SOUTH DAKOTA: Who Knew???

Our plan to visit South Dakota was a brief afterthought. In fact, we altered our plans, when we heard our grandson wanted to visit next summer and thought to scout out possible venues.
Well South Dakota; we are now fans! Mount Rushmore is super, but just the beginning. We fell in love with Custer State Park, the Needles Drive, the Iron Mountain Drive, Badlands National Park, Bison, wild burros, and the Red Cloud Indian School. We found music, faith groups, and terrific scenery!
Who knew???

SO LONG, COLORADO; HELLO, SOUTH DAKOTA! 


Our Month in Colorado, fell conveniently into two distinct halves; divided by a significant geological formations- The Rocky Mountains!

 On the Western half, we enjoyed several weeks in Grand Junction; dry camping a couple days, while receiving small repairs on the rig, a couple more days at a commercial campground, and a week at the local Moose Lodge, which had electric. There were local festivals, wineries, The Colorado Monument mountains, and a “near-death experience on the Grand Mesa, at the National Forest. Note here: Ford Escapes are not 4-wheel adventure vehicles, but ours did admirably on very rocky terrain, where turning back seemed not advisable.

 Finally, Ouray and surroundings host a variety of hot spring pools; warm water & newer facilities were great at the site we visited. There was a “clothing optional” venue for adults; where the facilities were older and dimly lit.

While Colorado’s Western side seemed much like Southern Utah; the Easter side is greener and more cosmopolitan. We camped the entire two weeks at the Boulder County Fairgrounds, in Longmont, which gave access to horse shows and a farmer’s market. We made several trips into Boulder itself for Bands On The Bricks & Unity Church. The Longmont Moose Lodge is great, with electric too; but while we suppered there, we liked the fairgrounds for our camping.

We also traveled to Golden and the U.S. Air Force Academy, in Colorado Springs! But the highlight was the two visits to Rocky Mountain National Park; really a “peak experience”!

The end of June, led us Northward to South Dakota and Mount Rushmore. More on that, next visit!

WORKING ON THE ROAD!

As we began our adventure, we wanted to live within a budget and continue earning an income; we were surprised to find others doing the same and others raising their families “on the road”!

Sharon works (part-time) supporting research for a major university, while I am a product advocate for an on-line wellness buying club.  Good wifi is essential for both of us!

In many ways, this adventure has been risky; personally & professionally. Leaving the predictable, comfort of our lives in Rochester for a gypsy lifestyle is scary. But, moving out of one’s comfort zone is also exciting and a welcome challenge!

Six months into our adventure;

  • We are less attached to our “things” and house
  • While Sharon sometimes misses “home”, I have grown to think “home” is where you park it!
  • Working for an employer, remotely, has advantages, while my entrepreneurial activity requires relationship building that is difficult when “on the move”.
  • RVing is likely to become a somewhat permanent lifestyle; we must decide whether to keep our property in Rochester & go South in Winter, or buy in a warmer climate & travel In Summer.

ENJOYING THE LOCAL SCENE

Many travel to see the sights; but for Sharon and I, we enjoy becoming involved in local culture, cuisine, and daily life, as well. 
As case in point, our last week in Utah, we attended the Art Festival in Moab; two days filled with a variety of music, home made ice cream, local food, and “beverage”! The first week in Colorado, we happened upon the annual “Mike, The Headless Chicken Festival,” in Fruida! Check it out, there really was a Mike and he lived nearly two years after having his head loped off! Sounds like Festival material to me! Point of the story; don’t just come for the scenery!

In addition, I made a business connection at the headless chicken ( 🍗 ) event and was able to attend a networking meeting in Grand Junction!  From that meeting, I came away with several leads and more suggestions of what the locals wanted us to see.

Even more, we “camped” at the local Moose Lodge and joined them for dinners, dancing, and more suggestions of local things to see & do. Just traveling through is a short change of the total experience!


SO MUCH WE LEARN FROM THIS DOG! Maximus is our guide & mentor!

How special can one little dog be? Well, we all have our favorites and, admittedly, every canine companion that has taken part of my heart has been special to me. But Maximus, our traveling companion on this adventure, has been leading and teaching as a master of positivity and neighborliness!

Max greets each new encounter with a waggly butt and happy expectation. Patient with all the petting and rubbing; he truly enjoys the attention and appears surprised when a few pass him by or look dolisapprovingly.

He teaches a philosophy of open acceptance & joy in what he receives. His family is not financially wealthy, yet Max assumes abundance and takes in a happy attitude.

Each day, we learn from Max; a real blessing. Certainly an angel, with ears hung low & tail cut short.

STUFF HAPPENS…

 Every once in a while, stuff happens! It’s not so much “the stuff”; but, how one responds.

Sharon and I have been very fortunate with our adventure, no major mechanical failures, never stranded out in the ‘boonies’; we are blessed!

Monday morning, 10 miles South of Salt Lake City, driving along  I-15, we heard a loud ‘POP’, followed by some rattling underneath the RV. We were able to safely pull over and found a blown tire and minor surrounding damage. 

For many, this may have been a time to lose composure, shout “why me”, and sink by the side of the road in frustrated tears. I have learned, this response is not helpful! While there have been life events, where I chose a similar reaction, it was never helpful!

Stuff happens, and the healthiest response seems to be the one that harks back to my counseling methodology; solution-based action. You can’t change what happened, but you can manage your own behavior. Calm thinking produces manageable progress toward a viable outcome!

Long story short; roadside assistance arrived, mounted a new (gold-plated) tire, and wished us safe travels. We arrived at our destination, late but safe, and after supper and bed; writing this overview.

Perhaps this is indeed, a metaphor for life…

SMALL TOWNS; BIG FRIENDLY PEOPLE

Perhaps the most pleasant learning that we take from our adventure, thus far, is the genuine friendliness of people we meet. Bonnie & Tony in Florida, the parishioners at Unity Church in the Woods, many campground “neighbors” like Greg in Missouri who fixed our taillight, and Marcy Brandt (pictured with Sharon). Marcy is the Executive Director & all around staff at the Minden, Nebraska Opera House. 

It was late afternoon, when we wanderers happened upon this restored gem Opera House. It would have been easy to say, “sorry, we are ready to close”, but, Marcy dropped her office duties and gave us the deluxe tour. We learned much about history and of the town she loves.

It is the Marcy’s of this world, who give me hope; maybe we can overcome and progress, despite the selfishness and fear so evident in the news.