Oregon Trail and Trials

Oregon Trail Wagon Ruts
Oregon Trail Wagon Ruts

During a recent “working” vacation we were fortunate to stumble upon a jewel on the highway in Idaho.  I knew we were going to be in famous Oregon Trail territory.  But, I had not planned any famous sites to visit as our quick end destination was The Grand Tetons in Jackson, WY.

We pulled over to rest stop and discovered we were on a famous spot of The Oregon Trail!  There was an informative kiosk that had been built in 1996.

I’ve studied the Oregon Trail in history and even played the old computer game “The Oregon Trail”.  But it took a trip across southern Idaho and some of our own little mishaps to clearly bring some of the story of our American history to  life to me.

At one point in our journey, we  had taken a friend for a quick trip to the store  to which we didn’t really know where we were going but we were both using our phone GPS maps to guide my patient husband to the store.  Imagine my husband, with two women giving him directions, as if one woman wasn’t enough!  But we were clutching those phones with those maps as if our lives depended on it!

Later, I got to thinking about those pioneer women, most of whom were just riders in the wagons or walking along side.  They had to put their entire trust on the scouts and the wagon masters to get them to their destination.

The quick trip to the store in unfamiliar territory landed us in another predicament. A flat tire.  On a rental vehicle.  On an unfamiliar highway.  Thank goodness we were already following our GPS phone maps so that when we called rental company we had a pretty good location to give them and the repair crew.  The good thing was we were only about 10 minutes from the airport. The bad thing there was a 1 hour wait.  No way were we going to make it to the next appointment which was dinner with more friends.

So here we were stranded on the side of the road, trying to change the tire with the toothpick they call a jack and I’m back to thinking about the westward bound pioneers and the hardships they endured. Wagon wheels breaking, natives attacking, sickness, bad weather, and more too numerous to name. They sure didn’t have a 1-800-please come help us phone number to call.  They only had each other and the skills they each brought along with them or the survival skills they learned along the way.

I suppose that entire day could be summed up in thinking about my life as a mom and the life lessons we learn along the way.

1. You may not know the way (path, map, what should you do, etc) but there ARE ways to find out, especially in the information age!

2. Ask for help – don’t think you have to do everything yourself.  Believe it or not Mom, you are not expected to be Super Mom and know it all

(This is installment 1 of a 30 day blogging challenge.  You are welcome to follow along for the ride!)

Hugs and feathers from the nest~~()~~

Kim Steadman is the COOP (Chief Online Operating Person) for The Re-Feathered Nest. A place of encouragement for moms entering the Empty Nest Zone who find they need to RePurpose and ReDesign their lives now that the kids have flown the coop. Kim can be found on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/TheRefeatheredNest and on Google+ at +Kim.


  • Jason Power

    Hi Kim,

    Interesting post and sounds like some interesting things to see, I enjoy things of historical nature and to be able to go see some of things are so famous sounds like a lot of fun.


  • Renee

    Wow what a fun work trip/vacation. How lucky are you. I always loved history and I often wonder what it would be like to go back in time and live the way they did. I don’t think I could do it though. I am too spoiled and I love my modern day conveniences. Thank you for sharing your experience and your fun trip. I hope that you will stop by and visit my blog too. you can find it at http://www.anannysperspective.com

  • kimsteadman

    Hi Jason! It was truly an amazing trip. BUT, I needed much MORE time! We will be making a repeat visit! Thanks for stopping by!

  • kimsteadman

    Hi Renee! Thanks for stopping by! I agree with you. Sometimes I wish I could have lived during an earlier era…BUT, wow..so many of our conveniences would be gone and I don’t know if I could live without them, haha!

  • Agnes Knowles

    “a 1-800-please come help us phone number” – love how your sense of humour shines through, Kim, even when you giving a reminder/lesson!

  • Nadya

    Hi, Kim – we always stopped at those Historical Markers when I was growing up in Oregon, and I wondered some of the same things! My grandparents/ their folks were Pioneers – such brave travelers!
    You might enjoy Molly Glass’ novel: “Jump Off Creek,” featuring afemale settler! In her research, Molly found MANY single women settled the West, and a greater % ‘proved’ their claims than their male counterparts! Jump Off Creek was our featured book for Mac Reads in 2012, and spoke at our college Library.

  • kimsteadman

    Nadya, thanks for stopping by! Thanks for the information on the book. I’m going to have to add it to my library.

  • Ree

    I could have never been a pioneer women.

  • Carol Lamoreaux

    You are so right Kim — we don’t have to know it all and we can ask for help! Great thing to keep in mind!

  • Mark

    sounds like a very nice trip! Thanks for the little history lesson – and have me remind myself of how fortunate I am to live in these times when essentially everything is at the touch of a button :o)

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