Day 59 – Benjamin White Shoulder

Well, guess who has himself a new sponsor? If you said anybody other than Jack, I’m afraid you guessed wrong. 😦  It is me and the Dowan family has donated motel accomodations between South Dakota and Washington state. Aren’t I the lucky dog?!

Artists rendering of Blake and Ricki

Thank you very much to the Dowan family!!

The weather today was perfect absolutely all day long. The wind seems to be increasing and the humidty decreasing. I will embrace the wind, as the humidity from Missouri still gives me nightmares! Speaking of nightmares, I had my first bad dream since I started walking on May 1st. I dreamt that I was in an elevator and it just dropped. I of course woke up just before crashing at the bottom. I wonder what this means in relation to my walk? Am I out of control?  Probably not, I’m guessing it was my stomach telling me to quit eating gas-station corn-dogs…

Before crossing the Missouri river on the Fort Randall Dam, I was stopped by Benjamin White Shoulder and his mother Arlene. They passed me, backed-up about 1/4 mile, and asked the age old question of “What are you doing”? 🙂 After explaining, we talked a bit about the Pow-Wow, my trip and my planned route to the West. Benjamin was soft spoken but very direct. Before leaving he told me to wait, as he wanted to give me something. I stepped aside while he dug out an item from the back of his car.

Benjamin handed me an arm-band that is worn by the Sioux Sun Dancer during their ceremonies. The Sun Dance is a religious ceremony that can last for 10-days and is steep in tradition. During the ceremony and when they pray, they burn pieces of the sage (attached to the arm band). Benjamin told me that he admired my journey and wanted me to have this article that was worn at the last Sun Dance. If I come across trouble or am in need, I should burn a piece of the sage and pray.

It’s at this time, that I was glad that I had my sunglasses on. This was such an amazing gift, that it was hard to hide emotion. Absolutely priceless and I will never forget Benjamin White Shoulder!

Later, when I was able to connect to the internet, I found out just how rare of a gift this was. Since 1997, non-natives have not been allowed near sacred alters and viewing of the Seven Sacred Rites, which includes the Sun Dance. I am honored beyond words…

As you can probably guess, I had lots of pep in my step for the rest of the day. Since the weather was moderate and not punching me in the face, I decided to try something different. I already have well tanned calves, forearms and neck. Today will be the day where I lose the shirt and begin my tropical tan. Agh…the cool wind was perfect and the sun just didn’t seem to cause a drip of sweat. Could it get any better than this? Nope! In fact…it could go quickly downhill.

A couple hours later I decided to put my shirt back on. This was mainly because I found a place to rest and didn’t want to give the bugs too much skin real-estate to munch on. After resting, I only had about another 10 miles until I reached my next destination of Bonesteel, SD. Shortly before arriving, I started to feel a little tingle under the shirt. Well, that tingle turned into a raging fire that evening!! I was BURNT and as red as a tomato! AGGHHH!  I just know the next 4-5 days is going to suck. Guess I won’t be taking a shower for a bit. 😦

Bonesteel was already sealed up tight for the evening. I checked into the Hertz motel and had some time to pick up some stuff at the convenience store before they closed. The town cafe had a sign on the door letting people know they decided to close at 2pm today. Marge, the motel owner, had actually drove to the next town to have dinner when I arrived. No matter, she just left the key in the door and I was able to walk right in. I love small town America!!


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