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My experience on the Highway 50 wagon train in Tahoe

- Michelle Ramirez

Having watched the Highway 50 wagon train re-enactment for some 15 years with envy, 2011 was the year I finally gathered some friends, procured the appropriate garb and saw my town at the rate of 2mph behind Belgian draft horses while seated in the lead hitch!

It was a long time coming; months of scouring websites for patterns to make clothes, scrounging every thrift store and costume shop for costumes for three children and four adults.

Wagon Train Costume Bonnet

It was a rainy Sunday on our appointed day on the wagon.  My husband expressed disdain at the thought of riding in the rain; he was convinced we would all get sick.  Our band of preschool friends and parents met at 7am. I was the only one convinced that we had to do this, regardless of the weather.

“Did the pioneers wait for clear skies to travel?"

Our wagon ride started through the casino corridor, the kids on their knees waving to cars and bicyclists. We never stopped for traffic lights as our Sheriff escorts blocked traffic along the way.


If you join the wagon train, do it with friends, bring your own food and don’t be surprised if the vistas bring tears to your eyes. Take lots of photos and know you are among the migration of westward expansion souls that came here perhaps seeking gold only to find riches beyond measure. Campfires, storytelling and low key entertainment round out the experience.

Someday I will ride the whole week with the wagon train, perhaps when our son is older and he can truly experience the living history lesson.

This year’s Wagon Train event will take place from June 2 – 9, 2012. For details, check out the event listing.

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Georgette Hartley

Georgette loves adventuring outdoors and can usually be found exploring the trails, lakes, and peaks of the Sierra Nevada with her family.


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