Monday, October 16, 2017

'17/#25 It's Done!

The hotels are closed and we are done working here in Keystone SD. We will be leaving in the next few days. Laundry has to be done and final preparations to get the rig on the road again. The truck has new tires, fresh oil, and it's safety check from Ford so it is ready to go. This morning we are having some electrical issues and will get it taken care of tomorrow or somewhere down the road. Either way we will have the wheels rolling by Friday the latest.

This summer has been a lot of fun and we will miss many of the friends we have made here. Some of the work campers have swapped information and promises to keep in touch with the potential of meeting down the road in the future. The international girls that were here have moved on but are keeping in touch as they travel. Some have gone home and back to school while others are taking some time to travel and see more of the United States. Either way they have stayed in touch and shared stories and pictures from their adventures.

Right now we are doing our laundry and saying our goodbyes to the girls who work here. We have gotten friendly with them coming here every week. Laundromats are more than a place to get your clothes clean. It is also a gathering place for travelers and locals alike. We get to share tales of our travels and learn about local things to see and do. Like I've said before, it is the people that we meet that make some of our sweetest memories.

Well the laundry is almost done and will not fold itself. My next blog will be from somewhere down the road, so this is goodbye for the last time from our home in Keystone SD because....

Home is where we park it,
Frank and Mary

Monday, October 2, 2017

'17/#24 One Last Outing

In my last blog I told everyone that our time here in South Dakota was coming to an end. We have seen everything and done everything we hoped to while we were here. It seems that the only thing left is to finish our job commitment and get the rig ready to roll.

But wait, there was one more thing we had to see before leaving. Every fall Custer State Park has a buffalo round-up. The herd is gathered into a corral and examined by veterinarians, the new calves are tagged branded and inoculated, and the excess buffalo are sold at auction. This is a maintained herd and the grasses in the area they are contained in will only support 1000 buffalo through the winter. With new calves being born throughout the year the herd could be as much as 1400 hence the buffalo auction. Yes Mary wants a buffalo and no Frank won't let her have one. I'm such a meany!

The round-up is open to the public and draws crowds between 15 and 20 thousand viewers each year. This year we wanted to be in that group. To get there so we could, first of all get in, and secondly get a good spot to view meant we had to get up at 3am. After a couple of snoozes and packing the truck we were on the road. We arrived at the park around 4:30 and got to the line entering the round-up by 5am. A small group of about 25 buffalo ran right through traffic as we headed into the parking area and we watched several run right past our window. One big bull plowed into another pickup and took off like it was nothing. We were parked by 6am and at the breakfast tent at 6:15 as they opened. Then a quick trip to the souvenir tent and then to our seats making friends with other round-up watchers. Our timing was perfect.

Soon after the cowboys and cowgirls came out and were letting us know which way that they hoped the herd would go but apparently the herd was being ornery and anything could happen. Soon after that the noise started and....

the buffalo started coming over the hill. It was amazing and something we will never forget. We came, we saw, we got the t-shirt (literally), and we have another memory.

This is why we love our life and the lifestyle we have chosen. less than 3 weeks and we will be on the road. So while we prepare for our departure this is goodbye for now from our home in Keystone SD because....

Home is where we park it,
Frank and Mary

Friday, September 22, 2017

'17/#23 Time Is Winding Down

The Labor Day Weekend rush is over and the local tourist season is starting to wind down. Most of the stores and hotels here in Keystone will close for the winter even though Mt Rushmore is open year round. Two of the hotels have already closed and the hotels we are working in are starting to close some of the rooms. The crowds are gone and the streets are empty so a lot of the local merchants are starting to curtail their hours. They are also starting some of their end of season sales. Fortunately there isn't much that we want so we aren't spending too much money.

Another thing that is missing are the international girls that worked here over the summer. They have to get home to start school so they have been leaving us a few at a time over the past few weeks. We have gotten quite attached to them and will miss them. They have enriched our experience in South Dakota and we hope that we made a positive impression on them as well. By the end of September the last of the girls will be gone and we will be nearing the end of our stay.

The two hotels we are working in will be closed by the middle of October and we hope to be on the road by the 20th of the month. Our next destination will be south Texas with a stop over in Colorado to see a friend we worked with in the Post Office. The trip will take us a week or so because we aren't in any hurry. We do have jobs in Texas but we will not be working as hard or as many hours as here in Keystone.

Well I am on the clock and have to get back to work so until the next blog this is goodbye from work near our home in Keystone SD because....

Home is where we park it,
Frank and Mary

Monday, September 11, 2017

'17/#22 Motivation Needed

It's been a while since I have blogged and I have no good excuses. Too busy? Too tired? Too little to write about? No, just too lazy. We have been busy and working hard but we also have been having a lot of fun. In the past few weeks we have traveled in and around the Keystone area seeing some of the local attractions.

A couple of weeks ago we went to Hot Springs to check out the Mammoth Site. There is an ongoing excavation of a prehistoric sink hole that contains the skeletons of wooly and Columbian mammoths. To date they have uncovered over 20 skeletons and have been able to remove some of them for further examination. It is a little hard to imagine these giant creatures roaming North America in the land where buffalo used to roam. Seeing the tusks still attached to the skulls and surrounded by what appears to be complete skeletons after more than 25 centuries was .... well it was awesome! It was well worth the trip and I have been recomending it to the tourists visiting the area.

Last week we finally found our way up to Deadwood. Yes that Deadwood. The one of Wild Bill Hickok, Calamity Jane, and others that came to this spot in the Black Hills looking for gold. The bus tour through the city and out to the "Boot Hill" cemetery was informative as well as entertaining. We spent several hours just roaming around looking at some of the notable places restored and maintained for history. There are a lot more casinos in town since the last time we were here 10 years ago. Legalized gambling was needed to fund the preservation of the town and the money is being put to good use.

Now to the motivation for me sitting down to blog at this time. Anyone who follows us knows we are from Florida and have family and friends there. And anyone not living under a rock knows of Hurricane Irma. The past few days have been filled with worry and concern for everyone we know and the rest of Florida. Being 2000 miles away and not being able to do anything is frustrating. I am happy to report that we have heard from just about everyone that they have survived Irma and are dealing mostly with debris and power outages. No homes lost, no injuries, and no doubt that everyone will bounce back in time.

Again, my motivation comes from the frustration of not being able to help. I do want everyone to know we have been and still are thinking of you and hope for a quick return to normalcy. We are sorry we can't be there to help but our positive thoughts are with you. Maybe this blog will make you smile a little thinking about us and you will feel better for a moment. That is all I can do for now and hope is enough. Keep smiling as you clean up after Irma (that bitch) and know we are with you in spirit if not in body.

Wishing you all the best from our home in Keystone SD because...

Home is where we park it,
Frank and Mary

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

'17/#21 It's Tourist Season...Not Tourist Hunting Season

The next round of insanity has begun here in South Dakota. Welcome to the Sturgis Bike Rally. The motorcycles are here! Every hotel within an hour of Sturgis is filling up and we are no exception. Tens of thousands of bikers are on the roads, in the restaurants, and at all the usual tourist stops for the next 10 days.
For the most part they are nice respectable users of what the area has to offer but as with any time a large group congregates in one place a few will ruin it for the rest. Speeding tail-gating and general rudeness on the road by those few has the locals wishing bikers gone. The local police forces are having a field day by enforcing the law to the letter, again a byproduct of a large group meeting in one area. Bottom line is we are and will be busy the next week or so.

Last week on our days off we went into Custer State Park and a couple of our international girls tagged along. It was a nice relaxing day and we all had a good time. We enjoyed the scenery and got to see buffalo, deer, prong horn deer and prairie dogs. We also got up close and personal with the wild burros.
We enjoy taking the girls out to see some of the sights and they are so appreciative. This is supposed to be a social experience for them as well as a working opportunity and we feel like we are contributing.

Sturgis is 10 days long and the rumble from the motorcycles is continuous background noise. As long as they don't start trouble we will deal with it and look forward to some peace and quiet when they are gone. For now it is rumble, rumble, rumble here in our home here in Keystone SD because.....

Home is where we park it,
Frank and Mary

Monday, July 24, 2017

'17/#20 Still Here At Mt Rushmore

I can't believe how long it has been since my last blog. Work has kept us busy now that we are in full swing vacation season. The hotels we are working at have been sold out or nearly so every night for the past 3 weeks. 4th of July must have been the kick-off for the insanity season. We are seeing a new side to the hotel business. I will say that I won't workcamp at a hotel again.

On the flip side we have seen some amazing things in this part of South Dakota. A couple of weeks ago we went up to Spearfish Canyon. It was a scenic drive along the Spearfish Creek surrounded by shear rock walls. We visited an old fish hatchery in Spearfish which gave us a look at how the lakes of the west were stocked for sport fisherman. It was an amazing day and we still marvel at the terrain and how diffeent it is from where we spent most of our lives.

This is why we live this RV lifestyle. There will be more to see and do and I will try to blog more often. So for now I am signing off here from our home in South Dakota because.....

Hom is where we park it,
Frank and mary

Sunday, June 18, 2017

'17/#19 It's All About The People Part II

This will be a short blog. Last blog I talked about travelers and work campers and vacationers, but this one is about the locals. Today we took the girls to the Keystone Community Center where the local community members and the fire department put together a picnic for the foreign workers and other seasonal workers. It was just their way of welcoming us to the community and for us to get a chance to meet some of the locals. There was the usual food and games and socializing that goes on at any normal picnic with an international flair. The older attendees talked and got to know each other while the younger ones did the same and made plans to go to the local volley ball field to have some fun.
 It was a nice turn out and a great way for the local community to show how much they appreciate all that the seasonal workers do for the local economy.
 Well it has been a busy two days so I am keeping this short and getting some rest here in our home in Keystone South Dakota because...

Home is where we park it,
Frank and Mary