A whole new world
For me, the anticipation is all part of the pleasure. I enjoy "looking forward" to things, to savouring the excitement of planning and getting ready. In the weeks leading up to our annual road trip, I go through the usual journal dilemmas, closely followed by the question of what clothes to take. I generally compile a shopping list and at some stage our google map becomes littered with green stars and suchlike marking out Bernina dealers, quilt shops and Chicos! I'm not quite at that stage yet and our 2018 Summer Road Trip map is still fairly uncluttered.
It gains a few more stars each day however, as I progress further into my current book and come across new places to add The blue star near Bayard is Chimney Rock, just one of the landmarks I'm looking forward to seeing in a few weeks as we meet up with Mary in St Louis to retrace the steps of the pioneer families, a thousand of whom blazed the trail exactly 175 years ago .
It was quite some time ago when we decided to explore this part of the United States and I believe my Hero and Road Trip Organiser began working on our itinerary when Mary was here last Christmas. In fact, I think Ray Mears inspired our initial interest when he made a programme about the American West, which was shown sometime last year. Chatting about our travel plans with friends from that part of the world on board the Navigator a couple of months ago led to some interesting conversations and one evening, whilst sitting in the theatre awaiting the show, one of those sweet friends tapped me on the shoulder and handed me this book. "A must read", he said.
It's a fascinating story and my first thought is to be thankful that we will have four wheels and no mules. Avis didn't have any Prairie Schooners on offer, so we took the more comfortable option and will not need to worry about hitch runaways or suchlike.
I'm making lists and adding stars to the map, then, aided by email conversations with Pele in the National Frontier Trail Museum about the best places to see ruts ! I'm also learning more about Narcissa Whitman, one of the earliest pioneers, who documented her experiences in a series of letters home which were published "back east and as far away as London". (She would surely have been posting regular blog entries today, wouldn't she?) One surprising action of those early pioneers is the habit of discarding anything surplus to requirements when the going got tough and one such thing "husband" jettisoned was Narcissa's last possessions from home in her travelling trunk! (Note to my Hero: don't even think about it....) She, gracious as ever, simply wrote "Farewell little Trunk. I thank thee for they faithful services and that I have been cheered by thy presence so long" Oh, those women were tough! I plan to bring everything home again and will not scatter belongings, I promise.
There's more fun to be had before we jump off though and plenty more to find out as well, because as you know, it doesn't do to miss a thing on one of our adventures!
There's also a journal to put together...