I had never really been to or through Nebraska, or at least not anything my memories can really pull up, but I do recall people warning me about crossing it that it would be dull, flat and nothing but crops.
There is some flat. There are lots of crops. But there is so much more! If I was looking at the landscape as someone just trying to get from one end to the other I could see that it might get a bit mundane. But when you change your perspective, and see it through the eyes of the Oregon Trail pioneers, it looks completely different.
By the time they hit the Nebraska border (and I'm going to use modern day borders as reference points) they were just finally figuring out the nuances of their frontier routine.
Waking early, the women were packing up their items; tents, bedding; utensils, making breakfast then quickly washing the dishes and putting the "extra" food away for a cold lunch at mid-day.
The men were rounding up the livestock, yoking the team and hooking them back up to the wagons, conferring with the other members of the train as to the day's events...
Rinse and repeat.
Water and wood were plentiful. The livestock had plenty of grasses to feed on, and game such as buffalo and antelope, rabbit and deer could be secured weekly.
In the evenings, hopefully getting in about 15 to 20 miles they stop for the night. It's plenty of daylight to still get any tents set up, unhook the teams and additional horses and livestock so they can graze. Cook and eat dinner with some time to spare for gathering, singing, music and writing.
As they continued on, the landscape would begin to change. The Platte River as their constant companion would guide them along the way.
The wind is fierce as there are no barriers to protect them or interrupt it's bluster.
Storms with piercing rain can appear with little to no warning and lightning puts on a show- sometimes turning deadly.
The earlier generations of overland pioneers had plenty of water and grass, but those that followed after thousands had decided to head west, the supplies began to become sparse and other trails, cut-offs and routes had to be initiated.
The waterways became polluted and the grasses were razed to dust.
And as many people do, in a land of plenty, they take more than they need, they leave the rest behind, they use and abuse, not thinking of who may be coming after or that there would be anything but... plenty.
The landscape showed change now getting just past the "halfway mark" of the state. The hills got a little more steep, you could be walking along and come across a huge crater where the land just seemed to collapse and they would have to find their way around that. Sometimes taking them many days away from their water source.
Huge sandstone boulders would begin to jut up from the ground and tower above them and create landmarks far off in the distance.
They would write home to their families about some uniquely shaped mountains and this served as points to look for in wagon trains to come. Many of these locations had been used for years and years prior to the Overlanders by the Native Americans, fur traders and military. (Here is where you would find the legendary Chimney Rock, Courthouse Rock, and Scott's Bluff)
The soft ground they had grown used to transformed into a rocky terrain. The grasses and trees became more sparse and the water which had given them refreshment was about to turn away, giving them just the tiniest glimpse of what was to come.
If they had minimal struggle so far, they could consider themselves quite blessed as everyday, from this point forward... would be a challenge.
And this is how I see Nebraska. In our modern times, we have paved highways (many following the exact Oregon Trail routes!) so I never have to worry about discomfort. We have miles and miles of crops which has changed the scenery somewhat, but is truly beautiful in it's own way. Not a buffalo is seen anywhere in the wild any more and the Platte River has flowed along beside me like a constant friend.
I am almost to the edge of Nebraska and so excited to step into Wyoming!
And oh! What the pioneers face next!
I know, I know, I said I was going to video all this amazing stuff, but I just can't wrap my head around it, so it's going to have to be photos. Best I can do, for right now until I get a "team" that I can hand off the editing and uploading process to.
I have put off these new recipe challenges for a time because of that- well, that and other things, like... fear. Which is silly, because, if it doesn't work out, I can just try again... these are things I have to remind my perfectionist self, because it's afraid of being embarrassed. #truth
But I purchased all of the supplies the pioneers had on their list, so I had better get to it.
I found a few bread recipes that I'd like to start with. Bread was a staple for them. The women made it almost every day. They sometimes were able to make thicker, more stout bread that would last longer and when supplies got low, they would scale back to "hard tack".
Hard Tack was a thick cracker that goes way, way back. It's pretty tasteless and was mainly used to thicken soups or be soaked up in beer or broth to make the... whatever... more filling. So supplies would last longer.
Yes, I'll make hard tack, but since I know I won't eat it the way the original recipe was made, I found a few tweaks that might make it palatable.
There's various forms of corn bread (some used it as in addition to a main meal- like with beans, and others used it AS the meal by adding bacon or ham or sometimes dried veggies to it.)
Biscuits. And fried breads. All on my list.
I found that I am missing a few things before I can use my cast iron dutch ovens... for instance, I have no way to remove the hot lid. I have nothing to redistribute hot coals... I knew that I wanted to cook outside... I guess just actually acquiring the dutch ovens was exciting enough that I didn't really think past that! Lol!
So when I get back into civilazaton, I will snag those few missing articles. In the meantime, I am mesmerized with YouTube videos and the like and can't wait to get started. Watch for the videos!!
Ha- just kidding... plenty of photos though!! Lol!
I was taught to "leave things better than you've found it." And my mother was/is a huge advocate for "be respectful of others". And when looking out into the world and intermingling with other humans, I forget that not everyone had the same amazing momma as I did.
I try never to travel on the weekends as there seems to be heavier traffic and people get upset if I don't want to go 75 on the highway dragging my camper. (Now if it was just me and Xander - my truck- I'd be all over it!)
So, that usually leaves me in campgrounds over the weekend.
Normally, I don't mind. I love hearing the kids squealing in the cold water and playing into the sunset. I love seeing that families are spending time together. I love the smell of a good campfire and grilling of their fresh catch of the day. I love that people still appreciate nature... sort of... and that "camping" is still a thing that is sure a tradition that will carry on into the future.
This weekend, there was such little regard for others and zero respect for the grounds and the nature around it. It just makes me so sad. Who taught you that this is okay?
There was trash, broken bottles and cigarette butts all over the place. People left their wrappers for the brand new floaty devices all over the beach.
People drove through the campgrounds- despite there being signs, despite the children running around- too fast or in the wrong direction! Would it take SO much time out of your life, just to follow the rules?
While I was out walking a vehicle sped past me and kicked up all kinds of rock dust, but also shot a rock out that hit me in my leg. That sucker hurt! I have a lovely purple bruise commemorating the moment and a regular reminder, every time I accidentally bump it, about that rude human.
If you want to play music at your campsite, that's fine. But don't assume everyone else needs to hear it. And, in the same instance, if you are in a neighboring campsite and the music is not to your liking, is it REALLY necessary to play YOUR genre even louder?
The bathroom... oh... please... just... can't you just... you know, be considerate of others? Or at the very least take responsibility for yourself and don't assume that it's someone else's job to come along after you and clean things up.
And please... keep an eye on your children and pets. Neither are meant to be left in a vehicle while you go out and play. No other explanation should be necessary. And if you keep your pets on a leash or lead, there would be no need to scream and yell obscenities at them because they are not staying in the invisible parameter of your space.
All of these things, state parks especially, are here for your enjoyment. Please stop doing the things that will make the state parks decide that it's just not worth it anymore.
We all have different ideas of what we want to experience in our campground vacations and we all have a different idea of what a good time is. Please! Go camping! Have a good time! Create awesome memories for your children and yourselves- but don't rob others of theirs.
Please don't make my state parks unsafe for me, I would just be so sad.
Consider this a public service announcement.
-Pick up your trash.
-Respect others and their space and property.
-Take care of your littles, furry and otherwise.
-Leave things better than you find it.
And our state parks will be here for years and years to come.
Rant over. Have an amazingly beautiful day.
At this phase of my journey, and I'm trying to run parallel with those who made the trip (1842-1845), they are still pretty content with their decisions to head west.
They might have experienced some rain, which would have been dreadful any way you look at it. If you were male, you were definitely outside, walking the team. Your clothes would be soaked, the mud would have been thick and hard to trudge through. If there was lightning, and thunder, they would have had to keep the livestock calm and moving forward.
Inside the wagon wouldn't have been much better. The women and the children would have ridden inside if the wagon train had to keep moving- which 90% of the time, they did.
Inside the wagon was cramped to say the least. Not a lot of space was given to comfort in lieu of bringing extra supplies and... stuff. It's amazing how much we value... stuff. Even me, I down-sized to a quarter of what I had in my last camper and looking around, I still have so much excess! I might need it later... lol. I guess we'll see.
The canvas that covered all the stuff, was protecting it as best it could, but at the time, they didn't have a lot of treatments to help keep out the water, and those that they DID have, were not common knowledge to the common folk. (Plus they didn't have YouTube... )
So the inside would not only be cramped, but if you so much as touched the canvas, it would "break the seal" and begin dripping on your dry goods. Plus the smell. The first rain, probably fine... but every rain after that, would begin to smell musty and moldy. And if the flaps are closed at both ends, that hot CO2 and musty stench, makes an uncomfortable combination.
But, like I said, at this point, they were still happy go-lucky campers off on adventure.
But they had NO idea of what was coming.
Since I chose the early years, everything will still pretty much unknown. They really only had one- maybe two?- books on the subject and letters from those who had made the full journey had only just begun to trickle in. But were not accessible to everyone. (No face book!) Letters were shared, and sometimes printed to share news with everyone. (Narcissa Whitman's letters got all the women believing the trip would be lovely!)
I have tried not to read TOO far ahead or schedule things way in advance because I too, want to see and experience things for the first time. But I DO know that hardships are coming. And it's true, I don't HAVE to face them, but there are some that I want to make it through the experiment. Like the food, for example. I bought most of the items on their list that should have sustained them for the entire journey, with a few exceptions along the way. (They would be able to hunt for meat, and fish - let the records show I have ZERO intentions of doing either- and they could pick up a few supplies from four different forts along the way. (Fort Kearney was built AFTER "my" trip- so that's already passed.)
I have 24 pounds of bacon that I haven't touched yet. I'm afraid of tapping into it! I'm "afraid" that I might run out. The stories that I have read, many had to live on coffee and morsels of bread, most of the cows had stopped producing milk, no one had fresh food, and little to no ammo to go hunting.
I can't UNknow these things, and so I eat sparingly... (It's weird, because I'm actually GAINING weight because, my body already assumes that I'm starving and so its gone into self- protection mode. My modern self is none to happy with this.)
I do have the modern conveniences of a freezer and a non-leaky canvas roof, so I can be certain that my dry foods will all stay dry. Plus, I have modern storage too, so I won't have the extra "protein" of little boll weevils, either. I KNOW that I won't starve. But I think it's interesting, that my brain is thinking that it might be a possibility. (I find that really cool. Because it knows what's coming. And it's only point of reference is times of peril. )
I have pulled out my first one pound package of bacon... it has begun.
I am a workaholic...
When I sit down at my computer, you can plan on me being there for quite some time. Not on purpose, either I'm really "into" what I'm doing- hyper focused, or I get lost in a series of rabbit holes so I end up working on several things in bursts of attention.
I ALWAYS have so much to do! Every time I try to "streamline" and "systemize" the learning curve is so intense or there is SO much PRE-work that needs to be done before you days are care-free and running on auto-pilot. I'm still not convinced there IS such a thing. But that's a topic for another blog post. (which, I don't care what anyone says, cannot be automated.)
Anyway- see, what I mean? SQUIRREL!
The "plan" for this Oregon Trail adventure had so many side things that I wanted to happen as well.
What IS happening:
-I'm seeing some BEAUTIFUL landscapes! Some country I've never seen before! And since my imagination is super sensitive, I can immediately "go back in time" and see things the way they would have seen them, and story get wrapped around that... so yay for that.
-Along with these landscapes, I'm seeing landmarks that were pivotal to the pioneers- and those just feed the fire. It's like finding a piece to a continual scavenger hunt. I wonder if other people even notice these landmarks, or are moved in the slightest the significance they had on the travelers.
-I am getting to most of the museums and touristy traps that make me so happy. Budget is the only thing that gets in the way there. Budget is crazy tight.
-I'm keeping the PostCard Club on track. (I always lose money on this because I just want to get them just one more thing... ). But- they are on track and I'm pleased with all the goodies that I find along the way. I love postcards.
-I am staying pretty consistent in the History Revisited group. What a great group of people! I am so happy that everyone seems to be having a good time. They are not shy, and engagement is good, which of course builds my confidence- knowing that I'm on the right track and giving them stuff they like. That makes me happy.
What is NOT happening:
-As I've already confessed, I bailed on the podcast. And sure enough, the moment I said it outloud, my brain is writing episodes and trying to convince me that I made a terrible decision.
-I'm supposed to be doing videos. I don't know why I agreed to that. I don't know what I was thinking. I hate video. Always have. I love teaching, and experimenting and I KNOW the best way to share that with everyone is through video. But there is so much I have to learn before I can do it... so much prep time... editing... and then where to I store it or share it... so much. Which brings me to the whole purpose of this entry...
-One of the things I was going to video (or at least share) was recipes from the pioneer days. I'm so excited to try them! I bought a million pounds of flour for goodness sake!! The problem comes when I get lost in the computer and by the time a look up- I'm starving and don't want to take the time to build a fire and gather ingredients and figure out what I'm doing. So I end up drinking a protein shake or a snack... (which are running out and I'm not "allowed" to restock!). Maybe that will push me to do the cool stuff.
Do I need to make a schedule? Maybe I need to plan stuff as soon as I get up? Do I need to set up a time limit for the computer? Lol! Lol! I crack myself up.
Point is ... I need to start doing the stuff I said I was going to, otherwise I will severely regret it when I reach the end.
I would like to point out, that even though I am in front of my computer or phone screen for hours upon hours every day, I'm still enjoying my surroundings. I am looking at a beautiful view of the North Platte River surrounded by tall amber waves of grain.
The benefits of working from home. I don't take that lightly. Apparently I'm back to trying to figure out how to add MORE stuff to my day??
Which means by me giving up the second podcast, made zero difference.
...sigh. Welcome to my brain.
Man, I'm hungry.
This morning I had a private prayer meeting at the sunrise service. It was just me, the Platte River, the sun sneaking up over the plains and God. The birds were the choir and a slight breeze kept the heat away.
The brand new sunlight caught the mist coming up from the water and gave it warm etherial look.
Per our usual conversations, I begin with gratitude. How thankful that I am that I can take this journey. It's come at a high cost, and I never want Him to think that I don't realize it. I also know that there will probably be a high cost when my travels end, and I let him know that I accept that too. I am grateful for the littlest things like a safe place to sleep and the beautiful orchestra of nature around me, but I am most grateful for an audience with Him.
Because, and I'm sure He knows it... it's not long before I begin to fret about all the things. "How am I going to afford this?" "What happens next?" "What if this... what if that..."
His answer, is always the same..."Let me take care of that, you take care of the things that are in your control."
At which, I instantly felt the tiniest sting of reprimand.
Am I doing all of the things I'm supposed to be doing? Maybe... but am I doing them to the best of my ability? Probably not.
I am easily side-tracked with the latest, newest idea and I usually chase it down for the length of my leash to see what I can do with it. Sometimes I have no business being there. Sometimes I can find a few nuggets to make the things I do better and sometimes, I think that I have the power to bend time... that's my biggest problem, I think. I WANT to do all these things, so I TRY to do all these things, but it turns out that I have the exact same number of hours in the day as everyone else. I'm not SUPPOSED to be doing ALL the things apparently. And He waits patiently until I can come to our meetings for Him to tell me so.
I have been given a great deal of success and growth with my podcast, Bag of Bones. I love it. I really love everything about it, but I'm not utilizing it as best as I could. Meaning, I'm spreading out, instead of digging the well a little deeper. I jumped into a second podcast before Bag of Bones was even a year old and one, both are extremely research intensive, and two, I wasn't able to give them the amount of time I need to bring forward the quality I desire. So, with heavy heart, I am cancelling the release of Trails of History. Maybe postponing it? I don't know, but for now, it needs to come off my plate so I can continue to grow and nurture and monetize the podcast I have currently.
The other thing I need to remove right away is the more public version of the Writer's Lounge. I am moving this branch of my company to a more niched down version. I am discontinuing the Facebook group. It takes a huge amount of time creating daily posts for people and it's just not being used. And I am also discontinuing the League of Authors Membership site for this year. I love the concept of this- but it's just too big for me to deal with at the moment.
I am going to switch my focus to smaller group coaching to writer's who are ready to get their first book written and published. Many people SAY they want to write a book but few actually put in the time and effort to do so. I want to work with those few and help them with all the crazy transition stuff to make it a dream come true.
And then finally, my readers have been most patient with me, allowing me to follow this path and that- not having a new book from me. I need to get back to that. I owe you all A Devil's Errand that was supposed to be released in May, but I will do my best to get it released before the end of the year.
So keep an eye out, these transitions will be happening slowly throughout the website. Things will disappear and new things will pop up, fear not... all part of the Master's plan...
I love to hear the pitter patter of rain on my roof. It’s usually quite calming. Even as it begins to get heavier and I hear the sound of the thunder and the flash of lightning come closer together, I am still at peace. But just as I am about to drift off to sleep a clap of thunder startles me and I remember that I am “on” the Oregon Trail. My peace is gone as my brain frantically searches it’s research memory bank to try and recall what they would have done on such a night.
It’s still early on the trip, we haven’t even been on the trail for thirty days as yet, which means the wagons are still pretty full with provisions. There would be no room to crawl into the safety of the wagon.
Some brought along tents to sleep in but most would sleep out under the stars or under the wagon. The wind rocks my sturdy little Wildwood Conestoga and I am literally worried to where I can’t sleep wondering what they would have done. Lightning flashes and cracks across the sky and lights up the inside of my camper.
I was lying in my bed already planning and plotting how I was going to have to hook up the camper and leave even while it was storming. I was going to put a dry towel and a dry change of clothes in the truck, add a dry towel to the seat. Don’t wear jeans, they hold too much water. Which hoodie should I wear? You’ll want to hurry, I’m reminding myself, but don’t go so fast you forget a step… that’s even more dangerous…
I thought, I will be as tired as they would have been… I can’t sleep for thinking. They couldn’t sleep for all the rain… and the potential dangers of lightening and fierce winds, flash floods…being out on the open praire with no protection. No trees. Nothing.
How terrifying for them. They could have gotten no sleep. They couldn’t possibly be dry no matter where they went. And here, still in Nebraska, the rain is coming down so hard and so fast that the ground can’t absorb it making streams and soaking the ground and everything in it’s path.
What did they do? What did they do?
Did they have towels to dry their faces? Did they have a change of clothes? A change of shoes? Their blankets had to be soaked. Their tents would have blown over. Their lean-tos would have been useless. What did they do?
The panic that I feel, even while in the safety of my own bed is real. This is how I make the scenes for my books so vivid, because before I write them, I can feel them. Even as I write this, though the storm has passed and the sun is shining, the panic swells back up in my chest as I think about their discomfort. Their weariness. And the children.
And the horses! And the cattle! No protection!
The storm raged pretty fiercely all through the night but by morning, it was finished with it’s tantrum and went on its way.
I was able to hook up the camper to the truck with little inconvenience other than some mud. I’m sure we both assessed the damages, if any and make adjustments. They had to rise at 4- hook up the oxen to their wagons, load up all their wet gear (hopefully get to change into some dry clothes) and trudge through the thick, muddy grass onto their next stop.
Today, I am driving the equivalent of 16 of their travel days.
I love the camping life.
When I was a child, I would wait not so patiently for my dad to come home from work. He would back the trunk in (instead of forward) so he could hook up our little pop-up camper.
My mom had been packing and sorting and meal planning so all would be ready when he got home.
My sister and I would get to bring along ONE friend. (my brother was still just a baby) And, kudos to the parents for that clever plan, because with a friend along we were happily entertained and barely came back to the campsite for food.
My bicycle tires got SO many miles! We hiked and swam and explored and got dirty. Our campsites were almost always "primitive" so there weren't many amenities... no swimming pool. No electric. No flushing toilets. Just you and nature.
In fact, it was a rule that once we got there, no more watches. No electronic devices and no talking shop. (school or work!)
This was where I learned basic survival skills. I got to play with sharp instruments AND fire! I learned to steer a canoe and became a strong swimmer. We got to drink Vess soda and I was trusted to wander and explore to my heart's content.
When my father left us, that was pretty much the end of my camping adventures.
But it was still some of the very best memories of my childhood.
When I became an adult, it became very important to me to make sure my children were exposed to that kind of adventure.
We started with a tent and the basics and even found my childhood campground- which is still one of my very favorite places on earth. (My first book, Captive Heart was placed there, it's on the front cover!)
I was amazed at how quickly everything came back to me. All my memories and "training". jumped at the chance to come forward again. And the same "rules" applied. I taught my kids (and those that tagged along) how to build a fire, how to be strong swimmers, how to embrace the dark and appreciate the stars and NO electronic devices. No video games, no radios, no watches and eventually, no cell phones. Just us and nature. Even kids need to learn to sit still and relax.
It only took one rainy weekend with 4 kids in tow to realize that tent camping was not for me. We upgraded to a pop up...
And we became unstoppable.
We took that little camper everywhere! Again... some of my favorite memories.
The kids were able to see things they might never had the opportunity to see!
As the kids grew up and went their own grown-up ways, I realized that I wanted more... and less.
I hate being cold. I've hated it my whole life. So project number one was to figure out how to not be cold anymore. If I never saw snow again...
I hit that place in life where I questioned, "Is this all there is? There's still so much I wanted to do and to see... I wasn't built to live and die in the same town, was I?"
And I was surrounded by... stuff. So much stuff! Stuff that I coveted and drug from home to home and thought I couldn't bare to live without!
Until I realized that I was really only using three rooms in my three bedroom home that it dawned on me.
1. I don't need all this stuff.
2. I don't need all this space.
3. Life DOES have options. Really and truly, if there is a will, there IS a way... you just have to be open to the unconventional possibilities.
I bought a camper. I moved in to said camper and I haven't looked back.
I have only "recently" been able to use my camper(s)- for there have been a few by now- for it's intended purpose, and that is to move about the country, but now that I have... I am just so... happy.
I love the camping life.
I love the simplistic ways. I love living minimally. (Oh, I'm still plenty spoiled, but thanks to my upbringing, I wouldn't know how to "glamp" or camp in luxury even if it was offered to me.)
So I still choose low-key campgrounds, I still love a good campfire, I still love walking, hiking and exploring. I love having a new front yard when I open my door. (One that never has to be tended by me!)
I have made new friends, seen some amazing sights and learned so many things...
When it is time for me to stop traveling and I am forced to act my age, I can honestly say I'm looking forward to the memories that will keep me company.
Whenever I tell someone that I’m following the Oregon Trail, revisiting it as a modern pioneer, they either smile politely and nod, or if they are curious they’ll ask- what exactly does that mean?
Well, in this particular, personal case, I have chosen to narrow down my experience to the 1840s. I’m following thier routes. I’m following thier practices/ recipes and routines, as I make my way toward the end goal of Oregon City, Oregon. The 1840s is still considered the beginning of the emigration. They weren’t really sure where they were going. They didn’t have much of an idea of how to prepare or what might befall them, they were just ready for a change. Ready enough to sell off everything but what could fit into a wagon or two and set out to meet their options for a different life. I can appreciate that…
While I will dip into the other two centuries where Oregon Trail travel was still very popular- I couldn’t help myself if I tried, but I’m trying to focus my “experiences” in that first decade.
So…what are the rules?
I don’t have any hard-fast rules, but chose to go with the flow and implement what I can. Obviously, I’m not traveling by horse and buggy, but I am in my trusty truck Xander (which counts as 300 plus horse power(?), and my little covered wagon of a camper- Marlee, a 24 foot, just enough to make me somewhat comfortable between worlds. (I need to have my office and computer, for work, and then there’s coffee… do I really need to justify that?? Lol)
I have done some research… but not too much more than what we might have learned in school, if our teacher really liked the time period. I have never seen these things before and I want them to be as much of a first impression when I share them, but also as I safely can. Meaning, I'm not going into something totally blind.
So, I am learning as I go. I study up on where I am headed and then when I get there, and am seeing the things for the first time. Once I'm there, whatever catches my interest, or "moves the story forward" I’ll deep dive and learn more about them. And then in the facebook group History Revisited, I share what I am learning in little bite size pieces and lots of photos. And now, for those who want more detail or more information, I’ll add that here. (Eventually there will also be a podcast, but I just can't seem to get my act together to make that a thing. It's very time consuming and I need to not spread myself too thin. Easier said than done. I have SO much I want to do!)
I am doing my best to follow the trail in “real time”. Now I can’t plod along in the slow lane, blinkers on at 5 miles per hour the whole way, so I make jumps. I’ll go a certain distance and then do a big circle around where I land to cover all of the interesting sites and museums and then I’ll move to the next spot. So if it took them 6 weeks to cross Nebraska, it will for me too. (And I’m going by the recorded maps and journals to plot out my timeline and things I see. I am a tourist nerd!)
As far as experiences go, I am trying not to go “out to eat”. I have stocked up on the same supplies as the pioneers were encouraged to do and am curious to see how I fair with just that. It’s a lot of beans, bacon and bread…
Right now, I’m still early in the game, so I am still finishing off all of my “fresh food”. Like eggs, cheese, lettuce, fruit and milk (for my coffee- not sure if I’ll cave and get more half n half for the coffee, or if I’ll learn to do without or just give it up entirely…)
I’ve given up ready-made food, so nothing in a box, nothing pre-made. I do make use of the luxury of refrigeration. All of my meats are either refrigerated or frozen. All of my beans are raw, everything has to be made from scratch. (I did purchase some granola already toasted and sweetened with vanilla in bulk)
I have given up soda. I do have a filter for my water, let’s not get crazy. Don’t want to die of dysentery.
I'm not being drastic or unreasonable, but I am trying to stretch my boundaries to make it a learning experience.
I would love to be able to get up at 4 and eat my breakfast cooked on a fire every morning and be ready to start my day by 7:30, but I haven’t found that much dedication yet. (I have recently retired and to me, retirement is all about NOT having an alarm! Lol) Maybe it will come, but for right now, I still let myself sleep until I wake up and I make my coffee in the automatic coffee pot. (I honestly didn’t think about getting a firepit coffee pot, otherwise I probably would have tried it!)
The object is not to see how much misery I can handle, it’s to experience parts of their life so as to bring it forward. I have never made bread from scratch, never needed to. I’ve never cooked using cast iron. I’ve never had to walk everywhere, conserve water, ration out my food, milk a cow or learn about disease…
What makes history fascinating to me was their day to day life. We are the same on the inside. But the things they did from one day to another are so very different from the life that I have. I have never really had to do certain things in order to survive.. except, perhaps pay attention to traffic rules and what not.
I want to revisit this historical era with modern eyes and appreciate- truly appreciate how good I have it. How absolutely amazing these people were that faced these unknowns.
I can always bail on my alternate universe and slip into a Walgreens or a Taco Bell, but I’m just… trying this. I want to see how my body adjusts for one. But I think a bit of humility may be in order for two. I take things for granted. I’m spoiled. And even though I’m choosing campgrounds that are primitive or a step above, I’m still spoiled. I draw the line at sleeping on the ground! This body is TOO old for that!
Are there rules? Kinda? I might be making them up as I go along. But I sure am enjoying the ride.
It’s just an experiment. There’s no right or wrong. Win or lose. Pass or fail. It’s more than a vacation, but less than a Discovery Channel series.
But I do take it seriously. I am sincere as I am revisiting history and becoming acquainted with a time gone by and documenting things as I go. As a modern pioneer… I’m off on adventure. A new view of an old route.
I’m glad that you’re here with me. I am always open to suggestions to things I should try or places I need to see along the way. I have a list of 1840s recipes, I’d like to sort through and see how many I can make. I’d like to know about their survival skills. I'd like to shoot a black powder rifle. I’d like to milk a cow and make butter and fresh ice cream. Id like to ride a horse and gallop freely across the prairie. I’d like to cook over an open fire. I’d like to learn how to sew and do leather work. I’d like to dive in a bit more and learn about the people who made this trip before me. Maybe I’ll even sleep outside under the stars by the fire, once.
There are lots of options that may present themselves as I make my way through unseen territory and experience brand new things from a time gone by, brought back to life from a modern day perspective.
I guess we will have to see what presents itself.
If you want to take a bigger part of my adventure, be sure to join the History Revisited Facebook Group. That's the most immediate interaction. I post all my photos and love to converse with everyone there! Jump in and join us!
There's another option if you're interested in a more personal experience with my travels. It's the PostCard Club. This is a group that receives postcards from me where ever I go, about 3-4 times per month and then if you'd like, you can upgrade to receiving magnets every month or even an entire gift box filled with goodies from places I stop along the way. Souvenirs, locally made edibles, other unique items I find every stop I make. To find out more or to sign up- click here.
This blog is getting a complete make-over. I have neglected it for so long and so much has changed since my last entry.
Quick catch up...
- I am a full-time traveler now. I have purchased a small 24' camper and currently am following the Oregon Trail with modern eyes. Retracing the steps and lifestyles of our ancestors as they braved the wild, yet untamed west to find a new life in Oregon or California... This is something I've always wanted to do and finally decided, that if I didn't do it now, I might not ever get the chance... so I'm out here livin the dream.
- If you have followed me for any length of time, you'd know my companion, Meera. My Great Dane- she passed away and I can't bare to even think about getting another dog at this time... maybe never, her loss was so great.
I have a black cat, Oakley who is doing her very best to fill in the gaps.
- I am a podcaster! I create, write and host the podcast Bag of Bones. It's about the dark and creepy or just sometime peculiar history of America. BEHIND the microphone!
I love it! It pretty much has taken the place of this blog and is of course focused on American history, but it's how I have been connecting with the world, as late.
I enjoy the whole podcast arena, that I am on the cusp of releasing the next podcast as well. This one will be more focused on one particular time frame, so I can go deeper into one area. It's called Trails of History and since I'm following the original Oregon Trail... you can probably guess what the first season will be. Lol!
The Bag of Bones Podcast is available wherever you listen to your podcasts, so be sure to subscribe so as not to miss one!
The Bag of Bones Podcast also has it's own fb page, if that's your jam, I'd love to have you like and follow there! (Or if your preference is Instagram... I usually forget this platform, so I apologize in advance!)
- I have also started coaching writers to help them get their first book ready for publish, from first thoughts to finding the best way to publish to marketing... it is very rewarding and time consuming! But again, it's a labor of love and so worth it!
-So, as you can see by all the busy-ness above, I have not been doing my OWN writing for minute... or two. I am sorry. I know most of you here have found me because of my books and I am so thankful for that, and I am doing my best to get back to that as well. The good news is, the requests I've been getting for another historical fiction are probably going to be granted. Being out here on the same ground that the pioneers traveled, my brain can barely keep quiet!
This blog space is going to become more of a journal than a teaching avenue as I share what is happening along my travels. This already has been such an experience. I am humbled to be allowed to follow this dream of mine to re-visit history and bring it to you in a new light so it does not slip away.
If you want photos and regular- immediate- journey update, my History Revisited Facebook page is your best bet for that! I'm there almost every day.
And for more of the "teaching" side of things, if you're wanting to learn more about the Oregon Trail, the people, what their day to day lives looked like, be sure to tune in to the podcast. I'll let you know when it comes out!
I think that brings us up to speed! Thanks for hanging in there with me, or coming back around, and if you're new here... welcome. I'm glad you're here.
More to come.
No really, I promise. :)
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