“Go West, young man, go West and grow up with the country.” – Horace Greeley
I have a goal. To cross the Oregon Trail from Independence, MO to Oregon City, OR. On a fast and light bicycle. I want to follow in the footsteps of my great, great aunt. And the millions of people who left everything behind on the hope that there was something more out there.
I’m planning to start my crossing at the end of this May (2014). After attempting for over two years to find a way to cross the trail with mules, the reality is is that I just couldn't make it work. So the bicycle will have to sub for my original plans.
On the up side, it will go much faster then initially expected!
I started to feel restless three years ago. Nothing I was doing stimulated me on a mental level even though I was in college; and I felt myself losing the energy to use my full potential. So I started to consider a walkabout once I'd graduated. My first ideas were of year-long backpacking trips to Great Britain and Europe. But on a drive up to see my extended family in Oregon, it occurred to me that instead I could walk the Oregon Trail. And the more I thought about it, the more excited I got about it.
As a child, after playing the popular computer game that takes the player and their party across the trail, I became deeply interested in the subject. And I often had books from the Scholastic book fair with the trail as the main topic.
A while later I found out that my great, great Aunt had crossed the Oregon Trail with her family when she was a young teenager. Since our family is pretty neurotic about record keeping, I was able to find out where she started and where she ended on the trail. As well as some interesting details about her life once she got to Oregon and grew up (two husbands--both shot [just not by her!]).
I thought up several ideas and plans, but as the last two years of thinking and planning have gone by the original idea has morphed into something far more practical, and is the plan that I currently have.
Since graduation I have been vigorously searching for a job, and have received only one job offer--which did not work out. The constant job market rejection has been personally devastating and once again I feel rudderless. So in my mind, right now is the perfect time to cross this epically long trail.
What better mentality could I have for this? Thousands of people felt the exact same way I do now when they left, searching for a better life, a better opportunity. Am I not the same? No opportunities, nothing holding me here, but the intense hope that just maybe, if I do something hard and extraordinary, I can find whatever it is I'm searching for.
I only need $1500.
That's it. The rest I have earned myself through employment, but it's crunch time now and this is how much I'm short for this epic journey.
The money will go to outfiting me for the trip. As of right now I already have about 1/4 of what I need.
After the trip is over, any unused money will be donated to a nonprofit Oregon Trail Foundation!
What happens when it's all over?
Any money left over will be donated to one or more nonprofits whose focus is on some aspect of the Oregon Trail. Since I want to pass by many of the historical sites, I'll be able to see which foundations need money to help them preserve this important part of American history. And the funds will go to those who need it the most.
If you have questions please email me at: [email protected] I periodically answer a list of questions on my blog and I'll put your question in the mix for that.
If you want to see updates, my resources on the Oregon Trail, as well as how this project got started, go to my blog HERE.
If you want to stay connected via Facebook, check it out HERE.
1. Please give me up to 4-6 weeks to get orders out. I don't think it will actually take that long but sometimes processing is very slow in the businesses that I get my fundraising items from. If I find out about any sort of ridiculous wait I will email you immediately.
2. If you are donating at a level that gets you a T-Shirt (thank you!) please tell me what size you want. The shirts are unisex and come in sizes S, M, L, and XL.
3. If you are donating at a level that has me mailing something to you, please give me your FULL address or I can't guarantee that the item(s) get there!
4. Some items, like at the higher levels of donation, will not be sent out until the trip is completed. I will keep records of everyone who has items like that coming to them so don't worry! I'll email you to make sure I still have the right address before I send them out (art prints, items from my trip, etc).
5. If there is any reward that you don't want at your level of donation, just let me know.