Monday, August 29, 2011

Bighorn Mountains

(Chuck) The Black Hills Boomerang is over and Jan and I needed a place to go and hide. 11 days of reminiscing with great friends, numerous food events, daily happy hours, and prolonged periods of intense laughter can wear a person out. We knew of a secret place in the Bighorn Mountains in Wyoming that we had discovered a couple of years ago. We are by ourselves in an area of this park and for a very big bonus we have pretty decent Verizon service.008 Our friend Judy Sheeley says “It would take a lot of this to kill ya.”

022I have several projects to work on in the motor home and this will be a good time to start. Jan’s chair has an electrical problem, our door awning does not extend, rearranging the basement is necessary and I want to install some LED lights in our florescent fixtures. All of these projects are necessary, however I have a rule that one project a day satisfies my requirements. I am at a different stage of my life now and it is not necessary to have four different things going at the same time. This country is way too pretty to miss.

009(Jan) When we stopped in Spearfish Canyon to get supplies before heading for the mountains, I notice that they had a fresh supply of Anaheim chile peppers. Chile Rellenos have always been a favorite of mine so with the purchase of Anaheim peppers and a recipe off of the internet, we’re ready to go. 014Chuck roasted the peppers outside over the grill and after letting them steam in a plastic bag, the skins came off quite easily. We’ve got the other coating ingredients ready to go and we’ll cook them and a burger outside on the grill tonight.

(Chuck) We are back to boondocking again. 91% on the batteries and three hours of sun left for the day will provide enough electricity for all of our needs. With our solar power, the loudest thing is our area is the sound of the wind blowing through the Lodgepole Pines.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

BH Boomerang Wrap-up

Our eleven days at beautiful Rush No More CG with the Boomers came to an end this morning as we headed west.  We sure enjoyed this gathering; seeing old friends and meeting new ones. The last several days were filled with playing Mexican Train Dominos with Joey, Nancy and Gisela, walking, a final potluck, our daily happy hour, a final game of Pegs and Jokers and having lunch at the Lodge and touring the town of Deadwood with Bruce and Dee. We’ll miss these friends but will look forward to seeing all of them in the future.


The Boomer Banner & Boomer Rigs

4:00 Happy Hour


The Girls are the Pegs & Jokers winners!
A box of Hot Tamales was the prize for Jan, Betty and Gisela for our 4-3 win.

Jan & Beth hiking to Roughlock Falls in our patriotic t-shirts

Chuck, Jan, Dee and Bruce back from our day at Deadwood


Beth took this lovely photo of Chuck and I as we coasted down part of the 17 miles down hill on the Mickelson Trail.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

BH Boomerang Events

297125_267140343296641_100000020314624_1133203_5738644_n[1](Chuck) The Black Hills area is a great place to have a gathering. It offers many places for people to explore. There is an ample supply of restaurants for those who need them. There are also the standard tourist attractions of Bear Country, The Cosmos Mystical Site, and Snakes Are Us. For others, there is ample time to find the shade and load test a lawn chair with friends. (Pictured at right are early arrivals Bill & Gisela, Duane, Jan & Chuck, Donna, Loretta & Rey and Don.)

We tend to look for things that do not require crowds and large admissions. One that we found was the George S. Mickelson Trail. This is a bicycle trail that runs 109 miles generally north south through the heart of the Black Hills. It follows an early rail road and is a very gentle slope which does not exceed 4 per cent grade.003 The trail was completed in 1998 and is constructed of packed gravel. It offers more than 100 converted railroad bridges and four tunnels. There are fifteen trailheads which provide parking areas, modern vault toilets, and picnic tables.

On Friday of last week, Jan and I rode a fifteen mile up and back section of the trail. It was a leisurely trip which allowed us to stop at many of the bridges and meadows and drink in the beauty of the area.Bike ride on Mickelson Trail

For a group ride we selected a section of the trail which offered a 17 mile downhill ride between the Dumont and Mystic Trailheads. It ended with a three quarter mile section of upgrade which served to remind us that bicycles still need pedals. This section of the trail took us through open meadows, along beautiful clear streams, and through many spruce and ponderosa pine forests. I think this trail will become a standard fare for us as we re-visit this area in the future. Pictured at right are Chuck & Jan, Diana, Dick & Beth, Becky & Lonnie, Steve and Jack & Sherrie.

002(Jan) Saturday was a fabulous day for a couple of hikes in the Spearfish Canyon. Twenty-four Boomers pictured at left, ventured over to the Roughlock Falls and hiked the one miles trail along a pretty little stream. The falls were beautiful!  After a picnic lunch in the shade at Latchstring Inn many of the group went on the shorter hike to another lovely area, Spearfish Falls. (For photos of the falls click on either hyperlink.) 

Sunday was our day for a drive through Custer park with Bill and Gisela with a delicious Buffalo lunch at the Blue Bell Lodge. Bill Buffalo stew with his salmon dinner salad, Chuck had a pulled Buffalo Sandwich and Gisela and I had a Buffalo burger w/cheese and caramelized onions. All were very delicious! We saw lots of wildlife; buffalo, burrows, prairie dogs, pronghorn and deer. It was a wonderful day with wonderful friends.

Chuck and I have hosted a chili cook-off at Quartzsite for several years and since two of the more serious chili chefs are with us here at the Black Hills Rang, Chuck hosted a Chili Throwdown between Bill and Steve. Both guys were busy creating Wild Willie’s Texas Red and Steve’s Dime Chili on Tuesday as the rest of the group made side dishes and other pots of ‘non-competition’ chili. After the dishing up and tasting by all was done, Wild Willie’s Texas Red won the day.


   Jan and Gisela dishing up the samples


   Bill & Steve with Chuck as Wild Willie’s was declared the winner

And last but not least, Bill & Gisela, Betty & Duane and Chuck and I have been playing Pegs and Jokers. The score stands at 3 and 3 with the play-off game scheduled for today. It has been so much fun playing with these 2 couples again. Thanks for the laughs and the memories, guys.


Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Black Hills Boomerang

(Chuck) We are at Rush No More campground near Sturgis, SD where Betty and Duane are hosting a Boomerang. This is a lifestyle that allows us to be with friends where ever we go whether we are in our “home” area or at the most distant state in our travels. 009

We arrived in the Hills Saturday and found a spot at a Passport America campground in Black Hawk which is just down the road a few miles from Sturgis. We were by the highway and it was the last Saturday of the Sturgis motorcycle event. The highway was crowded with motorcycles going both ways. It is a big event and attracts all kinds of people; there is something for everybody in this great country of ours. On Sunday afternoon we were joined by Bill and Gisela.

(Jan) It was great to see Bill & Gisela again! We shared several great meals together and we sure enjoyed visiting and playing Pegs and Jokers!014

Custer Sate Park has been a favorite of ours for years.  We took a drive through the park on the Wildlife Loop and were rewarded by a ‘buffalo experience.’ A herd of several hundred munched on grass in the pasture and milled around our vehicle as they crossed the road. It was a thrill being among these great beasts of the plains again. After a pleasant lunch at the Cattlemen’s club in the town of Custer and a drive through ‘Needles’, tunnels and pig-tail bridges it was time for a delightful stop to see friends Art & Connie who are workcamping here in the Black Hills.  

(Chuck) We and Bill & Gisela moved to Rush No More yesterday. Betty and Duane arrived and we were off to a great start. We will be here with about seventeen other Boomer couples until 25 August. There will be the usual hiking, conversations, biking, exploring, and catching up with each others travels as we enjoy our stay here with friends. When we leave here we will take a leisurely trail through Wyoming, Colorado and be in Albuquerque, New Mexico for the next Boomerang at the Balloon Fiesta in the first week of October.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Westward Ho!

(Chuck) We are in Mitchell , SD at the Cabela’s parking lot. Last night was in Yankton, SD at a beautiful Corp of Engineers park. We arranged to meet Gary and Nancy Asplund at Cottonwood Campground. It was a nice visit with old friends however a local “Riverboat Days” celebration has caused the area to be full of locals 036and we were only able to get a site for one night. Today we moved here to Cabela’s and we are not sure where we will be tomorrow. It will be on the way west towards the Black Hills , however there is another problem which makes if hard to find a place to stay in the Black Hills. Yes, it is the Sturgis Motorcycle event. All places to stay in the Sturgis area will be full also, so we may not be able to get into the area until Sunday.

(Jan) This morning at Cottonwood CG we road bikes over to the Gavins Point Dam. All fourteen gates were flowing and the resulting roar and tumult was amazing! This afternoon in Mitchell we walked through the Corn Palace and then stayed to watch the film. It’s an interesting place. And tonight we did a Walmart run and then rode our bikes around the area here and walked around the Cabela’s Building. So tonight our legs are pretty tired! As we’re boondocking tonight, we’re grateful for a nice cool breeze and temps in the lower 70’s; good sleeping weather. Tomorrow we’ll head further west.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Hot Days at Yellowsmoke

007(Jan) The summer heat and humidity continues here in the Midwest so we took a break at Yellowsmoke Park with Jim & Geri Muhlbauer and Ron & Edna Odendahl. We walked in the morning and did a lot of lawn chair testing in the last afternoons and evenings as the temperatures were in the 90’s; the humidity in the 80’s. Well, lawn chair testing and eating and grilling. Along with the brats & chops we had fresh potatoes, onions, sweet corn and zuchini right from the garden. On Tuesday we played Bocce Ball in the shade of the parks trees and that night Ron made barbequed ribs.  He and Chuck had done that the summer before and the second edition was just as delicious! Muhlbauers headed home on Wednesday but we and Odendahls stayed another day.

251568_1879110693580_1115660968_31609325_6910785_n[1] - CopyWednesday evening was girls night and time to celebrate Becki’s birthday. Following drinks and visiting to catch up on news, we had chicken burritos with all of the fixings and strawberry yogurt cake. At left are friends Edna, Karen, myself, Becki and Nancy. We had a very nice evening but we missed our friend Betty this time.

075Chuck and Ron hiked the northern grass trails on Thursday morning and Nancy came up to walk with Edna and I on the paved 4 mile path around the lake and over past the edge of Denison. The buffet at Little China on Denison’s Main Street was the destination for the 5 of us plus a friend of Nancy’s after our walks.

These four days at Yellowsmoke were a fun break and a great time with friends. Chuck took the motorhome back to the farm in the afternoon while I drove over to Carroll to visit my mom. She’s in great spirits and her back is doing well and healing nicely.

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