Wednesday, August 15, 2018

Neighborly...


We did some work around the coach today and spent time with Rufus outside.  He enjoys being out there, but (mostly) waits to get hooked up to his leash.  He and I went for a nice walk today, in the grassy area between the rows of RVs in our block.

Apparently, the people on both sides of us saw this and came over to visit about it.  The people on our left side also have a cat; they let it have some time outside in a cat-size screen room, but she wanted to know about Rufus's harness, leash, and how we get him to walk on the leash.

It is a work in process: he is fine with the leash, but there are still regular discussions about who is leading and what direction we are going.  ;-)  But, considering that we really haven't done any "training," I am very impressed with his leash manners.

The couple on the right side of us came over and just wanted to talk about traveling with a cat.  They are full-timing, fairly new at it, and wanted to get good with the whole RVing thing before adding a cat to the mix.  Mostly, I think she wanted to pet Rufus and tell him how handsome he is... he likes that.

No outings today, not by scoot nor car.  The weasels were predicting rain all day, but other than a few sprinkles early, it was comfortably cool and dry.  I did decide to take the Vespa out for a short run "up and down the road" before settling in... just for the relaxation.


Cutting the cable...


Literally.

The grounds-keeping folks here at Hart Ranch do a nice job.  It is a BIG resort, with nice grassy areas between the sites.  They use riding mowers and move a a fast clip.  The guy who was mowing around our site this morning was hauling butt... I actually flinched as he came close by our dinette window slide out.  A few seconds later, he went by the back of the coach and... our satellite TV went out: "No Satellites Found."

Yep, he "cut it close" (pun intended) by our satellite dish and ran over our coax cable...


It isn't unusual for the satellite to go out for a second or two as they drive a mower close by our Tailgater dish.  This time, it didn't come back.  Joan pulled up the set-up on the receiver - I said, "I'm guessing they ran over our cable."  She went outside to check... yep.  She flagged down one of the mowers and he called to have an electrician from the park come out to see about putting a new end on our cable.  The guy who actually ran over it said, "I didn't see anything in the grass..."

Pretty obvious what happened.  Joan was philosophical about it: "Hey, at least it wasn't a finger or a foot..."

Not like we are without TV entertainment in the meantime: the park has cable (the didn't drive over that one), and we can get over-the-air signals with our powered antenna.  We are just used to the satellite viewing: our channels don't change numbers as we move around.  ;-)  Yeah, first world problems.


Tuesday, August 14, 2018

Now I understand...


Joan likes to listen to Sirius/XM when we're driving.  Sometimes, she will listen to it in the coach.  She likes music, I generally listen to talk radio... you can tell who drove the car last when you turn on the stereo.  ;-)

We have had some beautiful weather here the last week or so.  Today, Mother Nature is blessing us with cooler temps and rain.  I am hoping it will help the fire fighting effort by Hot Springs.  The rain is cleansing the air - I don't smell smoke when we have our crank-out windows open (you can leave those open in the rain, as long as there isn't a howling wind).

Other than lunch out and a grocery run, we don't have an agenda for the day - the rain eliminates any desire to get out there on the scoots.  So, this morning after breakfast, I got out the X7 and made some music.  Joan like when I play for her, and so does Rufus.  I had a special song for Izzy, and I have one for Rufus... it is a song where I can work in his name; always make him look and smile.  Yes, Rufus has a smile.

The song?  Thanks for asking... 50 Ways To Leave Your Lover.  There is a line in the bridge that is: "Just hop on the bus, Gus"... I change that to: "Hop on the bus, Rufus."  He likes that.

I played some more while Joan showered.  When it was my turn for the shower, she turned on Sirius/XM; of course, on her favorite channel: Yacht Rock.  While in the shower, I heard a song by Little River Band that I had been playing a half hour or so earlier.  That's when it hit me... even if it is a good ol' rock 'n roll song, when I play it on the acoustic guitar, it sounds more mellow... I am her personal "Yacht Rock" jukebox.

Yeah, I am fine with that.  It is nice that she enjoys what I play.


Monday, August 13, 2018

A change of pace...


It is surprising how fast the bikers disappear after the Rally.  Oh, there are still some around, but not like the week before the Rally

We decided a trip to Custer for one of those fine burgers and some cheese curds was in order today.  While the food is tasty, the best part of that lunch is the ride to get there: out Iron Mountain Road and through Custer State Park.

Getting ready to roll...


There is a forest fire just outside of Hot Springs (about 50 miles south of us); the south wind makes for a smoke smell in the air and hazy visibility...



Check out the hills on the far horizon (above) - you can see the haze.

As we got close to Keystone, I set up the Akaso camera to shoot some videos - here's the controller on my phone...


One button switching between stills and video, and the shutter release or video start/stop.

Keystone is pretty quiet - in fact, the whole ride from Hart Ranch to Keystone was very little traffic.  On to Iron Mountain Road...





About 5 miles before the entrance to Custer State Park, the pace changed...


The white SUV eventually turned off, and the European RV was doing OK keeping up the pace...


We came up on a white van that was driving between 7 and 10 miles per hour... it was a long slog into the park before it finally turned off.  At least during the Rally, the bikes are all moving at a decent pace.  Through Custer State Park...







Pretty quiet in the town of Custer...


We got stopped at the light just before Black Hills Burger and Bun Company... and about 10 motorcycles rolled in ahead of us, taking the empty parking spaces near the burger place.  Fortunately, a truck pulled out, and we pulled in.  Unfortunately, all those people on bikes that parked ahead of us walked into BHB&B Co - I figured we were in for a long wait.  Fortunately, they didn't want to wait to get a table for their group of 16, and we got seated right away.  It's all about the timing.

The burgers and cheese curds were great.  We were in and out of there in about a half hour.  We decided to take the highway north and stopped for gas before leaving town.


Cruising by Crazy Horse...


And onto Highway 244, that will take us past Mt Rushmore...


You can see by the hazy look to these images that the smoke is covering the area...



Literally, a "drive-by" at Mt Rushmore...


Heading down the mountain (again, check out the haze at the horizon)...


Rolling back through Keystone, heading for home...


Love this sign on the east side of Keystone...


Another 20 miles of twisties, heading for home...



On Spring Creek Road, just before Hart Ranch...


I washed the bikes when we got back.  Joan had a message that there were two packages for us at the mail room, so I ran up there before I put the bikes away.  One of those packages was for me: a cover-plate with two USB connections for the Vespa; this will allow me to plug in my phone while riding (using it as a GPS or camera controller drains it within 4 hours).  The info on this says "simple installation"... and that is exactly how it turned out: take the old cover-plate off, plug in the USB connections with the pre-wired connector, put the new cover back on.  About two minutes...


It is at the bottom of the photo above.  Going high tech!


Sunday, August 12, 2018

Photo Session...


Not the scooters - Joan wanted a new close up photo of Rufus.  Really close up.

So, after it cooled down this evening, he and I went for a walk, the sat on the patio for some Rufus close ups...


I couldn't resist doing one with the mane and "the ear"...


Joan liked that one and asked, "Can we see it in black & white?"


Striking, but I like to see his great coloring.


Saturday, August 11, 2018

Ridus Interruptus...


We are not in the Black Hills for the Sturgis Rally - the Rally is occurring during our stay here.  Not trying to prove a point with our scooters - we understand that they are not the typical two-wheeled conveyance you see here during the Rally.  In fact, I kind of expected our riding to be curtailed during the 10 days of the Rally.  That has turned out to not be the case - our scoots are as capable as most bigger bikes when "riding through the twisties."  And, the Black Hills has a wonderful variety of great riding roads.

This morning, we discussed going to Mt Rushmore.  Before heading out, Joan asked, "Is there something specific you want to do at Mt Rushmore... or would you rather just ride?"

I am all about the ride.  New plan: our "usual" close-by twisty roads to Keystone, on to Iron Mountain Road, take a left turn onto Playhouse Road back to Highway 40, then the same two twisty roads back home.  A couple hours of unadulterated riding fun... if the traffic allows.

Al the local media is talking about how the Rally is "winding down"... there will be some fresh riders rolling in to partake of these last two days, but a lot of people have already started their ride/drive home.  Here in the resort, we are seeing people packing up.

It is going to be a hot one today: the weather weasels are predicting a high of 95ยบ in Rapid City.  We knew the riding would be best done early.




Turning onto South Rockerville Road, we rode by this group on the side of the road...


We could see they were getting ready to roll.  We were riding at a reasonably leisurely pace, and could see them coming up in our mirrors - "Shall we?"  We shall... put the coals to it.  Didn't seem them again in our mirrors for the rest of that wonderfully twisty road.


Rolling through Keystone...

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Zh0LMjVX3N8&feature=youtu.be

The highway from Keystone - to Mt Rushmore or Iron Mountain Road...


I am surprised at how light the traffic was on Iron Mountain Road...

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RJjUTwLuS_g&feature=youtu.be

Yes, the video is a bit shakey - the Ram Mount extension moves a bit.

Not even a wait for traffic at the tunnels...


Look close in the mirror: that is Mt Rushmore you are seeing through that tunnel. (above)


We considered Playhouse Road our half-way point today - made our turn there and headed north.



A short bit on Highway 40, then back onto South Rockerville Road...



A turn onto Neck Yoke Road...



And back to the Ranch.  Before the hottest part of the day.

:-)


Friday, August 10, 2018

You can tell...

a
There is always the discussion of "Did you ride it or trailer it?"  We have been asked that when people see our Texas license plates.

Looking at faces at the Rally, you can tell: if they have skin that looks like leather, they rode it; if they have nice smooth skin, probably not.

That is not any kind of a put-down or slight.  We trailer our scoots; we like to ride and we enjoy the RV lifestyle.  We are beyond tent camping or riding days of 500 miles and more.  I am just fine with any way people chose to enjoy their recreation.

What about those people who don't have a trailer or a tow vehicle big enough to handle one?  There are transport companies who will get your bike to the Black Hills for you; pick you up at the Rapid City Airport, have motel reservations for you, and you can drive that whole 30 miles into Sturgis.  OK, that last line did sound a bit snarky, didn't it?  ;-)

On our way back from lunch today, we saw this...


If you can't read it, the truck is sporting this on the side: HaulMyScooter.com.  On the other side of this hotel in Rapid City are another half dozen semis for another bike hauling company.  If you have more money than time, this is one way to get your bike to the Rally.

This evening on one of the local TV channels, they were calling the Rally "wrapping up" - even said it ran "Friday to Friday."  We saw plenty of bikes and trailers heading east on I-90, but according to all other sources (and history), the Rally runs through Sunday night...


-----

Speaking leathery skin, Joan took this photo this morning, when Rufus hopped up for some hugs...


If you aren't sure who's who: Rufus is the dashing young furry boy on the right.  I am the old, leathery furry boy on the left.  We both like our hugs.