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

June 13, 1997

Location: Casper, Wyoming - Location: 42:52:00N 106:18:45W

Summary: Friday the 13th, unusual day.

Journal entry: Today was another really long day. We traveled 30-31 miles today. We travelled to Casper.

It was a really cold morning. We had had lots of rain the previous night. There were puddles everywhere along with lots of mud. It looked promising to turn into a sunny day. It was cold until after the first break. During first break our brains have all been out in the wind. Many of us are sick or really tired, including myself. I've had bronchitis for the second time on the trek. It sure does make activities a lot harder. It takes a lot out of you since you just can't stay in bed.

Every morning you have to get up and move with the train whether you are sick or not. That is why I've been taking it easy and riding in the wagons a lot so that I don't make myself worse.

Danny, who is 7, got stuck in the porta-potties for about a minute and couldn't figure out how to get out. I guess the rope might have wrapped around the handle or something. It was funny because he was making all sorts of noises as he wanted to come out of the pottie.

I rode on the back of Dicken's tailgate until lunch. Our lunch was early and very short. We were late for our scheduled parade in Casper. Emily and I sang songs and had a wonderful time.

After lunch I went to the Winona and rode in Paul's wagon. Libbie (7), Shawn (10) and Keith (13) were great wagon buddies. Lunch was such a chaotic mess that the order of the wagons got messed up.

After we took off we headed on the the interstate. Everyone wanted to get back in the original spots on the wagon train. We played cat and mouse on the interstate. Turbo and Tennessee John even raced so that the other couldn't get cut off. It was so funny. It felt like we were on a really busy highway of wagons.

We sang all sorts camp songs. Keith had brought his boy scout song book and I had my old girls scout song books and others. We sang until I became hoarse.

When we arrived into Casper I was amazed I didn't realize it was so big. For the past 2-3 weeks we have been in towns of 100-300 people. Casper has around 55,000. That is a big difference.

Each day is a long day. We are up and about forever. One day feels like two. Enough happens in one day for it to count as two. So it feels like around a month and half since we've been in a big town. It feels really weird. I feel claustrophobic. I miss the open fields and land. I have only been here for 2 hours and I miss the openness of the trail all ready. I have no idea how I'll be when I return to regular life. I know it will bother me.

We, the people on the train, have become simple people like the pioneers were. The simple pleasures in life mean so much more to us than the other things. We move slowly, and we are more easy going. We'll get there when we get there. We just do what we got to do and then enjoy ourselves. The fast paced world doesn't exist for us anymore. It seems more like a dream or something that someone would tell us about. We don't live that lifestyle anymore. It is rare to live that kind of life style in today's society. I treasure it while I have the chance. Yes, it will be nice to return. But I will always want to retain a part of that simple lifestyle to continue in my every day life.

I like living as part of the earth and not depending on machinery. Machinery does make life a lot easier, but I do not want to forget where we used to be. I want to be able to appreciate what we have now. I think a lot of us forget how much we have. We are truly blessed. We live with so little out here. When I compare how much I thought I needed to live on before it is amazing. We live out of a few bags. Whereas, before we had closets full of things and clothes. We take for granted all the nice conveniences we have as well. I am now grateful for a freezing cold shower if I get one at all. I love it when I get a warm shower...especially a hot one.

I took for granted the way an oven works. All we do is turn a knob and it puts the temperature to the exact degrees we want it. Out here you have to guess what the temperature is. Fire is how we cook our food. It also takes a lot longer to cook our food. We get impatient with the microwave for heating something for 20 seconds. Out here if you want something to eat that is hot, you may have to wait an hour to a couple of hours depending on the weather, what you are cooking and how long it takes to prepare food.

Our society is also more mentally than physically hard like the pioneers was. Our society worries so much how they look and appearances. The pioneers worried about getting done what needs to get done and then worried what they looked like. We worry about both at the same time. They matter at least the same. Some of us put the looks into more importance than the other sometimes, when in reality it really shouldn't matter. What is on the inside should only matter not what is on the outside. Yes, it does play a part, but it shouldn't mater as much as it does. Impressions matter so much. We should not judge a person solely by their appearance. Many times we do, whether we are thinking about it or not. I know that pioneers did this as well, but when they got on the trail for a while it mattered less and less as time continued.

When you go into a business meeting you not only have to be well dressed to give the presentation and impression you want. This is very important now as it would have been then if they were in a big city. The pioneers worried about that much less, especially on the trail. We are all so understanding about how we look and smell out on the trail. No one complains, at least of the full-timers. Thank goodness we all understand we are not like this normally. There is no fashion show here unless we are showing off how dirty our clothes are. Some of us actually do have something to show off about how dirty we are. All of our clothes are permanently stained.