Westward Ho!

It is April 3, 1843. Your family is planning a trip. Tomorrow you will leave your home and friends. The trip will take four months, maybe six months. You will leave from Jefferson City, Missouri. Your family will settle in Oregon. The trip is almost two thousand miles. You will walk most of the way! You are going to travel on the Oregon Trail.

There are no trains that can make the trip across the country. The only other way would be to sail on a ship from the East Coast. First your family would have to get to Boston or another big port city. The ship would have to sail all the way down the coast of the United States and Mexico. It would have to sail all the way down the east coast of South America, around the tip, and back up along the west coast of South America. That trip would take six months. It would cost too much for your family.

Your father fixed up the farm wagon. He made five wooden bows that arch over the wagon's bed. These would hold the cover. Mother had woven the cloth for the wagon's cover. She rubbed the canvas cloth with linseed oil. This would help it shed water and not leak. The ends of the cover had drawstrings. This left an opening in the front and the back.

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