54th National Square Dance Convention®
In 2005, All Trails Lead To Oregon!

June 22-25, 2005

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Lewis & Clark RV Caravan

Notes From The Trail

On June 4, a caravan of recreational vehicles left East St Louis, Missouri, on a 21 day, 2,600 mile adventure following the Lewis & Clark Trail, ending up finally at the outlet of the Columbia River into the Pacific Ocean at Astoria, Oregon. It is a testament to the ease of modern travel that we will cover in three weeks a trip that took the Corps of Discovery nearly 18 months.

Several of the caravan members have agreed to send reports back so we may follow their progress and enjoy the wonders of western America with them. On this page, we will share those reports with you. Click any of the small pictures to see a larger version.

Here are Merlin & Dolly Yarnell, the leaders of the intrepid band of explorers making this trek:

You can read more about the caravan itself here.

Monday, May 30

Rigs started to pull into the Casino Queen RV Park. By June 2, we had 49 rigs signed in. Prior to rally day, they spent their time sightseeing.

Thursday, June 2

This was our kick-off dance and dinner. It was well attended with 10 plus squares. Everyone had a great time.

Friday, June 3

We had our rally meeting and we went over the trip log. After that we had a social time so everyone could get acquainted.

Saturday, June 4

We departed East St. Louis, IL for our next stop in Oak Grove, MO. Each rig chose their own time to stop and sight-see, arriving in Oak Grove in time for the dinner and dance. The dinner was attended by 87 from the caravan. It was a super dance with 191 dancers in attendance.

Sunday, June 5

This was a day for relaxing or sight-seeing. We had a social time at 8:00 PM with games, conversation, and just getting to know each other.

Monday, June 6

51 rigs departed the Oak Grove KOA and headed north to Missouri Valley, the next stop. Some stopped at the Pony Express National Memorial in St. Joseph, and other museums along the way. Others took the scenic river route. The Circle 8 square dance club provided a dinner at 6:00 PM in the park. At 7:30 PM, we headed to a square dance at the Rand Hall. There were 171 dancers. It was a great dance.

Tuesday, June 7

53 rigs left Missouri Valley for a day of sight-seeing to arrive by evening in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. The group carpooled to the great Sioux Falls Park and enjoyed the laser light show of the falls.

Wednesday, June 8

54 rigs departed Sioux Falls, SD, for another day of sight seeing. Some have left the caravan to head to Mt. Rushmore and will rejoin in Billings. Others stopped at Mitchell, SD, to visit the corn palace, while others chose to take the scenic route along the Missouri River from Chamberlain to Pierre, SD. After arriving in Onida, SD, our evening activities included a hobo stew dinner and dancing.

Thursday, June 9

Before departing the fairgrounds, the fair board feed us biscuits and gravy. We all arrived in Bismarck, ND, in time for a dinner and dance sponsered by the Belles' N' Beaux square dance club. It was an awesome dinner and dance with 124 dancers attending.

Friday, June 10

The wagonmaster with some help did a pancake breakfast before we sent our group out for a day on their own. We met again at 7:00pm for a brief meeting and carpool to our Lewis & Clark Riverboat sunset cruise.

Saturday, June 11

The caravan departed Bismarck on a 276 mile trek to Miles City. Several of the group stopped overnight in Madora to attend the pitchfork fondue and musical. They then rejoined the caravan in Billings. That evening the Prairie Stars and their caller Lynn Strobel held an excellent dance with 10 plus squares.

Sunday, June 12

On the road again for another day of sight seeing. Several headed for Harden and the Little Bighorn Battlefield. Others stopped at Pompey's Pillar. All arrived in Billings in time for the dinner and dance sponsored by the Yellowstone Square Dance Council. It was a great dance with 13 plus squares.

Monday, June 13

We left Billings and headed to Butte. Some headed for Yellowstone and others for Great Falls. This was a casual day with no activities planned.

Tuesday, June 14

This day was a day of rest. We could do anything we wished until evening when the Silver Beaus & Bells sponsored a dinner and dance. 125 dancers enjoyed the squares and rounds. For a small club of only 5 couples, they put on a wonderful pastie dinner and dance.

Wednesday, June 15

We headed for Lolo. Some took the scenic route to the Big Hole Battlefield, while others chose to travel the interstate. We all arrived at the Lolo Square Dance Center for an evening of dancing. What a dance we had with 17 plus squares. The campground and dance hall were excellent.

Thursday, June 16

Off again this time to Lewiston. The drive from Lolo to Lewiston was very scenic with lots of historical markers. After ariving we attended a dance with the Twin City Twirlers at their square dance hall in Clarkston, WA. There were 136 dancers.

Friday, June 17

Several of the group took the jet boats up Hells Canyon on the Snake River. We saw big horn sheep, deer, geese, and osprey. It was a great trip with breakfast and lunch provided. In the evening we held a casual dance at the campground so everyone could dance in Idaho.

Saturday, June 18

We're headed for The Dalles, OR. only 250 miles today. We started at the Snake River and ended on the Columbia River. We drove mostly through farm land. That evening the Swap & Swing club held a great dinner and dance with 126 dancers in attendance.

Sunday, June 19

Off to our 3 day encampment at Astoria, OR.. While there we visited Ft. Clatsop, Ft. Stevens, Ft. Canby, Astoria column and the Maritime Museum. Some rode the waterfront trolley, while others found the winery.

Monday, June 20

Our breakfast was provided by the Hayshakers. Everyone was schedualed for a tour of Ft. Clatsop after which they could ride the bus to Cannon Beach, Seaside, Astoria or Long Beach. In the evening, we enjoyed a potluck dinner and casual dance.

Tuesday, June 21

Another day of sight seeing or relaxing. In the evening we had dinner provided by the Hayshakers and a great dance with 14 squares. The caravaners presented Merlin & Dolly, the wagonmasters, with a lovely hand quilted pillow signed by all and a Lewis & Clark trail throw for their RV.

Wednesday, June 22

After a continental breakfast we all headed our own way. Some to the convention campground, others to RV Parks in the Portland area. Those of us going in on Hwy 26 stopped at Camp 18 for a cinnamon roll.

< -- More to come! -- >

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