However, my daughter and I saw almost everything on our bucket lists, which included following the Snake River and that part of the Oregon Trail, the Tetons (which spoke to me powerfully), Yellowstone and bison and elk, massive stone walls that harbored native Indians tens of thousands of years ago (these rock and cave formations spoke to me as well), Cody Wy, the Badlands of Wy and SD, then a race across SD & NE to Minnesota where we zigged and zagged to visit old family haunts, and finally to Wisconsin and the Reunion (which was all that I had hoped for -- at least people wise. Can never get enough family history.) Then it was westward bound, homeward bound.
One of the things that struck me as we followed first the Lewis & Clark trail, then the Oregon Trail , and finally the route that my grandfather and family followed out to California, was the part the rivers played in their journeys; the Mississippi, Missouri, Platte, Green and, of course, the Snake River. I also had renewed respect for my ancestors' bravery, tenacity, and toughness to make those treks. No air conditioned cars, no air condition motels with WiFi and TV. No rest areas with good water ever so often. When we came to Chimney Rock and Scott's Bluff, I was astounded to realize that the Oregon Trail folks were but 1/3 of the way to Oregon. When we arrived in Green River, which was extolled by my Uncle Ralph as a great place to camp for a few days before heading out into the high desert to Salt Lake Citiy, I was equally shocked that it wasn't "green" but wonderfully warm tan hills and rock formations heralded every horizon -- but the river was cool and the water good.
We made it home in 15 hours from Green River, WY, nearly 1000 miles and having to stop several times so Colldubh (my black shepard) could run and such. According to my Uncle Ralph they were doing good to average 25 to 30 miles and hour in the Overland due to the road being not much more than a track in the desert. So they probably covered somewhere between 75 to 150 mile a day. The trek to Califonia --- thru the desert and it was hot in the summer time -- would have taken them at least two weeks with no breakdowns -- which they did indeed have. Tough folks to pile 7 kids, one dog, and all of their belongs and supplies piled into, tied onto and under the auto and heave off from northern Minnesota to Calipatria, California -- with no map, just that it was south and in California. Tough folks indeed.
And to end this Sunday Synopsis, I am sharing a picture of Colldubh after a long hard day of travel.
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© Joan G. Hill, Roots'n'Leaves Publications