Mandan News

Pretty glad it isn’t 1849

Layout 1 (Page 1)So what happens when a writer thought he had something to say, but forgot what he was gonna say, and instead of blowing it all off, he sits down at the computer and just starts typing? He ends up just saying stuff like the following …

So, since you’re still here I’ll assume that I should continue, and you can feel free to let me know whether or not this missile was worth launching …

For those of you that haven’t been able to look out the window lately, I’m happy to report that the month of May is underway, and it’s greening up around here. Yep, looks we might have another normal May, June, July and August, before the leaves fall off again in September. Kinda sad to think that it’s only green around here for four months out of every year … so I think I’ll digress from here.
Not many of us were around for the California gold rush of 1849, but after watching a television program on it, I’ve concluded that I’m glad I wasn’t there. Let’s start with the easy stuff, like if you were around back then, would you have dropped life here and headed west? In 1849 it took eight months to walk/wagon train from Boston to San Francisco.

The trek was incredibly dangerous and many folks never made it. One group ran into a blizzard, and the survivors became cannibals. Crossing the Great Plains was the easy part. However, if you happen to agree with that, I dare you to walk out on the prairie around here and then walk across the native grass for a mile or so. Better yet, take a cross country walk, stay off the roads, from here to the Bohemian Hall (10 miles south on 1806). I would advise having someone to pick you up at the hall because you’re most likely not going to be in the mood to walk home from there.

Complicate this further, load everything you own into a horse drawn covered wagon and embark on a walk from here to California for the next eight months, and I think you may agree with me that it’s quite amazing that this country ever got settled.

There were only a few folks that had crossed the continent, so for the average family, the strange terrain these folks encountered in 1849 must have looked like crossing Mars would look like for us today.

Indeed it took a great deal of courage and fortitude to satiate this wanderlust. I don’t think that type of courage exists anymore. Sure, we still tear up our roots and head to new neighborhoods, cities, states, countries and such, but moving from one coast to another today is pretty much a piece of cake.

Rent a moving van, hire a moving company, pack the kids in the car and most likely you’ll travel from one coast to another in less than a week. Buy a plane ticket and that’s reduced to a few hours.
I wonder how far a guy could get today in eight months of traveling … around the world a few times maybe? Better yet, I don’t know anyone is willing to travel for eight months anymore.

So, like I was saying, May’s underway here, the leaves are returning, the air is fresh, life is good here for the next four months. However, September’s just around the corner and I kinda wonder; if I started walking south on Labor Day, could I avoid winter?

So, if I walk south for four months then, turned around, would I make it back here by this time next year? And where would I end up when I have to turn around? Obviously this requires math ,and both my loyal readers know that’s not my forte’, so I it may be awhile before I can answer these questions.

In the meantime, I hope you find something satisfying to do while I’m doing whatever I do …