Heritage Gateways

Official Sesquicentennial K-12 Education Project
sponsored by the Utah State Board of Education, the BYU-Public School Partnership and the Utah Education Network

Wendy Westergard Journals

July 16, 1997

Location: Henefer, Utah - Twenty miles from "This is the Place" State Park.

Summary: Unscheduled potty break, driving a team of mules, almost streaking to the shower building, and a totally awesome street dance.

Journal entry: Today was the most awesome day. I started out in the Winona. I got in there because this morning I was running late and I raced to get on a wagon. That just seemed like the perfect wagon to join. I sat a little bored in the back with Cyndi Cornell, Libbie, Sarah and Pete.

Later after we had been jiggled around for about an hour Sarah woke up. She soon realized that she had to go the bathroom very bad. She had tears running down her face. (She is around 10 years old.) I gave her the options. They were wait until next potti-break, which was probably in an hour, or we could stop the wagon and we could go to the side of the road and I would hold up a blanket. She sat and thought for a while because she really didn't want to have to go on the side of the road. Finally she said "Okay lets do it." Luckily there was a bush not to far off when she said that. The wagon stopped and we got off the wagon. I held her hand as we raced towards the tree. On the other side of the tree there was a train that was passing. Dan, an outrider, commented to me later that it looked like we were trying to catch the train and it looked like we were trying to hitch a ride back to Omaha. Thank heavens for that bush. Sarah was sure grateful.

The wagons had moved on we had to race to catch up with the wagons to climb back on. I put her back on the Winona and then hopped on the wagon directly behind it. It was Dean's wagon. He handed me the lines after I had been sitting on the seat for 5 -10 minutes. The rest of the way he taught me how to drive. It was fun.

I have driven teams before, but never for the whole day. I got to today. It was a thrill. It is so much fun and a challenge to make them keep a steady walk. I was driving a team of mules. Its not a hard thing to do, provided you have a good teacher. He taught me a lot about animals too. I got to drive over a bridge, railroad tracks, pavement and a a gravel road.

At each break I helped the mules get water. We would unhitch the team and take them to water and then hitch them back up. I never before got to do this on break like they were my team before. I watered many teams, but none of them ever felt like my team before. They were my team for the day. Dean even fell asleep on the front seat for a while. Even when he was awake I'd have to remind him if there was a hill to put on the brake, because he was sitting next to it.

I even drove the team down some pretty good size hills. There is actually a way to do all of this. You don't just hold the lines and they go. Some of the teamsters have made an art of this. I bet they could even write a book "How to drive a team."

When we got into camp which was around 4-5 PM. I wandered around and talked to the public, which there was a ton. There all were interested in how things were going and what it was like. I'm glad so many people are interested in the history of the train. These people need to be remembered. They went through so much. After that we went to eat at the park down the road which was where they were serving dinner for the train.

It is a three ring circus here in Henefer Utah. It is like the fair. There are booths everywhere had big tents for people to sit and eat their dinner in. They tend to be blue and white striped. I socialized for a while and around 8 PM I started to look for the place to catch the shuttle and my stuff so I could take a shower. I caught the bus before I got to my things and decided to just get on anyway because that was the last shuttle bus going to showers and they wouldn't be open much longer. We drove to Coalville Utah.

On the way there I saw mountains with awesome light shining on them which made the mountains glow. I realized then that we are almost here. I didn't want to ruin the surprise of seeing anything of the valley before I walk in so I closed my eyes the rest of the way.

We got the place and there were two buildings to choose form. I of course chose the wrong one. This one had a line out to timbukto and were cold. Three of us decided to make a dash for it across the parking lots in our towels to the other building. We carried the rest of our things as well. The whole way we laughed and screamed.

Many people from the train and more saw us make a mad dash out the building and to the other building. We did it. The problem was when we reached the other side the door were locked. We were stuck on the other side of this building. Roger, Lisa's brother who was with us drove up at this time. We were hiding behind a wall. He could only see our heads poking out. He asked what we were doing We told him to stay there. Well he saw us along with Kimberly. She actually came up and talked to us as we were hiding behind the wall. It was one of those bonding moments that we will never forget. We decided to make a dash for the other doors that were supposed to be open. Luckily they were. We made it to these wonderful shower that were warms and had stalls WITH curtains. Lovely.

We had a dance, a street dance. We showed up an hour late. It was a live band. They were pretty good. The dance we keep going to on the train just keep getting bigger and bigger. Its amazing as I think about it later that when we are dancing we have such a variety of ages at the dance in the same circle and it seems really cool, whereas at home it would seem really dumb.. The ages range from 11-30. It wouldn't seem weird at a wedding, but this was a street dancing. I think is one thing that makes this so cool. We don't even notice the age difference. I can hang out with a fifth grader and totally forget about the age difference between us. Amazing.