Category Archives: Travel

Rapid City Mission Trip – Day 3

I woke up Wednesday morning and it was the first night I got something that resembled sleep. My hair was starting to look greasy as the ice cold shower wasn’t being 100% effective in washing out the travel shampoo-conditioner combo I had brought on the trip.

We got up and went to Black Hills Works. What had been awkward on the first day was now becoming routine. I knew the names of most of the clients and how to communicate with them.

It was the first day that I made a connection with Amy. Amy was one of my favorite clients because I think she has the system worked out. Amy spends most of her day in the fitness center. In the fitness center is one massage chair. Amy monopolizes that chair.

I also had a good conversation with Mike in one of the learning centers and helped with BINGO in the other learning center. I also played lots of War and Go Fish and UNO Attack and Yahtzee.

When we went to the shower site I went down to the basement shower with I think his name was Ken. I freely admit that one of my biggest weaknesses is learning the names of the other adults from the other church’s. It was either Ken or Steve. I know the Pastor from one of the other churches was named Tom because I had a couple long conversations with him. I had a long conversation with Ken or Steve as well, but I just can’t pull the trigger on his name.

The only thing I can remember about the other adults is that the kids in our church were convinced that a couple of the other adults were having extramaritals. I don’t believe that they were, but I didn’t put much effort into trying to convince them otherwise. This usually throws gasoline on the high school imaginations. Best to let those embers rest.

As Ken/Steve and I were waiting for the kids to finish up there showers so that we could enjoy the mountain stream that was the shower, a guy came walking down our hallway wearing a raccoon tail. Not a raccoon hat. A raccoon tail. Coming from his backside. He tried to go into the youth shower but we stopped him and let him know that there were kids in there and he would have to wait.

When our last youth came out of the showers, Ken/Steve and I went into the locker room and got ready for the shower. Raccoon Tail followed us in and then just sat in the locker room staring at his phone.

When I got out of the shower, he was still just sitting there. Staring at his phone. I never feared for my safety, but man was it creepy. I hoped I wouldn’t see Raccoon Tail again.

That night our cultural event was going to the Club for Boys and learning to dance with the Lakota. I can tell you that this was a tremendous workout. I must have sweat out about a gallon and my quads were on fire by the end of the night.

Despite Wyatt ratting us out, I still took the group to Armadillo’s for ice cream and our Church Time. This is always a light Church Time. With the set up at Armadillo’s it is difficult to communicate as a group. Jaxon wanted to run Church Time, so I let him. We went around and shared our favorite part of the trip so far.

Then we announced that anybody that we were going to take an early morning trip to Dinosaur Park. Anybody that wanted to go needed to be awake by 6 AM.

Here are some pictures from the day:


Rapid City Mission Trip - 2019

Rapid City Mission Trip - 2019

Rapid City Mission Trip - 2019

Rapid City Mission Trip - 2019

Rapid City Mission Trip - 2019

Rapid City Mission Trip - 2019

Rapid City Mission Trip - 2019

Rapid City Mission Trip - 2019

Rapid City Mission Trip - 2019

Rapid City Mission Trip - 2019

Rapid City Mission Trip - 2019

Rapid City Mission Trip - 2019

Rapid City Mission Trip - 2019

Rapid City Mission Trip - 2019

Rapid City Mission Trip - 2019

Rapid City Mission Trip - 2019

Rapid City Mission Trip - 2019

Rapid City Mission Trip - 2019

Rapid City Mission Trip - 2019

Rapid City Mission Trip - 2019

Rapid City Mission Trip - 2019

Rapid City Mission Trip - 2019

Rapid City Mission Trip - 2019

Rapid City Mission Trip - 2019

Rapid City Mission Trip - 2019

Rapid City Mission Trip - 2019

Rapid City Mission Trip - 2019

Rapid City Mission Trip - 2019

Rapid City Mission Trip - 2019

Rapid City Mission Trip - 2019

Rapid City Mission Trip - 2019

The pictures with the potato dancers was a contest. I think Andy and I finished just out of the medal stand. Kyle and Autumn finished second, but they were bested by experienced potato dancers, so I consider them to be the winners.

+++++++

Here is your reminder that this week’s WEEKLY PHOTO CHALLENGE theme is ROAD TRIP:


WEEK 199 - ROAD TRIP
ROAD TRIP

A ROAD TRIP photo is any photo you take on a ROAD TRIP or preparations you make for a ROAD TRIP.

Happy photo harvesting!

Rapid City Mission Trip – Day 2

I should start this day by saying Happy Independence Day! Our country has seen much better days than right now, but I still believe that our best days our head of us. You know, a day when we aren’t locking children in cages and our “leaders” aren’t bowing down and licking the boots of dictators and getting literally, nothing in exchange for it.

On Tuesday morning, I woke up and got just a tad bit more sleep than the night before. I skipped the morning walk and tried to get caught up on some of my social media duties.

Our day at the worksite went much better than on Monday. It was much easier after the breaking ice on Monday. We had established relationships and now had an idea of how things worked at Black Hills Works.

I met a client named Shad. He is big into virtual reality and we talked computers for a long time. I also made a client named John. John wore a hat and shirt advertising his coffee shop. He badly wanted us to come to his coffee shop when he was working, but it was Friday and we were going to be long gone, back to the Cyclone State. I loathe few things more in this world than coffee, but I was sad that we never got to see his coffee shop. Maybe if I ever make it back to Rapid City I’ll try to make it there.

I spent good portions of the day playing Go Fish and Uno Attack. It was a good day. If most of the clients didn’t leave at 2:30, I might’ve been sad to go. I certainly wasn’t looking forward to the showers.

On Sunday night, Site Director told us that there was no hot water in the showers. This made no sense because we were showering at the South Dakota School of Mines. On Monday I had prepared myself mentally for the cold water shower, but it was so much colder than I expected.

The water in the showers wasn’t just cold, it must have been piped in from the coldest mountain stream in the Black Hills. It was painful when it hit your skin. You definitely hit a high note that you didn’t know you voice box could make that icy water hit a patch of skin that hadn’t been numbed yet.

When our group left the shower, Andy announced that we going to Armadillo’s, a nearby ice cream parlor to scout it out. We were going to take the entire group there for Church Time on Wednesday night, but if it was garbage, we would look elsewhere.

Andy explained to the van that this was a secret mission. NOBODY was to know about it. That NOBODY especially included Andy’s son and daughter. Everybody in the van agreed to the terms of the deal.

We got our ice cream, (I got a delicious baklava shake) and ate it in the pure joy one has when eating ice cream after a good day’s work and having endured an ice cold shower.

We arrived back at the church, thinking that our clandestine operation had been a success. However, when we walked in the door the Site Director greeted us with a:

“So you went to Armadillo’s?”

We tried to play it cool, but he let us know that the secret was already out. Andy and I went into the church a couple of minutes after the youth, but that was hardly enough time for them to rat us out.

Jentry filled us in later about how the rest of the crew found out about Operation Armadillo.

When Jentry had walked into the basement of the church he had been confronted by a gaggle of angry Methodists accusing our group of getting ice cream without them. Jentry, to his credit, tried to play it cool. He said we were late because Humble Narrator had taken a long shower. There was some truth in this fact. I was the last one to get out of the shower.

However, Jentry had walked into a trap. They already had the receipts. Wyatt had put the whole thing on his Snapchat story. Our armadillo was cooked.

I tried to quell the outrage by letting everybody know that they could get ice cream that night. Our cultural activity was an option night and we were opting to go to Mount Rushmore. At Mount Rushmore they sell ice cream. They even sell Thomas Jefferson’s original recipe for vanilla ice cream. Although, I’m sure it was actually a slave’s recipe and he took credit for it.

That night was Taco Tuesday, which is the best meal of the week. However, the roaster they were using to warm the taco meat up was busted, so the meal got delayed about 30 minutes. Next up was The Gathering. When that concluded we went to Mount Rushmore and had our Church Time there.

We got there pretty late, so we really just go to see it. Have our Church Time and then watch the abbreviated “Light Show”. I can say that the kids were way more impressed with Mount Rushmore than I even expected.

I didn’t take many pictures on Thursday. I thought I would take more at Mount Rushmore than I did, but it was crazy busy and we had some middle schooler drama earlier on the day, so I was watching the middle schoolers like a hawk. I was pretty sure our high schoolers could handle themselves.

Here are some pictures from the day. You will note, no pictures from Operation Armadillo:


Rapid City Mission Trip - 2019

Rapid City Mission Trip - 2019

Rapid City Mission Trip - 2019
Waiting for tacos!

Rapid City Mission Trip - 2019
Megan and Anna’s signature pose.

Rapid City Mission Trip - 2019
A dice game that is supposed to be a metaphor for faith.

Rapid City Mission Trip - 2019

Rapid City Mission Trip - 2019

Rapid City Mission Trip - 2019
Dono and Anna

Rapid City Mission Trip - 2019
The guy in blue on the right is thinking about photobombing.

Rapid City Mission Trip - 2019
Church Time!

Rapid City Mission Trip - 2019
Church Time!

Rapid City Mission Trip - 2019

Rapid City Mission Trip - 2019

Rapid City Mission Trip - 2019

Rapid City Mission Trip - 2019

After a fairly scary drive back down the mountain I was able to crash fairly quickly. Maybe this was the night I got some sleep.

Rapid City Mission Trip – Day 1

Mission Trip Day 1 started with a 6 AM walk around Rapid City. This is a Mission Trip tradition started by Andy. He takes people out for a 6 AM walk every day of the mission trip. I don’t join every day, but I usually join a couple times during the mission trip.

The church we were staying at was in downtown Rapid City and walking around that area, I loved the Rapid City downtown area. They have statues of all the president on their street corners. There are plenty of local businesses, but perhaps my favorite part of the the downtown area is the “Art Alley” where people are allowed to put graffiti, during designated areas, if you have a permit. I admit that all these things are the antithesis of graffiti. Kind of like a Republican claiming to be punk rock, but that being putting aside, it was a pretty cool alley.

At about 9 AM I headed to my worksite with my group. I don’t even remember the name of my group, which is rare, but as the official “trip leader” this year, I decided to dial down the amount of trash I talked to other groups. My group consisted of Andy, Megan, Anna, Jentry, Wyatt, and Noah.

We were assigned to work at Black Hills Works. This is an organization that works with people with physical and mental disabilities. We worked it what was essentially their day care program. They have a ton of other programs, but this is the one where we worked.

This was not physically demanding work, but boy was it hard. I split my time among 3 rooms. 2 learning centers and a fitness center. Our job was to interact and assist the clients.

That could mean anything from playing games with them or talking to them or taking them on a walk or helping them with an iPad or taking them for a bike ride or doing crafts with them or just doing a puzzle next to them.

The first day was hard. The first day was a lot of figuring out how to best communicate with each client. I don’t think I would be exaggerating to say that most of us or even all of us left the worksite on the first day and thinking, “I don’t know if I can do this for 3 more days.”

Even though, I feel like I made connections with at least a couple of clients.

The evening Monday cultural event was going to Bear Butte. It is a state park near Sturgis. It is a mountain that is considered sacred by the Lakota. We got a lesson on the mountain and then we climbed it.

They split people into 3 groups. 1 group that was going to try to summit the mountain. 1 group that was going to go halfway up the mountain. 1 group that was going to stay at base camp.

I was on the fence on whether I wanted to try to climb the mountain or go halfway. We had 5 adults. 3 of them decided to go for the summit. 1 adult decided to stay at base camp. I decided that we needed 1 adult to be with our group that was going halfway up.

I’m not sure how far I made it up the mountain. One of our kids had trouble breathing, so I went back down the mountain with her.

Even the limited distance I got up the mountain was beautiful. Some day I would like to go back up the mountain. We’ll see if it ever comes back in my sphere of influence.

We are not allowed to take pictures at our worksite, but here are some pictures from the day:


Rapid City Mission Trip - 2019

Rapid City Mission Trip - 2019

Rapid City Mission Trip - 2019

Rapid City Mission Trip - 2019

Rapid City Mission Trip - 2019

Rapid City Mission Trip - 2019

Rapid City Mission Trip - 2019

Rapid City Mission Trip - 2019

Rapid City Mission Trip - 2019
Buffalo!

Rapid City Mission Trip - 2019

Rapid City Mission Trip - 2019

Rapid City Mission Trip - 2019

Rapid City Mission Trip - 2019

Rapid City Mission Trip - 2019

Rapid City Mission Trip - 2019

Rapid City Mission Trip - 2019

Rapid City Mission Trip - 2019

Rapid City Mission Trip - 2019

Rapid City Mission Trip - 2019

Rapid City Mission Trip - 2019

Rapid City Mission Trip - 2019

Rapid City Mission Trip - 2019

Rapid City Mission Trip - 2019

Rapid City Mission Trip - 2019

Rapid City Mission Trip - 2019

Rapid City Mission Trip - 2019

Rapid City Mission Trip - 2019

Rapid City Mission Trip - 2019

Rapid City Mission Trip - 2019

Rapid City Mission Trip - 2019

Rapid City Mission Trip - 2019

After leaving the mountain we returned to the church. We had our worship time and our church time. I had Anna run our Church Time because I wanted to have the seniors have a leadership role on the mission trip.

On Sunday night I got about 45 minutes of sleep. I went to bed on Monday night hoping for a solid 6 hours…

2009-02-24 – Arizona Day 8

The pictures in the folder 2009-02-24/Arizona_Day_8 are from my last day in Arizona after the CMM had wrapped up. I took one last stroll around Satan’s Ashtray and then headed for the airport and back to Iowa. Back to where my new house was sitting there waiting. Waiting to be painted. Waiting for the carpet to be ripped up. Waiting for a person to move in.

Here are some pictures from my last day in Arizona:


Arizona Work Vacation

Arizona Work Vacation

Arizona Work Vacation

Arizona Work Vacation

Arizona Work Vacation

Arizona Work Vacation

Arizona Work Vacation

Arizona Work Vacation

Arizona Work Vacation

Arizona Work Vacation

Arizona Work Vacation

Next Saturday’s walk down memory lane will involve Logan and one of my least favorite things that my church has ever done. I mean until the garbage they pulled on June 2. But that got rectified, so we don’t need to talk about it.

2009-02-04 – Arizona Day 5

The pictures on from the folder 2009-02-04/Arizona Day 5 are from Day 5 of the Arizona Work Vacation. This was the first day I actually had to work on the occasion.

The Computer Mine hosts this event where they invites all of its customers to someplace exotic for a few days to learn more about our product and to learn from many of the industry leaders. This is the only time I’ve ever attended the Computer Mine Meeting, from now on referred to from now on as the CMM.

I didn’t take many pictures on Day 5 because I don’t know that there was a lot to photograph where we were at. We were in a casino in the middle of nowhere Arizona. The casino smelled like Satan’s ashtray. Satan’s ashtray smelled much worse back then because it was before he started vaping. Satan learned that constantly talking about vaping is actually even more annoying that smelling like garbage. That Satan is a tricky one.

On Day 5. In the middle of nowhere Arizona and actually working, there wasn’t much to photograph. So I photographed a few cacti. Have a looksie:


Arizona Work Vacation

Arizona Work Vacation

Arizona Work Vacation

Arizona Work Vacation

Arizona Work Vacation

I’ve never published any of these pictures before, so adding these pictures to the Photography 139 Gallery did not allow me to restore any historic “An Artist’s Notebook” posts.

Next Saturday’s walk down memory lane will involve more Arizona.

2009-02-18 – Arizona Day 4

The pictures in the folder called 2009-02-18/Arizona Day 4 are from my work/vacation to Arizona.

Jesse and I spent the night at his brother’s house. We got up in the morning and ate at a local eatery. Then we visited a National Park called the Casa Grande Ruins. I think later that day we actually had to show up for work and the vacation became work.

Here are some pictures from that day:


Arizona Day 4

Arizona Day 4

Arizona Day 4

Arizona Day 4

Arizona Day 4

Arizona Day 4

Arizona Day 4

Arizona Day 4

Arizona Day 4

Arizona Day 4

Arizona Day 4

Arizona Day 4

Arizona Day 4

Arizona Day 4

Arizona Day 4

By adding these images to the Photography 139 Gallery, I was able to restore the following historic “An Artist’s Notebook” entry to it’s original glory:

Arizona Day 4

Next Saturday’s walk down memory lane will involve even more from my trip to Arizona.

Rodan 139 – Small Church

When Jesse and I went on my pre-birthday road trip to Decorah I packed Rodan139 with me at the thought that I’d be able to crack it out someplace along the road trip.

While Decorah and two waterfalls were the ultimate purpose of the road trip, I also thought that if we were super efficient, we might even be able to hit Pike’s Peak before coming home.

No shocker, we weren’t super efficient. We spent a long time at a Civil War reenactment that we stumbled upon. To further complicate things, it rained almost the entire day and Rodan139 doesn’t leave the nest in rain.

On the way home, we stopped at The Small Church near Festina and Rodan139 got to spread its wings for a few minutes.

Here are a few of the pictures I took:


Drone Photography - Small Church

Drone Photography - Small Church

Drone Photography - Small Church

Drone Photography - Small Church

Drone Photography - Small Church

Drone Photography - Small Church

2009-02-18 – Arizona Day 3

My photo organization for early 2019 is a complete mess. I’m trying to reorganize it a bit on the fly. Today’s collection of images come from the folder 2009-02-18/Arizona_Day_3.

These pictures were taken in Arizona as the vacation part of the trip was starting to wind down and the business part of the trip was getting ready to start up. Lowell and Eric came into town and we met up with them and checked out some more Spring Training.

Here are some pictures:


Arizona Day 3

Arizona Day 3

Arizona Day 3

Arizona Day 3

Arizona Day 3

Arizona Day 3

Arizona Day 3

Arizona Day 3

Arizona Day 3

Arizona Day 3

Arizona Day 3

Arizona Day 3

Arizona Day 3

Arizona Day 3

Arizona Day 3

Arizona Day 3

Arizona Day 3

Arizona Day 3

Arizona Day 3

Arizona Day 3

Arizona Day 3

Arizona Day 3

By adding these pictures to the Photography 139 Gallery, I was able to restore the following historic “An Artist’s Notebook” entry to it’s original glory:

Arizona Day 3 – Part A

Next Saturday’s walk down memory lane will involve more from the trip to Arizona.

2009-02-18 – Arizona Day 2

There are several folders inside the folder called 2009-02-18, so rather than having one of those fifty photo journal entries, I’ve decided to break them down by the subfolder. This subfolder is called ARIZONA_DAY_2.

The pictures in this folder are from when I went to Arizona with Jesse on a trip that was 50% work related and 50% for fun.

Day 2 of the Arizona trip involved checking out the Chicago Cubs Spring Training facility and then hanging out on this weird rock-hill-miniature mountain type thing:


Arizona Day 2

Arizona Day 2

Arizona Day 2

Arizona Day 2

Arizona Day 2

Arizona Day 2

Arizona Day 2

Arizona Day 2

Arizona Day 2

Arizona Day 2

Arizona Day 2

Arizona Day 2

Arizona Day 2

Arizona Day 2

Arizona Day 2

Arizona Day 2

Arizona Day 2

Arizona Day 2

Arizona Day 2

By adding these pictures to the Photography 139 Gallery, I was able to restore the following historic “An Artist’s Notebook” entry to its original glory:

Arizona Day 2

Next Saturday’s walk down memory lane will involve even more of the trip to Arizona.