On Wednesday the Madera Method began writing the latest chapter in the innovative way history is taught when the group left Madera heading for Raymond.
Making the trip are five covered wagons, 10 mules, four live chickens, a score of horses, 25 children and a group of very courageous adults.
Included among the adults are 1999 Old Timer's Day King and Queen George and Emily Barrett. As young people, the pair met while working for Yosemite Park and Curry Company. He worked as a guide and packer while she worked in the office. Life in the great outdoors is nothing new to theses two.
Traveling with children is challenging enough with all the modern conveniences at your disposal. Imagine making a trip with 25 grade school students with very few, if any, of the trappings that people take for granted. Traveling as a group teaches theses young pioneers to be self reliant and to work as a team for the good of the group according to teacher Bill Coate.
Mike Purl, who in 'real life' owns Purl's Sheet Metal, said, "They have a different perspective when they have other people and animals to care for." He had his four-year-old grandson Joshua Wiles with him. Young Joshua is too young to make the trip but is looking forward to the day when he can go on the wagon train with Grandpa.
This is the 15th wagon train trip made by Sierra Vista teacher Bill Coate. Other adults along to help the students learn history by living it include Doug Sordi, Steve King, Brenda and Donnie Maxwell, Steve and Darlene Stagner, Ray Barger, Jim Hayes, Ed Swilley, George Andrews and John Diedrich.
Organizing and executing a project the magnitude of the wagon train take hundreds of man hours. The outriders train not only themselves for the trip, but the animals as well.
Before heading out, the group received a pep talk from the head mule skinner, Steve King. He instructed the students on basic safety rules and cautioned them against startling the mules and horses on the seven day trip. Serving as cook for the trip is Sheryl Berry. The group will end up in Raymond on Saturday and will take part in the Raymond Parade before ending the trip at Daulton Ranch.