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WAGONS HO - The Journey III - Wilderness


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Whew! I am so tired, but it is one of those “good” tired. You know? Even OGS is worn out. But, he is so excited to be at the end of the road. We all are. Of course we are sad, too. We are leaving behind life as we know it. Well, really we left that when we started this incredible journey.


We have been planning and talking just like everyone else about how we want to start our new lives. I am so proud of how my family has learned to work together as we traveled. The guys have developed a routine and can do most of the chores without even talking. We girls have too. It amazes me that BT and AM have really stepped up and become part of the family. BT has moved quite well into the father role for OGS. Don’t be surprised if a wedding isn’t one of our first community celebrations!


One of the ideas that we have discussed is that we will want to get land that adjoins each other’s and start building and tilling one piece at a time. We will hopefully get a barn and maybe one house built this summer. Plus the gardens and some livestock. Then we will continue enlarging as we can. I hope that will fulfill what the benefactor’s requires.


Dinner was so good tonight. I do think that we were so hungry that shoe leather would have tasted good, too! LOL! Not that Chef’s dinner was anything like shoe leather!


We are all so tired that I know that we should turn in early, but we are all too excited to sleep. So the guys pull out the guitars and start singing….here come the show tunes!


This is one of my boys favorites…don’t know if anybody else will know it…………..


I'm a lonesome polecat

lonesome, sad and blue

'cause i ain't got no femine polecat

vowin' to be true

oooh, oooh, oooh, oooh

cain't make no vows

to a herd o' cows,

oooh, oooh, oooh, oooh


I'm a mean old hounddog

bayin' at the moon

'cause i ain't got no lady friend hounddog

here to hear my tune

oooh, oooh, oooh, oooh


A man cain't sleep

when he sleeps with sheep

oooh, oooh, oooh, oooh



I'm a li'l old hoot owl

hootin' in the trees

'cause i ain't got no little gal owl fowl

here to shoot the breeze

oooh, oooh, oooh, oooh

cain't shoot no breeze

with a bunch o' trees

oooh, oooh, oooh, oooh


Then my oldest son sang Music of the Night from Phantom of the Opera, then we all sang Oh What a Beautiful Morning just for Michael! Then my daughter sang Hopelessly Devoted to You, from Grease. We ended the show tunes with Tomorrow from Annie.


Then we finished the evening with a couple of hymns….


When peace, like a river, attendeth my way,

When sorrows like sea billows roll;

Whatever my lot, Thou has taught me to say,

It is well, it is well, with my soul.


It is well, with my soul,

It is well, it is well, with my soul.


Though Satan should buffet, though trials should come,

Let this blest assurance control,

That Christ has regarded my helpless estate,

And hath shed His own blood for my soul.


My sin, oh, the bliss of this glorious thought!

My sin, not in part but the whole,

Is nailed to the cross, and I bear it no more,

Praise the Lord, praise the Lord, O my soul!


And Lord, haste the day when my faith shall be sight,

The clouds be rolled back as a scroll;

The trump shall resound, and the Lord shall descend,

Even so, it is well with my soul.




What a friend we have in Jesus,

all our sins and griefs to bear!

What a privilege to carry

everything to God in prayer!

O what peace we often forfeit,

O what needless pain we bear,

all because we do not carry

everything to God in prayer.


Have we trials and temptations?

Is there trouble anywhere?

We should never be discouraged;

take it to the Lord in prayer.

Can we find a friend so faithful

who will all our sorrows share?

Jesus knows our every weakness;

take it to the Lord in prayer.


Are we weak and heavy laden,

cumbered with a load of care?

Precious Savior, still our refuge;

take it to the Lord in prayer.

Do thy friends despise, forsake thee?

Take it to the Lord in prayer!

In his arms he'll take and shield thee;

thou wilt find a solace there.


And we ended with….


Amazing grace! How sweet the sound

That saved a wretch like me!

I once was lost, but now am found;

Was blind, but now I see.


'Twas grace that taught my heart to fear,

And grace my fears relieved;

How precious did that grace appear

The hour I first believed.


Through many dangers, toils and snares,

I have already come;

'Tis grace hath brought me safe thus far,

And grace will lead me home.


The Lord has promised good to me,

His word my hope secures;

He will my shield and portion be,

As long as life endures.


Yea, when this flesh and heart shall fail,

And mortal life shall cease,

I shall possess, within the veil,

A life of joy and peace.


The world shall soon dissolve like snow,

The sun refuse to shine;

But God, who called me here below,

Shall be forever mine.


When we've been there ten thousand years,

Bright shining as the sun,

We've no less days to sing God's praise

Than when we'd first begun.


Time to turn in. OGS is sleeping already. As I hug everyone at the camp fire….. I know that I will miss the time that we have had on the trail, but I am ready to be HOME.


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What a wonderful night it has been despite the tiredness. Cee Gee and family pulling out their guitars and singing all those wonderful tunes for us to join in. One of my favorite memories from youth was singing around the piano or around the campfire with my family and friends, days spent in chorus in school, and Sundays in the choir.


I know that we will most likely be spending a week or so together when we reach the valley while we are looking for the perfect homestead land but I also know that we see very little of each other once we have gone to live on those lands. We have formed such a bond with each other that when we do get all together it will seem like being with family.


We have everything packed and ready to go tomorrow morning. Breakfast is in the insulated cooker and Mom has biscuits made for lunch. I am finally able to just sit and relax and feel the companionship of the group sink into my soul. The words to Amazing Grace run through my mind as I sit here watching the fire glow. It has almost become our theme song. I'm sure in the months to come it will echo around us again and again as we remind ourselves of His grace and love. I look up at the pass we are to climb tomorrow. There is just enough moonlight to see the shadows it throws. They say it is not as steep as what we went through today but will be narrow and rocky. That could be a real threat to our camper wagon with it's wider stance. We've managed to skim through other tight spots though so I am not terribly concerned.


Like almost everyone else, I guess my mind is more on tomorrow and what we will find. I keep picturing our homestead in my mind but it's hard to do more than visualize the buildings without the background of the land. I have heard Mr. Smith and Mr. Jones talk about it and from what I heard it is big and beautiful but almost untouched by man. I can't help but feel that it must be something like what the pioneer found when they went to Oregon, a vast wilderness waiting to be tamed. I ask myself, do we really want to tame it? I am used to country life. I have lived among stands of trees surrounded by vast acres of fields but they are nothing to what I've experienced the last few weeks. I look at the mountains surrounding us. I see the huge trees and acres of wilderness and I feel unprepared for the enormity of it all.


Still, despite the niggling fear, I feel the enticement of a new life before us. It will be hard for me to sleep tonight. I feel like a child on Christmas Eve, wondering what will be in my stocking in the morning. Will it be candy or a lump of coal. Hmmm. maybe it SHOULD be a lump of coal this year. :D


Well, like the child waiting for Christmas, the sooner I get to sleep, the sooner Christmas will come.


May we all be blessed this night.

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I am so tired tonight that it's hard to write. I just hope I don't do another nod off into this journal lol. It was a tough climb today and we didn't make as much mileage as we thought. Too steep and hard on the teams so we just took it nice and slow. Even so, you can tell tonight that the team is over tired. Looks like they want to sleep and chew at the same time. Hubby checked them over good and put salve on them where the yoke was wearing hard against them. I just hope that it doesn't get too much worse for them tomorrow when we get to the really rough part! It's good that we all stopped tonight instead of trying to take that in the twilight time when you can't see good. I would rather have bright sun thanks.


And oh that Mt. R... :baseballbat: If she doesn't get some rest tonight after riding all day I am going to sit on her lol. :girlneener: There for awhile Mother and I had to keep an eye on her so she didn't go back and help pick up stuff left downhill. You could just tell by the look on her face she wanted to go with the guys. But she was good. Stayed up here with the rest of us and rested.


Still thinking about Sasha's touchdown lol. That was some play too, she out-ran all the guys!

Then tonight around the fire we were treated to some wonderful singing by CeeGee's family. Her oldest boy sang my very favorite show tune "Music of the Night" from Phantom of the Opera. I just loved that! I have the soundtrack to it even though I may never get to hear it again. I love Sarah Brightman who sings the lead ladies part in it. Anyways, dinner tonight was provided by Chef mostly and kind of a potluck from others. It was really good and tasty but sad to eat thinking this might be our last night on the trail. I want to get to our new home, but it has been wonderful traveling with everyone. We really have become a team. I just hope we all keep tightly connected when we get to the valley, and not drift away from each other. That would be too sad to take.


Boy is Mr. Q tired tonight or what? I think they can hear his snoring clear down into the Valley below LOL..sounds like a freight train coming through. Worse than his usual. It might have something to do with all the clean fresh air up here too along with all the good hard work. I'm not going to be awake much longer either. Just want to make sure a few things are secure and others put away before we take off tomorrow morning. No sense waiting till the last minute to do it. I know most are sleeping tonight dreaming of what lies ahead of us tomorrow. That last final turn before we can see the valley laid out below us. I keep trying to imagine what it looks like. I see a huge clearing full of tall green grasses. Trees lining up along the bottom of the mountains. Streams running to and fro along in the grass from all the run-off of snow coming down from the mountains as it melts away. It would be nice if there was at least one or two year round ones that ran all along the valley and everyone had access to it. Would sure cut down on having to water the live stock. Oh and the mountains ringing the valley inside. Tall but beautiful, capped with snow. Ahhh...well enough of this dreaming. If I don't get things done I wont see if that is what it's really like tomorrow LOL. Night all and God bless.



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The cover on the wagon is aglow so I know that the sun is up already and here I am still in bed. But after yesterdays hike up here I wanted to get as mush sleep as possible. As I poke my head out to see who is up, I am greeted with good mornings from a few walking by the wagon on their way to feed the animals and do the milking. Lori said she would get up too and start breakfast as I was going to help with the feeding and milking this morning.




After a good breakfast we all started getting ready for the drive today, the teams got hitched and the wagons started to line up to go though the pass. Mr.H says that from what their saw on yesterday scouting ride this one is not steep but very narrow so we will have to be careful as we go though but there is a big clearing on the other side and we can all met there and wait until everyone is though the pass before we move on in case anybody needs help. He will be taking his group first and then our wagons will get in line behind theirs. Mt_Rider and her wagon will lead our group as she plans to meet with Mr.H and Mr.S while waiting for all of us to get there before the noon rest.







Edited by Amishway Homesteaders
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At the clearing we learn that Mt_Rider, Mr.H and Mr.S had gone up ahead on horseback while waiting for us all to get there to see what would be the best way into the valley. Mt_Rider is back and resting in her wagon before we all gather for the noon meal. Michael goes up to her wagon and asked if she can come out for a minute to talk about something that has come up.


We all gather around Mt_Rider as she is coming out of her wagon, she looks at us with one of those 'what are you all up too' looks that she showed us many times on the trail.


We have a very special surprise for you that we wanted to give to you for your first night when you get to your new homestead. And with that said a few of us move out of the way and two of the ladies are standing there holding a feather mattress.


SURPRIZE we all shout together. We made this for you as a Thank You for leading us this far safe and sound!


Mt_Rider just stands there speechless (well that never happens LOL) but she finally is under control again to ask us where in the world we got it from? We all helped make it over the last few weeks saving every feather we could from when the men went hunting or we had to butcher chickens for food. Lori even gave up one of her feather pillows in the end to help fill it out so we could get it done in time. Lucky for us that Michael had his treadle sewing machine in the buggy so we were able to get it out one night when you went to bed early and sewed the cover together. Do you like the blue strips? We had the material mailed out to us when we had the last mail run coming our way. Do you remember that package you thought had to be for you for it must have had material in it? Well in a way it WAS for you but seeing it had Michaels name on it, he got it and put it away before you had a chance to ask about it. I can't tell you how many time you almost saw one of us as we 'tried' to sneak a small bag of feathers into Mothers Wagon when we 'thought' you were off someplace, only to have you show up to ask Mother a question or sit with her for a spell. Do you remember the time the men came back from hunting and you asked about the feathers from the three Geese they had? And the look you gave CeeGee when she said that they had promised them to her for some craft she planed to do with the kids over the weekend? Well will you forgive her for that quick thinking 'little fib' she came up with? LOL


So from all of us to you – many thanks for all you have done and may you sleep well in your new home and have sweet dreams. We LOVE you and thank you from the bottom of our hearts!


Edited by Amishway Homesteaders
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MtRider, Mr.H and Clarence Smith rode to the edge of the meadow at the crest of this very high ridge line. They were both grinning like idiots and were watching for my reaction, of course. They had been here many times.


..................................................................{this is the sound of MtRider trying to close her mouth}....................................




She feasted her eyes on this sight we've all been longing for so long. "It's....it's HUGE!"


"About 10 miles across and over 20 long," supplied Clarence. He sounded like a boy with a new bike. "About a gazillion mountain steams feeding creeks, ponds and such down there. That big central lake is where we've got the Lodge built already...with the main river running all the way thru the Valley. You can't see either end from here. The lodge and a couple other cabins are the start of the Village and a base of operations as everyone searches for their own homesteads. The lake will help a lot with transportation if we use log rafts initially. The river will be a help in some ways and a problem in other ways. "


Mr. H added, "There's a good mix of meadow lands and wooded areas throughout the valley. The meadows will mean at least we don't have to uproot trees to break soil for fields and gardens right away. Plenty of trees all over for building."


MtRider was still mostly gaping. Suddenly, overcome with magnitude of this blessing, she literally dropped to her knees with eyes closed to thank God for their safe arrival and the bountiful provision of this Valley.


Then she opened her eyes and .......looked down over the edge that was the route into their new home.............







........................"UH OH....." :0327:







I was bursting to tell everyone what I'd been able to preview but somehow, it just didn't seem right. Everyone needed to view it just as I had. With it's total splendor spread out for miles and miles before their eyes......... [ yeah, and before they got a look at the route <_< ]


So I quickly retreated to my wagon to lay down and rest while the others were still getting thru that nasty narrow bit which was this mornings challenge. I prayed as I lay there pondering; prayed out my thanks again; prayed for our continued safety; prayed for our wisdom in governing ourselves well in this new start; prayed for restoration of health for many of us who would need strength in these coming weeks and years; prayed for others who might be able to reach this Valley to join our effort; praying that we'd be able to retain sanity in a world gone mad. I had such a peace in that time. Though this would undoubtedly be the challenge of our lives, I was SO glad we'd come.


Michael rapped on the wagon and needed something. I popped out of the back of our conestoga and saw .....what? The whole bunch of them were gathered around. Ummmm, what's up now? I wondered.


And then the gallant Michael was making his speech and as he and others stepped back, they revealed ........... {gasp}





I barely heard the ringing shouts of "SURPRIZE!!!"



I was absolutely stunned. And certainly speechless. [for the SECOND time in the past hour, mind you....yeah, that never happens ! LOL ]



"Where.... How..... Who....... " I managed to breathe out as the ladies brought it forward to me. I gathered up a corner of it and hugged it to me. So soft and spongy. A thing made for dreaming sweet dreams, for sure. It's beautiful with the blue stripes. "Oh my gosh....I love you all so much!


And suddenly there were so many people to hug all at once! Just a complete melee of joy. Stop bawling, Mother! You'll make me start!





Until someone called out, "The donkey is loose" And there goes MM trotting by with a bucket in her mouth.


"MM put that DOWN," I hollered laughing. "Did you untie your tether knot AGAIN?"














Meanwhile......back IN REAL LIFE ......

Mother locked the thread after Michael this morning.....but, heehee....I have a secret key and snuck back inside ;) So I get to have a final say here. :curtsey:




I assume most of you have guessed that I've had quite a bit of help directing this thread and this JOURNEY we have all taken. Believe me, I NEVER had this in mind when I got us started packing our conestoga wagons. Who knew we would find a way to CORPORATELY WRITE our way thru highways and small towns, thru the rural ranchlands and then thru a wilderness? All in an UNreality! :P An UNreality that began very quickly, to feel VERY REAL INDEED. This has been an amazing experience. Totally amazing.


But I want to tell you about my partners who gave so much of themselves these past TWO MONTHS to ensure that we could actually keep this thread and journey on course and interesting and fun.



MOTHER --- whose Pioneer Forum we commandeered to host this thread. [you will recall she wasn't even home to be on her computer when I started this thing..heehee] I needed her life-long study of how our ancestors really did this life.


MICHAEL --- who was just so durned excited [:bounce: yes, Michael...we'll leave soon] about this UNreality. I needed his enthusiasm to put the LIFE and humor into the story as it unfolded. Also, since he lives among the Amish who still live this lifestyle, his experience was invaluable to keep us believable....in our UNreality.


:bighug2: for both of you for brainstorming with me and ....throwing in some things *I* had no idea were coming. sheeeeesh! :lol:



WAGONEERS --- :grouphug: You are the ones who got this thing to really happen beyond the "packing & preparations" thread. You just didn't want to quit. :lol: So I thot....hey, lets try it. And oh, you did challenge me! How do we all stay "on the same page" and proceed with storyline that is cohesive ....well, enough to let us continue at least. Both Michael and Mother wisely counseled me early that the "bloopers" are part of the charm and to ..."go with the flow".


So we only tied up loose ends here and there ....and set out storyline and ...WOW. You all took up whatever challenge we threw at you and ran with it. At times I think I was getting so enthralled with reading your responses that I was mixing my realities. [ Just today I called my horse "Roan" instead of her real name. :rolleyes: ] I was so excited each day to come here and see that some of you had posted storyline that would be totally a surprise for me. :bounce: Did you see that after a while, we all got into a rhythm? It began to flow out and each of us seemed to anticipate the UNreality ....really did meld in and out well with each other's posts. Breathtaking to watch it happen.


And I know we all learned FAR more than any of us believed we ever could from an UNreality Scenario. Learned things For REAL LIFE Whooooooooooeeee! That was a surprise too!



READERS...... it was SO fun to know we'd developed a sort of fan club. :D Those of you who faithfully watched our progress on this Wagon Train. Without the Comments thread...and looking at the number of 'views', we might not have known you were there. But you are a part of this too. We hope that beyond being entertained by our trials and humor and bloopers, that you were able to feel some of what we felt....and learned some things along with us. Perhaps some things that will be very important In RealLife. Cuz that's what MrsS is all about.



So......... we still have Recipes thread and Comments thread open. Anyone ....feel free to continue to talk there. Add more campfire or primitive cooking recipes.




AND..... if anyone is still interested in January :whistling: ...... WATCH FOR IT! There will be a new thread starting up --- BIG VALLEY. :cheer:



....wellllllll.........you didn't think we'd leave you CLIFF-HANGING just to be mean, did you?



----Original Wagoneers that had to drop out for Real Life reasons....we've "brought you along" so jump right back in if you have more time to play now.


----Other folks ready to give this a try?.....we ARE expecting others to join us so go to the Rockin' J and talk to Jacob and Joy. They'll see you get thru to the Valley. ;)










MtRider [...psssst, Mother? Michael? Do you think they'll forgive us for not letting them SEE the Valley yet? :behindsofa: ]

Edited by Mt_Rider
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