Wheres Ray/Wendy yr 2

Wednesday, July 30, 2014


Hi all,
The bikes are coming, the bikes are coming! Bike week has yet to begin, but some bikers like to get a early start. It is an awesome thing to see and hear as they come through the park. It may be a slightly down year as some bikers may opt to wait for next year on the 75th anniversary. Lets hope for a safe year.
 We had a great time this past weekend with Wendy's sister and brother in law. They arrived Saturday and after giving them time to stretch their legs we hopped in the car for a drive up Mt. Coolidge and a drive on the wildlife loop. A home cooked fish fry, a game of cards and a campfire rounded out the evening.
 Sunday was up and early, as Sonny and I wanted to get in a little Stockade Lake fishing. Sonny and I have been good fishing buddies for many years and is one of the things I miss since going fulltime rving. We had a great time catching a mixed bag of fish which were released for  another day. While we fished Wendy was giving Patsy a needle basket lesson.
 After fishing and brunch we headed off to see Mt. Rushmore via Iron Mountain Road.
 Next up was Crazy Horse, then a brat burger at camp and a new dice game with some good WI beer that the graciously provided.
 Mondays plans were a good breakfast then off to see Center and Sylvan Lakes via the Needles Highway. We made lots of stops taking in all the great views. At Sylvan we walked around the lake and did a bit of the Sunday Gulch Trail. A nice picnic lunch then off to Hill City for some serious wine tasting. We checked out three wineries and one new brewery and we don't even like wine.)
 A nice walk in Hill City checking out some shops and admiring some of the bikes that were already crowding the street. We grabbed a quick dinner then zoomed back to Custer State Park for one more ride looking for those buffalo. It is amazing how they can hide at some times.  We made a little loop the took us into Wind Cave National Park where we saw some of their herd.
 Tuesday was up early to see Patsy and Sonny off as they were making the 13 hour drive home in one stint.
 We really had a great time and thank them for taking the time to squeeze a visit in. It was also nice to take a couple days off our normal schedule  and change things up.
Patsy and Sonny at Bluebell Lodge bar

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Wild Feast

Hi all,
We are getting ready for a visit with Patsy and Sonny, Wendy's sister and brother in law. They live in Pardeeville WI and will be with us for a few days. One good part of getting company is doing some cleaning and organizing that we have been putting off. When you live in a RV you really need to watch the stuff you accumulate it kind of sneaks in on you.
  Their visit is coming at a good time for a welcome break from our routine. Wendy will take off a day and a half and I will take off two nights. It should be a good time.
 This weeks days off were not the most exciting. We did some good shopping- woo-hoo, we have been slacking on this the last few weeks. Ooh and then laundry, let me tell ya what fun.) Just living the dream!
 But we did have the annual park employee Big Game Feast. This is a highlight event for volunteers and employees and a good chance to associate with others in the park. It featured venison stew, walleye, goose, froglegs and bass offerings. Deserts and sides ala potluck made a great meal.
 Wendy had also been busy finishing off her latest pine needle creation and what a beauty.
 I also snuck in a crappie fishing with two other volunteers JD and Jay. I broke Jays boat rules by landing the biggest fish. A 15 # northern caught on a small jig with no leader. What fun it was taking over 10 minutes to land.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Back to the Mickelson

Hi again,
 Seems like I had just wrote a new post and wasn't the fourth of July just the other day. Weeks are going by fast, it won't be long til we are back in WI.
 We are looking forward to a visit from Pat and Sonny( Wendys sis and brother in law). They will be here for just a couple days so we will really have to plan the days out.
 The last two days have only been in the 60's but happily the forecasted rain never came. We decided a nice cool day would be good for a bike ride. So after a little thought we headed to the George S. Mickelson Trail. We did a little of this last year with grandson Lucas.
 The trail is a beauty, 104 miles from Edgemont to Deadwood on an old railroad bed. And no we didn't quite do the whole thing. We chose to start at the Mystic trailhead about 15 miles from Hill City and rode 8 miles to Rochford. Sixteen miles when we haven't been on the bikes in a while was a push. The good part was the return trip was mostly down hill.) Our buts should be fine in a day or two.)
 This part of the trail follows a trout steam with a couple small waterfalls. Also along the way you see old mines from years past. You also ride through one tunnel, what a great ride! We definitely have to ride more of this gem.

 After the ride we got a nice dinner at the Hubcap Diner in Hill City. We still made it back in time for a quick fish at the lake.
 Wendy has been getting more creative with her pine needle baskets. They sure look nice. Daughter Amanda teases her about selling them at a roadside stand.
And always time for ride in the park.

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Hail to Devils Tower

 Hi all,
Summer has arrived! Finally some nice warm days, we almost broke the 90 degree mark which for the hills is hot. We did get some crazy hail on the fourth. The sun was shining and you could see golf ball size hail falling from high in the sky. It was a very sporadic hail, with one falling here and one there . I heard stories of people catching it from the air. It also made quite a lake scene causing splashes a good foot high.
 Thankfully I had the truck under the tarp- very happy I made that investment. It did crack one vent cover on the rv. A few people in the park also lost vents or suffered some dents.(
  The fourth here was pretty quiet in the campground with many people off to see the big monuments light shows or off to Custer like us to see the fireworks there. I finished my shift at 9:00 just time in to drive for the show. They put on a nice 30 minute display.
 Our days off adventure had us heading off early for a trip to Devils Tower. We had talked about doing this and finally got around to doing it. The best route there(Hwy 16) was under some serious construction and added some time to the 100 mile trip.
  Earlier in our travels we had drove close enough to see it but didn't have the time for a actual visit. This time we took the mile walk around the base of the tower. Devils Tower was a very important part of Indian culture, and they still hold sacred ceremonies at times.
 We enjoyed it but did find it to crowded for our liking.
We then chose a different route home going through Belle Fourche then south through Deadwood. Along the way was a old antique store in the big town of Aladdin, WY. The store is about all there is in town and if you are interested it is for sale.)
Belle Fourche is the Center of the United States
 Wednesday we got together with some other park people for a nice fish fry. I provided the fish and Vern was gracious enough to cook em up. Each of the ladies provided sides and plenty was had by all. You just can't beat a pot luck dinner for great food.

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Happy 4th of July!

Hi all,
The weather pattern has broken, we have had three days of no rain. The temps are rising and the fourth looks like a good weekend. We want to wish everyone a great July 4th!
 Being retired gives a person time to pursue new and exiting hobbies. It is a good time to give a try to something that interested you but you had no time for. With that in mind I began carving some diamond willow hiking sticks.
 I had been talking with a couple other guys in the park and they said they would show me how to tell and find the diamond willows. Actually diamond willows are not a species but are a willow that has been infected with a fungi which cause the diamonds. So with some direction from Vern (our asst. supervisor) off Wendy and I went on a stick hunt.
 We got lucky and found the right spot as we noticed previous fresh cuts from Vern. After a short while I had cut about 10 sticks of various size. Vern later came and checked our work and was impressed with what we had got.

Wendy couldn't pass up pine needles
 A couple are dry so I will be able to work on them the others will take some time to dry.
 Tuesday was get out the VIP passes and pick something to do. The choice today was a nice drive up toward Sturgis with a tour of the Wonderland Cave. I was kind of expecting a cheesy tourist draw but thought why not it's free. I was really surprised to find it was quite a nice cave. It had many good cave features and the buildings and gift shop were well maintained. We also drove up a very scenic road though Vanocker Canyon to get there.
  Wednesday I ventured to new waters checking out Angostura Reservoir with fellow camphost JD.
Located about 35 miles south near Hot Springs. This is a big reservoir and has good walleye and crappie fishing. We poked around different places on the shore, caught a few different fish but no walleye or crappie. This is a big lake and a boat would give one a much better chance. Oh well, the weather was great and we had a good time.
 The day was finished out with a wildlife drive which is never bad here.
they really do play