Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Black Hills scenic drive

Spearfish Canyon

Bridal Veil Falls

Roughlock Falls

Spearfish Canyon State and National Forest Service Scenic Byway

The 20 mile scenic drive through Spearfish Canyon follows alongside Spearfish Creek with limestone cliffs towering above on each side. The hills are dotted with spruce, pine, aspen, birch and oak trees. Stop at the roadside pulloff to view Bridal Veil falls, and park and hike along the creek 1 mile to Roughlock Falls. Then at the end of the drive, turn left and climb further into the Black Hills National Forest toward the town of Deadwood.

the town of Deadwood, South Dakota, circa 1876, population 1270

lots of history

lots of tourists and casinos

The discovery of gold in 1875 was the beginning of the mining camp that would be the town of Deadwood. Legendary Wild Bill Hickok was shot in the back of the head while playing poker at the No. 10 Saloon on August 2, 1876, and is buried in the nearby cemetery. Gaming halls were popular back then as they are once again. After 100 years of changes, by mid 1980 many of the city's historic buildings were dilapidated. A campaign to restore Deadwood was started, and newly legalized gaming funds were used to restore the town, renew the tourism industry, and provide funds for historic preservation. Deadwood is the largest historic restoration project in the United States, with the entire city on the National Historic Register.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014


Sturgis, South Dakota, population 6644 most of the time, except for the rally week, when there is estimated to be half a million bikers coming to town. This will be the 74th annual rally, started in 1938.

We decided to cruise through town this weekend before the big crowd gets here. 

It was pretty small and peaceful, lots of empty storefronts. 
A few folks from the Black Hills Corvette Classic were visiting.

T-shirt vendors are all ready, 3 for $30!

Hillbilly Hell Rider at Full Throttle Saloon

and way out on a side road, the history of the town's name 

An estimated 467,338 people attended the Sturgis Rally in 2013. The factors used to determine the annually estimated attendance are the Department of Transportation traffic count, Mount Rushmore traffic count, SD sales tax collected, and tons of garbage hauled.

Rooms to rent are going for a pretty penny within at least 50 miles. Locals leave town and rent out their houses. Farmers mow their hay fields, set out a few picnic tables, and advertise campsites. We plan on stocking up on groceries for that week, as I reckon the restaurants will be a bit busy. There are all sorts of events planned, concerts with the likes of Lynyrd Skynyrd, Motley Crue, Alice Cooper, ZZ Top, and even Zac Brown. And lots of organized rides planned for the bikes on all the scenic routes through these hills. So it should be interesting! It is kind of like when the Apple Festival comes to Ellijay and the locals try to avoid the traffic and tourists, but then again the Apple Festival only brings 30,000 on a weekend, so not quite the same as 500,000!

Monday, July 21, 2014

downtown Rapid City

The Prairie Edge Store

Native American crafts and beads

and Native American quilts - Lakota star quilt

Prairie Edge Hunt

downtown Rapid City


Jimmy Carter and Buddy say 'Howdy!' in the City of Presidents
a life-size bronze statue on every corner of all former presidents

Monday, July 14, 2014

Sunday Gulch Trail

view from the Sunday Gulch trail looking up at a rock climber, with Harney Peak in the distance

the 3-mile Sunday Gulch trail started out mild

walking through tall grass and trying not to think about what might be living there

but it soon got into the rocks and waterfalls area

folks passing us said just wait until you get to the rails and cliffs

not sure what they meant, but we were soon to find out, pulling up using upper body strength as feet were on the wet rocks below


and rails

beautiful scenery

grandpa took a selfie!

In Custer State Park, hike on the trail around the Sylvan Lake until you get behind the dam, find the trailhead for the Sunday Gulch trail. Described as the most scenic and most popular hiking trail in the park, it was 3 very long miles with lots of climbing and beautiful waterfalls, rocks, vistas. 

Sunday, July 13, 2014

tour guides

we played tour guides this weekend with the surprise visit of Melissa!

see those rock climbers on top of that mountain?


Mount Rushmore

nose picking...

Sylvan Lake

giant dandelion


found a cave!

We had a great visit and saw lots of sights, were in a hailstorm, hiked a long scenic trail, caught up on all the latest. Looking forward to more company, y'all come on out and see us!

more pix HERE!

Friday, July 11, 2014


Well, it finally happened, the big 6-0...

The day started off with a bang, well actually the ringing of the telephone - I thought it was a prank call that woke us up at 5:45 from the fire marshal… and we haven't even lit any birthday candles yet, but just some work stuff from the last job 2 time zones away, gee thanks!

and presents!

love the wrapping paper - blueprints from the last job

new way to listen to my eclectic play list: 
Mary Chapin Carpenter, Dr. House (Hugh Laurie), Alabama, the Monkees, James Taylor…

candy and flowers!


Feeling the love through Facebook, most everyone was nice, there are always one or two…

some were well thought out :)  love this patchwork birthday wish:

and emails - "Enjoy your last day of being '50 something'!  Just couldn't resist!"  ~Sue

and phone calls - "Take advantage of your senior discounts, you now have entitlement!" ~Kay

birthday wishes from all the kids and grandkids, email, calls, and texts...

Funny, I don't feel any older, just another day? I do think about retirement more now. I looked at my Social Security statement the other day, it is pretty pitiful, so it looks like more work in my future:

Thanks everyone for the great birthday!

Oh and one more thing - a visit all the way from Georgia by Melissa - Surprise!

Thursday, July 10, 2014

job report

coming soon

When Buddy learned he was headed to Box Elder, SD to build a Love's Travel Center, we did the obvious.. Googled it, and found this interview with the small town mayor who is very excited about the new building boom in Box Elder - Dairy Queen, Dollar General, and now a Love's! 

breaking ground

When Buddy arrived on the job site, he found 20 acres of mostly flat grassland, and not much else. The good news is - no tree clearing. The second day on the job he noticed the grass/hay had been cut and baled up, more good news - one less thing to deal with.

He sends weekly job progress reports and pictures to his office in Atlanta and the owner of whatever he is building. This week's pictures looked pretty much like this:

making hay

He received a prompt e-mail response from his boss:

Are we receiving proceeds from the hay being sold from the Box Elder site? Or does Buddy have his own little “profit center” going. Very ingenious I might say! ~Marty

truck office

Also on the second day he got to watch several fly-bys of B-1 Bombers from the nearby Ellsworth Air Force Base.


We had already learned through the grapevine (from a nice lady at the welcome center) that there used to be a Pilot Travel Center in Box Elder, but it was determined to be right under the flight path of the Air Force jets and was deemed unsafe, so it is now just an empty building, one exit west of the job.

morning commute

Buddy really loves his commute - 15 miles of NO traffic... heaven compared to the 1-1/2 hours of watching tail lights on the way to his last job.

Not much going on at the job this week, some grading equipment is arriving slowly, signage going up, making hay.