July 12, 1997
Location: Bear River - 63 miles left, Wyoming - (6 rods wide, 2 feet deep. Swift current - clear and cold water; plenty of timber and grass. Altitude at ford, 6,836 feet.) - [Nine more miles and Brigham Young became sick with tick fever on July 12.] 950 1/4 miles from Winter Quarters.
Summary: A cold, rainy day; Evanston welcomes the Wagon Train
Journal entry: This morning came early. The walkers got up early and were off shortly after 6AM. When they left from camp the skies were fairly nice. There were only soft, puffy clouds. It was a little cool, but nothing really uncomfortable. The wagons left just after 7 and I noticed that the skies were clouding up a bit.
Camp was on several sloping hillsides and with all the traffic in and out the area was getting really dusty. You can only drive in certain places because of the sagebrush (unless you want to go sagebrush-hopping). Many of the people who shuttle drove out quickly after the wagons, and Art left in the van...as he is the one to bring back all the shuttle drivers. The train went towards the west, the support vehicles to the east as they would be driving back to get on the freeway. About an hour later, a lady who had left with the walkers came back into camp looking for the box of rain ponchos, as it suddenly looked very stormy. It was looking like rain. Unfortunately, we had been storing the box of ponchos in the van that Art had. All we could do was wait he got back from the shuttle.
The skies got blacker and blacker and it started to rain in camp. It really looked like the rain was going to get bad. I decided to drive our motorhome out of camp, so I wouldn't get stuck some- where in camp or on the dirt road. Art was still out shuttling and we were sure the walkers were getting wet. Even my kids didn't take any jackets or sweaters for the day. I left camp and drove to the freeway. When I got there the rain was coming down in buckets. It was pouring. I stopped at the freeway entrance, hoping to see Art when he got back. Maybe he could take the ponchos to the walkers, although I knew it was too late. They were already drenched! I knew that.
I waited about half an hour before he arrived with a van full of people. The round trip today is 80 miles. He agreed to get the ponchos out to the walkers and drove off. I decided to wait for him to come back from camp.. which was about half an hour. The rain was just pouring. A poor bicyclist was stranded under the freeway underpass, hoping to stay dry. Art finally came back and we drove on in to Evanston. We found a place to park the motorhome at a lovely church baseball park and he went back to pick up more shuttlers. I was hoping the handcart and walkers would be back in camp and he would pick them up. I found out later, they were not. They were still out on the trail. The time passed slowly.
I had heard the new camp was on a slick, dirt road and I would be better not going out there. So, Nica, Amy and I stayed in the dry, warm motorhome, wondering all the time what was happening to the walkers out there on the trail. We had heard the wagons came in. Most of the teamsters were soaked and cold, cold, cold. All of the sag wagons were full of outriders who tied their horses to the wagons and climbed in, besides the dayriders who were already on the wagons. I guess it was a miserable day.
Finally Art pulled up with the kids, They waved and seemed to be no worse off for the wear. Then I heard the stories.
When the walkers left camp, the skies were non-threatening and quite nice. By an hour an a half later, they skies were black and it had started to rain. Very few people had coats or jackets. A few had plastic bags or rain ponchos. My kids had nothing. The bus filled up quickly, but a few stayed out in the rain to pull the handcarts. Some people passing by picked up more people, but there were still those who stayed and pulled the handcarts.
Evanston even sent out buses to pick up people and shuttle them back to camp. What a wonderful town. But there were still those walkers who stayed in the rain and cold and pulled the handcarts. It rained for two hours. The first hour was a drenching down- pour. My son said when he stepped the water squished out of his shoes. Pete said the rain came at them sideways. And they were freezing cold.
BC said he had a pair of leather gloves on and they kept his hands so cold, he couldn't grip the handle of the cart. He took off his gloves and did better. Maren said she went in to use the porta-pots and her hands were so cold she couldn't undo her pants. She said she tried for five minutes to do them back up and couldn't. When she opened the door the walkers were half a mile ahead, so she started running, holding up her pants cause she couldn't get them fastened. Lorraine, our angel porta-pot lady, asked Maren if she could help her. Maren asked if she could warm her hands up a bit in the truck, so she did for a few minutes. Maren still couldn't get her pants done up. Finally, Lorraine asked her if she could help. Maren said,"Would you button my pants, please?" She did. Thanks, Lorraine. We love you.
By the time the handcarts pulled into camp, the rain was over and their clothes were almost dry. But they were cold. An unknown person from Evanston (I have asked everybody and nobody knows her name) went to McDonalds and got big containers of hot chocolate. I heard that McDonalds donated the drink and cups. Someone else donated cookies. These wonderful people gave our walkers hot chocolate and cookies. Dallin was so thirsty and cold he drank a lot. Maren said it saved her.
Someone else built a big fire and the cold, wet walkers were able to warm up. I am a mother with two kids on the trail today who never gave up. There were a lot of people out there who never gave up. I'm sure their stories would be just as touching as mine. I so appreciate the kind, thoughtful people who comforted these people. We really are strangers to you, yet you cared enough to help. Thank you so much.
We went to the community recreation center and swam in a beautiful pool. I was hoping the warm water would help warm Maren, but tonight she is still cold. She says she feels fine, but she is just cold. Thanks to the wonderful people who let the wagon train folks come to your facilities and swim and shower. We got an incredibly good price. Thank you so much.
Then if that wasn't enough, there was dinner tonight at the fairgrounds, a pioneer pageant and then a rodeo. What a wonderful day of festivities. Evanston, you have rolled out the red carpet and shown us a wonderful time. Thanks for the hospitality. And I hope you needed the rain!
Feels like it's going to get real chilly tonight. I guess we'll bundle up good. HappyNetTrekking!