Splitting some oak kindling, huh? I feel that. Never too early to prep for winter.

So, did you hear about my new kickback? It’s not a party. It’s just going to be a couple buddies hanging and trekking west past the Rockies in search of a better life. Very low-key. Chill vibes only. If you want to join, let me know soon. By the look of these clouds, I’d bet my best candlestick a blizzard’s coming.

I swear to god it’s not going to be like last time.

I think a few people are going to swing by a saloon since it’s BYOB. Not much on the food front besides cornmeal, so you might want to grab some grub beforehand too. A Donner party is never a dinner party, amirite?

Who’s coming? Oh, John, William, Mary, William, Elizabeth, Jane, William, Henry, Elizabeth, William, and John’s a maybe. Unfortunately, William can’t make it. Babysitter canceled on him. Tuberculosis. Such a bummer, man. Guy’s energy is infectious.

Also, I misspoke earlier when I said “Donner party.” Don’t spread that around. It’s a kickback.

What? Not sure? C’mon, a bunch of the guys are coming from Fort Bridger. Look, I know last time we got sidetracked, but my GPS (Great Personal Sense of direction) is working perfecto. Here’s hoping my perception doesn’t get spotty through the mountains. Estimated arrival time shows skull and crossbones, but my guess is four months, tops. It’ll be a stress-free, relaxed expedition with your pals. No splitting up in search of help. I promise.

All right, let me address the cannibalism in the room. Yeah, okay… the last journey to Cali was kind of a rager. Shit got out of hand. A few wrong turns, a few snowstorms, a few dozen casualties. There was that big fight that got Reed banished after he fatally plunged a knife into a guy’s chest. But I swear things are going to be different this time. Reed’s cruising. Plus, he was totally justified, dude was macking on his girl. Literally ate her in a hypothermia-induced delirium. Major party foul.

All beef has been squashed, and everything’s copacetic. Between Reed and me, I mean. Not the guy he killed.

I just feel like I’m getting a bad rep after like, what, one ill-fated journey? No one talks about all the parties that didn’t devolve into cannibalism. Public perception is twisted, but whatever, man, I’m trying to rebrand.

Oh, did I mention Abigail is coming through? I know you’ve got a thing for her. I heard she flat out rejected you after seeing you land sack at the log roll competition. Groin splinters? That’s rough, man. I don’t know if you heard, but she’s single now that her husband disappeared in that avalanche. Actually, I think that was at my last… never mind, I think you have a shot. Maybe feel it out, see if y’all have a connection.

No? You sure? All right man, your loss. I better hitch these underfed oxen to my rickety wagon and hit the trail. My buddy Hastings knows a shortcut, so you can catch up if you change your mind. I’ll send you a postcard once we’re past the Humboldt River. After this trip, the only thing everyone will think of when they see my name is immaculate vibes.