Sunday, July 5, 2009

Black Hills Adventures

After a very rainy spring, once we arrived in Custer a few short weeks ago, the sun started shining and the skies turned blue. However... the past few days have been much stormier, with frequent rain showers, and even a little hail. But in spite of the rainy patch we've had, we are still enjoying our adventures.

Thursday was Rapid City day, and this time, Dortha and I went together and left the guys at home. We timed our drive perfectly and arrived at the Weight Watchers center just in time for our weigh in. After the meeting, we stopped for a quick lunch at Wendy's and, armed with our lists, braved the Walmart and Sam's stores.

We got all of our errands accomplished without any major meltdowns, and finally got home late in the afternoon. After our dinner, we decided we would go out on a pleasure drive, again in search of the elusive wildlife. This time we took the road to Sylvan Lake. We've been by there many times as we've explored the hills, but it has always been packed to the gills with no place to even pull over to park along side the road, much less a spot in a parking lot. But this evening, most of the visitors had already left, or were on their way out, and we had no problem parking.

We decided to walk the path that goes around this beautiful gem, and away we went.

There are many, many beautiful spots in these Black Hills, but this lake is really one of the most lovely we've seen yet.

Caden was anxious for Moppah and Miss Ellie to hurry and take those pictures so he could continue his walk:

There were two of these bucks enjoying their evening meal right next to the path along the lake. They did not seem to be bothered by our presence at all:

Where's Mom?

After our walk, Poppa and Caden enjoyed a little break at the general store by the lake:

Friday was a day we've been anticipating for a year - we had reservations for a tour van to take us to Mt. Rushmore for the July 3rd fireworks! We arrived in Custer last year on the 2nd of July, too late to plan to attend this special display. So, this year, we anticipated the event and had our reservations made months ago. Wouldn't you know it - rain! All afternoon it poured. But finally, the rain let up and the sun even came out for a little while. Dortha and Mark's son, Greg and his wife, Kate, along with their son, Zachary, had flown in for the event as well. We hopefully gathered our gear and went up to the office to wait for our ride. First glitch, the tour company van had broken down, so the ride was actually a car and a rental van. No big deal, we still got to Mt. Rushmore with no problem.

We got our seats and set up where we had a good view. Uh-Oh - more clouds! A fog bank rolled in, and obscured the whole mountain. It looked like it was going to pour again, so we grabbed our chairs and headed for the parking garage, where we spent most of the rest of the evening. Even though the mountian was enshrouded in fog, the fireworks were still shot off. We heard the bangs, but all we could see were colored clouds. Near the end of the show, we did see a few sparkles through the now-thinning fog. Of course, 30 minutes or so after the show was over, the clouds and fog cleared. Too late. Oh well, maybe next year...

Saturday, the 4th of July! A potluck dinner at the campground was the planned activity for the evening. Jim's newest batch of salsa was the featured appetizer for Happy Hour:

Mike and Pat McFall came early for the happy hour and got recruited by Geri to help with the decorations, as I did. Here we are, all full of hot air, with the job of blowing up the balloons:

It was great to reconnect with Larry and Lee Ann, whom we met here in Custer last year. We've been following each other's blogs since that time, and it was wonderful to see them again. They just arrived in Custer a few days ago, and are staying at their usual spot down the road from here. We're planning a geocache adventure with the McFalls tomorrow morning (as long as the weather cooperates, that is).
Larry, standing outside the pavillion, with myself, Pat and Lee Ann (seated) visiting:

Larry (the other Larry who is the campground owner), seen leaving the pavillion, barely had time to grab a bite to eat as he hurried off to help a customer:

After dinner, we went back to the rigs and built a campfire and made s'mores while we waited for the Custer fireworks display. We were told we could see them from the campground, so no need to drive anywhere tonight.
Greg (Dortha and Mark's son), Mark, and I roast our marshmallows while Dortha helps Caden with his bite of a s'more:
Caden and Mr. BoJangles enjoy a moment. They've taken a liking to each other, and Caden watches for BoBo to go out on walks. BoBo, of course, loves the attention!
No rain tonight - finally the sun set and we waited for it to get really dark:
So we could enjoy the fireworks:

Happy Birthday, America!


Mike McFall said...

Great Pictures Ely or Jim,,,who ever!!!


Tumbleweed Dee said...

Wow, what a great time! Super pictures of everyone and the fireworks. Thanks for posting the fun.