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Remember how you used to look forward to field trips when you were in school? It was a chance to break away from the routine, experience something new, anticipate an adventure, and get out into the greater world beyond that stodgy classroom.

That feeling of adventure is exactly what you get when you explore the great American West with Shebby Lee Tours. On a Vanishing Trails Expedition you might take a horseback ride across the open prairie; thrill to the excitement of a wild west rodeo; meet a tribal elder in his own home or walk in actual wagon wheel ruts which have survived more than a century of sun, wind and weather. These experiences enhance your pursuit of America’s heritage when you follow in the tracks of intrepid pioneers, experience the romance of the fur trade, or immerse yourself in our cowboy heritage

We’re not opposed to book learnin’; I’m an avid reader myself, and we include a recommended reading list with the registration packet for each Vanishing Trails Expedition. But we do firmly believe that there are all kinds of ways to learn and we all learn better by doing. And most importantly, it’s got to be fun, or why bother?

We often use the phrase, “Explore the West Where Legends Live”. One of the ways we make this happen is with the many living history reenactments included in our programs. You might help bake bread over an open campfire with an Oregon Trail pioneer, learn how to pack a keelboat so that it won’t tip (as the men of the Corps of Discovery had to), join in the dancing at a traditional pow wow, or sing songs around the campfire at the end of the day. These activities are not only fun, but they help us appreciate what it took to settle this great country of ours – and learn how it affected those who strove to “tame” the wilderness and the original inhabitants who had lived comfortably off the land for centuries.

In the coming season we have a variety of “historic field trips” to choose from:

El Camino Real – April 19-25, 2012

Join us this spring as we follow the fabled Camino Real from El Paso to Albuquerque. Blazed over 400 years ago in the conquistador tradition, El Camino Real became the longest highway in North America and has served as a commercial artery for a longer period of time than any other road. Follow the trail blazed by Don Juan de Oñate, who risked his family fortune to colonize the interior for fame and fortune, God and Spain.

Explore the origins of New Mexico’s unique cultural heritage, as we follow the Rio Grande north on El Camino Real and learn about this fascinating chapter of American history.

Old West Trail Offers Unique Adventure – June 16-22, 2012

Explore the West where legends live on this 7-day journey to the past. Visit the site of “Custer’s Last Stand”, stroll the same storied streets of Deadwood Gulch once inhabited by Calamity Jane, Wild Bill Hickock and Poker Alice, view awe-inspiring mountain carvings, and walk in actual Oregon Trail wagon ruts which have survived more than a century of sun, wind and weather. Begins and ends in Denver.

Like all Vanishing Trails Expeditions, the Old West Trail features living history, special speakers and events, authentic meals, interpretive centers, historic sites and other activities specifically related to the theme of the tour. These programs allow participants to experience first-hand the sites where the pivotal events of the history of the West actually took place.

Lewis & Clark Trail – Aug. 3-18, 2012

Since 2001 people like yourself with a desire to explore other cultures and gain historical perspective have been following in the wake of the Corps of Discovery with Shebby Lee Tours. This timeless American program brings to life the hardships, triumphs, and many discoveries made by the Corps of Discovery along their historic and epic westward journey.

Beginning in St. Louis, the route mirrors the westward journey of the Corps of Discovery, ending in Portland, Oregon.

Don’t forget that this program includes special activities not available to the general public. From the opening night festivities in St. Louis to the gala farewell dinner in Astoria, Oregon, participants are immersed in the adventure and excitement of this epic journey. The coach even sports a 15-star flag identical to the ones Captains Lewis & Clark presented to Native chiefs along the route of their 1804-1806 exploration. In addition to the living history, special speakers and events, are authentic meals, Lewis & Clark interpretive centers, historic sites and boat rides on the Missouri River which lend insight to this truly memorable journey.

Custer State Park Buffalo Roundup – Sept. 22-27, 2012

Shebby Lee Tours has been offering a tour program featuring the popular Custer State Park Buffalo Roundup for many years. This year’s program is scheduled for September 24-29 with arrivals in and out of Rapid City, SD.

Ever since park rangers started rounding up some 1,500 head of buffalo each fall for the annual branding, sorting and vaccinating, visitors have been fascinated by this Old West tradition. You’ll enjoy a prime viewing location as these pre-historic beasts rumble by, and priority admission to the corral and vendors area.

This one-of-a-kind event also includes a chuckwagon buffalo cookout, arts festival, buffalo wallow chili cookoff, buffalo chip throwing contest, cowboy poets, musical entertainment and much more.

In addition to the Roundup, this six day hub-and-spoke itinerary offers customary Indian Summer weather, beautiful Black Hills scenery and popular attractions including Mount Rushmore, Crazy Horse, Badlands National Park, Wall Drug, the 1880 train, Tatanka, and historic Deadwood.

 

Shebby Lee is a historian, writer and tour operator specializing in the historic and cultural heritage of the Great American West. Her early training was in the theatre and she served a tour of duty as an entertainer with the USO. She is also an Admiral in the Nebraska Navy.