As the post title says I made 2 discoveries today and potentially a decision that alters things slightly - I also learned the if you put a plaster and bandage on a hand too tightly it's really difficult to type!!! I know I make a lot of spelling mistakes on a good day - brain works faster than fingers, or is that the other way around? - but today it could be 10 times worse as I can't seem to straighten my hand - I have tried loosening off but for some reason it's still really stiff and not very movable/bendable!!
Decision first and it's not one I am sure I'm going to stick to but I was thinking about the friend I planned on taking with me and I realised he's not done a thing to even attempt to raise any funds - in fact this week he's asked me to pay the deposit on a cottage he's going to in April as he doesn't have any money until he gets paid at the end of the month. I just feel that as he earns 6 times the amount I do, pays half the rent/bills I do and has a company car with his fuel included that maybe he's taking the piss out of me a little bit. I know where I want to travel isn't necessarily where he wants to visit, but he's up for coming with me and sharing the experience so I feel he should make some effort towards a contribution. He's great to travel with in one way as he loves to drive so I could sit back and enjoy the ride but he's also very selfish at times too and thinking back on trips away with him they've been quite stressful at times because of his thoughtlessness towards others - it's his attitude to certain things that are the reason I have to book 2 rooms; sharing with him is a total no-go area (tried that once before vowed never to do it again - even last year when we stayed in a 2 bed cottage he still managed to keep me awake with the TV on loud and commandeered the biggest bed and room for himself even though he knew I was unable to sleep in the room he'd left me with - this was after I had paid for it all). For 5 nights I didn't get a wink of sleep and not once would be give up the room he was in for me so I could at least get a few hours. I keep thinking in the States it will be different. We'll have separate rooms the route and places we visit in non-negotiable which is why I thought he would be good to take along - and also because he has said he would like to come - but I do think he should at least make some effort. I've been asking him for nearly 2 years now to bring back a camera memory card I loaned him which was brand new (I'd never even taken it out of it's wrapping) and when I mentioned it earlier his reply was "you've got one you're using, just delete what you have on that and get on with it". This really pissed me off. Why should I when I bought one so that I didn't have to worry about deleting until I am ready to. The thing is though if he doesn't come with me I am stuck on who would. All my other friends (apart from one) are married with kids so wouldn't come with me. I could ask the other one but he's got no interest in America and I think he would turn me down if I asked. This leaves me with a dilemma. I have a niece would expressed an interest once before but then came up with so many excuses as to why she couldn't come but I have decided if I don't take the selfish guy then my niece will be my back-up. I won't feel quite as safe with just the 2 of us but I'd rather pay for her (her Mum is dead and her Dad an absolute waste of space) than a 'friend' who can't even be bothered to make the effort.
Taking her (niece) with me leads me on nicely to one of my discoveries as I think she would be more than up for it with me - I know the other friend would say "No" without hesitation. I found out that you can visit the Little Bighorn Battlefield on horseback. It's not a cheap thing to do but then what we will save on motels charges (me and her could happily share a room) will cover the costs and give us some spending money if we need it too. There are 2 options (1 of which isn't really that expensive) the other is quite a bit more but you ride in a small group of no more than 4 and you are taken by a Native guide to the main Native sites of the battle which is the part I want to experience rather than following the cheaper option with many more people in the group who follow Custer's route. If I do go with my original friend I'll have to do the cheaper option ($130 as opposed to $670). However, either works well in the long run. I haven't ridden for about 15 years but I'm sure it's not something you really forget - although I remember getting on for the first time having not ridden since I was in my late teens and it shocked me just how high up I was. I always used to say they should not teach you to ride, but how to fall without breaking anything. The things I've had happen to me when out on horses. As a child and through my teenage years I rode most days and only with a saddle if we were out on roads. Thankfully where I live we could ride for hours without ever having to go near a road so I spent most of my rides bareback - you can't beat it. It's also easier to get off if they try to throw you; I got stuck so many times between a saddle and horses neck where the boy I had would just throw when he felt like it and if I tried to bring my leg over his head he'd do all he could to stop me. So many times I rode back with his saddle behind me. At least bareback if I had to get off I could just slide my legs over. Anyway, back to riding through Little Bighorn, I would also go with them when I visit Pine Ridge and Wounded Knee. (I've wanted to visit there since before I was even born) I'd feel safer going with someone who knows the area rather than just turning up and trying to see things for myself; it would also be good for my niece to hear what happened from someone whose ancestors were actually there for we are not taught in our schools about such things. I only know because I read everything I could find in the library when I was younger. I watched every film and documentary I could find - told from the Native person's perspective, not what white Hollywood wanted us to believe. Then along came the internet and a whole world opened up before me. I've made many native friends thanks to it although sadly most of them live in the southern US. I have a couple of friends in South Dakota and on Pine Ridge itself but they are busy with their jobs and I'd want to catch up with them in a social way and not have them play guide. I think when friends play guides you end up chatting about other stuff - normal day-to-day and friend stuff. To go somewhere like that with proper guides will mean we discuss what happened. I'm happy to go back with my friends later in the day or at another point of the journey and share in it with them, but for the first time I'd like to go with people who are there primarily to do a job - besides if I went with friends I'd be doing these other guys out of work and with work as scarce as it is for people on the res the last thing I'd want to do it make it even harder for them. The only downside I see to taking my niece is that we will be 2 women alone and I'd have to do all the driving :) I guess once I've got all the money I need to book is when I'll make the final decision. The more things I find the more I yearn to be out there.
I made a time plan - ish. I always thought I would go October time, but looking at the shop/work situation it would make more sense to go around April - actually November and January would be the very best months but nothing is open then!! May would be good in that most places are open but I could never shut the shop for that long and as I will now need to close while I'm away (unless by some miracle I am able to find someone who would want to run it for the few weeks I travel) then April is going to really be the best time. It will mean not being able to visit Tatanka museum which will be a real shame but sometimes we have to make sacrifices for the greater good. As I have a birthday in April maybe I might just make it out there to celebrate my 50th (I'd love to go sooner but have to be realistic on how long it's going to take me to raise the funds needed :)
What was the other discovery? I hear you ask. Right at this moment in time I cannot for the life of me remember - the joys of getting distracted by phone calls and old age creeping up on me; at a mighty alarming rate I might add. How is it the 17th January already? Last year seems like only yesterday, although oddly at the same time my night at the beach to see in the New Year seems like a really long time ago. I'd like to say I've not wasted a second of those 17 days but that would be a lie, however the evenings have been spent productively - I'm making my Xmas gifts for next year - and this weekend once my tax return is sorted (no idea why I dread doing it every year as I don't earn enough or have savings for it to be an issue) I will be getting back in the attic to see if I can find things which can be sold - any money raised will go into the holiday fund.