I arrived at the airport in DC at 3:30 this afternoon. I printed a boarding pass at a computer station and checked my bag. I bought the New York Times and a bottle of water. When I reached my gate, I ate a granola bar and a banana and watched people come and go until I boarded at 4:30.
Two hours and fifteen minutes later I was in Kansas City.
If I had made the same trip April 12, 1830, I would have arrived in Kansas City three and a half months later.
My wagon would have been packed to the top of its canvas roof with 1,600 pounds of food fixings such as flour and lard. I’d be packing water kegs and cooking equipment. No books, no games. I’d have to get used to the ride since the wagon didn’t have springs — or brakes. I’d travel the 1,081 miles at the rate of 10 miles a day if nothing broke down.
If I was lucky, I would survive the trip – although the odds were high that I would be accidentally shot or drown. All things considered – I really don’t miss those tasty airplane meals.