We'd been looking forward to this trip for a year and now, for almost a month, I have been trying to come up with just the right words to express my excitement over my pioneer wagon train experience. Try as I might I haven't been able to convey to anyone this once in a live time, overwhelmingly wonderfulness, I felt everyday while on the trail.
From the planning stages last year, NorDak Purl Gurl and I worried about getting the tents up and back down without keeping the wagon train waiting. After Monday, the first day of our trip, we felt that we could do anything! Perhaps even now, we view this as the biggest accomplishment of our trip but we also wish there had been someone akin to a "pool boy" on the wagon train. We called him the "tent boy" and wished that he would have had the tent up each night when we arrived at our designated spot and then stowed away while we were at breakfast each morning!
Everyone was up and on the trail by eight o'clock each morning. Each person was assigned daily chores. In the beginning the kiddos were unsure they wanted to partake. Not because they were being lazy but because there were 150 people on the train and they were a bit shy. After one of our girls did serving duty on the first day, they realized the server was the last to eat and so made a point to eat their meal quickly and take over so the current server could enjoy their meal with everyone! Soon all four of the kiddos were pitching in and doing chores that hadn't been assigned.
No electronic devices other than cameras were allowed! Never once did my little video game addict wish for his handheld devise. He did MANY times wish he had a video camera to tape the trip so he "could remember everything!"
He spent many hours running up and down along the wagon train "wagon hopping" and meeting everyone. I caught many of the teen girls and cowboys rubbing the top of his bristly little head "for luck" I suspect. He would look up at them with the sweetest little grin.
Our horse lover fell more deeply in love. Once I was home I told someone how happy she was being with the horses and they said, "She wants a horse now but later it will be a boyfriend!" We laughed although it did make me a bit sad to think of her growing up. For now, she loved everything horse: grooming, driving, feeding, and riding. Everyone on the wagon train happily worked together to allow my little granddaughter live her dream.
The Pirate fell in love with rocks. Running up and down the trail, he soon had his pockets full of treasures. He would hop on the wagon to ask if any were special ones. My rock expertise soon was exhausted but we found a family of true rock hounds and they told him what to look for. He began finding Knife River Flint and Prairie Agates to add to his stash of memories.
The high point for ChloeALittleBit came at lunchtime each day when the "Bead Lady" would pull out her bag of tricks. One day it might be beading. Another day prairie rag dolls, leather tooling, or prairie wind chimes. What a great idea! This kept the kiddos busy during the much needed 1 - 2 hour lunch break. Lunch was made, horses rested and watered, AND happy kids!
The kids did a skit on how teamsters clean their ears... very cute!
Thursday did burst our bubble a bit, with the wind howling and two very considerate gentlemen we managed to break a tent pole. When I looked around what did I see but SIX cowboys trying to get their tent up at the same time! Thanks to my son in law for saving the day and bringing out another tent for the last two nights.
Unexpectedly new friendships were made. The PurlGurl and I had taken on this adventure for the kiddos but Chloe had a letter waiting for her upon her return and hopefully we will be in contact with new found friends.
A big thank you to our wagon hosts Austin, Dean and Marilyn - AND let's not forget Bernie and Ernie.
Even now, after having some time to think about the entire trip start to finish, when asked what they liked best they say, "EVERYTHING!"
So, my story ends where it began, not only were my grandchildren the first in line when the wagons headed out on that bright Monday morning but these pioneer children of mine hope to be the first signed up for next year's wagon adventure!
This wagon trip was one of the best trips I have ever taken. And I hope it is one my grandchildren will remember always.