Journal of A New Nation's Journey West
 
June 12 - 29, 2002

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Tuesday June 11, 2002
Well we are almost ready to go. Tomorrow is our orientation day. My partner, Don Popejoy, arrived about 5:00 today and we have been going over the schedule. We are both eager to meet a new group of people. During the last two days I toured the St. Louis area with my sister and brother-in-law. I also re-visited the State of Illinois visitor center at Camp Wood. OK
Further north in Illinois and much closer to the actual site of the winter 1803-1804 winter encampment, a private individual, C.J. Lanahan, is building a replica of the actual fort built by the men of the Corps of Discovery. Personally, I like the volunteer effort much better. it will require a little more work from the visitor, but it will give a much better picture of the way the camp really looked.

This will also be a site for mountain man re-enactor rendezvous. It is on land donated by the city of Wood River, and on a lagoon which was created by modern diversion of that river.

Wednesday June 12, 2002

Well, the June 2002 program has begun. Here are just a few of the 44 people at our first meeting. I'm not sure all of them are over 55, they are so lively, energetic, and eager for new experiences. I hope some of them will become journalists and share their thoughts on this website. 

Tom Laidlaw, Onboard Instructor.

There are people from all walks of life and all parts of the country. Tomorrow we will be going to the Arch at St. Louis and touring the town of St. Charles, MO. Friday, June 14 will be our first actual day on the road. We will make Independence in one day, whereas it took the Lewis and Clark Expedition over five weeks.
June 12th, 2002
Well, here we are again...my beloved St. Charles! The first day is over and we seem to have a high energy, happy, let's go group of people. Tom and I are very excited about this trip across the country and each year, each adventure, each group gets better and better. To paraphrase William Clark's "O the Joy! Ocean in View" I say "O the Joy! Elderhostelers in View!!!" 
Klahowya Tillicum.
Don Popejoy,
Onboard Coordinator

Thursday June 13, 2002
Today we went to the Arch at  St. Louis. We were greeted by this bear. Several rode the trams to the top and others got a look at a new movie about Lewis and Clark. They reported it was great, so I will have to see it some day. In the afternoon we toured St. Charles and had a nice little character talk from Mimi Jackson who owns the great, small Lewis and Clark Center museum devoted to Lewis and Clark. She told us how important Peter Cruzatte was the the expedition with his fiddle and boatmanship.

 

In the evening we got a look at the replica boats of the Discovery Expedition of St. Charles. The hostellers thoroughly enjoyed the talk by Peter Geery, who portrays Sgt. Ordway. The mission of this group is to educate the public and the nation about the Lewis and Clark Expedition, through re-enactments and festivals. They wil use their three boats to re-create the whole trip to Great Falls in the same time frame 200 years later.Most important the folks got a good handle on what the boats looked like, so that will help them to more completely understand the transportation system of Lewis and Clark. This is a picture of the keelboat from the air during the summer 2001 maiden voyage.

 

Friday June 14, 2002
This was the first actual traveling day, and it was a full one. we traveled from St. Charles to Arrow Rock for lunch. During the trip we discussed the underpinnings of the Expedition. It seems significnt that we have the same number of participants as did Lewis and Clark 200 years ago: 44. We covered in acouple of hours what took them a month of hard travel. The were really on a shakedown cruise and Clark wrote several times about the boats getting in trouble and the men saving them. He was very pleased and said "Our men are superior to any crew on the Missope. that sounds like he means Mississippi, but they are on the Missouri. Maybe this one of Clark's frequent creative spellings.

After a tour of the quaint town of Arrow Rock we headed to Independence for dinner and the night. Along the way we stopped at the re-created Fort Osage for a wonderful time with several great re-enactors in period clothing. They were quite knowledgable, and appreciated the 15 star, 15 stripe flage we carry with us. Our flag bearer is George Carr and here is apicture of our flag and the same flag flown by Fort Osage. This fort was built by William Clark in 1808 as a government factory to trade with the Osage Indians for furs. It was closed for the duration of the War of 1812, reopened at the end of that war and closed again in 1822 when private businessmen appealed to Congress to get the government out of the fur trading business.

Next was a visit to the Truman Library. Everyone loved the exhibits and the graves of Harry and Bess Truman.

An evening program was given by Jim "Two Crows" Wallen, a nationally known Mountain Man re-enactor who thoroughly captured the attention of our group. As a matter of fact he literally captured nine of us to help him illustrate the kind of life the Mountain Man had. He gave each of the nine some piece of authentic equipment and demonstrated how it was used. The upshot was that 7 of the nine had trouble with the equipment and "died" out in the wilderness. According to Jim the life span of the Mountain Man was about 2 years.

 

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