Saturday, September 24, 2016

Summer Update - The Black Hills Are in Our Rear Window

Black Hills, Custer, SD
Our summer in the Black Hills is done. We have started another adventure that I will be blogging about next time, but for this post I just wanted to update about our summer. From our previous posts you may remember that our trip to South Dakota was more of a 'fall back' trip as our intended summer job mapping BLM roads cancelled at the last minute.

Jim & Deb

We had been in South Dakota in 2014 and really enjoyed our adventure there; because of our previous experience and the fact that our friends Jim & Deb were working at Crazy Horse this summer we decided to spend another summer there. We were so fortunate that positions at Crazy Horse came available and we had jobs at Crazy Horse 2 weeks after we arrived.

That's Joan & I at his chin
Good opportunity to understand the scale
of the work being done

We quickly settled into a routine of working again. Crazy Horse is open 365 days/yr; in the summer from 7am until as late as 11pm depending on what time the nightly laser light show finishes. Joan and I had the same work days and similar work schedules (at least at first). As the season progressed Joan was asked to work the ticket booth, which kinda' messed up our similar schedules.

Sometimes working at Crazy Horse
can be a hair raising experience!

And as fate would have it, between Joan & I, Jim & Deb, and Phil & Rudee the schedules were so different that Joan & I only had 1 day off together with Phil & Rudi. Bummer! We've realized over the last few years full-timing that the friends you make and get to spend time with are as important as the places you go and the things you do!

On our days off we continued to spend time driving the back roads throughout the Black Hills. We saw lots of wildlife.....

Between last year's work mapping BLM roads and the traffic throughout the Lake Mead area Joan had not ridden her motorcycle very often. Just before we left Lake Mead to head north, she decided to list her motorcycle for sale. When we took her bike out of the trailer to clean it up and take pictures, we noticed one of the front forks was leaking. By the time we had this repaired it was too late to sale the bike. Just after arriving at Custer we broke out the bikes and took a ride. It didn't take long before we encountered excitement....(check out this video)...

As soon as we got home, Joan commented "I forgot how much I enjoyed riding here! I'm glad I didn't sell the bike."

We got to take in a local play "Nunsense" with Phil & Rudee.....

George, Laurel, Pam, John, Joan, me, Bev & JC

......we were able to take a group of friends to the top of Crazy Horse.

Jim (barkeep), Pam, JC, Bev, John & me

We made a new friend at Heritage Village, Jim. Jim was employed to clean up and open a long-closed tavern called Heritage Village. We think he did a great job.

We celebrated my birthday while we were here and Joan got me a fantastic gift....a helicopter ride flying over Mt Rushmore and Crazy Horse. It was great.

Look close and you'll see the helicopter
just out to the right of his hand

All in all Joan & I are very proud to have worked at Crazy Horse. We were especially grateful we were offered the opportunity to work mid-season. We finished up the year with a little melancholy as our experience this summer was not as positive or fulfilling as our first time around. Some of the 'shiney' was off the penny this year as it was kind of a 'been there done that' season. Our intention from the beginning was to try and do something different each season as there is so much for us to see in this great country. We'll have to keep that in mind as we choose future work opportunities.

Motorcycle Momma!
Her 2nd ever ride at age 79

Joan and I decided that it was time to spend a little more time with family and friends in Florida, so we made plans to take the motorhome and travel back to Florida, intending to stay for several months this winter. We also decided to invite my mom to join us and travel cross-country with us as we made our way back to Florida. She accepted and flew into Rapid City the Friday before we left Custer. We got to spend a little time showing her the sites in South Dakota before we headed out to start our next adventure. "What is that adventure?" you may ask.....well you'll just have to check out our next blog!

Well, that's it for now. Stay Tuned. More to Come!