Friday, October 24, 2014

photo op

Senior Class Pictures! These are not the stuffy ones we used to take back in the day, sitting posed and stiff. There are a lot of options out there now to capture special moments. Local photographer, Crystal Newgen has a great eye for composition, you pick the place, you can bring props if you want, and she always captures great photos. Madison is Crystal's senior representative this year. She chose to shoot at Berry College in Rome, Georgia, one of the colleges in her future. Madison brought along some props to show one of her interests/hobbies - photography!

Today I'd like to sit and read, 
Forget I have a job I need,
Ignore the things I have to do,
And just enjoy a book or two.

on instagram
#Senior #SeniorPictures
#Berry #BerryCollege
#classof2015 #Photography

photos by Crystal Photography 'be unique for you' 

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

borrowed time

moving day

fall camping!

Buddy keeps saying we are on borrowed time, as far as the weather goes that is. The weather is unseasonably warm and dry, an excellent thing for building a job or living in a camper.

This weekend we moved to a new campsite, one of the four in the campground that is winterized (water connection is protected). 

neighborhood construction

As we were moving in and getting set up, we watched the neighbors working on their camper, adding an underpinning of plywood and Styrofoam board. So that started the wheels to turning, Buddy starting surfing for ideas on how to winterize a camper. He is eyeing some materials at the job that he might can use. 

Just a short walk away, the lake next door is slowly draining for spillway repair. The geese and ducks are vying for space on the dwindling water surface.

The cottonwood trees are spectacular! I would like to take some home to plant, I wonder if they would live in our neck of the woods?  

For now, the yellow leaves are falling outside my office window. The sky is blue and the breeze is warm. But we all know what is coming and we are all living on borrowed time...

Friday, October 17, 2014


Bison can weigh as much as 2,000 pounds. Historically, the animal played an essential role in the lives of the Lakota (Sioux), who relied on the "tatanka" for food, clothing and shelter. 

50 million buffalo roamed the west prior to European settlement. By 1890 the herd size was down to 2000. Now total buffalo population in the US is up to around 500,000. The herd size in Custer State Park is 1300.

buffalo rule the roads

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

SD Rocks!

backside of dam

pine beetles

Sylvan Lake was created in 1881 when Theodore Reder built a dam across Sunday Gulch. 

Sylvan Lake in Custer State Park, much quieter now that a lot of the other tourists are gone. A full sensory experience - water, sky, trees, sun, breeze, and lots of ROCKS! Whether you walk around the lake trail, climb on rocks, have a picnic lunch, or just sit and enjoy the view, a great place to visit.  

Saturday was a beautiful day, in the 70s, sunny. We spent the afternoon in Custer State Park, did a little hiking, drove through the needles highway, saw some buffalo, a nice day. But we kept watching the time as we were headed to the Alpine Inn in Hill City for supper. 

Our list of places to see and go is dwindling down. We were told early on to eat at the Alpine Inn, but to wait until the tourists had gone home or it would be way too long a wait. According to the locals, timing is key. The doors open at 5 for supper, but you must be on the big covered porch before that to get in line. 

The menu is simple, with the only choice being the size of the steak: 6 oz or 9 oz bacon-wrapped filet mignon, served with a baked potato, toast and a quarter wedge of lettuce with our delectable homemade ranch dressing.

That's right, no choice of even salad dressing, no loaded baked potato, no other sides, keep it simple.

Then there is the dessert menu. The campground owner was actually drooling just talking about it. 

We made it in time, secured our place in line, and ate the delicious steaks. Alpine Inn - check!

Monday, October 13, 2014

not Columbus Day

Crazy Horse Memorial

celebratory powwow

Today is Native Americans Day here in South Dakota, NOT Columbus Day. 

Since 1990, South Dakota is the only state in the nation to celebrate Native American Day, when all other states are observing Columbus Day. South Dakota honors its cultural heritage, and is home to nine tribes of Sioux peoples.

The local celebration will be at the Crazy Horse Memorial. Following a scheduled blast on the mountain, all visitors are invited to stay for a free lunch of traditional Native American buffalo stew. 

At the first holiday gathering, Gov. Mickelson told more than 1,200 people, “We can’t turn back the clock. We can only turn to the future together. What we can do as leaders, both Native American and white, is teach others that we can change attitudes.”  ~ 

No love for Columbus here, discovered America indeed! I don't think so...

~pictures from Black Hills Travel Blog

Friday, October 10, 2014


Canyon Lake is disappearing... the wintertime project of spillway repair has begun, the lake will be drained of all water, the project will last through March 2015.

When we first arrived here, a local man told us the lake is home to ducks and geese, and then during fall migration there would be hundreds more geese here for about 6 weeks before moving on. He also said the lake freezes solid in the winter months. But this year will be different with the lake being drained. The geese won't like it!

Sometimes I hear the geese honking overhead, maybe they are saying, "Honk if you love Canyon Lake!"

Maintenance is key to keeping up a beautiful park like this, and the Rapid City Public Works Department does a great job on this and all the local parks. The joys of park maintenance.

I was out yesterday taking these pictures before the lake disappears, while walking I met a lady who said they have to drain the lake periodically to clean out the goose poop :)

Thursday, October 9, 2014

weekend adventure

Road trip anyone!?  

This past weekend we went home for 3 days - not exactly a road trip, but it involved a few flights and a rental car. Just another chapter in our adventures. 

It was a Planes, Trains, and Automobiles kinda trip, just trying to get home for the weekend. 

We were running through airports (like O.J. back in those old commercials) trying to make connecting flights. 

We were standing in line at the rental car desk at midnight along with 50 other folks (like a Seinfeld routine).

Agent: I'm sorry, we have no mid-size available at the moment.
Jerry: I don't understand, I made a reservation, do you have my reservation?
Agent: Yes, we do, unfortunately we ran out of cars.
Jerry: But the reservation keeps the car here. That's why you have the
Agent: I know why we have reservations.
Jerry: I don't think you do. If you did, I'd have a car. See, you know how to
take the reservation, you just don't know how to hold the reservation and
that's really the most important part of the reservation, the holding. Anybody
can just take them.

But we made it home, reconnected with everyone, lots of good food and good company and good hugs. Wish we could stay. Looking forward to more of the same at Thanksgiving and Christmas. Well more of the good family stuff, not so much the adventure part.

Friday, October 3, 2014

memorial park

flood memorial fountain and rose gardens

past and future sculpture

Rapid Creek

Memorial Park in downtown Rapid City, one of the many parks created inside the green area designated along Rapid Creek after the Flood of '72, and dedicated as a memorial to the 238 people who lost their lives in the flood.

Berlin Wall segments

Two segments of the Berlin Wall stand in Memorial Park. 

The two wall sections are each 12-feet tall and stand as a sobering reminder of the differences between freedom and control. In front of the Berlin Wall sections are two iron “tank traps” – wicked looking iron X’s that stand about three-feet tall and used to serve as extra safeguards for the wall on the Communist controlled East Germany side. ~Black Hills travel blog

Thursday, October 2, 2014

pumpkin festival

25,000 people in downtown!

local news celebrity

pumpkin weigh-in contest

Main Street Square fountains

This past weekend in Rapid City and the surrounding Black Hills, they had all the fall events, the pumpkin festival, pumpkin catapult, the buffalo roundup, even the Octoberfest train ride... all in the last weekend in September, because as the weatherman said it is all downhill from here. The local news said the leaves peaked last week. 

Fall is definitely in the air. West and north of here there is snow in Montana and Yellowstone. The park across the street had 3 deer grazing. But we are still waiting on the big horn sheep that we have been told will come down out of the hills into this valley when it gets colder, right into the campground?!