Sunday, August 28, 2011

Escapade # 51

 The 51st Escapade officially starts at 3pm today ( Sunday ) but it feels like we have been here for months. Two weeks at Ellsworth AFB, a week at Devils Tower and in the Black Hills NF, a week at High Plains CG across the street from the Cam-Plex, and three days in the Cam-Plex getting things set up.

 Our mission is to host a couple happy hours, one Monday for new-bees or first timers, and one Tuesday for the Class of 2007, and then Tuesday and Thursday evenings we host the bingo. I guess I'll be calling bingo for the first time, I wander how that is going to go????

 We have been able to see and visit with many friends that we have met in the last four years. Dad always told us we have met some pretty special friends since we went FT in 2007 (and I agree). And the best part is we have many more friends that arrived yesterday, or will arrive today that we haven't seen yet, and the ones we will meet this week. I'm sure many of them will show up for the happy hours we are hosting, or the bingo, and that will make it that much more interesting.

 To highlight what we have been doing the past few days, eating, and eating, and eating some more. Escapees like to eat when we can get together, but we have filled the gaps with getting things set up for the Escaapade. The parking crew has been really busy parking over 500 rigs in the last couple of days, the vendors have filled the market area with all kinds of goodies, the the staff has set up rooms for classes and the main hall for the opening of the 51st Escapade. I think all the i's have been dotted and the t's have been crossed so let the fun and games begin.............

Sunday, August 21, 2011

recap with pictures and racetrack

This will be few words (I hope) but some of the pictures from the past couple of weeks.

Here is the sign as you enter Deadwood, Deadwood has all non smoking casinos. SD is a non smoking state.

A rat bike that showed up at Sturgis.
  Sturgis the week before the rally

Sturgis a few days before the rally

Sturgis during the rally

Every small town and large town was full of bikes this week. A lot of the parking lots had motorcycles only signs posted, and they were full.

This was a special bike, a tribute to the soldiers, it had two m-16s with helments and boots on the back displayed to reppresent soldiers graves. enlarge the pic for a better look.

Here are some of the deer we saw while we were at Ellsworth Air Force Base.

A look at Sturgis from Sturgis Campground. ($550 for 5 nights)

A look as we enter into Wyoming

A good shot of Devils Tower with the flag fllying at half-mast.

The rig with devils tower in the background, (as if you couldn't tell)
There were around 3000 visitors to Devils Tower on Wyoming Wednesday during the rally.

Sundance Mtn from the Black Hills National Forest in WY
The town of Sundance got it's name from the indian rituals held on this mtn.

Us parked at Reuters CG in the BHNF

A night out with friends at a Mexican Joint, Marcia and Wanda shared a picture of Margaritas.
It was a fun night, Wanda and Wallace, Marcia and myself, Bob and Molly, Keith and Donna and Rich and Marry all went.

Last nigh was my first ever trip to a dirt track races. It was pretty awesome. THe unlimitted modified class flew around the small track. Donna was afraid one might get loose and fly into the stands.

It was fun watching them slide around the oval track.

Now I have been to a dirt track races, a Daytona race, and drag races. I missed the boat races in KW, but I'm not into racing, life is way too short to go so fast........

I hope you enjoy the pictures......

Friday, August 19, 2011

Laughter is pretty good medicine.

 Our time at Reuters CG in the Black Hills National Forest is over, we really enjoyed the quiet, and the NF. We did several drives through the forest on the forest roads in the jeep. I was a bit surprised to see the forest service rents, or leases out parts for ranchers to let their cattle graze on.

 Today we drove the 60+ miles to Gillette, we are parked at High Plains CG across the street from the Cam-Plex where the escapade will be. Several friends are also here in the park as is several friends are across the street in the "advanced party" of the escapade staff.

 We spent several hours catching up with friends at the CG, and then five couples went out for Mexican food, and drinks. Bob and Molly, Wanda and Wallace, Rich and Mary, Keith and Donna, and us enjoyed a pretty good meal, and Margaritas second only to the ones made by the infamous "MARGARATOR".

 Donna had some trouble climbing into the back of the jeep, and butts seemed to the the main focus of the cameras. At some point while climbing into the jeep your rear end sticks out and someone, (no names) or someone(S) was really happy with the cameras. I,m sure the pictures will turn up somewhere sometime, but not by me. ( I value my life).

 We did a lot of laughing all night, one lady that was sitting at a table near ours with her family wanted to know where we were from. When we told her, GA, KY, Va, IL, and TX, she was a bit confused, but told us it was good to see people having so much fun.

 The fun and laughter continued at the cam-plex where we gathered after dinner. Some of the "advanced Staff" came out to protect Bob and Molly's rig when we showed up before Bob, Molly, Wallace, and Wanda, but we just included them in our happy evening.

 If tonight has any indication as to what will be going on for the next two weeks, we are all in for a great rally, and if you aren't here, you will miss out........................

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Chillin in the Black Hills NF

 Yesterday we made a trip to check out Keyhole Lake State Park, I didn't like the sound of residents paying $10 a night and non residents paying $17 but I thought $17 a night wouldn't be bad for a full hook up site around here. We I was shocked to find out they charge $17 a night for NO HOOK-up, and from the list of rules we read we didn't even drive to the cg to check it out.

 Since we were almost to Gillette we though it would be good to check out where we are headed next week. We found a Smith's, which is the same as Kroger's back in KY so we had to stock up on Diet BigK. We also hooked up with some friends and did a Chinese Buffet. Oh yea they had crab legs, although they weren't the best they were pretty good for the $9.95 they charge for the buffet.

 Today we spent cleaning on the rig, I climbed up on the roof to clean the front cap above the windshield. I had plans to wax the entire roof, but after doing the front cap I decided someone else would have to wax the rest of the roof.

 Everyone in the CG left today, except us, the camp host, and a doctor staying in a tent, that is working at one of the local hospitals. So when the host left for a trash run and dinner we were here all alone. Kind of nice being a lone in a CG.

 We plan on checking out another cg in Gillette for the week before going into the escapade, but until then we will chill out here in the Black Hills National Forest outside of Sundance WY...............

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Devils Tower

 We left Ellsworth AFB Tuesday, our two weeks were up and we ( I ) was ready to roll the wheels. We drove the 130 + or - miles to Devils Tower NM. It was a decent drive, although we did have some rain. Everyone knows I don't like to drive in the rain, mainly because it makes a mess of the RV and the Jeep, but after going through the road construction a few weeks ago it wasn't a big issue. (2 miles on a temp dirt road changed the color of the jeep and RV)

 The CG at Devils Tower was OK, it was dry camping, but it was a long way from anywhere. Hulet was the nearest town ten mile away, but there wasn't much there as far as stores. They did have the Hulet Han and Jam for the bikers yesterday.

Tuesday afternoon we checked out Hulet, before all the bikers arrived on Wednesday. A couple bars, a gas station, a lumber yard, and a few mom and pop stores downtown. It was one of those "drive through" towns, you just needed to drive through it to see it. On the way back to the rig we took a detour through part of the Black Hills National Forest. We were impressed with the number of deer we saw, and we found a CG near Sundance that we liked.

 We started to leave Devils Tower to explore the area but when we got to the gate there was a line of motorcycles and cars about 1/2 mile long waiting to pay the entrance fee. We quickly decided to park the jeep and walk to the PO to avoid the line.

 We left Devils Tower this AM,( almost 3000 bikes visited Devils Tower Wednesday) dove the 25 or so miles to the CG in the Black Hills NF. At $5.50 a night with the pass it is a pretty good deal even though there are no hook-ups. We will hang out here through the weekend at least while we explore some of the area, and next week the bike rally will be history and the prices of things will drop back to reasonable.

 I could tell more about things, but you need to check them out and I need to explore some more....

Monday, August 8, 2011

Where to next?

 Our two weeks are almost up here at Ellsworth AFB, so we have to decide where to next. We know we will be at the Escapade in Gillette WY on the 25th, but that leaves us from the 9th to the 25th to cover about 150 miles.

 Devils Tower is on our to do list and it is between Rapid City and Gillette, but with bike week going on in Sturgis I'm not sure we will be able to park the rig at the CG at Devils Tower. I guess we will find out tomorrow after we leave here.

 The Black Hills area has a lot to offer as far as things to see and do, and we have done about everything we wanted to do or see. Like a lot of places that have big events the prices are jacked up in this area around the first of Aug because of Sturgis Bike Week. Some RV sites more than double for that two week period, one CG we checked on in Sturgis goes from $50 a night, (which is way too much for an RV site) to $110 a night but you have to do 5 nights. I call that price gouging and try my best to not spend any $$ at places that do that.

 We are excited about Escapade this year, our friends and class mates Bob and Molly are the Escapade Directors this year, and we have been recruited to help out with a few social hours and bingo a couple nights. I'm sure we will find plenty to do or see in the next couple of weeks while we gear up for the Escapade so check back to see what we come up with.............

Monday, August 1, 2011

The Black Hills with pictures

Here we are parked at Ellsworth Air Force Base, reasonable rates and they don't jack the prices up for bike week at Sturgis like most of the other campgrounds around here.

Here is a pic of some of the surrounding area. Beautiful, but I can see how cold it can get here, so we will only be here during summer months.

One of our drives in the area we saw this unusual house so I had to get a pic to share with everyone.

One day we were going to Deadwood to make our donations to the casinos and had to stop and check out the petrified forest just north of Rapid City. It was well worth the stop and the $6.50 admission charge. We watched a short history video before a walk through the forest. I was amazed at how you could see the petrified logs laying where they fell many years ago. Some were still standing!

They have collected some of the pieces and stacked them up.

After walking through the petrified forest we made our donations to the casinos in Deadwood. On the drive back to the rig we had to pass through Sturgis, and with everyone gearing up for the largest biker event in the world at Sturgis South Dakota I had to get a few pictures.

The Full Throttle Saloon was featured on the travel channel, and after watching parts of the TV program I made the decision that I would not spend one red cent in the place, but I did want to get a picture of it.

Next week this street will be full of motorcycles.

One afternoon we took a tour to the South Dakota Air and Space Museum. I really think planes, jets, and rockets are awesome, but they really don't interest me too much.

Friday we decided to do the Bad Lands of South Dakota, and Wall Drug was on the way so we thought we would stop and see what all the rantings were about. Wall Drug is a lot more than just a drug store, they have free water, all kinds of displays to take your picture on or in. Here is Marcia taming the 6 foot jackalope, and she did an awesome job because the jackalope didn't even attempt to buck her off.

Wall Drug takes up the entire block plus some behind the store across the alley.

Next up was THE BAD LANDS, I am intrigued by the landscape of the bad lands, and I can see where they get their name.

Sunday we drove through Custer State Park. The needles hwy is one of the more interesting drives I've ever driven, and I have to say it was more impressive when we did it four years ago on the motorcycles.

Just some of the sites.

The camera on my phone is pretty good, but it isn't good for pictures like this one. Coming through this tunnel you see Mt Rushmore at the end of the trees. It is really impressive when you think about how they cut through the stone and trees just so you can have a beautiful sight of Mt Rushmore as you drive through the tunnel.

If you enlarge this picture you can see Mt Rushmore at the bottom of the v made by the trees.

For the animal lovers Custer State Park has Pronghorns,

Prairie Dogs

TATANKA's or buffalo, some elk, and all kinds of smaller animals and birds.

Our last stop was in Custer South Dakota, on our visit four years ago we stayed at a small cg in Custer and we wanted to stop in and say hi to Rock, the owner/operator. For some reason Rock made an impression on us 4 years ago, and it pleased him that we remembered him and stopped by. (I think he would have been more pleased if we had brought the rig and stayed a few days)

As we left Custer I took this picture.

I hope you enjoy the pictures, and wish everyone could see as much of the USA as we are getting to see.....