Oakwood Lakes State Park 2014

State park camping spots tend to fill up quickly, so we thought we’d end up camping in our backyard this weekend until one spot happened to pop up on the Oakwood Lakes SD State Park reservation site. Oakwood Lakes SD State Park is located near Bruce, SD and is a beautiful facility with clean rest room, friendly staff, hiking trails, boating and fishing. We snatched it up quicker than Usain Bolt sprints down the track.

Here’s the view…

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No camping trip is complete without the traditional marshmallow roast.
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Enjoyed the “Praise in the Park” service provided by the Preston Christian Church on Sunday morning. Preston Christian Church is located three miles from the campground and provides the worship service at 9:30 a.m. every Sunday morning at Oakwood Lakes State Park from Memorial Day through Labor Day.
2014Oakwood-1060719dmvhpcrCampers were all invited to their church at noon for a meal (fundraiser?).  We all know church dinners are always delicious (FYI ~We are farmers so dinner is eaten at noon.) and after stopping in nearby Bruce, SD at noon on a Sunday, I realize that offering a church dinner was a smart move since everything in town was locked up tight.  They may have quite a resource to tap since they have hungry, tired campers close by that would just as soon grab a meal on the way out on Sunday noon versus preparing, cooking and cleaning up after another meal.  After all, Sunday is a day of rest, right?  Well, maybe not for the Preston Christian Church…

2014Oakwood-1060723dmvcrEveryone wants a back pew, even at an outdoor worship service.

Update!  I was contacted by Pastor Smith of the Preston Christian Church and the Sunday noon meal during the summer is just a meet and greet get-together – NOT a fundraising event.

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Swoosh… the sweetest sound.

End of February brings March Madness as high school basketball tournament games ultimately determine the state champion.  It truly screams, “The thrill of victory and the agony of defeat.”  Every team loses, at some point, except for one.

A loss ceases the opportunity for advancement and thus ends the season for some and an era for others.  Juniors on down have next year to look forward to and work towards.

Seniors, on the other hand… well, this is the end of the road for most of you.  I have a tender spot in my heart for those hard working seniors that would love  these moments in life to just keep on going.  It’s tough to be done…

As a spectator, the excitement of a close game is nerve wracking, at best, but always adds a deeper layer of empathy, encouragement and community pride.  You love ’em when they’re up and you love ’em when they’re down.  This is the beauty of a small town high school…

Click on collages for a larger viewing window

Album template

Album templateCanon 5D Mark 2 ~ 70-200 L lens ~ Collage in Photoshop/Albums DS

“On the go” germ warfare

Small one ounce spay disinfectant works great when traveling.  I’ve used it to disinfect shoes after hiking through muddy cow path trails, accidental steps in dog doo-doo and general traveling who knows where.
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Questionable restroom facilities? Quick spray and all is well again in your world.
Just a little handy tip for the traveler.

Takin’ Care of Business

Segovia, Spain…a day in the life.

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Spain-1050288dmvcrWash day break to catch up on the news.

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Spain-1040993dmvpopLast drag on the cig before 10th grade math class…

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Spain-1050279dmvEven this little bird has found its own little spot in this world ~ a special perch on the aqueduct.  I guess we all have a special place and purpose and that makes the world go around.

If a look could last a lifetime…

May you never forget what is worth remembering, nor ever remember what is best forgotten. ~Irish blessing

Spain-1040729Fancier than my ceiling.

Spain-1040675dmvAny closer to the communion ware and I will probably be reprimanded by a nun.

Spain-1040733Yes, I am a spy. I peer through the gap behind the ornate altar to survey the crowd at the next Mass.

Spain-1040730dmvSt. James may feel that this is his better side so I’d better post this, too.

Spain-1040678dmvClose up of the rope equipment that stayed idle during this Mass.

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The ever present seashell. Enough time in here.  Let’s go outside.

Spain-1040630Street artists are working for tips in the cathedral plaza.

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So much detail to observe.

Spain-1040620As a place of pilgrimage. People that through 2 centuries. It became a symbol of the brotherhood of vertebador (walkers?). Something about awareness in Europe.  Joan may have to help out with this one.

Spain-1040771These boots are made for walkin’. All together these pairs of boots have walked at least a thousand plus miles.  Probably over two thousand miles if you consider training miles.

Spain-1040768Last chance for a photo opp in front of the church before we head for the train station.  Ready or not, Segovia, Spain, here we come!

Myth, Mist and Melancholy

It is often said the Camino de Santiago does not end at Santiago de Compostela, but at Cape Finisterre on the Atlantic coast. We are not true pilgrims today as we cheat and hop on the Monbus to go to “the end of the world.”  

Spain-1040561Finisterre (Fisterra in Galician) was both the end of the known world until Columbus altered things, and the final destination of many of the pilgrims who made the journey to Santiago in past centuries. There are various explanations as to how this continuation came about (one such is that it was based on a pre-Christian route to the pagan temple of Ara Solis in Finisterre, erected to honor the sun) but is it also known that a pilgrim infrastructure existed, with “hospitals” in Cée, Corcubión, Finisterre itself and elsewhere. Pilgrims in past centuries also continued northwards up the coast to the Santuario de Nuestra Señora de la Barca in Muxía, 29km north of the “end of the world” itself.  ~   http://www.csj.org.uk/route-finisterre.htm
Spain-1040384Our attentive bus driver pays close attention to the road as we cruised through towns and countryside, picking up passengers along the way. 24 Euro a piece for a round trip ticket from Santiago. The time each way varies depending on the number of people getting on at the stops along the way.  Our trip took about 2  hours each way. It would have taken 3 long days of walking, so that doesn’t seem to be such a long ride, after all.

Spain-1040403Dreary, rainy day the whole way to Finesterre.

Spain-1040410Our energetic friend, Jane, is taking in the scenery along the way.

The two South Korean gals are also on this bus and have reservations to stay in the hotel at the end of the world. That sound kind of interesting, doesn’t it!  They have walked ALL the way from France, which includes hiking the Pyrenees and O’cebreiro, so I’d say they deserve it.

Spain-1040462The welcoming committee is ready greet us at the bus stop.  Hey, guys!  We’re here!

Spain-1040458It is the kind of cold rain that chills a person to the bone, so we find a handy coffee shop to warm our insides before tackling our excursion for the day.

Spain-1040472Finisterre’s main industry is fishing along with tourism, but seem to keep it real rather than over-dressing the town for the tourists.

Spain-1040465Monument dedicated to Galician emigrants who, being dispersed through all world around, took part in creation of better world. This monument is not far from the Finisterre Bus Station.

Spain-1040470This anchor was spared from an old ship sent to the metal scrap and now is part of a monument near the fish market dedicated to the local sailors.

Spain-1040572Fishing nets are resting for the day.

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Closer inspection finds donuts in the nets.  Huh…I’m assuming the donuts are bait and they aren’t catching donut fish.

Spain-1040491Only one bastion of fort San Carlos survived till nowadays. It was built in XVI century to defend the city and harbor of Finisterra from pirates.

Spain-1040507There is maritime museum in inside the fort now, but it is closed today.

Spain-1040523Fisterra is on the rocky Costa da Morte which in Galician means “Coast of Death,” named because of the large number of shipwrecks along these shores.

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Pilgrims still leave rocks.

Spain-1040565Time to head back so we can catch our bus back to Santiago.

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We are here.  Due to the cold, sometimes heavy rain, we do not walk to the far tip to the lighthouse.

There is also another possible final destination, and this is Muxia. You can walk from Finisterre to Muxia along the “Costa da Morte” or walk straight from Santiago to Muxia.

According to the legend, Muxia is the location where the boat carrying the body of the apostle St. James arrived. One legend even has it being a stone boat. Don’t think I’ll sign up for a ride in a stone boat.  Doesn’t sound very seaworthy.

Spain-1040467We are cold, wet, as well as hungry and it is time to catch the bus back to Santiago.

Finisterre is known for its fresh seafood, but to Randy’s dismay we are short of time to sit down and eat a delicious meal and it is too early. We are starving since we haven’t eaten much and our time in Finisterre has been spent taking photos in the rain while trying NOT to ruin the camera. Wonder where our off the beaten path, menu de la dia will be tonight?  Pulpo? (octopus) We’ll find out in Santiago.

Camino Day 9 ~ Living in the present

One day at a time…Live in the present, and make it so beautiful it will be worth remembering. ~Unknown Spain-1040094dmvWe are now out of the town of Arco do Pino as tall, weathered trees line our path through the Spanish forest. Spain-1040100dmvThe moss and vines give the woods an eerie appearance. Spain-1040165dmvWe find the orthopedic surgeon and fiancé along our way and discuss history. He could be the next Rick Steves type tour guide. The path seems to be cut down into the ground with a wall of rock alongside us. Spain-1040111dmvcrA gentle haze settles in the bottoms. Spain-1040112dmvcrThe path lends itself to variety today as we hike though thick woods, open valleys with gentle slopes, easing our way toward the end. Spain-1040121popdmvcreI could speculate that the red, white and blue circle on the photo is an orb of some paranormal being, but I know it’s only lens flare from the sun trying to pierce through the clouds. Spain-1040123dmvpop Quiet walking today as we culminate our journey with reflective thoughts. Spain-1040131crI really should start raising my own chickens, but I’m not crazy about the butchering part of the process. Spain-1040133dmvFunctional or decorative? Spain-1040141dmv Here come the Spanish girls! We take one of  their “last day” group photos for them and we all go on our merry way. Spain-1040158dmvCamino on a bike?  Nope, not for me. Spain-1040177dmv Getting closer…anticipation.  Slow down!  I don’t want this day to end, quite yet!