Murdo Girl…The road trip…now and then

We all made it through the night in pretty good shape, considering how quickly we had thrown things together to move to a motel. We didn’t want to linger long in our cramped quarters this morning, so we quickly got ready, took the dogs for a walk, grabbed some coffee from the motel office and headed for Nemo. We left the cat in our room, after the lady in the office assured us that no one would open the door. I don’t think Dollie would run out if given the opportunity, but we didn’t want to take any chances.

In my early Murdo Girl stories I wrote a lot about my Grandpa Sanderson’s cabin near Nemo in the Black Hills. The times I got to go there with Grandma and Grandpa are among my most cherished childhood memories. I was excited to go there this morning.

Grandpa had a ninety-nine year lease, so when he passed away, the cabin and outbuildings had to be torn down. Even without the cabin there, I wanted to see the place where it had been. Surely walking through the trees covering the hills above the cabin would take me back to those fun-filled days I spent hiding behind the moss-covered boulders while playing cowboys and Indians. My cousins and I would peek around a tree or huge rock before shooting the enemy. I can still feel what it was like to walk with pine cones and pine needles under my feet.

I was also hoping to see the creek down the hill from the cabin. I spent many warm summer days playing in the clear, cold stream.

Kip put Nemo in the GPS and we headed that way. I asked him to tell me when we were exactly two miles from Nemo. We would be turning into the road Grandpa drove up to get to the cabin when the creek was too high for him to drive in by means of the road that went right through the shallow water.

Sure enough, right at the two-mile point, I saw the road. Kip pulled in and drove up the hill until we came to a fence, which we crawled under, and then continued up the hill.


As soon as we rounded this corner, I saw the road to the cabin.



Kip: Are you sure this is the road? It seems pretty steep and you didn’t tell me it was this far.

Me: Yes, I’m sure…Grandpa had to really gun his old Ford to make it up here.

Me again: You’ll see where the cabin was as soon as you top that little hill. See this boulder behind me? I remember it. It hasn’t changed…at all.

After I took pictures and reminisced about all the good times I had there, we went back down the hill Grandpa had driven up countless times. I turned around and looked one last time before we got in the car to drive on to Nemo. We had gone about half a mile when I saw this:

Me: Do you know what, Kip? I was wrong. This is the road to the cabin. It’s funny… I remember it being steeper and longer, but this is the road.


This is a picture of the cabin site from the creek side. The cabin was to the right of the narrow clearing. The 2nd road we found was to the left.



From Nemo, we drove on to Deadwood and stopped at Lee St. Station for lunch. My cousin Blake Haverberg and his wife, Melanie, own the beautiful Martin Mason Hotel, Lee St. Station, and The Wooden Nickel Casino.

We were so excited that we got to spend some time with Blake and Melanie. Their son, Chase, took our picture.

The Martin Mason…It took twelve years for Blake and Melanie to completely renovate this historical building.


Lead, SD…home of the Home Stake mine

Bobcat tracks on the road that didn’t go to the cabin

And so ends another great day on the road!

17 thoughts on “Murdo Girl…The road trip…now and then

  1. Bobby of Michigan August 22, 2017 / 9:50 am

    Roubaix Dam (Robay ) build in the 1930s by the men at the Nemo CCC camp

    Liked by 1 person

  2. sanjuan831 August 19, 2017 / 3:06 pm

    Red Iron Lake? I googled it but cannot recall any lakes Grandpa fished.


  3. scoper07 August 19, 2017 / 2:19 pm

    Your pictures depicted a wonderful summer day in the hills. How nice. Glad you are enjoying places of yore!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Patti August 19, 2017 / 11:41 am

    I don’t remember any lakes that began with R. I remember Legion Lake, Pactola, and Lake Sheridan. Sylvan was the prettiest, though.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. sanjuan831 August 19, 2017 / 10:02 am

    This brought tears naturally. So happy you went to the cabin site. Did you get to get out and see if the creek was flowing? Remember when that Nemo store/restaurant was the 4 T guest ranch? I was thrilled when I saw you at Lee Street Station and visiting Blake and Melanie. That one picture was of Grandpa’s favorite museum – right?
    Judy is right! Lots of us watching your back, but I get distracted easily. This was marvelous. Looked like a gorgeous day there.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Mary Francis McNinch August 19, 2017 / 11:20 am

      Can’t wait to see George’s nostrils. We spent all day at Spearfish Canyon. Such a beautiful day. I want to go to Custer State Park and see Sylvan Lake. What was the name of that other lake GS started with an R.

      Liked by 2 people

  6. lifelessons August 18, 2017 / 11:54 pm

    So, did you go up the correct road to the cabin and if so, did you take a photo of the site? Your dogs always look so well-groomed, even when bushwhacking!!!

    Liked by 1 person

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