The Oregon Trail: A New American Journey

Rinker Buck, a self-decribed "divorced boozehound with a bad driving record and emerging symptoms of low self-esteem," decided he needed to do something epic to change. A long-time history buff, he spent one winter thoroughly researching the Oregon Trail, the 2,100-mile route used by more than 400,000 pioneers to travel from the Missouri River to the Pacific coast. While some parts of the trail have been paved over with highways or lost to development, much of the old, rutted wagon trail still exists, mapped and marked, and is accessible to anyone searching for it. Fueled by lyrical descriptions of the countryside in the many trail journals he read and by the wonderful memories of a wagon trip he had taken as a child, Buck bought a wagon and team of three mules to cross the prairie, hills and rivers, just like those seeking a new life in the 1800s. He and his brother, Nick, spent several months making the ambitious journey, enduring hardships, encountering generous and helpful people and experiencing the same richness of nature that trail riders of yesteryear had written about.

Buck includes excerpts written by pioneers and an ample history of the Oregon Trail and how the vast migration changed the country, adding his own keen observations about nature, people and himself along the way. Humorous, entertaining and highly informative, Buck's impressive adventure will be of interest to history enthusiasts, those who love mules and armchair adventurers who only dare to dream of such an undertaking. --Lee E. Cart, freelance writer and book reviewer

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