In the Footsteps of Lewis and Clark

Monday, October 21, 2002 Road Junkies 0 Comments

Lewis and Clark Trip, Day 1: Atlanta, GA to Fairview Heights, IL

In 1803, the fledgling United States, under the leadership of President Thomas Jefferson, obtained the Louisiana Territory—almost a million square miles west of the national boundaries—from France for the sum of $15 million. This purchase enabled President Jefferson to commission an expedition to search for the fabled northwest passage, a water route to the Pacific Ocean. Jefferson appointed Meriwether Lewis to lead this first official United States overland exploration to the Pacific. Lewis chose William Clark, his old army friend, as co-leader.

Lewis and Clark, accompanied by a crew of men, set out to explore and map the American West. In a lengthy set of exploration instructions, the president charged the team with discovering information about plants, animals, rivers, mountains, and native cultures. From May 1804 to September 1806, Lewis and Clark and their corps traveled more than 8,000 miles from a camp outside St. Louis, Missouri, to the Pacific coast and back.

Almost two hundred years later, we set out to follow the path Lewis and Clark took from St. Louis, Missouri, to the Pacific coast near Astoria, Oregon.

Leaving Atlanta around 9 a.m., we encountered a bit of rain in Georgia before reaching the green mountains of Tennessee. We arrived in Franklin shortly after noon and had a brief visit with Woodie, Kathy and their adorable new baby Steven. Though Steven had a nasty case of hiccups, he was good-natured and not at all fussy.


As we crossed into Kentucky at 2 p.m. Central Time, skies were blue and we saw the sun for the first time. Temps were in the upper 60’s, as they had been all day. We finally began to see a little autumn color in some areas, though green is still very dominant.

Driving over the Ohio River, we entered Illinois about 3:30, skies still blue and a bit more fall color. At 6 p.m. we arrived at Fairview Heights, IL, our designated stop for the night. The town is just outside St. Louis, and we hit our first traffic backup of the day two miles before our exit.

When we got out of the car, we could tell we weren’t in Georgia any longer. The temp had fallen to the low 50’s.

Miles today: 557
States today: 4 (GA, TN, KY, IL)