This morning Jared, the HIS maintenance chief asked us to build a few more screens (we had already built 74 of them as he had previously requested). We were not able to build as many additional screens as he wanted though, because we ran out of the corner pieces. While we did that, Warran and his crew cleaned the shop so that we could leave it in better shape than we found it, and Shaun took the boys and a few girls to move some brick piles.
When we finished with all that, we loaded the screens into the vans and went around installing them.
Then at 2:00pm we all piled into the vans and drove to the Petrified Forest and Painted Desert. Unfortunately, the plan was not well laid. Our first stop was at the visitor’s center, and we got a little too absorbed there. Emmanuelina had a bit of fun though:
The kids all bought stuff, and I bought a few things for the ones who couldn’t afford anything. We met some rangers and volunteers, and they gave the kids some activity booklets. If they filled them out, they could be sworn in as Junior Rangers. That comes with a patch that they can sew onto their Pathfinder sashes, so they were all in, except for Cody and Jane. I guess they think they’re too old for that, but don’t tell them that Melissa (one of the staff) did the activities too.
We needed to tour the grounds of the visitor’s center to complete the activities – one of which was to see if you could put your arms around one of the petrified trees. Cody was the only one who pulled it off.
When they turned in their work it was carefully checked, and then they were sworn in as Junior Rangers.
Only then did I start to do the time-math. Dinner was at 5:30, and HIS was 40 minutes away. There was just no way we were going to be able to see much more. The upside is that by not entering the park, we avoided paying the $10/van entrance fee. But of course, it would have been worth it.
Shaun and his van left a bit before the rest of us, and they stopped at a gift store between the Petrified Forest and Holbrook. David bought a petrified wood chess set, and was exceedingly pleased with his purchase.
We made it back to HIS in time for dinner. Before I could sit down to eat, Dr. Janet Claymore-Ross (the principal) and Barbara Willis (the development director) presented us with a pottery tile.
I must confess that it was a bit of an emotional moment for me, even though I knew they were going to present this to us (they asked me for our official name before we set out from New Hampshire so they could give the information to the pottery shop). This has been a fantastic trip. Everyone in our group has loved working here, and we have grown to love the kids who attend HIS as well as the staff.
After we finished supper (another excellent meal), Barbara Willis took some of us over to the pottery shop, while the rest went to the gym for Rec Night. I bought three items of pottery, one of which is a surprise gift for my lovely bride (she knows I bought her some pottery, but she doesn’t know what it is). The other two were made by two students here at the school. I asked if I could take their pictures holding their creations, and Barbara started making calls. In short order, both girls were there ready for a picture.🙂
I bought the turtle for Beth.
Tomorrow after breakfast we will load the vans and set out for the airport. Hopefully we will make it home, and our rides will make it to the airport. New Hampshire is getting some snow tonight. Va told me on the phone tonight that we already have two inches on the ground, and the snow will continue until tomorrow evening (when we are scheduled to land in Manchester). The forecast is for about a foot of snow.