We have always loved traveling en masse with this crew, like the time we spent a week on an Assiniboine Sioux rez in Montana, and slept in a huge and wonderful tee pee during their annual pow wow. I remember someone said, "What is wrong with this picture? The Indians are sleeping in tents made in China and the Jamaicans are sleeping in a tee pee." My cousin in law, whose rez it was, was determined that his Jamaican family would have an authentic native experience. Late that night, as we all settled down in sleeping bags on ground covered by fluffy comforters, we could see the stars through the opening at the top of the tee pee and hear the drummers still beating their skins across the meadow. There was something magical and otherworldly about the experience, as if we'd gone back in time.
We went from the pow wow to South Dakota, where we pitched our own tents made in China in a public campground and ventured out to national monuments by day. The Crazy Horse Memorial was a highlight. So was the steak we ate that night at the campground, best we ever tasted, cooked over an open flame by the son of the campground owners.
Pictured above are seven of the ten children who were with us on that 20-person vacation in the summer of 2003. We traveled in two rented vans and joked that we looked like a church outing. I love these people!