Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Going On The Road Again

Captain's Log
Stardate Wednesday Morning  August 31, 2011

It's early. I still have a few odds and ends to pack, but the motorcycle is loaded onto the back of the pickup truck and for the most part, I can get anything I forgot at a local store, either on the way or when I get to Truth Or Consequences. I'm headed out today and looking forward to sitting in those fabulous hot spring pools at the Riverbend Hot Springs by Friday.

I have a laptop and will be posting here and there. I have a couple of cameras, a new digital number and my older trusty Nikon S8000. Plenty of photos this time, I promise.

I'll check in when I arrive and get set up in the old RV. In the meantime, take care of each other. Be kind. And practice Peace in your lives. It makes you feel good inside and out. I'll be waving as I drive by, I promise.


Sunday, August 28, 2011

Sunday Morning in Spadoville, Sunrise edition

Sun breaking through the trees in the Spadoville back yard

This is more like it. Cooler weather. High in the mid 70's today, with plenty of sunshine. No plans in particular. Attending a small event this afternoon, otherwise, gathering what I need to bring to New Mexico. I'll be on the road either Tuesday or Wednesday of this week and need to pack a bunch of stuff I'm taking down there.

I plan on being away from Spadoville until late in September. Mrs. Spadoman is flying down and will join me after September 15th. We'll enjoy the hot springs in Truth Or Consequences together and hopefully do a little visiting of friends before we head back North together.

Things have settled down here in Wisconsin now that the recall elections are done. The next big one at stake is next year, when the Democrats will attempt to recall the Republican Governor. So, politics is quiet news these days. Not much to talk about at the early morning table at the Dish and the Spoon Coffee Cafe.

I've been going early in the morning as my days have been filled with errands and projects. I don't have the time to get there and sit for 2-3 hours and meet and greet everyone. There have been some changes at the cafe anyway. Gone is Kelsie. She was a barista there when I first came in the place in March of 2009. She had her last day last week and is moving on to her chosen career. I will miss her.

That leaves Kris and the owners that are still there and know me. The new faces behind the counter take a while to remember names. Starting over, so to speak, at the coffee shop it will be. Now, if I can get them to remember to leave me some head space at the top of my Americano.

I guess I am lucky that is all I have to worry about. There are definitely more pressing things that could and probably should keep me stressed, but I'm not carrying these things today. Maybe the time in the Sweat Lodge yesterday had something to do with that.

In that Lodge, I did remember a couple of blog friends that are going through trying times right now. My friend from Rio Rancho is dealing her husband's loss of his Mother. I send good vibes in that direction. And my friend in Ioway that has just had a spell of miserable luck. I wish her well and send healing energy to both of these friends.

On the project front, I have some Dream Catchers made and will be getting them finished up and sent. I also gathered the materials for making Snowshoes again this year. So, if you want a pair or two, E-mail me and place your orders before the rush. Dream Catchers too. I do sell the Snowshoes, custom made. The Dream Catches are made and sent on an as needed basis.

I will have a laptop with me and internet access in New Mexico. I'll be able to post and keep up. This Summer has had me very busy with virtually no time to visit blogs as often as I'd like. Seems like when the sun sinks down below the horizon in November, much earlier than it does in the Summer months, there's more time to sit around and play in cyberspace. For now, I ask forgiveness for my lack of attention spent looking at your marvelous photographs and reading about your awesome adventures.

I do pay attention though, and am aware of my friends having problems and worries. I send my best to you, whoever you are.

Time to get moving on the day.

Live in Peace

Friday, August 26, 2011

Back Yard Paradise

Haiku My Heart
August 26, 2011

Each week, on Friday, people gather and write haiku. Some with photos, some with events in their lives to describe, some pouring out feelings, both comic and tragic. Some filled with whimsy and others calling out the cold hard facts of life. To read more, or to find out how to participate, please take a look at Rebecca's recuerda mi corazon blog. 

My sister’s back yard
A place to pray, or share space
With Virgin Mary

Earlier this Summer, we went to a family reunion. This was the first time the family has ever done this. There had been gatherings in the past, and often, almost weekly visits to Grandma and Grandpa’s house on Sunday afternoons. But we never had a family reunion. 
This was on my Father’s side of the family. His younger brother and his sister, the baby of their family, my Aunt and Uncle were in attendance. My aunt is in her 80’s, Uncle Joe is 90. All the cousins were there, and most all of their children and their Grandchildren as well. Four generations of the Spado clan.
This event was held in the Chicago area. That’s where I’m from. That’s where I grew up. Most all the family still lives in that area. My brother resides in Arizona and was on his way to Minnesota to visit his wife’s family, so he gets the prize for traveling the farthest distance. I made the trip there for the purpose of attending the reunion. I came in second.
As I often do, I stayed at my sister’s place in the Chicago suburb of Palatine, IL. Her and her husband Bob have owned this house since the late 1960’s I think, at least they owned it in 1970. I stayed with them when I got out of the Army after the Vietnam experience, and that was February of 1970.
Grotto display beneath a huge stand of lilacs

Their back yard is unique in the fact that it is totally unplanned and unlandscaped, and yet it is totally landscaped, and in a very artistic nature I might add. It’s done in a splendid Bohemian style all its own. Pieces of this and that are used to decorate this or that. An old piece of wood, or a line of used bricks, creates distinct areas within the area. Borderless, as there are no fences to speak of on two of the sides, yet the barrier is there and evident in a very unique way.

The artistic decorating style is no style at all, yet very artistic. Click any photo to enlarge the view

One of the focal points of the yard is this old, and therefore large, lilac bush that sits alone in a quadrant of the yard. As the years rolled by, a statue of the Virgin Mary was put there. Other items that came from either purposely buying them or accumulated from what seems like flotsam and jetsam have made the display parklike and certainly artistic in every definition of the word.
These photographs are of the Mary statue. The entire display holds the Crucifix of Jesus Christ, flowers in small planters, a cement patio slab, plaques honoring holy cards of other Saints, an arbor, some cedar lattice and the lilac bush as a backdrop. 

The Cross is made of wood and comes apart as the top slides away from the bottom to reveal a cavity that once held a bottle of holy water, a bottle of anointing oil, candles and a cotton swab. The corpus image of Jesus is pewter. This “special” cross is called a sick call, and used for the sick or dying.  A Catholic Priest using this sick call set would have lit candles any time a Sacrament, like Communion, would be present. The holy water is used to sprinkle the person and remind him or her of their baptism. The bottom of the cross, serves as a tray to hold the items. The image of Christ, in this case in pewter, is stood up in a slot that is revealed when it is slid away from the base.
Stock photo of a sick call in use

Mary dons a veil made from the discarded mesh wrapper of a grocery store box of clementines. Where this comes from and why she is wearing it is not my concern. What I like about it though, is the unassuming way it is used and how natural it seems. It could have been, and probably has been, discarded by most everyone that has purchased a box of the sweet tangerine-like seasonal fruits. Whose wisdom, whose artistic eye, whose ability was stretched into thinking that Mary should be wearing this veil? Surely the item wasn’t bought for the sole purpose of decorating the yard statuary.
Mary and her gauzy veil

Genius. Pure and simple. And as we sat near the sliding patio door next to the portable steel fire pit, complete with roaring blaze, we were in the presence of The Virgin Mother. My Mother lived in this home. My Mother took her faith, with Jesus and his Mother Mary as the focal points of her life for her entire life, and left this world. There is no one that can tell me she didn’t go to the heaven that she prayed for and imagined through her faith.

My sister will too. Her faith is in her yard, wearing a custom made veil, amongst deep purple flowers, with the image of Jesus overlooking the whole neighborhood, protecting his beautiful Mother. She'll have a new statue this year. I plan on bringing her a very colorful depiction from the Southwest of Our Lady of Guadalupe.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Encouraging Thoughts for a Wednesday

A pair of stately Triumphs on a bridge deep in the Ottawa National Forest
Well, I hope you all had time to whip up a couple of Clafoutis with the recipe from the post below this one. I'm doing some cooking today and will make one for dessert. Going blueberry again as it was an instant hit and the blueberries are still in season here. Also making a waldorf salad and a tuna/mac salad that the kids love. I'll round off the BBQ fixins with some beans that I'll doctor up just a bit with some bacon, maple and brown sugar.

We're serving hamburgers, hot dogs and Italian sausage from the grill this evening, along with the above mentioned side dishes. My daughters will be here and the Grandkids will be visiting from their dad's as he is attending a ball game tonight in Minneapolis.

We made some moves on the vehicle front here at Spadoville. Gone is the full size E-150 Ford van. It is replaced by a smaller Ford Windstar minivan of the same vintage. I gained miles per gallon and miles on the odometer, and we're still able to haul all the people when we need to, just less room for cargo and camping gear. No photos yet, but I'm sure there will be plenty as time moves along.

One of the entries in the car show at Rice Lake, WI last weekend

Might have been the car show we stopped at in Rice Lake, WI on the way home last Sunday as I got the fever to buy a newer car. You see, I also bought a small Ford Ranger pickup truck. This is what I'll use to haul my motorcycle back and forth to New Mexico. More miles per gallon savings here. I plan on leaving home on Tuesday the 30th of August and be in Truth Or Consequences by Thursday the 1st of September.

1963 Ford Falcon Station Wagon. A rare classic. I want one!

I'll attend the Chile Festival in Hatch, NM over Labor Day weekend. From there, it's a motorcycle trip North to Taos via Santa Fe. I'll meet some friends for dinner at Maria's before I get to the Kachina Lodge in Taos where I'll be with other Triumph motorcycle riders from all over the country. This is the Western Rally and will include conversation, a meet and greet and rides every day if we want them. The area has some beautiful paved roads, and for those of us with a sense of adventure, the Carson National Forest offers plenty of gravel forest service roads through the mountains.

The pick up truck of my dreams

Last weekend, we attended an adventure riders motorcycle rally in Eagle River, WI. Mrs. Spadoman and I camped out. I rode about 200 miles on Saturday. It was a good time. Some thunder on Saturday night, but the daytime weather was fabulous for any kind of outdoor activity.

One of many gravel roads through the forest in Michigan's UP

I did enjoy a great lunch of chicken and ribs at Char's in the small town of Bruce Crossing in Michigan's Upper Peninsula, the UP.

Map of Michigan's Upper Peninsula, the U.P.

If you're from there, you're called a Yooper. I believe it to be the last wilderness in the lower 48. The forests are vast and sandwiched between the South shore of the Great Lake Superior and the Northern edge of the Great Lake Michigan.

Chicken and BBQ rib special at Char's. The "rock" on the plate was a delicious baked potato

My motorcycle proved very stable and trustworthy on the loose gravel and dirt roads. I'm looking forward to taking it to New Mexico and playing with it this Winter while I'm down there.

More gravel/dirt roads
We didn't win any of the door prizes at the rally, but we were fed a great dinner on Saturday night. Did I mention how beautiful the scenery is up that way?

Camera mounted on my motorcycle's handlebars for this shot

That's the report for today. Pretty busy with a lot of places to be and commitments this week and through the weekend. I'll be around in spurts.


Monday, August 22, 2011


Monday Mystery Tour
August 22, 2011

This week isn't so much a "tour" of traveling, but rather a tour of the pallet.

Just thought I’d post some pictures of the Clafoutis I made last week. They were delicious, and very easy to make. I had seen a photo of a beautiful dessert made from fresh Michigan blueberries that were in season. A friend of mine posted it on her Facebook page. She even posted a link to a blog that had numerous recipes for Clafoutis.
Fresh Peach and Blueberry Clafoutis

By the way, if you are a dummy like me, and you don’t know how to pronounce this word, here is the correct phonetically spelled, hyphenated and accented pronunciation instructions:
Now there, wasn’t that easy? I had never heard of this delicious custardy dessert. When my friend Amy gave me  This Link.
The blog itself, Away To Garden, is great if you are looking for inspiration and topics about all things that pertain to gardening, from preparing the soil and planting the seeds, right on through making something to eat with the harvest and beyond.
The Blueberry Clafoutis close up and personal

This particular recipe comes from Martha Stewart. Other recipes and variations of the Clafoutis batter are listed as well, I made mine with Martha’s basic recipe, but I can see some variations to cut back on sugar and fat. My next batch will use Greek non-fat plain yogurt. I might skimp on the sugar or try a more natural sugar/sweetener. The fruit has plenty of built-in sugar as it is.
I made two. One to devour immediately at home and the other to bring to the motorcycle rally I attended with Mrs. Spadoman over the weekend. I was to meet a friend there and she has a thing for pie. Well, the Clafoutis isn’t really a pie, but it is baked in a large pie pan. So, in my twisted way of thinking, it is a pie, of sorts.
Fresh Michigan Blueberries, YUM!

Besides, as I was schooled, the acronym PIE stands for Pie Is an Excuse. You see, a group of Triumph motorcycle riders meet occasionally for a ride. These rides are called PIE rides. WE ride beautiful back country and scenic area roads in Wisconsin and the neighboring states, and stop and enjoy lunch together. Pie is usually ordered for dessert, but the real reason to do this is to ride our motorcycles. So, Pie Is an Excuse.
Back to the Clafoutis. I made one with all fresh blueberries. The other, I sliced fresh peaches and added blueberries to them and had a combination Peach/Blueberry affair that tasted heavenly.
These drippings added to the aroma in the kitchen while baking

I can see the use of plums, apricots and even strawberries. Any kind of fruit will work I believe. Traditionally, Clafoutis is made with fresh cherries. The Italian prune plums will be in season very soon. I will try one with those as soon as I find some at the market.
Here’s the author's adaptation of the Martha Stewart basic recipe. It’s quite simple:
    ½ cup sugar (reserve 1 Tbsp. to dust baking dish)
    ¾ cup milk
    ¼ cup heavy cream
    3 eggs
    1 teaspoon vanilla extract
    pinch of salt
    2/3 cup all-purpose flour
    In a blender, combine the ingredients, and blend on high for 1 minute, scraping the sides once midway.
    Into a 9-inch glass pie dish or a fluted porcelain tart dish that has been buttered first and dusted with the reserved 1 Tablespoon of sugar, pour half the batter.
    Arrange 3 cups of sliced fruit of your choice in the partly filled pan. Pour on the remaining batter and bake at 350 until the top puffs and starts to turn golden-brown, about 45-60 minutes.
    Note: Everyone’s clafoutis custard is a little different (just as is everyone’s pancake batter or pie crust, though the basics are the same). Martha even has more than one on her site. For example, Mark Bittman, writer for the New York Times’ Food Section Diner’s Journal Blog, recommends ½ cup sugar, 3 eggs, 1/3 cup all-purpose flour, ¾ cup heavy cream OR plain yogurt, 1 teaspoon of vanilla and a pinch of salt). You may like more fruit or more custard on balance. Experiment, and enjoy.

If you make one, let me know how it turned out and how you liked it. If you have been making these for years, let me know that I’ve just arrived in the 21st Century. I won't mind, really, I will never get too old to learn.
I’m glad I happened on this easy to fix recipe. I’m grateful for my friend Amy who is quite an eclectic and resourceful human being. I admire her way of life. She hails from Ashland, WI. We made friends with her when we lived up there. Some friendships have a way of holding on. Even though we moved far away and don’t get to see everyone we knew and hung around with when we get up that way to visit the Great Lake Superior, when we do get to run into Amy, she always has hugs and a great smile to share with us.
I thank her for turning me on to Clafoutis. A quick and easy way to make dessert. Mrs. Spadoman was wondering where the whipped cream was when we cut into the peach blueberry concoction at the picnic table in the campground at the rally. That does sound like a nice touch, or just serve it in a bowl and drench it with ½ and ½. Sorry Mel, it's not gluten free. But I wonder if it would be if you used a gluten free flour? Let me know, will ya Mel?

Friday, August 19, 2011

Floating on a Cloud

Haiku My Heart
August 19, 2011

Haiku My Heart comes to you every Friday from Rebecca's recuerda mi corazon blog. Check it out to see more Haiku from the hearts of fantastic people and find out how to participate yourself.

Soft airy stillness
Gazing with visions of peace
A good way to be
I love to remember to have the good sense to allow my eyes to wander upward and find a sky full of clouds. Any kind will do. The large billowy puffy ones, the dark ones carrying rain, and these, the light ones, spreading out across heaven, bringing me a peaceful feeling.

I stand and stare at them, watch them move, or try to see if they are moving at all. I compare which way the wind where I am is blowing and whether it is the same direction, no direction or all directions.
Today, as I sat outside on this beautiful day, in front of the local Dish and the Spoon Coffee Cafe, I looked at the line of Locust trees in the median that divides Main Street in half. I heard some crows making a racket. As I looked to catch a glimpse of them, I saw clouds like these in the photos. I remembered that I had taken pictures out in South Dakota of clouds like these just a couple of weeks before.

The weather, hot and humid with many days of rain to go along with the heat, held on for a long spell, but changed. And now sunlit days with clouds like these, along with light breezes, have been in the majority. 
I tell you, I can sit for hours and just watch them move, ever so slowly, and change configurations. They look like waves or the small chop on the water from a light breeze.
Mostly, they bring me peace as I am mindful that I am living right here right now. Any strife is over, I don’t know what time will bring. It is now, and I am at peace.

I'm leaving today. I'll be traveling by motorcycle to Eagle River, Wisconsin to attend the Adventure Riders Annual Nationwide Rally. Mrs. Spadoman will be in attendance as well. We will camp out for a couple of nights, eat good food, meet old and new friends and generally have a great time being around motorcycles.
I wish Peace to you, too.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

The Camera is Okay

Peach Clafoutis looks delicious

I’m sitting here trying to think of something witty and interesting to write about. I’m getting nothing. I’ve had many ideas. I could do recipes. I am going to try a new one tomorrow called a Clafoutis. I think it is pronounced Kla-Foo’-Ti, but don’t quote me. There, I got the recipe in anyway with this recipe I got from my good friend Amy up in Ashland. Just click it.

I also thought of doing more spiritual teachings and lessons, things I have learned, things that have helped me out along the road of life. People seem to appreciate it, but  then again, this can be personal stuff and heavy at times. I’m just not in the mood for heavy, I’m thinking light.
Anyway, I’m pretty content these days. I’ve got nothing pressing right away and some traveling in my future. The health has been okay and I fixed my camera. All it needed was a good battery charge. I guess I’ll just give you an update of my mundane every day life’s activities. Here goes:
Today I’ll be on hand at 8 AM when the guy who does the auto detailing comes over to pick up my van. I am having the interior cleaned professionally. He lives not far from me, so he offered to come pick up the van. I’m going to try to sell the van. Getting is detailed is the first step.

After that, I’ll jump on the bike and head to the Dish and the Spoon Cafe for morning coffee. I’ll sit outside and watch the traffic and people wander through my line of vision, maybe converse with a regular or two. I’ll have my usual Double Americano with a dash of ½ and ½. Gonna fit breakfast in there somewhere. Not sure if I’ll opt for oatmeal or a bowl of cereal here at home or go out to the South Fork Cafe for a couple of over-easy eggs with sourdough toast.

Both these establishments are right here on Main Street in River Falls. Good people watching at either place, provided the window seats aren’t taken at the South Fork. By the way, that’s the South Fork of the Kinnickinnic River they’re referring to. The Kinnie rolls right through town, just beyond Main Street to the West.
This will bring me to about 10:00 AM and I’ll return home. Not sure what I’ll do at home, maybe work on a couple of projects I have going on. I need to put the finishing touches on two Dream Catchers and get them in the mail. I also got an order for a pair of Snowshoes. 

Ojibwe style Snowshoes, size large

These Snowshoes will be the large ones, 12” X 60”, and I will do some wood burning artwork. This pair will have Hawk tracks up the sides. I will also hang a complete Hawk foot, or at least the talons, on each at the toe, or something to that effect. I’ll photograph the finished product.
After that, I need to give oldest Grand daughter a ride to a birthday party, or at least to her Dad’s place to get her bicycle so she can ride to the birthday party. The rest of the kids hang out around the house and will play in the yard, ride their bikes and generally enjoy the last couple of weeks of Summer vacation.
As I am told, dinner will be prepared and just needs to be put in the oven. I probably won’t even do this chore as Mrs. Spadoman will have returned from work well before it has to go into the oven. I will have any dishes done and the place somewhat tidied by the time Mrs. Spadoman makes her entrance.

Now tomorrow is a completely different story. I’ll be washing and packing the motorcycle for a trip to Eagle River, WI and the Adventure Riders Annual Rally this weekend. Mrs. Spadoman will follow me in the car and carry all the camping gear. We’ll camp out and I’ll do a couple short dual sport rides. These rallies are a lot of fun. Meet other motorcycle enthusiasts, see the awesome machines. I’m proud to say that there will be many that stop by to have a closer look at my bike.

Writer’s block, and the busy life of a busy man. 

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Sitting Pigeon

Shadow Shot Sunday
August, 14, 2011

Shadow Shots can be seen every weekend at Hey Harriet Photography, a weekly Meme that features contributors from all over the world. To find out how to participate, check out the Hey Harriet Photography Blog.

I'm on the road this weekend, in Milwaukee with Mrs. Spadoman, but I took the laptop. The only problem is my camera either ran out of battery power or it's broken because it isn't working at all! Bummer.

In the meantime, I did find this photo from last Winter while I was down in Truth Or Consequences, New Mexico. It was taken for the sole purpose of being featured here on Hey Harriet's pages as a Shadow Shot submission. I never got around to posting it until today.

The shot was from an early sunlit morning on the patio of the Black Cat Coffeehouse and Books. I had to look twice when I saw this as I wondered if the pigeon was real and roosting there or what. Turned out to be stuffed, but it stumped me for a few minutes as I drank my morning cup o' java. Click once or twice for a close-up view.

I'll be headed back to New Mexico early in September for a few weeks, then return for a longer visit right after Los Dias de Los Muertos, (The Days of the Dead) on November 1st. I have been traveling down there for well over twenty years, but this is the first full year that I have established a residence down there, even if it is just an old RV camper,  and plan on breaking up the cold Northern Wisconsin Winter by spending my time with my motorcycle in the Southwestern USA.

Peace to all

Friday, August 12, 2011

Time To Purify

Haiku My Heart
August 12, 2011

Many thanks to my friend Rebecca for starting this fabulous weekly Haiku My Heart. Today, I know she longs for the tranquil cabin in the Northwoods, but couldn't make the trip. This Haiku is for anyone that needs it, but especially for her. See more Haiku My Heart by going to her recuerda mi corazon blog.

Prayers rise from ashes
Pure healing thoughts sent your way
Sweet smudge aroma

Since the time I realized healing had started in my turmoil filled troubled life, burning sage, or smudging as it is called, has been a part of it. The sage is dried, lit with a match and set afire. The flame is extinguished and the sage is allowed to smolder. Your prayers are put into the sage and the smoke rises upwards to the universe, carrying your prayers to the Great Mystery. The smoke circles you and takes your thoughts beyond the Star Nation to be heard. You are purified and cleansed. Confident that your prayers are heard, you carry on with lightness and ease of mind. Healing has started or maybe continued, for your special purpose, but always for all of humanity. Always for the health and happiness of the people as we are all related.

Today, if you need prayer, take what you need and leave the rest.

Peace and Mitakwe Oyasin

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Wounded Knee 2011

Wild roadside sunflower, Central South Dakota

My Blogger friend Christopher made a comment on a previous post of a poem, written by Stephan Benet', entitled "American Names". The famous line at the end of this poem, also quoted as the title of a book written by American author Dee Brown, "Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee", might be one of the only references to this strange named place in the Southwestern corner of South Dakota on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation. (Note: It's a great book. I recommend it highly)

I've been to Wounded Knee several times in my life. In fact, I've ridden my motorcycle, driven my car and drove commercial trucks all over the state. Christopher claims to not know anyone that has ever been to South Dakota. Well, here you go my friend, pictures and everything you might need for a cyber visit to some very Sacred ground.

Recently, I've just returned from the 2011 Wounded Knee Memorial Motorcycle Run. It was a fun ride, a solemn spiritual ride and quality time spent with friends, both old and new. Just to briefly recap the ride itself, we started from Ft. Yates, North Dakota, and traveled South to Wounded Knee, South Dakota. The ride took two days with most of the actual miles being ridden on Saturday.

Rides like these let people know that there are those of us that remember what happened to them and their people. We acknowledge the atrocity and call attention to the event in hopes that something like this will never happen again. What looks like a bunch of hooligans ripping up pavement on iron horses is actually an honor guard carrying the spirits, survivors in our minds, of a significant event.

In 1890, the 7th Cavalry was dispatched to be on alert for a possible uprising of the people who were gathered to listen and learn about a vision brought East by a man named Wovoka. Wovoka, Jack Wilson, was a Northern Paiute leader from Nevada and had this dream about the Ghost Dance. The Ghost Dance was nothing more than a dream and hope for the people that they could return to the ways of being connected to the land as they were before the Europeans came. They envisioned rich soil covering the Sacred Earth Mother. They saw the buffalo back in numbers and the idea of seasonal hunting  for a larder of food for Winter a reality once again.

Our government, uneasy with things they didn't know about or understand, were on hand to make sure the Indians weren't going to do something illegal, like honor their spirituality and beliefs. There was also the revenge factor. You see, the 7th Cavalry was the same military unit that was defeated soundly at the Battle of the Little Big Horn, known as Custer's last stand.

Push came to shove and a shot was fired. The cavalry opened up and massacred over 150 people. Men, women, children and even some of their own were caught in the cross-fire. Unarmed people, for the most part, were chased into the surrounding hills and shot in the back. Women carrying children were shot and then the child was shot.

These stories have been carried and handed down. We're talking about an event that happened a little more than 100 years ago, so it wasn't that many generations removed from when the slaughter occurred. People gathered, the military sent to keep the peace killed them.

The My Lai Massacre in 1968 Vietnam did see the act of torture, rape and killing of innocent civilians repeated by members of the armed forces of the United States government, so the argument that Wounded Knee was a chance happening, an error if you will, doesn't hold water. War creates animals with animal instincts and animal minds. We must recall and remember, and hold the idea of man's inhumanity to man, in the front of our minds.

The Tribal flags for three Nations; Standing Rock, Cheyenne River and Oglala, imprinted on these memorial arm bands.

The motorcycle ride was to remember these people. Arm bands were handed out with the names of the people that were killed. I rode for two families. The family of Whirlwind Hawk, his wife, three daughters and two sons, and Red Eagle, his wife, Her Black Horses, and their three daughters.
The names of the families on the back.

I also made arm bands and flags to carry the name of a friend, Dave Wilson, who had battled Leukemia and lost just a short time ago. He was one of the motorcycle riders I had spent time with both on the road and in the Sweat Lodge. There is a sort of intimacy that is shared when you pray with someone in a Sweat Lodge. There were five others that knew Dave as well as I did. We all donned the flags and arm bands and carried his spirit to Wounded Knee with us.

I tied one of the black flags on the fence at the Wounded Knee cemetery. Allowing Dave's spirit to rest a while with the spirits there.
A flag for my friend hangs on the fence at Wounded Knee Cemetery along with other memorials that have been placed there over the years.

I can go on and on about this event and others like it from the history of our country. Repetitive, boring, mish mash, beating a dead horse. All these idiom are conjectured when we retell the same story and say the same things. We bow our heads because we know we should. I'll leave it there and move on.

South Dakota is a beautiful place. Years ago, while driving big rigs for a living, I would run end to end of the 400 plus miles across the plains with reckless abandon. I needed to get through South Dakota to travel West, and the quicker I did so, the quicker I got home and drew my pay. I never looked around. I never saw the sights I see today. I never savored the lush plains, the hills and valleys, the buttes and the mighty Missouri River.

SD Hwy 44 bridge across the Mighty Mo

From atop a motorcycle, out in the open air, with a full view of the earth and sky, and in these unusual weather conditions, all was a thing of beauty. Rains over the Summer had everything with a bright green hue. Usually, in August, you could expect brown wheat field stubble and low water levels on the mighty river. Dried up creek beds and hot dry weather. This year, it looked like Spring in August. The temperatures were warm, but not stifling hot, and the winds were light and variable.

We rode from place to place, stopping every so often for gas and a break from sitting in the motorcycle saddle. One of these stops was a place called Bridger. There, we had a small ceremony and an elder spoke to the group of riders before serving us a fantastic lunch in their community center. In Eagle Butte, the end of day one found us in their Pow Wow grounds for another brief presentation.

Rain was threatening, but we held fast. It seems the Seneca nation of New York was in possession of an American flag that was flying at the World Trade Center at the time of the September 11, 2001 attacks. This flag was there at Eagle Butte this day. All the Veterans that were on the ride, including myself, were asked to assist with the unfurling of this gifted flag.

It was 12' by 20', the white was gray, the red a maroon, made this way from the smoke and soot of that fateful day. The Veterans lined up and we unfolded the flag. It was stretched out and held at attention as the drum group played a flag honor song in the lakota language. The flag was then folded by the Veterans in attendance.

The rains came, hard and fast. We barely made it into the community center where a dinner feast was served. It thundered, lightninged, rained and hailed all the while. When the meal was done, the rain had moved on. Our bikes were wet, but we never had to ride in treacherous conditions.

The landscape at Bridger, SD

We made Wounded Knee the next day and the story was told to us by an interpreter that stated very simply that the cultures had clashed and the end result that December day in 1890 was a death toll of over 150 Lakota people.

My Triumph Scrambler, although smaller and less powerful than my old Tiger, ran beautifully. I had no trouble keeping up with the pack. The bike was a comfort to ride. I had it packed for whatever I might run into, but through years of experience, I kept my load light.

A dry bag, used routinely for kayak travel, kept my things dry in any weather
I started for home right after a meal offered to us by our hosts at Wounded Knee. There was a Pow Wow celebration happening in Manderson, but I opted for Martin, SD and the comfort of a motel bed. Sunday and Monday were spent riding through South Dakota, Minnesota and into Wisconsin.

Missouri River

I reflected a lot on this ride. Remembered the Lakota. remembered my friend and remembered one of the reasons why I might be still walking this earth. The Creator has told me many things and given me many teachings. This experience was no exception in the opportunities to learn new things and see nature's beauty.

Next trip is to Milwaukee with Mrs. Spadoman, then to another camping trip to a motorcycle rally in Northeastern Wisconsin. I'll be staying busy.

Peace to all

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Busy Busy Busy

Encampment along the Missouri River at Crow Creek
Thursday morning, August 4, 2011
Quick Update:

I'm up early again and will be leaving soon. Gonna make some miles while it's cool outside. Not sure when I'll return as this trip has no time line. 

Peace to all.

I’m glad I’m up early. I have a lot to do today. My bike has been in the shop for a little cosmetic custom paint. Giving it that retro look with a stripe on the front fender. I have to travel into the big cities with Mrs. Spadoman today when she heads for work so I can get a ride to the paint shop and get the bike.
It is suppose to rain with the forecast saying that thunderstorms are likely. I’ll take my chances and the worst thing that will happen is that I’ll get wet on my ride home. I have to complete this task in the morning because as soon as I get home, I have to go back to Minneapolis for an appointment at the VA. Gonna see the doctor on a follow-up from a previous visit.
From the VA, I go to the airport, which is only a minute from the VA Medical Center, and pick up a stranger from Florida. This fellow bought my other motorcycle on Ebay and he is flying in to finally pick it up. It has been bought and paid for and has spent the last three weeks sitting in my garage.
I’ll bring him back to my house with a stop off at the local River Falls police department where he can get a 30 day temporary license tag, Then, we’ll come home and he’ll ride it away into the sunset.
That should fill my day quite well, but I won’t be finished yet. I have some other parts to install on my motorcycle and I also have to pack for an upcoming six day trip to the Dakotas.
I’ll be participating in the annual Wounded Knee Memorial Motorcycle Ride. A two day affair from Fort Yates, North Dakota down through Eagle Butte to Wounded Knee, South Dakota. A map of the route and the itinerary can be found in the link.
The ride commemorates the mass slaughter at Wounded Knee of men, women and children on December 29, 1890. Read about the basic details of what happened HERE.

Of course Wounded Knee is also the place in history where members of AIM held off the FBI goons in the famous1973 standoff. I am proud to say I personally know AIM leaders Dennis Banks and Clyde Bellecourt, and was a close friend of active AIM leader Dave Wilson.
That's a special reason I have for going. My friend and fellow motorcycle rider, Dave Wilson, passed away a couple of months ago after losing a long battle with Leukemia. Dave was an AIM, American Indian Movement, member and local Twin Cities leader and we rode on many of the Crow Creek Memorial Motorcycle rides together over the years. 

My friend Dave Wilson during the Crow Creek Ride, 2008

I like the idea of the thunderstorms that are forecast as the Thunderbeings that will visit me at this time will have a lot to say. I'm about to embark on a spiritual journey once again and it's always good to have their blessing. They make a lot of noise so the message is loud and clear. The rain they bring will cleanse the roadway, the journey will be on a fresh trail. I'll have these Thunderbeings to thank as they keep me focused as to what the purpose of this trip is all about. When I get wet or hot or have any problem, I'll know it isn't about me at all, but the journey, the spirit of my friend, the spirits of those that died at Wounded Knee in 18900, and those that live and die there still.
Once again, Dave contemplative at the fire, during the first Crow Creek Ride

Since my friend Dave’s email address was Wounded Knee Vet, I knew of his connection with Wounded Knee and involvement with AIM. I made up some black arm bands and the few of us from here and the Crow Creek Longriders that knew him will wear them in his honor. 
I’ll be riding for Dave this year seeing as he can’t make the ride with us.
We’ll get to Wounded Knee on Saturday evening for a program and that will be followed by a feast. From there, I’ll travel home via Northern Nebraska, visiting the sandhill country of Valentine and back through Minnesota via Sioux City, Iowa.
I’ll be getting packed up tomorrow and ready to leave early on Thursday morning. I’ll have to make around 400 miles to Mobridge, SD on that first day. I’ll be riding alone and will take the two lane US Highway 12 across Minnesota and into South Dakota.
Yours truly along a stretch of South Dakota prairie some time ago

I’ll have a camera and will file a full report when I return. Since I’ll be traveling light, I’m thinking I won’t have a computer, so no Haiku or Shadow Shots this week. But I like the weekly Haiku so much I might just write in my head during those long prairie miles and share the results when I return.
In the meantime, take care and be well, all of you. And above all, have Peace in your hearts.