Tuesday we started with a 2 hour drive from Columbia to Fort Osage. The fort was founded in 1808 by William Clark. He had noted in his journals that it was an excellent place to build a fort, and after the expedition returned, he took a group of soldiers to set it up. The current fort is a reconstruction built on the original foundations. It sits right on the Missouri River and is made up of about 8 buildings surrounded by palisades. We talked with the shopkeeper in the Indian trading post, and Torsten was excited to find the cannons. Other than the 95 degree weather, it was a nice place to visit!
From there, we drove to Independence to the National Frontier Trails Museum. Pioneers heading west on the Oregon, Santa Fe, Mormon, and California Trails set off from here. We saw 2 covered wagons and tried filling our own with supplies. We walked across the street to see the wagon ruts, but it was hard to tell if what we saw were wagon ruts or lawnmower ruts. Either way, we tried to imagine the excitement and chaos of all of those pioneer families making their final preparations to head west.