After Friday’s banquet, we took the weekend head on. Last summer we made it a point to get out of the house and into the world of South Dakota and the surrounding areas as much as we could. That usually consisted of 12 hour days spent hiking and visiting little neighboring towns, or loading up the dogs and our suitcases for impromptu weekends to places like Denver, CO or Billings, MT. Having never really had the time or freedom to just go, we soaked it up. I know without a doubt, that aspect of being stationed here is a big, if not the biggest, factor in our happiness here. It has been incredible to get out and see all of the beautiful places and things we have.
I was a little concerned that after spending a winter cooped up inside, and getting into the normal rut of work, we might lose our zeal for getting out and exploring. I’m thankful to say that zeal hasn’t been lost in the least. I think it may be our new favorite pastime.
So in that spirit we woke up early Saturday morning, packed a lunch, the dogs, and our ski stuff (thank you Irene for letting me borrow your gear!) and drove to Terry Peak, a little ski area near Deadwood.
Asheville is near six or so small mountain ski areas. Some on the outskirts of Asheville, and the rest up in the Boone/Banner Elk area. Husband and I are accustomed to skiing translating into skillfully skidding on ice down a steep NC mountaintop. I once went with my Aunt to Jackson Hole, Wyoming for a ski trip and hardly knew what to do with myself when faced with knee deep powder to trudge through. I don’t know if I prefer the thick snow or ice!
Terry Peak offered the perfect compromise. Not to mention the weather ended up hitting around the 50 degree mark that day so we didn’t have to wear all the normal garb just to stay warm.
I’m happy to report I only fell once, and thankfully it wasn’t a total crash. I’ll take that as a win considering it’s been close to two years since I set ski on a slope.
Husband only fell once too. However, he managed to complete his fall, at the bottom of the mountain, while waiting for me to get down it. I wouldn’t have known he had fallen if not for the streaks of black across his cheek and forehead. I attempted to clean it off, but not before someone riding with us on the lift questioned his “war paint.”
Both of us worked legs pretty hard in the gym the day prior, and either we are getting old or just forgot how hard skiing is on your legs and knees, but suffice it to say after a couple of hours, the beer and heat was calling us from the lodge.
The Nevada Gulch Lodge hosts a series of Fat Tire music events. Saturday’s was a bluegrass band. Husband and I were super excited to go. We LOVE bluegrass! Sadly, we learned that in this particular case, South Dakota bluegrass pales miserably in comparison to the incredible North Carolina “pickin'” we are used to. We both had a hard time even recognizing the songs because they were so off key.
But whatever, beer and music can make for a good time regardless.
Husband had made hotel reservations in Spearfish (our favorite place in the Black Hills) for the night, so we soon left the lodge and headed that way.
Husband and I are not afraid to admit that we are big fans of super luxe hotels, piles of soft pillows and big comforters, and all of the amenities a fine hotel can offer. But there are times when you just need a clean bed to sleep in. This was one of those nights.
Bell’s Motor Lodge is a tiny little motel in downtown Spearfish. Surprisingly the seemingly sketchy motel had received positive reviews on Trip Advisor, and at $38 a night, we opted to give it a shot. Besides, it was walking distance to all of the bars, which is a key requirement for us when traveling. The rooms were pretty basic, and the decor reminded me of my Granny’s house and thus felt pretty homey. It was clean, and outside of the blasting music coming from our neighbors at 6:00 the next morning, it was a peaceful place to stay and perfectly fit our needs for the night.
After checking in and getting the dogs settled, our first priority was food. Usually when visiting Spearfish our last stop is Crow Peak Brewing and we never stay the night. Because of that, we haven’t had the chance to eat at any of the restaurants (mind you there are only like 3) there. We had been wanting to try the Bay Leaf for a while, but of course as luck would have it, on this particular night they were hosting a seafood festival, which we were welcome to attend for the small price of $65 per person. We decided to pass and try again later. So instead we went to The Bum Steer.
Their salad bar was the best I have ever had. We are already talking about making that a lunch stop anytime we are in the area, for the salad alone!
Next we walked through town…
until we came to Flanagan’s, which came highly recommended by some local friends.
Flanagan’s is this adorable little irish pub set back off of the main street in town. The atmosphere was warm, and the rich wood interior set the perfect background for the spirited conversation and constantly flowing taps of beer. Husband and I claimed a table against the wall and sat and talked for hours, until a couple of guys started playing guitars and singing, and we started yawning.
We had big plans for the next day, and had had a big day already. So we took our old booties back to the hotel to hit the sack…at 9:30 🙂
The weather was perfect and there was a perfect little trail in the Canyon that awaited.