June 6-10, 2019 – Black Hills of South Dakota
A few years back, our friends Jim and Barb bought some property in South Dakota to use as a home base. They have been full-time RVers since March of 2014, having hit the road the same month I retired. You may recall when we visited them in September of 2017 on our way back to Michigan from Oregon. Back then, they were busy installing fence posts, purchasing a shed and making plans to build a place to store their RV and hang their hats while in the area. By no means did they want to come off the road completely, but the addition of the property looked like it would put them in the part-time RVers category.
Since our last visit, this dynamic duo has been busy! With the guidance of their friend Kevin (a custom home builder who is building his own place not far from them), they have started construction on their little shack in the woods. 2018 saw them starting construction by excavating and pouring a cement foundation. This year they have roughed their abode in, pretty much by themselves. As fellow RVing friends have passed through their area, they’ve jumped in to lend a hand…as was the case with us a few weeks ago.
Little shack in the woods???? That’s big enough to quite literally store both of our fifth wheels!
This structure is known as a barndominium. The one end is a two RV garage, while the other end sports a two bedroom home. Having watched this building emerge over the past year on their blog, we were eager to detour north to join in the fun. Barb needed a little help putting up the house wrap, so she enlisted the help of her hubby and I to get the job done.
A few hours later, we had the lower course wrapped. We even had enough energy left to put in the kitchen and bathroom windows.
Afterwards, we went for a drive to check out Kevin and Cheryl’s place. Along the way, we saw a fair amount of wildlife.
We also saw this unusual cloud formation. It looked as if the thunderhead was on fire!
The next day, Barb fired up the skid steer and had Jim and I up on the platform while she drove us around the house.
She was careful not to drop us, which we were grateful for. Diana provided ground support, along with photographing and videoing the event for posterity.
Here is a little video that shows off her dexterity with a skid steer:
A few hours later, we had the upper section complete.
Now that’s a wrap!
That evening brought us another beautiful sky. Not a bad place to hang your hat, for sure. Having rolled out multiple rolls of house wrap while Jim stapled, my arms were rubber. We decided to take the next day off.
For Diana and I, that became a drive through the Black Hills. We checked on the progress at the Crazy Horse monument. Slowly but surely, the workers here are getting things done.
We also drove the Needles Highway. From that road, we caught several glimpses of Mount Rushmore. We’ve visited that monument several times over the years, so we skipped it this time around.
That evening, we hung out in Jim and Barb’s new living room for happy hour.
That included a nightly appearance of a herd of mule deer. Jim and Barb look forward to being able to sit on their sofa at night and see this crew out their slider. Best I could tell, the deer were marveling at our progress!
The last day saw Jim and I on the platform installing windows, including two huge trapezoids on the front of the home.
We ran into an issue with heavy staples protruding out of the bottom of the first one, so Barb climbed out of the cab of the skid steer, scrambled up the scaffolding on the inside of the house, balanced herself on the rough opening and pulled the staples. All this while the helpless males stood and watched.
One window after another, Barb guided us as we wrestled the windows into place. We did eight upper windows that day!
That evening, Diana got one more photo of a very satisfied Barb, her sidekick, Daisy, and Dakota looking on from the back.
Jim and Barb are an amazing team, and will soon have built a beautiful home in the Black Hills. It was a pure joy to be able to stop by and help them out.
The sky even gave us a standing ovation. 🙂
Next up: We head east through South Dakota to see some familiar places. Along the way, we find a few surprises, so be sure to stay tuned for that in our next Saturday morning post. Until then, safe and happy travels to all!