We are set to leave Independence for Oregon today. Gamble family trail trip. I am super excited. This. Is. Going. To. Be. The. Most. Awesome. Thing. Ever.
We’ve decided to travel with a full party: It is made up of our family and we are joined by Han Solo and Bill Gates.
Everyone I’ve talked to agrees we’ve picked the right time to leave. April is perfect because it isn’t too early that there won’t be grass for the oxen to eat and also it isn’t too late so that we’ll still be traveling when winter comes.
It is hard leaving on such a journey as a farmer from Illinois, because I don’t have as much money for my journey as say… a banker from Boston. But I think that I’ll make it.
Money doesn’t seem to be an issue just yet though. I went to Matt’s General Store and bought everything that I need for the journey. I had enough for the essentials: a team of three yoke (two oxen per yoke), enough clothes for everyone to have something for hot or cold weather, 1600 pounds of food (flour, sugar, bacon and coffee), spare parts for the wagon (a few tongues, axles and wheels), and lots of ammo for hunting. I am so excited for hunting, it is the best. I’ll never get tired of eating food that I’ve hunted, plus I love buffalo.
I’m putting Maude on the letter now, she wants to add something to the letter before I seal it up.
Hey sis, this is Maude now. Craig is really excited about this trip to Oregon. I don’t know, I mean I want to go too but I think it might be a little harder than he’s realized. Of all of the wagons he could have chosen he’s bought one that has a wonky wheel and veers to the left. And I am happy here in Independence, we’ve made a life for ourselves and now he just wants to uproot us and take us on a crazy journey to Oregon in search of fortune. I love Craig, he is my husband after all, and I see that there is an opportunity for us west so I don’t want to ruin this for him. I just hope that Claude and I can make the difficult journey without being too much of a hassle. Anyway, I love you and we’ll write you letters all along our journey
It has been about five days now since we’ve left Independence. Our journey is good, mostly. We lost the trail once and gave up three days and there was this little snafu with crossing a river but everything turned out okay. I wish the opportunity to hunt would present itself already. Not a big problemo or anything, we still have tons of food. I think we might be good on the food front until Oregon, especially now that we have one less mouth to feed. Han Solo has died. He drowned in the little spill we took in the river. But I’ll let Maude fill you in on the details. She doesn’t really get how things work in this game we live in… sometimes we lose a few sets of clothes, sometimes our axle breaks, a lot of the time people die from drowning in rivers, that is just how it is.
You don’t have to worry, but your nephew, Claude, has cholera. I think he’ll make it through fine, I forced Craig to slow the pace of the wagon to the slowest possible and to let us eat the most filling rations. I have seen death for the first time in my life. When the wagon tipped over in the river one of the men we were traveling with fell out and was washed away with some food, most of our clothes and all of our spare wagon parts. I don’t know what on earth Craig was thinking when he decided to try to ford a river that was 30 feet wide and 6.2 feet deep. We got into a huge argument when we stopped at the river. I suggested that we travel up the river a ways and pay for a ferry to take us safely across, but he said, “The only way to cross the Oregon Trail is to be a maverick.” And now he has killed Han Solo.
I love you and will write again soon with good news.
I’ve finally been hunting some buffalo. I am getting really good, I never get squirrels or rabbits… they’re still too fast and small, but I’m shooting more buffalo than our wagon can carry. It’s like a meat avalanche, it is as if dead buffalo are falling from the sky or like shooting large, slow moving things in a barrel. This miracle has come just in time too because we’d run out of food after another freak fording accident.
This Transamerica trip is trying the strength of my marriage. We’ve come across two more rivers since the last time I wrote you and each time he’s chosen to ford them and both times our wagon has tipped. At the first river I tried to remind him that fording was dangerous, hadn’t it killed Han Solo, and I told him that I wouldn’t allow him to ever do it again while we had a choice. He just looked me straight in the eyes and whispered, “Maverick” and took off. It was the same the time after that. When it is not the fording it is the hunting, always with the hunting. I’m so sick of eating buffalo, literally tired of chewing it. He keeps mumbling crazy things about a ‘meat avalanche’ when he stops the wagon and goes out to hunt. I love you. Pray for us. Pray that we don’t meet anymore rivers.
Bill Gates has died. And no it wasn’t my fault, he didn’t drown in a river I was trying to clear- he was bitten by a snake and died from an infection. Claude did drown though. Maude has been really torn up about it. I think that she has dysentery so things aren’t real great on the old Maude front. As if things couldn’t get any worse-thieves stole our oxen when I was off hunting and I had to use the rest of our money to replace them and stock up on bullets.
Claude has died. My baby boy is dead. When I fished him from the river and held his lifeless little body in my arms I knew there was no God. Why else would everyone have died but me and the idiot leading this death march. My stomach is killing me, Craig thinks that I’ve got dysentery and I think that is the first thing he has been right about this whole damned trip. I’m done. I don’t think this can last much longer for me. Anyway, I am ready to die. I love you, and this is most likely goodbye.
Maude has died. Everyone has died. I have no money and no bullets to hunt buffalos or bears. I ate the oxen. I don’t know where I’ve failed. I wish I could fix the mistakes I’d made in the recent past. Even though just playing the odds I should have made it across at least one river unscathed. I wish my wife and son were alive. I was having so much fun that I didn’t realize we were all dying. Some things are too much fun to ever die, this party wasn’t such a thing… I know this because everyone’s dead. I sort of wish I was dead. I wish my wishes were cookies. I’m pretty hungry. I don’t even feel like writing a letter. I think this might be game over.
I has died.