Friday, August 26, 2016

ranch hotel 2016

During the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally, we signed up for the same deal as last year - renting our house and staying with Terry's parents as a staycation. The first thing we did when we arrived Sunday August 7th was ride our bikes up and down the long driveway.

Terry had preached that morning (and the week before) so we were ready for a break. It's beautiful out there!

Terry took the entire week off so it turned out even better than last year, plus we had superior renters (ones that didn't leave cut marks in our counter). That was due to Terry's second cousin introducing him to airbnb, a website, that connects travelers with homes or apartments to rent (instead of Craigslist like last year). Airbnb requires identification and verification so you know these people are legitimate and in addition they insure your house against damage. You can approve or reject renters and leave good or bad feedback which stays on their page, and they leave feedback on you too. Therefore people are motivated to behave well and take care of your house or be black listed.
the boys love the tractors

This time was actually our fourth time renting our house for the summer. The first two were when we went to Wyoming for kids camp and the second when we were in Denver for Lead the Cause.
I made sure to bring my good camera so I could enjoy my photography hobby. I like taking pretty pictures, or attempting to. Plus it gives me something to do out there.

Our first three airbnb renting experiences were wonderful. We had our friend Sarah to thank for that because it was all down to her for changing sheets for us when we had back to back renters and were out of town. We love you Sarah!
This is the western view of the ranch taken from the hill above their house. Beautiful view right? Oh and there's the roller coaster! :D

After going up and down the drive way a few times we wanted to go further so we visited the creek. It was very low. It's been so dry this summer.

We went as far Jerry's renters house, a half mile down the road, before I stopped Terry and set up the camera to take a family picture in front of this family ranch sign. 

Pretty clouds on our ride back.

I rode up the hill beyond the hill and captured this view of Bear Butte.

Western view on my way back.

The ranch road I was going back down.

I get a kick out of these signs.

The following morning Noah and Evie got right to work playing Pokemon and Samuel and Ezra got an early start on fighting over toys.

Terry spent the week helping his dad and his contractor renter to put up new steel siding and soffit.

We went for a walk with Alice to inspect the garden. Big cucumber!

She always has a big garden, specializing in tomatoes and cucumbers.

Cute little Dwidgie.

Then we walked further west of the roller coaster to check out this area of land where some excitement with a calf and a four wheeler had recently occurred.

It was hot, but even the weeds look pretty.

Taken from the hill overlooking the corrals.

Once back from our walk we pulled out lawn chairs from the garage, washed them off, and sat in the shade of the tree belt to watch the guys work. It was like watching HGTV, only better since it was real. :D This was the view above my head. I thought it was pretty.

That afternoon when a storm came through we stopped work and Terry and Noah played some Pokemon.

I went out to take storm cloud pictures.

Evie and the renter's daughter were playing in the gravel pile, digging a hole as a "trap."


I rode my bike down to the field containing this old blue Ford truck and scared a wild cat to death. Good thing Snap wasn't with me - he can't distinguish between a cat and a rat and chases them both to the kill.

That evening Terry and I went for a run together...sort of. Well, we started together and he ended up doing like two more miles than me because he's so fast and I'm so slow. It was my first run since the half marathon, two months before! The storm clouds had passed and the sunset made spectacular colors. Here is the same view of Bear Butte as the night before but transformed in the light.

I ran down the hill and back up and stopped at take this photo to the west, again the same as the day before but more beautiful. 

Looking south. I was surrounded by beauty. What a great night for a run.

I had wished for a bigger lens to take in the whole sky as I saw it, but had to settle on a panoramic with my phone. Hard to capture. Notice anything funny though? 

Snap had ditched Terry on the hill and followed the slower master-person, me, back up. When I got to the top of the hill and took the above panoramic, he continued walking through my shot. Somehow the camera cut out his middle, connecting his head directly to his butt. HAHAHAHAHA!!! 

The following day, Tuesday, I didn't take any photos though we did go to town to run some errands.

Wednesday morning all the kids worked on the hole. It got pretty deep.

We rode the roller coaster a few times before lunch.

Shari and her girls came out to chill with us.

Shari, me, and my too high hat.

After lunch I set up the waterslide. Someone ripped it and it broke shortly after. That was okay though. It was only like $10 and was three years old.

They finished the siding on Wednesday and started on a porch.

The kids switched from the slip-n-slide to the spinkler.

That evening we went back in to town for piano lessons. While the olders were playing we got Starbucks for us and ice cream for the littles and went to Sioux Park to play for a bit.

It nearly poured on us!

After piano we went to Todd and Frannie's for dinner and a mission meeting.

The kids had lots of fun outside chasing each other around.

The following day, Thursday, our renters left and we were free to go home. Terry planned on helping his dad some more but Jerry insisted we not work. We went on a four wheeler ride instead :) Terry chased three escaped cows back into the field.

We drove through his Grampa's old "parking lot," which includes many interesting things such as his old plane,...

...a couple of old combines, this one we affectionately call Frank from the Cars movie, buses, vans, cars, etc., etc..

The house Terry's parents started their marriage in.

The trailer Terry and I started our marriage in.

We drove southwest to our favorite part of his Grampa's land, those far off trees.

How we'd love to just build a house back here and stay forever.

Looking back at the trees once we had come up the hill.

The view directly behind me was pretty cute too.

Heading back to the road and high enough for another view of Bear Butte.

This stock pond is the one directly behind our old ranch house, now a rental, and was completely dry. I'd never seen it like that. Last year it was completely full. :(

Terry took this beautiful shot of that same pond when we were on our Ranch Hotel four wheeler ride at this time last year. So sad how dry it's been!

And this year...

When we got to the road I wanted to try another shot of us in front of the ranch sign. Meh.

I wasn't ready to be done yet so we drove back past Terry's dad's ranch and across the road to hill I wanted to revisit.

We headed for that flat topped hill to the left.

It was a bit of a steep climb but not bad and we were richly rewarded with views on every side. Bear Butte one last time.

We made good use of that camera timer.

Again with the western hills behind us. You can't have enough complete family pictures. I just love Samuel and Ezra chewing on that grass.

I had wanted to come up here specifically to remake a picture Terry took of us when we first started dating in 2002. 

He had drove me up here on a four wheeler, given me some roses, and took this picture. I have it hanging on our fridge. Awwww!

I wish I still looked like I did on the left (maybe we should both cut our hair like that again), but oh well. I'm happy with guy on my left :)

I kind of like it de-saturated like this. 

I also like it better farther away. Ha!

After all of our family pictures were done, we went on the other side of the hill to check out this shale area. Terry drove himself up and down this shale bank as if he needed more thrill in his life, despite being on a real actual roller coaster just the day before.

Samuel and Noah quite enjoyed it.

Evie and shale layers.

There are many rocks atop the shale, which reminded me of the day Terry gave me the rose and took the above picture. He and I played a game of "Rock Dragon," the details of which are too embarrassing to share.

Kids, shale, rocks, and hills.

After throwing rocks and driving the four wheeler in circles over and over, we went back to the house to eat lunch and pack up. As we were leaving I took one final shot of the house with the porch in progress. 

What a sweet surprise our renters left for us upon our arrival home!

They also signed our school white board and left a hand written note in one of the bedrooms. What a great experience! It was good to be away from home and it was good to come back home.