Wheres Ray/Wendy yr 2

Monday, July 27, 2015

Day trip to Badlands

Hi all,
Biker week has begun early ready or not. We have a few in the campground and are seeing some good sized groups passing through. Actually the Sturgis Rally is to be Aug.3 - Aug.9 but this being the 75 anniversary has prompted the early start. I told Wendy we will just put in our ear plugs and hide.
 Wendy and I took a day trip the other day venturing out to Badlands National Park. It is located only about 75 miles east of here an easy day trip.
 We took a different route there opting to stay off the freeway. We caught Highway 44 out of Rapid City that takes you on a more southern edge of the Badlands. We went through the ghost town of Scenic, a 12 acre town that sold with 46 other acres for 799,000. It also included the Longhorn Saloon, the post office, a dance hall, two stores, and train depot that is on an abandoned train line. The train line(104 miles) is part of a rails to trails project from Rapid City to Kadoka.

Strangely the town was purchased by a controversial  Philippine church call Iglesia ni Cristo.  They have done little since the purchase, some believe bought for oil exploration.
  Through the Badlands on a pretty hot day maybe not the best idea, we only ventured short walks seeing some of the amazing views.

 Of course after that we needed a cold drink and what better place than Wall Drug for free ice water, well that and a little ice cream. We hadn't done Wall Drug in years and nice to know it hasn't changed. It is one of those tourist attractions that everyone does and then says what did we do that for? Well we did find a xmas gift for one of the girls so not all was lost.

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Something Old and Something New

 Hi all,
Fishing buddy Jay Z asked if I would help him catch fish for the annual wild game feast that is held here each year. Well I suppose I could sacrifice a few days for the cause. The first day we headed to Cold Brook for crappie and bass. We had a pretty good day keeping 22 good sized crappie and 10 bass. The next morning Jay wanted to head for Angostura Reservoir. This is a huge lake just south of Hot Springs that is suppose to be a good walleye lake but also hold some good crappie and bass.
 Jay figured we needed to get there early before the jet boats start making waves around us. So up at 3:30 am was the plan, crazy part I was up before the alarm even went off. We fished pretty hard but it was just not to be, at the end of the day all we had was one crappie and 3 bass. I hope the gang isn't to hungry. I guess another day may need to be sacrificed.(wink, wink)
Jay and Maggie

Maggie doing what she does mostly in the boat
 The past few years there has been a group of campers here that spends time digging in a cave. The core of the group is from Pennsylvania University but they also have volunteers from all over. I have talked with them many times and they invited us to come and see what they are actually doing, well part of it. Sadly they were almost finishing up and Wendy was unable to come along.
 To simplify an explanation they have the floor of the cave sectioned off and they dig a small area a few inches in depth at a time. The dirt is bagged and tagged then sent to be screen washed. They are looking for bone fragments that will help tell the story of the cave and area over time.
 John and his wife Juliann were very gracious to tell me what they were doing and even let me pick a few bones. The finds here are usually rodent or rabbit bones, though they are trying to remove what they believe is a coyote or canine of some type.This may not be as exciting as a dinosaur dig but was neat seeing the high amount of caring that these people have for what they are doing.

Juliann weighing a bag of cave dirt

 Recording data that will get entered into a computer later

lots of water is used to flush dirt and fine particle away

a small rodent jawbone

screen on right all washed

small bones that were found
 The remaining stuff was then bagged back up and sent to another group that would do a more thorough picking. After that they would still take it back to the university for final picking even utilizing a microscope.
 Pretty interesting stuff huh?

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Baskets n Fishin

Hi all,
 Yeah I know we are starting to slack on posts. Since the boys were here we have just been hanging around not doing anything special. I did get out fishing with Jay who I have fished with the last two years. He had just arrived at the park do to a surgery delay. He brings a boat and we headed for Cold Brook Reservoir for crappie and bass. After a slow start we ended up hitting some good size crappie- sorry my bad no pics.( I only kept ten as Wendy says the freezer is at its fish limit.

 I have been hitting the lake here and there for a bit but seems the weed growth is making the shore fishing almost impossible. Will need to take the kayak out if I want to do any good.
 Wendy continues to turn out the pine needle baskets. She has about 20 of them ready for sale when we get back to Wisconsin. She has done a couple with thin agate slices in the bottom centers and experimented with dying some of the needles for her last basket, definitely no two alike.
 We did take a hike on the Coolidge walk in fishing trail. This is a 3 mile one way hike that follows the Coolidge stream from Center Lake to Coolidge campground. Along the way are five little ponds created by dams that get stocked. The fun thing on the trail you have 16 stream crossings and the early flooding had taken out a few of the boarded crossings making some interesting rock hopping.

 Things continue to roll along in the campground. People are pretty much used to the need for reservations so getting a drive in  looking for a spot is rare. We are full almost every night so we really have to watch our check outs closely. We continue to cringe when we think of the upcoming bike rally, everyone will be glad when it is over.


Sunday, July 5, 2015

Family Fun

Hi all, hope you have had a great 4th of July weekend.
Whew! what a week, playing tour guide is hard work.)
Our son Nate and grandson Alex arrived on Monday night from Wisconsin and it has been go, go, and go.
 We had made a rough draft of what we were to do, major things like Mt. Rushmore and Crazy Horse but also mixing in things that they like to do, like tour breweries ( Nate) and wild life rides, and for sure some fishing.
 They got us going early Tuesday as they were still operating on central time. We had breakfast and were on Iron Mountain Road to Mt Rushmore by 8:30. Probably a good move as we are nearing the 4th and a super busy time there. After that a short walk through Keystone then on to Rapid City to hit the Firehouse Brewery. We are proud that Nate has been a volunteer firefighter for 10 years as soon as he was old enough to join. We have pictures of Nate when he was just a tyke in a fire helmet and sitting in  fire trucks. He also had a set of cards (like baseball cards) with trucks on them that we would read.
 After being out early and their long drive here we had time for a little break, then off to the wild life loop. We got off on the dirt roads and spotted four beautiful buck mule deer and a decent herd of buffalo.
 Wednesday up early again for a day of fishing. Our plan was to have a completion of catching the most species of fish. We drove up to Legion Lake and after getting their licenses we did a walking fish tour around the lake. Thinking we would get our trout, we were surprised to only get a couple bass.

 Next we headed to Stockade where for sure we would knock some off the list. We all got our bluegill, crappie, and perch. We fished a couple different areas getting some good bluegill action, but no one was able to nab the elusive northern. The boys took the kayak out for a brief try but still no luck. A short break then a try on Bismarck Lake, on national forest land just across the road from here. They had dredged the lake this past winter and our great spring rains wasted no time refilling it. There Alex and I were able to get trout off our list, as the fishing ended I edged both the boys by one species each (I know really not fair with all my practice), but we had a great time.
 Wednesday we figured a good day for a ride up to Deadwood and Spearfish Canyon. We also toured the Spearfish Fish Hatchery and Crow Peak Brewery. A quick subway supper and still time for a wild life drive. We took the road just south of the park into Wind Cave National Park. The boys loved getting onto gravel in search of critters. We got in the midst of a spaced out buffalo herd and just stopped and enjoyed the moment.

Roughlock Falls

Spearfish Falls

 Friday was no time to rest yet we had a few important things to do. We rose early to make monkey bread in the dutch oven and some bacon to fuel up for a hike.
We drove the Needles Highway twice spotting some mountain goats. Being early paid off as traffic was light along the way making it way more enjoyable.

                             Wendy and the boys then hiked the Little Devils Tower.

We all walked around beautiful Lake Sylvan. We then headed for Hill City and lunch at the Mangy Moose. We also wanted to check out Miners Brewery just north of Hill City. Nate has an app on his phone where he rates the different craft beers as he tries them, I think he was up to about 90 different ones since he started.

 Back to camp I cooked up a big fish fry and we still had time to get one more wild life drive in.
We did all this and still enjoyed a nightly campfire with the boys.

Saturday the boys wanted to hit the road early back to WI. Setting the alarm for 6, the central time zone must have kicked in and they were up and out just past five.
 We had a great time and the weather was about as perfect as could be. We really enjoy having visitors and being able to do this with the boys will be a cherished memory. --Next up Colleen our middle child and her boys in middle August. Good thing, I think we need to rest up a bit.)