We’re traveling the Oregon Trail this week. Sort of.
Actually, what we’re doing is driving from Michigan to visit Ken’s parents in the mountains of Northeast Oregon and learning about the Oregon Trail as we go. We already finished reading aloud Jean Van Leeuwen’s Bound for Oregon, a fictionalized retelling of nine-year-old Mary Ellen Todd’s journey west. Not only were the children fascinated, but the book also helped all of us put our own travels in perspective. We might get weary of riding in the car, but at least we can go more than fifteen miles a day. With air conditioning. And no cholera.
I may be old fashioned, but there are a few modern conveniences to which I’m very devoted. Good roads and fast, reliable vehicles are two of them. I can’t even imagine the fortitude of those stalwart people who devoted six months of their lives to driving oxen across country — all for a slim chance at a better life in a fair green land they knew only by wild rumor.
Give me a rented Chevy Impala over a Conestoga wagon any day.
I am hoping, though — despite our newfangled mode of transport — that this trip will enable us to enjoy a few old fashioned adventures that are hard to come by at home. Most notably, I’m looking forward to another lesson in carding and spinning wool with my dear mother-in-law. If we can make this or any other fun old fashioned adventures come to pass this week, I’ll definitely share an account of them for all of our enjoyment.
For tonight, though, I’m tired. Like our Oregon Trail-traveling forebears, we’re spending the night in a tent. Unlike them, we’re staying at a KOA with showers, a pool, a playground, and free WIFI. It’s just lovely.