Wednesday, November 2, 2022

2022 A Year of Transition....Location, Home, and Camping Style

Yup...its been a year since my last  post. One thing this year has not been for us is "Idle". There has been constant movement, not always forward, but movement never the less. I will try to keep this short, but still have content.


The New Year brought us   snow, and more snow. Add to that a few   tornadoes here and there, throw in some  medical issues and Bang, before we knew it   was April 2022.

April was a time of sorrow and reflection . We lost Janet's Father...98 years  young. He had a rough two years with a couple hip injures, broken arm, infected foot  and other sundry mishaps. He kept   a positive attitude   till the end. 

Father-in-Law 2013 age 88 


One of the good things about moving to this area was our ability to take frequent day trips to visit  him. Another "great one" of the greatest generation passes! He is missed! 

Some photo's while traveling the Back Roads of Missouri...."Blue Highways" as JerryC of Eggrolling calls them!





  The summer brought many   trips to Kansas City and some hot rivaled our weather that we had in Texas. We did manage to plant a small veggie garden, other sundry plants and finally got our   home somewhat in order. Had  out of town friends come visit and the big event was a trip to Charleston S.C. to attend our youngest grandsons H.S. graduation! 
How time flies...  2022  Freshman at Coastal Carolina.. 
 PGA golf pro Dustin Johnson attended CCU. Maybe just maybe.........  Opi can dream!

 What a super visit it was to see the kids, grandkids and SIL's parents.  Great memories from that trip. The trip to Charleston and back was very scenic. Sure beat the old way from Texas and the Texas to KC trips. Relaxing to say the least.

On a Blue Highway.(c)HorstKelly

Late summer  I took a couple 3 day camping trips around the Mark Twain Forest. I started my truck build, at least version 1.0. I found that I didn't need the amount of "Stuff" I had always taken in the Casita, plus with only a 5 ft.  truck bed there wasn't the storage room I had before. I put in   3/4 inch plywood floor in two pieces. Tongue and groove . On top of that I built 2 storage units on each side using 2x2 inch framing and black caulk boards for the sides. The dimensions are about 50+ inches long, 22.5 inches high and 16 inches deep. The passenger's side holds my Bluetti solar power station, which consists of about 200 amp hour lithium battery and 1000 watt invertor and a mpp solar charger. Also on the passenger side I installed a 12 volt marine type fuse box. Simple wiring set up but it meets all my electrical needs. I have a 200 watt solar panel on the roof top. Also have 2 twenty liter water containers. both with their own 12 volt pumps. One for drinking water, the other for showers, washing dishes, etc.   I   have a sitting area  with a makeshift  (portable) desk. The aisle is a little less than 24 inches(about the same as the Casita aisle). I put a Bass Boat seat in the aisle  to relax, read  and do some work on the laptop..... My 12 volt fridge sits in the back seat area of the truck as does 2 extra storage boxes. Plywood floor is not bolted to the truck bed. It is wedged in. does not move. The two storage areas are not bolted to the floor , are bolted to runners on the side. They don't move. The beauty is I can take the entire camping module out in less than 10 minutes, which includes the plywood flooring.

3/4" plywood flooring, tongue and groove

Electrical system

 I've taken it out a  couple times and so far am happy with how it's set up. If I think that it needs no more tweaking I will probably tear it down are rebuild using Aluminum extrusion as the framing. I still need to put a heat source in there. I have a couple ideas I'm playing with.

Bed of truck. Side panels  are chalk board

Loft Bed


with clam shell open, can stand up and move around

No, its not as comfy as the Casita, but it will take me to places the Casita couldn't. I don't know how much longer I can physically go on these trips so this provides the best opportunity get up and go without too much effort. 

Lake side dispersed campsite in National forest

Ridgeline dispersed campsite in National Forest

River bank dispersed campsite in Nat'l Forest

In early October had some more friends from Texas come visit. Since then I've taken a couple more short trips and some day trips just scouting around. Photography has taken a back seat this year and hopefully the coming year I can get back in the photography groove...Settling in has taken longer than I anticipated, especially with all that  has been going on, and just trying to find new doctors, dentists, etc. 

Lakeside dispersed campsite, early morning fog

Another shot of the lakeside campsite in Nat'l Forest 

River bank campsite. Nat'l Forest

In a nutshell, this past year had it's ups and down's, I had hoped to go on more extended camping trips...but sometime stuff happens but at the end of the day it all works out in the wash.  The good news is that this was the right move. Janet is closer to family and that has brought a big smile to everyone....if we could just figure out how to move Charleston to Missouri...that would make it better then perfect!

Hopefully more to come with the next trip "around the Sun". Thanks for stopping by! Horst sends

Memory shot...Ahhhh, Big Bend




Saturday, December 25, 2021




Hope this post finds you enjoying Christmas with Family and friends...We had part of the family over Christmas Eve, a wonderful and relaxing time. Went to Kansas City today to visit Brides father(97 years young) also one of her sisters and BIL.....Wished we could of had or been with daughter , SIL and Gkids from Charleston...

Will do an update soon...time to run and eat leftovers from yesterday evening...Mmm, Mmmm good!

Wishing Family, Friends and a the Blogging Community a Wonderful and Relaxing Christmas and may the coming year be filled with Love, Happiness and Good health!!  Horst sends 

Monday, October 4, 2021

Update.....From the Missouri Side of Oz

 It's been three months since my last post, but feels like yesterday! A busy time. We are in our new home in Ozark, Missouri area. The movement of house hold goods went very major damage and very little scrapes and scratches...and all items accounted for. The moving company is one of the best I have ever had ...and I moved 16 times or so  during my career to include five over of the ocean moves....these folks out performed those moves!  We're just finished unpacking our last box....I'm guessing we should have had some more garage sales BEFORE we moved😏 a lot of stuff going to various organizations and churches. 

25 minutes from our home

Our Texas home is pending a sale. The folks that are buying it(hopefully) had a hiccup with their house  sale and  asked if they could rent while continuing their own sale process, they wanted to get their teenager in school before classes started. So we still have some lose ends...I've already taken a trip back to Texas.

In the middle of the move I got my Alu-Cab Canopy Camper. I'm very happy with it...I'm still taking it back to folks to have some stuff "tweaked" and  other stuff added. I have not done any building it out on the inside. I'm still am trying to decide what will fit my needs and what I need/want to carry with me on trips. I have decided on my electrical set up. Based on the type/length of my trips I went the simple route. I am going to get a 200 watt solar panel, fuse panel for wiring and a  Bluetti EB240 Portable Power Station 240WH solar generator. Based on what I calculated my electrical needs will be, I think this will unit will meet, even exceed my requirements. Its a all in one unit, lithium battery, mppt solar controller, sinewave inverter, etc..and the cost is less than if I bought individual components.

I've camped in it a total of 4 nights on my trip back from San Antonio, and it worked well. No major issues and I got  an idea of things I'll need and don't need that I had in the Casita. Hope to start building it in the next month or so, but if not I can still go camping off grid by some lake or mountain stream....and put a smile on my face.

Hope those folks that are still stopping by and reading the blog are doing well  have stayed healthy, and are able go out on some adventures. Until next time...Horst sends 

PS..Alan Jackson song I identify with.... 

(c) Horst wake-up call one morning in Colorado
(c) Horst wake-up call one morning in 2014, Colorado

Sunday, July 4, 2021

What's New in the Land of Oz.....

 I'll try to keep this short....First, we will be moving to South Central Missouri.  Now the back story....condensed version .On one of my recent camping trips, `sitting and sipping a whiskey watching the Sun disappear below the horizon I starting thinking about the future and how this past year has highlighted how fragile life is and that We're not "bullet proof" . My thoughts drifted as to  where my Bride would want to live if she were alone.  When I returned back home I posed the question to her.... if anything were to happen to me(I am 10 years older than her) where would you like to spend the rest of your years....anywhere was open for discussion.( was hoping she would say New Zealand).😏 she really didn't want to  discuss "negative stuff"...Finally got passed that and the short version was she liked the area around Big Cedar Lodge, in Southern Missouri.. We went house hunting on line and found a home we liked, put in an offer and bingo, we close this month.. The new home is close to Janet's Sisters and the Kids. 

I will miss Texas, its culture, values, people and most of all, the many friends I have made. I'll be returning for many visits to friends and to continue to explore its magnificent and diverse landscape!

Close to where we will live

Second. I forgot to mention in previous blogs that I got a new truck. Nothing wrong with the Ram that I had.....except one minor detail. I asked Janet to drive one day as an old ankle injury was acting up... Bottom line , she could barely touch the gas and brake way could she drive it safely. I always kid her about having 12 inch legs. :)) I still wanted a truck,  I went for a mid size. Ended up buying a GMC Canyon All Terrain 4x4. Got it last November, it towed the Casita with no problem.  Need to remove the cabover and place the Alu-Cab Canopy on it, hopefully in the near future.

Speaking of the Alu-Cab Canopy Camper, it  has arrived on the East Coast and should be in transit to the folks that will install it. The first order of business is get the electric (12 volt) system set up. I'm still debating about getting a all in one solar generator system such as Jackery or Bluetti,  or going with the norm type of system 12 volt set up,( 200 amp hour lithium battery, solar panels, mppt controller fuse box, inverter, charger, etc)  still doing some research.

 Now you know what's happening Deep in the Heart of Texas...and the future in the Land of Oz....well near it. Until Next time...... Let's go out and make a Memory or three!!  Horst sends

Can't close without a sunset.😊

(c)2021Horstkelly photographer

Bellamy Brothers and John Anderson.... applies to more than just Country Music....just saying!

click on it.

Wednesday, May 19, 2021

A New Dawn Coming

 Better late than never...Did get side tracked as the Bride and I went to Kansas City last month do to FIL breaking his hip/femur. He's 96 years old, so it's not a "walk in the park" for him. He's currently in Rehab and not out of the woods, but his attitude is positive.  One day at a time!!

Monument Valley with Casita

While we were up there did a side trip to Springfield Mo. to see one of the Twins and while there ordered my Alu-Cab Canopy camper. The down side is there is now a 3+ month wait. Oh well,  that will give me more time to buy overlanding/dispersed camping toys  before the unit gets here.

Selling the Casita was quite an event. It happened in less than 24 hours...I posted it on the Fiberglass and Casita Forums at 7:30 pm and by 10 pm I had 7 potential buys. In fact one person said why don't you have all of us put in bids. That I wouldn't do. Didn't want this turning into a bidding war. I told them all if the first person bowed out I would go the the second person ....But a nice young couple from Colorado bought it. In Fact his parents that live on the Coast drove the 3 hours to come up the next morning(Saturday) and look at it and put down earnest money to hold it until Monday and they were up here early Monday with a wheelbarrow full of cash.😊 

Early dawn with the Armadillo 

Its been almost 2 months since I sold the Albino Armadillo and I do miss her ....there's been days were I think I've  made a huge mistake. and feel like I've won the title of Village Idiot.😀 I'm sure once I get the new platform, start building it out and take that first trip all will be "right with the World" again! 

 I've already got 3 pages of "stuff" I want to buy and drew up a wiring diagram on how to set up my 12 volt electric system etc. I plan on powering the system with a two hundred amp hour lithium battery, two hundred watts of solar, will not tie in to my truck battery/alternator.  Use my generator as back up power.  Will have a charger of some sort, couple 3/4 options on various types of chargers. I have narrowed  the build out using either 8020 aluminum extraction or PVC form board. The form board appears to bond very well and is extremely strong, water-resistant and light weight. 

New adventure platform  Alu-Cab canopy camper shell

In closing I want to acknowledge  Eggrolling that details the adventures of Jerry, Wanda and Sally. They have decided to stand down their Blog.  I will miss reading about the latest awesome Journey they are on. More important, a close Bond  formed between us, even though we have never met. Hopefully one of these days we will share a campfire at some dispersed campsite in the middle of no where. All the best to you Jerry...and of course Wanda and Sally!

I suppose I'll stop rambling and do some needed work around the house. Hope everyone is doing alright, are safe and have had an opportunity to venture outdoors to camp and explore at some favorite/secret spot of yours! I'll post again when I have some new and interesting stuff. Happy Trails...Horst sends

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