It was difficult for the Pedaling Pioneer to climb the Blue Mountains with modern day dangers (semi-trucks, construction, oh my!) and the pioneers had their own struggles. Read some of the first impressions that the pioneers had as they crossed the Blue Mountains in Oregon.
Having a little fun cooking on the Oregon Trail along the Snake River!
The journey to Boise was tough with some flats along the way, but not as difficult as the journey to Boise was for the Ward Party. And…I finally get to cross the state line I’ve been waiting to see for over 1,000 miles. Oregon!
Canyon Creek Station was an oasis in the middle of the Idaho desert with green grass for the oxen and water for all!
Pioneers loved to leave their mark along the trail to communicate with loved ones and mark their progress. Watch the video to find out how Inscription Rock is different than other registers like Register Cliff and Independence Rock in Wyoming or Register Rock in Idaho. It was worth the climbs to see that these marks were still there!
We take modern conveniences like bridges for granted everyday, and visiting Three Island Crossing at Glenns Ferry, Idaho emphasized how lucky we are today. This crossing at Snake River was another reminder of how difficult and dangerous river crossings were for the pioneers. They had to be resourceful in order to cross difficult rivers such as the Snake River at Three Island Crossing.
It may look like a gravel road that is back home in Missouri, but don’t let the camera fool you! It is like riding through 2 – 3 inches of sand…whew! It has taken a lot of focus and hard work to make the hill climbs out in Idaho.
The Pedaling Pioneer has traveled 2,095 miles in two summers and has reached his final destination – Oregon City, Oregon! Make sure to check out the news story on http://www.koin.com at 6 PT/8 Central or visit the website later to replay.
Checking in at Register Rock in Idaho.
By the time the pioneers had reached Massacre Rocks, they have traveled over 1,200 miles. Crossing the desert of Idaho was one of the most difficult parts of the Oregon Trail for them. The Pedaling Pioneer tells the story from 1862 of the Indian attack which led to the naming of Massacre Rocks.
Still a challenge to ride in the wind in Idaho.
The Pedaling Pioneer had a lot more fun rafting the Snake River than the pioneers would have. Crossing the Snake River was a large obstacle for the pioneers with its swift currents, wide channels, and steep banks.
Click here to learn more about the kind of Snake River crossings the pioneers experienced.
Soda Springs was a stopping point near Fort Hall for the pioneers. The bubbling, naturally carbonated water caused by ancient volcanic activity was used by the pioneers, trappers, traders, and Indians for medicinal and bathing purposes. The Pedaling Pioneer and his wagon train also made the stop to enjoy the hot springs along the Trail.
Ride inside a farm wagon and learn how the different critters on the trail were shod from the exceptional pioneer guides at the Interactive Trail Museum in Montpelier, Idaho. They also have a wonderful website with great information!
The notorious Butch Cassidy had a high profile bank robbery in Montpelier, Idaho. The Pedaling Pioneer, or should I say the Pedaling Policeman, is here to tell the dramatic tale which, of course, includes a bicycle.
By the time the pioneers had entered Idaho, they had traveled over 1,300 miles with approximately 700 miles left on their journey to Oregon City, Oregon. The excitement of the adventure had dissipated into the heat and exhaustion that had settled upon the wagon trains by July and August when they would be crossing into Idaho.
Follow this link to learn about the obstacles and dangers the pioneers found in the next to last state they would cross on their journey to their destination and all the promise that awaited them there.
I got to experience the beauty of Wyoming during this leg of the Oregon Trail and also meet some new, furry friends along the way. Oh, and I got to have some fun, too!
We had a lot of fun in wild, windy Wyoming just like I’m sure the emigrants did!
Deciding to take a cutoff or a conventional path was a gamble for the pioneers. While the cutoffs could reduce the number of days or weeks spent on the Trail, there were dangers to take into consideration.
The Pedaling Pioneer also visits the original Fort Bridger which included a bustling blacksmith shop that Jim Bridger ran and trading post which operated as a vital stop for pioneers to resupply as they neared the second half of their journey.
All the gear grinding for the past 560+ miles since June 1st finally took its toll on my trusty bike, but thankfully we found Barrie’s Bike and Ski Shop in Pocatello, Idaho! Barrie, the owner, and Kai, the skilled mechanic, took care of my bike and now its good as new! These next 540 miles to Oregon City, Oregon should be smooth sailing. Oregon or bust!
South Pass was critical to the success of the emigrants crossing the Continental Divide and their survival passing through the mountain ranges of the Rockies. Historians agree that without the discovery of South Pass by a fur trader, Robert Stuart, and his company headed back East in 1812, the story of western migration and the settlement of Oregon and California would have been much different. Although it does not have an iconic silhouette like Chimney Rock and Independence Rock, it is arguably the most important landmark of the Oregon Trail.
Click on the following link to learn more from reputable historian, Will Bagley, why South Pass was the most important landmark of the Oregon Trail: http://www.wyohistory.org/essays/south-pass
Raging bulls, striking snakes, and the elements of Wyoming couldn’t keep the pioneers from reaching Independence Rock by their deadline of July 4th and they couldn’t keep they Pedaling Pioneer away either!
Watch the video to hear his tale and climb on top of Independence Rock like energetic pioneers of the past!
Follow this link for more information about this iconic landmark of the Oregon Trail
For the early emigrants, the Ice Slough was a refreshing surprise along the Oregon Trail! After crossing the desert of Wyoming, they could dig 1 to 2 feet into the bog and find “wonderful, beautiful sheets of ice!” underneath the dirt. This natural treasure was not available for all emigrants, though. Unfortunately, because of the thousands of pioneers who had dug holes in the bog, there was little to no ice available for emigrants who passed through in the later stages of the mass migration.
One of the toughest climbs I’ve had to do! Picked up 1,500 feet on this one climb! Prospect Hill has some amazing views from the summit.
Originally named Platte Bridge Station, Fort Caspar was built near an important river crossing of the North Platte River. Originally, Platte Bridge Station was built to protect mail carriers from Indian attacks. As attacks began to intensify in 1864 and 1865, one particular attack from the Cheyenne and Sioux tribes killed 26 soldiers including Lt. Caspar Collins. The Fort was later named after Lt. Caspar Collins and expanded in order to offer greater protection for the pioneers and the mail carrier system.
Click here to learn more about the history of Fort Caspar.
One of the many natural wonders and beautiful sites that I and the pioneers got to see along their journey West as the landscape began to change.
“You have died of cholera.” Those five dreaded words plagued those of us who played the Oregon Trail game in the 1980s and 1990s, but was also one of the diseases which could spread quickly and kill up to two-thirds of a wagon train along the real Oregon Trail.
The story of A.H. Unthank demonstrates just how quickly and unexpectedly cholera could come and kill. Click here to learn about the five most common diseases which affected the emigrants on the Trail.
There were many dangers that met pioneers along their long trek to Oregon. The tale of young, Joel Hembree, although sad was not uncommon. Watch to find out what fate awaited Joel.
Also, follow the link below to read about the many dangers the pioneers had to battle in order to fulfill their Manifest Destiny!
Rode all day to make sure I got to see this iconic landmark of the trail! Amazing to see the hundreds of the names that were carved into the rock a century and a half ago!
The Platte River was a critical part of the Oregon Trail in terms of navigation and fairly flat land to cross, it more importantly acted as a water supply. However, at several points on the Oregon Trail along the Platte River, the emigrants would have to cross the Platte River. Although the Platte was described as “a mile wide and an inch deep”, that wasn’t always the case as seen in the Pedaling Pioneer’s video.
Think you’re in a rut? Check out the famous Gurnsey Ruts in Wyoming! The Oregon Trail was forced away from the river at this point and the wagons crossed a ridge of soft sandstone. The geography of the area dictated that practically every wagon that went west crossed the ridge in exactly the same place, with impressive results – the track was worn to a depth of five feet!
The tireless Pedaling Pioneer continues onward to Oregon even against the strong 40 mph wind gusts!
I guess there was a reason the “wind wagon” was invented! On the Plains and in Wyoming the idea doesn’t seem too crazy.
Check out Fort Laramie with the Pedaling Pioneer and his loyal company, Thumb!
The Pedaling Pioneer and his partner mean business! Rain or shine, just like the pioneers, they continue to journey West.
The Pedaling Pioneer gives a tour of his modern day wagon…oxen not included.
See how Mr. H’s wagon compares to what the emigrants used on the Oregon Trail.
Click on the link below to learn more about the wagons used on the Trail. http://www.oregontrailcenter.org/HistoricalTrails/TheWagon.htm
Check out our plans for the new Oregon Trail adventures coming soon to a summer near you!
Check out the story our local news network (KFVS-12) did on Pedaling Pioneer! Click Here CNN even linked KFVS-12’s report to their website for some time!
One of the many “Road Ranches” and Pony Express Stations that served as re-supply for the Pioneers.
Learn about the Pony Express from “This day in History” from the History Channel. On the 3rd of April 1860, the first Pony Express mail, traveling by horse and rider relay teams, simultaneously leaves St. Joseph, Missouri, and Sacramento, California.
Check out the Pony Express National Museum in St. Joseph, MO. Be sure to check out the info under the “About” tab: http://ponyexpress.org/?page_id=8
The buffalo was an essential part of Native American life, used in everything from religious rituals to teepee construction. Watch and learn with this great video from the History Channel: http://www.history.com/topics/westward-expansion/videos#the-buffalo-and-native-americans
Since we are cooking with buffalo dung, lets learn about how buffalo were nearly brought to extinction with this History Channel video: http://www.history.com/shows/america-the-story-of-us/videos/american-buffalo?m=5189719baf036&s=All&f=1&free=false
ABOVE: Even after the Oregon Trail era, settlers in Nebraska used buffalo and cow dung to cook with—because the dried chips burned so well. Read more about it here: http://www.america101.us/trail/buffalo.html
Read about what it was like at a pioneer campsite from around 6:00pm to 9:00 pm, which is when most crashed for the night: http://www.america101.us/trail/Camping.html
Traveling the Oregon Trail is not a “Walk In The Park”.
Learn About the Diseases of The Oregon Trail at http://www.aphlblog.org/2012/02/the-diseases-of-the-oregon-trail/
Learn how British Dr. John Snow helped to eliminate Cholera in 19th Century London by watching this VIDEO from the History Channel: http://www.history.com/shows/america-the-story-of-us/videos/cholera-outbreak
Care to learn about the Evolution of the Railroad? Watch this Modern Marvels video from the History Channel: http://www.history.com/shows/modern-marvels/videos/modern-marvels-evolution-of-railroads#modern-marvels-evolution-of-railroads
Is this the same type of train the Pedaling Pioneer raced in Kansas? http://www.history.com/shows/modern-marvels/videos/modern-marvels-evolution-of-railroads#ac-6000
Too bad the pioneers couldn’t just take the train! Find out how the Transcontinental Railroad eventually connected the west with the rest of the nation: http://www.history.com/topics/westward-expansion/videos#transcontinental-railroad
It’s time to load up for the trip across the west on the Oregon Trail! It’s hard for this pedaling pioneer to cram everything into one truck…Imagine how the real pioneers felt squeezing everything into a wagon!
Should the Pedaling Pioneer get himself an horse, mule, oxen,…or just a bike? http://www.america101.us/trail/Power.html
On March 29th, I started in Independence MO, and rode 50 miles (Through the City!) to Lone Elm Campground (Pioneers 1st or 2nd night on the Trail), with a visit to the National Frontier Trails Center.
Virtually visit Mccoy Park in Independence, MO to to learn all about the Oregon Trail and Independence, MO: http://www.nps.gov/oreg/photosmultimedia/mccoy-park.htm
Learn what many pioneers experienced just before heading out on the trail: http://www.america101.us/trail/Jumpingoff.html
Pioneers on the Oregon Trail built fires to cook food, ward off wildlife, and keep warm on cold nights on the prairie. Which of these did they use to fuel their fires?
(Students, do not try this at HOME! I am a trained professional in the handling of Poo.)
Due to the unsanitary handling of feces, this video has been banned for younger audiences!
The Oregon Trail is out there waiting…and we can’t wait to show it to you!
From May 29th-June 20th, incoming 6th and 7th grade students at Jackson Middle School in Jackson, Missouri, will go on a virtual adventure with World Geography teacher Brad Haertling as he bikes the Oregon Trail! Communicating and learning via posts on this website, students will make the trip with Brad and build on that experience with activities in the physical classroom.
But just because YOU aren’t in summer school doesn’t mean you can’t come along! Follow our blog and follow us on Facebook and Twitter for fun facts and stories leading up to Brad’s departure from Independence, Missouri on May 29th. Then, ride along as we travel the trail!
Follow this link to get a basic introduction to the Oregon Trail, “One of the ten most important events in American History?”: http://www.america101.us/trail/Introduction.html
A big shout-out to T. Wayne Lewis Dentistry and Jackson R-2 Foundation for their support of this project!