AlliedNews.com - Grove City, Pennsylvania

Local News

May 28, 2014

Wagon Train rolling into town

Week-long trek to start June 15

BUTLER, LAWRENCE, MERCER COUNTIES — Plans have been finalized for the Appalachian Wagon Train’s 2014 trek, which includes routes through Slippery Rock, Harrisville and Pine Township.

“They choose two years in advance,” Deb Anspach, a Wagon Train member who lives in Harrisville, said of the planning.

The week-long trek will start Father’s Day, June 15, at the Kind Farm in Slippery Rock Township, Lawrence County, where 38 wagons, about 250 people of all ages and 100 horses will set up camp.

The Wagon Train - which spans 1è miles - will make a loop through Slippery Rock on June 16 and they expect to be in the downtown area around 11 a.m., Anspach said.

That’s where a lot of her planning came in, since she’s a local resident. She attended several Slippery Rock borough council meetings and has been in touch with town officials for every municipality the Wagon Train will pass through, plus local and state police, PennDOT and septic and trash removal companies.

“They’re ecstatic,” she said of her talks with local officials.

She and the other Wagon Train members are excited to share everything their group has to offer with area residents.

“They’re welcome to come out and visit. I think it’s the fact that it’s a step back in time,” Anspach said of people’s interest in the group.

It’s been around since 1970 and the group visits a different part of the state each year, raising awareness of historical sites and events that happened in the Appalachian region of Pennsylvania.

“I get to see different parts of Pennsylvania,” said Anspach, who’s been a member for about five years and brings along her two horses, Star and Cindy.

It’s a great family organization and anyone can join, she said. Yearly dues are $10 and there’s an additional $20 fee for those who go on the trek for insurance purposes.

“You get to see nature at her best,” she said.

The Wagon Train will stop for lunch in Slippery Rock Community Park, where residents can come check out their setup. Folks can also visit the group when they’ve returned to their camp for the night, Anspach said.

The trek, which travels about 15 to 20 miles a day, will head south on June 17 to Moraine State Park, where they’ll spend the night, and on June 18 they’ll go west in a loop to McConnell’s Mill State Park and return to Moraine.

On June 19, the group will continue north in a loop to the east and return to Moraine, and they’ll head to Redfoot Farms in Harrisville on June 20 to spend the night.

The group will head into Pine Township on June 21, making a loop that follows Route 58, Tieline Road, Whittaker School Road, Enterprise Road, Diamond Road and Pinchalong Road, ending at Redfoot Farms.

June 22 concludes the trek with a worship service at 8 a.m. conducted by the group’s own minister.

The trek itself is a lot of fun and each night include activities, games and other events at the campsite, where some group members sleep in tents while others spend the night in their own trailers.

Three meals a day are provided for $50 per member and everything is stored on the chuckwagon.

“He has everything he needs,” Anspach said, adding that they are still looking for some dessert donations.

There’s also a medical wagon plus plenty of extra supplies for the horses and wagons.

No matter where the group is headed, safety for their own members and those around them is an important priority.

“Scouts” equipped with walkie-talkies and wearing lime-green vests approved by PennDOT will be stationed at the front, middle and back of the Wagon Train to help with traffic control in case any motorists need to pass by the group, which moves at a speed of 3 miles per hour.

They also plan ahead to keep one lane of traffic open while going through areas like downtown Slippery Rock, and certain members are appointed to clean up after the horses, too.

“Be patient,” Anspach advises motorists who may cross paths with the Wagon Train, adding that honking your horn may spook some of the horses.

She’s looking forward to the trek, an experience she considers wholesome fun and a relaxing, enjoyable time with a group of people who feel like one big family.

"It’s an awesome week,” she said.

For more information, call Deb Anspach at 724-372-1351, secretary Edith Crosby at awtsiscrosby@aol.com or visit www.muleshoepa.com/AWT/AWT.HTM

Published May 21, 2014, in Allied News. Pick up a copy at 201 A Erie St., Grove City.

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