LJWorld.com weblogs Dakotah Drives

Dakotah - A Place In Time


http://worldonline.media.clients.ellingtoncms.com/img/blogs/entry_img/2008/Dec/31/Team_in_the_snow.jpgIn the past, Laytonville, California was little more than a mid-point stop for gas and a stretch whenever I traveled to Santa Rosa for my Trader Joe’s fix. One day, while on such a trip, a picture posted on the front door of the Chevron gas station and mini-mart caught my eye.Pat Teem, a Laytonville resident and ardent supporter of the High School athletic program, had been fatally injured in a traffic accident just a few days earlier, and the sign advertised a memorial fund raiser on behalf of his family. At that instant, Laytonville became a “place” for me and not just a pass through point of reference. And, as evidence this instance of humanity is not a single occurrence, Laytonville residents opened their hearts to Dakotah when he came to town driving his wagon and three-horse team on Christmas Eve.A winter storm was about to bear down on the area, so Dakotah stopped in Laytonville in hope to find a place to camp. One of the townsfolk was quick to suggest the Harwood Park Rodeo Grounds and made a phone call on behalf of Dakotah to gain access. Dakotah was able to find sufficient dry and grassy grounds on a two-acre fenced portion of land being used to graze two small cows.http://worldonline.media.clients.ellingtoncms.com/img/blogs/entry_img/2008/Dec/31/Dakotah_CMas_Day_3.jpgWhen I caught up with Dakotah on Christmas day, he was in full suede and tassel regalia with his fur cap, busy adjusting his battery-powered electric horse fence so that the horses didn’t over graze any single portion of the land where he camped. “From the outside, people think that I must just sit around all day; but let me tell you, these horses require a lot of attention and they keep me busy all day.” Dakotah explained as he closed the plastic toolbox he uses to house his twelve-volt automotive battery that supplies power to the fence.“When it snows, like it has a few times this past week (while staying at the higher elevation near the Rattlesnake Summit area) the snow collects on the wire fence and weighs it down. Even though the horses only have a walnut-sized brain, they figured out they can walk over the fence and get access to the feed I keep in the trailer. If I’m sleeping, they’ll start nudging the trailer and my wagon starts to sway back and forth like heck, so I have to run out in the middle of the night, in the dark, and put the fence back up.”As far as I can figure, Daktoah is about sixty-eight years old; give or take a year or two. But the speed with which he moves or the ease with which we jumps off his wagon (almost four-feet off the ground) certainly contradicts his chronological years. Even though he would be considered a slight man by today’s standards (at five-feet seven-inches tall and about one-hundred and forty pounds) and for the possible exception of an immense sweet-tooth, Dakotah lives an otherwise healthy lifestyle that is quite evident.http://worldonline.media.clients.ellingtoncms.com/img/blogs/entry_img/2008/Dec/31/Christmas_Dinner.jpgWe sat inside Dakotah’s wagon to share a Christmas dinner of home-made beef stew and a round of Brio Bakery sour-dough bread and talked of the trip ahead. Dakotah has decided to stop in Willits, California for the next several weeks in hope to bypass as much winter weather as possible in his trek onward.We began to talk of where he has been; the relationships he has had (and there have been several; Dakotah seems to have a weakness for beautiful brunette women) and what purpose his choice of lifestyle has brought. He talks of the “Power of the Wagon” and how, just by driving through anywhere he goes, people are drawn to him by the sight of nineteenth-century method of conveyance in the twentieth-century.“Oh, they wave, and I’ll wave back, or people will do a u-turn, if they were driving the opposite direction, to come and talk to me or take a picture. Seems that, by my just being here, I am a puzzle to people. Kids, adults, it doesn’t matter. I’m not trying to make statment, I am just living my life to the fullest I can. I see things (at three miles and hour) that other people can’t see, and I have an appreciation for this land and my freedom to move around it”http://worldonline.media.clients.ellingtoncms.com/img/blogs/entry_img/2008/Dec/31/Dakotah_CMas_Day_1.jpgLaytonville residents welcomed Dakotah to sit a while, sample a stove-side fire and a little “Christmas Cheer”. They talked of the times and how important their community is to them, and for another place in time, Dakotah is a resident; even if for just the moment.Other stories about Dakotah can be found here: http://www2.ljworld.com/weblogs/dakot... http://www2.ljworld.com/weblogs/dakotah-drives/2008/dec/07/dakotah-drives-part-2/http://www2.ljworld.com/weblogs/dakotah-drives/2008/dec/14/the-heart-of-dakotah/http://www2.ljworld.com/weblogs/dakotah-drives/2008/dec/21/inside-dakotah/http://www2.ljworld.com/weblogs/dakotah-drives/2008/dec/23/a-dakotah-christmas/


Charles Edwards 8 years, 10 months ago

More to come regarding Dakotah's story. It has been a ride for sure.Stay tuned!

Alia Ahmed 8 years, 10 months ago

Charles,another great installment, keep them coming.

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