Thursday, February 24, 2011

Can't Even Imagine

I grew up watching Saturday afternoon Westerns.  I love the history of the Old West....Cowboys, Indians and all that stuff.   If there was a time machine, the first place I would  transport back to is 1880, Tombstone, Arizona so I could meet the famous and infamous, Earps, Clantons and Doc Holiday. 

I'm also a hopeless romantic who, for many, many years has dreamed of writing a historical western romance novel.   That's as far as it's gotten though, just a dream.  Maybe someday.

Meanwhile, I enjoy any opportunity to visit places that hold the things history is made of in the era and locale that I am most fascinated by.  

On a recent visit to the Superstition Mountain Museum near Apache Junction, Arizona, I came face to face with a beautifully restored and authentic stagecoach.  

While I checked it out, my mind began to wonder what travel across the country must have been like in one of these contraptions.  Of course, people were smaller back in those days, but space inside the coach was very limited.  I 'suppose' six or so people could fit into it.....tightly.  Luggage for all travelers had to fit up top.  Now....over the years, I've learned to travel with less but I have a niece who travels with everything but the kitchen sink and I don't think this mode of transportation would work out very well for her!

And the dust....can you imagine the dust?  Most coaches had heavy cloth window shades that could be pulled down but I don't think that would keep much dust out.  With the shades pulled you would also be dealing with stifling heat, (or cold) cramped and sweaty bodies who didn't have the chance to bathe often!  Whoa....not sounding too romantic.

If that's not enough, check out the back wheels on that thing.  

They don't look like they provide a very cushy ride to me!  Remember, no shock absorbers like on a car.  In fact, the 'springs'  were nothing more than leather straps wound under the stagecoach to give some comfort. 

What I found most surprising is how tall those wheels and consequently the whole coach was.  For reference, Mr. Fix-it, shown standing next to one, is 5' 7". 

Imagine ladies of the day trying to daintily climb aboard in their long skirts with a  multitude of petticoats underneath.  Then there is travel time and food.  I don't think they got very far in a days time, maybe twenty miles, if that.   And you can bet there were no McDonald's anywhere on the horizons either.

So why in the world does this era and it's lifestyle seem so intriguing and romantic to me?  

I can't explain it......I wish I could.  It just is.


  1. Karen,
    Again, I'm having fun traveling to these neat places with you! The wheels on that thing are huge. My husband likes the "wild west" quite a bit. My leanings are more "Brideshead Revisited", but I love the ruggedness and pioneer spirit of that time. There's a neat book called "Letters of a Woman Homesteader" by Elinore Pruitt Stewart that you might like about a widow with a young daughter homesteading a ranch in Wyoming. In the meantime, Happy Trails to you!

  2. What a great old Coach. I'm like your niece - I travelled with alot of crap so I would have to be "rich" and hire one of those for just me. Plus I wouldn't want to be squished up with smelly people! LOL
    I don't think I would have been a good wild west girl

  3. I like it because it's history... and we DON'T have to ride in it. ;)

    Carmen and the Primcats

  4. Karen ~
    No thanks! I like my running water and flush! My idea of roughing it is a Holiday Inn with no pool.
    Hugs :)

  5. Ah - I grew up watching the same shows on Saturdays!

    I've always felt I was born in the wrong century. I am very well suited for living a hard life back in the old west. I would have been just fine.

    I didn't realize the wheels on the stagecoaches were so huge!


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