Wednesday, September 30, 2015

I think Walt Disney or Steven Spielberg Came up with “The Hoodoo” …..I am in Awe!

Last I wrote I was in Monument Valley and leaving for Page, Az.   I stayed at a place with hook-ups as I wanted to do some cleaning of the camper, repair some stuff, etc…It worked out very well….I couldn’t find anyone to do the night slots and try to get the Blood Moon, so I ended up going to a look out with a “cast of Thousands”….It worked out well…I was able to get a spot on the ledge and thereby eliminate  anyone in front of me…it was kinda like a “Tailgate Party”..The couple next to me were a real fun couple…I couldn't have picked better ….retired, from Michigan, both enjoy photography and take it serious…but a very outgoing and humorous  folk… it was a terrific 3 hours…even with the photography being kinda dismal….what just happened to my font…oh well not to worry….
Blood Moon...Lake  Powell...(c)2015Horst Kelly Photographer
That morning I took a side trip to Vermillion Cliffs…just down the road from Page…very enjoyable…and I got to see my first “Condor”…it was on a bridge…didn’t have long telephoto…however it was an awesome sight….since I plan on going back that way, I hope to see if I can get a closer shot….
Left Page on the morning of the 28th Sept and drove the 130 or so miles to Bryce National Park area…I need to thank JerryC of Eggrolling one more time…he told me about the Red Canyon CG…run by the Forestry Service..its about 12 miles or so West of the Park…what a Gem…its treed, nice scenery..definitely has “Style Points” ..I took site 23..sits up on a hill…has enough clearing to let the Solar panels do their thing…no hook-ups, but toilets, a shower for two bucks….what more can a person ask for….and all for the old folks rate of $7.50…I am happy…

Red Canyon CG...thanks Jerry..(c)2015..Horst Kelly Photographer

Bryce is unique…it is like no other place I have been to……I was spellbound and very much in awe….there is no real way to capture it on film…it is truly one of a kind and I am glad I made the decision to come here instead of  doing the Fall Aspens in Colorado again…I sat on a stump at one of the Lookouts and my mind starting wandering back to the First Folks that came to this area….What was there first “expression” when they saw the “Hoodoos”…We ain’t in Kansas anymore Toto…..I bet some pants got wet that day!

Bryce NP...(c)2015Horst Kelly Photographer

Went to the park the afternoon I arrived and once again its is packed…..motels filled, in park CG’s all filled….what a zoo trying to get around…I don’t think the Parks Service has the infrastructure to sustain this level of activity for very many more seasons…took some shots..and back in time to grill a burger, with coleslaw, chips, enjoying it as the sun goes to rest.  This morning got up early, cleaned up and headed back to the Park…then did some touring in the area….I plan on doing a Day Trip to Zion..I an told the CG’s are all full…we’ll see how that pans out..also want to see stuff around the area here…I plan on staying here until 2 Oct.….

By CG....(c)2015Horst Kelly Photographer

No firm plans after that..probably head back to Page on the way South…would like to land at the Lost Dutchman's State Park , Az..and mess around in that area a few days…really enjoyed myself  when I was there the last time…..after  that..who knows….
Bryce NP...(c)2015Horst Kelly Photographer
I’ll take my leave now…and post few photo’s…hopefully…. and write more later..until then Happy Trails…thanks for stopping by….Horst sends

Saturday, September 26, 2015

Meeting Like Souls, Recharge Havens, and Solitude.....

I spent 3 days in a terrific place for solitude...Sand Island..outside of Bluff, Utah..I again nabbed a site right on the San Juan River....not a lot of time spend doing anything constructive....but I don't think being constructive always has to equate to happiness or fulfillment....anyway I had a great time..met a Guy from California...with a Casita...but check it that's what I call making a statement about ones self...Had a British accent ....enjoys hiking and solitude...had a philosophical discussion on where our National Parks are probably headed for...his compass was pointing North for his continuing Journey...

My "Brit" Buddy's Casita....(c)2015 Horst Kelly Photographer

After three days I left and took the short trip South to Monument Valley and landed at the "The View" campground...inside the Park with a Birds Eye view of the Mittens...again no hook-ups, but my Solar worked flawlessly....I had no intention of taking the self guided tour...Have taken that tour numerous times....again I just wanted to relax and take a few photo's of the Mittens at sunset and next morning sunrise...and I could do that from the rear window of the chasing the "Magic Light...Mother Nature was putting it in my lap as I sit outside listening to the silent sounds of history...or maybe even John Wayne saying, "Pilgrims...get your wagons in a circle"
Needles 2000+ ft drop...(c)2015 Horst Kelly Photographer

A Father and his teenage Son and Daughter parked next to me with a Rental Class-C...they where from Germany...came over on vacation...especially to see the National Parks....well, since I was born in "Deutschland" , we had a rather nice conversation..his son is an avid photographer...and has the gear to prove it...It was a great encounter and this morning we where all out early to get some shots of the sun touching the Mittens....
Western direction from mittens..morning shot..(c)2015 Horst Kelly photographer
I had another cup of coffee, hitched up said my good-byes, wished them well and was off heading to Page.  I am staying at an RV Park...has WiFi, laundry, indoor swimming pool, fitness room..etc...for electric and water its 20 dollars or so with a Good Sam discount....

Mittens evening....(c)2015Horst Kelly Photographer

I will stay here until Monday( 28 Sept), I have decided instead of returning to Colorado for Aspen "turning"..been there...done that, I would venture to Bryce and Zion....never been there....that's my "Jello" hard core plan..till then I'm going to relax, sight-see, and try and get some pics of the "Blood Moon" on Sunday...I can't find any Guides that will do a night shoot in the Slots with trying to get the Blood Moon...Mmmm, maybe they want that for themselves..Oh well...I'll try and use Lake Powell as the "Backdrop"...Till then Happy Trails, and thanks for stopping by...Horst sends

PS...and to my Bride, a HUG Thanks for all Her Understanding and Support....The "Lucky One"

Mittens Morning....(c)2015Horst Kelly Photographer

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Doing Nothing But relaxing...its a New Art Form for Me....

Its now Monday, 21 Sept…..when I last wrote I had just arrived at Canyonlands(18 Sept)…having traveled from Grand Junction, Co. ..I pleasant stress free drive…..I drove on l-70, and then headed south on US-191…prior to Moab I take a right on Rt-313 into the “Canyon”…I’m planning on camping at Willow Flat CG…a no hookup camp at the far end of the Park…32 miles later I come to the gate and they tell me the Willow Flat is full…..Wow…never heard of that in the middle of Sept..oh well….my other option is Horse Thief CG, another non hookup camp and outside of the Park Proper…I am somewhat disappointed as it is a pretty “fer piece” from all the action in the park….Upon entering the CG I am smiling…it is a more spacious camp than Willow and nice scenery…I pick a place, back it in, and marvel at my good fortune…..and I remind myself that I am NOT on a photo Trip…but a camping and enjoy what Mother Nature is offering Trip….so who cares how far away from the “action” I’m at……I have a nice clear  South and West view for my solar….
Canyonlands...(c)2015Horst Kelly photographer
To keep this post short and and not try and out “blab” the last post, let me say that I had 3 TERRIFFIC Days here.  Very relaxing, grilled Salmon, Flat Iron steak, Trout…made breakfast…eggs, sausage, biscuits, canned country gravy…you get the picture….I did get some pics, but I wasn’t chasing the photography “magic hour”…..I could get use to this life style…

Canyonlands...(c)2015Horst Kelly Photographer 
…and there was icing on the cake.  The last evening a couple walked by, stopped and asked if I had ever been at a certain campground last year, it didn’t sound familiar…..They kept talking about how they met  this  fellow with a Casita and white toad, who was from Texas, enjoyed photography, etc…etc…at some point they spoke about Wyoming…and I said did you mean the Atherton CG at the Tetons…they said yes, I said you Guys had the Casita up from me, with a cat…. and from there we spoke another 20 + minutes…. what a small world…so next year I guess we’ll meet up at some isolated campground ….somewhere..BTW its their 30 Anniversary… Happy Anniversary!!

Canyonlands Campsite....(c)2015Horst Kelly Photographer

I leave you with some photo’s….. I’ve arrived at one of my favorite solitude places…hint…its by a river and is only about 100 miles south of Moab on US-191.  Hoping I can send this post on its way tomorrow…this evening its another flat iron steak…eating it on the river bank….Slow internet connection=few photo's today.

Canyonlands...(c)2015Horst Kelly Photographer

Happy Trails to All…Horst sends

Saturday, September 19, 2015

A Gem of a Find...O'Haver on to Moab

Slow internet so photo's posted are limited....Its now Saturday and I am in Canyonlands...Save that till next here is a recap of the last several days:

Did all my running around and was hitched up and rolling out of Cheyenne Mountain State Park around 1100.  It is a great day, mild temps, a little breeze and pulling easy…I take CR-115 south and there is a steady climb..though the scenery is great..When I get to Penrose I take a left (west) onto US-50….it is a 4 lane road for now…next I hit Canon City and of course the “Royal Gorge” area…did not even slow down, much less stop…4 lane stops about here, and there is a steady elevation gain…
O'Haver Lake..(c)2015Horst Kelly Photographer 

About  five miles East or so from Salida I see a BLM site…..again right off the road, very rough sites and nothing to make you jump off the ground and click your heels.  I drive into Salida, stop at a filling station, get gas and ask about campgrounds, other than RV parks…I get a Deer in the head lights look..she apparently is not a camper…I move on. I go about 5 miles, and at the intersection of US-285 and 50 I see a sign about O’Haver Lake…I hook a left to go on 285 south and about another 5 miles a sign directs me take a right on a gravel road…Mmmmm, maybe this not such a good idea..oh well, nothing ventured, nothing gained….about a mile on a washboard an ATV is coming my way..I wave, he stops and I ask him how far and is it worth it…not far 1.5 miles or so on a narrow road, with lots of curves, gaining altitude…but its worth it…
O'Haver Lake CG...(c)2015Horst Kelly Photograpger

..And he was right..I hate to see what the inside  of the Casita looks like..I arrive in one piece…They have a sign-in  board..a lady comes lake side sites left however there are two left on the perimeter.. I take one and set up and the ATV Guy was  right…its worth it…I guess so, if its all filled up, mid week, after Labor Day…its not really a lake…lets say a very large pond….but its all wooded serene..there is a stream flowing by my site…no hook ups, but I have my solar..temps right now(six thirty pm) is 60 degrees and dropping…nice breeze….I signed up for 2 days, unless the altitude starts playing a number on me…..this is why I love this Lifestyle so much……I’ll hopefully post this on Thursday….
About 130 miles today….forgot to take a salmon out of the it was a Roast Beef on Rye, cheese and mustard…..Happy Trails my Friends..and Family…Horst sends
Monarch Pass summit...(c)2015Horst Kelly Photographer

Sooo…….there was a hiccup on my stay at  O’Haver,  which is ok…I decided to end up somewhere at Curecanti Nation Recreation area…a little ways west of Gunnison and runs to Cimarron, which supposedly has a campground. 
Let me back up a bit and tell you about my stay at O’Haver.  Its one of the best kept secrets out has 31 sites, mostly wooded and level from side to side……it was one of the most peaceful stays of all my trips…when the sun went down, you could see millions of stars…what a great way to end the day..the temps. got down to 38 degrees…I had my “horse blanket” and a window cracked and it was a great night sleep..woke up and it was 56 degrees inside…it was still dark..took my camera, coffee and headed to the Lake…sat down and waited for the sun to wake up and rise over the Mountains…here are a couple pics of what Mother Nature provided to us poor icing on the cake, the trout(I’m guessing that’s what they where) where jumping out of the water……I could have stayed there for a month and never got bored…but I am glad to have experienced it for a day/night….I have memories.
….so I now have to hitch up…and start down the winding 1.5 miles…I get on US-50 and head West….first thrill of the day is to go over Monarch Pass….old Grif, my Casita grinds away…we get down to 35mph at some points…but crest the top in fine spirits…pull over, take a few shots and start the descend…I double check my brake controller, remembering last year, and hope I’ve set it enough as not to burn the Xterra’s brakes…all went well…we stop for gas and stretching….
On the CG found yet(c)2015Horst Kelly Photographer

We travel on..I see some CG’s that look nice..but I press on for Cimarron…I go over a couple my passes, child's play as compared to Monarch..get to the campground at Cimarron and what a disappointment…no character…, I could kick myself for not taking one of the Campground back several miles…I decide I didn’t want to backtrack over passes again, so I press on.  Since the Fall colors don’t start for another 19 days or more, I forego going on the Million Dollar road..but go north towards Grand Junction…My map shows the Sweitzer Lake State Park close to Delta Colorado…as I pull in I notice it is only a day use camp sites …now what..I remember a little east of Grand Junction is the James Robb Colorado River St. Pk…….I get there a nab one of the last open sites for the night…
(c)2015 Its all about the Scenery...(c)2015Horst kelly Photographer
Not exactly what I wanted to do…haven’t decided what is next…will know by tomorrow…until then.  Happy Trails…salmon and salad for dinner….miles traveled today: somewhere around alot…Till next time, Horst sends
Its on to Canyonlands....(c)2014Horst Kelly photographer

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Time to Cross the Great Divide.....Well Almost

Campsite site..Cheyenne Mt...(c)Horst Kelly Photographer
I will keep this post short…nothing much to report and I’m leaving today(Wednesday the 16th) for Salida, Colorado…My time here in Colorado Springs was relaxing..yesterday I went up a Canyon found a nice Mountain stream with a water fall and tried my hand at “slow motion” water photos……did some cleaning, made some calls, did laundry…and last evening had dinner with nephew and his family…It was the highlight of my stay here. I have not seen them for about 6 years…they have a 5 year old son and a 11 month daughter…what nice kids…good looking….no bias here, and very well mannered…it was a fun evening….they always where favorites… photo’s as I forgot to ask them if its ok to post on the blog….came back and called my wife, read a little and started packing up…
(c)2015Horst Kelly Photographer
This morning I will get some provisions and run by Home Deport to get some”fixin stuff”….then it off to start my meandering into the interior of Colorado..its only 104 miles from here, so it will be interesting to see how long it takes, what elevation gain it has, condition of roads, etc… don’t know how cell coverage will be, so the posts may be sparse…

(c)2015Horst Kelly Photographer
With that I’ll close….take care all, thanks for stopping by and Happy Trails…Horst

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

I am enjoying Life......

I believe I last wrote a post on Sunday….leaving Muleshoe, Tx for Villanueva State Park, NM..I took Us-84 west…a pleasant enough drive. Light traffic and the start of barren  landscape..the towns where small and few and far apart…Arrived at Ft Sumner mid morning and decided to see “Billy the Kid” Museum and Grave site….I have to say its in the middle of no where and I was expecting a Road Side “Snake Farm” atmosphere…to my surprise, Museum did a good job of representing Billy’s namesake…Had a lot of history to include his letters,  Rifles..and other keepsakes…The Museum is a good size and houses more than 60,000 antiques and historical artifacts.  the gravesite was plain and Spartan…it was a cemetery, but had not been expanded since the ‘30’s or so…I spent about 45 minutes and enjoyed the history lesson of “the Kid”, and the area to include the Fort…It was one of those times where your footprints are standing at the same place where history was made…good or bad…it seems like I have those moments a lot on these trips…it’s a good feeling!

Not a good shot...but its the Tombstone of Billy the Kid (c) Horst Kelly Photographer

I decided to take the long way to my next campground and traveled west a good bit, then working my way north to l-40 heading back East, exit 230 came fast enough and I headed north on NM-3….I was not prepared for the drive..they had a sign that indicates everything 30 plus feet should not use the road…Mmmmm. it was very narrow, had drop offs, no guard rails and not maintained very well…22 or so miles later I get to the Hamlet of Villanueva, make a right turn and a mile or less enter the campground…it’s a New Mexico State park…sits in a valley..about 4000 elevation…sites are mainly wooded.  I was going to take a primitive site, but it was too hot for me, so I took an electric site…..there is a stream running through the CG…makes for a nice sound in the evening and the Pecos River is in the area…unless that stream is the Pecos…There is NO…let me repeat, NO cell or internet coverage…not even with my Wilson sleek booster and enhanced antenna…each site has a picnic table some covered…mainly tents  and some pop-up  campers.. not much photo-ops…..grilled a salmon for dinner..relaxed and called it a night around 9pm….
Real two headed calf..stuffed...(c)Horst Kelly photographer
now that's "RV'ing....(c)Horst Kelly Photographer

Anyone remember these switchboards as a Kid..(c)Horst Kelly Photographer 

Monday morning I got up 0530, and hitched up at first 0700 I was on NM-3 going north… this portion was not as bad as getting there…12 miles up the road I hit l-25 and by early afternoon pulled into Cheyenne Mountain SP, Colorado. . I’m impressed by the neatness of the place…sites are a combination of semi-private open…they have 4 or 5  different areas…I’m sitting on top of a hill with Cheyenne Mountain as my “Back Drop”… and my opposite view is Colorado Springs down below..not bad…I’m here until Wednesday, (16 Sept)…and then its US-50 west.. Miles traveled yesterday 200, today 290….dinner this evening was pork steak and  salad…..Until next time…Horst sends

From my Cheyenne Mtn. campsite.....Life is going rather well (c)Horst Kelly Photographer

Sunday, September 13, 2015

A Relaxing Drive To The New Mexico Border...Almost

Today was Travel Day 2, though I thought of extending my stay at the Park for another night....its been a great way to unwind and find new adventures...BTW Day 1 put 233 miles on the Armadillo..

Last Evening's Dinner...steak, grilled corn, salad of tomatoes and sugar snap peas, Home Made Rye Bread.....watching the sun set..."priceless"

So Saturday morning I got up before the sun did, made some coffee and sat outside and watched the deer enjoying their morning "Buffet" first light I hitched up,cleaned up, and had one more for the road....I decided I would meander up to Littlefield, Texas, the Birth place of Wylon Jennings... he and some cohorts started  an RV Park years of charge, water and electric..its about 250 miles up the road...seemed like the perfect stopover...

There is something special about endless open, winding  roads....(c)2015Horst Kelly Photographer

I head west and north on Rt 153, then take Texas 70 until Sweetwater..billed as the "Rattlesnake Capital"..a short hop on l-20, then US-84 to Lubbock..where I proceed to take a wrong turn somewhere and after about 10 miles or so, my camping Guardian Angel helps me realize I'm heading South into the "abiss"....I regroup and get back on 84 and enjoy the scenery...speaking of scenery, I don't think I have seen so many wind turbines as I did between Coleman and Sweetwater...mile after mile on both sides of the amazing site and no way to capture it on film....a super wide angle lens wouldn't do it justice....

...and  Majestic wildlife...(c)2015Horst Kelly photographer 

After 240 miles, I arrive in Littlefield.  Its early afternoon, partly I enter the campgound, I see two RV's..both have seen better days and adjacent to the park appears to be a Fairground of some sort and a very Happy party in full I survey the situation, I think they may be better options elsewhere and decide to head up to Muleshoe, Tx...another 30 miles or so....good decision as I find another free overnight Park...called Ray and Donna West Park...maintained by a local society and the City Fathers...or Mothers...has elect and water...donations are accepted.  Gravel, level with 8 or so sites...includes a picnic table...I set up, leave the rig hitched and relax....Don't feel like cooking...end up across the street at Subway ordering a Veggie sandwich..Call the Bride and will hit the sack  as soon as the sun takes a rest...

Tomorrow its off  to Villanueva State Park, New Mexico... on the way is Billy the Kids Grave site...will probably play tourist and check it out and buy some sort of trinkets for Grandkids..  :)

Ray & Donna CG, Muleshoe, "Style Points"...but functional

Today's ride about 285 miles....Till next time...Horst sends

Friday, September 11, 2015

There’s Magic in the Air….Its Casita in my Rear View……

The morning came pretty early for me. Around 0400 hours…I’m guessing I was a “wee bit” excited about this trip!  The other reason is it was forecast to rain early and I still had stuff to pack…freezer items as well as camera gear…I got everything packed by 0530, switched to propane for the frig…..and I was good to go….made some coffee and waited for the Bride to come share a sunrise….Mornings are always best for sharing special moments with  my Better Half…..after a few more cups of coffee, it was time for hugs and kisses and I was pulling out of the driveway at 0815…overcast, but no rain…though it was getting hot and humid fast.

(c)2015Horst kelly Photographer

Site 59 Hords Creek CoE
Traffic was a bear, but there wasn’t any accidents…after about 45 miles or so I got onto l-10 heading north…50 miles or so I took exit 523 onto US87 north toward Fredericksburg….a 25 mile or so trip.  For some reason it was rather busy and I have to drive through the middle of town…After leaving, the traffic really thins out as do the towns…continuing on 87  go through the Hamlets of Cherry Spring, Loval Valley,, Mason and Brady and start heading north on rt 283 through Trickham, Santa Anne and a few miles north I reach Coleman..made a left(west) to Hords Creek Lake and a CoE campgound…price with senior discount, eight bucks….elect and water included….I can’t take credit for finding this Gem... Jerry of Eggrolling, enlightened me of this great place and went so far as to give me the number of the best site…got here, decided to stay 2 days, just to get myself into the “camping frame of mind”….Smile.  Thanks Jerry…there is virtually one one here…the sites are  somewhat secluded from eachother…a lot of shade trees …picnic table with overhang…and close to the water….what more can you ask for…..

There is a down side, no internet,even with a Wilson Sleek(at least with Verizon) and cell reception is touch and go….Sooooo, maybe this isn’t a down side..its to insure I get into the “Camping, relaxing Zone”..Smile

(c)2015Horst Kelly Photographer
Sunset from my site…looking sorta South…lake level LOW

Did I tell you I’ve seen several deer and hawks…though I’m running the A/C, I think its going to cool off where I can open the windows and maybe run the fantastic fan, if need be….well its time to crank up the Barbie and then chat with my favorite person….I’ll see if I can find some Wi-Fi somewhere tomorrow and post this entry…..until next time, Safe Travels…Horst sends

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Gentlemen ......Start your Toads.

Well its evening Tuesday, the 8th.....and I am READY.....everything is in order...I think...meds. are up to date...Doctors cleared, grass mowed, Casita washed and waxed,  The Xterra was packed this evening...this trip I've packed far less"stuff", hopefully I'm not leaving something important behind... camper is almost all packed, I've turned on the Frig, will run the A/C tires on the Albino Armadillo, and 2 new ones on the Xterra...Hitch up tomorrow afternoon...and leave at "O dark Thirty" on Thursday....just in time for rush hour.....
Big Bend (c) 2008-2015Horst Kelly Photographer

Plan is to travel no more than 250 miles per day....we'll see how that plays out...the weather for the first two days is suppose to be rainy...hopefully that will give some relief  on the triple digit temps.  I will be kinda, sorta traveling Northwest towards Cheyenne  Mountain, Colorado.... they have a State Park there...will spend about 3 days and visit some Nephews and Friends in the Colorado Springs area.  From there its  meandering towards Crested Butte  and back to the Gunnison area,,,and then do the Million Dollar Highway and some "Fall Photo's"..
Big Bend..(c)2008-2015 Horst kelly Photographer

Next, its off to the Southwest..I'm looking at Canyonlands; Page and the  Slot Canyons(get some star shots)...Like what Jean of Borderbrae Images did...they really where magnificent; Monument Valley; and a little R&R at the Superstition Mountains....and whatever else I may "trip over" Yogi said...if you come to a fork in the road....take it..  :)

Sooo that's my "made in Jello" plan....Saddle Up ...Head'em up and move'em out...Horst sends

BBQ....(c)2008-2015Horst Kelly Photographer