Sunday, July 31, 2011

7/29–7/31/2011 Work–Friends-Bikers Are Coming

Back to work and we’re in a heat wave again. One hundred degree plus temps will be the norm for next few days.

We’re starting to gear up for Sturgis Week. The phone is ringing a bit more asking about tent and RV space and some are already arriving with their trailers in tow which hold their motorcycles.

Tent-ers are starting to arrive. So far we’ve had seven tent-ers at once but we’re hearing it will tent peg to tent peg when Sturgis Week officially starts on the 7th.


On Saturday, our friends Joy and DeWayne arrived from Oklahoma. Long time readers may remember them from last summer when we were in Delaware and they visited us there.


These two had to stay put in Oklahoma since last fall to take care of family matters but they are back on the road now and are they ever glad. Once that travel bug gets into you its hard to shake it.

So they are here for several weeks to see all the sights the Badlands have to offer and we hope to spend some serious time visiting with us.

I can’t believe the end of July is here already. It seems like just yesterday we were having a 4th of July picnic.

We want to welcome some new readers. We hope you enjoy the trip with us Tamara Dawn, Waggy Tailz from the UK and Fiona the dog, as typed by Dr. Liz. Welcome also to Lynnie Q. of Tampa and Anne J. who I happen to know winters in Texas. Welcome one and all.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

7/28/2011 $232.00

Two hundred thirty two. I will never ever forget that number. In fact I think I’ll play the local lottery and play 232 for the three digit and 23200 for the five digit number for the next few weeks. I may get lucky…..again.

Follow along and you’ll understand.

We stopped at the bank this morning on our way into Rapid City and I withdrew $400.00 from our checking account. Four one hundred dollar bills. I told the teller, “I only need this for a few hours so I’ll see you later today to re-deposit it”. That was certainly my intention.

The reason we needed the four hundred in cash? We wanted to buy a chair and then return it. Ahhh,,,I can see you shaking your head over that one!

When we bought our new 5th wheel last September we had it long enough to pull it to Arizona where we winter and it immediately went into storage. It didn’t come out until the very end of December when we moved back into it, if you remember, we had rented our park model out for January through March. I tell you this so that you understand we didn’t know right away that we had a problem with our furniture. The recliners were literally falling apart within just weeks of using them. We called the furniture supplier and they agreed there was a problem and we then we called our manufacturer and they also agreed there was a problem and a settlement was agreed upon between them and us. It was agreed that we would go buy two new chairs of our choice and they would reimburse us up to $200.00 per chair. That is all well and good.

A few weeks ago we found a chair that Bob just fell in love with. Did it cost more than $200.00? OH YEAH! It’s on the larger side for an RV recliner but we’re ok with that because I never sit in the recliners, I can see the TV from the dining room table where I sit with my laptop and I’m also comfortable with the sofa, which is holding up very nicely thank you. So we bought this chair knowing there would not be room for another one. However, I needed to get reimbursed for two chairs.


So back to our shopping trip today. Bob needed to buy two cinder blocks, as I type this I still don’t know what they are for, so we stopped at the closest home improvement store to get them. Last week I had also been in this store with my friend Valerie and found an area rug that I wanted so I showed that to Bob and he gave his thumbs up on my choice so we bought that and ordered the runner to go with it. As we were walking through the store to the construction area we passed a display of recliners. This store as a rule doesn’t sell living room furniture but have a short sale going on for them now and when they are gone, they’re gone. So we picked one out and had a ticket written up on it and I told the man a little fib that I would have to come back to get it with my husband and the truck. (Bob had gone to see about the cinder blocks)


So at check out I gave my debit card to pay for the area rug and runner on order and completed that transaction. Then I gave the cashier the chair ticket and three one hundred dollar bills. She gave me $67.00 and change in return. I folded the the money and put it in a little compartment in my wallet and slipped the change into my pocket. I don’t carry a traditional wallet but one that is a credit card / business card holder type thing.

My plan was to come back here after we finished some other errands and get a refund on the chair. However, Bob was getting a runaround with the cinder blocks and I had the time to return my paperwork for a refund right then and there. So I did. When asked why I was returning it I told the lady that I didn’t measure it first and that its too wide for the RV. No problem, she did the paperwork and returned $232.14 to me in fives, tens and twenties. More five and tens than twenties so I had a wad of bills to slip into a credit card slot opening in my wallet. I slipped it in behind the lone hundred dollar bill left and we went on our way.

Next stop, Walmart’s for rock salt. We have a water softener for our rig since the water is so rich with minerals here. As we were getting out of the truck Bob said, “Don’t forget your wallet, you’ve got all kinds of money stuffed in there and you can’t leave it layin’ out like that.” Oh yeah, like THAT was gonna happen! Rock salt bought we’re walking back to the truck and this gentleman intercepted us and asked if we were RV’ers. Hmmmm….think the hitch in the truck bed gave him a clue? He was selling campground space at a resort and was quite the talker. He went on and on and on. It was getting hot standing in the parking lot so I had Bob open the door so that I could get in in hopes this would give us a chance to get away from this fella. No such luck. It was even hotter in the truck so I got back out. Since I had had a death grip on the my wallet for the last half hour I threw it into the truck onto the console between our seats to ease the cramps in my hand. The fella finally took the hint when Bob walked to other side of the truck and was now talking to him over the hood and I was in the truck. Nice man but boy could he talk!

Heading back to our place we stopped at the bank to re-deposit the four hundred dollars. I didn’t have a deposit slip with me so I stopped at one of the desks to fill one the bank’s slips out. As I was talking to the bank tellers (I’ve gotten to know them since we’ve been here) I pulled the neatly folded one hundred dollar bill out and the folded sixty seven dollars out and emptied my pocket of change and then counted it. $168.00????? Whoa, what’s going on here? I took every last card and piece of paper out of wallet and looked in every little compartment and slot and there was nothing to be found. I was missing $232.00! Now I’m pretty well known as the Queen of Cheap and the mere thought of just losing that much money,,,, well, I was just sick! I was taking so long that Bob came in to find out what the hold up was. I dreaded telling him but I had no choice. He just looked at me and walked away. That made me feel even worse.

Out in the truck I re-traced my steps and just couldn’t imagine where it had gone to. Bob and I both looked on the floor, under my seat, in between the console and my seat it was nowhere to be found. I was just sick I tell ya!

As soon as we got home I called Walmart thinking maybe it fell out when I was paying for the rock salt and maybe someone turned it in.

Bob said something about losing the money and I just couldn’t handle anything more, after all I was beating myself up enough for the two of us.

An hour or two later I was sitting in the house with Valerie showing her our new rug in place and Bob walked in and handed me $232.00! It was between the console and HIS seat! He just happened to be looking for something in the truck door panel cubbies when a breeze kicked up and a $20.00 bill floated to the floor. Thankfully both doors were open and the breeze dislodged the money.

I. Am. A. Happy. Camper.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

7/27/2011 Town for Sale,,,,really!

Today we took a scenic ride to Scenic. Yes, you read that right. Bob heard about the town called Scenic, South Dakota on the news and we decided to go check it out.

The road into Scenic.


After all, its not everyday that one gets to go to a town that’s for sale!


Think about it, in New York City $799,000 will get you a two bedroom apartment. In South Dakota it will get you a town! Including residents, all nine of ‘em. Well, you don’t actually buy the residents they just come with the package but you have no legal rights of ownership of course.

Twila Merril owns the town, well 95% of what is inside the town limits and all 34 acres of the surrounding land. Mrs. Merril, I was told by one of the townspeople, is fighting her TENTH battle with cancer. She and her daughter thought it was time to sell.


I took the picture above while Twila was being interviewed and filmed by CNN. Oh yes, the town for sale is making news in a lot of places. The Rapid City Journal first broke the news and wrote a story about this town and it was picked up by Associated Press. Next thing you know CNN comes calling and the BBC calls for an interview.

Twila Merill, according to her daughter, was an adventurous cowgirl in her younger days and was known to never back down from a fight, with or with guns involved. She loved this town so much that whenever a property came up for sale, she bought it. And now she owns nearly all of it. It was first put on the market two years ago for the sum of $3,000,000.00. Not one nibble was taken at that price. It is more appropriately priced now at a hundred dollars shy of eight hundred thousand according to the real estate representative. We were told there have been a few nibbles now, but no real bites.

The town of Scenic was established back in the early 1900’s. A little town that was a stopping off point for the railroad that ran through this area. A town cowboys called home.

The town had a bank, a grocery store, a high school, a church and even a hotel back in the day. Then the Depression came and it hit Scenic hard.

Farmers had large families and they needed to be fed. There just weren’t enough jobs for everyone and they had no choice but leave this town. Businesses started closing as the population dwindled.

Some of the remaining families have been here since the 1940’s. Of course they go to Rapid City or somewhere else close by for work now but their address is still Scenic, South Dakota.

This was the Longhorn Store, the place where the ladies of the town may have gone to buy material to sew their daughters new Sunday school dresses and where their husbands may have gone to buy shovels or tack for their teams or perhaps a new pair of spurs.


According to the sign on the building,,,,they must have sold everything.



The old Bunkhouse. I guess this is where the unmarried cowboys lived.



Can you just hear the cowboy stories that must have been told sitting on the porch of the bunkhouse? Can you see a cowboy sitting on the railing in the dark of night, the only light from his hand rolled cigarette?


I went inside one of buildings and talked with the proprietor of the rock and mineral store. He wanted me to be sure to take a picture of his sign, he quite proud of it. I’m thinking he turned the phrase.


His display cases were all empty, the glass dusty and smeared, the only light from the front door because the electricity has been cut off. He was packing up the last of his rocks, stones and minerals, there’s just no business anymore. On average there are some 700 cars that pass through this town on any given day, rarely does anyone stop. I didn’t catch his name and I don’t know that he offered it but I walked away from there thinking if I had to name him it would be Sad Sam. He talked fondly of his town, the people who lived here, how it was in its heyday. He hopes whoever buys it will revive it and businesses will come back. I don’t know that he will, I think he’s resigned himself to retirement. I certainly didn’t get the impression he was looking forward to it.

Across the street was, at one time, an art gallery. Native American, Sam 2 Bulls, is a local artist and had this gallery in Scenic for several years. Another business gone by the wayside.


Our next stop was the Longhorn Saloon. Today the building was open, but only because CNN was in town interviewing what townspeople are left and were available.


Looking at the picture below can you hear the piano playing? Can you hear the cowboys playing poker in the corner? Can you see a mug of cold beer being slid down the bar to the cowboy who just came in off the dusty trail?


I was surprised at the several inches of sawdust on the floor. The ceiling and walls are made from rough hewn boards of pine and the bar stools, well they are made with old milk cans sitting on what looks to be small tire rims, with horseshoes for the foot rest and tractor seats.


Several years ago visitors took to writing their names, the date they visited and funny sayings on the walls and ceilings.


Oh yeah, and someone made fancy with magic markers on one of the many skulls displayed around the town.

We passed one of two jails in the town. This one was on Main Street and was used for public humiliation. Maybe the town drunks got thrown in there to sleep it off. I would imagine horse thieves and the such were held in the more secure jail until the circuit judge came to town and the rope thrown over a high tree branch.


This is the town hall. It was used at the high school gym at one time because the basketball backboards are still hanging and the lines on the floor, though faint with age, are still visible.

Now there are pew like benches in place on the floor but at one time great dances were held here. If you shut your eyes and strain your ear maybe you can hear the likes of The Sons of Pioneers singing Tumbling Tumbleweeds as the cowboys and their ladies two step around the floor.



Weeds are growing like wildfire in this all but forgotten town, it truly would have been fitting to see a tumbleweed making its way down the road.


I wonder if anyone of note has spent time in this jail?


Tatanka (which means buffalo) Trading Post is still in business.


It sells a variety of things such as locally made jewelry, used clothing, outgrown toys, old Avon bottles, buffalo jerky and an assortment of other trinkets. There was a guest book on the counter and just four lines up from where we signed was a Sarah Deal from Milford, Delaware, our home state.

This building was built in 1920 and was home to the town’s church.


Did I mention that Scenic sits right outside of Badlands National Park?



On the way home we were both pretty quiet, deep in our own thoughts when all of a sudden Bob yells….DINOSAUR! And sure enough……there was one.


Well there it is, Scenic, South Dakota, a town for sale.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

7/26/2011 Not One Second Sooner Than 11:05pm

NOT ONE SECOND SOONER! Nope, I’m not admitting to being another year older not even one nano-second sooner than is absolutely necessary.

Yep, today was the day, I aged another year. Only on paper though! I don’t know what fifty eight is supposed to feel like but I feel the same as when I was thirty five. Well, maybe not first thing in the morning as I gingerly walk down the steps but by ten o’clock, oh yeah, I’m all over thirty five!

What a wonderful day I had. We weren’t working today so I went and got my nails done and then just hung around the house until it was time to get together with Valerie and Jerry for dinner at Outback Steak House.

After a great meal the four of us went to Pirate’s Cove and played a very competitive game of putt-putt. We had a three way tie and Valerie followed (not too closely) behind.

Today I truly felt loved. With nearly seventy Facebook messages, about a dozen emails, a dozen phone calls and snail mail cards, well I am one blessed lady. I am so thankful for the friends and family in my life.

Monday, July 25, 2011

7/25/2011 For the Grace of a Half Mile

Just another work day but its our last so its all good.

In the very late afternoon the skies darkened and we could hear thunder in the near distance. The “voice” over the loudspeaker encouraged us to take shelter as lightning strikes were likely. This is when Bob goes into “radar mode”. He tracks the storms for us so we know whether to warn our campers of high winds or possible hail or that the storm will be intense but pass quickly. By the time we leave here Bob will qualify as a meteorologist. I, for one, am thankful he takes such an interest in this as it seems everyone looks to us, as camp hosts, for answers. Not only do they want to know where “x” is or what the hours are for “y” are or the admission fee for “z” they want us to be able to give an up to the minute weather forecast as well. So we try.

Campers started to return to the park after their day long motorcycle rides and we hear their stories of being pelted with hail on the other side of Rapid City. And the storm is headed this way. Hail. The last thing we need.


I made a walk through the campground stowing chairs and other loose objects for campers who aren’t here. I tell others to put their awnings up as winds to 60mph are coming our way. And hail. Let’s not forget the hail.

Bob zoomed in on the Doppler Radar page so much that we could see the runway here on base. We watched some of the storms cells form and break apart as they came over a small mountain range and watched other form and grow and gather together to make a much bigger storm cell.

Luckily, the 60 mph winds hit us at 25 mph, the driving rain came down as quick shower and hail just never materialized at all. However, on the other side of the air strip all hell broke loose. We were spared all for the grace of a half mile.

Sunday, July 24, 2011


Today is my friend Gail’s birthday. I’m glad her birthday is today. Today and tomorrow she is older than me. I like that. Happy Birthday my friend. (tried to call you, your number must have changed)

I started my work day in the office this morning. This is usually Bob’s place at this time but he is waxing the 5th wheel so I’m working here and he’ll take over in the afternoon. Of course this necessitated a change of location for the morning Hand & Foot card game with Shari.

Yesterday afternoon Shari, Valerie and I played a game of Mexican Train and Valerie won. I don’t like it when Valerie wins. Poor Shari never wins at anything so Valerie is my true competition. I told her when she won yesterday that she had played her last game with my dominoes!

This morning she came into the office to offer up her Good Morning’s to us and I asked her if she could write neatly on a poster board. She assured me she could and I told her I would get one at the Base Exchange later in the day and she could print for me. Curious, she asked what I wanted printed. I told her that she needed to print: WANTED - Mexican Train player,,,,well she got my drift and got the joke.

Later in the day I was in the office giving Bob a break and she came over with a scroll in her hand. I looked at it and then at her and she proceeded to unwind it. Here’s what she wrote.


Hey, that works for me!

Saturday, July 23, 2011

7/23/2011 545 vs. 300,000,000


I received this article in email from my friend Earl the other day. It was written by Charley Reese who was a journalist for the Orlando Sentinel. Mr. Reese was a journalist for forty nine years and this was his last column. It was written in September, 2008 but in light of what headlines the news this day I think its still very much current and appropriate.

Be sure to read the Tax List at the end.

This is about as clear and easy to understand as it can be. The article below is completely neutral, neither anti-republican or democrat. Charlie Reese, has hit the nail directly on the head, defining clearly who it is that in the final analysis must assume responsibility for the judgments made that impact each one of us every day. It’s a short but good read. Worth the time. Worth remembering!

545 vs. 300,000,000 People

-By Charlie Reese

Politicians are the only people in the world who create problems and then campaign against them.

Have you ever wondered, if both the Democrats and the Republicans are against deficits, WHY do we have deficits?

Have you ever wondered, if all the politicians are against inflation and high taxes, WHY do we have inflation and high taxes?

You and I don’t propose a federal budget. The President does.

You and I don’t have the Constitutional authority to vote on appropriations. The House of Representatives does.

You and I don’t write the tax code, Congress does.

You and I don’t set fiscal policy, Congress does.

You and I don’t control monetary policy, the Federal Reserve Bank does.

One hundred senators, 435 congressmen, one President, and nine Supreme Court justices equates to 545 human beings out of the 300 million are directly, legally, morally, and individually responsible for the domestic problems that plague this country.

I excluded the members of the Federal Reserve Board because that problem was created by the Congress. In 1913, Congress delegated its Constitutional duty to provide a sound currency to a federally chartered, but private, central bank.

I excluded all the special interests and lobbyists for a sound reason. They have no legal authority. They have no ability to coerce a senator, a congressman, or a President to do one cotton-picking thing. I don’t care if they offer a politician $1 million dollars in cash. The politician has the power to accept or reject it. No matter what the lobbyist promises, it is the legislator’s responsibility to determine how he votes.

Those 545 human beings spend much of their energy convincing you that what they did is not their fault. They cooperate in this common con regardless of party.

What separates a politician from a normal human being is an excessive amount of gall. No normal human being would have the gall of a Speaker, who stood up and criticized the President for creating deficits. The President can only propose a budget. He cannot force the Congress to accept it.

The Constitution, which is the supreme law of the land, gives sole responsibility to the House of Representatives for originating and approving appropriations and taxes. Who is the speaker of the House? John Boehner. He is the leader of the majority party. He and fellow House members, not the President, can approve any budget they want. If the President vetoes it, they can pass it over his veto if they agree to.

It seems inconceivable to me that a nation of 300 million cannot replace 545 people who stand convicted — by present facts — of incompetence and irresponsibility. I can’t think of a single domestic problem that is not traceable directly to those 545 people. When you fully grasp the plain truth that 545 people exercise the power of the federal government, then it must follow that what exists is what they want to exist.

If the tax code is unfair, it’s because they want it unfair.

If the budget is in the red, it’s because they want it in the red.

If the Army & Marines are in Iraq and Afghanistan it’s because they want them in Iraq and Afghanistan …

If they do not receive social security but are on an elite retirement plan not available to the people, it’s because they want it that way.

There are no insoluble government problems.

Do not let these 545 people shift the blame to bureaucrats, whom they hire and whose jobs they can abolish; to lobbyists, whose gifts and advice they can reject; to regulators, to whom they give the power to regulate and from whom they can take this power. Above all, do not let them con you into the belief that there exists disembodied mystical forces like “the economy,” “inflation,” or “politics” that prevent them from doing what they take an oath to do.

Those 545 people, and they alone, are responsible.

They, and they alone, have the power.

They, and they alone, should be held accountable by the people who are their bosses.

Provided the voters have the gumption to manage their own employees…

We should vote all of them out of office and clean up their mess!

Charlie Reese is a former columnist of the Orlando Sentinel Newspaper.

What you do with this article now that you have read it… is up to you.
This might be funny if it weren’t so true.
Be sure to read all the way to the end:

Tax his land,
Tax his bed,
Tax the table,
At which he’s fed.

Tax his tractor,
Tax his mule,
Teach him taxes
Are the rule.

Tax his work,
Tax his pay,
He works for
peanuts anyway!

Tax his cow,
Tax his goat,
Tax his pants,
Tax his coat.

Tax his ties,
Tax his shirt,
Tax his work,
Tax his dirt.

Tax his tobacco,
Tax his drink,
Tax him if he
Tries to think.

Tax his cigars,
Tax his beers,
If he cries
Tax his tears.

Tax his car,
Tax his gas,
Find other ways
To tax his ass.

Tax all he has
Then let him know
That you won’t be done
Till he has no dough.

When he screams and hollers;
Then tax him some more,
Tax him till
He’s good and sore.

Then tax his coffin,
Tax his grave,
Tax the sod in
Which he’s laid…

Put these words
Upon his tomb,
‘Taxes drove me
to my doom…’

When he’s gone,
Do not relax,
Its time to apply
The inheritance tax.

Accounts Receivable Tax
Building Permit Tax
CDL license Tax
Cigarette Tax
Corporate Income Tax
Dog License Tax
Excise Taxes
Federal Income Tax
Federal Unemployment Tax (FUTA)
Fishing License Tax
Food License Tax
Fuel Permit Tax
Gasoline Tax (currently 44.75 cents per gallon)
Gross Receipts Tax
Hunting License Tax
Inheritance Tax
Inventory Tax
IRS Interest Charges IRS Penalties (tax on top of tax)
Liquor Tax
Luxury Taxes
Marriage License Tax
Medicare Tax
Personal Property Tax
Property Tax
Real Estate Tax
Service Charge Tax
Social Security Tax
Road Usage Tax
Recreational Vehicle Tax
Sales Tax
School Tax
State Income Tax
State Unemployment Tax (SUTA)
Telephone Federal Excise Tax
Telephone Federal Universal Service Fee Tax
Telephone Federal, State and Local Surcharge Taxes
Telephone Minimum Usage Surcharge Tax
Telephone Recurring and Nonrecurring Charges Tax
Telephone State and Local Tax
Telephone Usage Charge Tax
Utility Taxes
Vehicle License Registration Tax
Vehicle Sales Tax
Watercraft Registration Tax
Well Permit Tax
Workers Compensation Tax

Not one of these taxes existed 100 years ago, & our nation was the most prosperous in the world. We had absolutely no national debt, had the largest middle class in the world, and Mom stayed home to raise the kids.

What in the heck happened? Can you spell ‘politicians?’

I hope this goes around THE USA at least 545 times!!! YOU can help it get there!!! Copy and paste this into email and send it to your list. Somehow, someway, we, as Americans, have to stand up and say “ENOUGH!”


Friday, July 22, 2011

7/20-7/22/2011 Our Three Days Off

I’m lumping these three days off together because we didn’t really do anything. Its hot here in these parts as we’re seeing the thermometer reach and pass 100 degrees everyday now. While the humidity isn’t nearly as bad as what our east coast friends are suffering through, a hundred degrees is a hundred degrees and its HOT no matter how you look at it. We’re like slugs these days, its too hot to be outside, yet we’re tired of being inside. Thank heavens for our home theater. It seems so strange writing that.

We’ve got tomatoes!


Unfortunately, our plants have a fungus and we won’t get too many more.

We’ve got Cayenne peppers! Hot ones!


Cherry tomatoes are coming along too.


The lettuce is limping along and suffering because of the heat. My radishes bit the dust, too much heat again. It’s all good though. What I buy in the commissary is so low priced I really don’t mind buying fresh veggies at all.

So here we are looking forward to cooler weather so that we can get out and about and do something. Its just gotta break soon!

We are waiting for friends to arrive and are eagerly awaiting their arrival to share good times with them!

Till next time….

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

7/20/2011 Quinn’s–2 Directv–Zip

Directv came today and all was not smooth sailing yet again. When the arrived around 10 a.m. I had to go to sign him into the base. Since he had never been here before it was quite the process to get a vendor signed in. Copies of everything except his first grade report card had to be made, his photo taken, he had to be fingerprinted and who knows what else. It would have taken less time to get him enlisted!

So he follows me to our place and gets right to work. First came the new dish. This one is oval versus the round one we had and bigger which means more room in the storage area when we’re on the road. We can deal with it.

Next comes the inside work. He doesn’t have the right receiver with him. This does not set well with either one of us. We just want this whole process to be over. So off the install guy goes back to his Rapid City office to get the right equipment. Thankfully we are only six or so miles from Rapid so it didn’t take him too long and he had his temporary pass so I didn’t have to go and sign him back in. He returns and gets right to work because he also has two other appointments today here on base.

I left to go to the store to pick up some things for dinner and when I returned the install guy is talking with Bob and I just assumed the work was done. Not so. The correct model receiver he brought him the second time, didn’t work! He called his supervisor and he agreed to bring one to him.

This has now turned into an all day affair. I decided to call Directv to let them know that I’m not a happy camper with the way this service call is going and since we had to spend our entire day off dealing with this that we should be compensated in some way. (( By the way, in case some of you have received the email going around telling you that you can ask to speak someone in the US when you reach a customer service call center in Indonesia or the Phillipines, it’s true! I got “Jennifer” in the Phillipines and I told her I wanted to speak to someone in the US. She told me that she would be happy to help me and I just repeated my request, “I would like to speak to someone in the US.” She put me through and I dealt with someone in South Dakota but from Sioux Falls. So yes, ask to speak to someone here in this country and maybe, just maybe we can get those call center jobs back.)) When connected with the US call center I asked to speak to a supervisor and was connected right away with no problem. That is a miracle in itself. So I explained what was going on with sending the installer to the wrong address the first time, the installer having the wrong equipment, the right equipment being broken and how the whole day is just shot. He apologized all over himself and while that was all well and good I wanted something instead. He agreed to give us Showtime channels at no cost to us for a month. It was something, I was happy.

So its done! Directv has installed our new high def dish and our new high def receiver. The picture on our TV is fantastic! Now our friend Jerry has to come in and set up the Blu-ray and tweak all the color and sound levels and we’ll be in TV home theater watching heaven! If I had only known how many REMOTES we were going to end up with!

(Only five are shown in the picture below, we have six!)IMG_8904

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

7/17–7/19/2011 We’re Havin’ a HEAT WAVE!

One hundred plus degrees everyday! No rain in sight. Grass/weeds are dying. Everyone stays inside. Dogs don’t even want to go for a walk. We’re havin’ a heat wave!

Bob and I shared hugs and handshakes as we said so long to Norm and Ann on Tuesday. This is the couple we went to the Cowboy Dinner Show with about a week ago with. We’ll see them again this winter and look forward to spending more time with them. The other couple we went with, Bill and Jackie left this past Friday.

Monday I got a haircut. The shortest I’ve ever had my hair cut. I went in and told the stylist I was tired of my “do”, it was hot, it was too thick and I had way too much of it. I said, “You look at and decide what it needs and then do it”. I was so brave! So she started cutting and she cut some more and then some more and I didn’t think she’d ever stop and when she did, well, let’s say I don’t have much hair left. It’s short. Short, short. And I love it! I’ll post a picture here real soon. How short is it you ask? The back is probably 3/4 to an inch long. The top? Two inches max. The best part? I look exactly the same in the morning when I wake up as I did when I went to bed. And dark! My hair is DARK brown. The sun has never seen this hair before. A lady here in the park asked what color I had used on my hair. I assured her I hadn’t colored it. I’ve been getting lots of compliments on it and I’m happy about that.

Tomorrow we have round two with Directv. We’ll see how it goes.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

7/16/2011 To High Def or Not to High Def……

……THAT is the question! Actually, we have the answer, we are definitely going the high definition television route, however the road is not paved smoothly.

I have mentioned just recently that the summer season has reached the Black Hills. OH MY has it reached it. We’ve got a string of days goin’ on where we’re in triple digits. Once again we’re hearing this is so unusual for South Dakota. We are so thankful for low humidity. Well, low to us.

Valerie and I spent the afternoon shopping and running errands while Bob and Jerry waited for the Directv guy to bring our new super duper high definition receiver.

Errands and shopping done we returned to a not very happy Bob. He got a call from the Directv guy saying he was confused by our address and Bob told him that was okay just tell him what gate was he at so that he could meet him and sponsor him in and he could then just follow. The Directv guy kind of stumbled over his words and said he wasn’t at any gate but was confused by the numbers. Now Bob was puzzled. Bob questioned him further and the guy explains he doesn’t see a Rainbow Drive and what is the 3314 number for? Oh No! Directv sent someone to our legal address in TEXAS! Bob explained he was in South Dakota and then was entered into a three way phone call between him, the installer and Directv call center, probably somewhere in the Philippines. In a way this turned out to be a good thing. Yes, we’ll have to until Wednesday now but because of the mix-up Directv is now reimbursing us the $117.00 for the box, cable and tax we paid to them. Bob is disappointed that he isn’t getting the set up today but it makes me very happy that we’re getting that money back!

We’re grilling our dinners these days because its just too darn hot to cook inside. We do have two air conditioners running constantly but we try very hard not to add any heat in the mix.

Weatherman says tomorrow we’ll be breaking records!

Our last day for this set of three days OFF and we didn’t go anywhere or really do anything other than sit in the air conditioned house. Low humidity or not, a hundred plus degrees is HOT!

Thursday, July 14, 2011

7/14/2011 A Pizza Party in the FamCamp

The other Quinn’s are leaving tomorrow. Tony and Lynnie have been here for a month now and its time for them to go back to Florida. Their son-in-law is being deployed on Monday and he needs a few days to get into deployment mode. To find that mindset and to get everything ready. Tony and Lynnie are taking their daughter and new grandson back to Florida with them for the next six months

They spent their last day here exploring Custer State Park. When they returned to the park eight of us got together and had a little pizza party. This way Lynn didn’t have to worry about cleaning the kitchen right before taking off. We ordered from both Pizza Hut and Dominoes and everyone got exactly what they wanted.

We sat outside as long as we could until the mosquitoes decided they wanted Italian tonite and came after us pizza eaters.

Bob and I had decided earlier in the day that we wanted to upgrade our Directv box for a high definition one. I called to get that ordered and they’ll be here Saturday to install it. Bob and our friend Jerry are researching Blu Ray DVD players to decide which one we should get. Its official, we will no longer have a television set, we will have a home theater. We were so surprised at the difference in just Blu Ray and Jerry, a true home theater guru, says our every day picture on the TV will improve 30% with the high def box and dish. We are so thankful Jerry is here to guide us through all of this. Of course if Jerry wasn’t here we still wouldn’t know what a difference Blu Ray made in movies, how much better our picture will be with the high def box and dish….wow Jerry has really caused a dip in our checking account. Who needs friends like Jerry? WE DO! Actually, we’re both pretty excited about our home theater in the making.

Before I close this I want to send out a very special HAPPY BIRTHDAY wish to my long time forever friend Janice! Happy Birthday girlfriend!

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

7/11–7/13/2011 Faster Than A Speeding Bullet!

Our three days off go soooo fast!

So we’re back on duty for these three days and nothing out of the ordinary is happening. Same old, same old.

Really, nothing worth mentioning. People come, people go.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

7/10/2011 One Amazing Day Trip

Today we went on a day long road trip on a loop that is outlined on the visitor maps as a must see – must do type of drive.

We got on the road a little after ten with a fresh battery in the camera and a cooler full. We headed south out of Rapid City and soon picked up Route 244 West. We had a beautiful day for our drive and traffic was light.


We weren’t too awfully far into our ride on the loop when we saw this sight.


The above picture was taken from somewhat of a distance because I didn’t know how close the road we were on would take us. Little did I know.


Mount Rushmore is just a sight to behold. It doesn’t matter how many times you see it the goose bumps still pop out on your arms when it first comes into view.

The closer we got the more pictures I snapped. This is truly a national treasure and everyone should see it at least once in their life.


Sculpted by Gutzon Borglum and later by his son Lincoln Borglum, Mount Rushmore features 60-foot sculptures of the heads of former United State presidents (in order from left to right) George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Theodore Roosevelt and Abraham Lincoln. Four of America’s finest. There is a museum and film about this National Monument in Keystone but we will save that for another day when Dianne from Delaware is here.

Imagine my surprise when we passed Rushmore,,,that’s what us locals call it,,, and I saw this profile! This was completely unexpected.


Ok, enough of Mou Rushmore. Be forewarned this will NOT be the last picture of it on this post.

The scenery along the way was just something else. The tall rock spires rose many, many feet into the air.


We experienced many hairpin turns on this drive.


On this section of the drive I sat a little closer to the open window for air because of these darn turns. Twist-y, wind-y, back and forth, up the hill and down,,,,whoa, I gotta change the subject.

Who could not enjoy a day like this?


Ahhhh,,,the first of several tunnels today. Some barely more than open cracks in the granite. All of them one way so we did a lot signaling by blowing the horn that we were coming through. Of course if anyone had seen The Beast coming at them from the opposite direction in one the of deeper tunnels I’m sure they would have thrown that gear shift up into reverse in a hurry.


Trust me, this isn’t all the wide but we went through skinnier!


Needles Highway,,,,one of the highlights of our road trip today.


Part of South Dakota State Highway 87, the Needles Highway winds 14 miles through some of the most fantastic scenery in the Black Hills.

Driving through rock tunnels and winding past rock spires, the Needles Highway was labeled impossible when it was constructed in 1919. That didn't stop Governor Norbeck, who supplied more than 150,000 pounds of dynamite and the determination and gumption needed to construct the road.

Needles Highway winds its way through high granite "needles". It also has two tunnels blasted through sheer granite walls. These tunnels are less than 13 feet high and one is only 9 feet wide. Owing to the narrow roadway, sharp turns, and low tunnels, the road has very little traffic and the vehicles that do travel this road are almost always sightseers. At least that is what the sightseeing books tell you. I have my doubts. Bob was constantly pulling over to let driver’s by who were driving like bats out of hell. How can they see anything or enjoy the view if they are going so fast?

Several turnouts along the way allow viewing some spectacular formations. Cathedral Spires is a massive collection of rock towers pointed to the heavens.

Do you see the face in these spires? I know my friend LaVon will! (click on picture to enlarge)


Fifty feet before we reached this lake we were stopped and told that we were entering Custer State Park and that we owed an entrance fee. Of $15.00. No warning, no signs, just park rangers stopping people. I think nearly everyone was taken aback because we watched car after car, motorcycle after motorcycle, pull over at this lake, I think, for a few minutes to stop and take in what just happened. We certainly don’t begrudge the state the entrance fee but it would have been nice to know that when we turned onto Needles Highway there was a fee station ahead. What if we didn’t have cash on us? That was certainly no worry though because at the snack bar/tourist trap store at the lake was a big sign… ATM.


The Eye of the Needle is a narrow spire over 30 feet tall; time, wind, and water have eroded it to create a three-foot-wide slit in the top of the formation that looks like the eye in a sewing needle. There is parking at the base of the eye for those who want to take pictures and to give the kids (big and little) a chance to climb some giant rocks.



The Eye of the Needle….


Of course we had to stop and look around. The Beast just looks so small here.



There is also a tunnel leading to the formation that is so narrow that busses, and dual-ies like our truck,driving the route look to have less than two inches of clearance on each side.


Needless to say we had to pull the mirrors in and I swear when we started through I heard Bob gritting his teeth. It was close! Very close! If I heard Bob say, “How is it on that side?” once I heard him say it a hundred times going through this tunnel. He brought us through it without a scratch!

We pulled off the road when we got through this and some motorcyclists were looking outward to the horizon. When they turned around their jaws dropped and they said, “Did you just come through that tunnel?” I think it was when we looked back towards where they were looking the smallness of the tunnel really hit home. We were both glad this one was labeled as the narrowest as we had a couple more to go through.


There was an abundance of chipmunks at this rest stop and they captured everyone’s attention and camera’s were clicking like crazy, mine included.



A going down the road picture.


The hairpin turns got tighter. We could tell by the speed limits.


The scenery along Needles Highway is just gorgeous!


Before long we had reached the next tunnel, slightly bigger than the last one.


Soon we found ourselves out in the open fields not closed in by huge rocks reaching for the sky.


We aren’t getting tired of green yet!


We couldn’t help but notice how many of the pine trees were dead.


That pesky pine beetle is playing havoc here in Custer State Park. It was the state’s idea to cut the trees down in large sections in hopes to isolate the beetle and hopefully eliminate it. The beetles do have flying capabilities and get carried on the wind so their destruction is very widespread. Greenpeace stepped in and said, “Oh no, no, no, you can’t cut down these trees that are going to die anyway, that is wrong!” The state fought these tree huggers and got the right to cut down sections of the forest. It’s a long process to cut down the trees as they try to leave the ones that are unaffected at the time they are there in hopes that it won’t be infected with these burrowing beetles that suck the life out of them. The weather doesn’t give them much time to complete the work either.

Oh LaVon, my friend, have I got a dead tree for you!


Our trek on Needles Highway complete we turned onto the Wildlife Loop. We weren’t on it long and we spotted our first buffalo, or bison for those of you who prefer the correct term. (LaVon, look at the big brown things, not the tree, I know its dead but this is not a dead tree picture for you)


We had no idea that just a little further down the road we would see a small herd up close and personal like. Lots of babies out for an afternoon stroll with their mama’s.


They were all licking the stones on the shoulders of the road, Bob says for salt. You know, buffalo in the road can cause quite a traffic jam.




Can you imagine staring this guy down?


Well also saw pronghorn's along the way.


There are some very hungry and friendly burro’s that call Custer State Park home but we didn’t see them. Of course since this state park encompasses 71,000 acres we were not surprised that we didn’t see the burro’s, they could have been anywhere.

At some points on our drive through Custer we were on a one lane road.


A double tunnel!


Going through….


Bob and I so enjoyed our day here in Custer State Park. Because of road signs and landmarks we knew we were almost at the end of our journey and that we had yet one more tunnel to go through. Little did we know how special that one was going to be.


Look what faces you when you come out the other end! (Pun intended)


Don’t see it? How about now?


How cool is that?????

What a great day! And here I thought it was over but Bob had another idea.

He asked what I had planned for dinner and I told him I had some steaks defrosting in the fridge for the grill and that they should be ready when we got home but if not we would call out for pizza. He didn’t want any parts of that. He suggested we go out for dinner. Oh Bob…TWIST MY ARM! MAKE ME EAT IN A RESTAURANT! DEPRIVE ME OF DISHES DUTY! PLEASE!

So he knew what he had a taste for and when he told me I heartily agreed!


Bob has been craving lobster for awhile now and I always can force myself to eat some so Red Lobster it was. I figured we would order one the lobster dishes from the menu but Bob still had another idea.

Enter Larry, Larry the Lobster.


Ol’ Larry weighed in at just over four pounds.


It was decided in record time that we would eat Larry!


Larry was brought to us a short time later…cooked to perfection!


A perfect ending to a perfect day!