Tuesday, August 25, 2009

You're getting sleepy... so sleepy...

Just keep your eyes on the watch and relax... you are getting sleepy... and now we are going to go back in time a couple of weeks... when I clap my hands you will awake refreshed and you will not remember anything...
tick tock tick tock

Well, before we left Sidnaw this last time we did a little extra washing of the windows, sweeping of the floor and mowing of the lawn.
Heck. I even picked my socks up off the floor.

Then we had a fella come put this sign in the yard:

(Click on picture for the link)

We got big plans I tell ya!
Big ones...
Dunno what they are yet but they are goona be big!

The three of us then jumped in the camper and headed West!

'Made up my mind to make a new start, Going to California with an aching in my heart. Someone told me there's a girl out there With love in her eyes and flowers in her hair.'

Actually there is MY girl out there with my Grandson in her tummy....
She has love in her eyes... but no flowers in her hair.
Well, not today anyway.

Heading to California.

David has traveled around quite a bit but I have not really until the last few years. Here is a pretty shot of North Dakota. The northern part is not quite as flat... rolling plains I believe it is called. Very pretty this time of year.

But there are long long long stretches of lonely road.

Pretty hardy people have tried to make a go of it out in those areas. They apparently have a sense of humor as well...

Yes. That says "HOME ON THE RANGE".

It was out in the middle of somewhere... no houses around... but you can see it clearly from the highway. If anyone tells you America is overcrowded they have not driven through the middle of this country.

I have to admit it has been wonderful driving around the country even if most of it is going by in the window at about 60 mph. The older I get, the more I am beginning to appreciate the history of this country... young as it is... and while traveling east and through the middle you literally trip over places you have read about in your grade school history book or saw in a John Wayne movie.

On this trip out we really had a focus of getting to California as I was worried we were going to miss my grandson being born. The docs said he might be a week or two early so we decided not to dilly dally along the way. However, I had one place in particular I wanted to see on this trip and that was the Little Big Horn Battlefield in Montana. We had driven past it once before on a trip... actually right through the battlefield and Wounded Knee. I want to see both places but on the earlier trip we were too far in the middle of both to detour either way. I told myself if we ever go that direction again I would stop... and so we did this time.

The night before we made it to the Little Big Horn we stopped at a park in North Dakota. It was the Fort Abraham Lincoln State Park and it was a wonderful park. Little did we know... and this was completely unplanned... this just happened to be the last posting of General Custer and the 7th Cavalry before they rode out towards Montana and the Little Big Horn.

The Fort is maintained very well and sits along the Missouri river. The barracks and stables are there and have been redone as well as Custer's home as you can see below.

We arrived early enough to walk up towards the museum and enjoyed another surprise tour. Approximately 200 years BEFORE this was a Fort, this was the site of a Mandan village translated as "On-a-Slant" village. It is obvious why it is called that because it is on a slope of the river and used to go all the way down to the banks. The village was abandoned after a large mudslide destroyed many of the homes and a smallpox epidemic nearly wiped the entire village out. The surviving people moved to what was later known as Fort Mandan... one of Lewis and Clark's stops along their route. I have to give North Dakota some props because this was one of the nicest state parks we have stayed in... not only was the park well designed but the museum and restoration of BOTH the 7th Calvalry's section and the "On-a-Slant" section were very well done.

We had a great tour through the "On-a-Slant" village with a wonderful guide. This was a typical home of the "On-a-Slant" Mandan (Nu'eta) villagers.. it is larger than it seems as I can stand up in the entrance way just fine. When you first walk in there is a wall or partition facing you which forces you to move right into the building. In the center there was the fire pit (hole in ceiling for ventilation) and in the edges were the bedding areas and storage areas. Because the kids liked to play on the roofs, the smoke hole would be covered with the family boat so the kids would not fall in to the fire through the ceiling. Good thinkin'.

This photo below was taken in the 'meeting hall' if you will of the tribe. It was the largest of the buildings and was used for tribe meetings, trading, etc. A town hall. The Mandans were an agricultural tribe and traded with the more nomadic tribes surrounding them, including the Sioux. In this picture below you can see people sitting on the benches... there were 5 or 6 rows of benches around that center area and the benches went back 6 or 7 deep at least.

The park has recreated a small section of the village but the guide pointed out numerous indentations where other homes were and they estimate this village had a population of between 1,000-1,500 people.

Pretty cool and what a surprise tie in to both our last trip
(Lewis & Clark - Jefferson)
and this trip
(Little Big Horn - Last posting for Custer et al).


So on to the Little Big Horn.

The Little Big Horn Battlefield is right smack in the middle of the Crow Agency Reservation along the Little Big Horn river.

Back in the day, June 25, 1876, a whole mess of different tribes of natives were camped there along the Big Horn having a rather unusual sized gathering. They were their with wives, children, grandparents... everyone. And along comes the army with plans to ... lets be honest... kill as many as they could and then send the rest back to the reservations.

On this particular day, that was a mistake...

Despite the native army scouts warning that there were more Indians there than they themselves had ever seen in one spot... Custer et al ordered the charge. You know the rest of the story. No matter the political agenda on either side... soldiers following orders or the natives protecting their families... this was a running battlefield and it was touching. There are markers where the men fell...
I must note...

There are markers where the soldiers fell, there was no native memorial on this site until a couple years ago. Yes... I said a couple years ago. The newly completed memorial is very fitting and I am glad to see it there sitting across the street from "Custer Hill".

Custer Hill is where a majority of Custer's command fell... including Custer himself.

It is hard to see in the photo below but there are white markers in bunches... or alone... where soldiers died while trying to retreat. While taking this photo I am standing on the edge of the Custer Hill site looking back towards Little Big Horn river where the natives were camped.

I turned around and you can see the native memorial pictured below:

The native memorial was circular, cut down into the earth, with openings at the four directional sides, and plaques on the wall for each of the tribes and bands involved in the battle. Quotes, names of warriors, and scouts who died, photos, and drawings were included. I particularly like the sculpture you see of the warriors riding into battle. It looks like the ledger book drawings and the warrior at one end is being handed a war shield by a woman... wife , daughter, mother.. no matter which. It reminds you that there were native families camped on this bank... not a standing army ready for battle.

It was a very good visit, and the museum is well done too. Small but well done. Many of the ranger folks are local native college students which is helping to balance out the memorial nicely.

Then... we scooted out... past the zillions of tourists (if you go prepare for that) and headed westward again.

Flew past the eye of Sauron:

Oops.. wrong picture....
I repeat we ran past the eye of Sauron:

and made it safely into Idaho. We camped in the lava beds near the Snake River at Massacre Rock. Good grief it was hot. Almost 98 degrees. ::chuckle::

Then we drove on through the backside of Oregon... through Burns and down to Goose Lake, and rolled into California several days earlier than planned. In plenty of time for Amber's shower and before Mr. Donovan showed up.

I do have to report two rather unpleasant things that occurred after our arrival at our destination in California. First... I caught one of my sister being mean to Delta. Pushing her down. Bully.

and the other was that David and I renewed our relationship with this rather unpleasant beast:

Note the red color.. pretty eh?
Hell no. it's not!
That is poison oak and and we both caught it.
Real nice to have in 100 degree weather. DANG.

There... you are fully awake. Now isn't that better?
You are back in the present...
feeling fine and groovy
and not even irritated at the length of this post in the least bit.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Smitten Kitten

Wow... he is taking this place by storm! He likes to hang out with Great Grandpa Richard. I am truly smitten. Will catch y'all up on the trip soon.

Monday, August 17, 2009


I had been working away on my latest post to update folks on our quick trip out to California from Michigan but before I could complete it we had a not so much of a surprise arrival.

I will add that post later but right now this one trumps in spades.

As of Sunday, August 16, 2009 at 1:46 p.m.
we have a new family member.

Please join us in welcoming

Donovan Chance Huggins

8 lbs, 4 oz, 21 inches long

Here he is with his tired mother. She did VERY well and true to her... she did not make a peep during the whole thing. My Dad... or I guess I should now say Great-Poppa said she "Injuned up" and got down to business! She was in labor for several hours but when it came time to push... that lasted about an hour and like I said she was silent. The doc even asked me if she was normally so quiet.

Heh heh. I think Dad was right.

I think the doc was a little concerned. Just for info, Amber is not really quiet she has plenty to say when it needs to be said... believe me.

And here is the proud Daddy Kevin. For those who don't know Kevin he has lived around this area for awhile and currently works as a security guard out front of a chain grocery store in a town north of where they live. He has been in security for awhile and enjoys it... has eyes on working in corrections possibly some day. He is quiet like Amber but when I turned to him and asked what he thought about his son... he did not take his eyes off him, smiled and simply said,

"He's amazing."

and here I am... hogging my my grandson Donovan and sitting next to the proud Daddy Kevin. He was taking a picture of Amber I think who was crashed out exhausted.

Oh my... what a boy...

and look how good he listens to Granny telling him stories! Amber's Dad Fred and his wife Tina came to visit later that evening. They have a couple younger ones themselves (16-18 months and another one 10 years old I believe) and even so, her Dad said he was going to take that boy home with him when he left. He just loves the babies. That side of the fam is spread out far and wide but they have been sending lots of love Amber's way and will be visiting asap. Donovan has more great grandparents, Aunties, Uncles, cousins etc., to visit when everyone can connect.

And now some Great Grandparents...

and of course some Aunties squared:

All unwrapped.... He has his momma's eyes.

Isn't it amazing how you can truly fall in love at first sight...

I fell in love with him like I fell in love with his mother.
Blammo!! and I was smitten. We all are.

Congratulations Amber and Kevin...
and welcome to the world my sweet little man,
we have been waiting for you!

and now... commence with the spoiling!


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