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The Great Outdoors

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The Great Outdoors - Page Text Content

S: The Great Road Trip of 1999

FC: The Great Road Trip of 1999 | Starring: Kimmy Siebens, Bronwynn Watson, and the '76 VW Bus

1: Saturday June 19th 1999 Day one of Kimmy and Bronwynn's summer road trip! We left Sequim around 8:30 this morning after eating a little breakfast with Donna and Darrel at The Oaktable. We picked up Chris Eaton at the bottom of Thompson Hill and he went with us to downtown Seattle. We found I-90 so easily. The mountain pass was much more simpler than I imagined. Like a little bump in Zoso's way! We're about 90 miles from our next stop - Spokane. We stopped near Ellensburg and got some sage from a field. Smells great. Listening to music and enjoying the warm air in Eastern Washington. Love, Kimmy | The bus in Sequim, WA | CB Radio!

2: Sunday June 20th 1999 We went through Coeur d'Alene, Idaho yesterday. We got to a camp site in Idaho called Bumble Bee and camped there. We drove the bus around a little too much looking for a site. Camped by a river near the side of the road. We worried a little about getting kicked out, but it was good. Noticed the bus get a little shaky in 1st and 2nd gear like it did at home sometimes. Today we drove in Idaho more then crossed into Montana. It was a hot day. We stopped around lunch at the Clark Fork River and went swimming! Awesome. Kinda cold. We saw some river rafters floating by after going over some rapids. We made it to Missoula and when we started slowing down for the exit to downtown, noticed that the bus was in need of some work! We found a great authorized VW shop in town then camped at Rattlesnake trail head. Kinda a stressful/emotional day. Should we continue or what? At Rattlesnake we worried about being kicked out. I guess you can only park there if you're going camping on the trail. I woke up at 3:00am to bright lights. A Montana police man was checking out the area. At least we're in a safe place! I don't think we'll get a ticket. Love, Kimmy

3: Monday June 21st 1999 We went to the VW shop and it turned out great! They were booked until later in the week but took care of the bus for us right away. We stayed there all day pretty much. It turned out to be a sensor on the cylinder head. They repaired it and adjusted the timing as well. It cost us about $140.00. But now it works. We left after it was fixed and headed to Butte. While we were getting the bus fixed we met a man that was getting his car fixed. He lived in Butte and did geological/environmental studies for the forest service among other things. We talked about the Olympic Peninsula a lot with him. He actually did an environmental study of the Olympic Peninsula and we talked about Quinault, where I've lived for my last months of WCC (Washington Conservation Corps). He helped with information about VW shops around Montana and also how to find shops around the USA. When we got to Butte we stopped at a gas station and I saw a telescope. I looked up in the direction and saw a huge statue. We got post cards of her. Right on top of the Continental Divide. We crossed the divide, going about 40 mph at least all the way. We pulled off in a small town and stopped at the town pump to take a shower, much needed.!We had been driving in and out of rain. We kept going and it was raining dark, and a lightening storm! On top of that there was road construction. We stopped at Bozeman, Montana and headed towards Yellowstone. About 1 mile out of town we saw a sign for the Gallatin Range Lodge. We went there on a long gravel road. It was beautiful but no one was around. So we camped down the road near some big fields. Great Day Kimmy | Our Camping Spot | Our lady of the Rockies

4: Tuesday June 22nd 1999 We woke up to a sunny day in Bozeman. We couldn't believe we had found such a great camp spot. We made breakfast around 6am and got driving towards Billings Montana at 7am. Beautiful country. Bronwynn likes the Absaroka Mountain Range post Bozeman. We're still in Montana. Tons of road work. We stopped at the battle sight of Little Big Horn. Lots of grave stones for Custer's men. There was a Native shop open, I got some post cards and stickers for the bus. We're heading to Sheridan, WY now. Then hopefully Rapid City South Dakota? We'll see. We met an older man at a gas station in Wyoming and he told us a good place to camp in South Dakota would be Spearfish, at Chris's Campground. We got there late. Chris's campground was really cool. There were cool campsites, swimming pool, showers, arcade, cool stuff. Love, Kimmy | Absaroka Mountain Range

5: Wednesday June 23rd 1999 We got outta South Dakota - at least Spearfish.!We went to Rapid City because I wanted to see this dinosaur park with big statues. We drove through the city and took a picture of it (it's on a big hill). Pretty Funky. It's hot out today and the only shade is when there's a big cloud overhead. We went to see the Badlands, they're beautiful. Right down from the road there is a prairie dog rest stop. You could feed them. I got stickers of almost all the states we will travel through to New Jersey! Now we're heading to Sioux Falls then possibly to the Minnesota border. Gotta be in New Jersey by Sunday. When we were getting gas in South Dakota we saw some boys from Washington. We talked a little and found out that they also went to Tom Brown's school. They were heading to the Badlands. Told us to say hi to some of their friends at the school. How ironic. Trying to find a post card from Pierre, South Dakota (the capital) so I can send it to Pierre. We're just about to cross the Missouri river. Stopping in Oacoma (right before the river) to look for that post card and rest the bus for a few minutes! We got to Sioux Falls late tonight. It's a pretty large city. It's all flat with thousands of lights in rows. We went to a KOA campground near town and camped there. Took showers, did laundry. When we were driving to Sioux Falls I could barely see out the windows because there are so many mosquitoes here. So many of them dead on the window. When we got to a gas station before KOA it took a while to clean them all off. There is still a ton all over the front end of the bus. Big swarms (in balls) under gas station lights. Yet another hour change today. Love, Kimmy

7: Thursday June 24th 1999 We woke up at a decent hour and got on the road at 0800. We headed out of Sioux Falls and got into Minnesota shortly after. The landscape was filled with farm land. We're so close to Iowa. We drove through Minnesota and over the Mississippi River! That part of Minnesota before the river was awesome. Looked like a jungle. Lots of vegetation and the huge Mississippi River. Also while we were in Minnesota we got a chance to exercise a bit and played frisbee in the extreme heat. It's so hot here. We drenched our heads with water a couple of times. And went to a lake to stick our feet in, wanting to swim so badly but the duck poop smell and dead fish were a turn off.! Now we're heading towards Chicago, IL. We're in Wisconsin. A jeep just passed with license plates from New Jersey! It's strange being a “tourist” ha ha ha! We're going to camp somewhere in Wisconsin. Where? Not quite sure yet. Kimmy

8: July 4 1999 Well we went through Chicago and it was crazy. Big city with lots of fast moving people. We got caught in traffic for a while because they were doing road work. We eventually made it to New Jersey on Saturday (June 26th 1999) and camped at the campground about 20 minutes from Asbury, New Jersey and the school. We went swimming at the lake there. Lots of mosquitoes and lightening bugs. I think it was called the Vorrhees campground, something like that. The next day we went to the laundry mat and a Walmart to get dishes to eat off of at the school. We got to the truck stop in Bloomsbury to call the school and met 4 people that were also heading that way. We followed each other there and finally made it to the Tracker Farm. Beautiful place. We parked the bus and went up to check out the school. From then on we were there until yesterday (July 3rd 1999). We took 5 other people with us going towards New York. We took 4 of them to Newark to the airport (about an hour or so away) and took a friend named Valerie (from Austria) to a friends house in New York. Then Bron and I headed towards Vermont. We camped in Massachusetts last night in a park parking lot. At 2 am the police woke us up! We just had to move across the road to the parking lot for the grocery store. There was a major thunder and lightening storm and earlier we saw fireworks. We drove through Connecticut (the day before), did laundry there, ate some pizza. Now we're in Vermont heading to Bron's grandma's house. I can hardly wait! The bus is doing great. And so are we, with the only difference of us being a little tired still from the week at school. Kimmy | Campsite before going to the Tracker School

9: Driving in Chicago | Entrance to the Tracker School Asbury, NJ | Kimmy, waiting at the laundry mat. Writing in the journal. | Made it to New Jersey!!!

10: The Tracker School At the school we had in classroom lectures a lot. The first night Tom Brown wasn't there yet because he was in New York doing something on TV. The staff greeted us and we stayed up late learning already. There was Kevin, the school Director and teachers Mack, Ruthanne, Dan, Joe, Tom, Mark (the cook), Jon Young (a student of Tom Brown for 10 years - Tom's 1st student), and lots of other volunteers as well. We sat in an old barn that was totally awesome. It was crowded (over 100 people) and the benches got hard after a while but I loved it! I just cant believe 100 people fit in there. I bought a “cozy creek” chair from the school store the next morning with money I had left over from my scholarship. It made the benches a little more comfortable. In the field behind the school was “tent city” (where people camped), and the outdoor cook area, as well as the area we practiced skills, and the ongoing fire pit where there was always hot water for something........ | Outside the barn | Tent City

11: Tom Brown | Kevin | Mack | Tom and Ruthanne

12: ....Bron and I put our tent up in the tent suburbs (tent city was full) so we could be around some more people. In the middle of the week we got to know more about New Jersey rain and the tent got soaked. So from then on we slept in the bus or outside...... | Joe | ....We learned so many skills. I finally made my first fire with the bow drill.! Mack helped me and it felt so damn awesome.! Most of the other students were all in a group with the teacher Tom (not Tom Brown) and they were practicing the “silent stalk” with a throwing stick..... | ...So when I got it (the fire) I was so happy and yelled out “"Right on Man" to Mack and we gave each other a “high 5” then I looked over and saw that the whole class was in a silent meditation state, ha ha ha! All of them holding the throwing stick above their heads, stalking. It was pretty funny... | Dan | John Young

13: ...We first met Tom Brown after lunch the 2nd day. He is a very powerful person. Very serious and convincing. He spoke with a passion that I have never seen before. He definitely is living his passion...... | Tom Brown | ...Most of the time we were taught the skills by the school staff. But the tracking was mostly covered by Tom Brown, as well as the spiritual/philosophical sides. The one day he taught us tracking he worked us for the WHOLE day. People said that he doesn't usually do that. He said he felt like we were ready for it. It's all going to take a lot of “dirt time” to even get a little good at it..... | ....The dinners the first few nights were stew! I got tired of it after a while. But I never was all that hungry anyways. Every person (student) had to work one day either on the cook, pot, clean up, or fire crew. I worked Tuesday on the cook crew and chopped veggies. There is a creek down the trail past Tom's house that I swam in a lot. It was shallow and a good relief from the hot summer days. The first few days were the hottest. After that it got overcast and rained a bit. When it rains it is like buckets being dumped on you. You will get wet in 2 minutes of standing outside.....

14: ...We met lots of good people at the school. Hopefully we will stop by and see them again on our way back to Washington. We got invited to go see a bunch of people. The last night of the school we had a sweat lodge with Tom Brown. We did it in groups so there were about 50 people in each one. We were silent and crawled in counter clockwise to sit down. It was a straw sweat lodge (straw bales). It was warm in there. They covered the doors and it was dark. Tom spoke about the Earth, thanking it for our lives and poured water on the hot rocks creating a hot steam in the air, and herbs as well, smelling so nice. After the sweat I walked down to the creek and ran into Bron on the way down as well as other friends. I went swimming and had a great time. I stayed up all night with 2 friends, Umberto and John. Didn't sleep, but had some good laughs and conversations. The next day Tom taught us about wide angle vision and said his last story to us and then he was gone. It was hard to left go of the experience, to physically leave. We all became a close family and I miss them all. And the skills that we learned. The day before we left we picked plants from the forest and made stir-fry and salad and ate fresh trout that we each cleaned and made for ourselves. It was a great week. The Nature way seems the right way to go! Love, Kimmy

15: Musconetcong River New Jersey | Musconetcong River | Students Practicing Skills in the field behind the barn

16: Tuesday 7-6-1999 OK - its my turn. The wilderness survival school was so awesome. I met so many great people who knew how to take life a little seriously but also joke around like the boys who sat behind Kimmy and I: Eric and Andrew, they reminded me of Ace Ventura - they were hilarious. The first day we: ate dinner, got an intro to the school and went to bed. We set up our tent but on the 3rd day we slept in the van because of a sporadic rain storm that drenched everything, including us. I was wading in the stream and it started pouring down. It was so beautiful. I got wet enough to go swimming though. The 2nd day Tom Brown gave his own intro. He is so powerful, quiet in presence, but loud in voice! All the days were great. One day Tom lectured at us from 7am to 6pm. My ass got welts on it from sitting on benches for so long! I met a guy named Darin who did dog sledding in the winter in Ontario - he's going to try and hook me up. It was amazing meeting him - my dream, an actual possibility. Also a guy named Comran, Kim and I will hopefully visit on our way back. We learned how to skin and tan hides. We also gutted our own fish for dinner with some wild edibles we had collected. It was delicious and also fun. Mark, the cook, was a great person, kind of a gentle giant. He was handsome too. Him and Joe did a great cooking lesson for survival......

17: Darin | Mark doing a primitive cooking presentation | Joe and Ruthanne | Mark and Joe

18: .......Dan Stanchfield showed us the bow-drill and plants. Ruthanne was cook, she gave a lot of lectures and had some funny stories. I cut my hand pretty good on the first day, 7am when taking a brand new knife out of its sheath - Mac was awesome, bandaged my hand. By the third day it was very well healed. Had some bloody bow-drill pieces at first though. We also had scouts cloths-pinning other people and me too. So that turned into a fun game - pinning people. Kimmy got the inside of her engine pinned , possibly by Eric (Sweet!) It was a special week - I felt so good. The last night we did a sweat, a gift from grandfather to us. Tom Brown led it and then Jon Young. It was awesome. Afterwards I sat by myself and felt so quiet and said my thanks. I joined the herd of people in the dark moving towards the stream. Kim and I swam and Darin and Comran were there too. We had fun. I went to bed at 7:30 that night and felt so good. It so hard to summarize my experience in words. Now we're at my grandmas in Vermont (Strafford). It's beautiful but hot. We'll probably go swimming in the pond later. We went to Lebanon today and waded through a stream to get to the grocery store. It was so cool, sssssslipperyy though! Love, Bronwynn | Trail to the River

19: Thursday 7-8-99 Today Bronwynn and I went to Old City Falls. There was a steep trail that led to a very cool waterfall. It had 2 different levels with 2 separate pools. We climbed up the bank and went skinny dipping in the upper pool.!It was kinda cold. The weather the past few days has cooled down a lot. Yesterday we started to explore the woods here, we got in our swimming suits and got covered in mud, practicing camouflage! It was fun. We hiked up a hill and found an old road/trail grade. We saw a chipmunk and lots of grouse that squawked at us if we got too close. Eventually we made our way back down towards the field and stream. We cleaned up as good as we could so we wouldn't scare Bronwynn's grandma. Then headed for the pond and had a nice, warm swim. After we got out we cleaned the rest of the way with the hose. A few days ago there was a big storm. It started raining like crazy so we got in our swimming suits and ran down into the pond. Quickly we jumped in the warm water and got out to sit on the bank and observe the storm. Thunder was so loud and lightning was touching down very near by so we decided to head for the house. Crawling like raccoons we got to the house and felt a bit safer. In all reality I don't know where the safest place would have been. It was an awesome storm though. It actually tore roofs off houses in neighboring towns! The wind wasn't so severe where we are I guess. And the power in the house only went off for a few minutes..... | Kimmy and Bronwynn in Strafford, Vermont. Near Marge's pond.

20: ....Today Bronwynn is working bucking hay bales. She's earning money for our traveling. She worked the past 2 days babysitting at her grandmas friends house. I hope she gets back soon, It's 5:30 pm and Marge made lasagna for dinner. I'm starving. Earlier today when I was cleaning the bus I found a bag with Tom Brown books in it. They were Austin's (a boy we took to the Newark, NJ airport on the last day of school). I put them in a box and mailed them to him at the town post office. The town here is tiny. Only about 900 people. There is a post office, library, and general store further out of town. If we need groceries we go to Lebanon, New Hampshire. That's where we got our pictures developed at K-Mart. The other day I called the Tracker School and asked if Bron and I could volunteer at the next standard course (18th - 24th). They said yes. So we will head down there after we go to Maine (Saturday and Sunday) and also to Massachusetts to visit Bronwynn's relatives (next week). I'm pretty excited about going back. I cant believe we get to.!! Love, Kimmy

21: 7-9-1999 Well tomorrow we are heading to Massachusetts to visit Bronwynn's relatives for a day or two and then down towards Rhode Island to visit her grandpa before we head back to the school. It's still an over cast day out. People keep talking about storms. We went to Norwich, Vermont this morning because there was a fair/carnival going on. We were too early for the fair but went to a cool rummage sale and bought a few clothes and 2 mats for my bus floor. Then we stopped at a neighbors house down the road that wanted to meet us. They are Marge's (Bron's grandma) friends and were very nice people. Marge went to the store and bought us some groceries for our trip. Very nice! I can't wait to get back on the road. We'll stop at Old City Falls before we leave to get some pictures (didn't end up getting any pictures). Its awesome there! Love, Kimmy | 7-12-1999 Northfield Massachusetts - Phil's house We got to Northfield and passed our stop to find Bronwynn's uncles house so we stopped at a gas station to ask directions and a lady in line said she would show us where to go. Good timing. We drove around a little, made some wrong turns, but then found the road, noticing we passed it a few times earlier. Woops!!! We stopped at the house we thought it was then saw Phil running towards us, a house a way. Found him.!We got to his house and Bronwynn's aunt Sara got there soon after. We went swimming up at Phil's property by his ex-wife Patty's house where his kids Tara (16) and Julia (11) live. We hung out there most of the afternoon, waiting for Tara to get off work and come see us. We eventually walked down the hill and met Tara, cool girl. She goes to an all girl private high school and loves horses. At her school there are stables where she works. That night we were preparing for Julia's 12th birthday (party on Sunday with the family). We went shopping for dinner. Phil got lobster and corn! It was great.!Then we went to a shopping store and got presents for Julia. Roller Blades. Bron and I bought her “"Babe - Pig in the City"”, cool movie. We watched it that night (just to make sure it was OK, HA!!!!) That night we wrapped presents, made candy bags for a treasure hunt and Bron made an excellent cake and made a horse with frosting on it for Julia........

22: ....The next day we went back to the pond and Bron and I hid the candy bags around the pond. Who was there? Phil, Tara, Julia of course, Me and Bron, Patty and her friend Mike (from South Africa, knows Gumboot!) and Lee, one of Patty's older sons (25 I think) from a different marriage, and Peter Ball (one of Stewart's kid friends). The day was filled with eating Salmon, corn, good sausage, cake and candy! Lots of swimming (wallowing!), talking, presents, and sun. They have a cool dog called Bear. He likes stalking frogs in the pond all day, when he's not begging for food or sleeping.!That night the party moved to Phil's house. Julia danced for us, she's a good dancer. We ate, played music by the bonfire, roasted marshmallows, and practiced the bow drill. Phil got a fire the first time he tried and through out the night so did Peter and Bron. I made my third one today. Bron found some jute (plant fiber to use for tinder bundles) at the store and got it today. I got a few things for Alice and mom and dad and some post cards. Tomorrow Bron, Julia, Tara, and I are going to the Northfield Mountain Museum! It sounds cool. Animal exhibits, boat rides, etc. Also some time this week we hope to go to the Northfield Drive- In. Never been to one before. Tonight we are going to get a few movies to watch with Tara and Julia. Tomorrow Patty is going to dread my hair I think. The right way. Bron is putting my hair in small rubber bands now to see what it will look like. Kinda silly. Enough for now, Love, Kimmy PS Tried to make paper out of leaves today. Julia and I made 2 frames, one with a screen. I see how it works now. | Julia

23: Tuesday 7-13-1999 The Northfield Mountain Recreation place was closed today so we'll go tomorrow with Julia. Today Patti, Julia, Bron, and me went to Sherborne and shopped at the Mohawk Trading Post. I got a cool book I later gave to Patti because I thought it would be better for her to have. Also something to give her for dreading my hair. I also got a “Mohawk Trail” bumper sticker for the bus and some more post cards. I'm wearing my Tom Brown tank-top and the woman who works at the store recognized it and said that she had taken similar classes in New York with one of Tom's students. After that we went to the town that was really cool looking. Then to the “Potholes” at Shelborne Falls, MA where glaciers made big and small potholes in the rock. The stream was the Deerfield River. It was created as the water of glacial lake “Hitchcock” subsided. Swirling eddies carved the “potholes” in the softer portions of the granite. It was so beautiful but a lot of litter. We then walked down the town a little and watched people making glass vases, etc. in their open shop. Reminded me of Seattle or something. There was a cool grocery store we got some bites to eat at then we walked along the bridge of flowers. It's an old trolley car bridge that they planted tons of beautiful flowers on. When we got home Julia started making a picture album like the ones we made and put her pictures of her trip to Florida (Disney/Sea World) in it. She bought a binder, I gave her the rest of my construction paper and Bron gave her the rest of her plastic sheets. We finished watching the 2nd of 3 movies we got and took them back. Now I'm waiting for Patty to get here, then we'll go get Bron and Julia at Pam and Michaels where they went with Phil to hear them play music. Phil plays the fiddle. Patty is going to try and dread my hair tonight. We'll take the 3rd movie with us. Dreading is going to take hours. Hope it turns out OK. Love, Kimmy | The Potholes

24: Friday 7/16/1999 On Wednesday me and Bronwynn went to Vermont (Perkinsville). A man named Bill that was working with his crew on Phil's septic system (and also Phil's friend) told us about a primitive encampment in Vermont. We went and it was pretty interesting. It was the Northeastern Primitive Rendezvous. People camp there for a week or so and have to live in the times pre- 1840. Public is welcome on certain days. The people weren't practicing skills like the ones we learned at the Tracker School, not that primitive. They played Scottish games and lots of people had kilts on. They mainly used flint and steel to start fires, which was very quick and effective, if you had the steel. There were traders there that sold all sorts of interesting things. I bought a knife for $10.00 that had a bone handle and leather case. An elk tooth necklace and some leather to make a small carrying pouch, and a bone/antler button. Bron bought some artificial sinew. We looked at everyone's camps for the better part of our visit there. They ranged from very primitive to practically a modern house. They have these camps in Washington I guess. We should go and build a primitive camp like we learned at the Tracker School. A man there selling flint and steel kits gave me a piece of sinew that Bron and I later made dream catchers out of before we left at the river bank. That night I went over to Patty's. I never got my hair dreaded, we tried but didn't have the right kind of gel.....

25: ....I'd rather wait until after the school so I can swim without worrying they'll fall out. On Thursday Julia, me, and Bronwynn just sat around the house most of the day. Playing with Julia's new stereo and microphone was that days event. Recording silly things, laughing. I went to the Northfield Mountain Recreation because I was curious as to what it was like and if it had any neat animal exhibits. I got there and just missed the tour boat on the Connecticut River. The exhibit was mainly about man becoming modern and conquering the area. Lots of old machinery and tools on display. I went to the river side too, where you load on the tour boat. It was nice, a big, deep river. That night we had a little get together for our going away. Phil, Tara, Julia and her friend, Suzie (Phil's girlfriend), Bron and me were there. It was fun. Quiet and mellow (the times Julia took her rap music off! Ha!) We had salmon, tuna, clams, salad, corn, and my specialty garlic bread. It was a great last night. Sad to be leaving. Bron's relatives were great people. Michael (Patty's boyfriend) brought gel over, 2 bottles, that he got at the salon. So when I want to dread my hair, we'll have the right stuff. We're in Westport Point Massachusetts at Bronwynn's grandpas now. He lives in a big white constitutional (museum like) house near the Atlantic Ocean. We got here and Neil (grandpa) and his girlfriend Deborah made us hot dogs. I had a soda and frozen yogurt as well. It only took us about 3 or so hours to get here from Northfield MA......

26: ....We went to the state beach which cost $2 dollars to park. There were hundreds of people. Yikes!!!!Kinda scared me, felt weird, it was like one big Bay-Watch episode and we were in it.!The Atlantic is beautiful. White, soft sand, glittery. But the mob of people was draining. Police on horseback. I didn't go swimming. I felt a little out of place there. They even had a paved sidewalk on the beach with a store. First time I had ever seen anything like it. We also went shopping with Neil and got ingredients for making some pizza and salad tonight. Tomorrow morning Bronwynn's aunt Sara is supposed to come over. That will be nice to see her again. She looks and acts so much like Stewart. And I can see Bronwynn in her a lot too. Then tomorrow after morning, we're heading back to the Tracker School to volunteer a week. That will be good. I hope we have a great time. Love, Kimmy

27: 7/16/1999 Hello. Well we're at my grandpas house in Mass. It's pretty cool here. We're going to have pizza for dinner and some chocolate yogurt too. It's cool to see this side of my family. It's like the missing link or something. Especially at my Uncle Phil's. He's such a great guy. I can see so many parallels in him and my dad, but there's differences too. They're both unique and loving dudes. We had fun at Phil's, ate some great food and listened to old time Appalachian music. My uncle's in a band and he plays the fiddle. I went to a music session with them one night. It was great. The girl's (Tarah and Julia) have grown up so much since I've seen them last. We mostly hung out with Julia because Tarah worked and had her own busy life. Julia is a riot. She does dancing - street funk. We listened to Will Smith's “Wild Wild West” and watched her do a dance to it a thousand times. The song started ingraining itself in my head too! We did music recordings one day and goofed around. Julia played it to Phil and Tarah, and Phil's girlfriend one night. It was really embarrassing. It was great to see my Aunt Sara too. She looks like a female version of my dad. She even acts like him, or the other way around. She was good company too. She's coming to my grandpa's tomorrow, so I'll get to see her one final time. It's so exciting to see this part of my family. I think I take after the Watson side a lot and I'm starting to find a little bit out about it. It would be cool to do a family tree. A lot of this side comes from Ireland and Whales. Well my arm and elbow hurt. Try to write more later, Love, Bronwynn.

28: 8-7-1999 Wow! A lot has happened since we left Massachusetts. We went back to Tom Brown's School and volunteered for 2 weeks. When we got there we found out that there were 2 standards in a row and Mark let us stay. The first weeks class was pretty big, over 100 people. It was energetic feeling to me. We did a lot of scouting games with clothes pins, water guns, and pop can rattles. What a great opportunity being able to take lectures again and learn more skills from instructors and other helpers. The second class was really small (at least it seemed) compared to the 1st week. 90 people or less. They were a quiet class and seemed really into everything. The instructors and Tom seemed to enjoy this class. Tom Brown lectured about pressure release study #7. Something he hadn't taught to the standard class before. Also a TV crew came out to interview him and also the school. The helpers built a debri-hut while they filmed us. One of the funniest parts of the 2 weeks was getting camouflaged and hiding from the students when they built a debri-hut. Another memorable thing was Tom's pipe ceremonies. There was a severe fire ban on New Jersey so we couldn't have a sweat. The 2 weeks we were helpers we had a pipe ceremony. One night of the 2nd week the helpers had a pipe ceremony with Mark. There was an awesome lightening storm that same night. It was the first pipe ceremony I actually took part in (physically passing and smoking the pipe). That week we had built a lot of stuff for the primitive cooking area. Mark was really happy about everything. We built a mud oven (shaped like a turtle) a thatch roof shelter (so Mark and Joe could lecture in some shade), 3 drying racks, and some utensils. The week prior we also built a place to store food under ground with thatched walls to keep it dry.........

29: Another awesome thing was when we went to Laura's house the end of the 1st class we got to see her horse. Travis, Karl, Greg, and Dan rode her horse. Bron and I took a shower and her place and did some laundry. Laura is awesome. At the end of the 2nd class and the 1st class we went to a Chinese Buffet close to the farm. It was goooooood. Also at the end of the 2nd week we did one of my most memorable things. Went to the Pine Barrens! It was awesome. First time I'd been there. Me, Bron, Laura, Travis, Karl, Chris, and his younger sister were going to a campground but we had a hard time getting in. It was along the New Jersey coast and you needed to be 21 or with your parent to stay there. So Karl and Chris knew where the Primitive camp was, where the other tracker classes are. We went there and parked our cars at the boy scout camp then all got in Chris's nice truck and drove up to the main camp area where we met Mack! And some caretakers, and Mack's wife was there too. The Barrens!were sandy and had smaller trees and under-story (brush). We were where Tom Brown learned from Stalking Wolf. Karl pointed out a lot of the areas that Tom mentions in his books. We camped at Medicine Waters where the other classes do the stream float. It was awesome water. The famous “Piney's” and parties that Tom raided were also there. It was an active night. But I'm glad I got to stay there. In the morning we all walked down a trail along the water, it was a cedar swamp. Then to a bridge that we jumped off to float down stream. It was great. Took me a while to get out. Great Water. After that morning Bron and I started heading to Washington DC to stay with her aunt. The goodbyes were sad. We made a lot of good friends. Miss them. Love, Kimmy

30: making a clay oven with friends at the Tracker School | our primitive kitchen | cooking in the clay oven

31: Mack working on the stove | hanging out by the tracker school main kitchen | Greg up in a tree

33: Tracker School Volunteer Staff summer 1999 | practicing camouflage

34: Prologue: On our way to Laura's the end of the 1st week, we passed an orange VW bus. Eventually we handed them a brochure about Tom's school and then, in and out of passing at high speeds on the freeway, a Tom Brown book, "The Way of the Scout"”. Then they gave us a Jerry Garcia sticker with their phone number. I hope they liked the book and go to the school. On the day we left for Washington DC we met a guy with a ‘76 VW bus like mine and we gave him info. About the Tracker too. | handing off a Tom Brown book while driving | friends we drove to the airport

35: WASHINGTON DC We drove from the Pine Barrens to a campground in Maryland and camped there before heading to the city. It was a cool campground and there were hardly any people, except for one lady next to us that left her car running and radio blaring almost all evening. We left there the next morning and then went to DC. Directions weren't that good so we drove around a lot. Finally we went down an alley and amazingly it was the right one. Gwen (Bron's aunt) was there. She was great. We hung out in the alley behind her flower shop and below her apartment. We met her roommate Frank who was also really cool. We did laundry and unpacked valuable things from the bus, and put them in the storage room. Parking was another story.!We could park in the alley after 5:30 pm but had to find a different place from 10 am and the rest of the day. One day we parked in the parking garage and other days we just moved it every 2 hours from one 2 hr parking spot to the next. We had an outdoor BBQ one night. Went to a fancy Mongolian Restaurant another where we cooked our food at our own table.!The city was expensive. The water is bad so we had to buy it and the food is really expensive. One day we took the subway to the airport because Frank was flying to California. After we said bye to him we went to the capital, Washington monument, saw the white house, Lincoln memorial. All that DC stuff. Bron and I went to the Smithsonian Museum and the Holocaust museum one day. We were going to go to NYC but decided not to, expensive and probably wouldn't be that much fun. Staying in the city was definitely an experience. I'm glad we got to stay with Bron's aunt. Love, Kimmy | FRANK

36: WASHINGTON DC | kimmy playing a marimba in front of the capitol building


38: Posing with statues in Washington DC | Posing with local law enforcement too

40: Sunday 8-8-1999 Day 3 of heading back west After we left DC we headed west! We've been making good time. We left Friday morning and got into Ohio and camped at the bus and truck stop. Last night we camped in Iowa at another truck stop. Now we're on route 29 North nearing Sioux City. After that we'll be getting into South Dakota. Akron Iowa is where my dad grew up. We're going to stop there today. It's right on the South Dakota border. When we get further west in South Dakota we will check out the Badlands. Can't wait! Love, Kimmy | 8-8-2011 Today for lunch we stopped in Iowa (off 29 North) at a casino, The Omaha Indian Casino. When we were leaving I walked by a machine and pushed a button. $21 $ in nickels came out!!!! - Kimmy | Stream near Akron, Iowa.


42: Driving in the BadLands National Park | Kissing a fake cow, somewhere near South Dakota | Kimmy on the top bunk of the bus

43: Thursday 9-2-1999 We're home. Oh my, well its been a while since I've written in here. We've been in Washington (Sequim) since August 12th. That's when we rolled into town after non-stop driving from Montana. I don't know what got into me but I just kept driving and eventually on the 12th early in the morning we got off the ferry and drove home. Coming back was weird. I felt like I hadn't been gone long but everything looked so weird/different. Especially people. I didn't think that would happen, but it did. It was a combination of traveling all summer and the Tracker School I think. Now I don't feel as out of place, but reading through this journal I really miss being on the road right now. It was a great time. Today is Bron's 20th birthday! And this Saturday we are going to go to Tom Petty's concert at the gorge. We went to get lunch at Sunny Farms and a friend of Bron's sold them to us for $25 dollars each. We're both working at Nash's Organic Produce Farm. It's been good, fun work. But I'm tired tonight. I've also been working on weekends at Lavender Farms around here. I'm making money again. I want to do Jon Young's Kamana program. It costs a little over $200 dollars. Also it would be great to go to California in March to volunteer for the Standard class there. Well, I'm off again, Love, Kimmy | Dungeness River

44: 9-14-1999 Hello again. Well I'm living at the beach Cabin now at Discovery Bay. It's very nice here. I get my second pay check in a few days and then I'm going to start the Kamana program.!Excited about that. The farm job is OK. I'm getting a little tired of carrots but it's still a cool job. I'm going to the school job (Americorp) interview on Thursday. I'm not going to be able to do it. I will next year though. I don't want to leave the school for 2 weeks in March (if we get to volunteer at the Tracker School in California). So the farm job is seasonal and will work out better. I got a letter from Greg the other day! And we heard from Rodney (he called us). It's great to get mail from friends we made at the school this summer. Well, I'm off to bed. Another day of carrots tomorrow. Love, Kimmy

45: December 3rd 2011 I know it's been a while since I've written, but I would just like to write a few things before I finish this nostalgic project. I'm so glad we've been friends for so long Bron, and hope we are friends for many more years to come. It's been years since I've kept a journal on a regular basis. This is an interesting reminder of how fun it is to jot things down and revisit it years later. I had so much fun working on making this book. It brought back a lot of memories. You are still a traveler, exploring lots of far away places. Reading our journal made me remember why doing that can be so fun. There are so many adventures to be found out there.... I hope you have many more amazing and wonderful adventures to come. Love Always, Your Friend, Kimmy | ...yet here in some insignificant unnamed stream in the Pine Barrens he touched God

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kimberly siebens
  • By: kimberly s.
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  • Title: The Great Outdoors
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  • Started: almost 7 years ago
  • Updated: over 6 years ago