Top Ten Things Not to Do on the Lewis and Clark Expedition in 1804

 

 

Lewis, Clark, and Sacagawea

This last week marked the 216th anniversary of the beginning of the full Lewis and Clark expedition. On May 14, 1804, Clark and the Corps joined Lewis in St. Charles, Missouri, and headed upstream on the Missouri River to try and find a water passage to the Pacific Ocean. This is one journey you won’t want to miss. If you go take along this list so maybe you will stay out of trouble.

Top Ten Things Not to Do on the Lewis and Clark Expedition in 1804.

10 On the expedition, do not insist that the expedition started in Pittsburgh in November of 1803. If you do, at best, the men will ignore you. At worst, since most came with Clark in 1803, you might make some enemies. (You see, Lorne, Meriwether Lewis and a few of the crew picked up a keelboat in Pittsburgh in 1803, but the full complement of 45 souls including Lewis, Clark, 27 unmarried soldiers, a French-Indian interpreter, a contracted boat crew and a slave owned by Clark named York.)

9 On the expedition, do not refuse Tiny, the WWF champ, when he wants to trade his handmade moccasins for your LL Bean boots. If you do, at best, you better use the excuse that you and Tiny are not the same size. At worst, you and Tiny are the same size, and your refusal is being interpreted as pure rejection. (Tiny missed his last dependency group session where he was to be given advice on how to handle rejection. He is now left up to his own devices. Yeah, Leroi that pinwheel over the head just before the mat slam is part of it. Try not to hold your breath. It doesn’t hurt as much when you land if you don’t.)

8 On the expedition, do not try to help with directions. If you do, at best, you will be ignored. At worst, Lewis and Clark will take your comments as a lack of confidence in their leadership. (Now you’ve done it, Lorence. You have made a backseat driving move that might get you left behind. If it happens, be sure and ask for a musket. The bears are pretty wild around here.)

7 On the expedition, do not sit in the peace pipe ceremony and then declare you don’t smoke. If you do, at best, everyone will think you are joking. At worst, you will break the spell and the peace process. (You may wonder why everyone is looking at you, Loki. I think you can interpret the looks as a dead man walking.)

6 On the expedition, do not ask Sacagawea out on a date. If you do, at best, she’ll just say no. At worst, she will tell her husband, French-Canadian trapper Toussaint Charbonneau. ( I hope you have your running shoes on, Lazarus. If there is one person you don’t want to mess with is a trapper. The fact that Toussaint is French-Canadian and does not take guys hitting on his wife lightly, I would start running now and don’t stop until you hit St. Louis, which is about 290 miles East.)

5 On the expedition, do not accept an invitation from Meriwether Lewis to go hunting. If you do, at best, the event will be uneventful. At worst, there is a hunting accident. (Since Lewis was shot in the butt during one of these trips, Lucky.  Hopefully, you stayed in front of him. If not, here take this band-aid.)

4 On the expedition, do not offer to do the cooking for a night. If you do, at best, the group will politely decline. At worst, they will be enthusiastic about seeing what you can do. (The only thing there is to eat is the dog, Lennox. I hope your Beef Bourgogne recipe is adaptable or this may be the end of the trip for you.)

3 On the expedition, do not offer to watch out for all the specimens collected. If you do, at best you will get a polite no. At worst, Lewis and Clark will take you up on your offer. ( I hope you knew, Lex that there are 120 animal specimens and 200 botanical samples. Good luck with toting all of that stuff. Also, some of those animal specimens are getting real gamey.)

2 On the expedition, do not complain about sore feet. If you do, at best, no one will listen. At worst, those who hear your complaint will think you’re a softy. (Everyone has traveled the same 8,000 miles, Lev. Your claims have fallen of deaf ears.

1 On the expedition, do not expect the same rewards as Lewis and Clark. If you do, at best, you’ll be disappointed. At worst, you overvalued your importance to the mission. (Since both Lewis and Clark received double pay and 1600 acres of farmland, Len. Perhaps they will share it with you. Of course, maybe someday pigs will fly as well. )

91 comments

  1. I’ve always found them fascinating for their blind courage alone, not to mention allegiance to Jefferson who sent them.

    The sad part is…after all they went through, and it’s still a puzzle to many historians, how Meriwether Lewis could take his own life in 1809 I believe it was, by gunshot. Some say it was murder, but most not.

    It’s my naivete of course not considering other events that might have contributed but, after all of that. BANG!

    I’m always pleased you like history John, as much as I do.

    PS I know you pen these with a humorous slant so, I apologize for the shot, no pun intended, of ghoul and gravitas. Blame it on the virus, or the Bossa nova. I need more coffee. 🙂

    Liked by 4 people

    1. Regarding Lewis taking his life. He fell into heavy drinking and was not very happy. He had no family and I think he just had nothing to top his adventure and became very depressed. Clark on the other hand had a family and acturally ended up with Sacagawea’s two kids after she died. I enjoy your comments, so no need to explain them. I very much appreciate your visits. 😁

      Liked by 1 person

      1. History is so interesting. Should have figured he drank. sigh

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Alcohol kills everything in its path I’m sorry to say, even an accomplishment such as his. I ache for Mr. Lewis, even now, along with all its other casualties.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. I am so impressed by those who can recognize the disease and take steps to find ways to treat themselves. As we’ve seen throughout history not everyone has the strength to face that reality. I too ache for those who have succumbed but want you to know that I admire your courage in the face of such a personal battle.

        Liked by 1 person

      4. My dead ancestors mumble to me, so I know how hard it is to kick any addiction. It needs to be replaced with things like, writing, benevolence and reading history. Those Swiss cheesy holes Anne Lamott calls them, will always beckon. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      5. Cheesy holes is perfect to describe any beckon to disaster. 😊

        Liked by 1 person

      6. I like that too. She’s a favorite writer of mine.

        Liked by 1 person

      7. She lives in Marin county and so did I but I haven’t read any of her books (Not that living in the same county necessarily means one would read one’s books…well, you know what I mean.)

        Liked by 1 person

      8. She isn’t for everyone, but you’d probably appreciate her. Her writing book, Bird By Bird, in any event.

        Liked by 1 person

      9. I’ll check it out. Thanks.

        Liked by 1 person

      10. How were the McCullough essays? You probably liked some better than others. I loved the D.C. ones at the end.

        Liked by 1 person

      11. I got sidetracked with another book that I needed to review. I am just at the Washington part. I love these descriptions. In a past life I had many meetings with the FDA in Washington and I loved visiting there. The descriptions that McCullough has are so real it is like a revisit. He made an excellent point about politicians running on the obscure idea that Washington is a bad thing. I really liked where he said they should follow their voters as they visit the Capital, Grant’s statue and the black marble Viet Nam memorial. This was a magnificent suggestion of yours. I’m so enjoying it.

        Liked by 1 person

      12. Glad to hear. He’s a favorite of mine. The John Lennon of Historians. 🙂

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  2. I guess I struck out at #10. I hope Tiny wasn’t offended. I like to think I made it back in one piece. He can have my boots, I’ll just be going.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Hahahaha. Thanks, Dan. 😁

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Number seven cracked me up! Nice job, John. Happy Monday!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you, Jill.

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  4. I think I’ll just wave them on and not get in the way. Seems too treacherous.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. That’s the ticket!

      Liked by 1 person

    2. I think that is a smart choice, Charles.

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  5. I suppose I shouldn’t tell Tiny to wait it out and take the shorter route on the Transcontinental Railroad, eh?

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I think he would be okay with it. Lewis and Clark might not agree.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I understand, they wouldn’t want to share in the notoriety.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. That is true.

        Liked by 1 person

  6. I can see how anyone on that expedition would covet Leroi’s LL Bean boots!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I mean, can you say warm? Thanks, Liz.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. I didn’t know until very recently that collecting botanical specimens and such was part of their expedition. I’m not sure I would have wanted to tote them, but I wouldn’t have minded having a look at them!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I found out about the collecting because the scientific names of many plants now bear Lewis’s name, like this one.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. That is very cool. 😁

        Liked by 1 person

    2. I’m with you, Linda. It would be interesting to know what they thought was important.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Good one, John. I’d be #7.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. do not sit in the peace pipe ceremony and then declare you don’t smoke.

    What? They allowed smoking in public places back then?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Shocking. Especially on the West Coast.

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  10. “Eat the dog”??? No way! I’d have starved first … even if the dog had been the ugliest mongrel alive and he’d tried to eat me first! Thanks, John, for showing me that even lockdown pales in comparison with some of the incidents from history.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. The expidition did in fact eat dogs. Sorry, Debbie. Consider them heroes as well.

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  11. John – you have either been on this expedition too long or have been sheltering in place too long. The bears are very wild. Check with Tiny the bears are not pretty. Oh in keeping with the back seat driver theme … you are writing too fast. And before we leave Pittsburgh can we stop for ice cream ? Tiny says there won’t be many rest stops on the trip… and I don’t want him to leave angry.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes we can stop for ice cream but that’s it. No more stops till nighfall.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. No second breakfasts ! ? ! Or thrown apples ! ? !

        Liked by 1 person

      2. See this stick? You can answer your own question.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. Thanks – I can use that to cook the bacon and toast the marshmallows !

        Liked by 1 person

  12. I would take the chance! (#6)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m sure you would. What the heck maybe she’s a bourbon drinker. Go for it.

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      1. Liquor is quicker.

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  13. I love the research you put into these Top 10 lists. By the way, York was the only person not given land or payment for the trip. For years he begged Clark for his freedom. So much so that Clark grew tired of his entreaties and hired him out to another slave owner to to get rid of him. In old age, Clark said that he gave York his freedom, but there was/is no record that, that I know of.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Amazing story, Andrew. Thank you.

      Like

  14. And, please, keep the social distance, Ladies & Gentlemen! Masks & gloves are in set ))))) Amazing idea, dear John!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Maria.

      Liked by 1 person

  15. Gwen M. Plano · · Reply

    You are too funny, John. How do you come up with these things? “Tiny missed his last dependency group session where he was to be given advice on how to handle rejection.” Really?? LOL!! Maybe all of us writers are crazy…heck, most of us don’t even know what happens next in our stories until we start writing. 😀

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That is the truth, Gwen. Thanks for the comment.

      Liked by 1 person

  16. While I think giving Tiny your LL Bean boots might look bad at the outset, I think Indian moccasins might be the way to go. Probably would last longer and Sacagawea can always mend them for you.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You may be right, Noelle.

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  17. 8,000 miles . . . and nary a FitBit. How’d they do it?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Beats me. Gott wonder where their priorities were.

      Liked by 1 person

  18. I had no clue there was a French Canadian in the gang! I learn something every Monday, John!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yup. I’m so glad. Thanks, Dale.

      Liked by 1 person

  19. No. 9 had me cracking up, John. L.L. Bean boots would have been welcomed, I am sure. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes they would. Thanks, Jan.

      Liked by 1 person

  20. D.L. Finn, Author · · Reply

    Great list, John. This is a trip I’d like to make in the comfort of modern times.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I think that would be wonderful, Denise.

      Liked by 1 person

  21. How many miles?! Walking? The thoughts about their feet and their footwear reminds me of the boots that Cheryl Strayed wore for her solo hike on the Pacific Crest Trail in Wild. The gardener’s shoes are always hurting him when we go anywhere because he wears topsider type shoes and sandals instead of proper shoes.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Eight grand. Yikes.

      Liked by 1 person

  22. My mind is still focused on mental images of Tiny wearing Moccasins. I love the history you share with us, John. So many great things for an Aussie like me to flesh out our limited knowledge of your country and its early foundation.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Soooz. Happy to hear that. I always worry about boring folks.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. There is zero chance of that happening, my friend.

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      2. Aw, thank you.

        Liked by 1 person

  23. Let’s place bets around the campfire. Which one of us will eventually get our face on a coin?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hahaha. They all laughed when Sacagawea spoke up.

      Liked by 1 person

  24. Reblogged this on Author Don Massenzio and commented:
    It’s another great Top Ten post from John Howell’s Fiction Favorites blog: TOP TEN THINGS NOT TO DO ON THE LEWIS AND CLARK EXPEDITION IN 1804

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Don.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. You’re welcome.

        Liked by 1 person

  25. LOL! I think I’d stand my ground with Tiny over my boots and he’d have to take them off my cold dead body. No, no he ain’t gettin my boots!

    When He-Man and I did our EPIC road trip back in 83′ we took a side trip to the Lewis and Clark Caverns in MT I think that was. Wow-what an amazing place! Just getting up and down from the entrance was a thrill ride.

    This is the first I’ve heard Lewis was shot in the butt! Back then if it was more than grazing he’s pretty lucky he didn’t die from infection! I’m going to go read about that.

    Great list again and educational too! 😀

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Deborah. Yes he did recover from the wound. I would love to walk their trail for sure.

      Liked by 1 person

  26. Excellent post, John. Years ago, I read a novel about the expedition and finished it in three short sittings.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It was quite a feat in it’s day.

      Liked by 1 person

  27. Have heard and read references to this expedition many many times. I guess I need to learn more about it soon. Like I’ve probably said elsewhere, this is a unique way of presenting historical information.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I was thinking of being a history teacher before the big fist of organized commerice grabbed me by the throat. My method was going to be story telling. So here we are. 😁

      Liked by 1 person

  28. Tiny was at his best. This was a super Top Ten, John. And I thought I knew most everything about this expedition – not! Love the history as much as the humor.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Jennie. I’m glad you liked it.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. You’re welcome, John.

        Liked by 1 person

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