Monday, September 29, 2014

The Final Frontier....before I land back Home

When I last was blogging I was about to head south in New Mexico...I decided to go to Rock Hound State Park....and what a great decision that is a small park, close to the border...maybe 10 miles or so east of Deming, New Mexico...has both RV and tent camping...backs up to some reminds me in part to the Superstitions and that Park...its not as large....
Rock Hound ST Pk CG..View from Camper...(c)2014Horst Kelly photographer

I got  there from Elephant Butte by early afternoon, found a nice spot on the hill...only one other camper there besides the "Vol Host"....relaxed, hiked around, did not find any precious are allowed to carry out 15 lbs....I think its there way of getting folks to help clear the land... :).... grilled some chicken and fresh corn on the cob for dinner and hit the sack...

Mother Nature keeps giving me a pot of Gold...Rock Hound St Pk...(c)2014Horst Kelly

The next morning I took some photos of the mountain range and was going to go to Deming...I noticed my side walls on  one tire were starting to peel...Mmmm..I searched the internet for a Discount Tire outlet, found one in Las Cruces...about an hour away and headed there to see what they have to say.....They where not that concerned about the sidewall, but noticed the inside tread was in the red zone...bottom line, I got two new tires....I didn't want to take a chance driving in the Barren land of West Texas and something go I have dealt with Discount Tire stores for a number of years and trust their it was buy now or buy later...either way it was going to be dealt with by Discount Tire....
Rock Hound St Pk....(c)2014Horst Kelly

By the time I got back...the sun was starting to set, so got out the camera...there was cloud cover and it was raining to the northeast...hence, another opportunity for a rainbow...and wow what a photo op...I took about ten photo's...and of course have to share one with you folks....what a great sunset, especially the color the cloud cover turned....nice way to end the day...

I decided to leave Friday and head East toward home...its been six weeks and I miss my Bride....I let her know I would be backing into the driveway around mid week....My destination for the day was Van Horn, Texas....Arrived mid afternoon...had been raining..I was here last in the Fall of 2012...and it was pretty run down...just an overnight I pulled in it was like a new town...fresh coat of paint on most of the Buildings...Old Time(gas ) street lamps all along one side of the Main had a new RV took Passport America..15 dollars, gravel, full hookup sites, very clean Rest room, with shower and a laundry...I was here for the night.
Last evening at Abiquiu  Dam (c)2014Horst Kelly

When I got up Saturday and getting ready to head to Seminole Canyon, I read the weather report which said "rain" in that area for the why travel there if its going to be lousy weather...I decided to extend my stay in Van Horn for a day and do some site-seeing....north of Van Horn is the Guadalupe  Mountains National Park...I have never been is on my list of places to go....highest Mountain peak in Texas, does have a campground, etc.....well lets take a drive and see what hidden treasures we stumble across...

...and what a treasure we found...its called Hwy 54 and travels fact goes to Carlsbad NM....but the Texas portion is one of the great "road finds"....its cuts through the Baylor and Delaware Mountains on its way to Guadalupe...I most have stopped a half dozen times....virtually no traffic.
Guadalupe Mt...(c)2014Horst Kelly

Though it was overcast and the "light" was spotty,  I still enjoyed stopping, exploring and taking photo's....its a place I will return when returning from Western adventures...and I plan to camp at the National Park next Spring...the Cg has a primitive tent only area and a "parking lot" RV area.....that's ok...the exploring will make up for any "parking lot ambiance"...

My extending a day was sure worth it....Sunday morning I hitched up right at the crack of dawn, did some last minute chores, gassed up, and by 0805 was on the road heading south on US 90...the trip was around 265 miles or so...arrived at Seminole State Park early afternoon, asked for my usual spot, "E029" problem, only one other camper at the park....and they where about 3 down from me....

On Hwy. 54...(c)2014Horst Kelly

Made a run to Del Rio for some provisions, when I got back I met my neighbors....long story short, they know Barney...aka OFM...what a small world..though they are not full-timers, they stay out for 4 to 5 months at a time....She told me they were pushing 85(age)...they looked and acted(physically) like young 60 year olds   They where returning from one of their adventures and doing the same thing I do at Seminole...down time before backing into their"driveway"...

Guadalupe Mt...(c)2014Horst Kelly

I plan on some hiking while here and then making the final 250 or so miles home and touch down NLT mid week....its been a GRAND Adventure....."unstructured" is the way to go....I changed directions more times than a crazy ant, and it always seemed to provide a awesome experience...I found new places that I hope to return to in the future...I definably need to get a solar panel...I enjoyed the dry camping so much more than being at  a full hookup CG....and there are some great "hidden gems' out there....I barely scratched the surface!
Seminole Canyon sunrise(c)2014Horst Kelly

I'll do an after action summary post within the next include some "stats" I said...its been a magnificent journey to some wonderful parts of the Country.....until then...Happy Trails to You...and thanks for taking the time to visit and comment....Horst sends

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Playing Tourist and Relaxing.....I could get use to this lifestyle!

Ghost Ranch area (c)2014Horst Kelly
When I last Blogged, I was still writing about the Monument Valley Area.....with  little or no internet, "Blogging timeliness" has taken a back the following will be a short summary of the places I have landed since leaving Sand Island...
Ghost ranch Area(c)2014Horst Kelly
Ghost Ranch Area(c)2014Horst Kelly

On Sept  I left the Island for a destination of Page, Arizona....I wanted to get a night tour of Slot Canyon in hopes that instead of sunbeams , I would get stars. I also had a tentative plan to go to The North Rim of the Grand Canyon....The short answer is neither of those events happened...the folks who I contacted that does the tours said it had been cloudy and was suppose to continue for the next several days and in fact there also was a chance of rain.....rain=no tours.  I did not realize the road to the North Rim was still closed, which meant a whole lot of driving/miles to get there...with the weather somewhat iffy, I chose to not I decided to do the South Slot canyon, which is a self  guided tour..I knew the sunbeams where out, but they are suppose to have some nice colored, shaped walls.....I got there about 20 minutes before they open the gate....there where already 35 cars there, yes I counted....its a small canyon and with that many folks...and more where coming, I decided to get  any kind of  shots was not going to happen...It was hard enough with a guided tour and guide that keeps the masses at bay while we took photo's at the other larger canyon, and this was kinda like a free for my last hope was a morning photo op of  Horseshoe guessed it, clouds and more clouds....the center of the Bend was too dark to do was a nice hike, especially back and the engrained memory is great...if you go there be aware that there are no rails and its a Lonnnnnnng drop down...So my two day venture to Page was a bust, except for the water front view of the lake.....
South of Pagosa Springs (c)2014Horst Kelly
South of CoE CG(c)2014Horst Kelly

Since it was calling for flooding and more rain if I went south, especially into New Mexico, I decided to head back east to Pagosa Springs, Colorado...300+ mile trip, but that's ok, weather was cloudy but no rain for the most part...I had seen a BLM campground north of the Springs and decided a nice wooded site would be the ticket...not to be, as it closed for the season a week earlier...I ended up in a commercial park...and it was nothing to write home about....I decided to stay for two days, get the lay of the land and see what doors will open morning I decided to tour the town...Pagosa  Springs is world famous for its hot springs and has one very large hotel...the town sorta reminds me of a large Eureka Springs , was fun waking around the old section of town...The San Juan River flows through the middle of the old section.  as I watched the water traveling downstream, I wondered if it was the water I had seen flowing when I was at Sand Island....I know, I need to get a life... :)  Since the weather was suppose to take a turn for the worse I Decided to head south.  Rt 84 was the chosen road...I had read about a neat train ride that was suppose to rival the Durango one.....I stopped at Chama a little before noon...Inquired about the ride and found out they do one trip a day and it had left at 1000 hours....I meandered over to the Visitors center and asked about other interesting places in the vicinity. They told me about a place 80 or so miles south called Ghost Ranch Retreat and besides museum, lodge, hikes, vistas, they have a  campground with electric and Wi-Fi... said they area had other nice scenery in the area. Sounded like a plan to me....

Pagosa Springs

A nice drive...mountainous, but friendly...if you know what I mean...took my time getting there..its off the road a bit, somewhat washboard, but a really nice , rustic, place, around 21,000 acres...I didn't hike all of them.. :).... was a dude ranch in the 30's...has somewhat of a colorful history with brother killing brother over gold, a socialite and cowboy making a go of it, world famous artist(Georgia O'Keeffe) settling  there and then given to the Presbyterian Church in 1955.
Ghost Ranch(c)2014Horst Kelly

Pagosa Springs, Colorado(c)Horst Kelly
GOk...I made a team decision to stay at their Campground...cost $27 per day, electric, showers, laundry, and Wi-Fi.  when I got to the location, it appeared that they originally where for tents and some 1st year engineering student got this as a project to turn it into an RV park...after trying 3 different sites with no success, I finally managed to get into one and sorta leveled it....I unhitched, started the AC and decided to scout around the area.  I had seen a BLM CG at a scenic site called the Amphitheater Echo was nice..small, no hookups, but you could run generators...price, 5 bucks...I decided I may move to this site tomorrow if I decide to stay I drove south, saw a lake that looked inviting...what do you know, it has a COE campground...hookups, shower, nice views, spacious and with the old geezer card, its 8 bucks....lets see 27 for one night 24 for 3 nights with the same amenities except Wi-Fi...and oh I can use the Wi-Fi from the Ghost Camp...a no brainer...I pay 32 bucks .....4 nights, go back to the Ghost CG and tell them my tale of woe, and they give me a full gotta love the Presbyterians...I hitch up and 30 minutes later I am sitting at a site overlooking the Abiqui Lake and  Dam.....Life is GREAT!!!...I decide to use this place as a central location and play tourist in Taos, Santa Fe, Los Alamos and other stuff in the area.  BTW I arrived there 19 Sept...will leave 23 Sept.

Amphitheater Echo CG(c)2014Horst Kelly

Santa Fe (c) 2014 Horst Kelly


The area is super in the way of some photo ops, hiking, history and eccentric towns. The Ghost town provide me with hike anywhere from 3-5 miles, the area (about 5 miles) from my CG to Ghost Town also had many hikes and great vistas...a lot of "Red Rock" formations..I make side trips to Santa Fe and enjoyed walking the streets of the old part of town, Taos was a fun drive,  you gain elevation, but its a scenic drive along the river....I did Los Alamos on a Sunday and everything was closed, had no idea it sat so high up a Mesa...or is it a was a super 4 + days and is a place I will return to.....did get some rain, but not to the degree that it stopped any was a fun time just playing "tourist: and not chasing sunsets, or sunrises....very relaxing ..met some great folks...mostly fulltimers....
Chama, NM. where the Day Trip Train ride Is...
Taos Area(c)horst Kelly
Church in Abiquiu, NM(c)2014Horst Kelly

Below are some photo's from Ghost area and santa Fe...I just randomly picked some...too many to screen right now..

(c)2014Horst Kelly

Santa Fe (c)2014Horst Kelly

Evening of the 22nd came to quickly...I almost extended another day, but knew I had to move on...hitched up and rolled out of another gem of a CG by 0730....didn't know where I was going to land...the weather was perfect, a little overcast, stress free..I was rolling south on l-25...I finnaly pulled over and looked at a map to see what was available in the area heading south...decided on a state park in Elephant Butte, which sits on a lake, sounded like a good place to land...arrived around 2pm or so, got a spot with electric and they have showers and Wi-Fi...all for 14 dollars...I write this as I see the sun rise on the lake below me...its now the morning  of the hurry to leave as I am going to either Rock Hound state Park or Pancho Villa st pk...about 100 miles the  Deming area...
last Sunset from my COE Campsite.....Life is Good!
(c)2014Horst Kelly Photographer

So until next time...happy Trails to all...Horst sends

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Monument Valley ……part ll


I think I put as many words as can be printed about my stay at Monument Valley last time… this post will be  photos I took of the Valley  of the Gods; Capital Reef; Glenn Canyon; and assorted other places.

So without further ado..


Glenn Valley…©2014Horst Kelly


Valley of the Gods..©2014Horst Kelly


Valley of the Gods..©2014Horst Kelly


Valley of the Gods…©2014Horst Kelly


Valley of the Gods…©2014Horst Kelly


Valley of the Gods…©2014Horst Kelly


Capital Reef…©2014Horst Kelly


©2014Horst Kelly Photographer


Monument Valley…©2014Horst Kelly


©2014Horst Kelly Photographer


Another Mittens Shadow…©2014Horst Kelly

That’s all for now folks…Thanks for stopping By…Horst sends

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Where The Earth Meets the Sky...sign at Monument Valley

Since I am so far behind in my Blogs, I've decided to just do a summary of my activities while in the area..and what I consider some neat highlights....this is part 1...

(c)2014Horst Kelly Photographer

As I mentioned in my previous post, I arrived in the Monument Valley area like a wet pup....just wanting a dry spot to "light in" and a sympatric ear...That Ranger was the"ear", and Sand Island was the "dry spot".....
(c)2014Horst Kelly Photographer

I have to say that  Mother Nature tests my wits at times...but she also has handed me some incredible adventures during this trip, if I chose to take them...and  the Monument Valley area was no exception.
(c)2014Horst Kelly Photograpger

I start off on Wednesday, 10 Sept at about 0600...its going to be a bright sunny day. I make a cup of coffee, grab my camping chair(the Observation Camping post) and sit at the edge of the San Juan River....the sound of the flowing current, wild geese on the opposite bank, the sun peaking over the Bluff, and me...just me in this whole piece of Paradise called Sand island....what a way to began another adventure.

I decide I would go ahead and do the obligatory self tour of Monument Valley and take a drive on UT 95 towards a portion of Glen Canyon...since the weather was rainy the day I had come through ....I travel the 40  or so miles from the CG to the entrance, pay the 20 bucks and proceed to the visitors center.  Its only 0830, but the guided tour Jeeps are already off and running....I take about two hours to complete the loop, stopping numerous times to get the elusive "perfect shot".... I may not of had any success in getting that shot, but I met several great folks and compared notes...ok, they gave me some awesome advise.....

(c)2014Horst Kelly Photographer

After the tour I roam around a bit, go back to the CG and what do I see parked next door...a 13 or so foot Burro.....the folks are sitting outside so I wander over and introduce myself...I would imagine they are in their middle/late 60's...just young pups, reside in Prescott, Az and travel whenever the mood strikes....she is an avid hiker...he says.."I just follow her" keeps the peace.. :) ...whatever works....They also have 2 large German Shepard dogs that travel with them.  It was a nice chat...I decide to do Valley of the Gods...which takes me back to the Goosenecks area....
(c)2014Horst Kelly Photographer

Its late afternoon and the sun is in a good position....I will say the "loop road" is primitive...its the first time this trip that I had to engage 4-wheel drive.  I'm sure part of that was do to the recent one has to travel through over some washes, which where really trenches...
(c)2014Horst Kelly Photographer

I thoroughly got myself lost in the moment of what I was experiencing....putting my self back not only in the 1800's when the Native Americans where the stewards of this land, but also back to 1000AD and what those early Americans had to endure...and before long I was there with them, in their element....I have to stop drinking that cheap wine....
(c)2014Horst Kelly Photographer

My next adventure was one of  those special chance I had read about a place that has a  Ruin on The Colorado Plateau off of UT 95...The unique facet of this ruin on a cliff overhang is that when the sun  reflects off the floor of cliff to the ceiling it creates an effect that looks as if the roof has flames shooting out of it in a 3-D fashion....this event is suppose to occur "late morning"...I won't bore you with logistic of getting, parking and hiking (about a mile) to the does require some climbing...I got there about 45 minutes before I thought the photo op would occur.  They where two couples and a young Air Force one came.....the 2 couples left  after 90 or so minutes, saying they wanted to hike to the other ruins in the area...will another 45 minutes and the shadow on the floor started reseeding to a point I thought would present the photo op...I took some shots and it didn't look like anything unusual...waited another 15 minutes and the Young Air Force Troop and I left...when I downloaded the is what I got....I am happy with the result, especially since I have not done any "dark room" stuff.....its moments like this that make these trips so much more than any expectations I dreamed of.....

(c)2014Horst Kelly Photograpger

Now for my second surprise...once a year a phenomenon occurs with the "Mittens",,,,the first mitten casts its shadow directly on to the middle mitten.... It was by pure chance that I learned of I went out to Monument Valley Visitor Center area, found a good spot and waited until the shadow started moving towards the other Mitten...below is the result....This  event happens only on 2 consecutive days each year....and by poor luck I happened to be there...What a super way to end a day!!

(c)2014Horst Kelly Photographer


With that I will close this post...I will have another post with more photo's from the Monument Valley Area.....Shortly....Hagoonee(Happy Trails in Navajo)...Horst sends