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 here...in 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 world....weather 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 Photorapher...in 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 required.....here are some pics" Also 2 pics from the camper...new 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 border...in 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 time...one of the twins and her husband came down for a day and we went bike riding and did a little photography...talk 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 heavy....next 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 up....as 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

Tuesday, December 24, 2019

Merry Christmas

A short post to wish all my Blogging  Friends/family a Very Merry and Blessed Christmas!

I will attempt a year end summary post this weekend .

Also a reminder of our troops past and present:

A Merry Christmas to all our Military who are serving and to those who have served...Thank You





















Tuesday, December 17, 2019

A Great Trip.......

I've been home nearly a week...hit the ground running getting all the pre-Christmas stuff done. Plus it seems I have all my semi-annual medical appointments right before the new year.
(c)2019HorstKelly Photographer

Got home just in time as the weather has taken a dive and arctic air with 25 mph winds can get a little hairy. I am glad I took the trip. First, I got to check out all the recent  Casita work and everything was functioning perfect. Second, I wanted to try some thing new...Instead of photography being the primary focus, I though I'd concentrate on exploring,  camp cooking and downtime, another way of saying "doing absolutely nothing"  ....It worked, I think I've come up with a new "Strategic Plan". haha.
Cooking with my Dutch Oven lid...my take on a skottle


Flat iron steak with garlic/herb butter

I also think that with needing to stay closer to the home front, I'm going to regroup and take trips that will put me no further out than a day and a half or so from home.....and I'll take a week to ten day trips once every 6 weeks or so..There are still some places I want to go to: Alabama Hills, Tetons and Bluff area...but instead of 2+ months, I will try to only be out 3 or less weeks. We'll see how that all pans out.

This year seems to have flown by and we haven't made any real progress towards a decision to finding a new location/home ....We have had a garage sale, cleaned stuff out of the attic, closets, donated stuff to various organizations, etc but that's about the extent of our effort to selling and moving...We'll see how we progress in the new year.
(c)2019HorstKelly Photographer

Hope The Blogging family is getting settled into the Christmas spirit and is coming to a close on a positive note...Take care my friends...only one more week till Christmas Eve...Horst sends


Wednesday, December 4, 2019

What the Doctor Ordered....The Outdoors

By Sunday evening I was packed...checked and rechecked all systems and the countdown was moving in the right direction....The weather is still cool in the morning so no walk on Monday...Did one final walk through, then I hitched up and by 0930 I was pulling out of the driveway. Destination was northeast about 3 hours away at the Yegua Creek CG..A CoE run campground . Somerville  Lake.It was a great drive, nice vistas,  no mechanical issues ...stopped a few time just 'cause and arrived about 1300 hrs....I got site 2 right on the water. I would say 60 percent of the sites are closed for the winter...the sites that are being left open are close to each other with no natural bearer for some privacy. It is a great setting. I spent the afternoon walking around the park...Appears that 2+ years ago the grounds received some major flood damage...One boat ramp still is inoperative and numerous trees are down, etc.. Lots of deer and other wild life roaming freely...makes for a terrific place for a sip of Pendleton and a chaser of solitude watching the sun set over the lake.....
Yegua Creek CG..On the Lake

Next morning got up early, went for a walk and then made some strong coffee...with a side of bacon, hash browns and eggs....took the car and went exploring a bit....wind picked up late afternoon, early evening...so non grilling or dutch oven cooking(my first attempt will have to wait). As I watched the sun set for a second evening, I decided that first light I would hitch up and travel 3 hours East and see if I can land a spot at Lake Livingston State Park....why you asked, no real reason, I've never been there and wanted to see what it was like...

Well it's large campground. Probably five rings  about 160 sites total. But the way they are laid out it seems like only your ring is the entire CG.  Got there around 1230 or so and lucked out. Since I wanted to stay through Saturday, pickens where real slim...Spot is somewhat small. Its wooded and has more privacy than Somerville...but I'm not on the water...its in the middle of a forest, which I enjoy.

Spent the afternoon going to the various areas of the campground ...just a large forest that butts up to the lake...I'm sure this weekend it will be filled to the max, but right now only about two other campers in the loop I'm in...I'm enjoying this.
Lake Livingston CG

This evening I thought I would do some dutch oven cooking...OK, attempt is a better way of putting it. I made some beef stew...meat, potatoes, onion, mushrooms, carrots and spices and such. mixed some water and a bottle of Guinness..cooked for 90+ minutes in my makeshift propane stove vs charcoal....tasted pretty good...so far I've not had to make a mad dash to the "throne" or put my head in a bucket....we'll see what tonight presents!
My outdoor kitchen

I think I'll close and see if I can upload. Using my phone as a hotspot for the laptop. Until next time, enjoy the moment...and for Jerry, I hope the back/nerve problem is getting back to normal!..Safe travels All. Horst sends

It is what it is.......Ahhhh, if you could only smell it!

Friday, November 29, 2019

Early Christmas Gift......Taking Ms. Casita for a Stroll

Though its been a couple months, its not been idle time.  The Bride and I went to Kansas City and afterwards went  Southeast to Big Cedar Lodge in the Ozarks...on the Missouri/Arkansas border...Both were magnificent adventures.
(c)2019Horst Kelly photographer

We stayed in KC for a little over a week.....spent time with Brides family...FIL is 95 this month and still as strong as ever...Stayed at one of the daughters to try and help them move as they were in the final stages of closing on their home and moving out on 6 beautiful acres....It was a great visit...though we both caught a....I need a "hot toddy" or 3, cold!

We then drove the 4 or so hours to Big Cedar Lodge. I huge resort complex on a lake...nestled in the Ozark Mountains.  Its owned by the founder of Bass Pro Shops(Johnny Morris), and he's done a terrific job in maintaining the beauty of the area.....its NOT a Disney World type of environment. There is alot of trails, boating, golf, can even take a golf cart on a self guided tour down Top of the Rock, which includes a small cavern..Dogwood Canyon is about half hour drive...hiking, biking or tram.  Both areas are loaded with waterfalls.
(c)2019HorstKelly Photographer

We stayed a week and despite our colds we had a great time. Stayed in a log cabin with a loft..had a balcony, overlooking the forest/lake....a super relaxing time. Will definitely go there again...do need to make reservations several months out. Here is the link to my website with the Lodge area photo's"

https://www.texasreflectionsphotography.com/2019-Big-Cedar-Lodge

I've had the Casita in the shop of a Friend of a friend for almost two months...mainly to replace the fridge..though though it only needed the cooling unit...the price difference wasn't that much..took a month to resolve that issue and get another one. ...But all is well now. Still want to get the "Casita shocks" put on...will do that after the New Year.

 Needless to say I have a BAD case of hitch-itch....Spent the last 3 days getting the Armadillo road ready. I am going on a week long trip to East Texas to one of the lakes...The weather is suppose to be good for this time of year....Yippie-ki-ya!!!!
Cabin towards loft

Cabin living room

old structure-pre Lodge days

Well folks, that's it in a nutshell...time to get back to packing, cleaning and buying stuff for the adventure....Plus I got some cast iron to try my hand at dutch oven cooking...as they say you're never to old to try something new!
(c)2019HorstKelly photographer

So until next time...enjoy the Christmas Season, Thanks for stopping by....let Santa know what you really want!  Horst sends

Thursday, November 28, 2019

HAPPY THANKSGIVING 2019





Image result for happy thanksgiving campers


Wishing all my blogging/camping Family a magnificent day of sharing activities, memories and love!  Horst sends


Monday, November 11, 2019

Sunday, September 22, 2019

Whats Happening....

Its been four months....Haven't been on any camping trips since this past Spring.  Thought I might be going to Alabama Hills, Ca in Feb.......but🙁. That's  not to say we haven't been on any trips. Went to Kansas City in April...SIL had gotten some sort of virus and Docs couldn't get rid of it with any type of antibiotic. It was a little touchy for a while, but he's recovered. Took three months, a couple surgeries and  30 days of constant antibiotics. Also got a chance to see FIL....95 and going strong...Hell, his "labs" come back better than mine. :))
(c)2019Horstkelly Photographer...Tetons

 In August we went back up to KC for a 50th surprise birthday party for SIL...Great time, relaxing and a lot of laughs. In early July went to Claremore Oklahoma to the Centennial celebration of what was once deemed The West Point of the Southwest...but with the beginning of Vietnam and and its negative press on the military it had to close its Doors...However it was reopened as Rogers University and is doing well. They have done a Magnificent job of keeping the Military Academy  legacy alive and on the forefront of its history. It was very nostalgic for me and showing the bride around was fun. Reunited with several of my classmates and made several new friends.......How I ended up at Claremore, OK after graduating from high school at Clark AFB, Philippines is left for another post.
(c)2019horstkelly photographer...Driving up to the Academy

We are going on another trip shortly to Big Cedar Lodge in southern Missouri(The Ozarks). Terrific reviews especially this time of year. Looking forward to that trip and hopefully having time for some hiking and photo ops.....and "kicking back"....will also go up to Kansas City either before or after our  at The Lodge.
(c)2029Horstkelly Photographer...Nat'l Sand Dunes

Here at the home front its been another "hazy lazy days of summer"...June was great temp. wise, got a lot of stuff done around the place and even had a garage sale.  Mother Nature came at us with an inferno starting in July and August saw no relief...It has still been in the 100's here until last week and we started a cold spell down into the mid 90's.  I had to revert to starting my daily walk at 0530 stop and get the Bride at 0645 and finish up at 0745...Working outside stopped by 1000 and then it was indoor stuff or going to Home Depot, Costco, Tractor Supply, or HEB....and a trip to Walmart .  😁
(c)2019HorstKelly Photographer....Tetons

Have looked at some of my old photo's that never made it to post processing . So during the heat of the day I would pick a couple and see what they really looked like.  The photo's in this post are from that find.
(c)2019Horst Kelly Photographer...Page, Az area

Spent time looking at projects for the Casita. Will be taking it in for either a Fridge repair or replacement. Spend more mornings than I want to admit trying to get the fridge to work, to no avail...I think I watched every utube on RV fridge repair that's out there... so we'll see. I had debated on selling the Armadillo and getting either a slide in truck camper of some sort or an "Overlander" setup..At the end of the day I chose to keep the Casita for the few years  I can continue doing this rather than going with a whole new setup....
(c)2019HorstKelly photographer....Superstitions Mts.

I do plan on going on a 10 day or so trip here in Texas between Thanksgiving and Christmas and by damn going to Alabama Hills early next year...mid Febuary or so. I would have gone this fall, but Janet really wanted to go to the Lodge for the fall colors and we have not  been there so that took priority, as it should.
(c)2019Horst Kelly Photographer...somewhere in the Northwest


 That's it in a nutshell ...If there are any folks left that still look at this blog, I thank you for stopping by...Hope all is well with you... until next time Happy Trails...Horst sends