Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Greetings from Montana!!!

Well, last year we all became a little spoiled with hotel rooms and wi-fi Internet each night during our trip out to Montana. This year, however, there was no such risk as we camped the whole way out and usually did not even have cell phone reception at night. I will include a synopsis of our journey here, and then every 3-5 days, should be able to add to the blog.

Day 1, June 29: We left Cincinnati, a little later than planned, but had beautiful weather for the entire day. Indiana and Illinois were just as flat as last year, but we were able to see first-hand some of the flood damage across both states, and particularly in Iowa where thousands of people have been forced from their homes and businesses. We ate dinner in Iowa City, home of the U. of Iowa, and the damage was profound. We camped in Rock Creek State Park just north of Kellogg. It was a beautiful park with great camping facilities...I highly recommend it. Remember to ask the rangers about a discount for student groups...

Day 2, June 30: Up and at 'em at 6:00 a.m. and on the road by 7:00. A quick breakfast at McDonald's and on the road again. Another beautiful day for traveling. We bypassed our annual stop at Cabela's and the Corn Palace in Mitchell, South Dakota in order to make better distance for the day. We ended up at The Badlands National Park and camped in the middle of bison country. We have some great photos of our encounter from the car, but did not get photos from camp on the morning of Day 3 when the bison were within 200 yards of our tents.

Day 3, July 1: Up at 5:00 a.m. for one of the most gorgeous sunrises imaginable. We were supposed to be up at 6, but some of our phones are having problems deciding whether we're in Mountain Time or Central Time. On the road by 6:30 and a stop for breakfast in the world's largest tourist trap, Wall Drug. The food was great, and Lauren, Ian, Mac and Sara all contributed to the revenue of the local knife seller. We made great time and ended up at the Mother's Day Site in Montana by 5:00 p.m., just in time for our first wind/rain/lightning storm of the season. No injuries to our crew, but two tents did receive some moderate damage (sorry Ian and Craig). Repairs were made quickly and Sara started on making our first field-cooked meal of the season, Chicken Parmigiana. Believe it or not, it is possible to cook frozen chicken in the field. Dr. Storrs examined the quarry for any signs of damage or looting, and everything was just as we had left it last summer. After a typical Montana sunset (i.e., beautiful) we all settled down for our first night in the field.

Day 4, July 2: I'm typing to you from the YBRA right now. Lauren, Ian, Craig and I came over to pick up some of our gear from last year (and catch a quick shower) while Dr. Storrs, Mac and Sara headed off to meet with one of the locals who has arranged for us to do some prospecting on some ranches in the area. After I finish typing this up, it's back to the camp and haul gear up to the dig site. I will probably be able to add my next post on Sunday after picking up our first group from the airport. Until then....

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