Friday, July 7, 2017

What we did During our Summer Vacation!

We learned several valuable lessons during our weeklong " summer vacation" in South Dakota last week. We left Pasha Lake Cabins early on a Wednesday morning and made our way south for our 20 hour journey to our property in the Black Hills. Our border crossing was just how we liked it…uneventful and 8 hours later we were at our friend Kevin’s house in Milltown Wisconsin.

We spent the next two days at his house. One day working around his house mowing and tidying up the place as it is for sale and he had a showing the following day. We managed to get out to dinner with my sister Judy and her husband Mike for the all you can eat rib special at The Thirsty Otter. It is just sad when “all you can eat” consists of one serving….. I remember the day when I was able to get my monies worth and even Barb’s! Regardless, the ribs and the company were awesome!
Day two consisted of getting ready for our trip west; groceries, loading up fence posts, the skid loader, auger, bucket and all the tools we needed. That night we showered, put on our best duds and headed to Balsam Lake where they had closed down Main Street for the big event........ a tractor pull! And this was not your run of the mill tractor pull, this was one specifically for lawn tractors!

What we were expecting and what we saw were two totally different things……we were expecting lawn tractors right off the yard, maybe a little modified and there were some of those. What we did not expect was the souped up lawn tractors with engines as big as 8 cylinder with almost 500hp! These things would smoke the tires all the way down Main Street much of the way on two wheels.

It was a great event and it looked like the entire town came out.
The following morning we jumped in the truck and headed west and we were off to the Black Hills! 12 hours later we pulled into Country Charm Cabins and Corrals where we spent the next 6 days working on our property and Kevin’s property.

But back to the lessons learned….. The first thing we learned is that this area is seriously crowded 4th of July weekend. Custer and Hill City were crazy busy. We drove by Bear Country, Reptile Gardens and Crazy Horse. There were cars everywhere filled with little screamers, we passed them all and headed to the quiet and peacefulness of Pringle. You know what we did not see this trip? A mosquito, not a single solitary mosquito, Barb was in heaven!

The second thing we learned was that the ground in South Dakota is much harder than the ground in Wisconsin. When we tried augering our first hole for a fence post we knew we were in trouble! We made it less than a foot when we hit solid rock and stopped dead. We tried a few different spots with the same result. Time to go to Plan B. So the next day we ran into Rapid City (~ an hour drive) to an implement dealer where we bought a new auger with a rock bit. This worked much better, we were able to get in all the corner posts except 2 which even the rock auger would not burrow into.
Ready to auger our first hole

We dug, we chiseled, we chipped and only got 2 feet!

After getting the new auger things went much better.....
The culvert work went much better. The ground was a lot less rocky along the edge of the roads and we were able to get the culverts in and graded with gravel we had delivered in about 2 hours each.
Working on our road frontage

Looks like I am supervisor material!

Getting started on Kevin's approach 
We also spent an afternoon clearing our building area. The power had been run to the building site the week before so we also leveled an area for our RV friends! Only regular outlets for right now, I will put a 50 amp plug in on the next trip.
Kevin cut while I dragged them away with the skidsteer

Barb even got in on the action!

RV site ready and open for business!
Work done, we were ready for a little fun, a few beers and a nice steak. Kevin called some friends of his that live in the area and they came over for steaks over a campfire. There is nothing like the taste of a wood-fired steak cooked outdoors!
View from our building site
Kevin shooting at the prairie dogs....
The valley was filled with wild flowers

Kevin, Barb, me, Rich and Cheryl

Kevin tending to the steaks
We put trail cameras out at both ours and Kevin’s property. Among several other deer I got a picture of this nice buck on our property.

But Kevin hit the mother lode on his camera! After two days he had pictures of deer, elk and even a mountain lion! It is hard to tell it is a mountain lion but it definitely was. 26, 42 48, 96, 108

Our summer vacation over we are on our 12 hour journey back east to Wisconsin where we will rest a day before we head back to the grind in Ontario where the walleyes and countless mosquitoes await our return!