Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Hints for the Plains Traveler

I know I complain a lot about the hassles of modern travel. I picked up a pamphlet from a Wells Fargo History exhibit yesterday that adds a little perspective. From the Omaha Herald in 1877:

  1. The best seat inside a stagecoach is the one next to the driver ... you will get less than half the bumps and jars than on any other seat. When any old "sly Elph," who traveled thousands of miles on coaches, offers through sympathy to exchange his back or middle seat with you, don't do it.
  2. Never ride in cold weather with tight boots or shoes, nor close-fitting gloves. Bathe your feet before starting in cold weather, and wear loose overshoes and gloves two or three sizes too large.
  3. When the driver asks you to get off and walk, do it without grumbling. He will not request it unless absolutely necessary. If a team runs away, sit still and take your chances; if you jump, nine times out of ten you will be hurt.
  4. In very cold weather, abstain entirely from liquor while on the road; a man will freeze twice as quick while under its influence.
  5. Don't growl at food stations; stage companies generally provide the best they can get. Don't keep the stage waiting; many a virtuous man has lost his character by so doing.
  6. Spit on the leeward side of the coach. If you have anything to take in a bottle, pass it around; a man who drinks by himself in such a case is lost to all human feeling. Provide stimulants before starting; ranch whisky is not always nectar. Don't smoke a strong pipe inside especially early in the morning.
  7. Don't swear, nor lop over on your neighbor when sleeping. Don't ask how far it is to the next station until you get there.
  8. Never attempt to fire a gun or pistol while on the road, it may frighten the team; and the careless handling and cocking of the weapon makes nervous people nervous. Don't discuss politics or religion, nor point out places on the road where horrible murders have been committed.
  9. Don't linger too long at the pewter wash basin at the station. Don't grease your hair before starting or dust will stick there in sufficient quantities to make a respectable 'tater' patch. Tie a silk handkerchief around your neck to keep out dust and prevent sunburns. A little glycerin is good in case of chapped hands.
  10. Don't imagine for a moment you are going on a pic-nic; expect annoyance, discomfort and some hardships. If you are disappointed, thank heaven.
Not too much gets lost in the retelling. Good advice even today.

UPDATE: Some indication that the above may be fake but accurate.

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1 comment:

St. Caffeine said...

I haven't figured out the "trackback" thing yet, but I just wanted to let you know that I "borrowed" (wait, it's plagarism if you borrow from one, right?) this for my blog Friday.

Thanks for helping me show that economists (even an ivy leaguer) can have a sense of whimsy.