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"


I've had the Casita in the shop for almost two months...mainly to replace the fridge..first one came damaged..took a month to resolve that issue and get another one. That will teach me to order it, to save a couple bucks, instead of letting the RV repair shop get it....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


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

Sunday, May 12, 2019

Big Bend Recap....Feb-Mar 2019......

(c)2019horst kelly photographer
(c)2019horst kelly photographer
(c)2019Horst Kelly Photographer
I'm guessing that I'm a little behind the power curve in providing an after actions trip report of  my adventure to Big Bend back in March....I left early the morning of 25 Feb..First order of business was to get a set of tires for Ms Casita...the old ones looked brand new, but have 3 1/2 years of sitting in the hot South Texas sun....felt more comfortable getting  some new ones... got there just as the doors where opening and half hour later was beginning my adventure... It was overcast, in the low 50's. Perfect day for travel.

I was traveling east on US 90 enjoying the open road, no real traffic...no issues, just humming along...about 100 miles out I stopped for gas and more importantly to empty my bladder(seems like I have to do that more often these days)  :)) As I was doing my walk around making sure all was secure with truck and camper, I happened to glance at my Casita license plate....yup u guessed it it had expired....WHAT, that can't be right.  without boring you... they where expired. It was all caught up during the time my Bride had the month stay in the ICU, hospital and physical rehab.  ok ending, called them, wife got new sticker, took photo and sent me what I needed...I finally  found a useful application for smartphones, texting and phone cameras...I do feel old!!

I decided to stop in Del Rio at the National Recreation Area-Amistead( San Pedro Campground). It's dry camping with pit toilets,,,couple of bucks with the Senior Pass...campground was almost empty, sun was out which fed  my solar panels....very relaxing.... grilled a filet of salmon, coleslaw, Texas toast and a German "Dunkel" Bier.....watched the sun set, read some Texas history and fell asleep.
(c)2019Horst Kelly Photographer
(c)2019Horst Kelly Photographer

Got up before the crack of dawn, the area was covered with early morning fog. I was rolling before the fog lifted and headed west for the "Promised Land"..Big Bend....Before I knew it I was in Marathon Tx.,  got gas, turned south on US 385 and 70 miles later was pulling into the Panther Junction Visitors center to procure  a primitive campsite.....Did my Dream balloon of staying at a primitive site just get busted...yup, they where all filled up and  BTW it doesn't look like any of the   sites will open up in the next 10 days or so....and that's a whole other post...Two of the established campgrounds where filled...I scrabbled down to Cottonwood which is  my favorite established campground...no large rigs, a different type of "camper folk" stay there...Anyway that's where I settled in for two weeks...
(c)2019 Horst Kelly Photographer

And it was a enjoyable time...2 more Casita's there so we had a "Mini rally" a couple of nights...One Couple was from northern Nevada,retired Army, had a '14 Casita, the other couple where from New Mexico had an '09, Professional photographer..maybe semi-retired. After the Casitas left,  2 VW campers(Montana folks) adopted me for the duration of their stay(a week)...and then a  class C Guy, retired, enjoys photography, hiking etc ...from Minnesota pulled in next to me and we hung out and shared experiences for a couple of days....
(c)2019Horst Kelly Photographer

You couldn't asked for better weather though it was pretty windy most days...I have never seen that many Bluebonnets and that hardy. what was nice is though not complete solitude, there was alone time...some evening I would venture up to the middle of nowhere to see if I could get some night photography shots or witness some wildlife roaming around....
(c)2019 Horst Kelly Photographer

The last 3 days things cleared out and the stillness of the evening was  refreshing...So I would say that this trip trip I had the best of both Worlds... camaraderie and solitude.  I did take some photo's and did some hiking and testing my Ram, as this was the first camping trip with it and it worked great.

In summary I had a terrific time....not the way I had planned it out, but worked out better for the most part. Big Bend as a Park has changed....up until recently it was , in reality, a Texas Park....maybe 1-5%  or so where visitors from out of state...and for the most part the park was close to empty...In my opinion  that has all changed...it is now truly a National Park, with its Tour Buses, Foreign visitors , and at times impatient,  demanding people, etc. The down side of this is that the infrastructure is gasping to try to keep up with this increase in visitors, need more pull-offs, wider roads,  larger staffs, more campsites....and the reality is most of that won't happen.. The Park  was never meant to be explored like Yellowstone , Zion, Bryce, Grand Canyon or the like. With the increase also comes stuff like an increase in trash on the roads, trails, campsites...  dirt bikes using the primitive roads , etc...  I realize Big Bend isn't alone in this boom/increase in visitors...Zion and Yellowstone are maxed out, as is the Grand Canyon and other Parks.  The Slot Canyon in Page is like a major metropolitan area during noon rush hour . I also know there are still places that have vast emptiness...nevertheless, I miss the old "hideaways"....So now the adventure is one where I seek out and find new places as yet undiscovered...and to me that's a big part of this "experience" called exploring/camping ...
(c)2019Horst Kelly photographer
(c)2019Horst Kelly Photographer

All in all I had a terrific time, and am looking forward to my next trip. The only "wart",  I need to fix  my fridge. It stopped working about 4 days into the trip. It looks like I may need a new one.....maybe I should sell the Casita and get a another one or maybe a very small slide in truck camper like a Capri or  four wheel popup camper(truck camper)....stuff to ponder!
(c)2019Horst Kelly photographer

Thanks for stopping By...Until the next time........Happy Trails , Horst sends
(c)2019Horst kelly Photographer
ps...And Happy Mothers Day

Monday, February 25, 2019

One Happy Camper....Vintage 2019

Me and My Buddy...the Casita...Tetons in the Fall
The day has arrived.....all systems are go...only open item is a set of new tires and I'm getting those put on as I begin my adventure.   Don't know where I'm going to land the first night. Somewhere between Del Rio and Langtry Texas... and then on to  Big Bend...I've got four primitive campsites picked, so we'll see whats available....and doable considering washouts and other hazards of the back country.

I am looking forward to this trip, not so much for photo-ops, but more so for "relaxing-ops"...if a photo happens to present itself, so be it....but its not going to get in the way having a "cowboy breakfast" or an afternoon nap......or spending an evening watching a shooting star while sipping some Makers Mark.....Yup, that's what this trip is about... no agenda, no decisions and definitely no expectations!

I'll keep this short as I still have a few things left to do ......I'll post when the mood strikes and if/when I have internet coverage ....Take care...Happy trails....Horst sends

I always enjoy listening to Guy Clark

Monday, February 18, 2019

If Opportunity doesn’t Knock, Build a Door..... Milton Berle

I thought I would do a post to update those interested as to  my happenings and plans for the near future.
Guadalupe Mts, Texas..(c) 2016Horst Kelly photographer

Originally I had thought if all the stars lined up and the Brides Medical Team felt that she was at or near 100 percent, and more importantly she felt secure and had no anxiety...that I might take a trip in the Jan/Feb. time frame to Alabama Hills in Ca. with a couple of side trips to include Death Valley. It would be the first extended trip since early 2017.
Though I don't have a "Bucket List", Alabama Hills is a place I have wanted to go to for quite some time..and what made it even more special this time is that Jerry and Wanda of Eggrolling had decided they were going to go there this year, and there could be a chance of finally  meeting up and sharing a campfire or two...maybe even a flatiron steak and a Moose Drool.  :))...but the opportunity did not present itself..  My Sister passed in January, in addition, we also needed to go to Kansas City....
On the way to Big Bend Tx 2011. (c)2011Horst Kelly Photographer

Since there is a window of opportunity in the next two weeks, I talked to the Bride about going to Big Bend and to Monahans Sandhills State Park, Texas. She was quite happy that my first outing since her illness will be short and in Texas....So this all works out for the best. If there is a "hiccup" at the Home Front, I can be back in short order vs. roaming around somewhere in the Southwest . It will also provide a good marker to see if there is any anxiety....and if all goes well, Alabama Hills this Fall will become a reality....and I get to test how the Ram handles the Casita....I won't use the weight distribution hitch, though I will put on a sway bar.

Now its off to do the million and one things prior to the trip.I want to get a new set of tires for the Casita. Though they haven't gotten that many miles under their belt,  they have been sitting in the Texas heat. Also want to build a primitive slide for the bed of the pickup....plus, food, camera stuff, test the propane lines for leaks...test the heater, AC, generator, solar, battery, etc.....all the fun stuff I have missed doing the past couple years.
Piney Woods area, Tx...Solitude at its best!

.....And then its off to find my little slice of Texas Heaven....More to follow! Thanks for stopping by. Horst sends