Sunday, October 23, 2011

Names Hill--Where OT Travelers Left Their Mark

One of my favorite moments in The Road to Destiny occurs when the Weston family reaches Names Hill.

This was a powerful milestone in the Oregon Trail journey for any of its travelers. Located in Wyoming, by the Green River, Names Hill was a popular stopping-off point for journeyers. According to Wikipedia, the earliest names carved by European-American trekkers are dated 1822--27 years before the fictitious Westons made their trek.

The names on our version of Names Hill are mostly those of friends and loved ones--little "in jokes" for those significant folks in our lives. One friend's name rhymes with Names Hill, I just realized.

Below are some of the photo images we used as reference for this sequence in the book. Names Hill is on the National Register of Historic Places, and it's great that this document of the real travelers of the Oregon Trail is preserved for future generations to witness.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Ferries--Safe Passage Over Perilous Waters

 Though much of the Oregon Trail journey took the travelers across dry, open land, there were rivers to cross. Some were simple creeks, which could be forded without preparation. Others, such as the Green River, were formidable bodies of fast-moving water.

To cross such a raging river without a ferry was folly, at best and suicide at worst. A ferry was set up in the early 1840s by a group of mountain men--fur traders who preceded the Oregon Trail emigrants to the vast wild of the Western United States.

The ferry was sold to a group of Mormons around 1850. Eventually, it was purchased by a man named Lombard--and belatedly named after him.
The black-and-white photo above is a re-creation of this primitive but effective ferry. Here is David's interpretation of this yet-unnamed ferry--which was still operated by mountain men as our main players, the Weston family, safely cross the deadly waters:

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Another Review!

Self-described "comic book pundit/advocate/educator and comedic actor/performer" Corey Blake has reviewed our book on his blog.

In his words, our book is "targeted to preteens but it’s smart enough for older readers. The authors have done extensive research into personal accounts and other historic documents to get as accurate as possible. They tell an engaging story from the perspective of a fictional 11-year-old girl whose family makes the trek from Baltimore, Maryland, to Oregon in 1848."

From one improv comedian to another--thanks!

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Natural Wonders of the Oregon Trail

Oregon Trail journeyers saw plenty of wide open, sparsely-adorned prairie. They also were wowed by natural wonders such as this twin sensation--Jail Rock and Courthouse Rock.

Here is David's fascinating interpretation of these two aptly-paired rock towers:

(This is the right half of a double-page spread. See the spread to its full effect in the book!)