Shannon here: Caryl McAdoo takes us on a fun research trip to the Oregon Trail. Comment or answer the question to get in the drawing for an e-copy of her latest Historical Romance, Remi. Deadline: May 25th, 11:59 pm central time. Here’s Caryl:
Writer’s Research Really Relates—My Journey on the Oregon Trail
A new idea—at least to me—for a women going west in wagon trains collection. Sweet Wild West Reads group founder, Barb Goss agreed, so the Prairie Roses Collection was born back in October 2018. Three other authors signed on, and we were off! Patricia PACJAC Carroll, Indiana Wake, Vickie McDonough, Barbara and me!
So, in December, writing the end of my April release, UNIQUELY COMMON for the Lockets and Lace Collection, I got the Adams and Cord families to Saint Joseph, Missouri and joined up with Captain Albright’s Wagon Train, heading to California. That’s when and where readers first meet Remi, heroine of my May release by the same name!
She’s going west to find the father she’s never met—he left before she was born—and to avoid a trip across the Atlantic to the French Riviera. Also coming from New York, the introvert, avid reader lands in St. Jo and comes to know the Adams and Cords after they came to her aid. How could she know Albright wouldn’t let single women sign up to go west?
Mid December, my husband asked me, “Would you like to drive the Oregon Trail?”
“Sure, I would! When were you thinking of leaving?
“I figure we should leave out early Sunday Morning. I’d like to get to Saint Joseph that night and leave from there.”
It was Wednesday, and we were leaving early the next morning (Thursday) to drive to College Station (five-plus hours) to see our grandson graduate from Texas A & M that Saturday. We got back home Saturday night and left the next morning! All to say the research trip was entirely impromptu! But what a wonderful exciting journey!
As planned, we got to Saint Jo that night and headed out after breakfast Monday, first stop being the Missouri River right where they crossed, at the end of Francis Street! We headed off at a leisure place across the same trail our characters traveled, except what took us ten minutes on the highway, took the wagon trains a full day!
Stopping at all the forts, built back then to help emigrants settle the west. The U.S, government, believing in the manifest destiny of the country stretching from sea to shining sea, sent its Army Corps to work on the passes through the mountains, such as Murphy’s Pass near Scott’s Bluff.
Seeing the actual places our characters saw along the way, Jail House and Courthouse Rocks, Chimney Rock thrilled me. And we got to also get a great feel of the plains and rolling hills they traveled on, paralleling the Platte then the North Platte Rivers, making our way across southern Nebraska and into Wyoming. We experienced their hardships at the museums we visited and learned so much!
I’m certain, we probably could have researched on the computer and learned a lot of the same information, but there was nothing like seeing it all firsthand! The trains would stop for a few days at the forts, giving the weary sojourners time to make repairs and restock their wagons. The U.S. kept large quantities of food and sold it at cost—what they didn’t give away.
Fort Laramie has the main building, built in the early 1850s, newly refurbished—the exact same building my characters saw and walked and danced in! I never dreamed it would look like that. I’m sure it was a wonder to them as well, a bit of civilization in the middle of nowhere.
Before leaving Wyoming and entering Nevada, we visited Independence Rock, so named because wagon trains wanted to get there by July 4th, celebrated back in the States. That goal was huge, meaning that they would have time to get over the Rockies before the winter storms. Those arriving to the amazing outcropping of granite—it covers twenty-seven square miles.
The pioneers climbed all over the rock and carved their names on it. Approaching it, I was aware of the thousands of souls who had been there on the journey of a lifetime almost three hundred years before! I touched the rock and was simply overcome—choked up and teary eyed. Many of those ancestors prayed prayers of thanksgiving as I did that day.
By the time we finished our forty-three-hundred-plus mile trip, I had obtained a whole new perspective of Remi’s journey. A new respect for my characters emerged, a closeness to them and empathy for them. I believe readers will be able to tell the difference when they read REMI. I can testify as a writer; nothing is better than seeing the real thing yourself. It was absolutely amazing!
About Caryl: Award-winning Author Caryl McAdoo prays her story brings God glory! And her best-selling novels are blessed with a lion’s share of 5-Star ratings! With forty-three-and-counting titles, she loves writing as well as singing the new songs the Lord gives her—listen to a few at YouTube. She and husband Ron share four children and eighteen grandsugars. The McAdoos live in the woods south of Clarksville, seat of Red River County, in far Northeast Texas, waiting expectantly for God to open the next door.
About the book – Remi: It isn’t within man to guide his own steps—or a woman. Caught between a wagon train and the deep blue sea, Agnes Remington Dalrumple, Remi for short, chooses the overland journey west over crossing the Atlantic with her mother and step-father. Though the introvert has never been on her own, she decides to go to California and try to find the father she’s never known. Thwarted at every turn, almost every effort is dashed until a widower’s thirteen-year-old daughter intervenes on her behalf.
How can the headstrong young woman place herself under the responsibility of the girl’s father, a perfect stranger? But if she doesn’t, her journey ends right there in Saint Joseph, Missouri. On the Oregon/California trail, will pride and independence deter her from the destiny God has prepared?
Early review on Remi: Loved this book! A great story of adventure, action and romance. It felt like I was on the wagon train riding along with them. Remi and Asher were so right for each other but they had trouble seeing it. A great read. ~ Debbie Turner
Question for Readers: Have you ever experienced that “better-face-to-face” astonishment for a national monument you’ve read about before? If not, what you would like to see face to face?
Come back May 21st for Carole Brown!