Saturday, October 6, 2018

So you want to travel by Stage...

In early America, travel happened by foot, by boat, or by stage. We all know 'a stage" is a four wheel driven vehicle powered by horses or mules. They run on established routes, following a regular schedule. Early stage routes trans versed the early colonies and later the west shuffling people in a simplified, lighter coach than their English counterparts. These coaches were often referred to as a stage wagon or a mud coach. Navigation was done by a driver or coachman accompanied by a guard called a shot gun messenger.
                       Example of a mud coach from the Wells Fargo History Museum in San Diego.

The role of travel was slow five to seven miles per hour, however over a day, they might cover sixty to seventy miles. Breaks occurred at places called swing stations or home stations. Stages began running regular routes in 1744, between the budding metropolis of New York and Philadelphia. The distance took three days to cover until the year 1766 when a new more trustworthy coach was implemented. These coaches carried not only letters, but packages, merchandise, and in some cases - money. By 1832, Boston alone had over 77 lines.

While these vehicles were great in moving the masses, they were not comfortable. Iron and steel springs did not allow the body of the coach to compensate for the pot holes by moving side to side. They instead bounced up and down jostling the passengers and often tossing them against their co riders. In 1829, a major innovation came through the use of leather straps that allowed the body to be somewhat suspended and move not only up and down, but also side to side. In Twain's book, Ruffing It, he described his travels by stage as "riding a cradle on wheels".

Space meant money. People were often crammed inside on three hard seats. If riding in the middle they held on to straps suspended from the ceiling to keep from pitching back or forward. Others decided it was safer to be perched on top of the stage. If you think about it, you can understand why. Imagine, if you will, nine passengers, layered with dust, boots covered with animal waste, perhaps bodies and/or clothing unwashed for months - yeah, it's a good thing Hollywood made it glamorous.

 Notice in this picture from 1868, Buffalo soldiers guard the stage. Their posts on top depict where passengers might sit. Photo from the American West 1861-1912 National Archives

So how much did this 'luxury' travel cost. Remember, no coke and peanuts. Nope. Meals were extra and cost $1.00 for each meal consumed. Our passengers could chose their travel. First class, cost $7.00 and they rode for the whole trip. Second class passengers were required to walk when the road was bad. And those economy seats in third class, they  not only had to walk, but if the coach was going up hill, they were required to push. Something to write home about for sure.

Most stage routes followed the Pony Express examples. Stages stopped in intervals of twelve and fifty miles at two types of stations, a swing station or a home station. Home stations would be at the fifty mile route marker. These would be run by families and served hot meals and allowing their 'guests' to sleep over night on the hard floors. Home stations would also be where drivers changes occurred. A swing station came at the twelve mile markers and would be run by bachelor stock men. Their accommodations would be a cabin or barnc. The stage would stay long enough to change teams and allow passengers to stretch their legs. From Kansas to California there were one hundred and fifty of these type stations.

All good things do come to an end. Railroads pushed the stage lines from the most prominent towns. Routes they followed, now took them to towns the trains didn't service. However, the death blow to the stage lines came with the invention of the automobile in the early 1900's.

Famous stage lines were:
Buutterfield's Overland Mail Company
Wells Fargo and Company
Holladay Overland Mail and Express Company.

              The more iconic stage. Again from the Wells Fargo History Museum in San Diego.

Until next time

Nan O'Berry


Sunday, April 29, 2018

Spring brings changes

Who can believe that May is upon us! So much is going on here on the farm. 
Since I began my newsletters lots have changed. First, let me say I am so grateful for those who have signed up for my newsletter. I'm honored that you would take the time to follow me and join my newsletter.
Now, because I respect everyone's rights, I am mindful of the new The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) which comes into effect on 25 May 2018. I would have loved to continue those little shout outs. However, it would have had to ask you to confirm again your wish be on the mailing list. Unfortunately, after hours of searching for a button that would confirm or opt you out, I have learned the little shout out does not have the capacity to do this. It would have placed two mailing addresses for your address on a newsletter list. For that reason, I am putting my newsletters on my website. This will enable the reader to follow me without me loading up their emails. I know how quickly they can become cluttered and how we all hate to sit at the desk an click delete, delete, delete.
You may be asking, how will you get my posts on new books being offered. If you are following me on Facebook or twitter, those will be where I put my release information. My first blurbs, covers, and snippets of the stories. then, the information will come to this website. I want you, the reader, to be the first informed. I hope this will be less intrusive and easier for you to follow.

Until next month,
Remember to follow me:
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Monday, April 10, 2017

Snippet Monday


This past week, I had the privilege of releasing a short novella in the wonderful world of St. Helena's Vineyard created by the lovely Marina Adair. If you are an armchair adventurer like myself, this is the best way to visit the beautiful Napa Valley of California.

Here's the premise of my story.

She had the perfect ring, the perfect dress, even the perfect venue. What she didn’t have was the perfect groom. Jenna McCormick was left – not so gently – at the altar. Embarrassed in front of family and friends, she doubts she’ll ever find love again.
Love at first sight? Does anyone really believe in that anymore? Carson Murphy didn’t or at least, he thought he didn’t until he happened upon the most heartbreaking moment in a woman’s life. Now, he wants to create the perfect ending out of the perfect mess.

 To read more or purchase the story, please copy and use the link shown here. This will take you to Amazon.

To read more about St. Helena's or take a tour of the town, head over to Marina's site:

Be sure to check out Facebook, all this month, authors on her release will be showcasing their books. I'll be there on May 1st. Who knows, someone might win a copy of A Perfect Mess. 

Sunday, August 28, 2016

Sunday snippet...

I hope everyone's Sunday is going well. Today's post comes from the first book in the Indigo Spring series, Prince Charming Wore Spurs. We all like the Cinderella story, in this case, our heroine has to live up to Cindy's legacy.

When Gillian Malone decides her father is not finding her a mother fast enough, she enlist the help of a match maker, Celeste Tate. Lucky for Gillian, Celeste has just had something fall into her lap when a Washington socialite is left at the altar by a low-life fiance. Delaney Holmes needs the lifeline that Ava Tate and her mother Celeste can provide.

Here's a snippet from Prince Charming Wore Spurs.

He was late. Logan Malone hated not being punctual. Today of all days, when he had this
wrench thrown into the works his back rear tire decided to go flat. Reaching up, he pulled the white Stetson from his head as the automatic doors to the airport lobby opened. A flash of cool air blew the heat from his skin and ruffled the dark blonde curls he kept cut short on his head. Eyes focused on the long counter of the airlines that lined the back wall with their various logos, he stepped up to a lone clerk working on her computer.
"Pardon me, ma'am."
She glanced up. Her eyes widened and her smile grew. "How can I help you, sir?"
"I need to know if flight 625 has landed."
"Let me check."
He waited while her fingers flew over the keyboard.
"Oh, they arrived twenty-five minutes ago. You might find them over at baggage." He followed her point to the right.
"Sure thing," she replied.
Of course, she'd be early. He took a deep breath and lengthened his steps, dodging the oncoming human traffic, oblivious to the admiring glances of the women, young and old, who he passed. The message his father left was cryptic. Pick up the nanny for Gillian on the eleven o'clock flight at Dallas International. To say he'd been shocked was an understatement. He hadn't known his father thought his daughter needed any nanny. There were at least a half a dozen cowboys and Mrs. Saunders, the housekeeper. They were stepping over people as it were.
However, his father assured him it was the right thing to do. The stock needed to move to the summer pastures and preparations confirmed for the drive to the rail yards. Gillian would be alone quite a bit. He just wished he knew more about this woman even though his father said she had the best references and Celeste Tate gave her word this would be an excellent match.
He really wished his father hadn't said those words. Everyone in Indigo Springs, maybe in the state of Wyoming, knew about her business. Glass Slipper, Inc, he mused. Just like his daughter, she was obsessed with that fairy tale stuff and finding true love. Well, he'd had love once and lost it on a twist of fate. He wasn't about to try again.
Mrs. Tate said she'd be wearing a ball cap. He shook his head. Shoot, this day and time, didn't everybody? He paused beside an empty carousel and scanned the waiting passengers. At least ten people were wearing ball hats. Two were under the age of twelve, the rest were men.

That left the woman standing by the exit and another sitting in the corner hunkered down beside an elderly woman looking as if she wanted to avoid the world as his likely candidates. The exit doors opened and a man swept the woman into his arms. He turned toward the one trying to shrink. Odds were this was his passenger.
Cautiously, he advanced. The closer he came, the more he could see the older woman was in control of the conversation. He paused by the luggage carousel to watch. The young woman beneath the brim of the cap hardly appeared to be over twenty, if a day. He couldn't see her face because of the way she held her head, but she looked as if she'd break in half if someone yelled boo. This is the kind of woman his father thought could run after Gillian! Evidently, neither his dad nor Mrs. Tate remembered what a handful a five-year-old going on twenty could be.
As he came closer, he could hear part of the conversation. “Yes, my daughter and her husband didn’t get along at all in the beginning. Like two bulls ready to go at one another.” He watched the older woman reach over and pat her arm. “You know that saying, about how close love and hate can be.” She chuckled at her own joke.
 The young woman looked up. He caught the miserable expression on her face as if she were begging someone to come save her. He took a deep breath and looked down at his white hat he held in one hand. Yep, every hero wears one.  He grimaced and stepped forward.
 “Sometimes, you don’t know love when it happens, or you mistake it for lust. It happens. My mother used to say, you have to kiss a lot of toads before –“
His footsteps made them both look up. The older woman stopped speaking. Her deep blue eyes raked over him and softened as she determined that he was off no danger to their virtue. Her interest peaked, she murmured, "Oh, my."
The woman with the ball cap swallowed and gazed at him from behind her sunglasses.
“Afternoon,” he nodded.
“Afternoon, young man.” The elderly woman elbowed the girl again. Her eyes twinkled merrily as she spoke. “I think this one is for you.”
Logan gave a lopsided grin and addressed the young woman. “Ma’am, are you Miss Carson?”
The young woman sat up and hesitated. “Yes, I am.”
“Mrs. Tate sent me to pick you up. She couldn't come.” 

To purchase your copy of Prince Charming Wore Spurs please use the links below...


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