May 12 – June 4, 2019
Custer, South Dakota
Once we left Moab we were headed to straight to Casper, Wyoming to get our right rear axel realigned and the tire replaced. After 4,500 miles Guy noticed that the tire was completely worn out and that the alignment was off. The only place in the near vicinity MorRyde approved of and could work on the suspension was in Casper.
We drove about 5 hours and stopped at the Walmart in Craig, Colorado, and were debating on staying there for the night or looking for a campground where it would be easier to change the tire to the spare.
After checking online we found the Elkhead reservior which had a campground large enough for us. Before we even opened up the rig Guy had the jacks raised high enough in the air and was able to begin working on changing the tire out. I will say it was not an easy job but we both were glad it was done as we were checking out the old tire and saw how worn and unsafe it had become.
The Bears Ears campground was right on the Elkhead Reservoir with a wonderful view of the grasslands and snow covered mountains. We were the only ones staying there which was so nice. It was a little expensive at $22.00 a night, with no amenities, except an outhouse, each site also had a metal cover over the table area as well as a fire pit. The views were great. There were a couple of boats on the lake that would come by and check us out, I was waiting for someone to give us an offer to go for a ride but it didn’t happen. Oh Well!! The campground was right at the end of the reservior by the spillway. The sound of the water rushing over was so loud but at the same time calming.
We knew we needed to be close to the Alignment Shop and Tire Company in Casper as our appointment was at 8:00am on Wednesday, us old retired folks don’t get up so early anymore. We also needed to dump our tanks and take on water as we were going boon docking in Custer, Sth Dakota at Jim and Barbs. We decided to find a campsite, we stayed outside of Casper in Evansville. The campground host was so nice and worked hard to get us a site big enough for us. The campground was mostly oil company workers that lived there full time. We were glad that it was only 10 mins from our service center.
We got a text from Jim keeping us informed about the weather in Custer. He wanted us to know that if we could get the tire done and get to their property before the rain started that it would be better as their driveway would be non-negotiable when it rains. We had planned to arrive on Thursday and of course the rains were headed that way on Wednesday afternoon. We were so glad that we were in and out of the Alignment shop before noon and on the road on Wednesday.
Jim and Barb bought their awesome piece of land a few years ago and have added a barn for all the man tools and jeep. They have also started to build their barndominimun, which will be part house and part garage. The garage was made large enough to fit their 5th wheel and truck with a camper. Jim and Barb are building this themselves, with a little help from their friend, Kevin, who is a contractor. Guy was looking forward to spending time with Jim and working with him on the barndominuim.
The rains came and so did the cold and snow. We had two decent days of sun before it all hit. The wind was so cold it drove everyone inside stopping all work. One day Jim brought chairs into the living room area facing the non-existing fireplace, discussing the type if fireplace and size that would work for the room. It made it a little more real putting things in perspective. We enjoyed sitting around having an adult beverage but with no windows or doors we could only take so much cold wind!
Before we arrived at Jim and Barbs, our mutual friends, Debbie and Steve, also full time rvers were visiting. They were staying in Box Elder where they were getting some business stuff done. They had mentioned that they were going to the Elks Lodge in Rapid City for prime rib. Yum!! Jim and Barb had mentioned that they were heading to Rapid City to get some shopping done. It sure was an easy decision that prime rib with Debbie and Steve was put right on the list. What a great evening of laughter, sharing and just enjoying being together.
Work went on most days on the barndominium even in the cold and rainy days. Barb, Jim and Guy bundled up in hats, and 2-3 layers trying to keep warm and work. We did take time off when it was just to cold and they needed a break. One day we took a ride through Custer State Park looking for the buffalo or even the donkeys. Yup, you guessed it out of 1300 buffalo in the park we saw 4 from a long way away, and absolutely no donkeys.
We also had lunch at the Purple Pie Place, Barb and I had chicken salad which was excellent, while the guys had chicken pot pie. When at a pie place you must partake and of course we did, strawberry, rhubarb, jalapeño for Barb and I, Guy berry. I don’t remember what Jim had but we all had vanilla ice cream. It was a fabulous lunch.
Our son, Stephen’s, 18 year old son, Ryan was graduating from high school in Auburn, Alabama while we were in Wyoming. We made the hard decision that just one of us would travel to the graduation. Sadly, Guy and LaciLou drew the short straw and stayed behind in Wyoming with the snow and rain.
Since it was forecast to snow the night before my flight, with the drive to Rapid City about 1 1/2 hours and needing to leave at 6:00, we made the decision that I would stay in Rapid City the night before. It was not the best flight getting into Chicago, they were having a storm so flights were being canceled. Our plane circled around the airport a few times, the pilot finally came on telling us we were going to Grand Rapids, Michigan to take on more fuel. UGH! Even tho the next flight was delayed I still missed it. Instead of arriving at 5:00 our touch down was at 10:30 in Birmingham.
I was so excited to see my kids and grands, even if it was only for a short 3 days. Our grandson Ryan picked me up at our daughters on Monday, so he and I could spend some time together. Ryan had to work Monday night, so my son, Stephen cooked dinner for us at his home. We haven’t spent that much time together in a long while. It was fun just sitting on the couch and watching The Voice together.
Tuesday, Ryan spent the day at his dad’s auto shop working on his car tires. I hung around with them, watching and asking questions. Ryan said I was hovering!!! The rims and tires are to wide for his car. If you look closely you can see that the top of the tires angle in, this is supposed to look cool….his dad knows it won’t be long and again they will be buying new tires. Ryan was going away for the long weekend on a Veloster car rally with about a hundred other Veloster owners. So it needed to be perfect.
That night was graduation at 7:00, Ryan was still working on the tires at 5:00…needless to say his mom was stressing. Our daughter, Kristi and granddaughter, Mallori drove the 2 1/2hrs from Birmingham to Auburn. Kristi was taking me back to her home after the graduation.
The graduation went off like any other, reading every graduates name, lots of clapping, horn blowing, yelling and waving of flags to help the graduates celebrate. But the best part was when our grandsons name, Ryan Samuel Alexander, was called and watching him walk across the stage, how proud we all are of that sweet young man. He ends his high school career with a 4.0 all 4 years. He starts collage in August with a scholarship at the University of Alabama, Huntsville, Alabama. Ryan is our second grandson to graduate from high school, our daughters son, Stephen is now getting ready to graduate in December from the University of Alabama, Tuscaloosa, Alabama. The next high school graduate will be our granddaughter, Mallori,15 and going to be a Sophomore.
My last day visiting was spent with Mallori shopping together and then having lunch with her parents. The next day she and two friends were heading to 6 flags in Ga for a day of riding the roller coasters… That night we all headed to Sumo’s steak house for dinner and then if that wasn’t enough food, Jason took us out for ice cream.
The weather in Alabama was so wonderful, no humidity, in the middles 80’s. Upon hearing that it was still snowing in Custer, I was very tempted to stay just a little longer.
When I landed in Rapid City there was still snow on the ground and the surrounding mountains. I’m glad I had worn warm clothes and had my jacket.
We moved from Jim and Barbs a few days after I arrived over to a campground close to Crazy Horse Memorial. We were waiting for my long time friend, Kathy. She was traveling in her rig from the east coast. We made plans to meet up before she continued on her journey west.
Come back and see all the wonderful things we did while Kathi was here with us. Custer has so many things to keep you busy. I was on a hunt to finally see Buffalo!!