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Ocian in view! O! the joy.

Posted by Bruce Carroll at 8:30 am - November 7, 2005.
Filed under: Lewis & Clark

Two hundred years today, Captain William Clarke wrote those words in his journal upon reaching (what he thought) was the Pacific Ocean in a climatic moment to the two-year Corps of Discovery journey.

(click on map for interactive link)

The Washington Post had a commemorative report of the momentous day in their Saturday edition.

Lewis & Clark Mapped It — Then The Nation Remade The West – WashingtonPost (subscription required: Email address:, password – gaypatriot)

William Clark, who scribbled these words in his field journal on Nov. 7, 1805, was not a man to get carried away with exclamation points. He was a woodsman, a waterman and a sober-minded maker of maps.

Yet, if ever there were a time and a place for extravagant punctuation, it was here 200 years ago where the Columbia abruptly widens to embrace the Pacific. Having crossed the continent as co-leader of the most important road trip in American history, Clark believed he could finally see and hear the ocean (he was mistaken; it was about 18 miles away).

More important, Clark and Meriwether Lewis and others in the Corps of Discovery were in exclusive possession of geographical intelligence that would soon demolish three centuries of guesses, rumors and dreams about the character of the West. They knew that what President Thomas Jefferson had sent them to find — a “direct & practicable” water route across the continent — did not exist. They had instead observed, mapped and painstakingly described what was actually out here, in all its punishing vastness and exclamatory wonder. Their journals — historian Donald Jackson called the Corps of Discovery the “writingest” explorers in U.S. history — would recast the nation’s conception of itself.

Today is one step in that history changing expedition that should be marked with more attention, as should the entire journey, by our public education system. The volunteers on the Corps are true American heroes and served as examples of trailblazers that came before and after them from our American family.

I have been lucky enough to have seen and walk on many miles of the Lewis and Clark Trail in the past three years when my imagination was initially captured on a trip to Montana. Just this year, I too saw the Pacific at the spot that the Corps (eventually) stood.

I’d like to mark this historic day in our nation’s history, science and exploration with a salute to the most underrated heroes in our American experience.

Captain William Clark and Captain Meriwether Lewis.

[Related Story – Army to mark Lewis & Clark milestone – Army News Service]

[Resources: Discovering Lewis & Clark, National Lewis & Clark Bicentennial homepage]

Sunday Afternoon: My (Short) Journey to the Pacific

Posted by Bruce Carroll at 3:49 pm - August 8, 2005.
Filed under: General,Lewis & Clark

After the park dedication, I decided to head out and explore more of the Lewis & Clark territory on my own. After all, the rental car (although not the gas) was free! Oh by the way, check out the price of gas in Southern Washington State!


And is there any doubt where our lumber comes from? I saw TONS of trains and lumber yards that were shipping out on a Sunday afternoon. Bad economy, according to MSM, remember?

Heading to a construction site near you!

So I headed north on Interstate 5 to see how close I could get to Mt. St. Helens. By the time my trip was over that evening, I would have covered pretty much the entire length of the Lower Columbia shown here on the map. From Mt. St. Helens to Cape Disappointment, nearly 375 miles total drive from Portland. It probably would have taken Lewis & Clark a week. It took me a half-day.

Click here for rest of posting including photos of Mt. St. Helens and the place where Lewis & Clark first saw the Pacific Ocean. (more…)

Sunday Morning: The Dedication of Cpt. William Clark Park

Posted by Bruce Carroll at 2:26 pm - August 8, 2005.
Filed under: General,Lewis & Clark

I began Sunday at the LCTHF meeting itself. We were there early to be bussed over to the dedication of the Captain William Clark Park in Washougal, WA.

On their return east in the spring of 1806, the Corps of Discovery spent six days camped near present day Cottonwood Beach in Washougal where they gathered provisions in preparation for their return to the Nez Perce Indians in Idaho, who were caring for their horses over the winter. As the Corps ascended the Columbia River on their return home, they rowed with determination and journal entries stated that they rowed as much as 20 – 24 miles each day against the spring current. They normally spent one night at various beachheads along the Columbia where they prepared their biggest meal of the day, and would then bed down for the night and rise early to “proceed on.”

It turns out there are many many parks and other landmarks across the USA named for Lewis *and* Clark… but this is the first to be named just for Capt. Clark alone. It also turns out I know a “William Clarke” in one of those strange confluences of life and history. Speaking of which, the LCTHF uses the word “confluence” a lot. Just an observation.

Anyway, I got a chance to roam around the not-yet-finished-Captain Clark Park and take pictures before the dedication ceremony.

PETA would loooooove this one….. (a bunch of animal skins…. )

Click here for the rest of this posting, including photos of some notable guests at the event. (more…)

Exploring the End of the Other Trail…

Posted by Bruce Carroll at 10:12 am - August 8, 2005.
Filed under: General,Lewis & Clark

After lingering at the “Encounter” for a bit on Saturday afternoon (See posting below) …. I decided to head out and explore the Portland area on my own. Okay, okay… I was looking to play “Texas Hold ‘Em” at the Spirit Mountain Casino. You caught me.

But first, I stumbed upon a National Historic Landmark that it hadn’t occurred to me was so close to Portland… the end of the “other” trail…. The Oregon Trail. No, not the software game…. the *original* Oregon Trail.

I drove around Oregon City for a bit, and of course got lost. Then it was off to Spirit Mountain to see what I could find. What I found was an hour wait in the Poker Room. I gave up the quest for a Flush and headed back to Portland so I could rest up for what would turn out to be a very busy Sunday.

-Bruce (GayPatriot) –

Saturday in the Northwest

Posted by Bruce Carroll at 9:19 am - August 8, 2005.
Filed under: General,Lewis & Clark

Hey everybody. Sorry for my tardiness in posting this weekend. I’ve been doing a lot of driving around and exploring of the Portland area (as you will see). One housekeeping note.. we are still working out glitches in the switchover to WordPress. I’m aware of the issue of old “Comments” seemingly lost…. that is the first priority at the moment. Please send other comments and suggestions to me via email.

So on Saturday, the Lewis & Clark Trail Heritage Foundation’s annual meeting got started in earnest. They bussed the attendees to a local park to see “Encounter at Nichaqwli.” I was quite disappointed. It was more like a vendor show than a “recreation” of a Native American village like the meeting agenda suggested.

Ah well. I then decided to head out on my own and see what I could find….

-Bruce (GayPatriot) –

My First Dispatch from the Lewis & Clark Meeting

Posted by Bruce Carroll at 11:41 pm - August 5, 2005.
Filed under: Lewis & Clark

Upon FINALLY arriving in Portland (see posting below), I immediately headed to the Lewis & Clark College, site of the Lewis & Clark Train Heritage Foundation’s Annual Meeting, to register for the conference.



Man, the weather today in Portland was incredible. Blue skies, warm (okay, hot) sun… and guess what East Coasters…. no humidity! No wonder Lewis and Clark made it out here… if you can survive a Virginia summer, you can handle anything.

I Shall Proceed On….

Posted by Bruce Carroll at 11:36 pm - August 3, 2005.
Filed under: Lewis & Clark

I have had the proverbial week from hell. Tons ‘o work….away from home… no PatriotPartner or PatriotPooches keeping me company.

But I’m looking forward to a very exciting journey this weekend. Ever since a trip to Montana and Wyoming a couple years ago, I have become a part-time, very amateur student of the Lewis & Clark Expedition. (Great background resource here: Discovering Lewis & Clark)

And this weekend, I’m going to be blogging from the Annual Meeting of the Lewis & Clark Trail Heritage Foundation, to which I contribute.


Right after the trip, I became consumed in one of my all-time favorite books: Undaunted Courage by Stephen Ambrose.