Thursday, May 2, 2019

A Stagecoach Journey

By Paisley Kirkpatrick
One of the modes of travel in the mid-1800s was by stagecoach. The coaches came in many styles from drab to plush. Big Dog Adams, the hero in Love's Embrace, drove the Hughes family governess from San Francisco to the Northwoods in a stagecoach. It was a long and dusty drive, but Big Dog knew he'd been born to be a driver. The coach was his favorite vehicle to drive, and he drove it well. None of his passengers ever feared for their lives when they knew the six-foot, five-inch man was driving.
The best seat inside a stage is the one next to the driver. Even if you have a tendency to sea-sickness when riding backward - you'll get over it and will get fewer jolts and jostling. Don't let a sly-speaking traveler trade his mid-seat for yours.
In cold weather, don't ride with tight-fitting boots, shoes, or gloves. When the driver asks you to get off and walk, do so without grumbling. He won't request it unless absolutely necessary. If the team runs away, sit still and take your chances. If you jump, nine out of ten times you'll get hurt.
In very cold weather, abstain from liquor while on the road, because you'll freeze twice as fast when under its influence.
Don't growl at the meals served at the station. Stage companies generally provide the best they can get.
Don't keep the stage waiting. Don't smoke a strong pipe inside the coach. Spit on the leeward side. If you have anything to drink in a bottle, pass it around. Buy your stimulants before starting on the ride, as "ranch" (stage depot) whiskey is not "nectar."
Don't lean or lop over neighbors when sleeping. Take some small change to pay expenses. Never shoot while on the road as the noise might frighten the horses. Don't discuss politics or religion.
Don't point out where murders have been committed, especially if there are women passengers.
Don't lag at the washbasin. Don't grease your hair, because travel is dusty. Don't imagine for a moment that you are going on a picnic. Expect annoyances, discomfort, and some hardships.
As posted in the Omaha Herald 1877

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