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 > My Chevrolet Express van Class B- camper

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Black'95

South Dakota

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Posted: 07/09/20 09:49am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

I did make a modification recently. It was not a modification to the van but to my camera tripod which is carried in the van all the time. I have two lenses for my camera, a regular lens and a zoom lens. I switch between the two depending on what I am trying to capture in the picture. I wanted both lenses to be handy so I modified a cup holder to fit on my tripod.
[image]

I mounted two closet broom holder brackets to a folding cup holder and mounted it to my tripod center shaft. It could have been mounted to the tripod legs also.
[image]

Now I am always ready for whatever subject pops up including snakes climbing trees.

Black'95

South Dakota

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Posted: 07/13/20 03:44pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

This weekend we camped at another South Dakota campground that we had never camped at before. That was part four of our covid quest to camp at every one in SD.

This time it was Lake Thompson Recreation Area close to the home of the Laura Ingalls Wilder Little House on the Prairie Pageant town of De Smet, SD.
[image]

The campsite we chose was very shaded and protected from the wind. People we talked to from Indiana there on a week long fishing trip were camping in one of the cabins near the lake shore really felt the wind.
[image]

The water in the lake was very high from all the spring rains they have been getting. Today the wind made the lake very choppy.
[image]

On the drive in before we got to the gate of the recreation area we came across this big old chunk of deadwood. It was twice as tall as I was.
[image]

We saw numerous muskrat houses along the road to the park.
[image]

I am always on the lookout for birds to shoot. Got this fellow with my 300mm (zoom lens that is). It is a migrating cedar waxwing. Not a good picture but the best he would sit for.
[image]

This young bird (I think it was a young cowbird) was running all over our campsite eating bugs. Like a young teenager, I didn't think he would ever get full as I watched him for over an hour as he devoured everything he could find. I also watched the Eastern Kingbirds catching bugs on the fly, but they were way to fast for me and my camera.
[image]

Time to take the rest of the day off in the shade.
[image]

* This post was edited 07/13/20 03:52pm by Black'95 *

drsolo

Milwaukee

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Posted: 07/13/20 05:37pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Modifying doesnt stop at RVans. I got a mobility scooter that folds up into a suitcase size. I didnt have it for more than a week before I started modifying it. It gives me something to do.
This is what I started with [image]

and here are the first of my modifications including the sunbrella, a crate on the back for one dog, a basket on the front for my coffee etc. The other dog rides on my lap.
[image]
[image]Click For Full-Size Image.

And finally I added rear view mirrors.
[image]
[image]Click For Full-Size Image.


Ingrid and Dan Retired teachers from Milwaukee, WI
1992 GMC Vandura conversion


J herb

So. Oregon

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Posted: 07/14/20 08:33pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

HI Mike,
I see that you and the wife are out enjoying the camping life [emoticon]
Your camp sites always look so neat and relaxing and I enjoy your photos too, do you have a lot of mosquitoes in South Dakota? here in Oregon we have billions up in the Cascades Mountains from June to Sept.
so we don't go their until Sept.after a night or two of a freezing temps.
I will be checking in to see what adventures you are up to next.


J herb


Black'95

South Dakota

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Posted: 07/17/20 10:03am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

J herb wrote:

........ do you have a lot of mosquitoes in South Dakota? here in Oregon we have billions up in the Cascades Mountains from June to Sept.
so we don't go their until Sept.after a night or two of a freezing temps.
I will be checking in to see what adventures you are up to next.


It kind of depends on the location. I don't think they have a lot in the Black Hills region and where I live it depends on whether we have a wet year or a dry year. Most of the towns spray. When we have been out camping this year they have not been very bad. I have a net type screen door and window screens on my van so they are not a bother there. During the day around the campfire they do not bother us at all.

Black'95

South Dakota

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Posted: 07/27/20 11:05am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Last Wednesday it was time for us to go on another of our new-to-us campground trips within our state of SD. This week we chose West Bend Recreation Area west of Stephan, SD on the Missouri River.
[image]

Our campsite #4 was very shady all day so even though the temps got into the high 80's we stayed comfortable. It cooled down enough in the evening that all we needed were our window screens. We did not have to get out the AC unit for the van.
[image]

Many of the campsites were right on the shore, but they felt the effects of the wind, whereas our campsite was very well protected. I am sure the boat owners liked these sites. This is Lake Sharpe which is one of the four reservoirs created by dams on the Missouri River in SD.
[image]

We walked along the trails that meandered along the shoreline and through the campground.
[image]

I did not shoot a lot of birds with my camera on this trip, but we did run across this yellow swallowtail getting a drink in the wet sand.
[image]

This trip took us to the south central part of South Dakota. I think our next trip will be to the north eastern part. Stay tuned!

Black'95

South Dakota

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Posted: 08/03/20 08:14pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

This week we visited another state campground that we have never been to yet, Hartford Beach State Park.


This park is as far east as you can get in South Dakota. The other side of the lake is Minnesota.
[image]

Again my wife chose a great campsite that had a lot of shade.
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I had a great time around the lake taking pictures. Even got to use my walking stick as a monopod.
[image]

My wife enjoyed the shore and hiking on the trails that were wide enough to walk two abreast.
[image]

The whole area where we camped reminded us a lot of Sica Hollow State Park in South Dakota with its abundance of greenery and springs coming out of the ground.
[image]

This is Equisetum, also known as “scouring rush” or “horsetail.” It grows wherever there is a lot of water.
[image]

You can’t start the morning without a good cup of “campground” coffee. I boil the water over the campfire and pour it through an old fashioned drip-o-lator that I got at the nearly new store.
[image]

One of the pools along the hiking trail had “water strider” bugs in it. The actual bug is to the left of the oval shadows. The shadows are made by the dipping down of the water’s surface tension. The little white spots are where his legs are actually pressing into the water.
[image]
[image]

Blue damsel flies and dragon flies were abundant. While we were watching a beautiful dragon fly on the grass of the shore, a leopard frog leaped at him. Not sure how the dragon fly got away, but he was almost frog dinner. Neither Nancy or I had ever seen something like that before. I would have loved to have gotten that shot with my camera.
[image]

When we walked close to shore, the ground literally moved with frogs jumping all over the place. It almost made you dizzy.
[image]

We spotted many caterpillars all along the trail.
[image]

This Monarch butterfly posed for me while I shot him from many different angles.
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On the trails we saw a lot of dead trees with all kinds of woodpecker holes.
[image]

After talking to some of the park staff we learned that there were pileated woodpeckers in the area. This is about the farthest west they are found in our state. Not having ever seen one before, we started looking for them.
[image]

The pileated woodpeckers were quite elusive, but I did manage to get a rather fuzzy shot of one off at a great distance. I think I was lucky even getting this good of a shot.
[image]

This is what they look like with a clear picture.
[image]

On the way home the dead tree two miles east of Roscoe was loaded with cormorants.
[image]

J herb

So. Oregon

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Posted: 08/04/20 07:48am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

HI Mike,
Nice camp and great photos,I always enjoy your adventures, nice to see you getting out and enjoying your retirement.

We normally do our camping from March to mid May than mid Sept to Nov. With the van we will start doing some camping in the winter when the weather takes a break and we have the camping to ourselves.

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