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


  1. Wow, is all I can say. Glad you were able to get past the problems, and on to your trip. Those would have been very discouraging to me. The New Mexico travel rules have been very confusing. I think most travelers have just been ignoring them, and visiting the areas that are open to boondocking while avoiding the state parks.
    Great pictures as usual. A big breakfast after sunrise, along with a flat iron steak and brew for the sunset is hard be beat.

  2. Hope all is well with you and family...and that Delta didn't impact you, especially considering the recent tornado hit in your area!
    Trip was great...probably one of the most relaxing short rips I have taken, even with the "speed bumps". I found a butcher here that does the flatiron cuts for me and very reasonable price..Not as good as what you can in the Northwest meat market, but close enough. Had no problem with being in N.M. with any authorities. Only place I went was 2 stops at a gas station, though I did do some exploring. :))
    Take care buddy...Horst sends