Train of memories travels through Nebraska | TheFencePost.com

Train of memories travels through Nebraska

Barbara Ann Dush
Fullerton, Neb.

A portion of the wagon train prepare to get back on the trail. "We're roughing it smoothly," joked rider Frank Schulte of Mayo, Florida. "It's laid back and run good. We're like one big family."

Despite cell phones and a portable shower, riders on the Van Fleet Wagon Train have gained a keen appreciation of what earlier pioneers endured.

The wagon train’s 1,400 mile trek is the same route the Mormons traveled from 1846 to 1857. Today, this trail is a part of the Mormon Pioneer National Historic Trail.

The first leg of the four-stage journey began in 2008 when riders traveled 30 days by horse and wagon from Nauvoo, Illinois, to Council Bluffs, Iowa.

This year, riders will be on the road for five weeks covering 450 miles from Council Bluffs to Ogallala, Nebraska. “By horseback it’s 450 miles. By car it’s 390, but because we stay off the highways, it adds a little mileage,” said Danny Van Fleet, wagonmaster and scout for the Van Fleet Wagon Train.

The wagon train was going to travel 610 miles to Fort Laramie, Wyoming, this year; however, because of the popularity of the trail ride, numerous requests to make it possible to get time off work cut the trip, extending it another year.

Next year’s ride will trail from Ogallala to Independence Rock, Wyoming; and in 2011, it will take them to their final destination of Salt Lake City.

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“We have people here from 15 states. There’s a spirit on this trail that attracts people and they stay with it,” Van Fleet said. “Two or three miles is the farthest we’ve ever got off the Mormon Trail. We keep picking up people as we go. We started with six or seven wagons the first day, then more wagons pull in each week. By the last week we’ll have around 15 to 20. We had a young lady that went with us the first week and called back just about in tears. She misses it so much she wants to come back.”

Van Fleet, who does the wagon trains because of his love of entertaining people on horseback, says the initial challenge is the logistics.

“I go in the wintertime and lay out a trail and make the connections. The toughest part is leading these campers to the next campsite because I always take the back roads to these towns. I don’t want to go out of our way with a horse any farther than we have to, but I don’t want to travel the main trail which is the highway.

“Then you have to get help and excellent cooks, which we have. We also have music and comedy in the evenings by the campers – it’s down to grass roots entertainment.”

Despite cell phones and a portable shower, riders on the Van Fleet Wagon Train have gained a keen appreciation of what earlier pioneers endured.

The wagon train’s 1,400 mile trek is the same route the Mormons traveled from 1846 to 1857. Today, this trail is a part of the Mormon Pioneer National Historic Trail.

The first leg of the four-stage journey began in 2008 when riders traveled 30 days by horse and wagon from Nauvoo, Illinois, to Council Bluffs, Iowa.

This year, riders will be on the road for five weeks covering 450 miles from Council Bluffs to Ogallala, Nebraska. “By horseback it’s 450 miles. By car it’s 390, but because we stay off the highways, it adds a little mileage,” said Danny Van Fleet, wagonmaster and scout for the Van Fleet Wagon Train.

The wagon train was going to travel 610 miles to Fort Laramie, Wyoming, this year; however, because of the popularity of the trail ride, numerous requests to make it possible to get time off work cut the trip, extending it another year.

Next year’s ride will trail from Ogallala to Independence Rock, Wyoming; and in 2011, it will take them to their final destination of Salt Lake City.

“We have people here from 15 states. There’s a spirit on this trail that attracts people and they stay with it,” Van Fleet said. “Two or three miles is the farthest we’ve ever got off the Mormon Trail. We keep picking up people as we go. We started with six or seven wagons the first day, then more wagons pull in each week. By the last week we’ll have around 15 to 20. We had a young lady that went with us the first week and called back just about in tears. She misses it so much she wants to come back.”

Van Fleet, who does the wagon trains because of his love of entertaining people on horseback, says the initial challenge is the logistics.

“I go in the wintertime and lay out a trail and make the connections. The toughest part is leading these campers to the next campsite because I always take the back roads to these towns. I don’t want to go out of our way with a horse any farther than we have to, but I don’t want to travel the main trail which is the highway.

“Then you have to get help and excellent cooks, which we have. We also have music and comedy in the evenings by the campers – it’s down to grass roots entertainment.”

Despite cell phones and a portable shower, riders on the Van Fleet Wagon Train have gained a keen appreciation of what earlier pioneers endured.

The wagon train’s 1,400 mile trek is the same route the Mormons traveled from 1846 to 1857. Today, this trail is a part of the Mormon Pioneer National Historic Trail.

The first leg of the four-stage journey began in 2008 when riders traveled 30 days by horse and wagon from Nauvoo, Illinois, to Council Bluffs, Iowa.

This year, riders will be on the road for five weeks covering 450 miles from Council Bluffs to Ogallala, Nebraska. “By horseback it’s 450 miles. By car it’s 390, but because we stay off the highways, it adds a little mileage,” said Danny Van Fleet, wagonmaster and scout for the Van Fleet Wagon Train.

The wagon train was going to travel 610 miles to Fort Laramie, Wyoming, this year; however, because of the popularity of the trail ride, numerous requests to make it possible to get time off work cut the trip, extending it another year.

Next year’s ride will trail from Ogallala to Independence Rock, Wyoming; and in 2011, it will take them to their final destination of Salt Lake City.

“We have people here from 15 states. There’s a spirit on this trail that attracts people and they stay with it,” Van Fleet said. “Two or three miles is the farthest we’ve ever got off the Mormon Trail. We keep picking up people as we go. We started with six or seven wagons the first day, then more wagons pull in each week. By the last week we’ll have around 15 to 20. We had a young lady that went with us the first week and called back just about in tears. She misses it so much she wants to come back.”

Van Fleet, who does the wagon trains because of his love of entertaining people on horseback, says the initial challenge is the logistics.

“I go in the wintertime and lay out a trail and make the connections. The toughest part is leading these campers to the next campsite because I always take the back roads to these towns. I don’t want to go out of our way with a horse any farther than we have to, but I don’t want to travel the main trail which is the highway.

“Then you have to get help and excellent cooks, which we have. We also have music and comedy in the evenings by the campers – it’s down to grass roots entertainment.”

Despite cell phones and a portable shower, riders on the Van Fleet Wagon Train have gained a keen appreciation of what earlier pioneers endured.

The wagon train’s 1,400 mile trek is the same route the Mormons traveled from 1846 to 1857. Today, this trail is a part of the Mormon Pioneer National Historic Trail.

The first leg of the four-stage journey began in 2008 when riders traveled 30 days by horse and wagon from Nauvoo, Illinois, to Council Bluffs, Iowa.

This year, riders will be on the road for five weeks covering 450 miles from Council Bluffs to Ogallala, Nebraska. “By horseback it’s 450 miles. By car it’s 390, but because we stay off the highways, it adds a little mileage,” said Danny Van Fleet, wagonmaster and scout for the Van Fleet Wagon Train.

The wagon train was going to travel 610 miles to Fort Laramie, Wyoming, this year; however, because of the popularity of the trail ride, numerous requests to make it possible to get time off work cut the trip, extending it another year.

Next year’s ride will trail from Ogallala to Independence Rock, Wyoming; and in 2011, it will take them to their final destination of Salt Lake City.

“We have people here from 15 states. There’s a spirit on this trail that attracts people and they stay with it,” Van Fleet said. “Two or three miles is the farthest we’ve ever got off the Mormon Trail. We keep picking up people as we go. We started with six or seven wagons the first day, then more wagons pull in each week. By the last week we’ll have around 15 to 20. We had a young lady that went with us the first week and called back just about in tears. She misses it so much she wants to come back.”

Van Fleet, who does the wagon trains because of his love of entertaining people on horseback, says the initial challenge is the logistics.

“I go in the wintertime and lay out a trail and make the connections. The toughest part is leading these campers to the next campsite because I always take the back roads to these towns. I don’t want to go out of our way with a horse any farther than we have to, but I don’t want to travel the main trail which is the highway.

“Then you have to get help and excellent cooks, which we have. We also have music and comedy in the evenings by the campers – it’s down to grass roots entertainment.”