Journal of A New Nation's Journey West
 
June 11 - 28, 2003

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Tuesday, June 10 -- We had a frightful storm early this morning. I used to live in  the midwest, but now live in Washington state. We don't see much lightning out there. This modern replica of  Camp Dubois, the  & C Lewis and  winter camp of 1803-04,  is sponsored by the Wood River Heritage Council and built primarily by C.J. Lanahan and members of the Discovery Expedition of St. Charles, MO. I have worked with these folks for the last six years and it is great to see things taking shape. Now, for the first time, we have all three forts of Lewis and Clark re-created. There is still some work to be done, but it will be ready for the DESC and other re-enactors to spend the winter of 2003 there.

 

It was great  yesterday to see the confluence of the Missouri and Missippi Rivers close-up. Missouri has just provided a wonderful access trail and roadway. Soon they will build a state park in the point between the two rivers.

Today I am preparing my program and waiting for my partner, Don Popejoy. I am really excited about this trip.

boathouse & nature centerOne of the things I love about these trips is coming back each time and seeing changes. In St. Charles the new home of the Discovery Expedition is nearly complete and it really looks great.

Mimi & Darold Jackson are moving all their exhibits from their old museum to the second floor. The first floor houses all the boats of the Discovery Expedition of St. Charles. This building and the boats were the dream of the late Glen Bishop.

The men and women he inspired carry on his tradition of excellence an dedication. This is the group which will recreate the entire journey in the next three years.

Wednesday, June 11 - Our first day. The bus came in at 12 noon and Don and I greeted the driver, Galen. We went to Wendy's for lunch and then began preparing for the evening orientation. It looks like a lively and receptive group. One of the men brought us a wonderful map and several brochures. It really is wonderful to see the spirit of giving and cooperation at the outset.


 

After orientation we ate dinner and then had a wonderful talk by Debbie Crank-Lewis. To prepare us for our journey she took us all the back to the Roman Empire. She said: "there was always trade with the Orient," and then took us along the Silk Road, through the Crusades, the fall of the Roman Empire, the search for new routes to China and we soon got to Christoforo Colombo. That's where I usually start the story, so it was great to get a deeper understanding of the longer sequence of events and the political climate of  the world at that time. Debbie, a consummate scholar with many awards, told the story with witty, down to earth humor and a simple style which endeared her to us all. She even looked up a question I asked about two years ago, and included that in her talk. To me that is the mark of a dedicated scholar. Thanks, Debbie. I am your fan for life. All agreed this is a wonderful start to the trip. In the next 17 days it will be our job to tell our 40 passengers the rest of the story.

Keep checking into this website, because some of your friends and relatives will be writing also. You can also e-mail us at tomlaidlaw@comcast.net

Tom Laidlaw, On-board Instructor ok

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