Saturday, January 24 – Temecula, CA

Up early, we hustle down to the Vail Ranch Museum to set up a period camp. Outside we put up two tents, set up Denny’s laundress equipment and prepare to receive the public.
As we’ve not had much opportunity to be on the internet, I have to take some time to update the Google Earth file, transfer some photos and prepare for tonight’s presentation.
Rebecca Ford stops by. Rebecca prepared a study of the Battalion’s passage through the Temecua valley. It was part of her Bachelor’s degree work back in 1997. I’d heard about it and it was on my list of things to find (eventually). To my astonishment, Ms. Ford presents me an autographed copy. Rebecca also explains gently why I have to write a book about the Trek and the trail. Dang! She’s right - I will have to write a book. Why are women so able to explain such things to us dolt-headed men?
In the evening, folks start arriving for the presentation. Rebecca Farnbach introduces Dr. Anne Miller who prefaces with an explanation of who the Battalion was, why they were on the march, their accomplishments and importance to local and national history.
Using the Google Earth virtual trail we’ve developed, we attempt to put “place” and “event” into a visual context. I really enjoy the opportunity to share stories while showing WHERE they happened. Frequently the “place” has a strong influence on “what” happens. Terrain is the “opposition” for so much of the Battalion’s story. Think about it this way: Box Canyon is important BECAUSE they were between a rock and a hard place. Without the challenge, there wouldn’t be a story there. Their suffering in the waterless deserts becomes a story because the geologic terrain doesn’t trap water.
The reproduction military backpack issued to Battalion members is another aspect I like to share. The pack’s small size precluded the men from taking very much; a few personal items, perhaps some extra clothes and a journal, but not much else. Until you SEE the pack, you really can’t comprehend just how limited the mens’ existence was.
Members of the Perchanga tribal council are present and we are introduced. Sometime in the future, I want to return and listen to their stories about the Battalion’s arrival. One tribal member’s ancestor joined the Mormon religion and I’m interested in getting that story too. It’s another example of the kind of things we’re interested in documenting.
After it’s all over and we’ve put away our equipment, Rebecca Farnbach tells us that over 350 people visited the Museum today. She seems quite pleased with the cooperative event. I know we certainly are and happy to have been helpful to their effort in saving their history.

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