Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Hart Ranch–Part I

IMG_20150603_180859484_HDR(Jan)The weather here in the Black Hills is usually warm with lower humidity during the day and a brief afternoon shower on some days. This year the weather has been pretty rowdy with many thunderstorms, lots or rain and hail in the area but luckily only small hail with lots of rain here at Hart Ranch. It seems we’ve been having thunderstorm and flash flood warnings dailyP6100032.

The weather hasn’t stopped the fun however.  Our Boomer friends Duane & Betty and Bill & Gisela arrived at the Ranch the day after we did. We’ve been gathering for Happy Hours, Dinners, Bocci Ball, Pegs & Jokers and dinners out.

Bill and Gisela took us on a drive through Custer Park on day. We saw lots of Buffalo, drove through the Needles area and then took the beautiful hike around Sylvan Lake. We met Betty & Duane and their friends Barbara & Jerry at The Buglin Bull for a beer followed by burgers at the Black Hills Burger and Bun Company in Custer. Another night we met for some delicious Pizza at Lintz Brother’s Pizza near Hermosa.IMG_20150616_153728653

IMG_20150618_203614887Rapid City hosts Summer Nights each Thursday night. There are live bands playing at the block long venue on 7th street and also at Main Street Square. Last week Bill & Gisela and Duane & Betty joined us at the Fire House Brewing Company for dinner and then watched and listened to the Glen Miller Orchestra at Main Street Square and 32 Below over on 7th Street. The drummer for 32 Below was awesome! We alsoIMG_20150619_163350351_HDR strolled through Art Alley and saw many of the Presidents Bronze statues downtown. I stopped by to say Hi with Jimmy in 2009 and stopped to do it again this year. He’s one of my favorites!

All to soon it was time for Bill & Gisela to travel on east.  We had one last Happy Hour and dinner at our house to celebrate our time together. We started the evening with some cell phone fun, grazed through shrimp stir-fry, played 3 very competitive games of Pegs & Jokers and finished the evening laughing and chatting!  What a fun time IMG_20150606_094542312the six of us have had!

IMG_20150606_103822135During our time here at Hart Ranch, Chuck & I have also done two great hikes. We were very fortunate to be here at the right time for the Crazy Horse Volks March on June 6th. The hike is a 10K up to the arm of the huge Crazy Horse Sculpture near Custer. We walked with thousands of others up and down the hills but mostly up with a serious ascent to the finish.  We did it! 056-225x300The views were gorgeous up there!

This week we hiked to the top of Harney Peak. At an elevation of 7242 ft, is the highest point east of the Rocky Mountains and the highest point west of Europe's Pyrenees Mountains. We ascended three and a half miles on Trail #9. Like Crazy Horse, this hike also has a serious ascend at the top and then several flights of stairs to reach the old stone fire tower at the top. After our picnic at the top we descended four miles on trails #3 & #4, and then had an additional 1/2 mile hike to get back from that trail head to where our Jeep was parked. We hiked about 8 miles round trip. My Fitbit registered 23,053 steps. There were such beautiful views at the top and it was an amazing hike.  We are so happy that we were able to do it.

IMG_20150622_132255231 IMG_20150622_113717555_HDR
Looking east; the rock formation in the center is the back of Mount Rushmore.
IMG_20150622_132142805Our route back down took us by Cathedral Spires, at left, and towards Little Devils Tower at right.

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Home at Hart Ranch with a stop in Mitchell, SD

(Jan) Yesterday was a travel day for us. Our route from Carroll, IA to Hart Ranch near Rapid City, SD is a simple one; follow Hwy 71 to Hwy 20, get on I29 and then I90. Our overnight stop was at the Cabela’s in Mitchell, SD. Cabela’s welcomes overnight RVers for a very good reason; we all go in to shop and generally do not come out empty handed!

IMG_20150601_200527216While in Mitchell, we did take a drive up to Lake Mitchell on the north side of town. It’s a lovely lake with quite a few public areas but also lots of homes along the shoreline. Some of the homes are huge and magnificent!IMG_20150601_203926811

Mitchell’s famous Corn Palace was on our way home.  At this time of year the exterior walls are being stripped down as last years murals are being removed. Each year the walls become a different design and tell a new story.  The design is drawn on and then the corn cobs are nailed over; kind of like painting or in this case,IMG_20150601_201102307 ‘cobbing’ by number. There are about 14 different colors of corn grown on a 160 acre farm for this purpose. We watched an informative film inside the palace on it’s history. There is also an opportunity to buy all sorts of merchandise from T-shirts to Carmel corn inside.

Our drive today went well. We are now in Mountain Daylight Savings Time so we arrived at Hart Ranch around 2:00. Chuck washed the motorhome after our journey and we are now settled in for our 21 day stay on Lot 97. Stop by if you are in our area!


Monday, June 1, 2015

Leaving Iowa 2015

(Jan) After being in Iowa for nearly three months, with side trips to Illinois, Missouri, Indiana, Ohio and Kentucky, we are now on our way west. We are going to miss our midwest family and friends!

Leaving Iowa this time was a little more poinient, as my mom will no longer be there on our next time back in the state. I am now parentless and have moved into the 'older' generation. I miss mom already for so many reasons. I am very grateful that she lived a long, fruitful life.

We finished our time in Iowa at Swan Lake State Park. Camp Hosts Sharlene and Jo & Jerry are wonderful people and we are happy to call them friends.  They know our favorite spot there; luckily it has been available each time we were there this spring. The trees in the park have gone fron nearly bare in March to full leaf.

This week has been busy with many friends, shared meals and fond good-byes. Ron and Edna had us over for dinner on the night we arrived back. Calvin & Nancy and Joe & Sharon joined us at R&E's new home for a delicious dinner and a pleasant evening. We missed getting a photo early in the evening but here are six of us; Ron & Edna, Calvin & Nancy and Chuck & I.

On Tuesday we joined Glen & Mary Ann for a road trip over to Bayard to have dinner at Three Broke Girls.  The food was fabulous! Several of us had the 'Not so Broke' Burger; 1/3 burger topped with thinly sliced prime rib, cheese and onion rings! Great food and so nice to have an evening to visit with these two. I missed a photo of them but got a photo at their daughter and son-in-law's house where we stopped on the was home to say hi! to the family and cuddly their sweet little ones.

The following day was a busy one! Jan went to Ames with girlfriends Nancy, Betty, Norma and Edna to visit Reiman Gardens. The trip was a good one but we were at Reiman Gardens in between seasons when not many plants were blooming. The butterfly garden and the indoor garden were both wonderful though as was our lunch that followed. At Paton, Iowa's 209 Main, the Menu is varied and good, the restuarant is huge and the bar has a 'frost rail' to set your drink on to
keep it cold.  We ended our day eating ice cream back at Edna's house. What a delightful day.

I arrived back at Swan Lake to find Chuck visiting with his cousin Gary from Kansas City and our RV friend Gregg who joined us for several days.  Gregg made us a wonderful dinner that evening of Iowa chops, sweet corn and fruit. Chuck added sour dough bread and we had a feast. We had fun with them visiting about family and travel. On Thursday evening Gregg, Chuck and I ate at B & S in Carroll. They make one of the best Pork Tenderloins in the state. Delicious! After dinner we drove out to the countryside to see one of the many giant Wind Turbines in this area.

Friday was dedicated to going down to our storage unit and going through packed boxes to find photographs and negatives. Chuck has gotten a legal sized scanner and he is going to do lots of scanning to get them into digital form. On our way we stopped at Lynn and Mary's. She treated us to burgers & asparagus. Yum! We have been eating like Kings lately! Saturday was photo-scanning and cleaning day.

Sunday morning we went to Mass in Halbur with Ron & Edna. After Church services we went up to the cemetary to visit my mom & dad's graves along with my grandparents and both sets of my great grandparents. Ron's grandparents & great grandparents are buried there also as is Katherine Shillinger who is Ron's and my Great-great-great grandmother. Yes, Ron & I are ditantly related; we're third cousins. Our visit continued at The Market Place where we had a yummy breakfast and then back out to the Swan Lake.

That evening Chuck & I drove over to Denison's Yellowsmoke Park to visit with friends Lynn & Mary and Jim & Jerri who were camping there.  Bob, Julie & Rachel joined us, also, for a Blue Gill fish fry, salads and apple pie a la mode! We have camped with these friends for the last ten years and will miss the camp fires and fun with them this summer.

Thanks to all our family and friends for your warm welcomes, friendship and fond good-byes. This has been a spring to remember for us.

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