sometime  and more to follow in the coming days…Thanks for stopping By…Horst sends…..He-Ha….yippie-ki-ya!!!!

P.S,  I Big THANK YOU to Konrad for all the great  work an patience!!!

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

If You want to See The Country...You Need to Travel Down Country Roads

My stay at Rockhound State has come to an end…great visit..though the Last night(Saturday 26 th) the wind came whipping down the Mountain like a Tsunami hitting the shore….no the Casita did not “rock be into a slumber”…..I think the Markers Mark did that!
Sunrise at Roosevelt Lake(c)2016Horstkelly photographer

Sunday morning I rolled out of the Park at 0715….headed West for a while and then caught US70 north.  stayed on 70 for a few hours..its just a 2 lane for most of the way, and my 55mph weren’t making me too many friends…pulled over whenever possible. got to Globe Az and made a  couple loop de loops and stated heading north on Az 88/189.

Then I started gaining altitude and  dropping it into third gear . What a magnificent ride…I only wish there where places to pull photos..   : (

Now I understand why I enjoy the Southwest…it keeps surprising me with knew  and terrific vistas. I entered the Tonto National Forest and knew there had to be some great boondocking campsites…and there was…toooooo many! and the cost per night was a 8 dollar pass…my fist choice was one right on the beach of Roosevelt Lake…I got down there found a open space and parked…opened the door and windows an sat just staring at the views and then it hit me…rotten fish,  now don’t get me wrong…I love fish, I cleaned them, scaled them, etc…but week old  dead fish rotting on the shore…not so much. oh well, there are plenty of other places and I found one..up on a high knoll overlooking the Lake, treed, pretty level spots and quite…I only saw one other camper…no hooks of course , but flush toilets and sink.
Roosevelt Lake campground(c)Horstkelly Photographer

 So I stayed there Sunday night…and got a super nights sleep. and was rolling the last 100 or so miles to Konrad's  Place…but it was a ride…mountains, mountains and more mountains….couple or more passes… least for me they where. But as I said magnificent scenery.
Found a place to spend the night  at Camp Verde, Let Konrad know I had arrived in one piece…Will see him at 0900 to put on a new converter(bottom half) on Tuesday and then its off to the races due North…

Where you say, The North Rim of the Grand Canyon…weather permitting of course…never have been there and I will make it this year…couple years ago I couldn’t due to landslide..
Campsite Roosevelt Lake....Its the memories

I may have hit  couple of “speed bumps”…but this trip has been enjoyable and taken me to places I have never seen and sure hadn’t planned on seeing them on this trip….but then that what these adventures are all about …to experience and enjoy the unexpected…..Ahhhh, that box of chocolates…  does have some super fillings…..Until next time Horst sends

Saturday, September 24, 2016

4th Down and Punt...or go for a 1st Down

Last I posted it was 21 Sept…going to yet an undefined location…Not so fast There Horst…You seem to bounce back too quickly from these challenges…so lets try this one for size….It appears my converter bit the dust….I did all the testing to see if it’s a battery, bad wires or the converter…from my limited knowledge but using the schematics that the Casita Forum has laid out there, it looks like the converter…Plus its one of the  two “suspect” years…2009/10…mine is 09 and held out this long….In addition I have a new battery and it tested just fine……
Mountain Top Sunrise with some Fog(c)2016Horst Kelly Photography

So I sit in the middle of no where on top of a mountain thinking through all the options available to me…First priority, have a Moose Drool…it clears the cobwebs. At the end of the day I would need a new convertor, whether I went dragging…I mean my tail …I mean Casita, on home, feeling sorry for myself or tried to get it fixed on the road…I did realize that with my solar and a little sun I could kick the can till I got home. plus I have a inverter generator…I also knew that my technical knowledge on me changing it out was at best “wishful thinking” especially having to lay on my bad back for a couple hours..So I called around to see if anyone would do it…Yikes, it appears they wanted me to supplement their retirement fund.
I never tire of Rainbows...Mt Top CG(c)2016HorstKellyphotography

Then I remembered  Larry Gamble((Little House Customs) had partnered with a fella in Arizona…Konrad, I placed a call and he was available and agreed that it appeared my converter had stopped working…He was extremely helpful..another example of the terrific folks that are the Casita Family!…I thanked him and had decided maybe I would “abort” and head back home. I was looking at a map and appeared Konrad was not that far away..2 or so days…and I will be confident that the job is done right! I called Konrad again and long story long, I will be there on the 27th.
I left my Mountain top paradise and headed towards Deming NM…by noon it was decision time, City of the Rocks or Rockhound…since I was at the City of the Rocks last year I opted for Rockhound..I will stay here till Sunday and then start slowly meandering my way North to Konrad’s Little House Customs-West!

I’ll try to get this posted  somewhere tomorrow(24 Sept)…Until the next Installment of the “Misadventures Of Horst”…and remember, “life is like s box of chocolates”…Horst sends

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Off the Beaten Path…But Great History

When I last wrote I was spending the weekend in Ft Stockton until I could see someone about my wheel bearings…I was there first light…Owner was very professional and straight forward…The kinda person you think about being a Texas Cow Hand(a straight shooter)…sorta like George Strait.  Bottom line there was a problem, that was going about to turn uglier in short order” …An hour half later and a couple “bucks” lighter I was on my way to New Mexico…
(c)2016HorstKelly Photographer  Mural…Alpine Tx

Headed north on US  285….not much in the way of scenery…Five years ago you couldn’t even find a “Road Kill” on that stretch of Highway…Now that Road has turned into Black Gold and made many “dirt poor” ranchers millionaires or close to it…and it continues to the south end of Carlsbad. The real problem is all the 18 wheelers carrying water/dirt and are trying to make as many loads as possible in a day…speed limit be damned…

When I got to the area it was still early so I decided not to go to Cloudcroft…instead I headed north to Roswell and then West on US 70…Just before Capitan I went South a few miles( Rt 220) to the Snowy River Cave National Conservation Area/Ft Stanton.  There is a BLM campground…has 5 electric sites 5 water only and another handful of dispersed sites…with a Golden Pass electric site is $2.50 per day…being lazy I took it instead of taking out and setting up the solar…It is primary  used as an Equestrian facility….but there wasn’t a sole there besides a “Host”..I guessing the weekend it fills up fast.

This area has two diamonds in the rough..and a special touch of “wonder”…I’ll try to keep it short…and let you Goggle the details..First is Lincoln(town)..It’s made Famous due to Billy the Kid hanging out here…most of the TV movies where of this time period…This is where he and a bunch of his Friends(gang) where made Regulators….and he was in the middle of the “Lincoln County War” , I think the town has done a good job of retaining a lot of the original important structures, it also has a museum, etc…you can walk the length of the town without much physical effort(even for an old man like me) …and it hasn’t become a Disney Land side show like Tombstone.
(c)2016HorstKelly Photographer
(c)2016HorstKelly Photographer
(c)2016HorstKelly Photographer

                                   The next attraction was a couple miles down the road called Fort Stanton….What a spectacular  history it has…with an assortment of different Missions throughout the years. It was established in 1855 as part of the campaign against the Mescalero Apaches. By 1896 troops where no longer required and it closed its doors. A lot of history between those two date.  One interesting footnote is that “Black Jack” Pershing began his Military Career there.
Parade Grounds (c)2016HorstKelly Photographer
Officers Quarters (c)2016HorstkellyPhotographer

n 1899 Pres. McKinley opened it as a tuberculosis Hospital …It was also used as a CCC Camp  for 200 Young Men. Part of it became an Internment Camp housing German Seaman(Mar 1941-Aug 1945)(331 sailors).

Catholic Church Ft. Stanton NM
In 1952 The Fort because owned by the State an opened as a facility for the care of the mentally challenged.that ceased operation in 1996. It was then used(until 1999) as a Women's State Corrections Facility…From 2000-2009 it operated as a drug rehabilitation Center.  In 2007 the Governor designated the Fort as a New Mexico State Monument and is now a Historic Site.

I spend about 90 minutes there and truly enjoyed myself.

Last my by no means least…is Smokey Bear…it was in these there Hills that the bear cub was found clinging to a burnet out tree….the year was 1950. He was rescued and the rest is History…He lived another 23 years….One note of interest..His name is Smokey Bear, not Smokey THE Bear as some have been known to call him.

All in all it was a great two days and now I’m off on a new, yet undecided destination..need to find a place to post WIFI nor and 4 or even 3 G on my  phone..though I do have cell coverage to place calls..Until next time…Happy Trails…Horst sends

The Gap in the Mnts is where he was found hanging onto a tree

Saturday, September 17, 2016

Day One is History....

Was  up at about 0530 this morning getting the last few chores accomplished before pulling out of the driveway...By 0800 had finished all the checking and rechecking..meds..yup, tire pressure...yup, food in the frig ..yup, walk around...and then relaxing with my Bride until 0840...and then it was "Hi Ho Silver Away".....well close enough...I am heading west, one of the few times I have been on the Interstate the entire day.....going 55-60 mph in a 80 mph speed zone..  :))
Campground Ft Stockton, Tx(c)2016Horst Kelly Photographer

After Junction, Tx things are few and far the plan was somewhere between Ft Stockton, Tx....and Van Horn....but then I had a hiccup! l-10 went down to one lane going west...they had posted warnings, I slowed down to 40 and all of a sudden hit a dip(without any highway warning signs)..  :((    I believe it sent the camper airborne...ok maybe not, but it did bounce the rear of it plus the tires...I could only imagine what the inside looked like...first time I could pull over was about 50 miles down the road...checked the tongue...all ok, went inside...
no worse for the wear...I do tape up the cabinet doors with painters tape and that cuts down on the messes...checked the tires...oops...curbside wheel is showing "bearing grease splatter"...not a lot but enough...other wheel is ok...crawl underneath and there doesn't seem to be any splatter on the backside...good sign...However!

Soooo, the next town was Ft Stockton, and Van Horn just bit the dust...I am staying at the Ft Stockton RV Park......nice enough, all the amenities you could ever want or need...but it isn't dispersed camping...I will  stay till Monday and have a Trailer place in town check it out...I did break one of my rules.."Never travel on the weekend" with the Casita....things will be closed and you are stuck!.
Ft. Stockton CG (c)2016Horst Kelly Photographer

The good news is there are worse places to bed down..Ft Stockton has history, I'll unhitch when it cools down and play tourist....though I have been here on several occasions...maybe a trip to Wally World is in the making...there is currently a severe weather warning until 10pm ...
Ft Stockton CG sunset (c)2016Horst Kelly Photographer

Cloudcroft will have to wait until at least Monday.... I do have to keep telling myself that I am not on a schedule!

Miles driven:387
Dinner: a Rice cucumber pea salad(best there it cold) and ham and cheese sandwich...until next time Horst sends

Thursday, September 15, 2016

I'm Ready for a Campfire and a Flat Iron Steak...and Maybe a Moose Drool

Yippie-ki-ya...or something like that....The final countdown has began, T-36...close enough.  I plan on launching Saturday morning at first light..heading due West....hopefully the storms will have "fizzled" by that time. First night Ft Stockton night somewhere in the Cloudcroft NM area...depending on what Mother Nature is dishing out at the time...Then North to the Abiquiu Reservoir (CoE) CG...from there it depends on weather...would like to head to Bryce and all the great places in between...or maybe head north from Deming up the Million Dollar Highway....and of course spend time in Utah, New Mexico and Arizona...It will be fun to see how this trip unfolds...
Canyonlands (c)2014Horst Kelly Photographer  

I didn't accomplish  all that I had planned for the camper....I wanted to place the new generator on the tongue, reconfigure my battery bank to two 6 volt golf-cart batteries and place on the rear basket(where the Boliy Generator) was... just didn't have the time.....I tested the new Smarter Tools 2000iq invertor generator and it does run the AC. .. The solar panels are working great, that was a good investment...imho. Washed and waxed the camper..though I need to strip it to be bone. and make it look new again...maybe Springtime. All systems seem to be in order and I am ready for a new adventure(s).

If anyone has any suggestions on places to stop or things to do, photo ops, etc....I'm all "ears"....I'll keep this short...still have some packing to do and the usual last minute post Launch Day, or there abouts...Horst sends
Kansas City Thanksgiving (c)Horst Kelly Photographer

Sunday, September 4, 2016

Final more Piddling

Its been a while....Appears "piddling" got out of hand.   I had planned to leave for this years Autumn adventure NLT 6 Sept.....but I still have stuff around here that needs attention..My Daughter from Charleston just left after a super visit,plus a couple more Doctors to probe and prod. I have done some stuff with the Xterra and the Casita...
Glacier NP...(c)Horst Kelly Photographer

On the Xterra I decided to build a simple platform to double the space available for taking stuff...Its not that I will take more, but rather to keep it organized and not looking like a dump...with getting my solar panels and putting my spare Casita tire back there, its gotten somewhat unruly....So I got a piece of plywood had it ripped ....One board will be on the bottom with some sliders and a handle so I can pull it forward to reach whatever I need. The second piece of plywood is elevated 13 inches, screw in wooden legs used, for easy disassembling. ...The down side is when I go to hitch up I can't see the hitch and tongue of the camper any longer.... I didn't want to invest in a $100+ backup camera that I would only use for my trips...
Mesa Verde area...(c)Horst Kelly Photographer

As I was pondering that dilemma, I found a cheap way to use a tablet/smartphone as a remote device for my camera...several apps have come on the market that allows for you to change the settings remotely, as well as work the shutter...I tried several out and found one to my liking(Android app)  and it works pretty darn well. It beats paying 300 dollars for the "CamRanger" system of remote solutions and does about the same least at my amateur level of photography and is a 8 dollar app. If your camera doesn't have "in camera" WiFi capability you need to get a "on the go" USB cable...runs about 3-5 bucks.  that cable can be used for a multitude of different applications....and as I pondered I thought of my back up camera problem .

Montana(c)Horst Kelly Photographer

So I was thinking about this "on the go" cable and thought maybe it could work with a cheap old webcam ...I knew there were apps for a smartphone or tablet available ....long story short, I had a extra "stand alone" webcam that was still in the box, placed it on my bumper, attached a 8 foot long male/female USB cord to my "on the go" USB and attached that to my smart phone, opened the app, no other wires, cables or hookups...Bingo, it worked....I am not naive or vain enough to think I "invented " this...I am sure a million other folks thought of it before I did, I guess I need to check that out....but it sure works and my engineer friend keeps shaking his head in disbelief..  :)) A bonus about this setup is unlike "real ones", when you get out of reverse it turns off...this of  course doesn' if you want to check it every now and then to make sure all is secure back there, you can do that while driving down the road.
KC Zoo(c)HorstKelly Photographer

I also sold my Boily 3600 inverter generator. Since I have gotten a smaller air conditioner I didn't need that 80 lb served me well, never had a problem and ran any load I put on it.  I was about to get a Honda 2000 when I saw a Smarter Tools 2000IQ inverter for 599 at Costco..It came with good reviews and with Costco's generous "return policy" I figured I couldn't go wrong...So far so good, The noise level is advertised as 51Db at econ. setting, I'm Running the "break in" period....when that's completed I'll test the AC....keeping my fingers crossed..if it sputters, I'll return it and get the Honda.

Schulenburg, Tx Church(c)Horst Kelly Photographer
Schulenburg, Tx(c)Horst Kelly Photography

Schulenburg, Tx(c)Horst Kelly Photographer

I'm getting things organized in the Casita...I now have high hopes of a 13/14 Sept Launch.....heading towards New Mexico, then north to Colorado. I'm looking forward to this trip...will try to again have the mindset I had last year...its a camping and relaxing  trip with photo ops as a lesser priority.  I've not set any specific locations and will let "Mother Nature" dictate where I go. ...and maybe I'll run into some of you. That would be a treat..

I'll close for now...Wishing each of you a Relaxing Labor Day ... and hoping all you folks on the South and East Coast are doing fine(Hurricane) update will be just prior to Lift Off... Horst sends

2013 Tetons....My Pot of Gold(c)Horst Kelly Photographer