The Oregon Trail, 2021 Edition

Discussion in 'GPS Tracks - West & PNW' started by DrPayne, Aug 18, 2021.

  1. DrPayne

    DrPayne Not a doctor

    Joined:
    Jun 3, 2019
    Oddometer:
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    CT
    The idea:
    1. Ride as closely to the original Oregon Trail as possible. You know, wagons, rocks shaped like chimneys, fording rivers, typhoid fever, floppy disks, that Oregon Trail. Stay close enough to the trail and/or nearby landmarks to at least give a background for the imagination to imagine what it might have looked like in 1848.
    2. Make it easy to ride so anyone can ride it on anything off-roady enough to have a skid plate sold for it. GS, VanVan, WR, DR, whatever wagon you got. Not too rugged, but still fun.
    3. Make it scenic! Favor dirt roads, public and undeveloped land, though still following the Trail.
    4. Keep it legal. Avoid trespassing, or having to go out of one's way to get permission in order to avoid trespassing.
    The method:
    I am an inexperienced rider who has never been near much of these areas, let alone ridden on them. I am creating this route entirely through the magic of technology and the creepy amount of information available through all kinds of sources.
    The reason:
    Cuz I want to see it! I'd argue that the country that the Oregon Trail traveled through is among THE most beautiful in this country, and despite nearly 200 years of progress, a lot of the land is still relatively undeveloped. Of course, this route was popular because it's a path of least resistance which is exactly where civilization develops, so much of it is now sprawling towns and cities, farmland, interstate, or otherwise unrecognizable. Nonetheless, I find that if you use your imagination on the right backdrop, you can see through the concrete, power lines, asphalt, and time.

    Current status:
    TESTED: MO, KS, NE, WY, and some of ID. Just returned home 10/3/2021. Details and report coming soon, along with changes to the route. Private land is a real issue!

    Attached Files:

    #1
  2. NorthernTraveler

    NorthernTraveler Long time Adventurer

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    I've been working on this since 2018.
    Got mostly done out to Pocatello ID.
    Head out there the beginning of Sept to finish it off.
    Be interesting to see what you've come up with.....
    #2
  3. Motochimp

    Motochimp Been here awhile Supporter

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    Very Cool. I'm interested how your ride turns out, let us all know.
    #3
  4. stormdog

    stormdog Long timer

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    Prolly already know this, but a club ( I think) out Reno called “ Trails West” has a series of markers / plaques along most all the wagon trails.
    They sell books off their web site that gives waypoints and written descriptions of the markers.
    Pretty much all your work done for you.
    #4
  5. DrPayne

    DrPayne Not a doctor

    Joined:
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    CT
    You talking about these guys? https://emigranttrailswest.org/
    Looks like they have everything BUT the Oregon Trail! Awesome resource though, I'll have to try some of those trails some day too. I bet they're incredible, and best of all, I won't have to map them! Speaking of which, Gaia seems to have broken and isn't saving my changes. It's driving me nuts! The posted map has some minor errors that I'm trying to iron out.
    I doubt we'll catch up to you, but good luck at that end. I'm a little worried that even if we do get that far, the fires in Oregon might throw a wrench in it.
    You bet! Regardless of the outcome, I'll post a detailed report and hopefully a much refined route that carries a better warranty than this shot in the dark I'm going out there with.
    #5
  6. stormdog

    stormdog Long timer

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    Thats the folks I was revering to, but my bad for not looking as closely to your map as I should have.
    I have the Applegate Oregon route book and thought that was the Oregon trail you were wanting to follow.
    Oh, sounds like a fun project. I haven’t run the entire California trail, but I keep the waypoints of the markers in my gps and if I’m in the neighbor hood I stop and check them out. You can still see the wagon ruts in many places.
    #6
  7. wbbnm

    wbbnm Long timer

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    Sounds like a great trip planning project.

    My gut reaction is that dealing with private land is going to be the biggest problem in following the trail exactly. Another one might be that some of the trail is now probably interstate highways and not a lot of fun on an Adventure motorcycle.

    The mapping program On X Offroad (and On X Hunt) show ownership of private land parcels and I think have contact info for land owners. It might be plausible to try to get permission to cross large land holdings.
    #7
  8. NorthernTraveler

    NorthernTraveler Long time Adventurer

    Joined:
    Jan 1, 2009
    Oddometer:
    819
    Location:
    The Big Mitten
    I've done pretty good on what I've ridden so far - Independence out to Pocatello.

    The biggest problem right now is west of the Green River over to Granger WY.
    The maps show Brigham Young's 1847 route - but it didn't look very good to me.
    I talked to locals later and they said that they ride it - but that doesn't mean it's legal. It's BLM land though.
    I ended up looping north on county road and oil field roads. Pretty sure it's OK.

    The other spot is north of Fort Bridger and west of US189. Haven't ridden it yet, due to ride it next month.

    I was able to download the NPS's track of where they think it went - keeping in mind there were several alternatives in places.
    The route changed over time.
    #8