Fourth of July

The baby hasn’t always been afraid of loud noises, but she is now. So that’s what got me started on the quest. While stopped for one of the myriad reasons one stops while on the road; dogs out, dogs in, get gas, bathroom stop, dogs out, dogs in, get groceries, pick up mail, dogs out, dogs in, I had a solution. Well OK, it was kinda both our solution. But I found the place first on the map, actually had it marked. edited mapFreeCampsites.Net is a real good starting point to look for free or cheap sites. There are pages for every state describing their sites to be found by a simple Google search. Or, even search ”free camping near me” and you be directed back to some of these. Back to the state parks for my small rant. I needed a simple “primitive” site, no water, no electric, no sewage, a simple site, a parking place basically. The cost was going to be $32/night! This was $23 for the site and $9 for a “state park vehicle permit”. So just be aware that stat parks in general have other fees associated with them. That’s the sort of budget item that gnaws at you when you’re really wanting that hot shower stuck in a smaller town with few other options.
Back to our quest to find Libby, and me, some peace and quiet. As you can see just getting in was an adventure…road in 01This site is called Douglas creek in the FreeCampsites listing. road in 02Then it turned into a road/gravel road. While the road was not that bad for the van, though we did shake down a little of our packed items. We did cross one small running stream in the road yet turned around at the next larger and longer one. The site we returned to had hay growing all around which felt like carpet going barefoot. And of course the view was also spectacular. QUIET, we’d found it.

Layla managed to find the creek that was running in a deep cut behind camp. In fact I could barely look over the brush and see far enough down to see water, and Layla. Layla swim
We have a need to get away from cities, crowds, and sometimes people in general to recharge our batteries. This was a place to do just that. Brenda and I edited pictures, wrote, and prepared stuff to be uploaded the next time we are back on the grid. These places also give us time to work on our projects or just lay around with the four-legged members of the clan. Which we did a lot of at this little stop. It was easy to just relax. Let me show you what I mean…

When we leave out of here and find our next destination I’ll post an update and let you know where that is…

Brenda & Dan

So from both of us.


“Get out, Be safe, and Go adventure”

MHA Earth Lodge Village

Today we were passing through North Dakota and spotted a sign that read Earth Lodge Village.   So, I turned. Why?  Because that’s how we roll.  Brenda and I travel some of the roads less traveled, and sometimes they are less traveled for good reason.

This mode of travel allows us to see some things that others might have missed, and this was one such time.

We followed a road around these hills to a replica of what a village of the Mandan, Hidatsa, and Arikra tribes would have built. Name bannersAnd as usual, our timing seemed to be guided as Gary Snow happened to be there preparing to leave.  Gary works with the tourism office of North Dakota and the Three Affiliated Tribes. He was gracious enough to spend a few minutes being put on the spot for an interview.  Earth Lodge Village Part 1.

When we returned on Thursday, I had the chance to spend more time looking at the displays within the main lodge building.   As Gary pointed out, this lodge would have been the largest and was located in the center of the village.  It served as a gathering place for tribal business, activities, and ceremonies.   Within the main lodge are displays of the tools they used to work and garden.

This day there was Mandan squash and beef hanging in the lodge to dry.  There had been a teaching session just days before where young people were learning the old ways of preserving food.  This time spent teaching the young is something I also believe in very much.  The ways of our forefathers and those before us need to be preserved as our cultures mix.

Now I’d like to show you the main lodge, and then Gary will join us to explain some of the displays…  Earth Lodge Village Part 2

Before I close I would like to give you a closer look at some of the items displayed in the lodge.

Here are a few links to the Wikipedia articles about these three tribes.



At this time, we will be moving along on our journey and thinking about the history we have learned. I’ve said before the REAL history is out there and one must go find it.  The history we are almost always taught has a different twist than reality.  The authors interpretation, publishers editing, and the presentation by the instructor all flavor or color the history we learn.  Go see for yourselves the places and things that have been passed down through the generations.  If you are fortunate enough to find a person like Gary, listen and question what you know, and also listen with that part of you that hears the echo of the stories from the past.


I alluded on Facebook that I would write a post about our visit to Fort Totten.  It is claimed to be the best maintained fort west of the Mississippi by some travel guides.  I must apologize that I have not written that yet.  You see, for Brenda and I that was not a pleasant visit.  It’s not that the Fort isn’t a well maintained historic site, it is, and that in itself is part of the problem for me.  I viewed that Fort as a shining success for a new and upcoming nation.  However, it was at the cost of much sorrow and the destruction of several established nations.  I will attempt to write an accounting of our visit to that place at a later date.


“Get out, Be safe, and Go adventure.”




From Atlanta to the Coast…

We’ve been on the road full-time for over two months now. And loving it! Which explains partly why this blog is so far behind in posts. You see we’ve been so busy living the life I’ve been just a little negligent writing about the life. DSC_0980 I’ll try to do better.
We left Kennesaw Mountain and stayed with a cousin overnight who cooked a wonderful meal. And, later stayed at his place in Florida that included it’s own little swamp. DSC_3000


Then headed elsewhere in Florida to catch up with some other van-dwellers roaming around in the warm weather. At Goose Pasture, Layla and Libby had a lot of fun playing and digging.  Yes, that’s our dirty-faced girl.DSC_2928And we caught up with Cuzzin’ Dyck there along with Trisha. DSC_2921The time at Goose Pasture camp was good. It also allowed me to catch a few sound bites for a future project. I’ll drop the hint that it’s another meditation audio track based on this clip from a friend.  Click hear for a taste… Forest flute extended.

We moved from there to a piece of private property and then on to stay nearer the coast. Once again since our plans are always “etched in jello” even that changed. We made a stop at another vandwellers nicely wooded lot and enjoyed seeing Robert again.

Time to “leapity leap” as Brenda says…
I think our next stop was… who am I fooling? I honestly don’t remember.

We cruised the Gulf coast of Florida on the way to Fort Mims, Alabama to meet up with some real characters. 17545582_10212805585914048_4122971939332103596_o These guys are some of the historic actors that present living history at various places and events.
And that’s where I’m going to pick up next time.

SO, as always…

“Get out, Be safe, and Go adventure.”

Striking out on the road.

We began our full-time road adventure by heading south.  While some folks may ask why south?  Those that know us simply reply it is February.  Which means we are going to dodge the cold and snow.

As we were leaving Kentucky we took a small detour and went to Levi Jackson State Park near London Ky.  I wanted to see the McHargue Mill.

I have a fascination with grist or grinding mills.  Both Brenda and I have mills in our family history.  Cordray, GA was a community built around the grist mill my great grandfather owned.  While Brenda’s family, on her mother’s side, came from Switzerland and started flour mills on the east coast. cord_101a We posted pictures of the McHargue’s mill both on Facebook and Instagram.  If you visit Instagram search for @twentyonefeathers and check my albums on Facebook under Dan Cordray.

We thought we would stop and see the Etowah Indian mounds near Cartersville.DSC_2873However the mounds site was not open that day.  Which led to a walkaround and the discovery of a really nice looking courthouse.

Our travels will be taking on a route through Atlanta where we will visit one of my cousins but also Kennesaw Mountain.

So, just as Gen. Sherman may have said, “On to Atlanta…”

Until next time…

“Get Out, Be Safe, and Go Adventure”


Fort Jackson, GA

Today we found ourselves following a path less traveled that led to a fort many have never heard of, named Fort Jackson.dsc_2845 This fort was built in 1808 as a position to defend Savannah from attack by sea.   This early spot in history makes it the oldest brick fortification in Georgia.  In 1812, the rest of the “world” was at war.  Two of our biggest trade partners at that time were England and France.

We bought and sold many goods that were shipped out of the port at Savannah.  So, the need to protect the bay entrance became more important.

The next battle action this fort saw was during the Civil War in 1862 when it was shelled by an  escaped slave named Robert Smalls.

Shortly after the evacuation of Savannah, and the surrender that followed,  William T. Sherman captured Savannah by land.  On December 20, 1864 the fort fell to Union hands.  The fort, like Savannah, was also evacuated and the subsequent surrender avoided major bloodshed at the fort.

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Due to Sherman refusing to use black troops in the war, the 55th Massachusetts Regiment remained garrisoned there.   Because of its history there have been many flags over this fort.  giphy-1From 1884-1905 it was known as Fort Oglethorpe and saw little use by the military.  In 1924 the city of Savannah purchased the fort for use as a park, but it was not restored until some 46 years later.  Today, the Coastal Heritage Society maintains the fort and provides tours.  Visit their website here… Coastal Heritage Society.

During the tour of the fort you can expect twice a day firing of a cannon at 11:00am and 2:00pm, along with a presentation given to us by Daniel McCall about the history of the fort.  His knowledge and ease of presentation made the visit come alive.

Thanks for travelling along with Brenda and I as we wandered north through Georgia.

As always…

Get Out, Be Safe, and Go Adventure.

Singing Bowl

On our trip to visit friends and family in Texas I had the chance to not only record but also to play a Tibetan Singing Bowl.  While it was fascinating to get the chance to play this instrument of meditation, I wasn’t clear of its origin or original purpose.  So, after doing a little research here’s one of the better articles I found.  It is an interview between Rain Gray and Lama Lobsang Molam, a Tibetan monk born in Lhasa, Tibet.

Here’s the Link… Interview with Rain Gray

Brenda’s friend Donna was delighted to see an old friend, and get the chance to play the bowl for me.


It was a great time of sharing stories and past histories and watching these two laugh and enjoy each others’ company.  It was a real delight to hear and watch Donna make the bowl sing.  We were recording in her meditation room, a special place set aside for renewal of the spirit.  I want to tell her thank-you for allowing me to use her space for recording.  I think that recording in this energy filled room made it extra special.




After hearing the beautiful tones the bowl produced in her hands I asked if I could try and make it sing.

 It was a very soothing experience holding the bowl as it produced the tones while I tried to follow her form.    Of course I had to experiment with mic placement, setting the bowl on different surfaces, techniques, and in the end holding it in my hand produced the best sound. And, the best feeling while the bowl sang to me.

What a great time we had producing a recorded loop of the bowl for meditation purposes.  I’m putting the loop in the “Road Noise” section of the blog.  Here’s a link to the recording that is about 30 minutes long.

Once again until next time…

“Get Out, Be Safe, and Go Adventure”

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dan cordray and brenda durbin

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