Friday, May 29, 2009

Sailing photos

Thought I'd share these photos that I just received from Steve (documenting our sailing day), showing the smiles on this island boy - just happy to be on the water...

Sunday, May 24, 2009

The Shrine of Democracy

We lived in the Black Hills much of our adult lives. During that time, we frequently made the drive to Mt. Rushmore, the most well-known attraction in the Black Hills. It is always awe-inspiring. Since it's been a couple years since our last visit, we decided to spend an afternoon there.

One of the new features we hadn't seen before is the museum below the first viewing area - it is beautifully done, with displays, tools, newspaper articles, and two theaters.

We took the walkway down to the bass of the monument and around to the Scupltor's Studio. I was not a fan of the changes that occurred to the grounds back in the 90s, changing the feel of the park from rustic to what I considered "Washington D.C. monument"... but, having been away for a few years, it is very impressive, coming up to the monument through the columns and the state flags. My favorite part is the walkway, though; the access is much better, with frequent stops along the way to view the monument from below...

We even saw one of the elusive mountain goats scrambling across the rocks.

It is a real testament to the aspirations of Gutson Borglum and the many workers who made this huge undertaking happen. Yep, awe-inspiring, no matter how many times we've seen it.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Big move...

Our time was up on the site we were on, so we had to move to another site in the same park. Since we had to hook up, it was a good opportunity to haul the 5th wheel to the trailer place to have the electrical adapter installed. It was also the first time we towed with the cargo trailer behind the 5th wheel. Whew - it seems LONG...

Many states have a 65' length limit when towing. We planned for that, but put a tape on this to double check... we are 1/2" under 65'. Close!

Back at the "ranch", we settled back into our site, just a bit up from where we had been. Out on the perimeter, we have the same nice view and that great grassy area that Izzy enjoys. Plus, our neighbors have a bird feeder... smorgasbord! Here's a shot of Izzy at sunset, with some nice backlighting...

While we're enjoying our time here, we're also making summer cruising plans with the boat.

Monday, May 18, 2009


A beautiful day in the Black Hills yesterday - the temp pushed up into the 80s, lots of glorious sunshine. It was "Free Weekend at the State Parks"; we decided to take a drive down to Angostura (where we used to keep our boat slipped when we lived here) to see if any of our sailing buddies were around. We saw a couple boats we recognized as we walked down the docks. Walking up to our buddy Steve's boat, Northern Girl, there were people on it... but not Steve. I asked if Steve and Jan might be around; "They just headed out with Scott on his boat." They asked if I wanted to use the VHF to call them. Sure. After a short radio conversation, Steve called me on our cell phone, "See that Catalina at the head of the dock? Go get on it and bring it out."

I told him I wasn't going to get on someone's boat I didn't know and he said, "That's ours!"

"Nice boat! I'm still not going to take it out." He said they'd be right in.

We had a great reunion with Scott, Steve, and Jan, then Steve suggested we go out on his boat. It wasn't what we were planning, but it was good to see our friends, and we haven't been on a boat for several months... OK!

It was a great afternoon. The wind came up for some nice sailing, the lake level is the highest I've seen in the past 8 or 9 years. Steve and Jan's new boat is a Catalina 27 - lots of room, very comfortable, and a great sailing boat. Good conversation and some fine sailing... nice way to spend the day.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Floor Show

We bought a Herculiner kit for the floor of the cargo trailer. It is similar to the Rhino-Liner in our truck, but a D-I-Y kit. Yesterday, I put on the first coat...

It was pretty straight-forward... clean the floor, tape the floor/wall joints, mix the heck out of the Herculiner (to put the rubber "beads" into suspension), do the edges with the brush provided in the kit, then go after it with the roller. With the first coat done, it looked very nice. The Herculiner is lighter and less expensive than a rubber mat or something like the MotoFloor (tiles you pound together) and takes care of what to do with the ramp door. I could have ordered the floor and ramp with the diamond point texture, but it seems that would be slipperier than the Herculiner.

Today, I got up and every muscle in my body ached. No, not sick; it's the after effects of squatting for over two hours while putting on the rubberized Herculiner. And the really bad news: I have to get the final coat done this morning! Other than the pain in my butt and thighs, it went easy... and the second coat REALLY pulls it all together. The floor looks good, seems as tough and textured as the Rhino-Liner in the truck, and didn't add a lot of weight.

On the bright side, it's done. Well, I have to re-install the tie-downs after it is good and dry. And if I were to do something like this on a more regular basis, I'd have Buns of Steel! ;-)

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Black Hills

We have been in western South Dakota at Hart Ranch Camping Resort for the past 10 days or so. Hart Ranch is a membership park and is the standard we use to compare to other RV parks we visit. As members, it is inexpensive to stay here, and the resort is spacious; nice paved sites, plenty of grassy space between, and lots of amenities.

Izzy the travel cat is really liking this place. She gets out everyday on the leash, and is doing great with it. We are on the perimeter of the park, so there is a large grassy area right behind us. It's a dog run, but we don't tell Izzy - she thinks it's all for her.

We have been looking for a small cargo trailer to tow behind the 5th wheel so we can bring our motorcycle along on trips. Looking in Texas, Arizona, and Missouri, we never found just what we were looking for. Since we used to live in the Black Hills, we knew there were plenty of cargo trailer dealers here, perhaps due to the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally. After checking a half dozen dealers here, we found just what we were looking for...

It's a Featherlite, all aluminum construction, reasonably light weight, and plenty of room for the motorcycle and other "toys." Now, if we just had the motorcycle with us.