Thursday, September 17, 2009

Retroactive Travel Post - Day 7 - Historical Perspective

Being homeschoolers and all, we're always looking for an opportunity to learn and impart wisdom, and we've found the interactive approach works best. Besides, learning really shouldn't end when the class bell sounds. This trip represented a good chance to learn about something I was really pretty clueless about: the westward migration. Sure, I knew that people moved to the west and settled this country, but how many people really take the time to think about what they did and what they went through? Does that really come through in a textbook?

On our trip, we purposely set out on the Oregon Trail, at least getting a sense of what the pioneers saw and experienced. Sure, we were in the air conditioned comfort of our rental car, but it was truly eye opening to see where they traveled and read see firsthand what they saw, only over a hundred years ago.

We set out of the traditional starting point for the Westward Migration, Council Bluffs Iowa. From there, we traversed Nebraska and hit Chimney Rock. It was moving to read the stories about the people who passed through there in their own words. Many of them were kids, and I can't even imagine how hard life was for them. Makes me feel ashamed when I whine about being too hot. These people walked two thousand miles to get there, and many of the ones that actually survived were greeted with a barren wasteland for a home. What a bummer.

Chimney Rock was a seminal moment for these people, not unlike the Statue of Liberty, though as I've mentioned, it was also a reminder that the hardest and most dangerous part of the trip was to come-crossing the Rockies.

I think the kids are too young to really appreciate all that happened, but it sure changed my perspective on things.

Anyway, enough of my pontificating. Thanks for reading.

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