Adventures in South Dakota


Since we spent Christmas in Oklahoma this past year, we went to South Dakota for spring break. We were overdue for some quality time with the Pond Family. And what better way to spend time together than all 6 of us (Justin and I plus Grandpa Bud, Jay, Deb, and Laurie, Deb’s friend) loaded into the Bud’s Buick and touring the Black Hills. We did a big loop, starting in Rapid City, turing the hills and lakes. We took some quick shots of Mount Rushmore and did hiking around a frozen Sylvan Lake in the Custer State Park. When not in the car, we shared stories, champagne, and many a meal with extended family members and Deb’s BFF’s. After a rousing game of Cards Against Humanity, it was time to pack onto a plane and head south for the winter. (Shannon, March 2016)

Adventures in Utah

From the moment I had car, I would drive the back roads of Oklahoma to clear my head. Now that I have a long daily commute, I rely on special places to bring me back to center. Since I am now in SW Colorado, I have my pick of places that can be visited year-round. During the warm months, I venture into the mountains with Justin and our trusty canine companions for a long weekend of backpacking or we pitch a tent along a roaring river in the mountains around Silverton. In the cooler months, the Utah Desert calls our name. Justin introduced me to the desert not too long after we started dating (almost 6 years ago) and I have been hooked ever since. When it is just us, we have a handful of very private camping spots that we prefer, far away from the road and noise of others. The solitude is rejuvenating. It takes us away from our technology and back into our relationship with ourselves and with each other.

We arrived at night and set the following into motion: beer/wine toast (Hooray, we are in the desert!), tent and kitchen simultaneous setup (divide and concur), get the fire raging, put hobo dinner in fire (chicken surprise), eat food (everything tastes better when camping) and sit by the fire and relax (add more beer/wine and maybe a flask of some Utah or CO whiskey). Justin had prepared the Chicken Surprise prior to our departure. It was a lovely mixture of chicken, potatoes, onions, and butter to keep it from sticking. He even made mine with some bell and jalapeno peppers. Just wrap with foil, throw it in the fire, add some cheese and chow down!

The next morning, we planned out our day over mimosas and a tasty blend of eggs, bacon and cheese. This particular trip, we decided to load the dogs and hop into the Tacoma for a little 4 wheeling and then a bit of hiking. We were wondering where road 25 leads and how it intercepted other known roads in the area. We went exploring and found that my Keen sandals became a great sand collection device. Once we determined that we had a good mental mapping of road 25, we headed back to the truck, and bounced down the road back to camp. We even found some wild horses on the way back. After a quick sandwich, Justin decided he would take Lopa for a run. Pete and I decided to lounge in the shade. Having forgotten to put new books on my tablet/phone, I went on a winning streak with Plants vs Zombies. With night approaching, we got the fire raging once again and started our Dutch Oven Taco Casserole: Layers of black beans, homemade tomato sauce, ground turkey, spices, tortillas and loads of cheese! Did I mention that everything tastes better when camping?

Sunday morning, our Taco Casserole leftovers were used to make the most disgusting looking but the most amazingly tasty breakfast concoction when thrown together with eggs. We, and our mimosas, decided to leisurely pack up our gear since we didn’t really want to head back to civilization. Ever so slowly, we packed… (Shannon, March 2016)