Monday, September 3, 2018

Turtle Expedition 1.0 Week One

Anxious for our big trip to Colorado in our "new to us" pickup camper, we left our super secret location at 10:15. Not too bad considering we wanted to leave between 9-10. We got a couple of miles down the road when I remembered that I had forgotten some things. Dang! At least with this pickup camper it is easier to get turned around. So we went back and then hit the road again closer to 11. Lisa said that she wanted to stop at the Dunham's sporting goods store to find hiking shoes for Colorado. So we pulled into the mall. Again because of this camper being so maneuverable it was easy. We finally got on the road closer to 12. Not the best start to the journey but "Oh well".

The first leg of the journey was going to take us to Pierre SD. The trip was uneventful all of the way. Pulling in to gas stations is so much easier with this camper now. I don't always have to look for a truck stop. It was a good day to get used to the handling characteristics of the pickup with the camper on top of it. It feels top heavy and wants to wobble going around curves and corners. So I will have to be careful so we are not a turtle on our backs. We found a nice city campground in Pierre. Griffin park. $16.00 for electric for the night. Water and a dump station is available. You get a nice view of the Missouri River with that price.
Griffin park, Pierre SD.

View of the Missouri River
Our second day of travel was going to be shorter mile wise. We were going to go from Pierre to Pringle. I also wanted to make a stop in Wall SD and then drive through The SD Badlands.

Wall Drug is always a fun stop if you want to get out and stretch your legs and if you like tourist traps. It is amazing to think of the way the Husteads started Wall Drug, as a little dot on the map and because of their marketing and advertising have turned this little town into quite the tourist stop. Otherwise it could have just wasted away like so many other small towns.

We then drove into South Dakota's badlands. North Dakota has badlands also so we didn't think it would be that much different, but it was. It had such a rugged beauty about it.

Our final destinations brought us to Jim and Barb's fortress of solitude. That is right, folks, Jim and Barb. RV Rock Gods and Youtube reality stars. We quickly got set up and cocktails were brought out. Then off to the Pringle bar for some delish hamburgers and camaraderie. More cocktails followed and then it was finally bedtime. 8 o'clock sneaks up on you fast. 

The next day we were going to check the trail cameras because hunting season is just a couple of days away. Jim was pretty giddy just thinking about it. He was going to show me the proper technique to use a climbing tree stand to get the optimal shooting position to bag that thirty point buck. I was anxious to learn from the master.

Okay, I guess we are going to shoot at it's kneecaps then.

We then headed north to Lead SD. Pronounced like "Leed" not "Lead" the molten metal. There were some breweries they wanted to check off their list. Well the first one was closed so that will be another day. We then headed into the Spearfish canyon to do a short hike to see a waterfall. As you can see from the photo, nobody waits for the invalids.

At least they picked a trail that was shorter and flatter. I was able to complete this without any complaining at all. Because that is not what I do. Suffer in silence is my motto. We then went to Spearfish SD to Crow Peak Brewery for a cold one. It is amazing that people will drive 2 hours for 1 beer when I usually have 24 cold ones in the cooler 2 feet from my chair. Oh well, it was a nice day for a drive.

Day three of our little stop over involved the girls running some errands and Jim practicing with the bow because Saturday was opening day. We would sit by the table with binoculars in hand staring into the trees hoping to get a glimpse of BUCKZILLA. We saw many deer but the bucks where staying hidden. Dinner time rolled around and we got a huge treat when Barb brought out her tacos. Mouth watering goodness there.

Day four. Season opener! Jim got out there very early in the morning but it ended up with Jim not having any luck out in the woods. He just saw does and fawns. BUCKZILLA was very elusive, as if he knows what season it is. We drove into town and walked the shops and had some pie at the Purple Pie Place. Then our hosts where gracious enough to let us use their Jeep for some exploring on our own.

So we went into Custer state park and drove the wildlife loop. We saw many antelope, bison and PD's aka prairie dogs. After the loop we were on our way to the Needles highway when I saw a sign to Mt. Coolidge lookout. So up we went to check that out. We drove to the top and the elevation was 6,023 ft with a spectacular view all around. The only drawback to that is that there are four towers up there so lots of guide wires all over that interrupts the picture perfect postcard moment.
The Jeep at the top of Mt. Coolidge with wires all around.

View from Mt. Coolidge.

A long distant view of the Needles. A little hazy today.
We then drove the Needles Highway. Do not take wide vehicles on this road because you go through 2 tunnels that are about 8 ft. wide and 9 ft. tall. Plus it really isn't a highway because you never go faster than 35. Then it was back home for more of Barb's tacos and margaritas. It was another successful day, except for Jim. Darn!

Our final day ended up being a little laid back which is good because all you do is run and sight see and resting is fine with me, especially with my arthritis. Not complaining, mind you. Just saying. Jim went out hunting this morning. There was a nice buck, but it wasn't BUCKZILLA. The elusive 30 pointer. We did run into Custer for some drinking supplies because the ladies decided to start a theme going. That theme is the "Drink of the day". Yesterday it was Margs. Not sure what today brings but it promises to be good. Plus they have a hankering for "Better than sex" cake. Personally I don't like that name. If your sex life is that bad that cake can be better than sex, you need to find a blowup doll or something. Maybe it should be called "Better than Jim's sex life cake".

In town there was a Studebaker show going on. I owned two back in the day so it was nice to see some of those beauty's.
I think this was a 51 bullet nose.

65 Daytona

61 Champ pickup

I don't remember what this was, some kind of Hawk.

64 Commander
The last one was similar to the ones I owned. I had a 64 and a 65 Cruiser. It was a model above this one.
My Studes
Not show cars by any means but very fun. The blue one was a Canadian Stude and the right one was an American Stude.

This was going to be our last night for awhile so the girls where making it memorable." Drink of the day" became "Drinks of the day".
Blueberry Mojitos

Scooby Snacks

Peach Moscow Mules

White Russians
They were really enjoying them as you can tell. Jim said that he could hear the laughter out in the woods. Oops. At one point I was walking back to our camper and I didn't notice the 4 bucks that I just walked by not more than 20 feet away because the sun was in my eyes. I heard something to my right and there they were. I didn't have my camera. There was a nice buck and three younger ones. Not BUCKZILLA though. Jim got back empty handed. It's a good thing the season is long.

Departure day. Another fun visit has ended for us. We must move on and leave our good friends behind to battle BUCKZILLA on their own. Jim went out early this morning and we are waiting for him to get back before the tears start streaming down our faces. Plans have been made to meet up somewhere in the future so we can't wait for the laughter to begin again.

Update. BUCKZILLA has been seen! Jim saw it and it did't give him a target before it walked away. I think it is toying with Jim's emotions. "Curse you BUCKZILLA!" is the cry we heard from the woods.


  1. Update to your update.... Buckzilla went down tonight!

    1. The woods are safe again. Good job. It must have been us keeping him away with our laughter and hijinks.