Saturday, May 31, 2014

Work Day?

As always we seems to find things to keep us busy, even when we only need to work a few hours on our shift. This has been a very easy assignment, which is very hard to get used to.

Here are a few thing we do in our volunteer position.
Clean the fire pit. I also have been removing and resetting them, so they are on top of the ground instead of buried in the ground.
Cleaning around the cabins. It seems no one cares if combustible material is around or not. But we do, and it looks nice when picked up.
And then we get to see pretty vehicles. 

One of the procedures we follow is that after we complete our work, we drive down to the Park Shop and dump ash, burnt wood and anything we collect. While at the same time scrounging stuff for the sites. Once completed we usually take a drive on the wildlife loop trail or cross over to Lame Johnny Rd.

We never get tired seeing the wildlife in the area. An example on Friday 5/30, we had 5 buffalos wander into the camp for an hour. Then, just as quickly as they came in, off they went back the same way they came in. I did managed to get a few shots but from a distance.
This really makes the campers happy.

Today (Sat.) is the first day without rain this past week. (Sun update - it poured with lots of lightening and thunder late Sat evening.) Custer, SD has been in the path of many rain storms. Sunday it is back to possible showers with showers likely again on Monday. It is almost as bad as Phoenix with Sun all the time.

We also are having fun catching a couple of mice. So far 2 down with maybe one in hiding. So tonight we laid rope lights around the RV with the hopes of not seeing any more (neighbors said lights on all night will keep them away.) Of course, I’ll believe when I see no more mice.

Dana and her cousin along with three children are heading this way around the 10th of June, and staying for 4 days. Susan has been scouting the area for kid friendly attractions. Everything here in the State Park is kid friendly, but keeping the kids busy and out of trouble when the parents are visiting monuments that do not entertain children is another story.

Sent an email to couple of friends along with a collage of photos. Don who still works at Honeywell and Wayne. Wayne and Kathy will officially join the ranks of full-timers around June 9th. That is the day they will be transferring their house to someone else. In other words, they sold their house. Congratulations Wayne and Kathy.

Now only the future knows what big adventures are in store for you, Kathy and Tungor. Hey, I have no photos of youse guys?

So what shall we leave you with?

Hum how about some  Burros? (click to see photos)

Of course we always have our good seal of house-keeping.

 Safe Travels and Journeys from DaGirls

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Sight Seeing in and Around Custer

It’s been a few days since we have posted, so we better get back to work. With our discount/free pass to many of the area attractions,  we have been busy seeing the sights.
On Monday we were in Box Elder to visit the South Dakota Air and Space Museum. The museum has over 50 planes and missiles on display outside (Some of which my father had a hand on. Like F-86 Saber, F-101 Voodoo.)
 Included in the tour is a training Minuteman II Missile Silo.
This is the only training facility left in this part of the country and really it is used only for tours as seen by the evidence as we walked around and inside.

Next on the list was a trip to Sam’s Club and Penney’s to look for brown (chocolate) pants. Have you ever needed equipment for your job and just about no one carried it?

Another tour we took was into the Jewel Caves (Caverns) located west of Custer City.

 I've include a link ( Jewels Cave ) to Wikipedia about the caves. We learned that only about 5% of the cave has been explored. 3 tours are offered to the public, Discovery (20 minutes), Scenic (1.5 Hrs) and a Lantern tour.

There is also 1 other tour which can last 4 hours, this is an actual caving tour, where you need to walk and crawl thru various small openings. To qualify for this tour you must be able to squeeze thru an opening of 21” x 8.5”.

 I made it, and also made a new work T-shirt (hole).

After leaving the Caves we stopped at the Four-Mile-Old-West-Town outside of Custer City. This was a stage coach stop along with where General Custer stopped on his way to the Bad-Lands. Link to the Web Site ( Four-Mile-Old-West-Town ).

It consists of 50 buildings showing what life was all about in the area. Lots of history, but it is not for very young children, as it is mainly walking around. It is a shame as many of the items and buildings are in a state of disrepair and getting worse.

And, of course, what would our post be without one of Custer’s State Park Poster Animal’s.

As always we need the Seal of Approval 

We have included Links to the Various Photos we have taken.

Air and Space Museum 

Safe Travels and Journeys

Friday, May 23, 2014

Final Day

Well training is finally over. Today was the last day. We met the secretary of department of tourism (SD), manager of the Game, Fish and Parks department, along with the VP of the lodges.

 Everything was going well until……well sometimes company’s tell you things that are really not necessary for you to do your job. It did put a few people to sleep. I will not show you a photo of those persons.  But know it wasn't Craig, Dee or Lance.
 They were busy providing the fun and games. 

However, on with the day and our adventures. 

One of the neat things about this job is all the places we got to go. Example, the Crazy Horse Memorial. We were allowed to go out on the arm of the monument. Check out the photos. 

Even Susan and I got into the act. The best way to check out where and what we did is click on the link below.

We hope you enjoy the photos

Safe travels and journeys from
Susan, Della, Tilly and me

Monday, May 19, 2014

Day 2 of On-the-Job

Just in case you see this man, his name is Kevin, and his job is visitor services maintenance supervisor. So for any items needing repairs we contact him.

Next up, Sunday has come and gone and we on our on 3rd day of rotation. High-lite of Sunday was the Pancake breakfast down at the Game Lodge. All proceeds go to a special fund for kids at the 4th of July celebrations.

On our return back to the CG we came around a corner we spied 2 buffalos grazing on the side of the road.  We always bring a camera. The auto focus did not work to well as you can see in the movie we took, but you get the picture or should I say video.

Once back in camp we proceeded to perform our duties with much vigor. The day was beautiful (best one yet) and we were done with our cabins, but didn't want to spend time indoors, so now what do we do? Well it’s off in the truck for a jaunt around the park.  We dropped off ashes and logs, fueled the vehicle and more.  We did come upon a herd of buffalo off in the distance.  While we watched 2 of them took off on a run away from the rest of the herd. Believe me, when they say buffalo can run fast, they really mean it. These two covered a lot of distance in a short time. It was a shame that the camera would not pick them up.

So Sunday came and went and next thing it is Monday morning, when I spied this critter just walking by the rig. I had just a few minutes to capture a few shots, do hope they come out ok.

So why did the turkey cross the road?.........................................
Why, to get to the other side, of course!

Anyway spend a few minutes checking out the photos, along with the video, come back often and check out the site as we keep updating the blog.

Custer State Park May 18 & 19th.

Safe Travels and Journeys from Da Girls

Saturday, May 17, 2014


Today’s the day we actually start working, we have cabins to prepare, fire rings to check and comfort stations to check out. YIPPEE !!

Well it sounds like a lot of work, but it turned out to be 2 cabins to clean, one of which will have a visitor tonight. But at least we have been released into the campground to do our job. 
After cleaning and checking everything we took the truck and visited some back roads and went around wildlife loop road. The burrows have moved, buffalo moved up higher and the deer were hidden. 

We did spy some pronghorn antelope hanging around. Which we were able to capture on digital.

We also spied a grave stone of Baby Mann.
Today was also open house into Custer State Park, where a park pass was not required. Pancake breakfast on Saturday and Sunday morning with donations for funding of 4th of July kids events.  The lodges had cookouts. 

All the wild life must have been very busy including the squirrels, as we saw this guy was so tired he took a nap on the road: (I told Dale not to publish this one)
Safe Travels and Journeys 
from Da Girls.

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Training Day

The week started out slow but picked up speed as we moved along.Training began as we arrived at the Peter Norbert Visitor Center each morning to be transported by vans to the Park Office for training.  Mornings were spent listening to various department heads:  Craig Pugsley, Lance Catron (Campground Operations), Julie Brazell (Naturalist Activities), Ermin Husidic (Entrance Operation), Gary Brundige & Mark Hendrix (Resource & Range Management), Chad Lehman (Wildlife), Adam Gahagan & Chad Jacobson (Forestry), and Chad Kremer (Buffalo Operations).

We learned overall operations of the park and how and why it is managed, including how it came into being. We then visited each resort within CSP. The resorts, activities and lodges are all managed by one concessioner company. We were entertained with lunch and an overall view of each lodge daily.

Once lunch was completed, off we went to visit the many sites and campgrounds inside the state park. By the time the days were done, our training days were 10 hours long and we were on overload. 

Of course,  we can't forget mention the many wildlife photo ops we saw each day:

So Sit Back and Enjoy the Slide Show

Located within Custer State Park, is Mount Coolidge, which is perhaps best known for the fire tower that sits upon the summit. Built in 1937-9 by the CCC (Civilian Conservation Corps), the fire tower is still staffed from approximately mid-May to mid-October every year. 

Mount Coolidge has suffered something of an identity crisis over the years. Originally called Sheep Mountain, the peak was renamed Lookout Mountain in 1923 only to be renamed again in 1927 to Mount Coolidge. Now, however, this mountain even has its own namesake USGS quad.From the summit, the visitor can enjoy fantastic views of the surrounding Black Hills, including Mount Rushmore, Crazy Horse, the famous Needles and even Ellsworth Air force Base. It is said on a clear day, the Badlands can be viewed approximately 60 miles eastward. At the summit, informational kiosks tell about the 1988 Galena Fire that scorched 17,000 acres of the park.

Custer State Park is known for its population of a keystone species of this region, the American Bison. According to National Geographic, this heaviest of North American land mammals can rise to 5 to 6.5 feet (1.5 to 2 meters) tall at the shoulder and weigh in excess of 1 ton (971 kg). Best yet, they sport pointed horns and can run at speeds of up to 40 mph (65 kph).

Rank: 53rd highest peak in South Dakota

Prominence: 683 feet

USGS Quad: Mount Coolidge
43.7451322, -103.4812897
Link to Google Maps

Mount Coolidge is located 3 miles south of US Highway 16A along SD Highway 87. From here, visitors can drive 1.2 miles up the road to the lookout tower or park at the base of the road and stroll up.

Safe Travels and Journeys from Da Girls