Custer State Park Working Adventure: Buffalo Roundup 2018

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We worked our first buffalo roundup at Custer State Park. I’ve never been that close to a cow in my life, let alone buffalo! It was fun and exhilarating to say the least, especially that moment when I found myself eye to eye with a buffalo calf who wasn’t happy about being corralled, pushed through gates, and separated from mamma for the time.

[I’m working on including some video into our blog. We have created a YouTube Channel (NoKaOiLog) and I’ll be including some links. It’s a learning curve with a slippery slope, hope no one falls in with me, lol.]

This is how they move the buffalo into the work area, where they get (depending on age), inoculations for brucellosis and other diseases, branding and tagging, pregnancy tests and sterility checks. Also decisions about whether they return to the herd or head out to auction.

In the Chute video

The Custer State Park Roundup is a multi-day event. It draws over 20k visitors, although this year the numbers were only around 16k, probably because of the rain and snow which came in early that morning. Roundup festivities also include an awesome arts festival from Thursday to Saturday, with talented vendors, good food, and plenty of entertainment.

The day of the roundup the entrance fee into the park is waved, so it’s the perfect day to get up early, watch the roundup, catch a little buffalo branding at the corrals and then head over to the arts festival to fill your truck up with lots of cool stuff to take home with you!

The other way to get in for free is to be a park volunteer. But before you get too excited about this option, we had to meet at 3:45 A.M. to caravan out to the roundup area and be in place at our assigned positions. Russ and I both had parking duties. It was still snowing when we arrived, brrr from the Florida girl! I went through two pair of boots and countless socks, because my first ones, even with waterproofing, didn’t hold up to the wet slosh. Fortunately, the sun came up, the clouds passed on, and the ground dried up … well, the mud didn’t dry up for a couple of days.

The snow melted away pretty quick down where we were parking cars, but it stuck around a bit longer in the higher elevations.

Snow in the hills. Custer State Park Buffalo Roundup

Snow sure is pretty in photos, but I was cold. Custer State Park Buffalo Roundup

Picturesque morning for Custer State Park Buffalo Roundup

After all the cars were parked, we were free to find a great viewing location and wait for the Buffalo to come over the hills.

Fog and cold for the first glimpse of the buffalo. Custer State Park Buffalo Roundup

Here is a link to our YouTube video of the herd coming over the hills.

Buffalo coming over the hill video

Gathering into one large herd. Custer State Park Buffalo Roundup

This wasn’t exactly like Dances with Wolves, it was an orchestrated plan to get the buffalo to the corrals without stressing them out so bad that they hurt themselves or each other. So built into the round up are several resting/holding periods, which made for a great time to view the herd.

On the day of the roundup, they work a small portion of the herd so that those attending the roundup who wish to watch can see the how they bring the buffalo into the corrals for health checks and branding.  That many buffalo can’t be done in one day and this year there were three additional days set up (I believe it varies from year to year). We both worked one morning. Here are a couple of videos of our branding experience.

Russ branding

Jen branding #1

Jen branding #2

Branded. The 8 is for the year and the S is for Custer State Park

Blue ear tag, male heading to the auction

These gals made it back to the herd

We were amazed at how well the whole process was handled. We loved every minute of the hard work and long days (well I lie … I don’t like snow and wet feet, and Russ doesn’t like to get up that early), but it was worth it for the experience. We would highly recommend you add the Custer State Park Buffalo Roundup to your bucket list.

Stay tuned, there’s a few more blogs from Custer State Park to share with you, thanks for following along with our adventure.

Custer State Park Working Adventure: Bighorn National Forest, Wyoming

We took a camping trip from our camping trip! We loaded up our tent and sleeping bags and headed to Wyoming to spend our days off at Bighorn National Forest. It was a chilly adventure, but that should be expected when getting above 9,000 feet (and it doesn’t help that we still have Florida blood in our veins, so chilly is interpretive).

On Saturday, the smoke in the area was quite thick and the haze had settled in. We hoped it wouldn’t last all weekend.

Once again, we were amazed at the beauty. We stayed at Sibley Lake Recreation area. The campground was full when we arrived on Saturday night, but the camp hosts were kind enough to allow us to camp in the picnic area for the first night. Then we move to site #4 the following morning. This was a very private site overlooking the lake on three sides. The tent/non electric area cost $17.00 per night.

First night in the picnic area.

After moving our camp, (we literally put the fully set up tent on top of the truck), we hiked around Lake Sibley on Sunday

Abby…it looked like a shed!

Our second camp site, with appropriately warm fire 🔥

Monday brought rain, so we explored the national forest by truck (and a little hoofing it when the rain let up).

The area was setting up for hunting season, we found lots of campers and trailers out in the woods and even this tent “village” that we understand was set up by guide companies, who bring hunters in and provide all they need. Well except for the game, I hope.

Hunting camp in Bighorn National Forest

Views from around the forest.

Plum Creek

Plum Creek

Our hiking crew

Things you find

What is it?

Ready to go

Haven’t seen one of those in a long time!

Oh deer, with ears only a mama could love. Mule Deer?

I can see for miles, and miles.

Mirror Image Butte.

Signs of fall.

Signs of fall.

Monday’s rain didn’t let up. And we watched the temperatures drop all afternoon. When we stopped to chat with the camp hosts, they let us know they were expecting temps in the mid to high 20’s that night. So we did the only thing that seemed appropriate to Floridians…we fled!

Which actually turned out to be a good thing for other reasons. We went back to Custer via Greybull and we found this guy having a little dinner snack. He was kind enough to pose for us. Wow! what a blessing to see a moose in person.

The views on the way to Greybull are estounding, even in cloudy weather.

Shell Falls, Wyoming

Canyon views.

I think we should move here…it would be nice to take them up to 85!

Shell, Wyoming

She just broke 20K, I think she needs a name!

Clouds and rain = cold Floridians

Views, Views, Views!

The last of the day’s light as we cross back through Wyoming. We will come back this way again, it was simply spectacular.

Wyoming sunset.

Thanks for sharing this week’s adventure with us. Sure hope each of you have a wonderful Labor Day, and have a much needed adventure of your own. Keep in touch…we love to hear from you.

Custer State Park Working Adventure: Sturgis or Bust


Well let me just start out by saying, that I said a lot about not needing to ever go to Sturgis, but…I talk a lot…I say things that get changed…awe heck…I guess I lied! Because after we did a pre-Sturgis ride, we had to come back and see what it was really like during the rally.

Here are some pics from the roads and byways. We did many rides from Custer State Park to all the best spots in the Black Hills. Hill City, Deadwood, Newcastle, Needles Highway, Iron Mountain Road, and of course Sturgis. The roads and riding here are awesome.

The cool thing about the Sturgis rally is all the nearby towns which get caught up in the action, and all the riding that needs to be done to get to each one. So although almost 506,000 bikes showed up for the rally, they were nicely spread out as they explored the area.

That said, here is downtown Custer during the rally.

The roads in the State park filled up too, this is the entrance to Needles Highway. The park sold over 300,000 bike bands during rally week.

We really like Deadwood, it’s a real town of the old west, and apparently they numbered their saloons! We had lunch, an awesome lunch, at the Eagle Bar. I think their seating is a bit questionable however, lol.

We will definitely make some more trips back to Deadwood to explore the history. But for this blog…it’s on to Sturgis!


Sturgis a few days before the rally began.


And then…boom…a hundred thousand bikes and bikers.

Some of our favorite bikes we saw around town.

(Hey there’s someone else from Florida here!)

And out about there were lots of group rides.

In the end…we were a bit worn out.

But is was worth it, the Black Hills and Sturgis has to be some of the best riding we have been able to do.

We appreciate you taking the time to share our adventure with us.

Custer State Park Working Adventure: Being Tourists with Friends and Family

We love when family and friends come to visit us on our adventures. It not only helps with our homesickness but also gives us a great excuse to become tourists, or travel guides, as the case may be.

Lee and Lynda came through the Black Hills on the way home from their trip out west. We made a whirlwind day of adventure looking for buffalo and wildlife, and checking into Crazy Horse and Mt. Rushmore. There was lunch at the Purple Pie somewhere in between too.


Crazy Horse with Lee and Lynda

State Flags at Mt. Rushmore

Lee and Lynda at Mt. Rushmore

Lee, Lynda, Jennifer and Russ. Mt. Rushmore

Our drive took us through Wind Cave National Park, where we saw buffalo and prairie dogs.

Buffalo in Wind Cave National Park


Buffalo in Wind Cave National Park


Prairie Dog. Wind Cave National Park


Prairie dogs. Wind Cave National Park

Our animal sightings in Custer State Park included pronghorn deer, donkeys and water buffalo (haha, just kidding…it was really buffalo in water)!

I haven’t heard his name yet, but the small herd of burros has an addition. Custer State Park


Triplet pronghorns. Custer State Park


Water Buffalo. Custer State Park

The following week, our son Josiah took a few days in between tour dates to come and visit us. This mamma can never spend enough times with her babies and we had a great time doing a little sight-seeing and some hiking.

Hey…I didn’t get a copy of the pic you took…

It’s what he does.


These two! What are they into now?


Over there. Where?


The only time we gets pics together (with both our heads in the shot) is when Josiah is in town.


Exploring Wind Cave National Park


The truck straddling French Creek in Wind Cave National Park.

We had bison at the Bugglin’ Buffalo.

Did the touristy stuff at Crazy Horse and Mt. Rushmore. (I have no pictorial proof of Crazy Horse for some reason!)

Hi George. Mt. Rushmore


These two! If you’ve ever wondered why I have gray hair…its definitely one of these two.


My boys.


Mt. Rushmore National Monument

I made him go hiking. Told him he had to get off the electronics and get fresh air. Just kidding…but grateful to have kids who love the same things we do.

We hiked to Little Devil’s Tower in Custer State Park. The views are spectacular and the hike isn’t half bad either.








He actually doesn’t care for being this high up. Thanks for hanging out with us!




What’s for lunch mom? Still PB&J son.

Best cell service in town. Hi Sami…we missed having you!

Only one of the three of us wanted to swim after our hike. Sylvan Lake in Custer State Park is beautiful, but it’s too cold for this Floridian.

Sylvan Lake, Custer State Park.

The cool breeze coming off the lake is nice too! Sylvan Lake

And just like that the friends and family left us to our adventure. Everyone is welcome to join us, we miss you all! Thanks for sharing our adventure with us.

Custer State Park The Working Adventure: Baby Animals

I’m having a difficult time picking just the right pic for the feature photo. As you will see there is an abundance of cuteness in this blog post of the babies we have seen in the past few weeks. So enjoy!

Buffalo calf. Custer State Park.

Since I’m at Custer State Park, and one of the main animals many come to see here are buffalo, I’ve chosen one of the baby buffalo as my feature pic. There are over 350 calfs in the park this season. They start out cinnamon color (above) and darken up over their first year. If you zoom in you can even see the start of the horns. One of the things I keep encountering here are people who think its cool to get out of their vehicles to get a closer view. Definitely not a good idea. Buffalo can run at 30 mph. Last time I checked…I’m not outrunning that on foot.

Older Buffalo calf. Custer State Park

Babies in the herd. Custer State Park

Along Highway 16A, we spotted the mountain goats. This mamma had twins.


Mountain goat kid. Custer State Park

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It’s better…they are mountain goat twins! Custer State Park

There are plenty of nicknames for the parks small herd of burros, the most common is begging burros. But I could beg to take this little guy home. He’s no bigger than a large dog, and he is definitely cuteness on over-load. I’m calling him Buddy Burro.


I haven’t heard his name yet, but the small herd of burros has an addition. (I’m calling him Buddy Burro.) Custer State Park


Foal “Buddy Burro.” Custer State Park

“Buddy Burro.” Custer State Park

The Pronghorn are busy too. This mama has triplets!

Mama Pronghorn with triplets. Custer State Park

Triplet pronghorn fawns. Custer State Park

There are no shortage of white tail deer here. The fawns are just mesmerizing to watch. They hop about and jump with no restraint as they enjoy the day.

Mama Deer and her fawns. Custer State Park

This shot cracks me up. Fawn #1 is poised and ready to follow mamas lead. Fawn #2, not so much.

Every family has the obedient child…and the other child. Custer State Park

And with a little sibling scolding…they were off.

Come on brother…time to move. Custer State Park

What a beautiful treat to see the babies in the park. Living proof that life goes on and the promise of newness. Thanks for taking the time to share our adventure. We will be back with more from Custer State Park soon.

Custer State Park the Working Adventure: Life Around Camp

We are beyond happy with our decision to come all the way to Custer State Park in South Dakota! This place is awesome…and the work we are trading for our campsite isn’t too bad either.

We signed up as volunteers at Custer State Park. Russ has been assigned to the Ground Maintenance team and is doing more than he was originally told he would be doing. And has a work truck…and…HE GETS TO CUT GRASS TOO! Yes, he is that excited.

I survived my first week of visitor center training (there are four of them here), it was like standing in front of a fire hydrant. But I’ve already met people from all over the world, and it helps me get my two thousand plus words a day out!

One of four visitor centers, Badger Hole is by far my favorite places. Badger Clark was the first Poet Laureate of South Dakota and wrote the Cowboy Prayer. Custer State Park

We arrived later in the day on June 29th. Setting up was going uneventful when several of our neighbors started talking about an in-coming storm. Several moved their vehicles across the road under the trees. The sky darkened up. Hail was mentioned, and just as we buttoned up the last few things…it let loose. Welcome to South Dakota, home of the bi-weekly hail storm.

But the hail can be overlooked when the view is in your backyard. Here’s just a few of our initial greeters.

That’s a big boy. Buffalo in the campsite. Custer State Park


Little man, you still have fuzz on those antlers. Custer State Park


Little Buck. Custer State Park


“I’m sure there will be something good if I get closer.” Custer State Park

This is the view looking down into our camping area.

Home sweet home for the summer and fall!


Our fire pit has a view up the hill. Custer State Park


We have many birds, this little American Goldfinch stopped by to rest on a rock in the yard. Custer State Park

Just behind our camp site and up the hill, is one of the many hiking trails in Custer. Lover’s Leap is a 3 mile loop and if you don’t confuse the trail marking “ahem, Jennifer” its a fun trail which crosses over the creek about a dozen times and has a scenic view of the park and beyond, from the peak.

Early morning dew. Lover’s Leap Trail, Custer State Park


Lover’s Leap Trail, Custer State Park


Dragonfly. Lover’s Leap Trail, Custer State Park


Dragonfly fun. Lover’s Leap Trail, Custer State Park


Taking a break from the cold creek. Lover’s Leap Trail, Custer State Park

There was a fire in the park last December, about half the park was effected. But, everything is greener and making a come back.

Remnants of 2017 December fire. Lover’s Leap Trail, Custer State Park


Fire damage. Lover’s Leap Trail, Custer State Park


Everything is coming back strong. Lover’s Leap Trail, Custer State Park


Lover’s Leap Trail, Custer State Park


Lover’s Leap Trail, Custer State Park


Ruger is new to hiking. Not sure if he knew he was stepping in mud or not, but he sunk down pretty deep and needed a creek clean up. #muddydog. Lover’s Leap Trail, Custer State Park


You can lead a dog to water… Lover’s Leap Trail, Custer State Park


Almost a dozen creek crossings. Lover’s Leap Trail, Custer State Park


A little trail break. Lover’s Leap Trail, Custer State Park


The view from the top. Lover’s Leap Trail, Custer State Park


view from the top. Lover’s Leap Trail, Custer State Park


Afternoon storm approaching. Lover’s Leap Trail, Custer State Park


Lover’s Leap Trail, Custer State Park


Lover’s Leap Trail, Custer State Park

There is more to come from our Custer State Park, can’t wait to share all the baby animals we’ve seen so far. Thanks for sharing our adventure with us.

Custer or Bust: Summer/Fall 2018


Making Custer State Park with 2,129.5 miles behind us, as I hurriedly gather the last of the pics together, we have 196 miles left is almost happening! Our newest adventure in the Black Hill of South Dakota will involve work camping three days a week and four days to explore and enjoy one of our favorite spots from our Short, Short Trailer, Long, Long Trip back in 2016.

We left Home 12 days ago, and for the most part we have putted across the States to our destination. (Look it could be done in 30 hours and there was a time when we were that crazy dumb!) Instead we scheduled a leisurely two nights at each camp ground, we did some kayaking, some motorcycle cruising, bicycle riding and hiking. With only a minor last minute change to our plan, I’ll explain later, we enjoyed the trip.

Here’s the log, enjoy our trip with us:

Custer South Dakota Trip

June 18, 2018 depart

June 29, 2018 arrive

-Day 1, 2: June 18, 19 Rainbow Springs SP, FL

19158 SW 81st Place Rd

Dunnellon, FL 34432-2463

Site #2

(352) 465-8555


Estimate: 212 miles, 3- 1/2 hrs.

Actual: 212 miles

Loved this campground, and I don’t know how we’ve never done this one. We unloaded the kayaks and did a relaxing three hours up to the spring head and back. Took some time to splash in the cool water and got back to the camper just as the afternoon storms blew through. Did I mention I’m not missing everyday rain showers!

We only used our kayaks, they also had tube rentals and a shuttle service, which was probably a nice float downstream from park.

After the afternoon showers, we rode bicycles through the park and down to the tube drop off area, which was a nice paved road with no traffic because it’s only for the shuttles.

-Day 3, 4: June 20, 21 High Falls SP, GA

76 High Falls Park Dr

Jackson, GA 30233

Site #1 (very nice site)

(800) 864-7275

$70 add $5 for your vehicle

Estimate 320 miles, 4-1/2 hrs.

Actual: 331 miles

This was a quiet and peaceful park just off of I75. Temps were nice in the shade. Not a lot to do, a couple of hiking trails, and other activities on the lake above the dam. We hiked along the Towaliga River to the abandoned hydro plant (that might have brought back work memories for someone), and on our second day we took a motorcycle ride into Jackson for some lunch at Zaxby’s. Definitely felt strange to not be pushing by traveling everyday.


328 Cedar Forest Rd

Lebanon, TN 37090


Estimate: 291 miles, 4-1/2 hrs.

Actual: 306 miles

Area 3, campsite #105, new area all paved sites. This site was quite elevated, plenty of mud around sites

The mud aside (lots of rain and new grass hasn’t come up yet), this was one of our favorite stops. Early morning hike down by the butterfly garden yielded a deer encounter as well as lots of birds, a turkey, rabbits and of course butterflies.

The road that bisects the park was great for our road bicycles and we took a ten mile ride on a cool afternoon.

Our only issue with this park was the Atlanta traffic (we planned to miss rush hour and got stuck by an accident) and again in the area where you pass back and forth between TN and Ga a few times (no accidents, just stop and go traffic).

We found out too late that there was a cave on site, so we have a reason to return and explore some more.

-Day 7, 8: June 24, 25 Robertsville SP, MO

902 State Park Rd

Robertsville, MO 63072

(636) 257-3788


Estimate:386 miles, 6 hrs.

Actual: 389

Campsite #026, community h2o next to site otherwise sites do not have individual h2o

All sites are gravel and mostly sloped, was able to barely push MC up into site.

We had a little bit of trouble with the motorcycle trailer at this campground, but not enough to make us reconsider towing it with us. At each site, we have to unhook it and push it into place before we backup the camper. The slope into the site was a bit steep and we couldn’t place the trailer behind and hook it up before pulling out, so we had a little extra maneuvering.

I took and early morning bicycle ride down the the Meramec River, and had to walk the bike back a good bit of the way! Florida girls and steep hills…gonna need to figure out the gears and get the thighs in better shape!

Our walk to the nearby cemetery was cool, many very old stones from late 1800’s and early 1900’s. Unfortunately the take away was a load of ticks on the dog…and chiggers for the people! Lessons to learn.

We also hiked the 2.6 Lost Hill Trail which would around the creek and highest part of the park.

-Day 9, 10: June 26, 27 Weston Bend SP, MO

Weston Bend State Park

16600 State Route 45 N

Weston, MO 64098

Access Road West Bend Street Park

$50.50 only stayed one night (too late to get refund).

Estimate: 264 miles, 4-1/2 hrs.

Actual: 274.5 miles


Campsite #005, no h2o at site, most other sites are more shaded. Site is also next to camp host but nicely spaced. All sites are paved and mostly level.

We got here’s bit late and decided to move closer so we could enjoy more time at Palisades in South Dakota. We rode our bicycles around the camp area, out to the dog park (which was quite nice, but we didn’t use). Again some steel hills and bike walking for Florida girls!

Day 10 June 27 Stone State Park Iowa

Stone State Park

5001 Talbot Road

Sioux City  IA  51103

Estimate: 267 miles, 4 hrs


Campsite #

From Interstate 29, take exit 151, which is Hwy. 12 north. Go north on Hwy. 12 approximately 4 miles to the park entrance.

Okay, so here was our first camping fail. We arrived at this cute park, with the smallest campsites ever! Bring you cute little pull behind or pop-up, not your 30′ fifth wheel to this park. The huge mud hole created by the camper that got stuck the day before was a big clue. We we fortunate to get turned around and be able to get out without unhitching anything. We re-grouped and called Palisades State Park to see if they had anything for tonight. We were blessed by adding an additional night and they switched our campsite to one right on the creek.

18325 mile change to palisades sp

-Day 11: June 28 Palisades State Park, SD

25495 485th Ave

Garretson, SD 57030

(605) 594-3824

$29.97 actual 64.22 (add extra day and $12 for your car).

365 miles, 5-1/2 hrs.

Actual: 379

Campsite #31E actual 35E

We hiked every muddy trail in the park. The cap host, Merl told us they have had over ten inches of rain in the past week.

This is a fabulous park, the river, which we didn’t swim or kayak in had people doing both. The Sioux Quartzite formation are beautiful and I’m sure the trails would be less muddy in a week or so.

And here is our BIG CHANGE! We couldn’t get into the area we wanted to Sage Creek Campground. They changed the length restrictions and we are too big. We really don’t care for the parking lot they call the other campground. We considered some local private campgrounds, but in the end just decided to make our final stretch all the way to Custer. Since we aren’t there yet, I’ll share pics of the site on the next blog.

I must say this is the first long distance trip for us in many years where we didn’t wear ourselves out to get to our destination…we may just be figuring this thing out.

Thanks for sharing our trip with us, we are so glad to have you join us.

Day 12, 13 June 29, 30 Badlands (cancelled)

Day 14 July 1 Custer SP, SD (BECOMES DAY 12 and final day of travel).

13329 U.S. Highway 16A

Custer, SD 57730

(605) 255-4515

$- work camp

Estimate:104 miles, 2 hrs.

Approximate actual: 432

Total trip miles: 2323.5

Last day to Custer State Park:

No More Toys! No, No, No!

It’s definitely to warm for the blanket!

They brought the shed! No, Russ…you cannot get a shed.

Dignity of Earth and Sky. South Dakota rest stop art just before crossing the Missouri River for the last time.

Definitely too hot for a blanket today.

Our last crossing of the Missouri River.

This was fire truck #5 out of we lost count….but awesomely interesting way to pass the miles.

Wind turbine blades, these are unbelievable in size.

Leave some mud for someone else!

PopPop Sailing School, Grands and Weddings: June 2018

We received a call that it was most likely going to happen in the next 48 hours! Grand-baby number 8, Zayden Damien Baringer was on his way. So we rented a car, drove it and the jeep both home…and…it didn’t happen.

I seems Zayden wasn’t ready, he had other plans in mind.

So being the resourceful last minute planners that we have become accustomed to being, we loaded up the rental car with two other grands, and headed back to Marineland to bring the sailboat home. Hopefully we would get it back before Zayden came, and with enough time to get her out to Indiantown and tied down before the upcoming wedding of Russ’ brother Steve and his fiancee, Terri.

Graduates of PopPop Sailing School, Austin and Kiera. Honoree acknowledgement for Ruger the pup.

Before we left Marineland, we spent the morning at the Dolphin Adventure and slinging sand at each other on the beach. I blame PopPop!

Marineland Dolphin Adventure June 2018

Playin around.

Marineland Dolphin Adventure June 2018

Austin, Marineland Dolphin Adventure June 2018

Kiera, Marineland Dolphin Adventure June 2018.

Newly opened tourist picture rock. They reopened the original entrance for the 80th Anniversary. Marineland Dolphin Adventure June 2018.

I see it!

New shark exhibit at Marineland Dolphin Adventure June 2018.

Russ, Austin, and Kiera, Marineland Dolphin Adventure June 2018.

Marineland Dolphin Adventure June 2018.

Hey, thanks for coming! Marineland Dolphin Adventure June 2018.

Sand slinging Baringer style at our favorite beach.

Got PopPop good!

Farewell Marineland Beach, we will miss you until next time.

We didn’t have a plan for PopPop Sailing School, it just sort of morphed out of keeping a 12 and 10 year old off of their tablets all day and not whining “are we there yet.” In the end…I think we did a pretty good job…at least they were still smiling when we tied up at the dock!

For several days the tablets stayed charged up…we did relent a bit once the everyday rain kept us down below all afternoon.

PopPop Sailing School starts with knots. I’m sure glad to have extra hands…cause I still do not have all my knots down.

Knot tying 101. PopPop Sailing School.

Austin’s bowline.

Ruger failed knot tying. It might be a thumb problem.

Taking the helm seriously.

Captain Austin.

Captain Kiera.

And there was dinghy training.

Dingy training was an after hours affair.

Kiera practicing her maneuvers.

Austin does a fine job with his sea trial.

Fortunately PopPop Sailing School had lots of breaks.

Scrabble can be won with three letter words.

Cooling off after a long day.

That’s my line.

Oh noooo PopPop!

Was that the best you got?

No grandchildren were injured…but PopPop may feel that for a while.

There was plenty of fishing…just not any edible catches.

Can we catch our own dolphin?

This is bait?

I’m not sure Kiera is cut out for this part. But Ruger is willing to help out.

Biggest catch of the day.

Not bad, Kiera.

In other news.

Small spaces make for big messes. Really Ruger?

Nanny wants to know if we are there yet!

Every day afternoon storms!

But the storms bring beautiful rainbows.

And relaxing sunsets.

Some well earned tablet time.

Whose bunk is this?

And before you know it, its our last sunrise.

ICW sunrise.

Then it was time for the PopPop Sailing School final.

Kiera’s knot final. Check and Pass!

Austin’s knot final. Check and Pass. (He’s twelve…they come with faces like that.)

Yes, it was there was a written test.

Success. Great job PopPop, Austin and Kiera!!!

With the Roosevelt Bridge in view, we are almost back to the dock.

And just in time…because Zayden Damien Baringer decided that this morning, June 8, 2018 he would make his appearance.

So exciting!!! Grand #8

Proud PopPop.

Three Generations of Baringer Boys.

Mom, Dad, big sis Choloe and baby Zay are all doing great.

Welcome Zayden Damien Baringer!

After some baby hugging and holding, we got onto the task of settling No Ka Oi for the hurricane season at Indiantown Marina. She is filled with cat litter and damp rid, stripped of all her sails and canvas…so we are pretty sure everyone can take a deep breath because we won’t be having any hurricanes in that area since we are totally prepared this year.

No Ka Oi’s first trip through the St. Lucie Lock since we have had her. Thanks Captain John for the assist, we couldn’t have done it without you.

Filler up please.

Hauling out at Indiantown Marina.

She’s on the hard for the summer.

All tied down and no where to go!

And finally, and not just finally for us to be ready to go away for the summer….but finally these two FINALLY tied the knot after eight years together. Russ’ brother Steve and Terri had a lovely wedding at Indian Riverside Park on Sunday, June 17th. It was a perfect June day for a wedding! Congratulations Steve and Terri!

Mr. and Mrs. Steve Baringer.

I know this is a long blog, thanks for sitting through the slide show of the grands…I’d do it for you! We have said our goodbyes, given out lots of hugs and kisses, and we are on our way to SOUTH DAKOTA for the summer and fall!!!! Updates and exciting news along the way, stay tuned, and thanks for following along with us.


Adventures in Marineland: May/June 2018

Happy Day!

I have two posts to close out our spring trip to St. Augustine and Marineland. The first one will focus on the weeks we were finally able to relax from what seemed to us non-stop busyness since Irma hit last fall.

Marineland is one of those spots for us to relax and unwind. The simple life of walking the beach and kayaking filled our time, and this year…a few extra naps…due to all the rainy weather.

We were blessed with time to visit friends who were passing through, by car (Debbie and Gary), and by boat (Georgette and Gary). Other friends (Pam and Dan) came for a long weekend stay in the marina and we had a great time boating, fishing and tourist-ing the Dolphin Encounter.

Pictures speak louder than words…some sights while walking near the marina.

April Showers bring May flowers

The field was on ablaze with the wildflowers and water was still standing all around from so much rain.

Florida wild flowers

Stop and smell the…weeds, I mean flowers.

Rain, rain, go away. And you can skip another day!

I found these parrots with a little guidance from Brandon, and they sure were noisy.

Make a joyful noise

Good mornings have a beach.

Another storm on its way.

It’s sea turtle nesting season from March to October. This mama had a false crawl, which always makes me a little sad because all those eggs will be dropped out in the ocean.

False crawl.Getting some practice in with the new 600mm lens with a 2x teleconverter.

Getting some practice in with the new 600mm lens with a 2x teleconverter.

Love the birds doing their bird thing along the surf.

Somehow the last time we were here we didn’t go to the Marineland Dolphin Adventure. But we made up for it this time with three trips. This June they were celebrating their 80th anniversary. We had free entrance passes and for ten dollars we turned them into behind the scenes passes, and had a great tour time with our friends Pam and Dan, and Gracie too!

Russ, Dan and Pam from Beufort, SC.


Behind the Scenes Tour:

Marineland Dolphin Adventure. The G is for Georgia Aquarium, who runs the facility.

Behind the scenes, Lion Fish.

You can’t see me.

I’m not an enemy.


The underwater viewing area in the behind the scene tour.

The underwater viewing area in the behind the scene tour.

What’s the last thing you hear a redneck say?

Watch this!

More from the top-side.

Oh yeah! Here comes lunch!


Me! Me! Pick Me!

How many fish do you have in that there bucket?

Will work for food.

Game on.

Take that!


I got this.

I need this for my sailboat.

I just need a little time out.

Bottoms up.

Come cool off with me.

We got a weather window to take a kayaking trip to Princess Place Preserve. These historic grounds are technically in Palm Coast, but just a few creeks away from Marineland by water. We went to the west side of the park and followed creeks keeping to the left and we ended up at this eagles nest. We were not aware it was there ahead of time (here’s more information) Mama and papa were visiting the nest just as we noticed them and then they left, so I didn’t get any pics. But here is juvenile brother. A little research revealed he was not a very nice guy…took out the sibling not too long ago. But that’s the way of the wild.

Juvenile Eagle in nest, Princess Place Preserve.

And a short fly over.

More pics from the kayaking trip.

Nice kayak bud.

You’re interruptin lunch here.

View of the ICW.

We are usually blessed with many beautiful sunsets on our cruising trips, but the weather had a different idea this time. I did manage to catch one or two.

Sun setting on Marineland Marina office and docks.

When there’s no rain, the sunsets are magnificent at Marineland.

Next up will be our trip back to Jensen Beach. Hope you can join us. Thanks for sharing our adventure with us.

Captain Ike, Sailing, and Good Men


Captain Ike on Vela, May 2014

Our friend Captain Ike passed last night. He won his battle with cancer, he is now home with Jesus and free of pain. We saw him only three weeks ago, as he was heading out with a few sailing buddies for an afternoon on the North Fork.

I looked for Vela (his sailboat) as we drove home across the Roosevelt Bridge. I knew her sails would be up as soon as she exited the harbor. But I wasn’t able to see her from that side of the bridge. I was disappointed.

This how we feel right now, we would like just one more glimpse, but it’s not to be.

He has sailed away to his next port.

We’ve lost others to that port. So have you. We go on, knowing we will be reunited with them again, but the ache in our heart is real.

For many reasons, we will miss Ike.

Russ bought his first car from Ike, a 1969 Chevelle for $300. Ike and Russ’ dad were life-long friends and business partners for many years. Russ has known Ike all his life.

He loved our pups, and never missed an opportunity to come and get some doggy kisses. He had a regular weekly stint with the shelter dogs at the Humane Society.

His love of sailing was contagious. He had a career, he was a barber, and before that a merchant marine. We never heard barber stories though, he loved to share the stories of his sailing travels when he was younger. He loved to hear about where we were going and where we had been on our sailboat – and what we were planning next. He encouraged us to go.  He went sailing any and every afternoon he could, even if it was only for an hour. He daydreamed sailing.

He was a mentor. He tried (unsuccessfully, but not his fault) to teach me (Jennifer) a few knots. I would learn them, and then for lack of use, I’d be back to a fumbled mess of line. He shared insight, ideas and taught us much. He was always available to help us in any way he could.

He made time. Whether we were working on our sailboat, loading, or unloading, he always stopped whatever he was doing to come sit on the dock and talk a spell. He regularly invited us to go out sailing with him, on a better boat.

Vela was immaculate and shined. Ike was meticulous.


Vela, Biscayne Bay, 2014

A few years ago in 2014, he followed us to Key Biscayne. We had planned a trip to the Bahamas, but the weather that year wasn’t cooperating. We still had jobs and just a few weeks for a trip. A few days into the trip he got sick, it was Memorial Day weekend and we hunkered down in the Marine Stadium in Miami, before making our final jaunt to Elliot Key. I can see him on our port side, sailing through Biscayne Bay, because as soon as he felt just a little better, he wanted to be on the way. Happy all over his face, he enjoyed the trip, but he really wanted to go to the Bahamas one more time. He was almost 80.


Captain Ike on Vela, Biscayne Bay, 2014

Two years later, while we were cruising in the Bahamas, Ike got his Bahamas trip. His friend John accompanied him for a two week trip. They met us in Green Turtle, he enjoyed cracked conch and conch salad with us one night. Enjoyed walking around the old town and reminiscing about the time he had spent there. As we moved around the islands, we saw them in Marsh Harbor and again in Man-0-War, in between their visit to Hope Town. He still had happy all over his face. He turned 82 that October.

When he returned home after the Bahamas, he received the cancer diagnosis. The doctors really thought it wouldn’t be too long, but Ike was stronger than they thought. He started chemo. He had good days and bad days, and in spite of the chemo, he got out to sail locally. He fought back the cancer for almost two years.

He was a strong man. He was a wise man. He was a kind man.

Last summer, while he was working on a project in his backyard, he told me he didn’t know how long, but he knew he was in Jesus’ hands and that was all he needed to know.

He was a good man. Our hearts are sad, but glad we knew him.

Sail on our friend.

Captain Ike, we love and miss you already.


Captain Ike, tough as a pirate. February 2017


Aargh matie, Captain Ike, on Vela, February 2017

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Vela, coming into White Sound, 2016