Wheres Ray/Wendy yr 2

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Counting Down

Hi all,
The countdown is on, only 10 more working days and then we are out of here. 
That only leaves four off days to do stuff here.
 Time to get busy with some last visits and trips to our favorite places one more time. I got in one last trip to Cold Brook Reservoir to get one more limit of crappie. We got a nice sunny 80 degree day and the fish just jumped in the boat.(haha)
Yes the water is that clear

 Wendy and I spent a day bumming around beautiful Lake Sylvan and visiting with Bill the host there.
Sylvan Lake
Another day we hiked the Coolidge Walk In Trail a 3 mile one way trail that includes 15 creek crossings. It was nice to see all the crossings are now fixed with boards which should help with erosion of banks in some areas.

 We had been waiting for some fall color change to take a drive up to Spearfish Canyon Scenic Highway. Monday was the day, Al and Nancy who are hosting at Center Lake joined us. Wow! did we hit it right,  80 degrees and blue skies and the fall colors were popping.
 We made a bunch of pull offs each time just in awe of the beauty. Two required stops along the scenic highway are Roughlock and Bridal Veil Falls. We took a short walk from the Roughlock along the Spearfish Creek.

 We took a break for a nice lunch in Spearfish then decided to tour the DC Booth Historic National Fish Hatchery. We had done this before but was a first for Al and Nancy.
 Established in 1896 between 20,000 and 30,000 rainbow trout are provided from here yearly. The grounds are visitor friendly as you are allowed to purchase and feed the fish. Also on grounds is a replica traincar that was used to transport fish in the early years. We also toured the house of DC Booth the first manager that was built in 1905.

  The next two weeks will go fast as we have training for the buffalo round that takes place on Sept.30. That is a big weekend here as they also have a craft fair in the park and a chili cookoff going on.

Wendy's work for the craft fair

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Buffalo Bits

Hi all,
Wow, down to only one month left here in the Black Hills. This two month stint is actually kinda nice.
Want to give a special shout out to fellow blogger Pam who was staying in the park last week. Pam is a fellow Wisconsinite and writes a nice blog called Nomadic Newfies , she also takes great pics so check it out if you like at http://nomadicnewfies.blogspot.com . Nice meeting you!
 Hope you all had a great Labor Day weekend, things here were quite different than normal. This weekend we were filled with many local (Rapid City) campers getting a last big summer weekend in. We had multiple sites where related families were getting together, not that they were bad just seemed all had plenty of other family come down so with no overflow parking cars were parked everywhere. We had to ride around pretty much with blinders on to keep sane.
 We thought it would slow down big time after the weekend but we have been close to full yet. Oh well guess it keeps things interesting.
 We got in our first buffalo jam at the East entrance to the park. Some of these guys were getting pretty agitated as they were trapped between a steep hill and cars. Luckily no damage was done.

 Sunday was a bit sunnier and we headed to Custer for a car show featuring Studebakers. While we like to see the old cars I must admit I didn't know much about these.
 Well one fella was happy to give us a quick history lesson, The start of Studebakers can be traced back to this German family first building Conestoga wagons in 1750. They became the largest producer of horse drawn wagons and carriages. Production of horse drawn wagons ended in 1920 and by then had an electric car but then made the switch to gasoline engines.
 They continued to produce cars in the South Bend, Ind. plant until 1963 and the last Studebaker rolled off the production line in Ontario, Canada in 1966.

On Monday we headed off for a drive and instead found ourselves taking in a nice one mile hike in Wind Cave, the Rankin Ridge Trail meanders up to a fire lookout tower. It offered some fantastic views.

Happily we got one more chance to get together with Laurel and George before they head out next Monday for parts unknown. We decided on catching a breakfast in Custer and a drive through the Black Hills. We then changed it up a bit to include a tour at Wind Cave National Park.
 We opted for the Natural Entrance tour well that was what was free with our VIP cards. We thought it was a good tour and our guide, Hannah did a fantastic job.

Box work
 After that Wendy and I showed them our favorite dirt road drive in Wind Cave N.P. into Custer S.P.
capping it all off with pie and ice cream at the Purple Pie in Custer.
 We had a great time hooking up with these guys and look forward to meeting again.

Sunday, August 28, 2016

Finally a Meeting

Hi all,
Back when we still had the stix n bricks home and doing research on this full time RV thing we would read blogs of others who either were doing it already or planning on it. One of the blogs Wendy stumbled on was www.owensontheroad.blogspot.com. It is wrote by a couple, Laurel and George from Pennsylvania who were planning to full time about the same time we were. As we followed along with their planning stages and we were progressing with ours it became ironic how close our plans were. Laurel and I even retired on the same day and we headed out for adventure at about the same time.
 As we went about our travels we continued to follow each others blogs but our paths just never seemed to meet until now. George and Laurel have been working in Custer at what was once Flintstone campground now called Buffalo Ridge Campground. We talked and decided a drive up to Deadwood would make a nice day.
 We got to their campground and with only a quick introduction we felt like we have been friends for a long time.
 To keep this short we had a great day checking out Days of 76 Museum, a winery, had drinks and lunch while listening to some cool music. On the way home we stopped for dessert at The Chunky Chipmunk and then enjoyed a little more chatting back where our day began.

Fun fact- these wagons are taken out for the 4th of July parade every year.

 We had a great time meeting them and recommend you check out their blog for a nice report of our day.
 This year Wendy and I have both been doing the volunteer thing at Custer where last year Wendy was a paid attendant working 8 to 5 and me hosting 5 to 9. While we thought it was okay at the time it is nice to both be on the same schedule and we both have off until 5pm every day.
 It allows us to check out weekend events like the fairs and festivals. So far we have checked out the Custer County Fair, The Central State Fair at Rapid City and recently the Wine, Brew, and BBQ festival at Hill City.

The W,B,&BBQ fest was pretty cool, featured some of the local beer and wine crafters along with 20 or more BBQ'ers competing for $10,000 in prizes. Festival goers bought tokens giving small samples of the different BBQ. We had a great time and were stuffed when we left.)

Friday, August 19, 2016

Horsing aound in the Hills

Hi all,
So on with week two of hard time at Custer State Park, haha. Even though we gave up our off days for a week we have still been trying to have some fun.
 Wendy and I headed to Custer county fair this past weekend. We didn't figure it to be to big and weren't surprised as it was held in nearby Hermosa population 400.
 This was a classic western town fair, featuring  a lot of cowboy and cowgirls with a lot of horses.
We saw a couple events that we hadn't seen before, one watching hitched wagons complete a  obstacle course. Some of those drivers really knew their stuff maneuvering large Belgians hitched to huge wagons. Next we watched teams of two riders sort numbered cattle from a small pen. Neat how you see younger ones learning to keep the old west alive.

 Well all but a few bikes are left from the Sturgis rally, the numbers were way down this year after last years record setting year. We still saw enough bikes but it was good you could actually get around.
 Another day we decided to ride up Iron Mountain Road and bum Keystone a bit. As we were heading up we passed a couple tractors and got behind another. Turns out this is a biannual event where about 100 antique tractors take part in rides around the Black Hills. We got lucky and passed them as they lined up for a drive to Keystone and Hill City. We got ahead of them and were able to watch the procession through Keystone while enjoying a beverage from a balcony. They will be riding through Custer State Park later this week.

 Around the campground things have been pretty much the same. Our job here is to be out and about from 5 pm to 9. We make rounds and assure campers know that it is their last night. We have met some nice people and one couple from our old hometown of Mukwonago.
One difference this year has been the turkey, we seen at least three different broods about the campground with one group of 20 and two different age young ones. We have even seen some roosting in the pines behind our camper. We stuck up our birdfeeder and it took the no time at all to find it.