Sunday, July 22, 2012

Too Soon and It Is All Over

It seems like just yesterday when I was putzing around
the house trying to finish packing.

In that time my guineas have had keets,

one of my Australorp hens will have had chicks,

and I will have grown so much.
(Literally and figuratively.  Gee thanks Tom, Becky and Ben)

We boarded our trusty tour bus at six o'early yesterday morning.
Normally this would be sleeping in, but when staying up working
on one's journal for repeated nights in a row ......

Once again our trusty bus driver was Ernie Griffiths.

We headed for The Mammoth Site in Hot Springs.

Ben and I kind of ditched the tour group
and hung back to watch this woman.
 She was so very nice and explained
that she was chasing a theory she'd
developed based in a rock that
she had found in the lower left hand corner
of her work area.  She also uncovered the
large bones that were being protected.

After the tour we had the opportunity to browse around the
exhibit hall and visit the labs.  

Since I had already read every possible word in every exhibit 
with Draven and the Germans (kind of sounds like a rock band), 
I opted to go out in search of the elusive South Dakota cache.

It still eluded me.
All I found were turkey vultures.

 There was also a lot of muggle activity
 that was making it much more difficult.

Yeah, that's it.  I'll blame it on the muggles.

I am proud to announce that I correctly 
identified a member of the Loyal Order of the Water Buffalo.

 This guy had a part in Dances With Wolves.
He also takes part in Civil War re-enactments.
Bet his regiment would pay big bucks for this picture!

Drove on to Custer, but couldn't actually get into Custer
because of the forest fire so we had to approach it from another direction.

I was frantically scrambling to get a picture of 
the helicopter in this field 

only to discover that there were 8 or 10 of them.

We continued through Custer.

I could easily go for a bunch of greenhouses in my backyard!

I wouldn't have minded stopping here ....

 We drove past Crazy Horse, stopping long enough
for a photo opportunity.

Then it was on to Wade's Gold Mill.
 I've spent a lot of time in the Hills and I 
had never heard of this place.

We were given a tour and then panned for gold.

It isn't as easy as it looks.

After touring the gold mine in Lead, 

we checked out the night life in Deadwood.

If teaching doesn't work out .... 

I could run the "Miss T's Sweet Treats" brothel.

A group of us opted to go to the cemetery 
but after it began to rain, only the strongest
choose to go.

After nearly dying on the way up the 136 metal steps,
I was rewarded with a friendship cemented by hysterical laughter.

During the course of this week, I discovered that most
of my GEON-mates don't know the meaning of phallic.

Shari does.  She had no trouble whatsoever
when I pointed out the phallic tombstone.

Upon closer investigation, Shari
noted this:

We were soaked to the skin by the time we got back downtown,
so we did the only logical thing to do.  We ate.
Then we went and bought matching t-shirts.
I was lucky to be part of two GEON groups.
If you are a teacher in Nebraska and are interested, please leave
a comment and I will make sure that you get all the necessary information.
It is well worth the time!

Pine Ridge Reservation

Yesterday was another full day.  
But, then, it always is in GEON.

We left CSC early and headed north to the reservation.
We passed through White Clay on our way to Pine Ridge.
It's claim to fame is the astronomical amount of beer
that they sell to the residents of the reservation.

I have read different figures --
 ranging from 11,000 cans to 13,000 cans DAILY.

That is just mind-boggling to me.

The tribe has filed a $500 million lawsuit against
the four liquor stores on up to the beer distributors.
It will be interesting to see what happens with this
and how long it gets bounced around the 
court system.

Our guide for the day, 

Carol Rempp, warned us 
that we could see people passed out on the sidewalk. 
There were three men, but they weren't passed out but I'm
quite sure they were well on their way.  They were sitting on 
the sidewalk, leaned up against the metal of the liquor store,
with their drinks in their hands.  All three waved.

When we came home, there were several sprawled out ---
obviously out cold.  Many more Lakota were walking, either toward 
or from the liquor store.  Still, every single one waved.

Their faces reflected the hard life and I'd venture to guess
that each one was younger than they appeared.

From there we went to the Red Cloud Indian School.

Upon entering, we noticed that the bricks were engraved with names and years.

Three of us spent almost thirty minutes looking at 
and photographing names and dates on bricks. 
We found as early as 1952 and a current 2012.

Some were simple.

Some were in script.

Some were carved in reverse.

And Marsha graduated the same year I did.

I loved this and I think we should do this at my school.
I'm sure the administration wouldn't mind.

But think about it .... a kid moves into your school
and they are taken out to carve their name and date
into the "community wall".  They would instantly
feel like they were a part of the school.

You can't even tell from a distance ....

From there we went to the gift shop
 and I let the "GEON green flow"
to quote Randy.

I bought postcards for each of my students.
I bought a woven bracelet.
I bought some books.
No wait, that can't be ---
I've taken a vow to not buy any more books!

With that out of the way, I could enjoy 
the 44th annual juried art show. 
 I fell in love with a new art --- ledger art

(image courtesy of

I had a very enjoyable discussion about this
with both Carol and Chris, but not at the same time
and obviously not when this picture was taken.

When the Indians were placed on reservations, those on the Plains
that hunted no longer were able to do so and didn't have access to 
animal hides so they were given ledger books to use.

I could have spent a lot more time in the gallery,
but I was afraid that I was going to miss the cemetery 
if I did so I grudgingly pulled myself away and walked 
up the hill with Lonnie.  We talked about the layout of the 
headstones and the differences in the materials.  

Markers ranged from simple wooden crosses

to Red Cloud's stone marker.

I looked for stories and found a pair of graves 
that were obviously children -
one young boy and one young girl - twins perhaps.

 I took a lot of photos for my final project.
Now I just need to get them organized.

Guess what I'll be doing next week while 
I'm at the leadership conference in Denver?!

We went to Wounded Knee and saw the site
of the mass burial

The one thing that I noticed which Lonnie said was just a coincidence:

EVERYTHING was uphill.
There was supposed to be a geocache there as well, 
but my GPS put me in the middle of the asphalt road.
I really hadn't done my homework on this because I was too
busy doing my "real" homework which irritated me because
I have yet to log a find in South Dakota.
Our next jaunt was to the Badlands.
  I had never been through there before.
It was quite the experience ---
especially at 111 degrees!

Of course we were in an air-conditioned bus,

but sadly the air conditioner quit working
just as it had for GEON 2010!

We were all thrilled to get to the Badlands National Park.

I visited with a gentleman named Conroy Corbin.

He was a sweetheart. 

 And then there was this character.

This is Tom.  He takes care of all the meal prep planning.
I'm trying to convince him to let me help him with this next year.
I explained that I'm an exceptional worker.
I think he laughed.
Can you believe that?!

We took a long time at this museum because no one
wanted to leave the air conditioning.

How would you like to meet this while you were out hiking?
Yeah, me neither!

Wouldn't want to meet this one either!

Chicken?  What chicken?
It wasn't long before Carol was pointing
out our day's journey and showing us
the road we would be taking back to our
rooms in Edna Work Hall.
 We arrived back in Chadron and were on our own for supper
so we checked out the local watering hole 
that is known for their burgers.
This nice young man who plays football for CSC

waited on us and I 
think he was a bit overwhelmed.

We finally called it a night since we had
to be on the bus by 6:00 a.m.