Monday, September 26, 2016

In and Out and about...

Doing some errands today (shopping, laundry, etc).  A nice sunny day, breezy but not cold.  We had a nice lunch out near the mall, after which I suggested we take a walk through the mall.  Yes, I know the cliche' about old people walking in the mall... nothing we needed, I just wanted to see what all has changed.

When we first moved to the Black Hills, the Rushmore Mall was about to open... it was a big deal.  During our years of studio ownership here, we had many displays in the mall - it always brought us new business.  The shopping was good.  Many stores have come and gone over the years, and the last time we were here, there were more a few empty stores.  One very notable opening was the Target store moving to a different location, leaving a big "anchor position" open in the mall.

That space has been filled with At Home, a home goods type of store.  I was not familiar with this chain, but this particular location has a huge inventory: art work, rugs, patio furniture, seasonal decorations (Halloween and Christmas stuff currently), plastic container, waste baskets... it goes on and on.  Kind of a "warehouse store" vibe going on there...

I enjoyed looking through some of the wall decor...

Joan thought this would look good in the guitar room at home...

Not much spare room in the motorhome, so it will have to be another time.

I enjoyed the walk through the mall.  I learned you could get vehicle registration and sticker from a machine in the mall instead of standing in line at the DMV.  I see the state of retail looks like it would be a tough way to make a living these days.  It is a weekday in late September, so definitely between "shopping seasons"... my idea of a good time to visit a mall.

When we had a teenage daughter at home, we spent a lot of time in malls (in the 80s and early 90s).  Not so much these days... although I do like the Arrowhead Mall in Phoenix, but that is mostly because of the Apple Store.  ;-)

We plan to get out on bikes or scoots tomorrow - the wind was pretty gusty today: peak gusts of 35 mph.  A good day for an indoor stroll.

(Yes, Izzy got a couple nice walks, in the wind, too.)

Sunday, September 25, 2016

Loungin' in...

We haven't done this since we left Texas: a day where we sit around in jammies, watch some TV, play some games, and make sure Izzy gets lots of attention.  An afternoon nap and a snack in bed.  Joan put Hallmark on the satellite TV and we binged watched a bunch of movies.

Yeah, I know: I may have to turn in my Man Card.  ;-)

Little Izzy was fine with have us around all day.  Well, until she saw some dogs walking by outside and decided she should have some leash time, too.  I cleaned up, put on actual pants, and took her for a walk...

The sun is shining, the wind is letting up, and there is spaghetti cooking... a pretty fine non-activity day.


Saturday, September 24, 2016

Harvest Fest...

I took Izzy for a walk this morning.  No, that is not news... the wind was blowing out of the northwest at about 25 to 30 mph.  Chilly.  Iz didn't seem to mind.

With the brisk wind, I called for a day off from the scoots.  We visited with Steph, and she asked if we'd pick her up a Black Hills State University sweatshirt... and a pennant.  Seems that other teachers have something from their college on display in their rooms, and she wants to be one of the cool kids, too.  Or something like that.

We told her we'd make a run to Spearfish to check out the university book store.  Joan got online and found that there is an outlet for that in Rapid City, saving us an hour drive.  So, off to the big city.  The store handles logo stuff for Black Hills State University, South Dakota School of Mines, and South Dakota State University... and has a nice selection... including some things that aren't on their website.  Added bonus: 20% off BHSU logowear today (BHSU is playing School of Mines here today).

Being the techy Mom and Dad we are, we texted her photos of stuff, and she picked what she wanted.  Easy.

A block or so away from that store, we found we were in the middle of Harvest Fest - a celebration happening in the downtown area.  Booths, fair-type food, rides, live music - a fun way to spend some time...

Most folks are aware of Mt. Rushmore, here in the Black Hills.  That is about a half hour away from Rapid City.  Staying with that Presidential theme, Rapid City has statues of the US Presidents on their street corners throughout the downtown area.  Nicely done.  Here's a shot with me and George HW Bush...

Downtown Rapid City looks good.  Plenty of vitality, a variety of shops and restaurants.  Nice to see that in a downtown area.

All clear...

After the storms that rolled through last night, it is all clear this morning.  When I got up this morning, little Izzy was looking around our "skinny" coach (with the slide-outs in) and said, "This isn't right!"  We had to move her food dish to our "traveling position"... she travels just fine, but does not like changes to where her food, her bed, and her litter box is normally located.  She gets that "Why are you doing this to me?" pathetic face.

Don't worry, she settled in fine with the changes...

On the bright side, everything in our motorhome, except the bedroom closet and drawers, is accessible with the slides in.  To be safe, we got out clothes last night for this morning.  We put the slides out and are "living large" once again.  ;-)

It is cool, breezy, and sunny this morning.  The worst of the storms passed by either side of us; areas around us got hail, up to golf ball size.  Wind gusts up to 70mph were reported, but we didn't feel any of that.  We got off pretty easy.

That same low pressure system will be moving east, and we'll get some more rain by late afternoon as it wraps and puts us on the back side.  Looks like it is going to be a windy couple of days coming up... not good news for those looking to see the fall colors.

Friday, September 23, 2016

Joanrasic Park... and: Batten down the hatches!!

Some light rain when we got up this morning.  The weasels were predicting it, so it wasn't a surprise; what was a surprise: by noon, it was gorgeous.  Sunshine, blue sky, no wind... they didn't predict that.  They are, however, predicting some ugly weather later in the day.

Leaving Hart Ranch, we found a bunch of high school kids...

A regional cross-country meet - high schools from North and South Dakota, Wyoming, and Nebraska.  It is quite an event.

Joan suggested we go see Dinosaur Park - we haven't been there since Steph was a little girl.  There are full-size statues of a variety of dinosaurs and a great view of Rapid City and the surrounding area.  Dinosaur Park is just off of Skyline Drive, a road that runs the "backbone" of high hills that divide Rapid City between east and west.  It is an impressive drive...

The top two views above are looking west, the lowest one is looking east.  Since this is the highest point in Rapid City, it is also a good position for TV, radio, and cell towers, also known as Signal Hill...

The first view of one of the dinosaurs...

For those keeping track: a brontosaurus, the largest of the statues here.  When we were last here (guessing about 38 years ago), the park was the statues on the hill.  It has changed a lot; the statues are still here, but it has gone upscale, with a visitors center, and stairs and paved walkways...

Me with the stegosaurus...

Looking at the plaque, we were born about the same time.  It wouldn't be a dinosaur park without a T-Rex...

We enjoyed wandering around the park and taking in the views.  Having worked up an appetite, it was off for a late BBQ lunch at Dickey's.  We knew enough to ask about the Friday special: pulled pork with two sides and a drink; it wasn't shown anywhere.

From there, it was across the parking lot to... Harbor Freight.  Nothing we needed, but we always find stuff we didn't know we needed.

Joan wanted to stop at the store on the way back to Hart Ranch - we didn't know it was Mothers With LOTS Of Kids Day at Wally-World.  Hard to maneuver around all those little buggers, and apparently it isn't polite to take them off their feet with the cart.

Back at Hart Ranch, I took little Iz for a walk...

(It wouldn't be a thorough post without some Izzy content).  Joan started checking weather radar while Iz and I were out... yeah, there is some nasty weather coming our way.  We held out hope that the storms might dissipate before getting to us.  Not looking light it.  We could see the leading clouds of the storm coming over the hills...

A few minutes later...

This is not looking good.  Joan showed me this on weather radar...

The red grids are severe thunderstorm, possible tornadic activity; the blue grid is hail.  The green ones are just regular ol' rain storms.  The weasels are calling for potential winds to 70 mph, quarter-size hail, and severe thunderstorms through the night.  We pulled in the slide-outs and put away all our patio furniture.

I said to Joan, "It looks like that nasty stuff could possibly move to either side of us."  The rain started; didn't seem that heavy.

She said, "There's more coming..."

Yep, a bunch more marching this way.  The line of thunderstorms extends all the way to Cheyenne, Wyoming.

Turns out, the first line of storms did move to either side of our location.  Plenty of lightning and rolling thunder around us.  Five weather alerts coming across the TV.  We have the sound turned up higher than usual, thanks to the rain on the roof of the coach.  The storms will be around all night.  Wind increasing tomorrow through Sunday, but we're supposed to see some sunshine tomorrow.

Sure was beautiful today while we were out and about.

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Joan is on the roof...

Stephanie will appreciate the joke.

A guy goes on vacation and asks his brother to take care of his cat.  The second day out, the guy calls his brother and asks, "How's the cat?"

The brother says, "The cat is dead."

"What??  How could you just blurt that out?"

The brother asks, "What should I have said?"

The guy says, "Well, you could have said, 'The cat is on the roof.'  Then, the next day, you could have said, "Well, we're having some trouble getting the cat off the roof.'  Then, the next day, you could have said, 'The cat fell when we tried to get her off the roof, but we took her to the vet.'  Then, the next day, you could have said, 'The vet says it doesn't look good, but he is doing all he can for the cat.'  Then, the next day, you could have said, 'The vet says the kind thing to do would be to put the cat out of her misery.'  It would have given me time to get used to the idea of the cat being gone, and it wouldn't have ruined my vacation.  Sometimes, I swear, you are so insensitive!"

The brother said, "I'm sorry.  I will learn from this."

"And well you should!  Let's change the subject - how's Mom?"

After a pause, the brother said, "Umm... Mom's on the roof."


Stephanie, your Mom is on the roof...

We did some chores this morning.  I climbed under the coach to reseal a couple of our storage compartments.  Joan got up on the ladder to clean a couple of our overhead vents.  While up there, she said, "The roof is really grubby."

I asked, "Would you like me to hand you up the stuff to clean it?"  I figured she'd say no - the exterior cleaning is my job.

She said, "Sure - I'm already up here."

I got a bucket, baby shampoo, the spare hose, and a soft bristle brush, and handed them up.

The weather weasels are predicting rain the next few days - I plan to wash the coach on Sunday, weather permitting (it is supposed to be dry).  It will be nice to have the roof done, and it doesn't matter if it rains on a clean roof.

With those jobs done, we ran into town for lunch: Philly Ted's has gone upscale with a downtown location.  The Philly sandwiches taste the same, and that's good.  We did some other running around, Joan wanted to stop at Bed, Bath, & Beyond; I was up for a stop at the local music store, Haggerty's Musicworks.  Nothing I need, but they have a very nice selection of Taylor guitars.  It has been a decade since I was in this store, and it has improved a bunch in that time.

Back to Hart Ranch.  A gray ol' day, but little Izzy wants to go for a walk.  She stalked a moth...

Where'd it go???

She is fortunate she has me to take care of her meal needs.  ;-)

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

I need a new ID and a gun...

I had called my buddy, Mike, to ask him about a particular handgun he owns.  No answer, and when he called back, I was getting in line for check out at Walmart.  "Mike, I need a hand: I need a new ID and a gun..."


"Hold on while I get to a place where I can talk..."

Joan was in line to take care of the shopping cart full of stuff, and the lady behind us who was eavesdropping on my call will probably call the NSA.  ;-)

"Nah, just kidding - just having some fun with the snoopy woman behind me."

Mike and I visited for a bit.

There is an issue I hadn't considered when changing our address to deal with mail with our wandering lifestyle: a PMB.  That's a Private Mail Box.  A place that will forward your mail to wherever you might be traveling.  The problem with that is: you don't have a physical address on your driver's license.  Without a physical address, you can't buy a gun; or get a permit from the Sheriff's office.

It doesn't matter that you have lived in the state for almost 40 years, owned businesses, and you are a law-abiding citizen.  I get that there are some businesses that won't ship stuff to a PMB or a Post Office Box.  But, standing right there in person, you can't buy something that is protected by the Second Amendment.  I'm not going to get all political here, but there is something screwy with the system when it comes to dealing with those of us who choose a mobile lifestyle.