Thursday, July 7, 2011

Food, a Rodeo, Fireworks, a Parade and a Hike (Spearfish, SD)

So I left you last Thursday after my bike ride on the Mickelson Trail.  Friday and Saturday we "worked."  Sunday we hooked up with Bill and Rena for an evening at the Rodeo.  We began with early dinner at a local Mexican restaurant. The decor was unique and the food quite good. 

Then we went on to Belle Fourche (pronounced- foosh),SD to attend the Black Hills Round Up Rodeo. 

Not that we knew, but apparently this is like one of the top rodeos in the country.  Maybe that's just regional hype but let's believe it!  By the time the rodeo started the stands were packed.

We paid $17 a head for general admission on the wooden bleachers seats.  Next time we"ll spring for the $22 molded seats with a back.  whine! whine! whine!  At least Rena had the good sense to lead us to the seats at the very top of the bleachers - we were able to stand up and stretch periodically without disturbing anyone behind us. The show started at about 6:45 pm and ended about 9:30.  There were lots of people on horses, some people falling off horses and nobody stayed on the bulls. Primarily the pictures will have to tell the story.

The post rodeo show included really amazing fireworks.  We left the "arena" to go watch the fireworks in the parking area at the car.  This turned out to be a great plan!  We were maybe 150 yards from where the fireworks were being launched.  If we'd been much closer we might have been burned. (slight exaggeration but you get the picture!)  The fireworks simply went on forever.  2 or 3 times I thought we were watching the finale but they just kept going and going and going.

Finally they stopped and we made a reasonably easy exit and a safe drive home.  Great day!!

Sunday was Fourth of July.  Around 1pm I rode my bike into town to watch the local parade. (Debbie, who doesn't care much for parades decided to pass on the excitement.)  It takes about 5 minutes to get downtown.  I felt like I was easing  into Mayberry hoping to find Andy and Barney.  All I can say is that the parade was cute.  It began with a color guard, included a few "floats", but the highlight may have been the port-a-let!  And guess what, I took these pictures!

Afterwards there was a free ice cream social in the city park. I, along with hundreds of other folks, enjoyed the freebie.  Did I mention Mayberry?  That evening we met with our fellow volunteers in our Volunteer Village for a little pot luck/hot dog roast.  Sounds to me like a perfect all American day! 

Tuesday we joined Bill and Rena for another hike.  Destination, the Rimrock Trail.

Distance, a little more then 6 miles.  The day began beautifully.  The hike started with an abrupt climb,

leveled off and  from there on out was quite manageable.  Initially the scenery was only just very nice.  We saw a deer or two, the wildflowers and some mushrooms,

and then we entered a very cool canyon.

In addition to being good hiking companions, Bill and Rena know a lot of stuff.  Bill is a civil engineer so he is great with the lay of the land and related subjects.  Rena is a librarian (they're both retired), well read and really knows her plants, particularly wildflowers.  It's nice, we learn.  So after we leave the canyon, the trail takes us through a small camping area with picnic tables.

Great place for lunch.  5 minutes into lunch it starts to rain.  We assess our situation and decide the best (and only) cover is the OUTHOUSE.  Now our good fortune continues.  The outhouse, or pit toilet, has a porch like vestibule which provides very nice cover.

 It's a good thing because this rain is serious.

It lasts over an hour and includes mega lightning and thunder.  We ate our lunch standing and the wait was quite funny.  We were grateful for our plush accommodations and laughed through much of the rain.  Finally we concluded the weather had cleared so we pressed on.  There was a road parallel to the trail so we went to the road because much of the rest of the trail included tall grass and the view from the road of the canyon was actually more scenic.

Our intention was to stay dry.  Too far up the road to turn around it starts to rain again big time.  We have jackets and ponchos so we are somewhat prepared but still mange to get mighty wet.

We leave the road, where we're the tallest thing around,  and go back on the trail which is now in the woods because we're trying not to be lightning rods.  It rains on and we slog on.  Eventually we come to a little attraction that we had previously planned to check out so we do.  It's the foundation of an old ranger station and a root cellar.  The foundation warranted merely a glance but the root cellar is cool.  It's entirely in tact (maybe 10 x 10 inside) and provided us with some welcomed shelter from the rain.  We didn't actually go in, not knowing what other creatures may be inside seeking cover, but again, there was a little entrance area that got us out of the rain.

The rain slacked a bit so we moved forward to complete our hike.  On the way out of the root cellar area we come to a sign marking a unique bit of info.  Please read sign.

By the time we reach the car the rain has stopped.  By the time we get back to our campers the sun is shining!  This was just another great day.  We got some good exercise, saw some pretty stuff and spent a lot of time laughing!  Doesn't get much better!!!!!

God Bless America!



  1. What great photos anf a fun post... Glad you guys are having such a wonderful time!
    Have fun & Travel safe

  2. Debbie, your pictures always impress me! Duane, another hidden talent has emerged...your pictures are really great too! I love your blog!!!