Wheres Ray/Wendy yr 2

Monday, June 29, 2015

Mickelson Trail

Hi all,
Whew, starting to get warm here, we are getting into the 80s. Not hot by most of your standards I know. We drove to Rapid City today and as we returned to the park at the east entrance it was 88, by the time we got to Stockade Lake it had dropped to 78. That shows what 1,000 feet of elevation and a few pine trees can do.
 Wendy and I aired up the bike tires the other day and headed for the Mickelson Trail. The trail is on  old railway bed that runs 109 beautiful miles from Edgemont, SD to Deadwood, SD. It has been rated one of the ten best scenic bike rides in the U.S.

 As we had not rode much lately we started off at the Custer trailhead and rode about 6 miles to a view of Crazy Horse. We have done portions of the trail other years north of Hill City, a nice way to see it a little at a time. This portion of the trail runs pretty much up hill and even at 4% grade started to get a bit tiring. But what goes up- you know the rest the return ride was a little more pleasurable.
  As we write this we are anxiously awaiting the arrival our son Nate and grandson Alex. They are driving in from WI today and will be spending about four days here. Wendy and I have taken time off to play tourist guides. Alex has never been to South Dakota and Nate hasn't been here since he was very young so we really look forward to showing them why we keep returning here each year.
 Nate would give us heck for returning to the same place and we would say we are going to keep coming here until he comes to see us. Uh-oh wonder what we will do next year.)

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Happy belated Fathers Day

Hi all,
I guess we are slacking a bit on our posts but sometimes our normal routine does not give us to much to write on. We have been trying to do something different or take some drives on roads we have not traveled.
 I have been fishing quite a bit and keeping track on the calendar, 13 straight days and counting. Wendy continues her basketry trying to complete one a week. We met the new park naturalist Molly who will be teaching the needle baskets for he park, after Wendy showed her some she says Wendy will be her best friend.)

 I had ordered Wendy a new fit bit that logs her activity for the day. It has given us incentive to get in at least more short walks to get in those 10,000 steps a day. It also records sleep patterns and recording how many times you are awake or restless during the night. Funny though Wendy got in nine steps the other night and never got up??
 We got in hikes by Sylvan Lake and took the Stockade Lake Trail. On that one Wendy logged close to 50 flights of stairs on the Fit Bit, definitely some elevation gain.
 One day we took a drive down to Hot Springs and Cold Brook Recreation Area. I had fished there last year with JD and Jay a couple other camp workers. It is a small reservoir with a campground. Along the drive we stopped at the small town of Pringle for a burger at the Hitchrail Bar. We had heard good reports on their burgers and though we waited a bit to get noticed for service the burgers were good and the hand cut fries were good.
 While there I recognized a couple who had camped by us. I said something as they were walking past us and we ended up having a nice chat with them. As it turns out they will be camping here this weekend so we will get a chance to chat some more.
 We also got together with some of the other camp workers the other day for dinner. We got a chance to meet one of the new camp hosts that we had not met. Yeah I know I should have pics but sometimes it feels weird pulling out the camera for shots at dinner.
 I had a nice Fathers Day getting in chats with the kids, and see the neat care package sent to us by daughter Amanda. Very cool, she sent a note saying we can enjoy some of the rewards of our hard work by her. This all by a girl who at slightly over 29(wink) had not canned anything.

Monday, June 15, 2015

Moonshine Gulch Saloon

Hi all,
 The weather here has been on and off, many days of rain and cool 60's with a couple nice 80 degree
days mixed in. It is great seeing lush green fields and trees but planning days off with something to do in the rain gets tough. Oh well, guess we can't change the weather.
 Campground is starting to run full most nights. We get request from campers to change sites to be close to other family and wonder if they couldn't be together when they made the reservation how they think we can put them together now. Switching is about impossible as everyone's stays are different. We have 42 sites and average about 16 out each day with 16 new ones arriving. And different from most campgrounds it doesn't change on weekends, just as many leave on Friday and Saturday. And Sunday is no big exodus day.
 Monday we took a short ride to explore Lakota Lake, it is located along Iron Mountain Road north of the park. In Black Hills National Forest it is just a day use only park. The water was quite muddy from all the recent rains. I cast a few times and managed to land one decent trout which was released. Might be a good lake for the kayak someday.

 Wendy and I were talking the other day that we had seen less wildlife in our campground this year compared to last year and then just later that day I caught this nub buck sneaking a snack from our birdfeeder. One other day he walked up not even caring I was cleaning the truck nearby. A couple days from then I spotted some movement through the pines and saw this doe with a couple newborn fawns. They looked pretty fresh to me.

  We did get out for a good truck ride the other day. I had wanted to go up and see Pactola Reservoir, it lies between Hill City and Deadwood. With all the rain in the area I wanted to see how bad the big reservoir looked. They have a nice visitor center by the lake showing pictures of the valley before the lake was formed to prevent reoccurring flooding. The lake is awesome sight along 385 and is up 7 feet from the recent rains just enough to close the boat launches.

 After that we meandered through the National Forest aiming for Rochford for lunch. We had rode bikes on the Mickelson Trail to Rochford last year and were later told we missed great burgers at the local bar there. First off Rochford was founded in 1877, as gold was discovered in 1876 in Little Rapid Creek. The town grew to a population of 500 by 1878 and by 1900 was down to 48. Today about 25 call it home. It has two current businesses and a small fire department.
 The local bar The Moonshine Gulch Saloon is quite the place indeed. It looked interesting from the outside and the inside upheld the image. Money tacked to the ceiling in one area, hats on another and shirts signed by what I assume locals in another area.. There was a mix of antique and assorted memorabilia about and we can't forget a few brassieres to put the finishing touch.
 Quite the family run business we were greeted by a boy of about 10, ordered our meal from grandpa, got served by a girl of about 12 and think the dad was the cook. And the family dog was napping on the floor nearby.

about all there is to Rochford

 We ordered cheeseburgers and one order of fries, the burgers were good and one order of homemade fries was plenty for two.
 We continued our exploring drive and checked out Deerfield Lake. It is a pretty lake that has two national forest campgrounds on it.
 Overall  we had a great day checking out new places.

Monday, June 8, 2015

Geocaching Willow Creek

Hi all,
Wow one month here already, weeks just zipping by. Having Tuesday and Wednesday off as our weekend seems to make the work week go by quick.
 Weather around here has been wet. Heavy rain closed Hill City on Saturday as the streets were impassable. One thing we are not hearing now is that the rain is needed. The forecast looks for things to dry up and get warm, we'll keep our fingers crossed.
 We did get a nice day on Tuesday and headed off for a hike and some geocaching. Wendy found a nice three mile loop in the Black Elk Wilderness. Although the brochure said the trail was a favorite and directly across the road from one of the biggest KOA campgrounds, we only encountered a small group on horseback as we began, not one other hiker on a beautiful day?
 The first part the trail follows the Willow Creek, with the highlight seeing a rare for the area waterfall. The trail then meanders through ponderosa pines much of which has been impacted by the nasty pine beetle. The trail also intersects a trail to Harney Peak, which at one point we could see in the distance.

the little waterfall

That itty bitty point is Harney Peak

if they had bear in the Black Hills might be a good home

 Our geocaching went pretty good as we located 8 of  9 that we looked for. There were a couple more off the trail that we left for next time.) We sure got our moneys worth on the trail as it said the hike can be done in an hour and we enjoyed it for over three. Actually we were just being diligent in finding the caches it being a perfect day to just be out there.
finding this one was quite startling

can you see it?
                                         The newest member of  Amanda's family- Roscoe
 She says they protect goats from coyote- who knew?

Monday, June 1, 2015

Good Times at Custer

Hi all,
Our weather is slowly beginning to warm up and Sunday was actually rain free. We really can't complain after seeing pictures from a friend in Texas. We even dusted off the old GPS for a little geocaching. Wendy found a few caches by Spokane ghost town. The old mining town was founded in 1890 and existed until 1940. Some old dilapidated structures and very old cars are about all that remain.
 We didn't fare to well in our geocaching not being able to find the first part of a multi- cache. We did score on one other before clouds and thunder in the distance told us time to go.
 We spent our other day off taking a hike by Center Lake. The lakes color was a bit murky from all the recent rains. At times there is little water flowing from the lake and one can actually walk across the dam, not this time.

 We then walked along the Coolidge Creek that is fed from the lake knowing the first crossing would turn us back. We were surprised to see a new beamed walkway how nice, but we had walked enough and turned back anyway.
 Thursday we got a call from a couple we had met in Louisiana. Tom and Linda have been on a trip from their home in Washington to Key West and were coming by our way. We were more than happy to find them a site in our campground. They hadn't been to Mt Rushmore in years and never spent any time in Custer State Park.
 Although we would have to fit in the visit around our duties we didn't mind and had a great time. Friday they arrived we set them up with a plan for Saturday including driving through the park wild life loop, onto Iron Mountain Road to Mt Rushmore. We then cooked up a nice fresh fish fry and chatted around a fire.
 Sunday while Wendy slaved away I guided them up Needles Highway to Sylvan Lake. After a nice walk along the lake we drove down to Crazy Horse Monument. I got to use my VIP card to get our free entrance, sure like using those. We had a great day and  finished it up chatting at our place.
 How cool is that, we just met this couple for a short time at Betty's RV and we can now call them good friends. Just another great thing about this fulltime RV lifestyle.

Just some pics of what I've been up to. Counted 15 days fishing in May- Life Is Good.