Thursday, January 18, 2018

The Tomaso Files: More Wild Buffalo Tailz' from The Oregon Trail

Ezra Meeker and his wife Eliza Jane Sumner built their wonderful Meeker Mansion Wayback in 1890, after settling in what ultimately became Puyallup, WA, after having successfully made Thar way to Washington via the Oregon Trail. (Image source:
Rollin-Rollin-Rollin', Keep them Doggies Rollin'; Yah! Yah! Mush!

Pretty funny how instantly annoyed one can become over having an hour and a half's layover in a modern Airport, Eh? Although for anybody, and especially a Blind traveler needing Assistance to navigate LAX; GROAN! My 1hr 23min time to change Aeroplanes to thou "Puddle Jumper" is barely enough time! Which makes the thought of traveling by Wagon Train for months sound outright painful; Yah! Yah!

Thus, from the delightful book I've just listened to before heading southwards, titled The Oregon Trail: A New American Journey, I've enjoyed learning quite a Bitamyte' about this archaic period of migration to the West Coast, probably the largest migration ever? With at least some 400,000+ persons seeking a new, better life westwards...

From this book I learned about the Conestoga wagon, which naturally I'd never heard of before. As this wagon was legendous' as 'Ol Kenny Sargent would proclaim! Mostly  in the East, being used in Pioneer style Aussie' Road Wagon convoys; OUI! Along the Appalachian trail Yet these wagons designed for carrying Mega tonnage upon "Smooth" roads were not ideal for the far more harsher terrain out West!

Alas, during this crazed migration, primarily fueled by the California Gold Rush of 1849, for which I do know is how some Darn Blasted Pigskin team got Thar name 49ers, righto?

Obviously wagon building became a hugely profitable business, with all sorts jumping into the melee, including the likes of John Deere, Studebaker and Sears & Roebuck, whom all got their start in wagon building during the mid 1800's.

Yet our intrepid travelers retracing the Oregon Trail were utilizing one of the preferred wagons of the day, ARSE-Sumedly a re-creation, as the author just constantly mentions how Thar Schuttler wagon does this or that.

As Peter Schuttler became known as "The Wagon King" of Chicago! With his mass produced wagons, noted for their craftsmanship and Attention to Detail; Hmm? Sound Familiar? Like Can Y'all say El Capitano? Nee Roger Penske; but I digress...

As the Schuttler wagons retailed for $75 and were known for their durability, along with "improved"  handling due to smaller front wagon wheels amongst other design improvements, most notably the wagon box having dampening capabilities.

Yet as I learned from Narcissa Whitman's travels, the Oregon Trail wasn't defined at all, especially for wagons at first, with the treacherous routes being evolved by the Fur Traders of the Day, which included a brief passage about the Pacific Fur Company.

Ironically, or more Karmically, upon discovering this Fur company was an offshoot of the American Fur Company, (AFC) setting up camp at Fort Astoria in 1811 along the "Mighty Columbia!"

And learning who the founder of AFC was, set my mind racing... To learn that indeed, the town of Astoria that Mary Ellen's been chauffeuring Mwah by for several years now, is indeed named after John Jacob Astor.


As in the original John Jacob Astor, Patriarch of the Astor Family in America, with the elder John having emigrated Circa 1783, whilst our Indy Cars Astor Cup was commissioned by William Vincent Astor, son of John Jacob Astor IV, who perished aboard the Titanic!

The author, Rinker Buck intersperses portions of the trip with various Flashbacks of his late father Thomas F. Buck, Associate Publisher of Look Magazine, who'd ironically taken him and his older brother Nic, on a summer's wagon crossing to Pennsylvania when they were both young boys.

While later on, speaking of famous people, Rinker rides a motorcycle during a chilly fall in Maine when in College to hear his father speak at an Anti-War Rally, where   another of the noted speakers was the prominent Historian and Author Howard Zinn, who was also against America's involvement in Vietnam, whom I believe his father briefly introduces him to afterwards... 

Fort Laramie, a noted Wagon Trail stop, is just one of the countless landmarks mentioned during the trek northwards. Along with Wyoming's Platt River, and such visible navigation markers or "Wave Points" as Chimney Rock
Jailhouse Rock, Fort Fetterman, Sweetwater, Independence Rock, Rocky Ridge, and South Pass - Continental Divide, etc.

As believe Rinker and his Mule Team Driver Nick, and Nick's faithful Hoond Olive Oil make 490 miles in first month's travel. Which is near their planned distance of 500 miles and One State per month. As May equals Nebraska. June equals Wyoming. July
- Idaho, etc. Planning to be to Oregon by November.

After briefly stopping at Martin's Cove and checking out "The Show." Rinker gives a Nice description 'bout how Devil's Gate has been "Whitewashed" by The Mormon's and is now known instead as Martin's Cove.

Along with noting how the disastrous 1856 Handcart crossing organized by Mr. Brigham Young of five Hand Cart parties, with final two parties of Martin & Willie's dying en masse on the "Mormon Trail," where some 250+ perished is conveniently portrayed totally different today, being named in honour of the Martin Handcart Company...

Rinker also spends time noting how massive the Cholera epidemic was during the peak migration years of 1849 and 1852, and in general before scientific information from Europe on the causes of Cholera finally arrived many years later.

While lastly, another tasty nugget 'O information dished out by Rinker was his passage about Ezra Meeker; Hmm? Why is that Meeker name familiar to Mwah?

As Ezra Meeker, at the spry age of 76, decided to retrace his earlier journey across the Oregon Trail in order to promote his desires for its protection from disappearing into the landscape. As he walked his covered wagon Mule Train all the way to Indiana, placing his granite "Meeker Markers" along the way, before wintering over in the Hoosier State.

Then after being denied access upon New York's famed Fifth Avenue, he ended his eastwards journey on the lawn of some Whitehouse on 1600 Ave! Where he got the ear of "Big Teddy" (Roosevelt) to make the Oregon Trail a National Historic landmark.

Ah Ha! Now I know where I know Meeker's name from; Eureka! As he was the first Mayor of Puyallup, Washington, along with being a Hop Baron, building his wife Eliza Jane Sumner Meeker Mansion, et al.

As Ezra made another Covered Wagon crossing in 1910 at the ripe 'Ol age of 80! Then a few more times aboard "Iron Horses" (Railroad) and lastly, remarkably at age 94 by open cockpit Biplane; Aye Karumba!

Meeker's last planned trek across his beloved Oregon Trail was to be aboard his Oxmobile, a specially modified Model A with Covered wagon roof donated by Henry Ford. Yet just shy of his 98th birthday, Ezra passed away in late 1928.

Ah, thou good 'Ol Seas 'O Synchronicity! As the night I finished the wonderful book, as 'Ol gomer Pyle would say: Shuhzamm! I ran across the following tidbit upon Ezra Meeker's mansion in Thy local Fishwrap...

As perhaps we'll be crossing Meeker Avenue right about now? Are We There Yet Mary Ellen? And who's Barking...

Rollin-Rollin-Rollin', Keep 'em Doggies Rollin!

Wagon Ho!

Monday, January 15, 2018

The Tomaso Files: Random Thoughts Upon life via The Oregon Trail ...

No Fenders Doggytrain' at Heceta Head Beach near Florence, Oregon. Tacoma Bureau Chief Mary Ellen with Doggies' on leash and is pulling Tomaso via his white cane. Thy esteemed Mad Molly is leading the pack on the right. Then thou Pixolator, (Pixie) Mary Ellen and No Fenders Head Scribe Tomaso as the Caboose. (The Tomaso Collection)
Nah, Won't say that Uhm? Ged' Along 'lil Pardner; Yah! Yah! Mush!

Hopefully, Tacoma Bureau Chief Mary Ellen, Pixie-the-Wonderdog; WUF-WUF! Be Quiet Silk; Hya! And thou never ending scribe Tomaso wilts Art thoust beeth somewhars' upon the Oregon Trail, rumblin' towards Warshington, as it's my Christmases break in January, having never quite shut Ye No Fenders BLOB' Down over Thar Holidazes; Yah, Yah, Mush!

As Once Upon a Time I used to regale Y'all 'bout taking two weeks off over Christmas, a la that fine black & white paper magazine called Ontrack I subscribed to Waybback Yonder! Especially now whilst tryin' to poond out a few more riveting BLOB stories before leaving; but I digress...

Having struggled to focus solely upon my latest CD Audiobook selection, made for me by Ruth, one of my friendly local Librarian Assistants. It seemed quite Apropos, after checking thou book out a second time, I'd finally settle down to listen to I-T just before leaving for California's Redwoods and a Roadtrip back North Eh!

The book's titled: The Oregon Trail: A New American Journey by Rinker Buck, published in 2015. And what struck Thy Fancy, besides the Pioneer Spirit, along with the author's crazy desire to travel the entire Oregon Trail via Mule-drawn Wagon, with his brother as the Mule Team Driver! Was the brief portion 'bout a pioneering woman named Narcissa Whitman.

As my only critique of Narcissa is her professional choosing, since I cannot help but think of Timothy Egan's interesting book Short Nights of The Shadow Catcher.

A book about Edward S. Curtis's prolific attempt to capture Native American Tribe's authentic Heritage, primarily upon his famous plate glass photography, before Disappearing. Where Egan points out how the white Christian Missionaries set about converting Native Americans into the "White Man's" Christian Doctrine via forced Schooling, attempting to eliminate the Native American's ancestral culture...

But what most impressed Mwah 'bout Narcissa Whitman, was not only was she the first woman to successfully travel the then still undefined Oregon Trail in 1836, but that she made much of the trip while being pregnant!

Hence, this set my mind racing towards the thoughts of le Femmes', the Fairer Sex, and their unquestionable tenacity! And thus, why are we trying to set them back a further generation with this sullied European notion of a Female's Only Women's Motor Racing league!

Ana Bia' Beatriz heading into Turn 1 at 225 mph on the second lap of her Qualie' attempt for the 2013 Indy 500. (The Tomaso Collection)
Having realized that in my thirty-plus years of following Open Wheel Racing, I've never witnessed a Female participate in any Formula 1 activity in person around the Globe! Since they've been given sparse opportunity! As it was nearly two dozen years before Susie Wolff got her token chance with Team Willy.

As the only Femme Fatales I've witnessed racing in the flesh in thee Top Echelons were primarily at Portland International Raceway, where Lyn St James flew Solo. Before crossing over to thou Bevy 'O Femme Fatales at Mother Speedway...

Whilst it's hard to believe, sorta', that it's a decade now since I first attempted chronicling female racers...

Abigail Scott, another pioneer woman, who I believe the author spends great time musing 'bout her riding Side Saddle, possibly noting that she rode this way across thee entirety of thou Oregon Trail; Me Thinks? As she was also noted for her detailed Journal during her family's crossing, which was an assignment given to the 17 year old Adventurer.

As once again, thou Karmic Whip, Ged' Along TOMASO KEEEE-RACK! Hits me when searching for information upon Miss Abigail, who's riding Side Saddle seems to have something to do with women not getting their Dresses Dirty! For those few women provocative enough to ride Horses on the journey!

As this Oregon Trail Tenderfoot, after marrying would go onto publish her own Woman's Pro Suffrage Newspaper, The New Northwest, with fierce opposition from her younger brother Harvey Weinstein; ZOINKS! Y'all knew that was coming, righto? Err, Harvey Scott and The Oregonian Newspaper he was the longtime Editor of.

Although women wouldn't be granted the right to vote in Oregon until 1912, with legislation being defeated five times, including fierce opposition voiced by Mr. Scott and his Oregonian Newspaper.

Suffrage legislation finally succeeded in Oregon, signed into law by Governor Oswald West., who asked Abigail to write the Proclamation for the 19th Amendment, which sadly, Abigail would pass away before Women were finally granted the right to vote nationally in 1920!

Since naturally, ironically Oswald West State Park is one of my favourite places to stop along the trip to 'n from thou "Other Florence!" Which may be, if it's not too Cold, Wet, Rainy 'N Nasty; We'll stop at to take the Hoonds, and Tomaso on a Walkabout?

Meanwhile, once again whilst bobbing in thou ever frothing Seas 'O Synchronicity circling Thy Isle of Nofendersville. I came across another unknown female Pioneer, albeit this time of someone most likely having way less notoriety.

As I'd definitely never heard of Mamie Johnson, who was the only female to ever pitch Baseball in the oft, forgotten Negro Leagues.

With another modern day female activist embracing the Pioneer Spirit, Janet Benshoof also catching my Attenzione upon thou Daily News Trawl of the New York Times...

To continue reading more Haberdashery from thou Oregonian Trail trek, see; The Tomaso Files: More Wild Buffalo Tailz' from The Oregon Trail

No Fenders Doggie Train photograph c/o Clarity Pictures
BIA' photograph c/o No Fenders ‘Offical Photographer CARPETS'