Friday, March 26, 2021

Great Last Casita trip...The Armadillo is for sale

 It's been a couple months and there has been "stuff " going on in our small corner of the World. The storm of 2021 was a major event to say the least. We faired pretty well compared to other folks. We did have rolling outages for a week or so, no water for about two weeks and temperatures that dropped into the 20's.......But at the end of the day we made it without any "scars" It did postpone numerous things I had planned...Kicked that can down the road a bit. We did get our second Covid Vaccine  the day before the storm and outages hit. ...Felt very lucky as it was iffy if we would be able to get vaccinated that day due to the cold temps. and the folks having to administer that outside(Drive thru setup).

(c)2021HorstKellyPhotographer..view back window

Though my "Last Casita " trip got postponed I was able to pull out of the driveway on 3 March and head NorthEast to Sandy Creek CoE. What a great time it was. I camped on the other side of the CG, right on the 

lake...Mostly empty during the week and a few folks on the weekend. I enjoyed myself to the Max. Did some touring of the area. Went to Boykin Springs Rec Area...some dispersed camping, small lake, etc.Also went to Sam Rayburn Lake, Sabine Nat'l Forest and drove into Louisiana . All in all it was a great two was windy, a few evenings it was chilly...but all in all was very relaxing.. a lot of outdoor cooking, reading, touring and a few photo's. 

(c)2021 Horst Kelly Photographer

When I returned I started on the cleaning, waxing of the camper. That's now just about done. other stuff had a higher precedent such has cutting  dead trees, cleaning up all the dead vegetation due to the freeze, etc. 


I am putting ads on the Fiberglass and Casita Forums, also the local Facebook Forum. Hopefully that will bring a buyer. We'll see. Here is a link to the Fiberglass Forum in case you know of anyone interested in  a Casita.

2009 Casita SD for sale

When I sell the Casita I will order the Alu-Cab Canopy camper....and a New Adventure begins! Until next time...Happy Trails and safe Journey's...Horst sends

(c)2021HorstKellyPhotographer..1st Bluebonnet photo of 2021..

Monday, January 25, 2021

My 2021 Agenda.....A change in Direction

Hoping that everyone had a relaxing Christmas and may 2021 bring each of you Good Health and Happiness...oh, and many terrific adventures!!
 We had a very quiet, and reflective Christmas. Though we didn't have family here...we connected with all the kids and Gkids Christmas day...a lot of laughs and many walks down "memory lane" of past Christmas mornings.
(c)2011 Horst Kelly Photographer....Colorado

Between Christmas and New Year Day I had time to reflect on 12 years of camping with the Casita and the many adventures I had. Especially the annual 2 to 3 month long trips to the North and Southwest....of course my 2013 trip with the two Grandsons was the icing of adventures. I also had a terrific trip "BC", (Before Casita) with my Gson from Utah, Arizona and Colorado tent camping.
2009 Picking up Casita 

 The years with the Albino Armadillo have been awesome, not only for the adventures, but more importantly for all the Friends I've made...most that I have never physically met...that have become "best friends". Since 2017 I have not been on any extended Western trips, mainly do to my Brides health issues...and of course the Pandemic. This led me to do some soul searching on what the future holds. First I still want to continue camping, hiking, photography and a bit of solitude. I also want to take at least one trip each year out West though condense it to one or two specific locations for a no more than 3 weeks.  Do more trips in the 7 to 10 day range. (The Bride smiled at that plan)...As they say a Happy Wife is a Happy Life.:))
(c)2014 Horst Kelly photographer..camping in the Tetons

Given This new format for my trips I decided to look at the Casita and asked myself if there is another platform that might serve me better. That took a while..I love the Casita and the comfort it provides,  also the places it lets me take "Her" However at the end of the day I decided on another platform, a sort of hybrid truck camper. I felt if I was going to have to sell the Casita at some point, why not do it now while its still in good condition and not too dated. 
(c)2020 Horst Kelly Photographer...Enjoying Canyonlands

Given that I enjoy dispersed camping, I looked into what the "Overland" Youngsters  where using as their camping platform. A large variety to say the least. I finally settled on a Alu-Cab canopy camper.  I haven't ordered it yet as I told Janet I would sell the Casita first. :))...Plus I want to take one last trip  with the Armadillo ..a sort of  farewell voyage. :))

The plan is that I take my last Casita trip no later than middle of Feb. and put the Casita up for sale the end of Feb or first part of March....Though "Plans" are like we'll see.
(c)2019Horst Kelly Photographer...Big Cedar, Mo.

 I will do my next post on the Alu-Cab and why I chose it. Below are a couple videos that give you an idea of what the camper is and isn't....and yes I have friends/family that say I have gone off the deep end in even thinking about getting this platform...especially given my age(78) and assorted aliments. :))

Start watching this second one at 1.38 into the video, unless you want to learn about his truck mods.


 I am excited about this new direction and how it will change the style/type of trips I take....Until next time, safe Journey and well wishes....Horst sends

...and a new Day begins:

(2014)Horst Kelly Photographer...Monument Valley (Mittens) sunrise

Thursday, December 24, 2020


 Want to wish my Friends and especially the Blogging Family a Very Merry Christmas...I hope this post finds all of you Happy and Healthy. Its not the kinda year we would have wished for....But maybe just maybe, next year we can all share a campfire with family and friends at a favorite campsite from the past !

I'll do a year end post next week to include plans for next year....take care, be safe and head over to your "Memory Box" and pull out a favorite that will put a smile on your face. Cheers!! Horst sends

Monday, October 5, 2020

Doesn't take much to put a smile on my face

Sunset at Off grid campsite ..(c) 2020 Horst Kelly Photographer

 Just returned from my New Mexico "solitude" trip.....and what a great adventure it was, though it had some challenges that kept popping up. It began with not knowing if I could even get into New Mexico. I received a email from a fellow Texan Casita traveler(Dennis Cudd), who read my blog, and  emailed me that the Governor of NM had just signed a executive order concerning folks from other states traveling into New Mexico. The EO provided a list of States that folks would have to do a self quarantine upon entering the state...and Texas happened to be on that list. I had been in touch with a New Mexico official prior to the Governors new order and was assured  it was ok to travel. Given the new info  I called the local  officials  and they  stated that dispersed camping would suffice as a self quarantine as long as I didn't go to any public establishments and wore a mask . Bureau of Land Management and National Forest officials also gave me a "thumbs up". A big thank you to Dennis for the heads up....
Sunset at Off grid campsite ..(c) 2020 Horst Kelly Photographer

Having hitched up Sunday...when the sun popped over the horizon I was pulling out of the driveway...smiling from ear to ear.....all of a sudden I hear a very loud grinding sound...can't determine if it is coming from the truck or the casita. I decide to drive on a bit...the faster I go the louder it gets. I decide to return home, backed in and check the Casita...don't see anything suspicious, looked under the truck and see what appears to be fresh shiny rubs on my drive shaft.  there is a plate above it and it has bolts that may be rubbing...Can't figure out what the plate is and thought maybe with the extra weight it lowered it enough to rub against the driveshaft.   Took it to the local mechanic in town got it on a rack and sure enough the bolts were loose and are making contact with the drive shaft...tighten the bolts and I was on my way, BTW, the mechanic had no clue what the plate was for. By the time I got home it was too late to get to my first like a shuttle launch we are now starting at T -20.

Sunrise at off grid campsite..(c)2020HorstKelly Photographer

Tuesday at first light I am again pulling out of the driveway...purring right along, no noise. 10 minutes or so into my trip I glance down at the steering wheel and notice my left hand has a large deep gash...looks ugly. I pull over , clean it, pour some alcohol on it and find a bandage large enough to accommodate the cut. Looks like it could use a couple stiches...but that would become an all day ordeal. I'll just keep watching it.  I have no idea how that happened.   I drove to Lamesa, Texas, free city park, early to bed and was on the road before day break on Wednesday. 

Got to the Lincoln National Forest early afternoon...I had done some research and knew of at least five different locations...turned on my GAIA app and found the first one no sweat. Off road drive wasn't bad, not one other soul in the area..sitting high on a bluff, Mesa, hill. mainly solar panel should have no trouble finding "sunrays"....unhitched, leveled out, set up chair and set back and watched the World without: noise, covid-19, TV, people, and other assorted distractions.....though there was a good amount of smoke from the Northwest fires. Got out my cast iron pan and  fried a Flatiron steak, onions, mushrooms. Coleslaw and tomatoes, French bread toasted  with garlic butter on the pan and eine dunkel bier.....took an evening hike while the sun was setting and called it a day....I am smiling

Couple breakfasts

Woke up before daybreak, made some strong coffee and went outside to watch Mother Nature wake up... and for the next 10 days I went to 3 different dispersed locations  in the area. Hiking, reading(which I rarely do), cooking and a few photo' was like "summer vacation" in grade school....only better!

Coleman CoE campsite(c)2020HorstKellyPhotographer

I then decided to leave New Mexico and go to Coleman Texas and spend some time at the CoE campground there...six days if my memory is correct...I was the only person in my section of the campground except for Saturday and part of Sunday ...had a site on the lake ...pure Heaven....woke up one morning and decided it was time to head home. 

Off grid campsite

It was a wonderful trip..exceeded all my expectations...I still had food and whiskey left(from previous post), my wound on my hand is healing nicely, the camper with my new shocks did make a difference, my new solar setup and the two 6 volt batteries did great. I never went below 12.6 when I was off grid. didn't run around looking for photo ops-took very few photo's

Sunset at Off grid campsite ..(c) 2020 Horst Kelly Photographer

Until next time, Happy camping and safe travels... Dennis, thanks again and I hope you had a great time at South Fork!

Horst sends

Saturday, September 5, 2020

Gitty-yup Little Doggie...Gitty -Yup

 Its been awhile.....and its not due to being lazy, or having no motivation, or bored....the simple answer is...I haven't done anything to "write home about"...sure I've washed the vehicles so many times I'm wearing the wax off . I keep mowing the yard and there is nothing to mow, Told the Bride I'd do the laundry, clean the house and other sundry tasks I usually don't do. The most excitement I have is going to HEB curb-service to get the groceries.

Well all that's about to change...I'm going take the Albino Armadillo on the  road heading northwest . Not a long drive and not for any length of time. Just long enough to get a little bit of sanity back. One would say I've gone off the deep I've been in "self isolation" since March and I'm going to some Nat'l Forest some isolated place, with no humans in sight of my camp....I've convinced myself there is a difference between being in a "quarantine" environment and  sitting on top of some forested Mesa/Mountain and  listening to  the silence of the woodland. Hopefully there won't be a cast of thousands looking for the same slice of Heaven.

So it off to New Mexico in a week or so...I've got most everything completed and its a matter of finishing some tasks around the house....Its not an eight week trip that I usually take this time of year, but it is an adventure and I couldn't be happier. The Bride says she'll be fine and Son and DIL are close by, so all is right with the World, at least my little slice of it!

My main focus will not be photography, rather each day will be filled by relaxing, hiking, cooking, and sipping some smooth whiskey as the sun sets, shuteye...wake up and repeat!  I'll do that until I run out of Food or Whiskey...whichever comes last. :)) I'm thinking about two weeks unless there is a lot of "Human" wildlife ...which will drive me home sooner. :((

Pendleton Directors' Reserve Canadian Whisky |

So That's it in a nutshell. If I have internet and its fast enough, I'll post a blog or 3..if not so be it. 

Hoping Everyone is having a relaxing Labor Day Weekend...Horst sends

Saturday, July 4, 2020

America....Independence Day

A short note to say we are still kicking.....trying to be productive...mentally and physically....We'll see how July and August play out...Hopefully a trip is in the making.....soon!

South Texas Sunset
....Have a Relaxing  Independence Day. Horst sends

A video that speaks to my feelings :

Monday, May 25, 2020

To Our Veterans who made the Ultimate Sacrifice

In all  this craziness we are currently experiencing, may be pause for a moment to remember and pay tribute. To all who served and died; family, friends, class mates and strangers—May we long remember and never take your sacrifice for granted.  Horst sends

Click on utube below

Sunday, March 22, 2020

1930 first run on the banks...2019 1st ever run on toilet paper...Mmmmmm Correlation ?

I've received some emails asking if I've started on my Western trip yet so I thought I'd do a short update...
(c)2015HorstKelly Photographer...Supersitions Mtns from camper

Until a week and a half or so I was still working towards a departure to Alabama Hills and Death Valley  NLT the end of March....Ms Casita had all her work done and only needed a wash and wax....Provisions had all been bought and the final countdown was proceeding....Then the consequences of the virus stated getting ugly fact our local HEB(Texas main grocery store) now had 3 deputies posted inside. in addition to the local  hoarding of "stuff", it appears out of town people folks were raiding our local stores and it was getting difficult to manage. Rumor had it that people from as far away as Houston (about 200 miles away) were driving here to get stuff. Life was getting crazy.
(c)2014HorstKelly Photography..National Sand Dunes, Colorado

Based on the situation I decided that there was no way I was going to leave Janet by herself to deal with the craziness of what was happening. In my own mind getting in a camper and boondocking would probably be the best thing we could do, but I knew she wouldn't go for that.
(c)2014HorstKelly Photographer..somewhere in Canyonlands

So here we are,  social distancing ourselves from the permitting we try and walk each day, do stuff around the house, daily calls to friends and family and hope this all ends soon. Though I had been really looking forward to this trip for a long while, the decision to stay home was the only rational one I could have made..for both Janet and myself...and with age, health issues, etc, I don't need to be a social butterfly! The virus is a serious concern, especially for folks our age.

I also have been reading that Death Valley basically closed....and the trend is continuing with State Parks and some National Parks as well as some BLM camp sites. A good source of info in that regard is:  campedium
(2015)HorstKelly a Hidden Gem in the Tetons

That's about all folks...hope all is well with you and that life will get back to normal sooner than later....the probing question still remains...What are people doing with ALL that toilet paper! Horst sends

(c)2019HorstKelly Photographer....Texas Lake sunset

Monday, March 2, 2020

Casita modifications

Just a short post to to say I'm still kicking  and give you a report on a little trip I just returned from.

I went to Haslet, Texas to get some "mods" done on the Casita. First, let me tell you the crew, which includes Lynn, Warren, Terry, Josh and Dan are top self. They have taken on the task that Larry Gamble began many years ago and this organization hasn't missed a beat! It was a pleasure to meet and spend some time with them. I had a great time chatting about Casita road trips, modifications and how watching a sunrise or sunset in a Casita is about as good as it gets. It was another one of those occasions that validated the "Casita is Family" philosophy. If you're interested in the scope of there operation, here is their link: Little Home on the Road

In addition,before I went up there I did some modifications on my own. First I changed the  12 volt battery and went  with two 6 volt (golf cart) batteries. Placed them on my rear rack(where my genny used to sit) and ran the cables under the camper(frame) to the what use to
 house the 12 volt battery...the old battery compartment now has my solar controller mounted in it. I used the 2 vent holes to take the new cables, and the door vent to be used for my wire to the solar panels, no new holes are some pics" Also 2 pics from the table from Ikea, cut legs to 13 inches and put them on the benches...A lot lighter and more secure than the Birch table I had fabricated. Other just shows entrance and single bed.

Things are falling into place for my tentative trip to Alabama Hills and Death Valley...though the date keeps moving a little later in the month...But I'm not going to whine. As they say... "Ladies/Gentlemen start your engines " With that, I will close and provide another update soon! Horst sends

Thursday, January 30, 2020

2019 Recap and What the New Year Holds

I'm guessing its a bit late for the annual recap of 2019, but here goes. It was a year of travel that for the most part did not involve the Albino Armadillo...Two Casita trips is all I took this year... February saw me head to West Texas and land at Big Bend meeting  a couple of "Casita Cousins"..along with two VW Camper folk...Had a awesome time, less photography and more camping, relaxing, enjoying life stuff. I followed that with a late Fall trip to East Texas...same format about relaxing, a bit of solitude and and trying out dutch oven cooking. Both trips were just what the doctor ordered....
Cedar Lodge (c)2018Horst Kelly Photographer

But that's not all the traveling I did in 2019....We kept busy driving I-35 north. Took 3 trips to Kansas City, to include one trip to help celebrate a surprise 50th Birthday party for one of our SIL's....Great party, able to meet and re meet a lot of his and daughters friends.

We took a trip  to Claremore , Oklahoma to celebrate the 100 year anniversary of what was once the West Point of the Southwest...Super time and met some classmates...what a walk down memory lane that was...The Bride was impressed with the entire event...well other than the thunder storm and tornado that touched down the first evening. :))

We also took a week trip to Big Cedar Lodge on the Missouri Arkansas the Ozark Mountains. what a magnificent place that is, nestled in the rolling hills and overlooking a lake...stayed in a log cabin that was the icing on the cake...a fun of the twins and her husband came down for a day and we went bike riding and did a little about quality time...
Big Cedar Lodge (c)2019HorstKelly Photographer

In between those adventures we keep moving with the speed of a glacier in looking for a new home closer to stuff we now seem to frequent with some regularity...hospitals, day surgeries, Doctors, dentists, labs, ct scans, ex-rays, and the list goes on ...but for now we maintain and smile and thank our Maker for our good fortune.

2020 is starting off with preparation, anticipation and countdowns...First I just bought two 6 volt golf cart batteries and will be mounting those on the back rack that use to carry my generator. my generator will be mounted on the tongue..also building a new table/desk for the rear of the Casita...I had built a table made out of birch that was too month I'm going to north Texas to Little home on the Road run by Terry and wife Lynn...they started a shop mainly for Casita's since Larry Gamble retired...They have been super receptive, friendly and helpful. Looking forward to meeting them...They're going put some shocks on, also a set of stabilizers in the front,  the fridge hinges, solar port and some other "stuff" .
Big Cedar Lodge (c)2019HorstKelly Photographer

A west coast trip is in the making....probably in early spring. My plan is to hitch up and head to Death Valley and Alabama Hills as

prime destinations...with several side trips( suggestions would be most welcome). The trip won't be the 2 or 3 month long ones I use to take...but will run in the neighborhood of 4-6 weeks. I am looking foward to this one...Its one that I have wanted to do for several years and this year all the stars and planets seemed to have lined they say Yippi-ki-ya!
Finding my pot of gold, Tetons(c)2017HorstKellyPhotographer

I think with that I'll close for now...more updates to follow...Happy Trails to All!  Horst sends