Center Lake

Bill and I are winding down our time here in beautiful Custer State Park, South Dakota. We have only two more three day work shifts, then we will be leaving here on 9/24/19 to make our four day trip back to Arizona. We’ve spent the past five months here, and are thankful we had this opportunity to visit this magical place. While we really enjoyed all the things we saw and did on our days off, there were an equal amount of things we didn’t like about our stay. Like our ever changing work schedules. We worked at four different Visitor Centers, but not together. One day we would open a Visitor Center, and the next day we would be closing a Visitor Center. When we had to close, we had to work until 8:00 p.m. which did not suit us at all. Both Bill and I are very much early morning people and don’t like sitting around half the day waiting to go to work. And the campground we live in is a complete disaster. We changed campsites three times since we’ve been here, and still never got our coach level. The problem is most of the sites in this campground are on a slant. Somehow these things were not mentioned to us when we had our telephone interview and accepted the positions… We are so ready to get back to our level site at McDowell Mountain Regional Park, and work the Visitor Center schedules we have enjoyed for the past four years there. We already talked to our new Supervisor, and she said she would love for us to keep the same schedules we had for the past four years.

One good thing that did happen as the result of our ever changing work schedules, was that we were assigned to work “special project” last Friday with the maintenance lead, Darin. Darin is a really great guy, and he needed help loading up canoe’s that were used over the summer by the Naturalist’s to teach free canoeing basics. Darin told us to meet him at Center Lake ,and Bill could help him load the canoe’s onto his truck so he could deliver them to the storage garage where they will stay until they are needed again next summer.

While we were waiting for Darin to arrive at our meeting place at Center Lake, we had the opportunity to walk around, and take in how beautiful Center Lake is.

When Darin arrived, he told us that Center Lake is the lake that is also used for the “Hook em and Cook em” program the Naturalists teach over the summer. Hook em and Cook em is a free fishing program, where families can go fishing, without a fishing license, and the park supplies the fishing poles, bait, and the Naturalists will even clean, and cook the fish the families catch. What a deal!

Darin also told us that because Center Lake is stocked with three kinds of trout for the Hook em and Cook em program, it’s also the lake all the local folks come to fish. Yes, sign us up!

Center Lake also has a beautiful campground surrounding the lake. It is the only campground, in Custer State Park, that makes same day camping reservations. All other campgrounds must be booked in advance. Bill and I really enjoyed visiting Center Lake. It is so, so, peaceful and beautiful.

While loading up the canoe’s, Darin found this pretty little baby doll under one of the canoe’s. He sat it on the lock box that is used to store the life vests and canoe paddles. When we got ready to leave, I asked Darin if he was just going to leave, and abandon, this pretty little doll baby with her cute pink, teddy bear outfit on, and cute pink hat…? He smiled and said “put her in my truck and I’ll find a way to play a trick on the Park Manager, Lydia”. Lydia, I had nothing to do with whatever “trick” Darin is planning to do…

We were scheduled to work the full day with Darin, and we were ready to do just that. But that morning, when we met up with him, I mentioned that that day was our anniversary. And guess what? After we got the canoe’s unloaded back at the storage garage, which only took three hours, Darin said “I think I’m just going to cut you folks loose now ,so go and enjoy the rest of your day… “Thanks Darin!

Looking back over the past five months, we would not take anything for the experience we’ve had here in South Dakota. But, after five months of buffalo’s coming and going at will in and around our campsite, knocking over our outside ovens, scratching our motorhome, grunting, sniffing females to see if they are ready to mate, and fighting for the right to mate with her right outside our motorhome, keeping us trapped inside..,

after five months of all that… , we no longer say with excitement “oh look, the buffalo are coming.” NO!! Now we say “OH S##T, the buffalo are coming!! But oh, what stories we have to tell…  🙂 🙂

Stay Tuned!

8 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Bill
    Sep 09, 2019 @ 01:47:51

    Well lets put it this way if anyone says let go see a bison herd , I’m out after all the bison crap I’ve cleaned and the extra work they caused me , NO THANKS.
    We did have a great anniversary with getting off early, I think we did the work so quickly, he may have run out of projects or he just wanted to give us a anniversary present, Darren is a class act. Can’t wait to get back to AZ.


    • beyondcinderella
      Sep 10, 2019 @ 12:16:05

      Very soon this will all be fun memory… It’s going to be easier to laugh about all the bison stories we have once we’re not having to deal with them on a daily basis. Ha! XoXo


  2. ellen739
    Sep 09, 2019 @ 04:14:41

    What a five month stay you had, but have a lot of memories. Have a safe and pleasant trip back to Arizona. Knowing that Shantel will be happy you’re coming home. She has been doing so great on her own and I’m sure you feel so happy and proud of her. Godspeed on your trip.
    Love to you both! Keep in touch.


    • beyondcinderella
      Sep 10, 2019 @ 12:19:42

      We certainly do have a lot of great memories to take home with us. Can’t wait to get back and see Shantel. She has been doing great, but of course we just miss her so much when we’re gone over the summer months. Hope all is well with you and yours. Love you. XoXo


  3. Becky
    Sep 10, 2019 @ 02:54:44

    We are so looking forward to see you both! Safe travels and see you soon, safe travels
    Becky and Bud


  4. Robin
    Sep 10, 2019 @ 15:23:48

    Well you know I’m counting the days!!! Can’t wait to hear over several glasses of wine and a nice campfire on a cool evening. Finally the weather is breaking! I love the boat image…omg – I could’ve stayed at that spot for hours taking photos of that patina on those boats. Screw those bisons and come home to the yips of the coyotes! Love you two!


    • beyondcinderella
      Sep 10, 2019 @ 17:56:55

      Oh, you would have loved Center Lake. So peaceful, quiet, and relaxing. We are for sure counting the day’s now… Can’t wait to get back home to Arizona. We’re not going to work five months in the summer anymore. We decided we need the month of September off just to recover from all the fun we hove on our summer adventures. But, we do have lots of stories to share! Soon, very soon! XoXo


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