Having driven from Kansas City to Davis, CA in both 2011 and 2012, I took I-29 north from KC to near Omaha, then I-80 across Nebraska, into Wyoming, across Utah and Nevada to Reno, at the base of the Sierra Nevada, then up and down, across that mountain range, to Sacramento then Davis. I have always been a fan of the Little House books (read pioneers) and, after finishing the latest Stephanie Plum novel, ran out of reading material. I stumbled across a book called Martha of California, a story of a young girl who travels from Illinois to California in the 1850s by covered wagon with her family. But I wanted more. I recently found the book "The California Trail: An Epic with Many Heroes" by George Stewart. I'm 1/3 through it and can hardly put it down! It's predominantly of the struggles to get to California beginning in 1841.
I tell you what, if I thought it was "hard" to drive from KC to CA in 2 days, sleeping in a motel with hot running water, I can not begin to imagine doing so in a covered wagon, which could take 6 months.
Anyway, it is a very interesting book to me and probably more so because I've traveled across the similar route, albeit by car, and many landmarks I recognize! Now I'm itching to take a more leisurely drive that way but stopping at the numerous Historical Markers I chose to pass up the first couple times!