Retracing the Lewis & Clark Trail Across America

Aug 01, 2012 View Comments by

RoadRUNNER editor James T. Parks will lead a small party of volunteers along a land route that generally parallels the 1804-06 (mostly waterborne) route of the Lewis & Clark Expedition. In 1803 President Thomas Jefferson consummated one of the sweetest real estate deals in American history by purchasing the Louisiana territory from France. Jefferson chose his personal secretary, Meriwether Lewis, a highly literate man, to lead an expedition into this largely unchartered territory. The goal was to, hopefully, find a water route from the Mississippi River to the Pacific Ocean and to discover just what all had been purchased. Lewis, in turn, solicited the help of William Clark, who, like Lewis, was an accomplished frontiersman.

In the spring of 1804, the Lewis & Clark Expedition, which also included some 23 other explorers, set out from St. Louis, which was a mostly French fur-trading village at the time. They navigated up the Missouri River to its source, crossed over the Bitterroot Mountains on foot and then paddled down the Columbia River to the Pacific. Their return to St. Louis in 1806 was largely unexpected, because most everyone assumed that all in their party had perished from any one of a host of dangers they faced on their journey. Miraculously, everyone returned alive from this incredible journey, except for one member, who died from natural causes along the way.

RoadRUNNER Motorcycle Touring & Travel magazine has charted a paved route that follows, to the extent feasible, the path taken by Lewis & Clark over 200 years ago. Jim Parks and riding partner Jeff Arpin will depart for St. Louis on August 1st to begin their three week journey along the Lewis & Clark Trail. Jim and Jeff will be accompanied by Jim’s 19-year-old granddaughter Kayla, who will be providing the boys with some adult supervision.

The mode of transportation will be two Can-Am Spyder RTs provided by their manufacturer for this trip. Be sure to follow Jim’s, Jeff’s and Kayla’s exploits along the trail through their postings on our website at: www.roadrunner.travel. This trip also will be the subject of a series of articles that will be published in RoadRUNNER Motorcycle Touring and Travel magazine, beginning next year.

Stay tuned-in to the RoadRUNNER website, because the adventure begins on today.

Read more here!

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