Many rescues were made at the Standing Rock camp last night and swarms of other activists have come to the Prairie Knights in their cars to avoid the sub-zero temperatures and winds. The lodge is overwhelmed and many activists and veterans have volunteered to help the lodge staff. The establishment has a large assembly hall for events and this is where the masses are sleeping at night until the storm subsides. During the day the Native American people have been putting on Pow Wows (native dancing, singing and prayers in native dress) which has been really wonderful.
I befriended a wonderful woman named Barbara from Oregon who actually had a room at the lodge and allowed me to share a bed of hers along with three Native American women in the room. I felt so grateful!! The activists have fully organized themselves and put up message boards and ride share tables for people to hook up. I put up a posting yesterday to bring people to Bismarck and got quite a response. I ended up inviting three young veterans from California to share my car. The plan was to leave at 8 am to do a 60 mile drive so they could get to the airport for a 12:30 flight. When I woke up, the weather and rode report did not look good. The biggest problem was the 40 MPH wind blowing the snow making visibility difficult. However, in discussions with guys with 4-wheel vehicles who had been out, they said if we went very slow we should be able to make it.
The four of use got on the road around 9 am and crept along, luckily with others who were also trying to get to Bismarck. We saw SO many vehicles that had gone off the road from the previous day which was always a cause for caution. It was a win-win situation – I really did not want to do this drive alone and these folks needed a ride to the airport. It took us about 2 1/2 hours to do 60 miles but they got on their flight on time. I then headed to my Super 8 motel to spend the night. Unless my flight is cancelled, I plan on being on an 11 am flight tomorrow to get home. I am hoping this is my last blog post and will certainly let you know when I am safely in my home.