June 9, 1997
Location: Glendo, Wyoming - Location: 42:30:10N 105:01:32W Elevation: 4714 feet
Summary: Guernsey to Glendo -Wyoming
Journal entry: Today I spent the day trying to keep up with Robert Haderle. He prefers to be called Bob, so I will from here on out.
If I could describe this man in one sentence it would be: This man has a job to do and he does his job.
Bob and his wife, Mary, are now living in Bradenton, Florida, when he isn't the captain of the campjacks on the Mormon Trail. They have five children, a pile of grandchildren, and I think it was 7 great-grandchildren. They are originally from Crawfordsville, Indiana. That is where most of their children now live.
In his real life, Bob was a farmer and drove one of those big huge A-mobiles spreading fertilizer. Mary says that Bob has a real ability to eye a piece of ground and determine size and picture what goes where. This is exactly what the camp needs in the captain of the campjacks.
There are several responsibilities that are Bob's. He is the head campjack, which means he is responsible for the lay-out and organization of the actual campsite. He is the boss of all other campjacks, including the porta-potty people, the people who park vehicles, the people who come in and out of camp and where they will be positioned, and the clean up after the camp is vacated. We now are frequently 1000 people strong in one day and you can just imagine the effort it takes to move this many people and their vehicles --every single day and move to a new campsite and get it set up. This could be absolutely mind-boggling. Bob does this with incredible ability.
His first job of the day is to ring everyone to morning meeting. He uses his triangle for this. Then the meeting is turned over to Leon Wilkinson.
After meeting, Bob and Mary get into their vehicles for the ride to the next camp. Today was a long drive to Glendo. It was close to 40 miles. On the road, Bob would stop at each turn and place an orange directional sign, so that all following vehicles would have directions to the next camp. We all quickly came to recognize the orange arrows.
When we arrived at camp at Glendo, the field was totally empty. I had never seen camp before anyone had arrived, and it just looked like a great big huge field. I watched and helped with the incredible transition from pasture land to camp for the Mormon Wagon Train.
First, Bob eyed the area and determined where the circle would be laid out for the wagons. We are at 40 wagons or more now and the circle was huge. Bob stepped out the directions from a center point and then gave Forrest the responsibility of finishing the job. I helped Forrest step out the circle. We would place little pink flags at the outer edge of the circle. Bob figured out the parking area for the support vehicles for the horses and animals, the tent area, the cooking and eating area, the registration, media, family history, souvenir area, and the entertainment area. When I looked at the huge area set aside for the tents I thought it would be plenty sufficient, but tonight as I look over the area, we could have used twice that much space. Everyone is crammed together. We are definitely growing in numbers. There are tents everywhere. Little orange or green or pink flags designate roads, boundaries and specific areas.
I missed Bob when he left and went back to town to discuss our position for camp tonight. I guess the area the town thought we would need was way too small and Bob just went to tell them we had moved.
Our campsite is really in a beautiful spot, and it covers acres and acres of area. I wish I could estimate size, but it is huge.
After turning the campsite over to Forrest, Bob and Mary and I got into his truck and headed out on the road for the day. Bob's next responsibility is to mark the actual trail that the wagon train will be taking for the next day. This is sort of like a hunt and peck job. He has maps and a set of directions from Headwagonmaster, Ben Kern. Ben scouted out this area last year, took some notes, made directional maps etc. Bob's job now is to lay out the directional arrows, determine where the potty breaks will be, lunchtime break, and any obstacles to the route. Bob also does exact mileage checks, so that we know the actual miles.
We had sort of a fun day figuring out places and roads. It is a real interesting bit of scout work. We ended up on different roads, in four wheel drive through pastures, across ditches. You name it. It was really fun. I remember hearing that my great grandfather, Barnabas Adams was a Scout for the original train. I guess I was doing some of what he did for Brigham Young---scouting out the trail.
We saw some very interesting animal life. This is an area of a lot of antelope and Bob saw every one before I did. We also had a hawk fly above us with a snake dangling from his talons. Bob thought it was probably already half-eaten when we scared it off the trail. We saw pheasant and birds.
This is just incredibly beautiful country. We are into more hills and bluffs. The vegetation is so green. We are early enough in the year that the area hasn't started to dry out yet. We drove into Douglas and found the fairgrounds where tomorrow's campsite will be located. This is where the Wyoming State Fair is held every year and it is a beautiful place. It will be very comfortable for all of us. We will probably fill up most of the areas.
The fellow we needed to talk with was gone to lunch, so Bob decided to re-drive the trail and double check mileages. On the first trip, we passed over several cattle guards and Bob determined that there were places we could by-pass these areas. A few fenceposts had to be removed, but the route is clear.
We drove a second time into Douglas, met with the man who showed us the grounds. Bob and I stepped out the wagon circle and placed flags. Bob also determined the eating area, tent area, support area etc. The animals have to be stalled here. Their motto is "Stall "em or Haul "em." This word will be passed along to all teamsters.
Gretchen has already been by this morning and determined facilities for showers, inclement weather etc. so, it looks as if tomorrow's campsite is a thumbs up.
With Douglas campsite ready, we headed back to Glendo to see if the wagon train is in yet. It was a quick trip back on the freeway. The wagon train was still several miles out. Today was a long way - at least 29 miles. So, it will be late. Bob does a quick check on the progress of camp. The support vehicles are filling up quickly and he hopes there is enough room. The parking of passenger cars has filled the designated area and they are being shown to another area. But, basically, camp is coming along really well. This is what I usually saw when I entered camp....not a field.....a camp. This is a huge city. What an impressive sight.
The wagons finally were seen down the road. Bob's final responsibility for the day is showing the wagons to the circle and making sure they form the circle correctly. He uses a staff to direct traffic and all the wagons are finally in. There were more wagons than fit in the circle and a second wagon circle is formed.
After supper, Bob again drives tomorrow's route with the porta potty people so they know where to stop for breaks. It is a never-ending job. Bob and Mary eat and sleep this wagon train. I told Bob I do not want his job. What a terribly difficult job. It goes on and on all day long. It doesn't end. And when you are always moving, you always have a new place to set up and new directional signs to place.
I am tired tonight and all I did was watch and help out a little. What a man. He loves doing this. Bob and Mary feel that all of Bob's life has been directed to accomplishing this responsibility for the Mormon Trail Wagon Train. They feel a tremendous responsibility in this "calling." It never was a formal calling, but he accepted the job. He feels that one of the most important things of this job is to display an organized camp. He does that VERY WELL.
He has the respect of everyone in camp. What Bob says is law. He does an incredible job and I will be the first to give him three cheers. Not only does he do this job well, he is a fun and personable. It was a very tiring, but a really fun day. Thanks, Bob and Mary, for the royal treatment. I asked Bob what final words he has to say. They are "Keep your foot out of the bear trap."
The walkers were just arriving in camp when I helped shuttle a few vehicles. They were tired. 29 miles! HappyNetTrekking!