Wyoming, Montana and now………..TEXAS!!!!!!!!!

Of course anyone who just read the answer to my cousin Carole knows that I AM in Texas now and have been for much of a year!  Doesn’t seem possible that so much time has passed and so many miles have been covered by so many people in my life.

I did get to Montana in time for my daughter’s college graduation May of 2010.  Other than some extremely cold and unwelcome snow that late in the spring season it was wonderful to be there with her.  She now lives and works in Helena, MT near her father’s side of the family, so she has lots of uncles, aunts and cousins to be with when she has time.

Once her graduation was over I headed up to Whitefish for a couple of days before it was time to drive to Yellowstone….I loved seeing the young men my grandsons have become….Grandma’s grandbabies are most definitely not babies anymore!  Thankfully they still are willing to stop long enough to give me a hug and a kiss before taking off to do whatever it is that keeps them busy…

Yellowstone had snow too once I got down there.  In that instance it was to be expected, the elevation is nowhere near as low as it is here at sea level! LOL 

I spent the summer enjoying the wildlife of Yellowstone and a few trips around the park on my days off revisiting old “haunts” from those vacations of long ago, but most of the summer was spent dipping rock solid ice cream into cones for the hungry hoards of people who came from all around the world to visit Yellowstone.  Yes, I lived yet another dream!  Will I do it again?  Not likely as that scooping isn’t work meant for 59 year old females unless they are built like the Amazons of legends!!!!!!!  And, I’m not one of those amazonions!  But, that only means I can try other adventures with the travelling years I still have left in me, right???!!!!!!!  You bet it does!   LOL

Once summer was clipping along last year I realised I really needed to start looking for employment for this past winter….Texas became my state of choice after having met and worked with a number of folks from TX who were in Yellowstone at the same time I was.  Thanks to them I was able to narrow my search area to the gulf coast areas down near South Padre Island and up here near Corpus Christi.  Narrow my search did I say????!!!!!!!!!!  Boy, that’s the biggest understatement I’ve made in a while!  Within two weeks I had searched online for parks that appealed to me and were of a size likely to be in need of a Workkamper with my qualifications.  As a result of that searching I sent out over 100 emailed versions of my resume and then hoped for the best. 

Well, in the meantime our economy went totally into the toilet and no one with a job was willing to let go of it for fear of having nothing else to fall back on until another job came their way.  For many workkampers this was almost a dealth knell tolling.  Many workkampers are retired and have some savings or at least Soc. Security benefits to help them over the rough times, but many of us are people with no other means of support.  We have chosen to be nomads and relied on the good Lord to help us provide for ourselves as the seasons roll along; and suddenly all chances of surviving became less reliable.  My son and daughter-in-law told me that I could come stay with them for the winter, taking whatever job I might find, if all else failed.  I knew that was not what I was supposed to do, but was most grateful to know that I had a back up plan if needed, until even that fell through.  That’s another story and one that I don’t want to think of anymore, just understand that it was not my family who wanted me out of that back up plan but outsiders who had some say in how the family lived their own lives…  Boy, I just confused even myself with that line of “non-speak”! LOL

Anyway, once I was finished at Yellowstone for the season, I headed back up to see the family and regroup a bit for a couple of weeks.  One day, out of the clear blue sky I received a phone call from a very dear friend of mine in TX.  Tricia and I actually met in Calif. the 1st year I went on the road.  She was the manager of the park where I worked!  We have always kept in touch, rather spottily at times but we’ve always had a feel for how the other was doing and she knew something was wrong in my life, so she grabbed the phone instead of dropping me an email.  Upshot of her call, I headed for TX safe in the knowledge that I would be staying with her until a job came through.  I had a few offers, some of them very hopeful, some of them so pathetic the people who called me should have been ashamed of even thinking of trying for a slave, which what they wanted.  Sorry, I need to make money to eat on so I can keep working just like everyone else does! LOL  So, I started another odessey in late September of 2010.  And, somewhere along the way, two things changed that I brought me to where I so happily am today.

You have to understand one thing first….  Montana is 2500 miles from Corpus Christi, TX….. No one pulling a trailer does that kind of journey overnight, it takes about a week since you can’t travel as the “crow flies”.  I loved seeing old territories and new places as I travelled towards my unknown future.  Funniest of all though came to me as I driving towards what I was originally thinking of as my winter destination.  I went from going to visit TX to moving to TX.  About ran myself off the road when I realised what I had just told myself!  But, I also knew it was true.  For some reason and by some means not yet known to me I was going to MOVE to TX to be safe in these economically challenging times.  Now, you have to understand something about me.  I am not a really religous person in that you won’t find me sitting in a church pew every Sunday morning BUT I do believe in God and rely on HIM to not let me get into too much trouble as I putter through life.  Sometimes I can behave myself and totally trust Him, other times I falter and try and take back control for myself.  Thank goodness He understands we are rather stubborn creatures and just sort of shakes His head and waits till we are ready to pay attention to Him again, because He does usually have a pretty good plan for us but we tend to get impatient so we create grief for ourselves that we shouldn’t.

Okay, so you all know I’m as stubborn as the next person and I get scared like everyone else when we feel our lives have gotten off the track.

Thanks to Tricia, I had something of a plan handed back to me, so I just held on to that steering wheel and prayed that I was doing the right thing.

2000 miles or so after I started my trip to TX I had to stop and call Tricia for final directions to the little city she lives in.  Having been travelling so long through areas where there is no cell service, I did like anyone else does and kept the phone off until I stopped.  Well, low and behold, I had a voice mail message waiting for me.  Nope, it wasn’t from Tricia wondering where I might be in my travels, it was a very sweet voiced young woman named Michele offering me a job!  Yep, the good Lord knew what he was doing when He turned my life into a bit of a twisted mess!!!  After listening to the message twice, and screeching with hope and relief in the truck I finally calmed down enough to call Tricia and ask for directions and to warn her I needed to make a call as soon I got in.  She was over the moon with me, so 30 minutes later, after sharing hugs I called Michele to find that she was looking for a front desk person not only for the winter season, but as a year round position if I should happen to be interested!  Me.. interested???!!!!!!!!!  I was totally overwhelmed with relief and joy!!  The plan was for me to come down about 3 weeks later so I could train before winter season got into full swing.  Thank goodness I had already become familiar with the type of work needed, it made things much easier for all of us for the most part.  I had three weeks of fun with Tricia and deepening our friendship even more as we laughed and cried over how things had happened to each of our lives since we last actually stood next to each other in Calif. and then I headed down through Dallas, Austin and San Antonio to arrive in Corpus the last week or so of Oct. 2010.

And, so, now I’ve been here for much of 9 months and can’t believe it has been anywhere near that amount of time.  For quite a while I worked 4 days and had 3 days off in a row each week, now I’ve added another half day to my schedule and am even happier.  While 3 days off is a nice thing, it gets boring after a while! LOL  I much prefer working 5 days and having a “weekend” like others do, even if mine happens to fall during the middle of the week.

I work with and for some truly great people and am only about 500 miles from friend Tricia.  She came down for a week in March and the hope is that I can work in some spare days off next yeat so I can go see her for a day or so before possibly flying off to see the family for a few days.  Oh, that’s another thing that has changed recently.  Dear son, daughter-in-law and grandsons have moved to Alaska.  My heart is with them even though I can’t be there at this point.  Their winters are going to be as nasty as the ones in Montana and I just don’t want to suffer through with the cold and aching joints.  Being able to visit them during the summer of this coming year or the next one would be my best bet.

As for what I have explored here in TX so far…  Well, the Gulf of Mexico for one!  I actually stood in it in November! LOL  Not what happens in MT at that time of the year!  I’ve watched dolphins leap and dance as they “lead” ships thru the channel between Corpus Christi and Port Aransas.  I drove around and around the Alamo one day on my way down here, but couldn’t find a good place to park for blocks around as I had the trailer behind me, so one day I will head up there to visit it and go on the Riverwalk near it.  San Antonio is only about 150 miles from here.

I’ve made friends with a couple of gals here in the park, we shop together and have lunch out once a week and in general forget for an afternoon that we are not as young as we used to be.  All of us are crafters, so we have a lot in common with each other!

Life is quite grand for now and I am totally blessed to be where I am.

Thank you, Lord, and Trev and Kerry.  Without everyone of you I would not be living this “dream” of a lifestyle!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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Not the most consistent writer, am I???!!!!!!

Heck, I almost forgot I even had this blog sitting out here, and there have been many times when I should have actually been documenting my thoughts and actions.

Guess I’ll see what comes from these fingers tonight, maybe it will be the impetus to write a bit more often in the coming months and years.  Then again, it may be such a ramble that maybe I would be better shutting it down forever! LOL  Only time will tell.

Actually, I probably wouldn’t have even started writing tonight, if it hadn’t been for my dear friend Linda dropping me a note to see what I’ve been up to and where I am heading next.  In a nutshell, I’m getting ready to leave AZ at the end of this month for cooler climes, as I am heading to MT to see my daughter graduate from college and visit with my son and his family before heading to Yellowstone National Park, WY to work this summer at the Mammoth General Store!

In the process of catching her up we made an amazing discovery…….  We’re getting older…….. LOL  See, we’ve known each other online for at least 12 or 13 years now, but have never had the chance to meet in person.  Someday that will change… Slowly but surely I am heading that way!  Just have to take time to smell the roses along the way.

So much has already changed in the years we have known each other; she’s retired, moved, become a mother-in-law and grandmother, all things that have happened to most of us in that same time span.  Myself, I’ve become a 2nd time divorced nomad! LOL  Much more than that really, but it is the easiest way to explain who I am becoming, assuming I can explain.  Those of you who have read my blog from start to finish already know what started me on the road to wherever; for those of you who haven’t read it all yet, feel free to stop now and catch up or just join me as I trip down memory lane.

Back when Linda and I first “met” everyone was living with the “Y2K” fever and fears.  What was going to become of the world as we had known it up to that time period?  Were computers going to shut down forever?  Would phones stop working, would electricity become a thing of the past? Were we going to lose touch with the rest of the globe as a result?  Or, was everything going to go forward as it had before?

For quilters online it became a chance to pull together, no matter where we lived.  To reach out to total strangers and share our hearts and our skills while we could.  Y2K quilts started a craze that has connected us forever.  Little pieces of fabrics traded around the world became our connecting thread in a time when uncertainty was the only certainty we knew.  Can you even imagine what 2000 little squares of fabric are like when you have no clue whether you will be able to reach out to those you have met thru the “Net” once the year 2000 became a reality?!  They were our tie to what had been, and our hopes for a safe and normal outcome once Jan.1st of that year had rolled into being.  As we all know the world as we knew it did not come to an end, thankfully.  The bonds that were forged online continued and many a friendship has grown from those earlier times.  Many of these friendships will always only be online, but thru luck and planning many of these people have actually met in person and become even “faster” friends. Others will meet as time permits and in many cases thru some mighty strange circumstances.

I had lived in a little town at the time called Thompson Falls, MT.  I was raising my daughter mostly alone at the time as her father was an over the road truck driver.  The computer became my connection to a world I thought I would never be able to see, but even that has changed with time.  I met, traded and chatted with many, many women and even a few men who relied on these machines to pull us outside of our current circumstances, whatever they were.

Okay, enough about what has drawn us together, intertwining our lives in ways we would never have thought possible.

At this moment I can honestly say my life truly changed yet again just over 2 years ago.  On March 16th, at 7 a.m., 2008 I left my “safe” job as night auditor at a motel in Kalispell, MT. and moved down the road to the home I now live in, my 19′ little house on wheels.  Those first weeks even though I was safely sitting in the driveway of my son and daughter-in-law’s house were a real experience!  Cold as only MT can be in the oddest of March’s.  The winds howled, the trailer rocked, the propane heater worked when it wanted and stopped when most needed though no one could find an explanation for it’s pulling tricks on me, and while I wondered whether I had a stupid mistake in forsaking my safe but most tiresome of lifestyles, I also knew that I had to try something different.  I was stuck in such a rut that I literally lived to work, sleep and go back to work.  That is not living, that is nothing more than existing.  Thank you, Lord, for my children!  Without them I would not be where I am today!  They are the ones who saw an opportunity for me to move out of the rut and see as much of this country as I possibly can while I am still young enough to enjoy the experiences.

And there most definitely have been a lot of them! And, God willing, there will be many more in the coming years!

I’ve lived and worked at the base of Mt. Shasta (California), and ridden a old renovated train across part of that mountain, and I’ve worked and wintered in AZ. two years in a row and ridden the new “light rail” train system between Mesa and Phoenix which only finally opened for business last winter!  Talk about history!  Old and new alike! I’ve stood on both rims of the Grand Canyon, crossed the Hoover Dam at least twice (I don’t usually “do” dams as they are way up in the air compared to being on level ground, to say nothing of having an awful lot of water on at least one side of them! LOL), revisited the Vermilion Cliffs (which I hadn’t seen in 20 plus years), I’ve walked the grounds of  Montezuma Castle cliff dwellings, and listened to exquisite Native American flute music piped into the area of the Casa Grande Ruins!!!  Very eery, but totally enchanting!!  I have revisited the Badlands and Mt. Rushmore in S. Dakota, seen Crazy Horse’s Monument (for the first time), revisited the Devil’s Tower in Wyoming and so much more I can’t even begin to recount!  All in a little more than 2 years time!  Blows me away to even think about it!!

And, of course, that now leads us back in a loop to where I am headed next.  Yellowstone Park via Zion National Park as I travel up thru UT.  Yellowstone and I have a history of our own.  It was the vacation spot we always went to when I was young.  Visiting the geysers, staring into the hot pools and watching the bison graze as well as checking out the bear “jams” as dad drove us from one spot to another and mom gave us little tidbits of information about the park.  It became a summer “retirement” location for my father to work in off and on as my children grew up, but most of all it represented a dream of mine.  I wanted to also work there one day myself!  As a child I saw students from all over the world working at various positions in the park as well as folks who had retired but wanted to work a bit to give pleasure to themselves and others at one of the most marvelous wonders this world offers for our enjoyment of Mother Nature.  As an adult I took my children to visit their grandfather there in “God’s Backyard” and hoped yet again that someday I too would be able to work there.  Well, come May 24th another of my dreams will come true, because that’s just what I am going to do, as I mentioned earlier!

What comes after that?  I have no clue.  I realized I was again letting myself be sucked into the rut of safety by coming back to the same location to work until just a few weeks ago.  Don’t misunderstand, I love this park in Mesa, most of all I love those people who come to winter in this park and could easily see myself coming back year after year and working myself into the ground to continue making sure their time was enjoyed to the fullest I could help make it, but that isn’t why I changed my lifestyle.  I changed it so I could also have time to explore and enjoy as much of this country as possible before I too have to someday get off the road and settle down for a well deserved retirement.  So, I turned in my notice and this summer will once again start looking for another location to work in next winter.  I’m thinking possibly southern New Mexico or the Gulf Coast of Texas!!!  Maybe even Louisiana if nothing appeals to me enough in this half of the country.  I’ve always wanted to see New Orleans!!!  LOL

Can you tell my foot has gotten “itchy” again?!

I’ll keep you posted as I see what is to come!

Oops!   Just realized I forgot a couple of things!  Some post back a ways I had said the kids sent me down here to AZ last fall with a bright, shiny red 1 ton diesel to pull my trailer with as they sold the van out from under me and were planning on going back on the road permanently themselves…. Well, they changed their plans after being out for 2 or 3 months in northern California and returned home.  Decided they liked being in one place where they could all spread out better till the boys are grown and gone, so they moved back up to Whitefish, MT right near Glacier National Park.  They have loved the area for many years, so I’m tickled they decided to go back.  At the same time, they also decided mom was right, as lovely as the diesel was for pulling my rig, it really was way more vehicle than I needed, especially in parking lots!  So, I now have a lovely white 2006 Nissan Titan with a 6 ft. truck bed and a full back seat to call my own!  May 1st will be her maiden voyage pulling the trailer and I don’t think she will mind one bit!  The truck is supposed to be able to pull 9500 lbs. but my trailer, even stuffed with my junk comes in under 4000 lbs.!  I’m really looking forward to taking to the road, can you tell???!!!!!!!!

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I’m Here Again!

Yep, made it down to Mesa on Saturday, and opened my office for the season on Tuesday, the 15th.  Been reacquainting myself with the scheduling I had set up last season and have gotten quite a few little “jobs” out of the way already.  Makes me feel better knowing that I am not so “green” on the job this time around because it has given me a chance to get ahead on some of the normal typing that seems to go along with putting out a newsletter each week of numerous months.

When I last dropped in here I was still in Hurricane, Ut., wasn’t I?

Well, I covered quite a bit of territory since then including a side trip to the North Rim of the Grand Canyon!  Nice and cool up there and just as gorgeous as it was at the South Rim.  So, I have fulfilled one more of my life-long dreams by seeing this wondrous creation of nature from both rims.  If you’ve never been there, don’t wait any longer!  It is so breathtakingly beautiful!

Then I drove down through the Vermilion Cliffs of northern AZ.!  WOW!!!!!!!  What a sight!  Probably will have to go back to that area one day and use the camera! LOL  Yep, forgot all about taking pictures once again!  The cliffs are glorious and the boulders put my previous notion of boulders to shame!  These rocks were as big as a house!!  Prayed real hard for no earthquakes while I was traveling through there because I would not have wanted to be amongst those chunks of rock if they were on the move!  Amazingly, a lot of people live in the area, more power to them! LOL

Just got a call from my daughter in Montana, said she was out enjoying another of nature’s “light shows”, lightning once again in other words!  Glad I’m not there to see it, though it would be nice if AZ. would start cooling off a bit more.  Supposed to be about 75 degrees tonight and hover around the 100 degree mark again for the foreseeable future.

Well, have a few things to do before I can call it a night, so guess I better get in gear!

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Finally……….. The summer is coming to a close!!

LOL  I know, most of you are groaning for that very reason, but for me it is a blessing.  I have been so bored this summer, just holding on for this time to finally arrive.

I’m down in Hurricane, UT. at the moment.  Left MT. yesterday and while I love my kids and grandkids, I sure am not so fond of MT.  The weather was nasty much of the season, rain and winds constantly driving everyone nuts and then the sheer lack of something truly productive to do.  I have gone back to working for my dear son and daughter-in-law a bit each month, but that’s working on the computer and doesn’t get me out of the house, so Mesa I am really looking forward to arriving at in the next few days!  Was planning on heading to Zion Natinonal Park and the north rim of the Grand Canyon tomorrow, but once again realized I driven farther already than I really needed to, so am going to see about staying here at Willow Winds RV Park again for another night.  Last week they were full, but this week they have a few empty spaces available, so even if I don’t get the same one I am in currently (right behind the shower/laundry house, lucky me!) then I won’t be far away.  I’d rather take showers on-site than mess with having to empty my shower out of the stuff I store there when traveling and then running hoses to get water in here, etc. all for only a night or two.  Too much hassle, I’ll save that for when I get down to Mesa!!!  Going to be nice just climbing out of bed and hitting the shower each morning instead of having to pull on enough clothes to go out in public to just undress, shower and then dress again! LOL

My biggest news!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  I don’t drive the mini-van anymore!  I’m buying my kids’ gorgeous red diesel Ford F-350 from them as they are going on the road again themselves!  This time it looks like the “itchy – foot” has set in permanently.  They put the house back on the market, have found a house-sitter for it and had a huge moving sale.  While they didn’t get rid of all they wanted to yet, they are to the point that they won’t be moving back into the house again out of guilt that it is sitting there empty.  They’ve “redded-up” their 5th wheel trailer and their black Ford F-350 Dually diesel and they are taking off tomorrow evening or Friday morning.  They are going to spend the fall in northern Ca. and then head down towards Mesa in Nov. or so to see me for a bit before heading East once again.  Looks like they are planning on spending spring in Maine and surrounds…..

So, no more mini-van for me, the truck has become my darling, even though I have only had her for a week or so.  My goodness, its amazing how much easier I can drive wherever I want! LOL  If I had tried shooting the length of Utah in the van, it probably would have overheated from climbing all of the hills out here in 90 degree temps.  The truck just ate the road up and I could use the air conditioning without a single worry! LOL  Oh, the kids used to call her “Mater” (tomato slang), but to me she is the RED BOMBE, cause she sure is a treat!

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Middle of August……..

And, I am waiting out the remainder of the summer safe and sound in Dillon, Mt.   Had a couple of minor problems on the trip back from South Dakota, but nothing that can’t be fixed easily at the local auto repair shop (they are multi-talented, so are able to repair the trailer) which entails a bit of electrical work as the “pigtail” from the trailer broke loose on the road and scraped itself raw and now needs replacing so that I have working lights on the trailer when I get back on the road.  Awful hard for people behind me to know I am braking or turning when the lights don’t work!! LOL  Besides, I don’t want to cause any accidents or get any tickets for this problem!

Just been hanging out here at the Dillon KOA, going to have company tomorrow as my dear grandsons are coming to visit and swim in the pool here at the rv park for the afternoon and then we’ll run back out to their house for the evening for a dinner prepared by my son!  Awesome cook, even when he thinks what he has prepared isn’t “right”!! LOL

Just felt like dropping in to say hi and let you all know I’m still kicking around!

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Change of Plans

Yep. I’ve made some changes that I feel are better for me in the long haul.  Day after tomorrow I’m heading back to Montana till its time to head down to Az. for the winter again.

I’ve had a darned good time for the most part these past three weeks, but therein is part of the problem.  I’ve only been gone three weeks and I’m about to go batty!  I’m so accustomed to working and staying busy as a result that this forced vacation stuff is not making me the happiest of campers.  Heck, I’ve seen places that I’ve not seen in 50 years, and am so thankful for the opportunity to have seen them again, or in the case of Crazy Horse Memorial (the first time). But, I would need to be hauling in major bucks to see all the other things there are to visit in western South Dakota, and that just isn’t happening right now.  There are caves, Black Hills Gold factories, theme parks and all sorts of other stuff to visit, but I just can’t afford to.

So, still being within 750 miles or so of western Montana, I’m going back to where I can just stop and wait out the rest of summer and visit family in the process.

I’m not parking in the kids driveway though, will actually be in a small KOA campground in Dillon, which is only 20 miles from the kids, so it will be easy to run out any time they aren’t otherwise occupied and at the same time will still give me some space to call my own here in my little house on wheels and them the space they deserve in their own home.

One day I will get back to Nebraska and Colorado, just not right now.

My son and I are going to try and plot me a slightly different route down to AZ. while I’m over near them.  If all goes as hoped, I may be seeing more of Idaho and some of Utah and less of my old route through Nevada, just depends on what kind of large hills might get in the way of the van hauling this trailer over then! LOL

When we know, I’ll let you all know!

TATA for now!

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I’m Back!!!!!

From the Badlands!  Yep, I decided yesterday that I wanted to take a ride, so about 2 in the afternoon (and didn’t get back here till 9 p.m.) I headed down the road thinking that I might go back towards Mt. Rushmore and actually visit Crazy Horse…. But, I just wanted to drive and not get out of the van unless I really felt like hopping out, so down the road I went.

Drove thru Sturgis which is gearing up for Biker Week and I mean they are gearing up!  Tent stores set up with thousands of t-shirts and other stuff to appeal to biker fans who will be flocking to this area within the next week.

Not being a biker, I passed on checking out the goodies and headed on down towards Rapid City where I knew I had to decide just where I was going.

Seeing more and more Wall Drugstore signs as I went, I knew it was time to hit the Badlands!

Last time I was thru them it was late evening in March (20 years ago) so I didn’t see much at the time.  Yesterday was a whole different matter.  If you have never been there, you have got to go!  Not only does it look like a moonscape but the National Grasslands add their own appeal to the area.  The views were breathtaking!

To think that the last time I really saw any of the views offered was 50 years ago just blows my mind!  Just wish a family member was still around for me to pin down the actual year I saw all the wonders of western South Dakota and Devil’s Tower in Wyoming, but I just have to be content with the knowledge that it was when I was between 5 and 7 years of age, I guess.

Since I was near Wall Drug, I did stop in to look around there, too.  I remember stopping there with my brother 20 years ago though we had only popped in for a few minutes, but I have to tell you…….  Nothing seems to have changed! LOL  That place is a great tourist “trap” and well worth stopping by to see!

Well, I have to do some laundry and a few dishes and get myself into town for an oil change, so I guess I’ll hop off till the next time!

Since I am only here in South Dakota for another week, I know I’ll be popping in again before then.  Crazy Horse still awaits!

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