The Oregon Trail

Once upon a time, long before the election when life seemed simpler, I played The Oregon Trail online. Remember The Oregon Trail? The clunky game from bygone days?

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I had a vague recollection of playing the game in high school and while that's possible, it seems unlikely since it came out in 1971 and I wasn't in high school until the late 80s. Regardless of my sketchy memory and this timeline, I know I played the game at some point in my youth and did not do well. 

When I recently discovered I could play the same game online, I got excited and was certain that I would make it to the end because I am older and wiser. I understand budgeting and the importance of managing food and supplies. I am a person who plans!

So, my family and I set out from Independence on March 1, 1848.

We were robbed twice within two weeks, losing 10 sets of clothing which was unfortunate in the cold weather, but we still made it to Chimney Rock on April 8, 1848. I was still feeling optimistic. I had that pioneering spirit! Than can-do attitude! We had our wagon and our oxen, food and good health - I would trade for clothing!

Then, this happened.

Against all odds, including some problems with broken equipment on the wagon, we made it to Independence Rock on May 20, 1848. I was excited and ready to get the supplies we needed to continue but I didn't have enough money to buy anything and no one wanted to trade for the wagon equipment we needed. Our journey ended right there, only 830 miles into the trip.

We didn't even make it to the mountains where we could have had choices like:

  1. Continue on trail
  2. Look at the map
  3. Eat your own because you're out of food

I was convinced that I was simply rusty and could still make it all the way to Oregon! So, I tried again and nope. My oxen were stolen one night while I slept, just one stop past Independence Rock, and I couldn't continue.

The Oregon Trail teaches important lessons like:

  1. No matter how prepared you are, you'll still fail.
  2. It pays to be a thief.
  3. Dysentery is no joke.
  4. When your oxen are stolen, you can't call AAA.
  5. Never leave the city.

Nothing in the game is fair and everything is random but I will play again because I want to make it all the way to Oregon. That's true grit.