Wheres Ray/Wendy yr 2

Thursday, June 27, 2013


 Hi everyone,
Time keeps a moving on, hard to believe July 4th is next week.
 We are counting down to when our daughters and families visit us July 22.
 We had a couple nice surprise visits this past week. Paul and Peggy, a couple Texans that we met in Louisiana stopped by. They are staying just outside the park and we are going to try and meet for lunch one day.
 Fellow bloggers Phil and Rudee http://workinrvers.blogspot.com/ also popped in. They are working at Crazy Horse. As we were talking we realized we both had spent New Years at Summerdale Escapee Park. It is great hearing other tales from the road. Hopefully we can do a lunch or dinner with them.
 We keep trying to get good use of the VIP passes and this week we visited The Mammoth Site in Hot Springs.
This is still an ongoing dig, but they only dig like twice a year. It takes the rest of the time just to document the findings.
 We also got the kayak out a couple times this week. We paddled around Center Lake one day and Stockade Lake another. Stockade is my favorite, it is a little bigger and fishing there has been great. All the lakes here are man made reservoirs and all are clear and beautiful.
 Tuesday night we had a staff picnic.  They were holding it at a group site across the road from us. Wendy and I thought we would just walk over. Now that is not exciting but let me tell ya, just as we were getting to the gate entrance we saw a few buffalo. They headed out and we commenced to head down the road. Soon other buffalo started to come down from the hill and follow the trail of the others. We thought we had enough time to cross the street but the buffalo had different ideas. They started running and closed us off from the picnic area and from the road to the campground. We were left huddling by a car begging for a guy to let us in. He was looking at one buffalo in front and not the 10 behind. He was nice enough to give us a short safe ride to the picnic.
Earlier in the day
 Wednesday we really got going. Wendy had wanted to do a drive thru Spearfish Canyon Scenic byway.We planned a loop route that took us through Sturgis where we used our VIP passes and toured the Motorcycle Museum. Better to so see this before the mass hordes come in during the rally.
               Then on to Spearfish Canyon, a nice drive and a couple nice waterfalls.
We then hit Deadwood and had time to visit the Days of 76 Museum, also using our free passes. This is a nice museum spotlighting four collections. One is 19th century wagons and vehicles, many still being used in the Days of 76 parades.To keep things brief a lot of cowboy and Indian artifacts.
 Our last stop was Crazy Horse where they were doing a night blast and celebrating the 87 birthday of Ruth Ziolkowski- the wife of Korzak who began the sculpting. Ruth is still very active in the operation of Crazy Horse. The night blast was a awesome spectacle and wish my phone cam would have worked to capture it. Finally home after 11 and beat, but a great day.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Hail no!

Hi all,
Things are starting to run a little smoother here at the campground. We gave our supervisor an idea for printing a reminder to our guest when they're departure is. You would think people know when they made the reservation but a few forget. The system in most campgrounds have a posted departure on your site. Our new system thinks that is not needed.  Now on the last day we can give them a friendly reminder. So far it has been a success.
 The majority of our job here is to visit with the guest each night. I know that sounds rough. ). We usually find out what they did for the day and what the plans are for their time here. Maybe we can be helpful with a suggestion. We get into some nice conversations with  people and have a hard time getting a full round in. Some people really like to talk .)
Music in the Tatanka theater
  Monday we had the excitement of a good hail storm. Luckily we were in the campground and had some warning. I drove the truck under a large oak tree across the road. Wendy sat in the camper and listened to the dinks and thuds on the rv. Some of the hail was close to golf ball size. The truck survived but one vent on the camper took a good hit. This vent had a small crack in it and shows a piece of eternabond tape. It also took out the screen piece below. Another camper had lost a tail light and a couple steel sided rv's took a beating.

  Tuesday we used another VIP pass and attended The Grand Magic Show in Custer. It is definitely tuned to good family fun. We think our younger grandsons would enjoy it.

                      These are a few of the buffalo statues that reside in Custer.

  Today we are planning a dutch oven potluck with two of the other workamper couples. Tim and Renee from California are hosting at Stockade South campground and only signed on til the end of June. John and Cathy from Florida are cabin cleaners and are working the full season. More of the nice people we get to meet.
Tim & Renee

Friday, June 14, 2013

Harney Peak

Hello all,
 The time seems to be flying by. I guess when you are planning your dream it seems like it will never get there and then boom- it's here. We still are pinching ourselves
 We were telling one younger couple of what we are doing and they said that they would like to do it. We say you just have to plan and plan some more. We figured we had planned about fifteen years to do this. I had worked with one younger guy who said whats the use, he will never be able to retire. With an attitude like that he probably won't.
 We are really getting in vacation mode around here, we are full most every night. People come and go so fast, we have trouble keeping track.
 On Tuesday we headed off to Deadwood and Lead. We bummed around downtown Deadwood, stopping to listen to some live music and sip a cold one. We made a quick deposit to one of the many casinos with no return of our investments :(.
 We took in the grave of Wild Bill Hickok and Calamity Jane. We also toured one of the oldest homes in the town. The Adams House preserved as it stood in 1936. We headed for a museum and realized it would only be open for about 45 minutes so not enough time. We should have better planned what we were doing and left earlier in the morning. And we never made it to Lead. Oh well maybe another day.
On Wednesday the weather looked like a good day for a hike. We talked about it and decided to try Harney Peak. Harney Peak at 7242 feet is the highest point east of the Rockies. The trail is 3-1/2 miles to the peak. It is a very popular and many families do this hike. We passed one family where mom and dad were each carrying a little one with a 4 year old in hand.
 So as we left on the nice sunny morning,  clouds began to form and the higher up we got we realized we would not get much of a view. But we were to far along to quit now. We continued on and reached the tower at the end. The tower is quite something to see. It was built by the CCC in 1939.
 Wendy is thinking she may hike this again when our daughters visit in July. Hopefully she will get a better view and can take pictures to show me. Yeah, once was enough for me.)

Harney Peak

Monday, June 10, 2013

Soooo many things to do

Hi again,
 Uh oh, starting to slack off on the posts. Let's see what have we been up to.
Last Wednesday we played tourist and headed for Deadwood and Lead. Then we saw a billboard for Thunderhead Underground Falls and it was on our VIP card for free. So we whipped around and detoured more than I thought to see this great wonder. We were the only ones there and had the place to ourselves. So we show the guy in the window our cards and he plays a short recorded message and off we go. We head into a cave and thought man it sure is dark. I break out my phone and switch on flashlight mode. It really gets dark? We turn back and look for a light switch but find none. Back in we go, what do we expect for free, right. We go the 600 feet to the thundering waterfall pouring into the cave, then tadaa just as we were taking pics we had light. The guy said he realized a breaker had tripped and had a hard time getting it reset, oh sure'). We got a good laugh anyhow.

 Well now that we made this detour Black Hills Cavern is just down the road and also on our VIP card. It is a small 1 mile cave that features some small stalactites.
 Okay we are really off track now, we abort Deadwood and Lead for today. We drove further and visited Chapel In The Hills. This was a replica of a chapel in Norway. It boast many intricate wood carvings done by master carvers in Norway and shipped here.

A original Norwegians settler's log cabin 
 Next up as we were headed in the direction of Rapid City was The Journey Museum. This museum takes you on a trek through time in the Black Hills area. It gives you the geological story of the hills and then the storey of Indian time to the ensuing gold rush up to present time.
 We finished with a nice Chinese dinner down the road. All in all it was a nice day and totally unplanned. And the best part using the VIP card we saved $57.00, that is a nice perk for volunteering here.
   The weather has been getting better and we got the kayak out on Stockade Lake. First, I have to tell you I got the best wife. As I fished she would paddle me from spot to spot. I know this sounds really bad, but fishing is hard work. I kept enough crappie for a nice dinner, and yes I cleaned and cooked the fish.

 On Saturday we hit a barbecue festival in Rapid City. It is only the third year and is not established yet.  But we did get some tasty BBQ.
 Things at the campground got interesting the other day. We had our first case where a camper that was scheduled to leave took off and was gone for the day. We were full and the incoming people were with other family on nearby sites. Our supervisor tried all afternoon to phone them. We finally were able to relocate the new camper to a no show site and gave them a free night. The camper that didn't leave finally returned at 10:00 pm. Our supervisor had instructed us to call law enforcement to evacuate them, but then had a change of heart and allowed them to stay. They were all apologetic to us and the other people.
 We sure were stressed out the whole shift. Part of our job is to try and remind people of their departures. This is very difficult as people many times are out all evening. And then with a rain storm on the previous night we were not able to talk with these people. We heard of the same issue the next day in another of our campgrounds which made us feel better, but this system definitely needs some adjusting.
 Well other than that it has been a great place to work and we are happy to be here. We wonder what our boss thinks - he keeps asking us if we are liking it here.

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Keeping busy!!

Hello all,
 Our days seem to be flying by. I can't say things are running smoothly here but we have managed to avoid disaster and believe we have kept everyone happy. #1 Goal.
They are using a new reservation system and there are areas that are not clear. Even our supervisors can't say for certain the way the rules should work.
 It is rewarding when you can help a guest out and they are really happy. I will give a few instances where we have done this.
Sylvan Lake
 We hiked around Sylvan Lake on Sunday and while on the hike chatted with a couple from Switzerland. When we began our shift later that day they pulled in looking for a site. We had not mentioned that we were hosting so it was big surprise for them and us. They had this neat Mercedes Benz RV that required Solar so we arranged a sunny site for them. When they left they gave us a postcard of their village and thanked us.

 We had a fellow make an error and overstay his reservation. When the next guest arrived we were able to relocate them saving the guy from knocking down camp. And he was really getting the evil eye from his wife.
 When we stayed at Betty's in Louisiana they called it the Betty Shuffle, she would move guest from one site to another allowing some longer than planned stays. So here it is the Wendy Shuffle.
  We had a couple with four small kids come in, it was late and they were on hold for a long time with the reservation company. We made sure they got a site and gave them some firewood for the night.
  It's just nice when you can be of some help.
 As of today we have had campers from Switzerland, Netherlands, Holland, Germany, and Canada and the season is now getting rolling.
 We also have seen a few different rigs. Some of the foreigners have their RV shipped here to use.
 It is also neat when you see a well maintained older RV.

 We spent part of a day checking out Center Lake area. Tried some fishing while Wendy relaxed by the lake. We hiked around part of the lake.

Another lake to paddle.