Mammoth Site of Hot Springs, South Dakota

Today Bill and I took a beautiful back-road drive through the black hills of South Dakota, on our way

to the Mammoth Site of Hot Springs, South Dakota. This is yet another free admission perk we get with our VIP card we received for our volunteer service here at Custer State Park.

“The discovery of this active dig came about in June 1974, when heavy equipment operator George Hanson was leveling ground for a Hot Springs housing development planned by land owner Phil Anderson. Hanson was grading a small hill when his blade struck something that shone white in the sunlight. Hanson got out for a closer look. What he saw was a tusk, about seven feet long, sliced in half length wise, along with other bones. Mr Hanson contacted the land owner, Mr. Anderson, who contacted three universities and colleges in South Dakota, and one university in Nebraska. None of the 4 colleges were interested in the project nor did they have any desire to come and see what was discovered in Hot Springs”. Eventually, they did get the attention of the right people who came and saw the discovery, and took the right actions to save this site, which is an active dig site to this day. All to the credit of Mr. Hanson who discovered the bones, and land owner, Mr. Anderson, who sold the land at cost. He did not make a profit off the land at all…

The information sheet we received when we arrived at the Mammoth Site say’s “Travel back in time to the late Ice Age by taking a 30 minute guided tour indoors”. What a great learning experience this tour was. We learned that there was a very large sinkhole in the area, and the edges of a sinkhole was very slippery. This is “where Columbian and wooly mammoths, camels, wolves, and giant short-faced bears became trapped leaving an ancient treasure trove of fossil remains”.

How did they become trapped, you might ask…? Well the edges of the sinkhole was spearfish shale, which is very slippery when wet. So when the animals would go to the edge of the sinkhole, where they were enticed by the tender grasses, and the warm waters that surrounded the sinkhole, many of them, like the mammoths, that carried massive weight, and didn’t have claws to help them dig their way out,  would slip in and die of exhaustion from trying to get out, or they would drown. The picture below is an example of spearfish shale.

We found it interesting that this is an active working excavation site featuring the fossils of over 60 mammoths,

and of those 60 mammoth remains, most of them are male. Our guide told us that they believe that is because the mammoths had a female matriarch that would teach the majority of the herd to stay away from the sinkhole. However. boys will be boys… and the young male mammoths that didn’t want to behave, would be kicked of the herd, and without the female matriarch to guide them away from the sinkhole… they fell in and died… Pay attention boys!! The next three pictures are of male remains found in the sinkhole.

The next picture is an example of a full-size mammoth.

This mammoth exhibit hall also features replicas of Lyuba,

and Dima; baby mammoth mummies discovered in Siberia.

For budding scientists, there is a hands-on learning activity for children. Downstairs, the laboratory windows provide a behind- the-scenes glimpse of the scientific work being conducted on site.

Bill and I ended our outing with lunch at the Blue Bell Lodge, here in Custer State Park,

where we enjoyed a delicious lunch of buffalo stew, served in a cast iron skillet, with mashed potatoes on top,

and delicious cornbread with honey butter…OMG!!!

Just another fun-filled day here in the Black Hills of South Dakota.

Stay Tuned!

Hill City, South Dakota

In my last post, we rode the 1880 Train from Hill City to Keystone and back. Hill City is the oldest existing city in Pennington County, South Dakota. The population was 1,008 in 2017. Hill City is located 26 miles southwest of Rapid City on State Highway 16 and on U.S. Route 385 that connects Deadwood to Hot Springs.

After we completed our train ride, Bill and I decided to have lunch in one of the local Hill City restaurants. I heard about the Alpine Inn, and the recommendation was confirmed by one of the workers on the 1880 Train. The Alpine Inn is advertised as “Dining with a European charm”, so we decided to give it a try.

We could clearly see that it did have a lot of charm,

and OMG, the food, YUMMY!!! I had the German Plate. Fresh and smoked bratwurst served with German potato salad, sauerkraut, red cabbage, and German bread.

Bill had Schnitzel. Breaded pork served with German potato salad, sauerkraut, red cabbage, and German bread. We both tasted each other’s food, and couldn’t decide which we liked best. It was all absolutely DELICIOUS!! All the German foods are available from 11:00 a.m. – 2:30 p.m. but in the evening, they only serve either a 6 oz or 9 oz Filet Mignon with baked potato, Texas toast, and salad. No other options are served in the evening.

After lunch, we strolled around the City, and drifted in and out of various fun shops. Like this one that had all different kinds of “rear ends” for bar stools. Too cute!

We also happened upon a quirky little shop called Beef Jerky Outlet. They sell all kinds of jerky, over 100 varieties, from beef to kangaroo jerky, and everything in between. And, they offer samples of everything they sell. Who wouldn’t want to try some bacon and cheese flavored crickets? Me, that’s who!

Or, if crickets don’t suit your fancy, how about some yummy Larvets, “the original worm snax”, they come in both cheddar cheese and BBQ flavors! 🙂

It was such a beautiful, fun-filled day, and we are feeling so very blessed that we are here in South Dakota, experiencing all there is to see and do. We work the next three days, but are already making plans for our next four day’s off, so we can get out and play some more.

Stay Tuned!

Easter 2019

Today we took our daughter, Shantel, out to Easter lunch, and had to say good-bye to Shantel until we return from our summer hosting positions in South Dakota. She looked so pretty in her new spring Easter dress.

We took Shantel to her favorite place for Easter lunch, Joe’s Crab Shack, in Tempe, Az.

Even though she almost always orders king crab legs, she still wants me to read the full menu to her, just in case they changed, or added, anything.

When the server brings her the bib, she knows some good food is about to come her way.

We started out with her favorite appetizer, great balls of fire, made with crab, seafood, cream cheese, jalapeños, and served with fries and ranch dipping sauce,

and of course, you can’t have seafood, without hushpuppies, which is another of her favorites…

But she got really excited, when the server placed that big bucket of king crab legs in front of her. Served with boiled potatoes and corn on the cob.

I had fish and chips, served with coleslaw. It was more than I could eat, but not to worry, Shantel said she would be happy to take home any leftovers for her dinner.

Bill/Papa had a shrimp sampler platter, and of course, Shantel asked if she could try one, or perhaps two, of his bacon wrapped shrimp.

When we were all served, Shantel wasted no time getting down to the business of cracking open her king crab legs. And she devoured every morsel.

When it was all said and done…, we asked for a take out box. Shantel ended up with one piece of my fish and most of my fries, two of Papa’s bacon wrapped shrimp, and four hushpuppies to take home for her dinner.

As we were leaving, Shantel asked if we would take her to the grocery store to get some things she was not able to purchase yesterday, because she would not have been able to carry all the bags home by herself. We were more than happy to do that. Then, we delivered our baby girl home, with a full tummy, and a full heart, because she knows how very much we love her.

Happy Easter Shantel, we love you, we are so proud of you, and we are always only a phone call away! See you in October.

Stay tuned as we begin our summer travels, I will post along our way.

Love,

Mom and Papa

Looking For Customer Service

What ever happened to the days when people went to work, and did the job they were paid to do regardless if it is your dream job, or a job you are doing until you find your dream job? What happened to showing up to work everyday and providing the best customer service you can provide, because you signed on to give your best when you took the job you have now?

If you follow my blog, you know my husband, Bill, and I, have a daughter, Shantel, that is totally blind, but she has never let that get in the way of her living her life to the best of her ability each and everyday. She has a job in a call center, that just so happens to be in the customer service field, and she shows up everyday anxious to do her best to provide the best service she can for each and every call she takes.

The past two weeks Shantel has been working a lot of overtime, because the main call center for the company she works for is located back east, and they have been hit with extreme cold weather, that caused a lot of folks to not be able to make it into their jobs. So, all the east coast calls were rerouted to the Phoenix based call center where Shantel works. This caused Shantel to have to work ten-hour days, then deal with the two-hour Dial-a-Ride ride service two and from work. Dial-a-Ride is another whole nightmare story, in regards to customer service, but that will have to wait for another blog posting.

When I talked to Shantel today, she told me that last night she decided to treat herself when she finally got home from work, and use Uber Eats, to order her food and have it delivered to her.  I Googled Uber Eats and found the following information. “Uber Eats is a food delivery platform that makes getting great food from your favorite local restaurants as easy as requesting a ride. Uber Eats is the easy way to get the food you love delivered” Shantel has used Uber Eats several times in the past with no problems. So, because she was tired, and just wanted to order her food, eat, take a shower, and go to bed so she could get up and do her job well again the next day, she called Uber Eats and placed her order. She told me she always tells them she is visually impaired, and needs to have her order delivered to her door. In the past, this has never been a problem. However, last night, the driver called her when she was in the parking lot of Shantel’s apartment complex, and told her she didn’t want to walk to Shantel’s door with the food because it was too dark… She told Shantel she would leave her food order in the parking lot and left!! There is no way Shantel could have ever found her food order in the parking lot, and there is no way she should ever have to do that. Shantel called and made a complaint to the Uber Eats customer service line but they just told her “they will look into it”. I am beyond appalled at the lack of not only customer service by Uber Eats, but also the lack of common decency, for our fellow human beings ,by the Uber Eats delivery driver that told Shantel she would leave her food order in the parking lot and left, even though she knew Shantel is blind. If that woman was afraid to deliver the food order to Shantel’s door in the dark, perhaps she shouldn’t be working for a delivery service at night!

Shantel has also used Grubhub, which is another food deliver service, and found them to have excellent door delivery service. However, Grubhub doesn’t deliver from some of Shantel’s favorite restaurants.

Of course as her mother, I’m always upset when I hear about some of the obstacles Shantel has to deal with in her daily life. I know we all face obstacles in our lives, but sometimes I just think Shantel gets her share, and then some… However, being the beautiful, old soul ,that she is, Shantel never lets any of it get her down. She just keeps on going ,and makes the very best of what she has to work with… I asked her what she did for dinner last night since it was late, and her food order (that was already paid for) was left somewhere in the parking lot, and it was too late to start cooking dinner…? She laughed, and said “lucky for me, I found a can of soup in the cupboard”.

That’s our girl! We love you Shantel.

Stay Tuned!

 

 

Colors Of Fall

This week our son Pat, and daughter-in-law Celina, took us on a spectacular drive to see the fall colors on our way to visit Crested Butte, Colorado. About an hour into our drive, we started seeing the beginning of the leaves changing colors.

For our daughter Shantel, remember when you were a little girl, and you asked me what its like to see color? And I started teaching you what colors might feel like if you could feel color? I told you colors like red, orange, and yellow might feel warm to the touch, while green and blue might feel cool to the touch. Well, the leaves on many of the trees along our drive were changing from green,

to yellow,

and in some areas, we even saw hints of red.

Before we made our way into Crested Butte, we stopped at a beautiful lake named Lost Lake. Oh, Shantel, all the beautiful colors of the changing leaves were also being reflected off the still water of the lake. So as we were looking at the leaves on the trees around the lake, we were also seeing their image reflected on the water. Even the clouds in the sky were reflecting on the water. All of these images created a peaceful, calming, feeling.

We took a short hike around part of the lake,

and around every curve of the trail was a scene more beautiful than the last. In the next picture, we were looking across the lake at trees displaying every shade of color.

And in this next picture the clouds were moving across the lake creating shadows that reflected off the water.

We left the lake and made our way into Crested Butte. What an adorable, colorful, little town. Every building in the town is painted a different color. Orange, red, blue, and green, just like the colorful leaves on the trees.

And they have the most beautiful flowers planted in big flower beds and hanging pots all along the street and sidewalks.

Aside from the magnificent colors we saw in the fall colors of the trees, the highlight of the trip for me, was when we visited a little mini donut shop where they make mini donuts fresh right in front of you, and they come with hot toppings of your choice. Papa and Pat bought six of the donuts with a variety of toppings, like hot caramel/bacon to name just one. Then, they sat outside the donut shop on a bench and ate all the donuts. But the look on their faces as they enjoyed their sweet treats just made my day. As you know I don’t eat sweets, and Celina didn’t have any either, but she stood close by and kept handing Papa and Pat napkins to wipe their hands and face after they finished each of the six donuts. I got so tickled watching them, I could hardly hold the camera straight to take some pictures.

Just before we arrived in Crested Butte, we passed a grave site and stopped to make a visit. The headstone said the person died in 1881. But there was a message engraved into the bottom of the headstone that read,

“My good people as you pass by, as you are now so once was I. As I am now you soon must be, prepare yourselves to follow me.” I thought that was a profound message on a gravesite headstone, so I included a picture of it here on my blog as a reminder to enjoy every minute of your life, and especially enjoy the donuts!

Big thanks to Pat and Celina for taking us on such a beautiful drive and spending their day showing us around Crested Butte, Colorado.

Stay Tuned!

A Day of Hope

On Friday’s our ten-year old granddaughter, Hope, doesn’t have school. So yesterday morning, we picked her up around seven(ish), took her out to breakfast, then brought her back to our RV Park so she and I could take a nice long morning walk while we waited for the pool to open so she could go swimming.

 

After a nice long time in the pool showing us her gymnastic skills, and having us judge her efforts, she was ready to move on to the little playground behind the pool area.

 

This little play area really only had two swings and a small slide.

But while we were there, we got to see this beautiful butterfly that came to visit the area.

Then Hope told us about a much bigger park that was not too far away from where we are staying.  So off we went to get ready to go visit that park. Hope was really excited, and ran ahead of us with her butterfly pretend “super hero” cape flying in the breeze.

The John Leane Canyon View Park Playground was really everything Hope said it would be.

The playground has everything you can imagine to swing on.

It even has a little zipline for the kids to enjoy.

And Hope really seemed to love this little seat that spins around and makes you dizzy… She was really tickled that grandpa was so happy to push it for her to make it spin faster.

Then, after she played on everything that moves, and that she could climb on,

it was time to leave this nice park and take her to lunch. She wanted to go to McDonald’s, so McDonald’s it was!

After lunch, we came home and played dominoes, and several rounds of crazy eights. Hope got so tickled when she beat her grandpa. She laughed so hard, she had grandpa and I laughing to the point of tears.

And when it was time to take her home, I would say it’s clear to see, this little girl had a full day,

and we had a delightful, fun-filled day of Hope!

Stay Tuned!

Breckenridge, Colorado

Yesterday we took a scenic drive from Kremmling, Colorado through Silverthorne, Keystone, and finally ended our trip in Breckenridge, Colorado upon the great advice of some friends. Along the way we saw hay fields with beautiful mountain ranges in the background.

Note to our daughter Shantel: The hay fields had already been harvested, and big round bales of hay still laid in the fields waiting for the farmers to pick them up and stack them in their barn for the winter. In the background, above the hay fields, were mountain ranges of multi-layers of light and dark colors, sprinkled with green trees.

Then we passed a lake surrounded by trees and mountains.

And as we climbed higher up the mountain road, we continued to see the lake, trees, and lake-side homes.

When we reached Breckenridge, we were in for a wonderful, unique, experience/adventure.

This little ski resort town has it all, from a building that looks like it is decorated for Halloween at first glance,

to benches that are made from all sorts of snowboards/ski’s..

There are so many places to eat, and adorable, unique little shops,

like this one named Marigolds farmhouse funk & junk. Just my kind of place.

If you are into old, antiques, and/or farmhouse decor (all the things I know you, Shantel, are NOT into), then this is the place for you. They have everything from old typewriters and phones,

to guitars made out of old license plates and barbedwire,

to pigs, cows, and any other kind of farmhouse decor you could want…

And right in the middle of this ski resort town,

is a waterfront, where people can enjoy stand-up paddle boarding, and some kind of water sport where you get inside of what looks like GIANT beach balls,

and roll and tumble your way around the lake. All of this part of our trip to Breckenridge was the unique part of our trip, and we had so much fun exploring this area. Big thanks to our friends, Mary, and Megs, for recommending we visit Breckenridge. We had so much fun and appreciate the tip.

However, the last part of our trip was all on us, and why I’m calling it our “adventure” because that is what Bill/Papa calls anything that goes wrong…” As I mentioned, there are lots and lots of places to eat in Breckenridge, and we even stopped in at the Visitor Center to ask for advice on where to eat. Of course they said “what kind of food do you want” so I said any kind of burger or sandwich type of place. They recommended Flip Side burgers, and said it was just one block up the road. We thanked them and went on our way. However, along the way, I mentioned to Bill/Papa that we’ve had burgers the last three times we ate out, and asked if he would like to try something else, like the Mexican restaurant we were passing, Fiesta Jalisco.

The saddles caught my eye, and I was thinking “this has to be some great southwestern mexican food…”

Well, I could NOT have been more wrong. I mean this place was beyond bad. I ordered just two shredded beef tacos, no sides just the tacos. Bill/Papa ordered a pork burrito. My tacos came, and I know they were store-bought taco shells with just a thin line of what tasted like canned, unseasoned beef, and a small amount of lettuce and cheese sprinkled on the side of the tacos because they were laying on their side, because they were to thin, and frail, to open them up and put the lettuce inside the taco. Bill/Papa was just as disappointed with his burrito, saying it lacked any spice/mexican taste…

I don’t know how, but we managed to find probably the only really bad place to eat in the whole town of Breckenridge. But, hey, we never let one bad experience ruin our day… No, we just start looking forward to, and planning our next really great experience…

Stay Tuned!

 

 

 

Previous Older Entries

Wheeling It

On the Road Since 2010, Traveling Across USA & Europe With 12 Paws

The Brantley Blog

In the eyes of the law, we reach adulthood the day we turn 18 years old. God help anyone who actually believes that.

the next few years

family life..with a unique perspective of motherhood

Gotham Girl Chronicles

a mixture of random musings...life in NYC...travel...photography...cycling

Blooming Burgh Boomer

Living An Active Full Life

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