The Lizard and George McKillip

George was 92 when I met him. He was born in a sod house and aimed to die in one. He lived alone in his sod house with only the lizards for company. I shot this scene in one long take. No special effects. Just the Lizard. George. Me. And Time.

How will you live at 92?

Learn more about George in the Lost Sea Expedition TV series.


Monday Thanks

Bernie Harberts thanks supporters with painted names
Thank you Christy and Jean and Chris and Grace and Tania and Sebastian…….

Amazing response this week with friends – some I know, some I’ve never met – donating to the Lost Sea Expedition. I painted some of their names on stuff I found around the barn. Think beech bark (Jean), creek rock (Christy), fatwood, cedar shingle and red cedar batten.  Click through for a closer look at these hand painted thank yous. Continue reading “Monday Thanks”

Thank You Beth

Bernie holds a sign he painted for donor Beth.
Thanks Beth! I painted this sign just for you. Yes, that’s real, not virtual paint.

Wow. I’m overwhelmed with how folks have stepped forward to sponsor the Lost Sea Expedition TV series! Beth was my first donor. Beth, I was so moved by your gift I went out the barn, where the wagon is stored, and painted you this thank you note.

Sign in Bernie's wagon.
Close up of Beth’s sign. Yes, the paint is real (and still wet). The green piece of metal is the wagon brake.

More pictures of my barn, wagon and how your thank you board came to be are just a click away. Continue reading “Thank You Beth”

Through the Wagon Window

View of a gate through the wagon window.
The view from my front wagon window. Ever changing, it makes a great replacement for social media updates, TV or any other glowing screens. Peaceful. (Pine Ridge, SD)

My wagon has a tiny window at each end. The front one is round, the back one is square. When I’m sitting inside, it frames the world outside me. Living in my wagon, I became fascinated with “framing” my world with this view. Here are some of these photos. Consider them pairs. The first picture is from inside, the next is of the outside scene.

The wagon view outside Speed, Kansas.
Photo Pair 1 (inside): Sunset outside Speed, Kansas. Normally a community of under 50 people, it has swollen to over 5,000 for the Hot Wheels Speed Week festival. Yep, those Hot Wheels of tiny car fame.
A sunset over Speed, Kansas.
Photo Pair 1 (outside): An empty Speed street. Not a tiny or full size car in sight.

Continue reading “Through the Wagon Window”


George McKillip was 92 when I met him. Born in a Nebraska sod house and still living in a soddie. Just him and the lizards. Can you spot the fence lizard by George's ear?
George McKillip was 92 when I met him. Born in a Nebraska sod house and still living in a soddie. Just him and the lizards. (Webster, NB)

Hard land makes for fascinating faces. Those faces come with stories. Here’s a look in to the eyes of some of the folks you’ll meet in the Lost Sea Expedition TV series.

George McKillip: born in a sod house. 92 years later, still living in a soddie. Did not like rattlesnakes. (Webster, NB)
George Did not like rattlesnakes. (Webster, NB)


Diane Turko. Not really a face shot but an amazing woman running a Montana biker bar. Diane owns the Stoneville Saloon, home of "good food and bad drinks". (Alzada, MT)
Diane Turko. Not really a face shot but how could I not include this one? Amazing business woman with a biker bar and a stuffed double-headed calf. (Alzada, MT)


Joe Taylor: creationist. (Crosbyton, TX)
Joe Taylor: creationist. Still doesn’t celebrate Charles Darwin’s birthday but he might dance on his grave. (Crosbyton, TX)


Twila Merril: rode saddle broncs for 6 years without getting thrown...then was thrown...HARD (Scenic, SD)
Twila Merril: rode saddle broncs for 6 years without getting “throwd”…then she was “throwd”…Tough lady. (Scenic, SD)


This 20 foot fish swam over what is now Kansas. Meet the Lost Sea super-predator Xyphactinus (pronounced "Zi fak tin us".
Whoa! You weren’t expecting a fish here were you? Well, it’s one of the faces of the Lost Sea so here it is. Think 18-foot hearing that could swallow you. It’s a Lost Sea super-predator called Xyphactinus (pronounced “Zi fak tin us”. Check out some more Lost Sea critters here. (illustration by Charlie Frye / Frye Art Studio)



Peek in to the Wagon

The Lost Sea mule wagon parked on the side of the road.
The Lost Sea wagon, pulled over for the night in Kansas. This night, we just camped on the side of the road. The wagon served as the film and recording studio for the Lost Sea Expedition TV series (Outside Tribune, Kansas)

Hey, I figured you’d enjoy a peek in to the Lost Sea wagon. It was tiny. Just 21-square feet. That’s as much skin as the average human is covered in. Yeah, creepy….

The Lost Sea wagon parked in front of a Montana house.
From a distance, the wagon looks pretty small. Up close, well, as you’re about to see, it’s not much bigger. (outside Dickinson, ND)

The Lost Sea wagon was my mule drawn recording studio and home on the road for over a year.  I built it myself. Starting with a Pioneer one-ton chassis, I added a light steel frame and covered it with door skins and foam.

Call it a claustrophobe’s nightmare.  It’s barely 30 inches wide. My friends refer to it as the “MRI Wagon”.

I built such a small wagon so that, even loaded with recording gear and provisions, my mule Polly could pull it alone. Here are some pics. They’re mostly from Southern Pines, where I built the wagon.

The bare wagon frame rests in the driveway.
The wagon’s frame is built of light steel. The floor, walls and roof were fitted later. Here, the front wall is in place. Where the door is going to go is outlined in white. I built the rig in Mel Wyatt’s garage. Mel is my most patient friend and an extraordinary horse woman.
Bernie stands with arms up next to his wagon.
Hallelujah! It took me 2 weeks to get this far in the wagon build. I was so happy. Hell, this was easy. Fantastic! It took me 5 and a half more months to finish the project….
A look in to the Lost Sea wagon.
This is how the wagon looked when it was new inside. What the hell was I thinking with those colors? Purple, yellow, John Deere green, and skin tone? Oh well, the paint was free. The tidy look didn’t last long. Soon after, a coyote skin, among other things, found its way aboard.
 A look in the the tiny Lost Sea wagon.
A visitor takes a peek in to the Lost Sea wagon. This is how it looked like by South Dakota, a few months in to our trip. The fold down desk is where I wrote my journal and recorded my field notes. The red box above the door stored recording gear.

I still use the wagon. I’ve driven it hundreds of more miles since I returned to North Carolina. I plan to take it to Benson mule days (September 23-25 – Benson, NC) Sometimes, just for old times sake, I crawl inside for a nap. Cozy!