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...
If you have been following our travels at all you know that we have been to some wonderful places and seen some amazing things. Mary posts photos on Facebook all the time but the pictures do no justice to what we are seeing. As much as we enjoy all these places and sights, the thing that makes the biggest impression is the people we meet. When we stay in one place for a while, like we are here in Keystone, we get to meet and make friends with some of the locals. That gives us a better perspective of the area we have chosen as our temporary home. We find those hidden gems that a tourist just doesn't have the time to find on a one or two week vacation. I like to call us born-again locals. By the time we leave we have become part of the community and take with us memories of not just places but people that will stay with us for a lifetime.
We also meet a lot of travelers in our adopted home towns. Some are on vacation and others are here, like us, for an extended period of time. Vacationers are always amazed at the concept of work camping and with few exceptions are envious. I always tell them that we love it but the lifestyle is not for everyone. Then there are work campers like us who live the gypsy life. The work camping community is large and diverse, so as work campers we share our experiences with each other. This is a big part of the network of work camping opportunities. We also make lifetime friends with many of our fellow work campers. To this day we keep in touch and get together when the logistics of our travels allows.
And then there are other extended stay workers. Most of our work camping jobs are seasonal so a large part of the work force is made up of young people looking to make some money and have a life experience that they can keep and maybe use in the future. Here in Keystone we have a group of international student from several different Asian countries. We work side by side with them and as much as they are learning about life in the United States we are learning about their lives in their respective home countries. Mary and I have semi-adopted a group of these girls and have taken them on some outings and are planning on doing so throughout the summer. As you can see we have already taken them to Mt Rushmore. We have also taken them shopping at the local stores for their daily necessities. They know the value of a dollar and want to go to Rapid City and shop at Walmart and The Dollar Tree. Smart girls! We will plan that trip after their next pay day.
Well I am going to sign off for now. We work later this afternoon and need to get ready. So good bye from the two of us and our new friends here in our home in Keystone South Dakota because......
It has been two weeks since my last blog, but as they say, time flies when you are having fun. The jobs we have here in Keystone are very new to me and it is taking me a little longer to get comfortable with the routine. Mary has worked similar positions and is adapting much quicker. I am at work right now, so the fact that I have some time to blog must be an indication that I am getting the hang of the job. Our bosses Randy and Robinn have been awesome. Patient and awesome. In spite of several screw ups they seem to be pleased with our work.
Since we have been here we have had a few opportunities to do some sight seeing. One day we drove into the city of Custer and then into Custer State Park. We only did a small portion of the park. We wanted to drive the Needles Highway and see Sylvan Lake. Needles highway was quite the driving experience. It was well paved but very narrow. Driving a dually wheeled pick-up just made the road seem narrower. The scenery was beautiful and then there were the tunnels! The first tunnel was one lane and two way. Everyone was courteous and alternated turns passing through. The second tunnel was the same but a group of car buffs decided it was their tunnel and at least a dozen cars crept through not letting anyone pass in the other direction. Mary and another passenger from our side got out and stopped traffic so the line of cars that had formed on our side could pass through. We weren't in a hurry but there is still no need to be rude!
Thinking that would be the worst experience of the day we pressed on. The third tunnel called Needles Eye had me sweating bullets! The fenders on the truck barely cleared the sides. It was so close that I had to swerve back and forth to avoid the rock formations jutting out from the walls.
Exiting the tunnel I finally breathed again and was grateful for the parking lot at Sylvan Lake. The lake was surrounded by sheer rock walls and was freezing, yet people were still kayaking and paddle boarding. We walked around a bit and relaxed after my tunnel ordeal and headed on back home.
That was enough for the day, after all we are here until October. So good bye until our next adventure from our home in South Dakota because....