Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Wow, what a day. John was up at 4:15 a.m. and checked the temperature – 31F (-1C) - oh, oh the hose is still on! Out he went and the hose was frozen but fortunately he remembered that the tap next door had been dripping so he connected the hose there and managed to get the water running, then he had to put water into our holding tank as it was empty. Hopefully we relearned two lessons, one, take the hose off if it is near freezing when we go to bed, and two, make sure we always have water in the fresh water tank. Then it was back to bed for a couple of hours sleep before he had to get up to take the truck to Mr. Dodge for our 8 a.m. appointment.

He stayed until they had the differential apart and determined that both the bearings and gears have to be replaced – not what we really wanted to hear but he wasn’t really surprised. Now they have to order the gears from Denver and hopefully they will arrive tomorrow and the truck will be ready on Friday – HOPEFULLY I say! On a positive note they have given us a courtesy car so we aren’t without wheels and can at least do some sightseeing.

I got up and did a good cleaning then managed to get on the internet and get Monday & Tuesday’s blogs posted and was just finishing with my shower when John arrived home.

The day turned out nice despite the cold start, it was bright and sunny and I saw a high of 65F (18C) on the car thermometer – I started out on our road trip with a t-shirt and vest and soon shedded the vest!

We decided to do a scenic tour around the area – the Needles Highway, and then the Iron Mountain Highway back to Keystone, my what a beautiful drive. The roads were very narrow with many switchbacks and we went through 6 tunnels, the last three all had views of Mt. Rushmore as we came through – stunning. We also crossed a couple of pigtail bridges – so named because of their shape but I couldn’t get a picture of them so you will just have to take my word for it that they were different.

The Needles:

Scenic Views

We saw one bison, a lot of little chipmunks and one mountain goat – mainly the rear end of the mountain goat! Unfortunately, the car windshield was really spotted so I had a difficult time taking pictures through the windshield.

The park people go through the park thinning out the trees and keeping the forest floor clean then put all the debris in slash piles. In the winter, when there is lots of snow, professional fire fighters come in and burn these slash piles. Man, are there ever a lot of slash piles throughout the forest, it would be something to see the burning.

Slash Piles

When John was at the Dodge dealer this morning a fellow told him that at this time of year you can sometimes hear the elk calling out near Deerfield, so on our way home we did a detour to Deerfield. Well, there were no elk or elk calling and the only animal life we saw were some cows and horses, a red squirrel, some little chipmunks and one dead deer along the side of the road – not very exciting but it was a pretty drive! Deerfield Lake was a pretty little lake and very quiet at this time of year, there was only one other vehicle in the picnic area when we stopped there and the campground was closed for the season.

Coming back into Hill City from our little side trip to Deerfield we stopped and walked through some of the shops but didn’t find anything we wanted to spend our money on. I thank John for stopping as shopping isn’t high on his list of things to do.

We have some plans for tomorrow so come back and see how our day unfolded.

Just a note - if you click on a picture it enlarges it for a better view.

And so ends another great gift of a day and we look forward to another nice day tomorrow.

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