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Title: Pedal and Path - Across the Continent Aweel and Afoot
Author: Thayer, George B.
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

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                             PEDAL AND PATH
                          Across the Continent
                           AWHEEL AND AFOOT,



                           GEORGE B. THAYER.
               [Member of the Connecticut Bicycle Club,]



                               HARTFORD:
                       Evening Post Association.
                                 1887.



PREFACE.


Close confinement to mercantile business for a dozen or more years
brought on a feeling of discontent with the monotonous routine,
that I at length tried to drive away by taking a little recreation
on a bicycle. The machine, I found, was not only a source of great
enjoyment, but it soon became a thing of practical value to me in the
transaction of business. I took intense delight in riding the wheel
a dozen miles to Hartford buying goods, quite content to let those
who would sit inertly riding by me in the cars, and it was not long
before the idea of taking a short vacation presented itself.

A vacation of more than a day was a pleasure of which I had denied
myself for so many years that it was a question with me whether the sun
would not stand still if I ventured out of the little orbit in which
I had moved so many years. But I finally decided to run the risk. At
the end of five days, after riding one hundred and seventy-five miles,
I came back more than ever pleased with the mode of locomotion and its
advantages in sight-seeing. So intense had become my desire to travel,
to visit the places of interest here at home, that I then made business
arrangements which would permit a more prolonged absence, and took a
three weeks' trip of five hundred miles, and soon after a six weeks'
trip of one thousand two hundred miles through the most interesting
parts of New England.

Instead of quieting my rising passion for sight-seeing, these
delightful journeys only added fuel to the flames. They showed clearly
to me the possibilities of a trip to California, the independence and
economy possible to such a trip, and the good results to be obtained
from such a mode of traveling in preference to any other. So with no
desire or intention of making or breaking any records, or covering the
whole distance on the wheel, the trip was started and carried out with
the sole object of taking all the pleasure possible and of acquiring a
knowledge of the country and the people who live in it. An account of
the trip across the continent was written in occasional letters to the
Hartford Evening Post, as whose representative I was everywhere most
courteously received. Although this little volume is to all purposes
a binding of those letters, with considerable revision, in book form,
I have been able when seated quietly at my own desk to give fuller
details at certain interesting points, and to round out a narrative
which was sometimes rather meagre from having been written out in the
fields to escape too curious observation of passers-by, in a friendly
barn which sheltered me from the rain, on jolting freight-trains,
in the cloud-enveloped house on Pike's Peak, on one of the dizziest
points overhanging the Yosemite, on a tossing steamer on the misnamed
Pacific, and while waiting for the regular spouting of "Old Faithful"
in the Yellowstone, as well as in many other situations not conducive
to the production of comprehensive and artistic literary work.

To the wheelmen of the country, Greetings! The fraternal feeling
everywhere manifested between them has, I believe, not a parallel in
any social or secret order. To their spontaneous and unfailing kindness
was due much of the pleasure of the trip, and if any wheelman should
want a more detailed account than I have given, of any portion of
the route taken, I should be only too glad to furnish him with all
the information I possess.


G. B. T.



CHAPTER I.

WESTWARD HO! THE BEGINNING OF A SEVEN MONTHS'
WHEELING TOUR ACROSS THE CONTINENT.


For this trip, which covered a distance of 11,000 miles from Hartford,
Connecticut, circuitously to San Francisco, California, and return,
nearly 4,300 of which was made upon the machine, a forty-six inch
Expert Columbia, taking me across twenty-three States and Territories,
and through hundreds of the finest cities and towns in the Union, and
some of the most magnificent scenery in the world, I was equipped with
a blue cap that I wore throughout the whole journey with comfort,
brown blouse, thin undershirt, brown corduroy knickerbockers,
brown stockings, and low canvas shoes. The baggage in the knapsack
consisted of a coat, blouse, pair blue knickerbockers, three summer
undershirts, night-shirt, six pairs stockings, six handkerchiefs,
needles and thread, buttons, and plenty of stout string, a box of
salve, a bottle of tannin and alcohol, a bottle of Jamaica ginger,
razor, shaving brush, hair brush, tooth-brush, shaving soap, toilet
soap, leather strap with wire hook at one end, a sponge, long rubber
tube for drinking, knife and fork, shoe laces, piece of cement,
box matches, a candle, coil of pliable wire, two dozen pedal-balls,
pedal shaft, chain and Yale lock, pocket mirror, railroad maps, and a
good supply of stationery and postal cards. On top of the knapsack was
strapped a gossamer coat, gossamer leggings, rubber cap, and a pair of
rubber overshoes. The whole weighed a little over fifteen pounds. It
will be observed that among the articles enumerated no mention has
been made of any weapon of defense. Although implored by some of
my friends not to enter upon the Western wilds without a pistol,
I decided to maintain my habitual faith in the honesty and good will
of the average American and to depend upon diplomacy and conciliation
in the circumvention of the exceptional villain. I expressed a valise
along to different cities as far as Denver, but found I could carry
all necessary clothing in the knapsack, and so left the valise at that
place till my return from California, when I sent it directly home.

After anxiously waiting for the frost to be taken out of the ground
by a warm rain that finally came, I started out on the 10th of April,
1886. The roads to Berlin were full of hard, dry ruts, and through
Wallingford sandy as usual. This, in addition to the fifteen pounds
of baggage in my knapsack, the soft condition of my muscles, the
thirty mile ride the day before,--first one in four months,--these
circumstances, taken together, had the effect to make me somewhat
weary, and after reaching New Haven, and completing over fifty miles
that day, I was tired. Those wheelmen who envied me the trip in the
morning would have changed their feeling to pity had they seen me
groping along in the dark from North Haven nearly fagged out. The
next day, Sunday, was certainly a day of rest, but Monday I rode up
the gentle grade of the Farnham drive to the top of East Rock in the
morning, and in the afternoon about the city with a Yale student,
Mr. Geo. Kimball of Hartford,--a fine rider, who struck a gait
that outwinded me and that would have used him up in a day or two,
I think. For variety, I spent a couple of hours looking over the
fine specimens of ancient life in Peabody museum, and afterwards
made the acquaintance of Messrs. Thomas and Robbins of the New Haven
Club. Tuesday, a drizzling rain prevented a start till nearly noon,
and the ride around Savin Rock to Milford was anything but enjoyable,
especially when wearing a rubber suit which retained the perspiration
like a hot house, which it really was for me. It was the bitter
with the sweet, and the bitter came first, for the roads improved
to Stratford and Bridgeport, at which latter place the open-hearted
J. Wilkinson, a dealer in bicycles, accompanied me through the city
and on to Fairfield, showing his nationality by characterizing places
in the road as "beastly." A decided fall in the temperature was now
followed by a thunder storm which drove me under shelter for the
night at Green Farms.

Inquiries for a wheelman at South Norwalk, the next morning, brought
out in reply, "There is a man down at the carriage-shop, beyant, that
could fix your fhweel, I guess"; but not looking for that kind of a
wheelman, I soon found one, Mr. Chas. Warren, who piloted me along
to Stamford, where I had a pleasant chat with William A. Hurlburt,
the well known State representative. At Greenwich I met three riders,
two of whom it was plain to be seen by the dusty condition of one side
of their suits had taken recent tumbles. One was Consul E. W. Reynolds,
another Dr. E. N. Judd, vice-president of the Greenwich Club, and I
did not learn the name of the third. So with this unknown quantity it
is safe to leave the reader to ponder over which two of the three took
headers, for I could not be so base as to give a clue to the names of
the unfortunate ones, all three of whom were very fine gentlemen. Other
wheelmen soon came up, meat carts and express teams stopped on the
corner, small boys gathered around, and innumerable dogs filled in
the chinks, till fearing the knapsack would soon be arrested for
obstructing the highway, I reluctantly dragged it away and carried
it along to Port Chester, where, with a parting look at the Sound, I
started across the country to White Plains and to Tarrytown. The roads
improved all the forenoon, and from the Sound to the river were very
good. It was nearly dark at Tarrytown, but having some acquaintance
with the accommodating landlord at the American House, Sing Sing, I
kept on by the monument that marks the spot of Major Andre's capture,
down into "Sleepy Hollow," made memorable by Washington Irving,
and up to the Old Dutch Church, built in 1699. With a mania which
I shall never entirely outgrow, for finding the oldest dates in a
grave-yard, I opened the creaking iron gate, and walked in among the
tipsy tombstones, and, with the scanty aid of the twilight and the
full moon, found many dates nearly as old as the church itself. The
iron latch snapped back into place with a remarkably loud click, it
seemed to me, as I came out, for everything was wonderfully still,
even for a grave-yard, and as I went slowly on through the woods,
meeting Italian organ-grinders, passing bands of gypsies camped out by
the roadside, and coasting silently down unknown hills in the dark,
I really think I must have looked like a genuine goblin astride of
a silver broomstick. But there was a novelty about it that I rather
enjoyed.



CHAPTER II.

THROUGH THE HIGHLANDS OF THE HUDSON RIVER.


Soon after leaving Port Chester, frequent explosions attracted my
attention, and when within two miles of Tarrytown I came to a cluster
of cheap shanties out in the woods, and found that it was the location
of Shaft No. 11 of the new aqueduct for New York city. This shaft was
only sixty feet deep, and as dump cars of rocks were constantly coming
up, and empty cars going down, I thought it would be a fine thing to
go down into the bowels of the earth. But no amount of entreaty, no
amount of newspaper influence behind me would induce the foreman to
give his consent without a permit from headquarters, so I rode over
to Tarrytown, hunted the city all over, and finally got the coveted
piece of paper from D. D. McBeau, the superintendent. I laid awake
half the night thinking of the grand chance before me, and started
off next morning from Sing Sing to Shaft One, eight miles directly
out of my way, over a hilly and muddy country. Here were more cheap
shanties off in the mountains and crowds of negroes and Italians
loafing around in the woods, waiting for their turn to go down to
work. Rum-holes were numerous and doing a thriving business. The
powder and oil clerk gave me an old coat and a pair of rubber boots
to put on, and when the empty car was ready I crawled over into it
and boldly stood up in the mud beside an Italian, who grinned and
said something I could not understand. While waiting for the bell
to ring I found this hole was 360 feet deep instead of sixty. That
information caused me to look over the side of the car down into the
dark where the loaded car comes up--the cars go up and down like the
buckets in a well--and try to imagine how far down a fellow would
go. If anything should break I did not suppose it would jar me much
more to drop 360 feet than it would sixty, but it was the uneasy
feeling falling during the longer interval that I began to believe I
would avoid. What would happen afterwards I never thought of, but it
was the long time going down so far before anything could happen that
troubled me. I did not want to run the risk of waiting so long. Then I
began to think of what they told me before I got into the car, how the
day before the cable slipped, a wheel or something dropped--I did not
mind much what they said I was so intent on getting into that car--and
how the brains of the man beneath were scooped up into a cigar-box
and taken away, and how twelve men were sitting on that cigar-box,
or all there was of the man's body below his shirt collar, at the same
time I was hanging over that black hole. I did not object so much to
being carried away in a cigar-box, or being sat upon afterwards, but
somehow I did not think it such a big thing to go down after all. I
began to imagine how it looked down there, and the more the workmen
urged me the less I wanted to go. It wouldn't pay anyhow. I could
just as well imagine how it looked and not go. All this time if the
bell had rung I should have had no choice, but I finally crawled out,
just in time, feeling very foolish, and returned the coat and boots
unsoiled. A mile farther I came to Croton dam and the head of the new
aqueduct. I may use that hard earned and once highly prized piece of
paper some other time when I feel more like it. A brief description
of this great work may not be uninteresting.

The present aqueduct runs near the Hudson River, but the rich property
holders along its course would combine to effectually prevent another
aqueduct from boring its way through their fine grounds, so the only
thing to be done was to go back five or six miles into the mountains
and tunnel the whole distance of thirty-five or forty miles. The
head of the two aqueducts are close together, but whereas the old
one winds along the banks of the Hudson on the surface, the new one
takes a straight course from New York, the first nine miles being
a bee line. Every mile or two holes are dug down into the mountain,
these shafts varying from 50 to 400 feet in depth, and then tunnels are
started out in opposite directions till they meet those being dug from
the next shaft. This tunnel goes through solid rock, under swamps and
ponds, through mountains, and finally passes under the Harlem River,
eighty feet beneath its bed, into the city. Think of a hole eighteen or
twenty feet in diameter being dug as far below the surface of the earth
as the Genius of Connecticut on the dome of the Capitol at Hartford is
above it; this hole going from Hartford down under the Meriden hills
and coming out at New Haven. How do those railroad tunnels through the
Alps compare with this? There are about twenty-five of these shafts,
and six or seven hundred men are constantly working, day and night,
down in the bowels of the earth. The tunnels are lighted by the
Schuyler Electric Light Company of Hartford. The average fall to New
York is eight inches to the mile, and the water will not run much
faster than a mile an hour. I have probably ridden over this tunnel
half a dozen times during the past two days, and every farmer along
its course for twenty-five miles knows about how far underneath him
these men are working. Frequently an explosion that shakes buildings
five miles away reminded me of what was going on.

Asking of a good woman to-day how much the bread and milk I had of
her would be, she replied, "Five or ten cents if thee is able to pay."

After a few minutes pleasant talk at Peekskill with Chief Consul
E. F. Hall, a slight built, dark complexioned gentleman of, perhaps,
30, wearing glasses, I hired a boatman and crossed the river, a
mile and a half wide at this place, to Jones's Point. This was done
partly to avoid the sandy roads running far east from the river to
Garrison's, but principally to get a better view of the entrance to
the Highlands. The sun was only half an hour high, but I loitered
along, never thinking of the night. The road which winds along the
side of the mountain was too stony to ride; but who would want his
attention diverted by riding when there was such grand scenery on
all sides? The West Shore trains were rushing up and down along the
river fifty feet almost perpendicularly below me, the Hudson River
trains on the opposite side were just as busy, and the sun brought
out the features of Anthony's nose with great distinctness as it rose
nearly 1,500 feet straight up from the east bank of the river. The
sun went down some time before I began to wonder if any farmers
lived along that rugged region, for not a house was in sight for
miles, but hearing some one chopping upon the side of the mountain
somewhere, I pushed my machine up a cow-path till my wind was all
gone, and found there was a house half a mile farther on. Coming to
the barn, in front of which a good looking woman of 30 was milking,
I told her how I hoped to reach West Point that night, but the rough
roads delayed me, and could I stay over night? The husband was inside,
she said, and seeing some one in there in the dark I retold my story,
only to find out I was talking to the hired man. Finally the husband,
who was in a box stall milking, came out and said "yes" without more
ado. The house was close to the river, and soon after supper was
over, and we were all sitting in the dining-room talking, a knock was
heard. The man of the house said "Come in," but no one came. Soon
the knock was repeated, with the same answer, and finally the door
slowly opened and a small, dried up, middle-aged man came shuffling
in, blinking and muttering "Is John here?" But John was not there; so
Walter sat down by the stove and immediately fell into a deep reverie,
occasionally arousing himself to inquire for John. Finally John came
in, and then it seems Walter wanted to be taken home in John's boat,
up the river about a mile. So John said, good naturedly, "Come out and
get in then," and walked across the gang-plank, out to where the boat
was moored. Walter started out into the bright moonlight, going very
unsteadily, and reached the gang-plank without any serious trouble,
but here he slowed up. The women-folks said "Help him across, John,"
but Walter started, very cautiously, without waiting for help, and had
got half way across when he stepped off into the air and went down
out of sight with a splash. John was so tickled he laid down in the
boat and roared, and when Walter came up, bareheaded and looking very
sleek, John couldn't stop laughing long enough to help him, leaving
him hanging there by the gang-plank in the water up to his neck,
sputtering, "Zis the river John, zis the river?" But poor Walter was
soon helped out, wrapped up in blankets, and taken home in the boat.

The ride next morning of five or six miles to West Point was over a
road that would compare favorably with the best city roads, and after
spending an hour about the grounds, seeing all the captured Mexican
cannons, and wondering where the captured cannons of the war of 1812
were--I guess that was not a very good war for capturing cannons--I
crossed to Garrison's and found a road that for fifty miles, and
probably farther, is as fine as there is anywhere about Boston. The
grades are easy, the coasting so perfect I almost forgot there was
a brake on the machine. For miles and miles fine rows of elms and
maples line the sides of the road. To say I enjoyed it seems tame. At
Cold Spring I explained the workings of the cyclometer to a gentleman,
and opposite the "Cro' Nest," meeting the same one again, he returned
the favor by showing me the situation of the Storm King Bridge, that
is soon to be built. It is at the northern entrance to the Highlands
and at one of the wildest parts of the whole river. On both sides are
high mountains with bold fronts, the one on the east jutting out into
the river. Around this projection there is just room enough for one
team to pass between the rocks and the river, the railroad tunneling
through the rocks at this point. It is to be a cantilever bridge,
and, if I understand it, is to be built nearly a mile in length and
upon four or five piers. These iron piers are raised to the height
of nearly 250 feet above the river, but how deep the river is at this
point I did not learn. At other points it is 200 feet and over. When
these piers are at the required height an arm or span is built out
in one direction and another of equal length in the other direction,
and so on till the spans meet in the center between the piers. It
is like building four or five immense capital T's and extending the
arms out till they meet. Imagine those men up in the air 250 feet,
and working out on the end of one of those immense spans 500 feet
from the center of the pier. At Po'keepsie I found quite a nest of
wheelmen at the office of the Buckeye shops, a policeman escorting
me to the place to the evident delight of all the small boys,
who thought I was under arrest. Representative Adriance is a tall,
sandy complexioned gentleman of 35 or 40, with a full beard, and
Captain Edward A. King is dark complexioned and smooth, full faced,
and under 25. Both of these gentlemen treated me very cordially, as did
others there, and I would be glad to be walked off by a policeman any
time to meet such fine fellows in a strange city. Saturday morning,
after crossing from Rhinecliff to Kingston and traveling twelve
miles over some sandy roads that would have been impassable but for a
fair side-path, I found, upon reaching Saugerties, that I had made a
mistake by not going up the east side and crossing to the same point,
but forgot all about it as the terraced Catskills came in view. At
Palenville the hard work commenced, pushing the machine to the top,
and, after two hours of sweating and puffing, I arrived. Since a boy I
had been told there was plenty of room at the top, and so I found it,
1,200 of them, all empty. Notwithstanding that fact, I was obliged to
take an apartment on the first floor front, that is, the piazza. The
board was very plain, too. The one under me was not only planed but
painted. I did not stay long.

Distance traveled in six days, 251 miles.



CHAPTER III.

UP THE CATSKILLS AND ALONG THE ERIE CANAL.


Now that the trees are bare, the terraced appearance of the Catskills
is plainly visible, and in climbing up by the new mountain road to the
Hotel Kaaterskill, along the northern slope of the Kaaterskill Clove,
one wonders at first why the numerous little houses scattered all along
up this Clove are not in danger of the catastrophe that befell the
Willey House in Crawford Notch, New Hampshire. The sides of the Clove
are as steep as the Notch, although not as high, but the rock formation
of the Catskills preserves these little hamlets. A landslide here would
have to go down a gigantic pair of stairs, while in the White Mountains
it would be like slipping off a gothic roof. Half an hour's rest was
sufficient after the tough climb of four miles up the gentle grade,
as they called it, of the new road. It was very steep all the way up,
and at places very dangerous, a single wire holding up a row of posts
which themselves seemed bent on going over, being the only protection
against a fall of fifty feet or more. I reached the falls in the rear
of the Laurel House just as the western sun was filling the Clove with
rainbows, and after convincing myself with some difficulty that the
whole mountain would not tip over if I stepped too heavy, I crawled
around the amphitheater, little by little, till the water came down
directly between the stairs and myself. The ice all around the pool
rose up very much like the crater of a volcano, down into the center
of which the water plunged from 150 feet above. While I was creeping
along backside of this ice crater there was a loud crack, loud enough
to be heard above all the other noises, and my feet went down about
three inches. A thin shale of ice under my feet had broken, that was
all, but my heart came up as my feet went down, and it remained about
six inches above its ordinary level for some time.

That night the lively conversation, accompanied by sly winks, and
short little words of the gouty but genial proprietor, J. L. Schult,
helped to make the evening pass pleasantly, especially when Mr. Schult,
of Dutch descent himself, would slyly refer to the Yankee origin of
his wife, a quiet, kind lady of Connecticut parents.

Sunday morning came off delightfully clear and cool, and after a ride
of a couple of miles by the railroad station and the lake, on one side
of which the ice still covered the surface while on the other side
buds on the trees were bursting, I reached the Mountain House and
sat down for a few minutes, but wishing to be alone crossed over to
the Pine Orchard Hotel. A few steps farther brought me to the Beach
House where, avoiding contact with people when Nature had so much to
say to me, I sat down under the shade of the Catskill Mountain House,
and for four hours was undisturbed as I lay there taking in the fine
view of the Hudson, the finest, I think, to be had from any of the
mountain hotels. If any one is puzzled to account for so many hotels
in this section of the mountains, he is no more confused than I was
when I had the same building pointed out to me at different times as
the Mountain House, the Pine Orchard Hotel, the Beach House, and the
Catskill Mountain House, but like the various officers which centered
in Pooh-Bah they are all one.

Celebrated as the Catskills are, Connecticut can boast of some hills
that out-rank them in one respect, and that is age. The Litchfield
Hills in plain sight across the river are not only the tallest in
the State but they claim to be about as old as the Adirondacks. The
river Saguenay has worn a wrinkle 1,500 feet deep down the face of
some rocks of the same age. But the Connecticut hills don't show
their age like that, old as they are. They were well along in their
youth when the rocks were born over which flow the waters of Niagara,
and the White Mountains, now both bald and grey, had then not even
been thought of. They were in the meridian of life when the Rockies
came upon the stage, and had passed that point long before the Alps,
Pyrennes, Himalayas, and the rocks of which the pyramids are built,
had risen above the surface of the ocean. So their real grandeur
consists, certainly not in their size, but in the fact that the group
of mountains to which they belong, the Laurentian range, as well as
the Adirondacks, has remained above the sea level longer than any
other land upon the face of the globe. Not once during this time have
they ever bowed to the god of the sea. They are not so pretentious
as some of their richer and more lofty followers, but in their ripe
old age the Litchfield Hills have acquired a weather-beaten and a
most enviable title to the first families of creation.

I understood from a wheelman that the coasting down the other side
of the mountains toward Catskill was fine, and to enjoy that was my
idea in working so hard to get the machine up, but the road was too
steep and rough and so all the labor was lost. Crossing the river
again at Catskill I rode on to Hudson by moonlight, and the next
day kept on, over mostly fine roads, through Kinderhook, where some
writers claim the identical "Sleepy Hollow" of Washington Irving is
located, to Albany. Washing off some of the dust and dirt I put on
a coat and went up to the capitol. Finding I was a stranger those
in charge furnished a guide, who took me all over the magnificent
structure. To give an idea of the cost of the interior decorations,
it will be enough to state that one side of the senate chamber is
covered with slabs of Mexican onyx, the cost of this room alone
amounting to over one million dollars. On the way out of the city I
stopped at the Albany Bicycle Club House, a large two story building,
situated on a prominent corner, with a fine lawn in front. The house
is nicely furnished, with all conveniences, but the club has of late
become more of a social than an athletic club. At Schenectady the
only glimpse I had of Jacob W. Clute, the active wheelman of this
thriving city, was through the cracks of the court-room door as
he was cross-examining a witness, but S. R. James, who has a large
crockery establishment here, mounted his tricycle and piloted me along
the sidewalks to the tow path. Mr. James has been at different times
president and captain of their club, and is a good-sized man of sixty,
with side whiskers and moustache.

On the tow-path, at last. A path nearly 300 miles long and perfectly
level for forty, fifty, and sixty miles on a stretch. How I looked
forward to it. How I longed to get to it. How I thought the hard work
was over when I reached it. What fun it would be to ride for hours
without a dismount; what time I could make. This and a great deal more
I had thought about, read of, and talked over. The great tow-path,
the bicyclers' paradise! Now I was there. Well, to state facts, it
is no path at all, it is a common highway, and a very common one too,
for everybody uses it. The soil is a mixture of clay and coarse, very
coarse, gravel. Round, loose stones filled the ruts and every part of
the road. The inside edge of the bank is cobbled and the outside edge
full of little cross ditches. Now, where was a wheel to go? Go in the
middle and the wheel would take a serpentine course; try to follow a
rut and the loose stones would throw the wheel in and out. The outside
edge was terribly jolting, the inside edge dangerous, for a variation
of an inch or two and the course of the wheel would throw a rider
into the mud and water ten feet below in the empty canal. But for all
that I tried the celebrated tow-path for ten, twenty, thirty miles,
and long miles, too. After bumping along for a mile or two I would
get off and walk. Then pound along for two or three miles farther
and dismount again, more to prevent the saddle from becoming ruined
than anything else, for even a Kirkpatrick's saddle couldn't stand
everything. Water is as necessary to a wheelman as to a locomotive,
and yet there was none to be had excepting at the lock-houses several
miles apart and then only in a well, down in some warm swamp; no
gushing little streams of sparkling, cool water, such as spring out
of the rocks and hills all along the regular highways. The only shade
was under the bridges that cross the canal at frequent intervals,
where a rider can sit down in the dirt and think how nice it might
be on the grass beneath the shade of a pine tree. No matter what part
of the road you took it required the strictest attention to business,
and after following a rut with every muscle hard and every nerve taut
for an hour or two, it became monotonous, to say the least.

The canal follows the south side of the Mohawk River and passes
through very few villages, while on the other side of the river are
many places, through each of which there must be a mile or two of
nice riding, yet I stuck to the canal on principle for six long hours,
and left it at Fonda for good. It may be, when the boats are running,
that the mules' kicking abilities are employed, when they slack rope,
in firing the million of round stones out of the road, and in that
way make the tow-path rideable, but if every mule on the line of the
canal had kicked me, personally and individually, with all four feet
and all on the same spot, I should not have been any sorer than I was
that night. The next day fifty-six miles were made with less labor and
decidedly more pleasure over the common roads than was the forty-five
miles the day before, and if the tow path was the only way to Buffalo,
the next train home would have had me for a passenger. All the way
to Syracuse the tow-path, from what I could see in crossing it, is
very much the same rough riding, and whenever anyone advised me to
take it to a certain place I writhed with pain at the very idea.

At Little Falls the West Shore double tracks, the canal, the river,
the four tracks of the New York Central, and the highway are all
brought into close proximity by the perpendicular ledges of rocks on
both sides of the valley, and the rocks along the highway and in the
river are worn and scooped out by action of the elements, very much
as they are at Diana's Baths, near North Conway. It is no uncommon
occurrence on the Central road to see a passenger train chasing and
overtaking a freight train, while a third train will scoot in between
the two, with a fourth train close on to them. There is nothing dull
about a trip up the Mohawk valley, even alone on a bicycle.

It is the general opinion that the mud this spring has been the
deepest of any for many years, some say twenty-five years; and often
I ride over places, now dry and dusty on the surface, that bend and
crack like thin ice. A wagon laid up beside the road, with a wheel
wrenched off by the deep hard ruts, or a place where rails and boards
have been used to extricate a mired horse, are sights of almost daily
occurrence. Once I passed a hole in the road where a fine pair of
draft horses were ruined. A week sooner and the roads would have been
impassable for a bicycle. Even now the ruts prevent any very fast
riding. The road scraper has only been used in a very few places,
and as the roads have become more dry and dusty the small wheel has
become more independent, going off to one side on little excursions of
its own, to the natural disconcertment of its rider. After traveling
over 400 miles I have had no tumbles, but as I was following a narrow
ridge between two ruts, a fly, about as large as the head of a pin,
flew into my eye, immediately enlarged itself to the size of a barn,
and the next instant I was in the dust. It takes the weak things of
this world to confound the bicyclist. The religious crank who has
painted the stones and rocks of Connecticut with warnings in regard to
the future life has been using the same means of conversion all over
York State, and in many places he has taken advantage of alarming
situations to enforce his arguments. For instance, in the Highlands
below West Point is a deep ravine, down the sides of which the road
winds and crosses a bridge nearly 100 feet above the river, on which
is posted a sign "dangerous." The bridge totters under my feet,
and right here, painted in staring blue letters are these words:
"Prepare to meet thy God," and "Repent now or you will go to hell."

The knapsack attracts considerable attention along the route,
especially from the dogs. Some only give a single low grunt,
while others of more sound than sense follow it for a quarter of a
mile or more; but every dog has something to say in regard to the
trip. Coasting down into Peekskill the knapsack was accompanied by
seven (actual count) dogs of various sizes and colors, some turning
hand springs, others whirling around within a very small circle, and
all performing some sort of gymnastic evolutions in front, on the side
of, or behind the knapsack, and each one displaying his vocal powers to
the best of his ability. Sometimes a dog of light weight and wit will
chew away at my canvas shoes while they are revolving on the pedal,
and another will tug away at my stocking while I drink at a well,
but constant exposure has so toughened my sensibilities that I can
walk along with the cold nose of a savage bull dog bumping against
the calves of my legs without a shudder.

Going from Ilion to Frankfort I had a lively brush with a horse car,
the highway and track running side by side, of such uncertain result
that the passengers became as interested in the race as the driver
himself. When passengers took or left the car the stops would give me
the lead, but then the driver would run his horse and leave me behind,
for the road was not the best, but I finally left them behind for good.

At Utica I met a dozen or more of the members of the bicycle club at
their rooms during the evening. The members are mostly young men and
nearly all riders, and bicycling has certainly taken a firm hold at
this place. Messrs. Arthur J. Lux and F. E. Manchaw were especially
friendly to me. But at Syracuse, where I stopped the next night,
the atmosphere is very different. With equally good roads, a larger
population, with club rooms, rent free, in the Y. M. C. A. building,
a beautiful structure in a city of fine buildings, with all things
seemingly favorable, the club hardly numbers a dozen lifeless
members. Will. H. Olmstead, the first bicycle rider in Syracuse,
a middle aged gentleman with a full black beard, kindly assisted me
with information. For six miles out of Utica the sidewalk is without a
single gutter to oblige a dismount, and at Syracuse there seems to be
the same regard for the personal comfort of bicyclists. That day I met
the first unpleasant treatment at a farm-house. Stopping for something
to eat, the farmer, who was coming in from the barn to dinner, said
rather sharply, "What do you do for a living." I told him what I was
doing. "Why don't you go to work and earn your dinner," said he. That
"riled" me a little, but I only said I expected to pay for what I had,
and had intimated nothing to the contrary. He softened perceptibly, and
as the savory smell wafted from the kitchen had increased my ravenous
appetite, I jingled the few coins in my pocket in retaliation, till
the crabbed old man actually smiled and invited me in, as cordially
as it was possible for one of his disposition to do. Then disliking
to beg and buy both I said so, and went a few rods to the next house,
where I could not force any money on the good woman for the bountiful
meal I had there.

I stopped for a meal at a way-side hotel, when, upon leaving, the
German proprietor, knowing of the intended length of my trip, said,
"Hold on one minute," and he ran back into the house. Returning
directly with a small business card three or four inches square, on
the back of which was a railroad map of the United States, in which
the State of Connecticut did not appear larger than the end of a lead
pencil, he said, "There, now, you go 'long, and when you come to a
road you just take out your map and there you are. You will have to
ask no questions. I am glad I thought of it." Thanking him, I went on.

Passing through places with such familiar names as New Hartford and
Vernon, by houses--built of small cobble-stones, the size of an egg,
laid in cement in rows like bricks, and arched over the doors and
windows, making a very pretty appearance--by cheese factories with the
accusing question painted in large black letters on a board nailed to
the whey tank, "Who Steals the Whey?" (every farmer helps himself to
enough whey to pay for the milk he brings, and it looks as if some
helped themselves to a little more), by acres of hop-poles already
stuck, by droves of mules all tied together, with an immense draft
horse leading them along and another bringing up the rear: genuine
horse guards, that trudged along past the bicycle without so much as
deigning to look at it, while the captive mules, the tow-path mules,
shied out at it; through Oneida Castle and through Auburn, where a
minstrel brass band marching through the streets and a knapsack and
bicycle going down the sidewalk gave the small boys and big ones, too,
for that matter, altogether too much to attend to just at dinner-time,
I finally came to the lake at Cayuga. Here a pleasant ride of half
an hour across the lake in a row boat made a very agreeable change
from the hot, dusty riding of the last three or four days, and then
on to Geneva for the night. Next morning a cold rain drove me into a
barn and finally into the farmer's house where I surprised the ancient
granger in the act of making up his weekly letter to an agricultural
journal. Here ends the second week of the trip.

Distance traveled during the week 288 miles; distance from starting
point 557 miles.



CHAPTER IV.

AT NIAGARA AND ALONG LAKE ERIE.


At Canandaigua I had a short interview with Doctor A. G. Coleman. He
is short and rather thick set, with gray hair and full beard. His
conversation was very entertaining; his bicycling experience in Denver
and California naturally interesting me very much.

The artificial hatching of trout at Mumford, New York, is a sight
that is well worth a journey, even from a long distance. The ground
occupied is small, only two or three acres, and the building in which
the hatching is done is only the size of an ordinary barn, but there is
an immense amount of interest concentrated in this small area. There
are a dozen or fifteen small ponds, perhaps ten feet square, boarded
up on the sides, in which are the various kinds of trout from a year
to twelve or fifteen years of age. Brook salmon, California brook,
and German trout are the principal kinds raised here. I laid down on
a plank that crosses one of the ponds, where the water comes pouring
into it, and put my hand down into the water. Probably five hundred
of these speckled beauties, the common brook trout, varying from one
to two pounds in weight, were struggling to get through the wooden
grates into the water above, and they wriggled and twisted through my
fingers and bit the flesh as if they resented the interference, but
otherwise paid no attention to it. Many would even allow me to take
them out and hold them for a few seconds. The water was actually solid
with fish, for there were over 3,000 of them in this one pond. Lying
on the grass beside another pond in which were some fine specimens of
salmon trout, there were within a foot of my hand trout varying from
a foot to two feet and a half or three feet in length and weighing
from five to eighteen pounds, all lying perfectly still on the bottom,
too lazy to stir. Then I went into the building where Jim--everybody
knows Jim after one visit--told me how they propagate and care for
the millions of tiny things, even selecting individual cases for
special care. Half a dozen men were here picking out the poor eggs
and doing different kinds of work. The eggs are about half as large
as a lead pencil in diameter, and the poor ones are white, the others
colorless. In one of the many shallow troughs in the building through
which water is constantly running were thousands of eggs spread out
just ready to hatch. When they break through the shell the little
fish are scarcely longer than the egg itself, which remains attached
to them and is finally absorbed. Millions of these eggs, as well as
millions of these little trout not an inch long, are annually shipped
to all parts of the country. Seth Green came in, and a few minutes'
chat with the jovial, gray bearded, two hundred and fifty pound man
would make anyone wish to come again and know him better. Then I
went out to see them take the spawn. During the spawning season the
trout run up a long covered sluiceway at the head of each pond, and a
net placed at the lower end of this covered brook catches every fish
in it after the boards are removed and the trout driven down with a
pole. The men hauled out about a bushel and a half at the first pond
and about two bushels at the second, and emptied them into tubs filled
with water. The females were parted from the males,--they separated
them much faster than a farmer could sort rotting apples--and then
the females were taken out by the men on their knees and squeezed dry
of every egg in them. Occasionally a few drops of milk were pressed
from a male into the pan with eggs to fecundate them, which occurred
in a few seconds, and the males were thrown back into the pond, the
female being put into a separate pond and tenderly cared for. Thus,
in about fifteen minutes 50,000 eggs, or about three quarts, were
obtained, and this process is carried out every day during the
season. The female brook trout only live to be five or six years old,
such necessarily rough handling naturally shortening their lives, and
the males are turned loose down the stream after about the same age,
but the salmon trout attain the age of fifteen or eighteen years. To
put an edge to the enjoyment of this visit, that was intense to
one interested in all out-of-door sports, Jim took a pan of chopped
liver and the instant the meat struck the water in one of the ponds,
three thousand yellow bellies made the water foam and boil with their
lightning-like flashes. Then he threw some to the big ones, those
lazy fifteen and eighteen pounders. They made some troubled waters,
too, a thousand of them, four tons of trout flesh all in motion,
handsome fellows that would come sailing, mouths wide open, towards
the surface and flop their bodies, nearly a yard in length, entirely
out of water. Connecticut fishermen, who tramp for miles with cold,
soaked feet and return home with a wet back and a hungry stomach,
having secured only a few ounces of trout meat, can, perhaps, get a
faint idea from this hurried description of what is to be seen here,
but they ought to come and see it themselves. Of course, fishing in a
hatching pond would lack the zest which men naturally feel in killing
a wild thing, but "I have known it done."

Those that are turned loose down the stream make very poor eating,
for their life diet of liver and lights renders their meat very
tasteless. It evidently needs the piquancy of a spider or fly to
give a true gamey flavor. Just before reaching Lima, I stopped at
Mr. Augustus Metcalf's, to make inquiries about the roads, and his son
Willard, being a wheelman, kindly invited me to stay over night. My
short visit with them will always be remembered with pleasure.

All the way from Syracuse, in fact all the way from Albany to Buffalo,
I took the old, original turnpike. No matter whether I finally
decided to take the "lower" road between intermediate places, or the
"upper" road or the "middle" road or the "river" road or the "ridge"
road or the "middle ridge" road, or a plank, clay, sand, or gravel
road; whatever road I happened to be on some old farmer would soon
tell me I was traveling on the "old original turnpike between Albany
and Buffalo." One went back so far as to say that the said turnpike
followed an old Indian trail, and they all seemed to take pride in
mentioning the fact that their farms are situated on what was once
such a celebrated thoroughfare. But there is another fact in regard
to old highways that rests on a more substantial foundation than the
disputed question as to which is the "old original." The main street
leading out of Utica west towards Syracuse is called Genesee street,
into Syracuse it is East Genesee, out of Syracuse West Genesee, and
so on through Auburn, I think, and all the principal places until
Buffalo is reached by going into the city by the same Genesee street.

Going up the Mohawk valley the view one gets is not very extended,
but after leaving Syracuse, clear through to Batavia, 125 miles, the
country is undulating, and from the top of the many hills a traveler
gets a fine view of a most beautiful country. Although the leaves were
not yet out when I passed through this section, the grass was green,
and the cherry trees were in bloom on Good Friday. Fine shade trees
abound along the highways, and through many of the places a double
row lines the principal streets, and fine sidewalks and level riding
make a trip through this section, even so early in the season, very
enjoyable. Arriving at Buffalo, the instant I crossed his threshold
Mr. C. W. Adams, secretary of the Buffalo Bicycle Club, made me feel
perfectly at home. He is dark complexioned, below the medium height,
smooth faced, wears glasses, and is about 25 years of age. I found in
traveling farther west that his hospitable manner and winning ways
have made him a favorite with all wheelmen who have met him. It was
not enough to take me about the finest rides in that beautiful city,
after supper, and find a very entertaining escort for me about the city
the next morning, but a trip to the falls and the bridge with him the
next afternoon made my visit at Buffalo the pleasantest by far of any
short stop I have had during a tour of many pleasant experiences. In
the city there are fifteen or twenty miles of asphalt pavements as
smooth as glass, block asphalt excepted, besides miles and miles of
fine park roads, and with such drives it is not strange that the club
is outgrowing its old club house--old only in name--and is moving
into a very large two-story building on the main street, which will
soon be nicely filled up with everything that such a genuine riding,
working, racing, hospitable club needs. Judging from the dozen
or more members of the club that I met, such kind, open-hearted,
courteous fellows deserve all the success that the nutmeg stranger
they took in could wish them, and that is unlimited. By train to
the falls and out upon Goat Island on our wheels. I dared to follow
where Mr. Adams led, but being ahead he didn't notice I took the
inside rut of the driveway that runs around the island close to the
edge, where a fall to one side would have sent my friend and machine
over the bank into the rapids. I can follow as narrow a path on a
wheel as anyone in some places, but around the edge of Goat Island
is not one of those places. After visiting the place a dozen times
or more I might, perhaps; but the first--yes, it was the first time
I ever saw Niagara. When I tried to express myself about it every
word sounded so flat, so meaningless, so utterly unfit. I might as
well try to define the Infinite. I had nothing to say and was dumb,
and am yet whenever I think of it. It seems about fifty years ago an
insurrection broke out in Canada and the steamer Caroline was used
by some filibustering Americans a few miles above here to help the
fuss along. But the Canadian authorities finally seized the steamer,
touched a match to it and set it adrift. How it came down over the
rapids, all afire from stem to stern, and went over the falls, can
better be imagined than described, at least by me. In conversation
about the occurrence, near the stairs that lead down to where the
tower used to stand, and telling how I should like to have seen it,
the hackman said with a condescending air: "O yes, but that is only
one of many grand scenes that you have missed by coming here late,"
and from his manner I inferred that strange and wonderful things had
occurred on this river for the last 10,000 years at least, and that if
I had come in when the doors first opened the one price of admission
would have taken me through the entire show. Considering the amount
of time and labor required to put this play upon the stage, or hack,
rather, the wonder is, not Niagara by any means, but that these poor
palæozoic hackmen can afford to exhibit for the price they do. The
unfortunate delusion abroad that they charge only for the scene in
the play that is being acted now is undoubtedly a great mistake,
and they suffer in the estimation of the public accordingly. Their
price is for what has occurred since the curtain rose in the Upper
Silurian down to the present and until the curtain falls where Erie
and Ontario are one. Those who come early and stay late and are not
satisfied will doubtless have their money refunded at the close of the
entertainment. At least such was the intimation of the man I met. Down
a couple of miles to the suspension bridge, a look at the cantilever
bridge,--a structure that in its construction was more wonderful than
in its completed state, for the arms of the immense iron piers were
built out over the river till they met in the middle--across the river
and down to the whirlpool and back, and the day, a red letter one,
was ended.

Thursday morning was clear and cool, and I left Buffalo with a last
look at the black cloud of smoke hovering over it that stretched,
thinner and thinner, far out over the lake. The roads were fine along
the shore, and once or twice I laid down on the grass on the edge of
the cliff that juts out over the water, perhaps forty feet below, and
tried to imagine I was tired so I could have an excuse for stopping,
but the cool breezes at my back urged me on and the certain prospect of
fine road ahead kept me going, and so all day long I paddled onward,
always with the wind and sometimes like it. The breeze next day blew
strong, from the southeast, at right angles to my course, but the road
remained good. Once I stopped under a shed to avoid a slight shower,
but soon found a red handkerchief hanging at my waist was not a safe
thing to have around a barn-yard, for a bull over the fence near me
almost immediately began to paw the ground and bellow, and so I moved
on without much delay. At times the wind would blow me out of the road
on to the side, and when I got fairly braced to tack against it at
an angle of forty-five degrees, more or less, it would suddenly let
up and back into the road I would go with a rush, the wheel leaving
a sort of self-registering mark behind that indicated the velocity
of the wind at the different points in the road. Notwithstanding
the wind and ten miles of sand and clay, too soft and rutty to ride,
the 200 miles from Buffalo to Cleveland was made in three days, with
two or three hours to spare, so any wheelman can judge of the general
average of the roads. I never saw as long a stretch of fine wheeling.

Just here a word about guide-boards. In Connecticut, as we all know,
guide-boards are a feature of every main and almost all cross-roads
throughout the State, and are usually a great help to travelers by
road. But along the Sound they grew scarcer, until coming into York
State they were wanting entirely. In riding over 500 miles through
different parts of that State, I remember seeing but four public
guide-boards, and two of those were placed there by Poughkeepsie
wheelmen. The roads are no straighter than in other States, and so the
only thing to do in case of doubt is to take the side of safety and
ask questions. These delays many times a day amount to a great deal,
but there is no other way. But the instant I crossed the State line
into the northwest corner of Pennsylvania every road and cross-road
had a guide board. The change is like magic. And here in Ohio they
go so far in the guide-board business as to tell you which way you
can go to a certain place without crossing a railroad. For instance,
to-day I passed a board which read: "Painesville without R. R. crossing
2 miles," another way being shorter. For miles around Buffalo in every
direction the land is very low and wet, requiring much ditching, but it
rises gradually on towards Cleveland, after passing Erie, which like
Buffalo is situated nearly on a level with the lake, and the towns,
such as Conneaut, Ashtabula, and Painesville, seem to increase in
size as the land rises to a higher level, till Cleveland, largest
of all, stands on a higher bluff than any. After leaving Buffalo the
streams that flow into the lake gradually increase in size also, and
they wear a channel down through the solid rock which rises almost
perpendicularly on each side. These ravines, at each one of which is
a town or city, increase in depth as the general level of the land
rises. So, as one travels west from Erie over an apparently level
country, there are constantly seen larger streams, deeper ravines,
higher levels, and larger cities. The Lake Shore and Nickle Plate
railroads are of course obliged to cross all these ravines, and their
bridges increase in height till some of them are over one hundred feet
above the river bed. I passed close by the Ashtabula bridge where,
many will remember, a terrible accident occurred a few years ago on
a cold December night.

Speaking about railroads reminds me of a little incident of
yesterday. All the railroads along the route have adopted the four
whistles for a crossing, the Hudson River and New York Central being
the only exceptions, I think, so the familiar signal first used by the
New York and New England Railroad in the Eastern States is constantly
heard. Yesterday I sat down under a tree to rest a few minutes when
I heard in the distance the whistle of a train, and being near the
tracks, waited to see the train pass. It came no nearer for some
time, but I noticed the crossings seemed to be at regular intervals
apart. Still the train did not come. Finally, happening to turn my
head on one side the sound came from above, and looking up into the
tree I saw a small brown bird that at regular intervals would swell
up and utter a sound that nine persons in ten would mistake for the
four whistles of a locomotive in the distance.

The other day, in turning out to pass a team, I carelessly rode
into some hard clay ruts that threw me instantly,--so suddenly that
I turned almost a complete somersault. That is, I thought I did,
for some time, for the blow I received on the back of the head that
made it snap for a while could not be accounted for upon any other
supposition than that I had gone clear over and struck the back of my
head on the hard ground. I did not note just the position I was in
when I picked myself up; the person in the wagon did that probably;
but I was painfully aware that something hit me, hard too. It was
the fifteen-pound knapsack that flew up and hit me a stunning blow
on the back of the head. If I had been at home I would have bandaged
my head, gone into an easy chair, and called the doctor. As it was,
I simply remounted, trundled on, and was all right again in an hour.

Nine hundred and eighteen miles in three weeks.



CHAPTER V.

THROUGH OHIO AND INDIANA.


Riding slowly through Mentor, Ohio, a small place with two stores
and a meeting-house, I overtook a man driving a raw-boned bay horse
that jogged along in a lifeless sort of a way. The driver too seemed
to be tired, as he leaned forward holding his body up by resting his
elbows on his knees, but this shiftless acting man drove into the
yard at Garfield's old home and was Mrs. Garfield's farmer. Views
of the homestead and its surroundings are familiar to every one,
but a large two-story stone addition is being built that alters the
appearance of the house somewhat. This handsome addition is doubtless
fire-proof, and the lower windows are protected with heavy iron bars,
giving the whole addition the appearance of an elegant prison, but it
is designed, I am told, to preserve all of Garfield's books, papers,
and other valuables.

Six miles east of Cleveland, a city named after a Connecticut
surveyor, is the Lake View Cemetery, at which place I stopped a few
minutes at the tomb that holds the remains of Garfield, guarded by
a squad of United States infantry. The use of the tomb was given
to Mrs. Garfield by a private family until such time as the remains
could be deposited in their final resting place on the top of a hill
a short distance away. The Garfield monument, the massive foundation
of which is barely finished, and of which George Keller of Hartford,
is the architect, is on a site that commands a fine view of the lake,
the city, and the surrounding country for miles; the most beautiful
location in that part of the State.

Euclid is a small village full of rum-holes, and surrounded by mud and
water, the most forsaken place I have yet seen, and in every respect,
excepting distance, Euclid avenue in Cleveland is as far removed from
Euclid as Paradise from Purgatory. Buffalo has streets as beautiful,
with better pavements, but none as long. The poplar seems to be the
popular tree, long stately rows lining the sides of the street. I was
using the sidewalk on what is called the "bob" side of this street when
a rider, using the pavement on the opposite, the "Nabob" side, warned
me I had better get off the sidewalk, and so I rode into the city over
poor pavements with the gentleman that proved to be the president of
the Cleveland club, Mr. H. B. Payne. Plank roads are a necessity in
the clay soil of the outer suburbs of Cleveland, but covered with two
or three inches of mud and sunken about eight or ten inches below the
level of the ground, these plank roads are neither pleasant to look
at nor easy to ride over. Much of the low, wet land between Buffalo
and Cleveland that will not produce a profitable crop of any of the
cereals, is lately being used in raising grapes, currants, and other
small fruits. This industry, new for this section of the country,
is assuming enormous proportions, and I passed acres and acres of
land entirely devoted to grapes. In fact the country seemed to be one
vast vineyard, and I could easily imagine what a delicious sight it
must present in the fall of the year, and my parched mouth seemed to
get drier as I rode past the immense cellars that I knew were full of
the cool wine. The route I was to take to Columbus was given me very
explicitly at Cleveland as far as Wellington, and from that place I
was told to "go right on to Columbus," from which I understood that
the latter place was only a short distance ahead. But at Wellington,
wheelmen could tell me nothing, livery stable keepers could only guess
at the best route, which I was equally able to do, and so I struck
out blindly. I went right on, not always right, however, often wrong,
but still I went. The Ohio wheelmen are to issue a road book soon,
but if the information in it is no more extended than the knowledge
of roads possessed by all the northern Ohio wheelmen I have met,
from the consuls up to the riders of baby bicycles, the value of the
book will not be very great.

And this is the kind of country I went into. Land, low, level, and
wet. Very little land under cultivation and that little producing
a very thin crop of wheat. Houses small and out of repair. Barns
tumbling down and propped up. No pebbly brooks or clean wells, but
plenty of stagnant pools and plenty of warm rain-water to drink. If
a farm-house has happened to burn down the farm is deserted. Nobody
seemed to be doing anything and everybody was waiting for the land to
dry up or something to turn up. The farmers were all fat, good natured,
and wanted to talk. The roads were in awful condition, full of hard,
dry ruts, and chunks of clay, that would beat a man's brains out if
his head came in contact with them. No one was going from place to
place, and over a portion of one main road only two teams had passed
in three days--since the last rain. Everybody seemed to have settled
down into the wet clay and to become contented; as happy as a great
fat hog wallowing in the mud and grunting with satisfaction. To be
sure there are a few places of three or four thousand inhabitants
scattered along through this otherwise thinly populated section, but
this is the general impression a traveler gets. I had to walk over a
good portion of the road and so had plenty of chance to observe the
condition of things for seventy-five miles south of Cleveland.

Besides, the farmers are as ignorant as they are indolent, knowing
little about their own State and less about other States. Not one
in ten of them could tell me within a hundred and fifty miles the
distance to Columbus, their own capital. One man persisted in thinking
Connecticut was a small village with a cotton mill, in the State of
Rhode Island, and I could not hammer--we were in a blacksmith's shop
out of the rain at the time--I could not hammer anything else into
the fat old simpleton's head. Then, in the large towns along the way,
as if to add insult to injury, the people, in talking to me about this
section of poor roads and poor farmers, referred to them as "Yankee
roads" and "Yankee farmers." But the people out here, although rather
despising the close, saving habits of the average New Englander,
yet do respect the perseverance, the tenacity, the sort of bull-dog
grip that they think the inhabitants of the Eastern States are noted
for. They pity the farmers of New England who contend against a stony,
barren soil, but they regard with admiration their constant endeavors
to obtain a competency. Here they get their living, such as it is,
so easy. At the risk of making a too egotistical illustration of
how they regard a little perseverance I will give a little incident
that occurred at Wellington, a place of three or four thousand
inhabitants. A large portly gentleman, fifty or sixty years old,
sitting in a carriage in front of a fine residence, stopped me to ask
the inevitable questions, where from, where to, and all about it. Then
he "hollered" loud enough for all Wellington to hear, "Wife, wife,
come out here and see this boy; this boy from Connecticut. Come all
the way on a bicycle, goes sixty and seventy miles a day some days;
going clear out to Denver on it. There's an Eastern boy for you,
that's Eastern grit, that is. That's Eastern," and he smiled all over
his round face and wished me all the good luck in the world.

Tuesday I experienced some of the difficulties of the Western mud. A
light drizzling rain in the morning made the roads too slippery to
ride, and walking was hardly possible. The sticky mud accumulated
under the brake and between the forks till, obliged to turn the
machine around and push it backwards with the little wheel in the air,
the big wheel finally stuck fast and slid along in the road. Then in
pushing up hill with all the strength I had my feet would slip back
and in going down hill I slipped up, paradoxical as it may seem. But
a heavy rain the next morning made the highways impassable for a
pedestrian even, and so I took to the lots, avoiding the plowed fields
whenever possible. Through ordinary soil the sides of the roads would
be passable, but all the holes made by cattle during the spring mud
for the last twenty-five years remain to-day just as they were made
along the sides, and when these holes are filled with water it is
not pleasant to have your foot slip into one of them and then have
the water squirt all over you, therefore I took the lots, climbing
post and rail fences, crawling through and lifting the machine over
barbed wire fences, any way to get along, but all day I made only
twelve miles and worked hard too.

Along in the afternoon a gentleman in a buggy, the first team I had
seen during the day, offered to help me along a mile or so. Seated
in the backside of his buggy with my legs hanging off and dragging
the machine after me, I thought that was not just the advertised way
of going "right on to Columbus," but it was to Columbus I was going,
someway. If the machine was muddy the day before, it was plastered
all over now. The sticky clay would accumulate under the forks and
saddle, and drop off in such big chunks that at times I did not know
but I had kept hold of the wrong chunk, and had left the machine back
somewhere in the road. Then from the shape of the mass of mud near
the locality where the cyclometer was last seen, I observed that the
ingenious little appliance was gliding gracefully along bottom-side
up. But all this did not last. The roads dried up before night so I
could walk in them. A mound of clay beside the road marks the spot
where I cleaned up the machine, and after passing through Ashland,
Mansfield, and some other smaller places, the next day, thirty-five
miles above Columbus I came to a "double-track" road and the hard
work was over. These double-track or "summer" roads, as they are
called, are made of coarse gravel on one side, and the natural soil,
the clay, on the other, the clay track being preferred in the summer,
and the gravel in the winter and spring. But I forgot to mention one
little incident of the day before. In jumping into a team-wagon for
a short ride, the corduroy breeches, with a loud report, split open
across the seat, really to such an extent that a change of apparel was
absolutely necessary, but before I could get to a barn, in which to
disrobe, I met several teams, in which were young ladies, and I know
they thought me very bold to turn about and face them after they had
passed. Stopping at Cardington, I found a wheelman, Mr. Samuel Brown,
who was also a tailor, and he put my breeches in riding order again.

The State capitol at Columbus is a heavy, square, granite building,
with piles of immense grindstones laid one on top of the other that
answers for pillars in front. It has very much the appearance of an
Egyptian temple, and is dark inside and dingy out. The buildings in
these Western cities, whether built of marble, granite, sand-stone,
or brick, all soon have the same dingy look, the smoke from the
immense amount of soft coal used being the probable cause. The members
of the legislature there convened all had an easy-going happy way
about them, and the clerk and messengers were slow and innocent in
their manners, in sharp contrast to the business-like, clean-cut
appearance of many Eastern legislators, and the rapid actions of
Eastern clerks and messengers. On the way out of the city I passed
the insane asylum, an institution that to outward appearances will
accommodate more patients and that certainly did produce more noise
by yelling lunatics than the one at Middletown, Conn. Both north and
west of Columbus for many miles log huts are seen on all sides, some
deserted, but most of them still occupied, that confounded clay pasted
into the cracks between the logs, making the best kind of protection
against the weather. Great black sows with chunked little black pigs
are as plenty by the roadside as hens and chickens are in the East,
and they are often seen roaming around the streets in good sized towns.

Three miles west of Dayton is the Soldiers' Home, and as I rode
through the entrance to the grounds, a big Dutchman stopped me,
but finding my object was simply to ride about the grounds and
out again, he said: "Vell, when you get up into the crowd be very
careful, for some are blind and some deaf, and if you run into one
h--l will be to pay." There was quite a crowd, four or five thousand
of them, some fishing, some watching the alligator, all seemingly
enjoying themselves about the grounds--grounds that are laid out
in beautiful shape, and that contain everything almost that would
make life happy. All enjoying themselves? No, not all, for over on
the farther side of the grounds several hundred were laying away,
with military honors, one who had gone over to the silent majority,
and as they filled his grave another grave was being dug.

Mr. T. J. Kirkpatrick of Springfield, is of medium size, middle aged,
light complexioned, with light-colored side-whiskers and mustache,
and from my ten minutes' talk with him I am satisfied that if there
had been no other route from Cleveland to Columbus than the one the
local consul at Cleveland gave me, Kirkpatrick would have started
out and made one for the occasion. He is one of those men who can't
do enough to help you along, and is an honor to the L. A. W.

The "pike" from Columbus to Indianapolis is a road that originally
must have been built at great expense, for it is raised fifteen feet
or more along some of the low lands, and now is kept in excellent
repair,--a broad, level, and very straight highway, so straight that
in forty-four miles there are only two slight bends in it, and so
level in places that for twelve miles there is not the slightest rise
or depression. In the western part of Ohio the land is just rolling
enough to make some very fine coasting, and at times you can look
straight ahead eight or ten miles, to the top of an apparently very
high hill where the telegraph poles seem to come together, they are
so far off, and the task of climbing that hill makes you faint in
anticipation, but long before you get there the hill has faded away
(another illustration of the maxim never to climb a hill until you
get to it), the grade up it has been so gradual, and then, at last,
you can look back and see another hill just as high that you have
come down without knowing it. The very numerous toll-gate keepers
along this pike charge two cents a mile for a horse, so if I had had
one of flesh and blood, the expense one day would have been $1.52,
but it being of steel and rubber, and only part of a rubber tire on
the little wheel at that, the cost for toll was nothing. The road
from Buffalo to Cleveland I thought was high water-mark, but this
pike is so uniformly good for 180 miles that it must have first place.

The appetite such a journey as this gives one is no small part of
the pleasure of the trip, everything tastes so good. The truth was
never more plainly stated than by a Spartan waiter. Dionysius was
taking a "hasty plate of soup," at one of those free lunches they
gave there in Greece so often, when, pushing back from the table, he
complained that the black broth was not highly seasoned enough for
him. The waiter roared it through the hall "Seasoned! We season it
by running, sweating, and getting tired, hungry, and thirsty." It is
truly wonderful how such exercise does increase a person's digestive
ability. I can imagine to a certain degree just how Milo, a Grecian
athlete, must have enjoyed himself. Twenty pounds was the amount of
his daily bread, and the same quantity of meat, besides fifteen quarts
of wine, taken afterwards, no doubt, for his stomach's ache. One
day, feeling somewhat faint from lack of nourishment, he knocked a
four-year-old in the head with his fist, and devoured the whole "beef
critter" during the day. To some this may at first appear incredible,
but there is one explanation, at least, that is plausible: Milo must
undoubtedly have been a wheelman.

The first night out from Columbus I stopped at a farm-house. I walked
around to the side door and was just going into the dining-room,
when a man, with black hair, wild eyes, and thin pale face came
out. He took one sharp look at me, and turning suddenly, slammed the
glass door in my face, rushed through the dining-room, and pulling
a spread from the table in his flight, and covering himself up with
it, disappeared. But not for a great while. As I was eating supper
he came back through the room, slamming the doors in his wild rush,
and ran out into the yard, as if the very devil was after him. Then I
could see him out in the dark, his eyes glaring in at me through the
window, and after a while, when everything was still, bang! would go
some door, and away he would run through the room into the bed-room
again. Still he said nothing, had not spoken for years, they told
me. Once or twice during the evening he came slowly into the room,
sidling along with his face averted, and his hands apparently warding
off some blow coming from where I sat, and during the night I heard
an occasional crash as if the side of the house had fallen in. It was
that lunatic trying to get out of the cage in which they confined him,
while the inmates of the house were asleep.

Distance traveled in four weeks, 1,257 miles.



CHAPTER VI.

AT CHICAGO.


I had hardly crossed the Indiana State line when the tire on the
rear wheel broke in two pieces and came off. Luckily, I was not far
from Richmond where a wheelman gave me a second-hand eighteen inch
tire, which he cut down to fit the sixteen inch wheel, and by wiring
it on occasionally I reached Chicago with no further trouble on my
part from the wheel. Just before reaching Indianapolis, however, the
machine was the cause of a broken buggy wheel. I had just dismounted
to avoid a drove of cattle, when a horse, coming towards me, suddenly
decided to go the other way. I stood still in my tracks but that made
no difference, the horse cramped the buggy so short that the front
wheel went to pieces, and had not the men jumped out and grabbed
the horse by the bit, just as they did, there would have been more
trouble. As it was, they left the buggy by the roadside and walked
a short distance to their destination, without expressing an opinion
that I was in any way to blame for the accident.

The State capitol at Indianapolis is a building of the Grecian style
of architecture, 300 feet wide, 500 feet long, and three stories
high. It has been seven years in building and two years more will
be required to complete it, but the stones have become so stained
and dingy from the smoke that smuts everything out of doors in all
these Western cities that the structure from the outside already
looks like an old building. Several of those in authority about the
building were very anxious to have me know that the dirty appearance
of the outside would all disappear when the building was completed,
but no amount of scrubbing will make it clean until the use of soft
coal is done away with. The smoke from that coal discolors everything,
and the finest stone buildings are bereft of much of the beauty from
this cause. The Palmer House, a stone building here in Chicago, for
instance, was painted white less than two years ago to get rid of
the smutty appearance that it had acquired, but even now it looks as
dirty and dingy as though it had never been painted. Scrub and paint
all they may there is not a building in all the West, I believe, that
looks as clean and white on the outside as our own State capitol on
Bushnell Park. But to return to the capitol at Indianapolis. Black
and dirty as it will always look on the outside, on the inside it is
to be almost entirely pure white, giving it, in comparison with the
capitol at Albany and our own, a much cheaper look. But it is superior
to either of those other buildings in one respect and that is, as
far as I could see, there has been no settling or chipping. One of
the finest corridors in the Albany capitol is so sadly marred in
appearance by the settling of the foundation that the breaks and
cracks in the panels on the side are noticeable to every one. But
the dome to the Indiana capitol, which is to be 300 feet high, is
not yet finished, and the proof of the stability of building has
thus hardly been furnished. A very interesting part of my two hours'
clambering over the building and about the works was the sawing and
planing of the stones used in the construction. The stone mouldings
and cornices and all the straight work on the whole building is done
by machinery just as the wood used in the construction of a wooden
building is prepared in advance. The carving was the only work done
by hand in preparing the stones for the masons to place in position.

The county court house at Indianapolis is typical of one very
noticeable phase of the Western desire for display. It is a fine
substantial building no doubt, but inside it is one conglomeration
of different kinds of marble; panels, walls, balustrades, everything
inside almost is marble; all the kinds and colors that are in existence
are represented here, and many kinds are to be found nowhere else in
the world but here: all these are mixed up in the most gaudy manner
possible. But look a little closer and there is not a bit of marble
there, it is all paint, imitation. And where the paint is wearing off
the fraud is badly exposed, giving the whole building the appearance
of a decided sham. Another instance of this desire for display that
is not shown by counterfeiting at least, is seen in the elegant
barber's shop at the Palmer House. Set into the tiling on the floor
are nearly four hundred silver dollars that add nothing at all to
the beauty of the floor. But many of the buildings that have been
erected here in Chicago within the last three or four years are very
substantial and whatever there is about them is real and not flashy
in appearance. Clustering around the Board of Trade Building, which
probably is the finest building of the kind outside of New York,
are many handsome structures occupying a quarter of a square, that
go up into the sky ten, twelve, and thirteen stories high.

I have spoken of the hogs and pigs that are seen all along the roadside
through Ohio and Indiana. The numerous sheep that are feeding along
the highways show some sense by simply turning to one side to let
me pass, and often bleating after me as I leave them behind as if
they were sorry to have me go; but the pigs will start up and run
along ahead, scaring all the others with their short, quick grunts,
until a drove of a dozen or fifteen are bobbing along and running
into each other in their foolish attempt to get out of the way. Then
they will all suddenly stop, stand perfectly still, and let me pass
without flinching. If Eastern people who have a prejudice against
Western pork could see what the hogs are fed upon they would have
good reason to change their opinions. The hogs eat a great deal of
grass and are not confined to any muddy, filthy pen as they are in
the East, but roam around the woods and fields as do the cows and
sheep. In the fall corn on the ear is thrown out into the lots to them,
and I can't see how pork could be fatted in any cleaner way.

While the hog is being discussed I must tell what I saw of the
manner of his death at the Union Stock Yards just outside of the city
limits. Prominent among the many buildings at the yards that cover
365 acres is an office of the Illinois Humane Society, which gives
a visitor the impression that he will see nothing but kind treatment
and humane ways of killing the beef and hogs, and as far as the cattle
are concerned there is nothing objectionable about the process, for
a bullet in the brain renders them insensible at the outset. But the
hogs--well, this is what I saw. A dozen or more at a time are driven
into a pen in one of those immense packing houses. A man slips a chain
quickly around one of their hind legs and they are jerked up into the
air by machinery, so that their heads are about four or five feet from
the floor. They are suspended on little pulleys which roll them along
into another pen where a man cuts their throats. This man was standing
in clotted blood ankle deep, and the squealing, kicking row of hogs
threw blood all over him, which he frequently washed off at a barrel
of water near. A hog was jerked up about every ten seconds, and there
would be six or eight at a time hanging with their throats cut. Before
they had time to die or grow very weak from the loss of blood they were
dropped on to an inclined board, and from there they slipped off into
the scalding tub. Sometimes two or three would collect on this board
and then they would all slide off into the hot water together. Very
few of them were dead when they went in, and they would go plunging
and struggling around in there, throwing the water in every direction,
till gradually becoming weaker they would lie still, a dozen of them,
in the long narrow tub at a time, and be turned over and over by men
with poles very much as cooks turn nut-cakes over with a fork in the
hot fat. Why such haste should be used in getting them into the hot
water I cannot see, and I understand the Humane Society have tried
unsuccessfully to stop such inhuman work, but this is the sight I came
unawares upon, a spectacle that I have not enlarged upon or exaggerated
in the least. The hogs were simply drowned in hot water. The rest of
the work I rather enjoyed. The scalded hogs were taken out and placed
upon a revolving wheel, covered with scrapers, which took all the hair
off excepting around the head and legs. This wheel was wide enough to
hold three hogs at a time, and they were turned over several times in
order to scrape all sides of them. Then men finished up the scraping
with knives, the heads were taken off with two or three strokes of
the knife, and from the time the hog was first seized by the leg till
he was cut up two or three men were at work on him all the time,
one set of men passing him along to the next, each doing certain
parts of the work. Thus 2,500 hogs a day are put to death by this
one set of men, and there was machinery in this same packing house
for two other sets of man, so that seven or eight thousand hogs are
scalded to death, scalded from the inside as well as from the outside,
every day. This packing house is in full operation, and this is only
one of many such houses in the stock-yards. I remember now there was
an invitation prominent over the door of the Humane Society to make
"complaints at this office," and every time I think of the horrible
work being perpetrated so near by, I wonder of what earthly good is
such a society. I only regret that I did not complain at the time,
useless as it would undoubtedly have been, but then I did not realize
what an awful sight I had seen. The enormity of the cruelty has grown
on me since. But let me change the subject. A bowl of bread and milk
in the middle of the day is to be had, almost for the asking, and it
not only serves to quench thirst, but what strength it gives is sooner
felt than if the food was of a more solid nature. One day I asked an
old lady for a bowl of bread and milk, and she brought me the milk in
a bowl with two huge slices of bread thrust down into the milk whole,
and then she handed me a two-tined fork to eat it with. Often when I
am caught out between places at night and have to ask accommodations
at farm-houses, I can usually get taken in by saying "a bowl of bread
and milk will do for supper."

One night, soon after the machine had been put into the front
parlor,--the farmers always think the best room in the house none
too good for that "silver" horse, as some of them term it--and
the knapsack had been laid away in the corner, the husband came in
from the barn with two pails of milk, followed by his little boy,
who was just old enough to walk if no threshold or hole in the rag
carpet interfered with his progress. The milk was placed in the
buttery on the floor, and the little youngster of course had to see
that it was done all right. Then the farmer came out and everything
was quiet for a minute, when suddenly there was a splash. As it
so often happens to such toddling young ones, the little fellow's
toes suddenly flew up from some unaccountable reason, and he sat
down into one of those foaming pails of milk. He never said a word,
but sat there perfectly still until his mother, happening to go into
the buttery, saw the floor covered with milk, and she jerked him out
of that pail as one would pull a close-fitting cork out of a bottle,
and with very much the same kind of a sound. When supper was ready,
in reply to her question, I said I preferred "cold morning's milk to
the warm or warmed over night's milk."

About forty miles above Indianapolis, in a sparsely settled district,
I passed a small church filled to overflowing with people, and a
little further on I met a funeral procession. It had been raining
during the morning, but among the fifty or more teams that formed
the procession, there was but one top carriage, two buggies, and the
rest were all heavy team-wagons. In these farm wagons with boards
for seats, were whole families that had come a dozen miles, probably,
to attend the funeral. From this it seems that buggies and business
wagons are luxuries that the average Western farmer does not yet feel
able to afford.

At Lafayette, I called at the home of Mr. Frank A. Lewis, to inquire as
to the condition of the roads farther on, and his mother kindly asked
me in to supper. Before that was finished, Frank returned with several
wheelmen, among them Mr. Wal. Wolever, a young photographer. Here the
pikes or gravel roads which made the riding excellent so far came to
an end, and there was nothing before me for 120 miles to Chicago but
black clay roads. It had rained heavily for three successive nights,
and after riding over 1,300 miles to reach a city that is not 1,000
miles by direct routes from Hartford, I may, perhaps, be forgiven for
wishing to avoid three hard days' work, without any practical return
for it in knowledge or experience by taking the train to Chicago. After
reaching that city, and being kindly received by friends and old
schoolmates, it was with a strong feeling of thankfulness for my own
safety, that I read the accounts of the terrible cyclones and floods
that had passed through sections of Ohio and Indiana, carrying away
bridges that I had so lately ridden over in safety, and perhaps killing
men and women from whom I had so recently received kind treatment.

The system of beautiful parks that environ Chicago, and the boulevards
that connect them are the pride of the city, and the citizens have
good reason for being so proud of them. Only a few years ago the
whole country around about the city was a low level wet prairie,
but now there are six as beautiful parks as are to be found in almost
any city in the country; parks filled with lakes, cascades, brooks,
hills, groves, grottoes, wild animals and tame ones, and everything
almost that is to be found in places where nature furnishes things
to order. In Lincoln Park, for instance, is a mound of earth, a
hill I suppose they call it, that is probably the highest point of
land for many miles near the city, but this, like everything else
in these parks, is artificial. All through Ohio and Indiana there is
much land that has not yet been cleared, and these clumps and strips
of timber give a variety to the country that would otherwise have
been very monotonous to me, riding for hours and hours as I did over
nearly level roads. These woods have little if any underbrush, and the
grass through them is kept closely cropped by cows, sheep, and hogs,
so that these two States are filled with hundreds of beautiful groves
that invite a lazy wheelman to stop and stay awhile in the cool shade.

One day, wishing to get rid of the several days' growth of bristling
beard on my face, I took out my shaving apparatus, hooked the leather
strap to the brake handle, honed the razor, found an old can, brought
some water from a brook near by, pinned the pocket mirror on a tree,
and got as clean a shave as I ever had, washing my face with one
corner of a handkerchief, and drying it with the other end.

But the open level prairie that surrounds Chicago on all sides must
have a sort of depressing influence on the thoughts and ideas of those
who are born and brought up without the variety of brooks, hills,
mountains, and ocean. The first question usually asked me by farmers,
who probably have never traveled far from their prairie homes, is:
"How far do you live from the salt water?" and when I tell them the
distance, which until this trip always seemed to me considerable,
but which to them, with their distances and so many things on such
an immense scale, seems trifling, they act as if a sniff of the salt
sea air from a distance of forty or fifty miles would be a blessing
that they could hardly hope for. And yet Lake Michigan, to me, would
seem a very good substitute for the ocean in everything but the
taste of the water. Two of these parks are washed by the waters of
this lake, and so badly washed too that the shore at Jackson Park is
rip-rapped for nearly a mile, making a beautiful white-stone beach. The
boulevards are laid out on as grand a scale and with as little regard
to expense as are the parks. The grand boulevard is Commonwealth
avenue in Boston over again, only it is twice as long, with a very
broad avenue in the center and a street of good width on each side,
one for equestrians and the other for wheelmen, I should judge,
for it is very smooth. Ten rows of beautiful elms stretch away in a
straight line for two miles, the larger ones having rows of smaller
ones on each side. Drexel boulevard has two broad avenues, lined with
trees on the outside, and the center filled with lovely flower-beds,
for over a mile in length. Other boulevards laid out on a similar
plan but not in so finished a condition, connect the different parks,
making a continuous drive of nearly forty miles, all as smooth as the
most fastidious wheelman could desire. Then there are the lake drives,
Dearborn and Michigan avenues, and many other streets too numerous
and common to mention, common nowhere but in Chicago though. Chicago
wheelmen know so little about coasting, that it seemed quite a novelty
to them to see an Eastern boy ride with his legs over the handles,
and when I coasted down into one of the tunnels that run under the
Chicago River, and disappeared in the darkness, their eyes stuck out
with wonder. It was a novelty to me, too, for the dripping water gave
me quite a shower bath before I came out on the other side.

Distance traveled on the wheel, 1,420 miles.



CHAPTER VII.

ACROSS THE MISSISSIPPI.


My time was so taken up in visiting old friends and seeing the sights
in Chicago that I found no opportunity to make the acquaintance of many
wheelmen in that city, but I met Mr. B. B. Ayers, who kindly gave me
directions for pursuing the journey westward, and so after a week's
stay in Chicago I started for Minonk, 125 miles away to the southwest,
to visit friends in that place, and the two days and a half passed
on that journey were the hardest of the trip thus far. One would
naturally think 1,500 miles of riding in the past five or six weeks
would have so strengthened the muscles of my arms that they would not
trouble me at least, but the hard, lumpy, rutty black clay roads of
Illinois were too much for them. My elbows became so stiff I could
hardly bend them, and the nervous strain occasioned by the constant
jar was very exhausting. Once I was induced to take the railroad track
and found very good riding for a few miles. At the station they told
me the next train would not be along for an hour and it would come
from the direction in which I was going, so I rode along unconcerned,
for I could see ahead for miles. Suddenly, without the least warning,
the sound of a short, sharp whistle from behind caused me to jump
off and into the ditch as I never did before. It was well I did so
quickly, for an extra locomotive immediately rushed by, and I came to
the sudden conclusion it would be a long while and the roads pretty
bad before I should again leave them to ride on a railroad track.

Two turnpike companies once started to build a pike from Indianapolis
to Lafayette, Ind., seventy miles, but when within two miles of each
other there was a disagreement between the two companies and that
intervening piece of road has never been finished. Although there is
a great deal of travel over this splendid pike there is not public
spirit sufficient to fill up this gap of two miles, and for years the
traveling public have driven off the ends of these two turnpikes into
two miles of the deepest mud fordable. In Illinois there are no pikes
even, all dirt roads; roads that are to-day in the same condition
they were when the country was first settled; not a day's work has
ever been expended upon them. I passed farm after farm on which were
fine houses, large substantial barns and hundreds of heads of stock,
and every indication of a rich soil and worldly prosperity, and yet
the road directly in front of these farm-houses has remained in such
a condition for years, that for six months out of the twelve it is
really dangerous for man or beast to travel after dark. I stopped
one night in a fine brick house that in the East would cost four
or five thousand dollars, and yet this house could only be reached
by a lane in which the mud for six months in the year was hub deep,
and a fine fat sow with a litter of pigs had full possession of the
front yard, if such a mud hole could be called a yard. Another case
I remember where the houses, barns, and stock indicated the farmer's
prosperous condition, and yet there was no well, nothing but rain
water to drink. The fact is, all these things--and I could keep on
mentioning them to the end of the chapter--serve to illustrate the
intense Western desire for display to the neglect of comfort. The
stately domes of their numerous court-houses seen on all sides make a
big show. Their large barns with the farmer's name painted on the side
in red letters or shingled into the slate roof advertise the owner's
name and financial standing. Whatever is above ground, whatever can
be seen from a distance, whatever makes a great display receives
the cordial support of the average Westerner, but when you look for
a fine country road, free of toll gates, or a good, deep well, or a
nice cool cellar, or anything, no matter how much it might add to the
personal comfort of the possessor, but which is below the surface or
unseen from the surrounding country, you may look in vain for these
evidences of a moderately high state of civilization. The diet of
Western families is simply abominable. It is pork, fried pork, every
meal. Their meals are as monotonous as their scenery. A farmer, rich
in money, lands, and houses, will live for weeks on pork, when beef,
mutton, turkey, and chicken are in great abundance on all sides and
so cheap as to be almost unsalable. And yet, probably because their
stomachs are out of sight and the satisfying effect of a good square
meal is quieting and not of the spread-eagle effect, the farmers live
upon the freshest and plainest sort of food. If the Western stomach
could be inflated and placed in some commanding position it would
be supplied with the choicest viands and the farmers would pour out
their money to fill it to overflowing.

The other Sunday I came along to a meeting-house just after the
bell stopped tolling, and riding out under the shed, I slipped off
my knapsack, buttoned on a clean collar, put on my coat, and went
in as quietly as possible, but every one in church except one old
lady looked around at me, and I lost most of the Scripture lesson in
consequence of this counter attraction. From her actions, afterwards,
I think the said old lady was deaf and did not hear me come in, which
accounts for her apparent neglect. Soon after a portly old gentleman
came waddling up the opposite aisle, and after putting his hat, cane,
and numerous other articles of extra baggage over in the seat in front,
he held on to the back of that seat to break the fall, finally letting
go and sitting down like a trip hammer. He immediately began to box
the congregation, and had gone from east around to northwest, when he
fetched up against me and put me under close inspection for so long
that I wickedly comforted myself knowing that I gave him a crick in
the neck. Very soon many in the congregation with eyes reverently
closed and heads on one side in imitation of Alexander the Great,
were apparently absorbing their spiritual food through their mouths,
when the choir of eleven noises followed the sermon with "Asleep in
Jesus." The choir kept well together for a while, although one or
two had to feel around in advance for the first note, but the last
line was always too much for the tenor, and with their leader gone
all discipline vanished and they came leisurely home in squads,
three and four at a time. But slow and solemn as the singing was,
the organist broke loose during the interlude, scampered up and
down the scale, trilled, stumbled, snorted, and galloped off into
the lots so far I thought he never would get back, and during his
last escapade he stepped on a note that stuck, and that note loudly
persisted in being heard through the benediction and sometime after
the congregation had dispersed. When the organ breathed its last,
the boys, old and young, all came out to see me off, and stayed so
long it broke up the Sunday-school; so altogether, unintentionally,
I caused a good deal of trouble.

Going through Aurora I met two wheelmen, Messrs. G. O. and
Chas. W. Clayton, one of whom, but since my return I cannot tell which,
accompanied me for 10 or 12 miles on my way.

Three-fourths of the area of the State of Illinois--a State eleven
times as large as Connecticut--is underlaid with seams of soft coal,
and at Minonk, where I spent several days in visiting relatives, is
the most productive mine in the State. Over 700 tons a day are raised
from a depth of 500 feet, and the machinery works with such rapidity
that a ton of coal is raised and emptied in twenty-two seconds. After
screening, great quantities of the coal, smaller than chestnut size,
are sold to farmers, who feed it out to their hogs with beneficial
results. The refuse rock and clay from this mine is carried up an
inclined railroad and dumped, making a mound perhaps seventy-five
feet high. The inhabitants think it quite a treat to climb to the top,
they get such a grand view. It really is the highest point of land for
miles around, and the view of a town ten miles away is to them quite a
sight. Horses in droves in the lots or loose by the roadside are very
common, but there is one peculiarity that distinguishes them from all
the other domestic animals I have seen. The instant they catch sight
of the bicycle they invariably come boldly toward it half a dozen
paces and then turn and run like all the other animals. They seem
to want to find out as soon as possible the nature of the machine,
but their courage is short lived.

At Lacon I crossed the Illinois River, which was half a mile wide at
this point. The river is very sluggish, falling only one inch to the
mile for 300 miles.

During several days I had felt sleepy all the time, doubtless due
to overeating and lack of exercise in Chicago, and, so, frequently I
would lay down beside the road and sleep soundly for an hour or two,
the hard clay bed not disturbing my slumbers in the least. In fact
I had, by this time, become quite a veteran in this respect, being
able to rest peacefully anywhere I felt inclined to stop.

At Rock Island I left the State of Illinois, which has a high-license
system that works admirably, as far as I could judge from the
frequent inquiries made, and crossed the Mississippi River into the
prohibition State of Iowa. Imagine my surprise to find beer and liquor
sold as openly as soda water in the city of Davenport. The State
law is circumvented and nullified in this manner: The city council
passed a law obliging all dealers in soda water and like temperance
drinks to take out a license. If a man sells soda water, and nothing
stronger, this law is not enforced against him; but if he sells liquor
in connection with his soda he is prosecuted, not for selling liquor,
mind you, but for selling soda without a license. Thus, beer and liquor
is sold openly, and the city of Davenport has reaped a revenue of over
$3,000 from this source within a few weeks. Before I got through the
State of Iowa I could judge better of the practical workings of their
prohibitory law, but the first day in the State certainly puzzled
me. At one small village all the inhabitants seemed to be devoting the
whole time that day to dancing and drinking beer. They were Germans,
and it is needless to add that there was no downright drunkenness to
be seen there. Even in Grinnell, a place of 3,500 inhabitants, that
has never had an open saloon, the "boys" have their beer shipped in
to them on such occasions as Memorial Day and the Fourth of July.

Traveling alone as I have, most of the way, I could appreciate to a
limited extent the lonely task Thomas Stevens performed in crossing
this country as he did, but never have I realized until I reached
Iowa to what extent he had been shut out from nearly all intelligent
communication with human beings in his journey through Europe and Asia.

About one hundred miles west of Davenport is a settlement of
Bohemians. They number six or eight thousand, and their little
villages are scattered along the Iowa River for a distance of ten
miles or more. Their system of families is very much like the Shakers
in Enfield, Conn., and beside keeping their farms up in excellent
condition they manufacture woolen goods, starch, and some other
articles of commerce. But not one of them that I met could speak a
word of English, so that my experience for two or three hours was
in a slight degree like what Stevens suffered for many weeks and
months. All I could do was to make signs.

Although I left Connecticut before the grass had hardly begun to
turn, since then I have seen nothing else but one everlasting sea of
green. The country is more rolling in Iowa than in any of the States
west of New York through which I have passed, but that change in the
scenery was not of much relief. Thus far I had not seen the smallest
kind of a wild flower to break the monotony of that color, green,
dark and rich as it was. Imagine with what pleasure I came upon a
sandy ridge of hills that were covered with a beautiful variety of
wild flowers, whose colors seemed particularly bright to me, probably
because they were the first I had seen in seven weeks of outdoor
life. I spent an hour or more in picking flowers and in biting off
the sweet tips of honey-suckles.

It is curious how many old veterans the sight of the knapsack brings
to the surface. Very often when I lay it aside for a rest some one
will pick it up and try it on so handily that I know without his
telling me what his experience has been. And the recent speech of
that arch traitor, Jefferson Davis, stirs these old soldiers from
the top of their heads to the very soles of their feet. Imagine the
feelings of one of these, a large-framed, well-formed man of forty,
who walked around Minonk with me, up the coal shaft and down, without
much apparent difficulty, and yet this same man, John W. January,
suffered a thousand deaths at Andersonville, where his feet rotted
off, and where he was reduced to forty-five pounds in weight, his
bones alone almost weighing that much. Jeff. Davis's words don't
exactly stir him to the soles of his feet, but from the words he and
so many others, with whom I have talked, have indignantly uttered,
I think these old heroes are sorry they were not allowed to do up
the job more thoroughly at the time of the war.

The bicycle is getting to be more of a wonder the farther west it
goes. Everywhere I stop crowds quickly gather, and then the inevitable
string of questions! At Rutland, Ill., the landlord, who was a native
of Connecticut, gave me all I could eat, but would not let me go
till I had ridden all over the sidewalks and gutters in the town,
under his direction. A few miles east of Grinnell I found I could
not reach that place the night I was expected, so I took a freight
train. While waiting for the train the whole town came down to the
station, and to escape being almost bored to death I went out back
of the station to wash my hot feet. But still there was no rest. An
Irishman who lived in Hartford "thirty year ago," was the first to
find me, then two or three natives went through the same old list
of questions, and finally a colored gentleman came around to pay his
respects, just as I was wiping my refreshed feet on the grass. When
the train arrived I laid out on one of the long benches, placed along
the side of the caboose, and went fast to sleep, apparently. But at
every station there was something in the air that told the inhabitants
there was an object as strange as a wild man from Borneo on board,
and the caboose was quickly filled with a gaping crowd of men, women,
and children. One passenger who had already got some points of the
trip, related all he knew and more, too, to the assembly, and it
required considerable composure to keep on breathing regularly and
keep my eyes shut with some old woman looking right down into my face
and sighing for my lifeless condition, but as long as my eyes were
closed no one asked me any questions, and that was a great relief.

As this is a plain unembellished tale of a bicycle journey in which
facts are reported as they exist, not as we would like to have them,
I may as well acknowledge, though not without a twinge, that during
the first week out the chafing of a stocking strap brought out a
boil on the side of my leg. The next week a second comforter appeared
underneath that member, and painful as it is to acknowledge it (the
bitterest pangs are now past), in a few days some six or eight more
obtruded themselves, seriously interfering with the saddle. After some
days of dogged persistence in riding and trying to rise above them
(which efforts from the nature of the case were obviously futile),
I succumbed and pleaded for a ride on a freight train; and when that
gentleman passenger, who knew the real cause of my desire to take
the train, told a lady passenger who was very anxious to know, too,
that I took the train because--and he hesitated--because I "had got
hurt," his answer pleased me so I was sure the lady, who was looking
straight at me from the opposite side of the car, would think I
was writhing with pain even in my sleep. "Poor boy!" she responded,
sympathetically,--"How dreadful! I do hope he will recover!"

Distance traveled on the wheel, 1830 miles.



CHAPTER VIII.

ACROSS THE MISSOURI.


Cyclones are getting to be so common in this Western country that the
people are endeavoring to guard against them as they do against fire,
but with this difference: they do not try to protect their property
against the cyclone; it is useless; they simply wish to save their
lives, that is all. Insurance on property against loss by wind is
now customary all over the country, but if these cyclones increase in
frequency as they have in the past few years, it is only a question
of time when life insurance companies will consider it an extra risk
to live in this Western country. I experienced a feeling of nearness
to the cyclone that was sufficient when I read the accounts of the
terrible destruction of life and property in Ohio a few weeks ago,
for I had a delightful journey only a few days before through some of
the towns that were so soon afterwards swept away in a twinkling. But
my stay in Grinnell, of a couple of weeks, was like living on an
old battle-field. The dead, of course, have gone from sight, but the
wounded are to be seen on all sides. I went out calling and met an
old lady still suffering from an injury received four years ago. I
saw another go limping by and heard she had a hip broken at the same
time, and, while riding, I met a lady whose head was so crushed during
that terrible storm that she now has frequent spells of insanity. I
began to wonder if any one in Grinnell had escaped uninjured. Let the
clouds even now gather, black and threatening, and the people live
the awful experience of that night over again. The streets are soon
filled with women and children, carrying what few valuables they can,
all hurrying to some cave for safety. I crawled into one of these
caves one day. It was in the cellar of a fine residence, and is a room
not larger than six by eight feet, and not over four feet high, with
strong brick walls on the sides and heavy timbers overhead, and amply
ventilated, and into this small hole, not long ago, twenty-four women
and children huddled for two or three hours one night, some praying,
others crying, and all suffering from mortal fear as long as the storm
lasted. Almost every house in Grinnell that has a cellar has a cave of
some kind in it, a room boarded up and covered over thick with earth
to protect the occupants from falling bricks and timbers. Not only
here but all through the West a cave is now considered an essential
part to every dwelling. But think of the mental suffering the people
of these Western States endure whenever there is a severe storm or even
indications of one. If those Eastern people could see the photographic
views that I have seen of the destruction wrought by a Western cyclone,
they would never assign, as a cause of their complete demolition, the
flimsy manner in which the houses are built. If they could have seen
the two college buildings, one built of stone, the other of brick,
each as large and as solidly built as any Eastern edifice, if they
could have seen these two buildings demolished and crushed like so
many eggshells--in less than two minutes--what would they think of
the superior safety of our Eastern houses? How many frame houses
would stand such a blow? Everything was as calm and still as death
that terrible night when, without any premonitory roar or warning,
the cyclone struck the town like the report of a cannon, and in less
than five minutes it had finished its work, ending it as easily with
the two college buildings as it commenced it with the small frame
houses. Although it was early in the evening, fifty-eight persons were
instantly killed and many more wounded; but let it come again, day or
night, it will never catch Grinnell people unawares. They watch the
clouds to this day, as they would some fell demon hovering over them,
and the more timid ones early rush to their caves. Many outlandish lies
have been written about the power of the cyclone, but the cold fact,
the bare truth is more wonderful than any stories man can invent. One
only needs to come here and talk with the people about the cyclone to
be convinced that their experience for a few minutes was as terrible
as that of a great battle, and I was as fascinated with their stories
as I ever was talking with old soldiers.

"I should know you were an Easterner from your talk," is a remark I
hear on all sides, and so I have tried to learn what there is about
the talk of a native of New England that distinguishes him from people
west of there. It is not because he speaks so flat, for through New
York every one spoke more so than I could. I pronounced the town
of Fonda just as it is spelled, and yet every one there called it
"Fundy." Utica was "Utiky," Lima was "Limy," and everything else
was pronounced in the same flat manner. I supposed this to be a
peculiarity of New Englanders, but New Yorkers rather excel in that
style of speech. Out here in Iowa, where friends have an unflinching
frankness quite remarkable, they tell me whenever I say anything
particularly flat my nose flies up into the air to emphasize it. That
may be a trait peculiar to myself, but it is some comfort to know
that people outside of New England have lingual peculiarities as
marked as those coming from the Eastern States. In Ohio and Indiana
I met a great many persons who never pronounce the personal pronoun
"I" as we do. It is always "Ah" instead of "I." "Ah thought so,"
"Ah heard so." I supposed that was more Southern than Western; but
if so, many of Southern birth are now living in these States. The
farther West I go the more I notice the way they roll their R's. That
letter is brought out with a peculiar force in every word in which it
occurs. Here, there, however, harvest, horses, father, mother, and
all such words are spoken as if there were two or three r's in them
instead of one. Whenever they accost me it is "O, George," while in
the East it would be, "Say, George." Then two short grunts are very
often used out here instead of yes or no. Emphasize the first grunt
and it means no; emphasize the second, with a slightly rising accent,
and it means yes. This is a common form of expression, with colored
people everywhere, I think, but here, with white children, it is the
most common way of saying yes or no, and many older persons use it.

They have no brooks or streams here, but everything is called a
"crick," pronounced very short, too. That name is applied sometimes
to good-sized rivers. These peculiarities of speech do not seem to
be acquired by persons living here, who were born and brought up in
the East, but their children acquire them readily, and everywhere
on the trip, going and coming, I noticed these peculiarities more
in the talk of the women and children than in the men. I could only
account for this from the fact that men go out into the world more
and come in contact and consequently talk more with persons using
fewer provincialisms.

The students at the Iowa College in Grinnell had a field-day while
I was there, and during the games and races I could but notice
the striking difference between the features of these students and
those of Eastern young men. These Iowa boys have heads large and well
shaped enough, but their features are disproportionately large. Their
eyebrows are large and overhanging, their cheek bones are prominent,
their noses are heavy, mouths large, and under jaw bones strong
and marked. There is nothing brutal or exactly coarse about their
faces, but everything about them is large and heavy. I hardly saw a
small-featured, clean-cut, really refined face among the one hundred
and fifty young men.

The attendance at church in Grinnell is larger in proportion than in
any place in the East, probably. With a population of 3,500 the regular
attendance at the Congregational Church alone is eight or nine hundred.

When I left Grinnell, two members of their bicycle club, Messrs. Lee
Taylor and Geo. Lewis, accompanied me for twenty miles or more, and
although I was very glad of their company, the frequent tumbles they
took coasting, made me sorry they had undertaken the ride, with the
thermometer up in the nineties.

Iowa roads are decidedly better than those through Illinois. Although
there is the same system of repairing the highways in both States--the
ancient system of farmers working out their road tax where they
choose--yet Iowa farmers not only scrape their roads, but in many
places they were laying tiles along up the worst hills in order that
the roads might be drained in the spring. I saw more work done on
the roads the first afternoon in Iowa than I saw the whole week in
Illinois. And there is another thing to be said in favor of these
Western clay roads, roads that for hundreds of miles have been as
rough as any cobble street in a New England city (it is simply just
to give the devil his due), a rider can go within half an inch of
a clay rut and yet his wheel will not slide down into the rut. This
has saved me many a tumble.

Another thing: during dry spells, such as we are having throughout the
West now, the dust gets very fine but never very deep. The clay is so
tough it does not get cut up as much as our Eastern roads do during
a drought. But the coasting in Iowa, of which I expected so much, for
the country is a rolling prairie, was simply dangerous. The hills are
so full of hard hummocks, "dive holes" the wheelmen here call them,
that it shakes a fellow up terribly. Once I went off, going down a
steep hill at such a rate that my hands and knees struck the ground
simultaneously, and the knapsack tunked me on the back of the head
at about the same time, as if to remind me of man's fallen estate.

In almost every Western State the towns are just six miles square and
the roads cross each other at right angles at intervals of one mile;
consequently in traveling across the country diagonally, as I have
most of the time, it was necessary to travel much farther than if
the roads had been left as they were before the towns and counties
were laid out. Through Iowa the old stage road followed the "divide"
(what we call a ridge in the East) in many places, but when the towns
were laid out the road was made straight across the country, up and
down some very steep hills, in the western part of the State. The
log barns, pig pens, and corn cribs, so common in Ohio and Indiana,
disappear almost entirely in Illinois and Iowa, and instead appear
thatched barns and sheds. Poles are set in the ground and a cheap
frame fastened to them, the sides are perhaps covered with rough
sheathing boards and the roof thatched with hay; that constitutes
the most common barn to be seen in this part of the West. It is no
wonder so many cattle perish here during the severe winters. Heavy
timber is very scarce, which accounts for the lack of log cabins and
other log buildings.

Speaking about timber reminds me that they have no woods out here. They
always say "when you get through the timber" instead of when you
get through the woods. They don't have any swamps here either, they
are all "sloughs," pronounced "slews." When the Rock Island road was
first built it was a common sight on looking out of the car window
to see seams of coal near the surface in the cuts through which the
railroad ran. Now there are many farmers in Iowa who can go out and
dig up enough coal in a few minutes to last all day in their stoves.

Since I left Connecticut I have hardly seen a clear stream of
water. The Croton and Hudson Rivers were both very roily from the
heavy spring rains, and farther West the streams are muddy the year
round. Many times I have longed to strip and take a bath, but the
water was unfit for anything but hog wallows. I wonder if the black
soil and the consequently black muddy waters of these Western States
has had anything to do with the color of the hair on the hogs. A white
hog here in the West is as uncommon as a black hog in the East. When
this country was first settled the hogs were probably brought from
the East, and were white. Would wallowing in the black mud and water
for weeks and months during the hot summer season gradually change
the color of their hair to correspond to that of the soil in which
they spend so much of their time? This question must be left to the
evolutionists, who have explained, to their own satisfaction at least,
so many questions of a like nature.

The cultivation of small fruits in the West has assumed immense
proportions. Strawberries have glutted the markets to such an extent
that the price will hardly pay for the transportation. Five cents a
quart at retail has been the ruling price in many of these Western
cities. Blackberries, raspberries, and other small fruits will also be
very abundant. The extent to which the farm-work is done by machinery
is truly wonderful. The farmer rides while he plows, harrows, and
plants the corn, and the wheat is mostly sown in drills. The expense
of ditching the land has been very great, amounting in some cases to
ten dollars an acre, but now a machine digs the ditch, throws the dirt
one side, lays the tiling and covers it up again. Still later in the
season I shall probably see the wonderful harvesting machines. Fields
of corn containing from a hundred to one hundred and fifty acres are
common, in fact that is about the average crop raised by every farmer
here. But how they work! From 4 in the morning till 8 at night. They
would as soon think of stopping "to do the chores" in the middle of
the afternoon as at 6 o'clock. With all the help from the machinery
and horses, the Western farmer works very hard, much harder than the
New England farmer. And in Iowa he does not seem to be in very good
circumstances. His house is small and in poor repair, and his barns
are poorer still. With corn at 18 cents a bushel, wheat lower than
ever, butter 10 and 12 cents, eggs 8 cents, and all other farmers'
produce at like low figures, it requires immense crops to amount to
much of an income.

The people out here also raise large families of children. Such is
doubtless the case in all newly settled countries, but it is mentioned
as a curious fact that people who have lived childless in the East
for years, move out here, and immediately they are blessed with a
goodly number of healthy boys and girls.

The gilded dome of the capitol at Des Moines can be seen for eight or
ten miles in some directions, but the proportions of the dome are not
so graceful as those of our own in Connecticut. The outside diameter
is over 80 feet, with the inside 66 feet, while the height is 275
feet. The gilded part has a row of circular windows half way up, and
compared with our own the whole dome has a decidedly more "squatty"
appearance. The building is 240 by 360 feet, and inside is finished
very nicely. The staircases, door casings, wainscoting, pillars, and
panels are all or nearly all of genuine marble. In a country where
there are so many public buildings that are decorated inside with
imitations of every kind of marble known, it is quite refreshing to
see so much here that is real. Thirty-two kinds of marble are used
in the building. The house has only 100 members, the senate 50, the
increase in population making no difference in the number of members,
and yet the hall of the house is a very large room, 74 by 91 feet, and
47 feet high, and it is elegantly finished in marble, scagliola, and
black walnut. These pillars of scagliola on the sides of the room are
nearly as large as those at the entrance of our capitol at Hartford,
and are very dark and rich in color. This material can only be used
where there is little weight resting on the pillars for they are made
of plaster of Paris with an iron rod in the middle. This rod is placed
inside of a hollow cylinder, and plaster of Paris, variously colored,
and mixed with glue to prevent its hardening quickly, is packed around
it with occasionally a chunk of white plaster of Paris laid near the
outside of the pillar, when the pillar is taken out of the case, placed
in position and nicely polished, the various colors being brought
out with a most beautiful effect. The senate chamber is finished
in more elegant style, if anything, than the house, but it seemed
a pity to see in such a nicely furnished room, in the rear of the
president's chair, two large panels of a sickly green colored marble,
that were imitations of the real article, and very poor imitations,
too. But the structure taken as a whole is so well constructed, and
so nicely furnished, that it seems almost incredible that the cost
of the whole in its finished state will not be over $3,000,000.

In Western Iowa I encountered frequent steep hills, too steep for
safe coasting; and after rather ungracefully spinning down one of the
steepest, to the astonishment of on-looking pedestrians, I concluded
to take a railroad train to Omaha, which I reached in a few hours,
after completing my 1980th mile on the wheel.



CHAPTER IX.

AT THE BASE OF THE ROCKIES.


Omaha is booming as it never was before. Twenty years ago, when
Congress granted a charter to the Union Pacific Railroad Company,
the charter stated that the east bank of the Missouri River should be
the eastern terminus of the road, but as there was no bridge over the
river, the work of building the road naturally commenced on the west
side of the river, and this gave Omaha a start that it has improved
upon ever since. Council Bluffs, situated on the east side, about
three miles from the river, has always keenly felt the remarkable
success of its rival, and has used all its power to compel the Union
Pacific road to make the east side of the river the terminus; but
Omaha has thus far been, and the chances now are more strongly in
favor than ever of its always being, the practical terminus of the
road. When the bridge was built the Union Pacific trains were still
made up on the west side, until Council Bluffs threatened to apply to
Congress for the repeal of the charter, when a large transfer depot was
built on the east side, but, mark it, as far away from "the Bluffs"
and as near the river as possible. Now the stock-yards, which were
first built near the transfer depot, are being removed to Omaha,
wholesale firms are moving from the Bluffs over to the other side,
and, altogether, Council Bluffs is to be pitied; for, since it was a
good sized place itself, it has jealously seen its rival start from
nothing until now it is four times as large as itself.

The bridge, which was built soon after the road was finished, is now
found to be wholly inadequate, and a new double track bridge is soon to
take the place of the old one,--one not so very old either. It seems a
pity that so much labor should be rendered useless. The iron piers were
driven down, section by section, into the shifting bed of the river,
until men were working at the peril of their lives down seventy or
eighty feet below the water, and these piers rise sixty feet above
the river, and support an immense iron bridge; and yet all this labor
and much of the material will soon be dead property, for part of the
bridge has already been replaced by one with two tracks. The piers
of the new bridge are of stone and two of them are finished, having
been sunk to the same depth as the iron ones were. Probably the old
bridge being in position helps to facilitate the building of the new
one, but the old one will be all removed excepting the piers. The old
ferry-boats are gone now, and all teams are driven into the rear end of
a train of large box cars and thus taken across, leaving the train at
the opposite end from which they entered it. There is soon to be a new
Union depot at Omaha, built on an immense scale. The smelting works,
already the largest in the country, are being extended. The stock-yards
and packing houses are beginning to affect the Chicago business in
that line of trade; the wholesale houses are drawing business clear
from the Pacific coast; a new Board of Trade Building is being built,
besides many other fine blocks, and, altogether, things were never
booming more in Omaha than now. Most of their streets are of asphalt,
and a cable line of street cars is under contract.

I heard a fire alarm one day and expected to see fire engines go
tearing by, but not one did I see. They have no use for them in case
of fire. Their reservoirs are situated on so high a hill that the
force of the water is sufficient to throw a stream over the tallest
building. Only hose carriages and hook and ladder companies are
needed. The city water, pumped from the muddy Missouri, is really
the purest in the world. It comes two thousand miles from the Rocky
Mountains, and passes no city that can possibly defile the purity of
its immense volume. The fine sand is filtered from it, and the supply
will be never failing.

But the river itself has changed even more in its appearance than
the city, although that has grown from eighteen thousand to seventy
thousand in sixteen years; but these changes are much more noticeable
to me after an absence from the city of that length of time than
to residents. Then the river ran south along the bluff on the east
side of the valley, turned sharply to the northwest, and soon again
turned south close to Omaha; but ten years ago, during a high flood,
the river, in a single night, cut across this ox-bow of four miles in
length and only a mile wide, and commenced eating into the banks near
the Union Pacific railroad shops and smelting works. All the bags in
the country, for miles around, were brought to Omaha, filled with sand
and dumped into the river at this point, and engines, flat cars, and
hundreds of men were employed day and night, trying to hold the river
in check with immense rocks and broken stones. It was a hard fight,
but the sand bags and rocks finally conquered, and now the river is
roughly rip-rapped to a depth of nearly fifty feet and for a mile
in length. Sixteen years ago there was danger the river would cut
across near Council Bluffs, and leave Omaha high and dry three miles
to the west of it; but now there is more probability of its cutting
across six miles above, and coming down into the bend of the ox-bow
again. As it is now, this ox-bow is "Cut-off Lake," a clear body of
water that is much appreciated by boatmen and bathers. Even nature
seems to work on the side of Omaha.

There is a peculiarity of the clay soil here, very remarkable. In
the lowering and grading of streets incident to such a growing city,
many houses are left twenty and even twenty-five feet above the grade,
and yet when the soil is dug perpendicularly down within a foot of
the foundation of these houses, brick ones as well as frame, they
remain perfectly firm and secure for months and even years, a few
little creases only being worn, by the rains and frosts, down the
face of these walls of clay. The clay bluffs across the river, one or
two hundred feet high, are nearly perpendicular now in some places,
and yet they have been exposed to the weather for centuries, perhaps,
long before the pale-faced white settler knew of them at least.

After riding six hundred miles through the States of Illinois
and Iowa, over the prairies, both level and rolling, I am frank
to acknowledge that the prospect of five hundred miles more of the
same kind of scenery did not make me over enthusiastic to travel it
on my wheel. The riding, so far, has not been monotonous, and I did
not want it to become so. The object of the trip was not to make or
break records, and thus far, whenever I have found it desirable to
take a train, I have done so. But the ride through Nebraska would
be so very similar to what I had already experienced in Iowa, that
I thought a day's ride on the cars would do me no harm and the time
saved could be very profitably used in the mountains. The object of
my trip is to see the most of the country in the best possible way,
and thus far I think I have been fairly successful. The distance to
Omaha traveled by rail has been about 250 miles, and by wheel 2,000
miles, and the total expense, including about eight dollars car fare,
has been not quite forty dollars. This includes all repairs to wheel,
clothes, and every expense whatsoever. I probably have stopped over
night at farm-houses half the time, which has been the chief aid in
making the expense so light, but the accommodations have many times
been better than at some of the hotels. I have ridden till nearly dark
and then taken a hotel or farm-house, just as it happened. Much of
the time, seventy days, since leaving home has been spent in visiting
friends, but one can travel over the same route, in the same manner,
without a friend to visit on the way for less than a dollar a day.

Thus far I have been very lucky in not getting caught out in many
showers, and it really has rained very little where I have been. A
heavy rain at Omaha prevented further progress on the wheel, at least
for a few days, and decided me to take the train. Partly through the
influence of Mr. Charles M. Woodman, a wheelman, employed in the Union
Pacific office, I secured a ticket to Denver at reduced rates. A cap
has been the only thing I have worn on my head; the skin on my nose
has peeled off several times, and of course, my face and hands are
as brown as my seal-brown trousers. Even corduroy breeches could not
stand the pressure of those lumpy clay roads, and I have been obliged
to have them reseated with thick buckskin, dyed to match. My weight has
been reduced from fifteen to eighteen pounds, but a ravenous appetite
soon makes up for that reduction whenever I stop riding. The weight
of the knapsack is hardly noticed now.

I have written sometimes of the ignorance of the farmers in certain
sections of the West, and perhaps now it will be no more than fair to
refer to the utter lack of knowledge of their country of some persons
in Connecticut. Many thought snow drifts and mud would prevent any
wheeling outside of Connecticut for weeks after I started, but, as
far as I could see, the roads settle in "York State" as early as in
Connecticut. At any rate, I saw no snow or mud, unless it was up in the
mountains. Another thing that troubled some folks was how I should get
across the streams and rivers out West. The idea that occasionally I
might find a real bridge did not seem to enter their minds. The fact
is, not yet have I come to the smallest creek or pond of water but
which I crossed dry shod. Bridges are built here wherever they are
needed, just as they are in the East. Some Connecticut people went so
far as to doubt whether they had any roads out here at all. Many a one
asked me how I could ride across the prairie, and they seemed to take
it for granted I should ride upon the railroads, bumping along over
the half-covered ties. But strange as it may seem to those persons,
the people out here have horses and wagons, and ride over public
highways and bridges, very much the same as we do in the East. They
have churches and school-houses, Sunday-schools and revivals, morning
prayers and a blessing before meals, just as they do in staid old
New England. They are just as civilized and decidedly more open and
free hearted than in any part of Connecticut, only perhaps they are
not quite so refined; that is all the difference. To those who have
seen the Western people this talk may seem superfluous, but there
are many people in Connecticut, intelligent on every other subject,
who show supreme ignorance in regard to the manners and customs of
the people of their own country. And as for its being thinly settled,
any one can judge as to that when I say I have not been over half a
mile from a house at any time, unless it was up in the Highlands of
New York. There has been no more danger or difficulty in making the
trip than there is in traveling through New England. Thus far the
need of a revolver has never presented itself, neither has the idea
of getting one.

Well, I took the train at Omaha and was soon gliding swiftly through
the same rolling prairie that I had seen so much of in Iowa. But
these waves of green soon began to subside as the ocean does after
a storm, and the sun went down on a country as level and smooth as
the ocean itself. From the car window I could see the roads were
excellent--a mixture of sand and clay--but I did not regret that
I was on twelve wheels instead of two. The newsboys on the trains
out here are newsmen, full grown men. The one on the up train worked
steadily all the afternoon with his papers, books, oranges, bananas,
etc., and finally, when every one was tired of the very sight of him,
he brought in a basket of toys, and, sitting down on the arms of the
seats, amused the children in the car with snakes and jumping-jacks for
half an hour or more. Great liberty is allowed passengers traveling
such long distances, and little boys play leap-frog and perform all
sorts of gymnastic exercises in the aisle.

Along toward midnight the passengers had begun to thin out, and almost
every one had found a whole seat for himself, and had lain down with
his head or heels sticking out into the aisle. The conductor came
through occasionally, but was careful not to disturb any one, and in
picking his way along down this gauntlet of bare heads and big feet,
he would only hold up his lantern and peer into a face whenever that
head hung over into the aisle where a pair of boots projected half an
hour before. Everything had been quiet for some time, and the train at
midnight was running rapidly, when a low, plaintive moan issued forth
from the seat just ahead of me. The voice was rather low, at first,
and the sound was rather mournful. A head hung over into the aisle in
a very reckless manner, and the mouth was wide open, and yet there was
no complaint. The poor sufferer gradually raised his voice, and one
after another in the car had risen up and looked around till the car
once more seemed to be well filled with passengers. The somnorganist
ran up the scale, pulled out all the stops, and, doubled up as he was,
the knee-swell was used with powerful effect. It was soon becoming
evident that either the head would drop clear off and roll down the
aisle or that the bellows would burst, for the sound, loud as it was,
came out under great pressure, when a long suffering but very patient
passenger in a seat opposite jumped up and grabbing the poor fellow
by the shoulder almost yelled in his ear, "Look here, stranger,
do you know you have got the nightmare like a horse?" The roars of
laughter that followed were not diminished by the fact that the man
opposite did not realize he had said anything to cause it. I soon
found four seats together, and taking the cushions out and placing
them lengthwise of the car, made a very good bed, for I am so short
I could lie at full length.

The sun rose next morning over very much the same kind of a level
country, but snow-capped mountains were easily seen in the distance,
and a few hours later the train rolled into the station at Denver.



CHAPTER X.

ON PIKE'S PEAK.


We reached the top last night in a blinding snow and hail storm, with
the lightning snapping and cracking around our heads and the thunder
rolling around on all sides of us, below as well as above. But in
order to have it clearly understood how it came to be "we," and how
we came to get here, I must go back a little and give an account of
the trip since leaving the train at Denver.

The streets of that city are not paved, but they are so hard and smooth
most of the year that no one could find any fault with them. The fine
sand packs down very hard. The train which I took in Omaha reached
Denver so early in the morning that I found very few business
men at their stores and so I rode around the principal streets,
visited their fine county court-house, which must have cost in the
neighborhood of $300,000, and looked with wonder at the snow-capped
mountains to be seen at the end of every street, seemingly only a
few miles away to the north or west. Streams of clear water run down
the gutters of most of the streets, which gives to the city a very
cool and refreshed appearance. But one need not look to the streams
of water to feel revived; the very air was as crisp and cool as an
October morning in Connecticut. It became so cold in the cars the
night before that there was no sleep for any one not provided with
blankets to cover him, and they tell me this is a sample of their
weather all through the summer. In the middle of the day the sun is
hot, but in the shade it is never uncomfortable. It is a very dry
atmosphere, so that there is very little perspiration to be seen on
a person's face when exercising. For several weeks the salt sweat
has run down my forehead, in the heat of the day, and into my eyes,
making them smart and look glossy, but here the perspiration dries
before it can reach one's eyebrows. After being taken about the
city and entertained by Chief Consul Geo. F. Higgins (a royal good
fellow, light complexion, of medium height and build, and wearing a
moustache), and after being escorted out of the city by another member
of the club,--Mr. F. J. Chamard, also a light complexioned fellow,
we started on for Colorado Springs together. J. A. Hasley, a member
of the Kansas City Bicycle Club, reached Denver a few days before
I did, intending to take a trip in the same direction I was going,
and that is how we came to climb Pike's Peak together.

This chapter, and perhaps others to follow, will give our experiences
nearly in the order in which they occurred.

The first thing that surprised me was the sort of grazing country
to be seen on all sides. A farmer in Connecticut who would turn his
cattle out into such a scanty pasture to get a living would be a fit
subject for prosecution by the Humane Society. I had supposed that
Colorado was the finest grazing country in the world, and was never
more surprised than to see the dry, sandy, brown appearance of the
country. Only at a distance did it look green; close to, but a few
scanty bunches, or rather spears of grass could be seen. Actually, such
fields in the Eastern States would not be considered fit for even sheep
pastures. The only way the herds of horses and cattle get a living is
by traveling. They are at liberty to roam over thousands of acres,
and in that way manage to subsist. The winters are not very severe,
but it is no wonder so many cattle perish when the supply of grass,
scanty at the best, is covered with a few inches of snow. Irrigation
is carried on to a great extent, but from what I can see it was more
for the purpose of watering the stock than for bringing the land
up to a high state of cultivation. So far I have seen very little
land producing a fair crop of fodder, and that is all they intend to
raise. There is no turf to be seen growing naturally.

The ride south, from Denver to Colorado Springs, was over a very
fair road, although there was probably ten miles of walking in the
seventy-five miles. To the east of us was a level or slightly rolling
country, while on the other side the snow-covered mountains loomed
up apparently only twenty-five miles, but in reality seventy-five
miles away. Even the foot-hills, so called, mountains four and five
thousand feet above us, were twenty-five miles distant. Such is the
clearness of the atmosphere one would think he could walk over to
them in a couple of hours. That afternoon, just after the sun had sunk
beneath the snowy tops, we struck some Colorado mosquitoes. The first
intimation we had of their presence, while riding along at a lively
gait, was a prickling sensation all over the calves of our legs, and
my stockings were actually black with them. An Eastern mosquito will
usually be somewhat embarrassed in his business affairs by a slight
motion of the body or a wave of the hand, but these in Colorado are
not annoyed in the least by the circular motion of a flying wheelman's
legs, and will alight upon his calves and proceed to business with a
dispatch that is equaled nowhere else in the world. And be it said
to the credit of their excellent military discipline, they never
stop drilling or desert their post till they are crushed or brushed
away. Once I jumped from the machine in agony, and such a jar would
tend to dislodge an ordinary specimen of this kind of animal, but
not so with these; every one remained at work, and thirteen perished
at a time from one slap of my hand. Many a dismount resulted nearly
as disastrously to the enemy, but this cost too much in time, and
brushing away while riding was finally resorted to as the least
expensive means of warfare. They seemed to go in swarms like bees,
and made a noise nearly as loud. The next morning we rode through
another army of them, but the only lasting result of the whole fight
has been to give us a very satisfying occupation, whenever there was
nothing more important on hand, in scratching the different areas of
our legs below the knees and regularly returning to the same locality
always with renewed relish.

Prairie dogs were quite common along the road, and they would sit on
their little mounds and remonstrate with us in a squeaking voice for
disturbing them, till we were close upon them. Jack rabbits were not
so common, only three or four having been seen thus far.

That night we walked down a lane to a ranch to find shelter for the
night, when a horse, taking fright at our machines, tried to jump over
the gate at the foot of the lane, and in doing so, gate, horse, and all
came down in a heap together with a crash. The horse jumped up and went
off limping, but we thought the next ranch would be a safer place for
us, and so we kept on a couple of miles and got an excellent supper,
but our bed was on the floor in an old store-room. This slight hardship
was soon forgotten in the crisp, cool air of the next morning, and we
rode along, hugely enjoying the mountain scenery on our right, till
we met a drove of horses and cattle in the road, where barbed-wire
fences inclosed the highway on both sides. The horses took fright
first and stampeded down the road followed by the cows and calves,
the seventy-five or a hundred head leaving a great cloud of dust
behind them. The ranchman, who was driving them to water, tried his
best, with the vigorous use of his lungs and a shovel in his hands,
to stop them by running backwards and forwards across the road,
and after we had dismounted and gone clear out to the fence he
succeeded in driving them past us. Coming up all out of breath and
his eyes flashing with excitement, the full-bearded ranchman yelled,
"By J----s, you fellows will get shot down here before you go very
far with them things! If my horses had gone over that wire fence,
by J----s, I should have wanted to put a hole through you," then
cooling down a little at our expressed regrets, he said, oaths omitted,
"a while ago, coming from Denver with a load of oats, I met a couple
of fellows on their velocipedes and they were yelling and hollering,
and did not offer to stop. My horses saw them first, and started
down the hill as if nothing was hitched to them. They turned down the
railroad track and took that forty hundred of oats over those ties as
if they were feathers. I finally stopped them down in the cut, but I
was mad, you bet. Those dudes were strangers around here or they would
not have said what they did to me. They told me to go talk to a dog
and to do some other things. They did not know enough to keep their
mouths shut after they had got me into that fix. So I just pulled
my belt gun and held it up. 'Now,' says I, 'you just come back or
I will corral you. While I go out and stick up a couple of flags,
you just lay down those things and go and pack those bags of oats
out here into the road.' They wouldn't at first, but finally did,
and it did me good to see them New York dudes tugging away at them
300 pound sacks. I unhitched the horses and made them fellows pull
the wagon back and load the oats in again, but they emptied both
their bottles before they got through."

To appreciate this story, and the manner in which it was told, one
needs to hear it highly spiced, as it was with the huge oaths and many
of the strange expressions used out here. The conversation turned on
other subjects, and before he finally bade us "good luck," I learned
that droves of mares and a few stallions are turned out loose, and
in a short time each stallion has selected his drove of mares to look
after and guard, and no mare from any other drove will be allowed to
come near his drove. One day a mule tried to get near a drove and the
stallion was kept busy all day biting and driving that mule away,
who scampered off only to return again to bother the stallion so
much he had no chance to eat for hours. With cattle it is the same,
the bulls selecting their drove of cows to guard and none from any
other drove need apply for admission.

As we traveled south, the range of foot-hills turned to the east
until we rode along nearly at the base of them. The top of Pike's
Peak was plainly to be seen over these foot hills all day, and this
snow-covered peak seemed to travel south on the other side of this
range of hills just as fast as we did. It looked more like a hooded
ghost peering over the green hills at us than a mountain peak 14,000
feet high. As we rode along it would go out of sight behind a hill,
only to reappear again farther south, always keeping just so far
ahead of us. This game of hide and seek did not end till we reached
Colorado Springs, where the peak was directly west of us.

We had ridden but a few miles from Denver, when the thin air began to
affect me. Hill climbing was out of the question, and the smallest
patch of sand or the slightest up grade would make me puff like a
winded horse. I tried to breathe entirely through my nose, but the
suffocating feeling was unbearable, and so I rode along, mouth wide
open. The dry atmosphere parched my tongue and mouth, and my tongue,
shriveled to half its size, rattled around in my mouth like a wooden
spoon in a bowl. Again I tried to keep my mouth shut, but that was
impossible, so I made up my mind to get used to it, and rode miles
without any water. Even water would only keep my mouth moist a
short time.

We reached Palmer Lake, a pleasant resort 7,000 feet high, about
noon. This place is nearly 1,000 feet higher than either Denver
or Colorado Springs, and the grade descends both to the north
and south. The foot-hills, three or four thousand feet higher, are
close by to the west, and to the east the country is a rolling sea of
green. But the most beautiful sight of all is the wild flowers. White,
red, yellow, blue, purple, violet, in fact all the colors imaginable
are seen in great profusion on all sides, acres and acres of nothing
else, these beautiful little flowers not over three or four inches
high growing so closely together as to crowd out what little green
grass tried to grow there. In fact, while all the colors of the
rainbow but this one lived closely and happily together, green
seemed to be an outcast among them. And the colors which one would
naturally think would be pale and faded growing in such a dry and
sandy soil were just the opposite. I never saw such vivid colors. The
varieties were mostly foreign to me, but I shall always remember the
colors. Occasionally, rising above these fields of little flowers,
were red and white thistles, red and white cactuses, and Spanish
bayonets, or soap weed as they call it, all in full blossom, too.

I can't begin to describe the delightful ride down from Palmer
Lake. The coasting over a road, perfectly smooth, that wound around
and over little knolls that gave a wavy motion to the ride; this was
enjoyment enough in itself, but to go gliding along without using a
muscle in this delightful manner, and see the foot hills, perfectly
green to their tops, and the pure white peaks sparkling in the sun
rising just above them, all only a mile or two away seemingly, on the
right, and to the left these immense fields of the very brightest
and most beautiful flowers ever seen, growing close up to the road
and stretching out into the distance till their colors were lost in
the pale-green of the rolling prairie--to thus imperfectly describe
the scene is all I can do; one must see it to realize it.

Saturday morning, early, we reached Manitou, where water power
furnishes the hotels with electric lights, and started up Ute Pass
on our wheels, to visit the Grand Cavern. We were going to leave our
wheels and walk up, but a guide told us it was good riding over the
other side of this mountain, from the Cave of the Winds down through
Williams Cañon, back to Manitou; so we pushed the wheels up a mile
over a very good carriage road, six or eight hundred feet high,
to the Grand Cavern, with the intention of going across, but here
the fun commenced. The only way across was by a narrow trail, but
the guide at the cavern said it was all down hill, and so we kept
on. The trail went down the side of the mountains very steep, and we
had not gone far when it was evident it was the wrong trail, and so
back we started; but it took us both to get one wheel up at a time,
and the way it made us puff--well, strong as we both were it took every
ounce of strength we had to get back. After hunting around awhile we
found the right trail, and started on in the direction of Williams
Cañon, which was plainly to be seen just below. The trail came to an
end at the edge of the cañon, which was three or four hundred feet
straight down, but an immense hole, perhaps twenty-five feet across,
went down into the bowels of the mountain about two hundred feet,
to the entrance of the Cave of the Winds. Rickety ladders and shaky
stairs wound down around the inside of this hole, and down these we
must go with our wheels! Yes, the guide was right, it was down hill
with a vengeance. We took my wheel first, it being the lightest,
and Hasley went down a few rounds on the ladder and then took hold
of the big wheel and held it firm so that the rubber tire slid down
the ladder. I held on to the handle bar with one hand and the ladder
with the other, and thus we reached the bottom of the first ladder,
step by step, but safely. The next pair of steep stairs went under
the shelving rocks so close that there was not room to get the wheel
down, and so we lifted it over the edge of the railing, and I let
it down as far as I could with one hand, and Hasley ran down to the
next stairs underneath and caught the wheel as I let go. The rest of
the stairs were not so steep, but a single misstep at any time would
have sent us all to the bottom of this hole in unseemly haste. Getting
Hasley's wheel down was a repetition of our first experience, only his
was heavier, and the stairs creaked more, and it was more difficult
to get his machine over the railing and let it down at arm's length,
to be caught by the other underneath; but at the entrance of the cave,
stairs led down under a boulder, suspended as that one was at the Flume
in the White Mountains, and out into the daylight of the cañon, and
we were soon down in the road, hardly realizing how we had got there.

The scenery down the cañon was so grand, and the whole trip was so
exciting, that we did not regret at the end that we had taken our
wheels where no other wheels have ever been, and where no other wheels
ever ought to be taken again.

While we were taking a late breakfast at the Cliff House at
Manitou--Manitou is at the very base and almost surrounded by
mountains--a young gentleman asked us if we would escort two young
ladies up to the top of Pike's Peak, and of course we were only too
glad to have the opportunity. But at the last moment one of the ladies
refused to go, because it would prevent her attending the first hop of
the season; and the other lady who was so enthusiastic that her sense
of propriety barely prevailed over her intense desire to climb up the
peak, said, sadly disappointed, as she left us: "Now I will go up to
my room and have a good cry," and her eyes were already running over.

The scenery up the ravine for two or three miles was magnificent,
huge boulders filling the gorge, down which a good-sized stream went
dashing over and under these boulders in every conceivable manner. In
fact, the sides of the mountains up a thousand feet, were covered with
huge boulders just on the point of rolling down, and once in a while
between them we could catch a glimpse of the country below. Five miles
up the trail, which is a very good foot path, is the Half Way House,
and we felt much encouraged to find it had taken us only two hours. But
from there up, for four miles, the trail went through timber mostly,
and we began to get winded. Hasley kept his mouth shut most of the
time, which I could not do from the first; but for two hours we had
not a drop of water to drink.

Just below timber line, which is 12,000 feet above the sea, we met
parties coming down, three and four at a time, and they encouraged
us by saying: "Only four miles farther," "Keep your strength for the
last two miles," "You will have to leave the trail the last mile and
follow the telegraph poles up over the snow." Still our legs held out
all right, but I began to get dizzy whenever I looked up or stooped to
drink at a running stream of snow-water. Finally, snow was the only
thing to moisten our mouths, but we both drank or ate very sparingly
of this. About one thousand feet above timber line we had to cross
snow-drifts one or two hundred feet across, and very soon our feet
were cold and wet. Sometimes the snow would let us down to our hips,
and then we would wallow along to some projecting rocks and climb
up. This took my breath the worst of anything, and I laid down on
the rocks, completely exhausted sometimes.

About this time a snow-storm commenced, and the wind blew so cold we
could only stop a short time to get our wind. The flashes of lightning
were getting to be altogether too frequent to be pleasant, and the snow
and hail were so blinding we could scarcely see from one telegraph
pole to another, for now we had left the trail, and were climbing
straight up the side of the peak, with nothing in sight but rocks and
boulders half covered with snow. Sometimes we slipped down through
these boulders, and then after crawling out, the only thing to do was
to lie down with our backs to the driving storm and get rested. When
I started on again it was to stagger like a drunken man, for I was
dizzy most of the last mile all the time. When we were sure the top
must be just over the brow of the steep hill we were slowly climbing,
we finally reached there only to see those telegraph poles leading
almost straight up into the air and out of sight up the steepest
and most rocky hill we had yet encountered. Once in the blinding
snow-storm we lost track of the poles, but it was only because one had
been blown down, and the next was hidden entirely from view. Finally,
after crawling, staggering, and climbing up and over the last mile of
rocks, and using up an hour and a half in doing it, I caught sight of a
big stone house through the fog and snow, and yelled to Hasley with all
the strength I had left, and that wasn't much: "Look at the chimneys."

Those who have done any mountain climbing can better imagine our
feelings at that moment than I can describe them. Much as we regretted
it at first, how thankful we were those ladies had not started up
with us, for we never could have reached the top with them. But, as
if to repay us for being deprived of their presence, those beautiful
little wild flowers accompanied us all the way up, growing brighter in
color, if that were possible, the higher up they grew, until on the
very top of the peak, 14,147 feet above the sea, we picked a lovely
little bouquet from beneath a few inches of snow. These tiny flowers,
not more than an inch in height, grow close to a melting drift of
snow and ice wherever there is the least bit of sand or soil to
nourish them. The two signal service men, Messrs. Ramsay and Potter,
did everything possible for us, and in a very short time we were
ourselves again. These two men were so kind and considerate toward
us, and made us feel so much at home, that we concluded to prolong
our stay on the summit until Monday.

Distance traveled on the wheel, 2,075 miles.



CHAPTER XI.

BACK TO DENVER.


"The sun is about to rise," whispered Mr. Ramsay, as he softly
opened our room door and then disappeared. Mr. John P. Ramsay is the
Government signal officer in charge of the station at Pike's Peak, a
young wheelman that everyone likes from the first. We were sleeping
soundly in a comfortable bed on the top of the Peak this Sunday
morning, entirely oblivious of the somewhat severe experience we
had in climbing, the afternoon before, but at the first sound of the
call we jumped out of bed, slipped on our shoes, and, wrapping some
heavy blankets around us, went out the east door and stood on a mat,
which was frozen stiff, and where the wind blew about our bare legs
and up the folds of the blanket with decidedly too much freedom. We
waited there fifteen or twenty minutes, shaking from head to foot,
but the sight amply repaid for the discomfort. The sun was sending
great broad streamers up into the sky, and a bank of black clouds,
which in the distance looked like a range of mountains, still hid the
sun from view. We looked over the brow of Pike's Peak, which, on top,
is nothing but huge boulders and rocks imbedded in banks of snow, down
upon other peaks twelve or thirteen thousand feet high surrounding
us on all sides, and looking cold and black in the dim light of the
morning. At the base of the Peak on which we stood the level plains
stretched out probably 150 miles to the east, where a band of gold
was just beginning to gild that bank of clouds. No fog, or mist;
nothing obstructed the view in any direction, and everything, even in
the darkness, seemed to stand out with peculiar clearness. Soon the
broad streamers faded away, the band of gold rendered more dazzling
by the blackness of the clouds, began to widen till the whole bank
of clouds seemed to be one mountain of gold. Finally, after a long
while, as it seemed to us shivering in the cold, the upper outlines
of the sun could just be seen through the fiery clouds, and when the
round ball stood out clear and distinct above the clouds we crawled
back to bed and to sleep. Is seems almost useless to try to describe
such a scene, for no one can get an idea of the sight from the most
perfect description.

The house up there, built of stone, contains six good-sized rooms. Six
or eight persons can be comfortably housed over night, and no one
who has experienced the difficulties of the climb would complain
of the food, for we had a variety and it was well cooked. I sat out
doors nearly all day in the warm sun and the view was not hidden till
nearly night. We could look down into the streets of Colorado Springs,
fifteen miles away, almost as one would upon a checker board.

During the day several parties came up, some on horses, to within a
mile and a half of the top, where snow covers the trail and renders
further progress on horseback impossible, but everyone looked pale and
exhausted. Hot coffee brought them around all right in a short time. A
party of us went over to the north side of the Peak and tumbled rocks
down the side. Some of these went crashing down nearly two thousand
feet before they stopped.

During the afternoon clouds gathered, but just before sunset the sun
came out and the shadow of the Peak was plainly seen against the
clouds to the east. Even the shadow of the square stone house was
discerned, and then two of us went out to one end of the house, and
surely, there we were, standing like the spectres of the Brocken near
the shadow of the house, out over the plains twenty-five miles away
and fourteen thousand feet above the ground. To be sure our shadows
were not as clean cut as though we were nearer the object on which
the shadows were cast, but anyone could see the general form.

About 9 o'clock that night a terrific thunder storm raged out over the
plains to the northeast. The highest clouds were not much above, and
most of them far below us. We heard none of the thunder and saw very
little of the lightning as it flashed, but the whole mass of clouds
was lighted up incessantly. It was a grand sight. The whole sky to the
north, west, and south, was perfectly clear, and the stars shone out
with remarkable clearness, notwithstanding the full moon was shining
so brightly and placidly out over the plains to the east. Everywhere
else the world was at peace, but in the northeast those clouds made
silver by the light of the moon, were rolling and tumbling and were
constantly lighted by the fiery flashes of lightning. And yet not a
sound was to be heard. There was no wind, and everything above and
below was so quiet and still. And from the northeast, where we could
see such a great commotion, there was not the faintest sound. If
there had been no clouds anywhere that night the stillness would
have seemed natural enough, but to see such a terrific storm raging
(and I never saw lightning before), and to see the wind tearing those
clouds all to pieces, and yet to have everything so silent you could
almost hear yourself think, that was a most weird situation.

The weather on Pike's Peak is hardly more severe than it is below, even
during the winter. For severity, it is not to be compared with that
of Mt. Washington. The wind never blows harder than seventy-five or
eighty miles an hour. The roof of the house is a common tin one. They
keep up a wood fire the year round. The telegraph wires are not kept
in repair, so the weather reports are only sent in by rail. Pike's
Peak is not in reality a very important weather station.

As if to give us one more startling effect before we started down,
the next morning opened cloudy. The morning before we seemed to be on
the edge of some great ocean that stretched out to the east as far as
the eye could reach, but now we were cast away at sea ourselves. The
clouds covered the whole earth in all directions and were so solid
and motionless that they looked like one great sea of light gray
marble, beautifully carved and polished, but we were high above this
sea of marble, and were looking down upon it. The sun had just risen
above it when I opened my eyes, and I could hardly believe what they
told me. The light brought out every line and feature of the glassy
clouds, and the peak on which we were was, apparently, only about
2,000 feet above the level of this sea, for it surrounded us on all
sides. Occasionally, here and there, other peaks pierced through the
clouds like so many rocky islands, but there was not a rift anywhere
to indicate that there was a beautiful earth beneath this great ocean
of gray, polished marble, solid enough apparently to walk upon. Very
soon the sun took the polish off the clouds, and before long they
grew fleecy and soon broke up and passed away.

Leaving our friends at the top with regret, for I could have spent a
month there with the utmost enjoyment, we started down and reached
the base, without trouble or fatigue, in three hours and a half, a
journey of twelve miles that consumed seven hours in going up, besides
using the last ounce of strength we had in doing it, too. Coming
down we picked a few flowers near the top to send home, but every
few yards a new variety showed itself, and of course we had to get
a few of that kind, too, till our hands were full of the beautiful
tiny little things. Then we swore off and would not pick another one;
but then another variety, prettier than any of the others, peeped
up at us between the rocks, and before we came down to timber line,
12,000 feet above the sea, pockets, hands, and hats were full of the
bright colored little flowers. After a hearty meal at the Cliff House
we mounted, and our machines were so thoroughly rested they almost
ran away with us down the grade out of Manitou.

To the Garden of the Gods next. All along the base of the mountains,
from Denver south for seventy-five miles, are immense slabs of red and
white sandstone projecting into the air edgewise, and running parallel
with the range of mountains. Some of these slabs must have been 500
or 1,000 feet high originally, but the action of the rain and frost
on their crumbling nature has reduced many of them to steep ridges
of red and white soil, along the center of which runs the remnant of
the original slab, looking like the backbone of some pre-historic
animal. In the Garden of the Gods a few of these slabs remain with
very little debris about their base. Some of them, five or six
hundred feet long, stick right up into the air three or four hundred
feet high, and they are so honey-combed and the edges so rounded and
worn, that the action of water is plainly to be seen on them. No one
can visit this part of the country without being impressed with the
idea that these mountains were once the rocky shores of an immense
ocean and the incessant action of the waves has wrought out all the
curious-shaped rocks and ledges which make Colorado so celebrated. But
when the subject is broached as to what force in nature was powerful
enough to turn these strata of rocks up edgewise in the first place,
a traveling wheelman drops that subject as he would an ichthyosaurus.

Glen Eyrie is another place about a mile above, that abounds in these
same slabs, not so large, and more slender and needle shaped. This
place is private property and is nicely fixed up with drives, trout
ponds, and fountains. The drives through these places of interest
are very fine, and when we started back to Colorado Springs over
a high, level road, running along a high ridge, the wind sent us
along as we never rode before. On the level, a brake was necessary,
and we even went coasting up good steep grades. This kind of riding
lasted for nearly five miles, and was enjoyed intensely, but after a
short stop at the "Springs" with a few very enthusiastic wheelmen,
among them Messrs. Walker and Parsons, we turned about for Denver,
and faced that same strong wind for fifteen miles, till we found
a good resting place for the night at a ranch, which is simply
a good farm-house. The next morning after we got over the divide,
near Palmer Lake, the wind sent us flying again down the grade. Such
coasting! Sometimes side by side, at other times in single file, we
passed the fields of wild flowers that seemed to have improved since
we last saw them; for the pale yellow blossoms of the cactus plants,
as large as the palm of our hand, were much more numerous than a few
days before. Then we scattered horses and colts, cows and calves, in
all directions; dreadfully scared the poor little prairie dogs that
were caught away from home, and made the others who were perched on
their mounds, terribly excited. The little animals sometimes dig their
holes in the middle of the road, and as we went noiselessly along,
we thought we might sometimes catch them unawares, but no. Prairie
dogs have ears. They always heard us coming, and would keep up a
constant squeaking noise till the last minute, and sometimes after
they had dodged out of sight they would pop their heads up once more,
utter one last squeak, and disappear for good.

I have often wondered why so many plants grow here supplied with
thorns and sharp pointed leaves. There are the thistles, cactus,
Spanish bayonet, and two or three other species, the names of which
are unknown to me, but the extent to which their sharp points will
penetrate a wheelman's stockings can be accurately stated; even the
spears of grass are as sharp pointed as a needle. They do say that
sheep will eat the cactus at certain times in the year. It is not
stated at just what period in their existence the sheep do this, but
it is probably a short time before they cease to exist. When their
bill of fare is limited to a single article of diet, men have been
known to eat obnoxious things, and probably the sheep eat the cactus
for the same reason. O yes, Colorado is a great grazing country, noted
for being such. It is also noted for being a country where sometimes
forty per cent. of the stock die in a single winter, simply because
there is nothing to eat. The land will not produce enough to keep them
alive. Let the snow come a few inches deeper than usual, and the only
thing for the stock is to starve to death. The ranchmen don't pretend
to house their stock or store up fodder enough to keep them alive when
the snow has covered the few spears of grass too deep to be uncovered
by pawing. I am told that horses, raised in a warm climate, do not
know enough at first when turned out into a field covered with snow,
to paw the snow away and nibble the grass underneath, but they soon
learn to do so from seeing others, but even pawing does not always
save the poor creatures. I was agreeably surprised, in talking with
a ranchman, to hear him express himself strongly in favor of a law to
prevent anyone raising more stock than he could house and feed during
the winter. The desert of Sahara, judging from what I have read, is
nearly as good for farming as that part of Colorado I have seen is for
stock raising. New York tenement houses and Colorado stock farms are
equally good for producing young lives and for killing them off young,
too. The ranchman who expressed a desire to put a hole through us for
scaring his horses on our way down to the Springs, now recognized and
waved his hand to us as we returned. We stopped at a farm-house to get
some milk, and while waiting in the dining-room I noticed with surprise
well-worn books in the book case, such as "Draper's Intellectual
Development of Europe," "Geographical Distribution of Animals," by
Wallace, "Elements of Geology," by Le Conte, "English Men of Letters,"
by Morley, other books by Geike, and many more of like nature. Think
of such books as these being read out here on a Colorado ranch, 2,200
miles away from the intellectual hub of the universe! I am sorry to
say the ranchman by birth is not an American, but an Englishman.

A little farther on, and we overtook a lady on horseback. She did not
hear us, but the horse did, and began to act skittish, and not knowing
what to make of his actions the lady jumped off. We got by without
much trouble, however, but it would never do to ride on leaving the
lady dismounted. Here was a state of things. Not a house in sight
for miles over the level prairie, not a wagon, box, or anything but a
barbed-wire fence to assist the lady to regain the saddle, and with
her long riding habit it was impossible to do it alone. One thing,
and only one thing could be done. One of us must clasp his hands
together on his knee, and in thus making a step for her, help her
to mount into the saddle. Now, there were two of us, one tall, the
other short. For her to step up on the knee of the taller one would
be more difficult than to step up on the knee of the shorter one. So
it fell to the lot of the embarrassed writer to do the service. The
lady mounted easily to the saddle and we left her.

On reaching Denver and looking back over the trip, I felt I had
accomplished all and more than I really expected to do when I left
home. Not but that I had a strong desire before I started to see the
wonders in California, but I thought if I reached Pike's Peak, it
would be doing a great deal, all I felt confident of doing then. But
now that I reached the goal of my spring ambition so easily, no small
consideration would induce me to turn back. I was in better physical
condition than when I left home, and the farther I went the more
confidence it gave me to continue the journey across to the Pacific.

Distance on the wheel, 2,158 miles.



CHAPTER XII.

ACROSS THE PLAINS.


Until now I had expressed a valise, with extra baggage, along to the
different cities, but found I could carry everything I needed in the
knapsack; and so, leaving the rubber suit behind with the valise,
for I was entering a rainless district, and putting on a thinner pair
of trousers, I left Denver on the 24th of June.

We started on again, in a northerly direction, accompanied for
several miles by Mr. J. W. Bryant, and reached Longmont, after a ride
of thirty-five miles over miserable roads, rendered more miserable
by the water that overflows them from the numerous ditches along the
way. Here we found that a ride back to the southwest, to Boulder, and
into the mining regions of Boulder County, would make a pleasant little
side excursion, and so the next noon we rode over to Boulder, twenty
miles, and stopped an hour or so at one of the sampling works. Here
large quantities of ore are bought off the miners, and crushed and
ground fine as flour, ready to be shipped to the smelting works at
Denver and other points.

The process of finding the amount of gold or silver in a sample of
ore is very interesting. After the ore is reduced to a fine powder,
a small quantity of it, perhaps a teaspoonful, is nicely weighed out,
and put into an earthern saucer, with perhaps ten times that amount
of lead ore in the same powdered state. The saucer is placed in a
furnace, and the lead soon absorbs the gold and silver and settles
to the bottom, leaving the worthless part of the powder to rise to
the top in the shape of dark-colored glass. This button of lead,
with the gold and silver absorbed in it, is then placed in a little
cup made of burnt bone. This cup is then placed in the furnace and
the bone absorbs all the lead, leaving a speck of the precious metal
about as large as the head of a small pin. The gold and silver are
then separated by placing this speck in nitric acid, which absorbs
the silver, and the pure gold is left in the bottom of the glass. I
understand that this process, on a small scale, is practically the
same as that employed at the large smelting works. In this way miners
can find out at a very little expense just what their ore is worth
per ton from a comparatively small sample.

We started up Boulder Cañon, a gorge in the mountain that is very
picturesque, but whose sides are not so perpendicular as those of
Williams Cañon at Manitou. We rode and walked up this cañon nine miles
to Salina, where we stayed at night. A large stream comes roaring
down the cañon, and the narrow gauge track of the Colorado Central
Railroad goes up at a very steep grade. The course of the stream is
so crooked and the cañon so narrow, that in the nine miles there
are over fifty railroad bridges. All along up the cañon the sides
of the mountain are fairly honey-combed with holes, dug during the
mining excitement in 1859, and since, but now the holes, shanties,
and everything about the region seems to be deserted.

Salina is a genuine mining town of perhaps a hundred inhabitants,
and entirely different from anything that I expected. I supposed that
even now a man took his life in his hands when he visited one of these
mining towns, but during the evening, and all the time we were there,
the place was as quiet and peaceable as any New England town--decidedly
more so than any factory village. I saw many well-dressed young ladies
and gentlemen all going in one direction, and found it was the night
for the temperance lodge to meet, and that the members include all
but about a dozen persons in the community. During the evening two
little boys at the boarding-house seemed to want to get acquainted,
and so I asked one how old he was. "My brother is eight years old,
and I am ten days older than he is," he answered. How that could be
the little fellow was unable to explain, and so am I.

The next morning we visited the First National Mine, which, to all
outward appearances, is nothing more than a small shanty up the
side of the mountain, with a heap of rocks thrown out to one side of
it. Inside is a hole in the floor just large enough for a half barrel
bucket to go through, and beside this hole is a trap-door just large
enough to let a man's body down. The rocks are raised by a windlass
run by horse power outside.

With old coats and hats on and a lighted candle in our hands, we
followed the overseer down through the trap-door. The ladders down
which we climbed were straight up and down, and about all I could see
as I followed the others was the light of their candles. About once
in fifty feet we came to a platform and then started down another
ladder. The ladders went close to one side of the shaft, which was
protected with heavy timbers on the sides, and on the other side was
the hole down which the bucket went, two hundred and fifteen feet,
to the bottom. It was rather awkward holding on to the rounds of the
ladder with a candle in one hand, but I kept a firm grip till the
rounds began to get slippery from the mud and water, and then the
descent was anything but pleasant. Sometimes the ladders, instead
of going straight down, leaned over from the top a little, and then
it was hard work to keep my feet from slipping off. It was so dark
in there I could only see the black bucket hole on one side and the
two lighted candles beneath me, and how far down a fellow would go,
should his hands or feet slip off the slimy rounds, I had no idea; only
I know every nerve in my body was strung up and every muscle was hard.

At last, and it seemed an age, we got down to where the men were
working. Two hundred feet down, tunnels, just large enough for men to
work in, were run out in opposite directions, and at the ends of these
tunnels the men were drilling and blasting. And what were these men
after, down in this hole in the solid rock, over two hundred feet from
the surface? Simply to get out a little narrow streak of dark-colored
rock, not over two or three inches wide. This little streak went
nearly straight down into the earth, and these men were following it
wherever it went, excavating probably fifty tons of refuse rock in
order to get one ton of the ore sufficiently valuable to work up.

Then we started up, and as I was the last to go up I was wondering all
the way if I could keep my hold on the rounds if one of the others
should slip and drop on me; but they did not have occasion to test
my grip in that way, and we reached the top all right, only I had
to stop and rest once, more because of the nervous excitement than
anything else, and then you can imagine my feeling, suspended over
that black hole with just strength to keep from falling, but with
none to go higher. The memory of that experience will never be very
pleasant to me.

Up three miles farther into the mountains and we came to Gold Hill,
another mining town, full of saloons, but otherwise harmless, then down
Left Hand Cañon, over a very fair road, out upon the plains again,
and back to Longmont. On our way back we stripped off our clothes
and took a bath in one of the ditches near the road.

A pleasant ride the next day of thirty miles brought us to Fort
Collins, where I found many former residents of Connecticut.

The mosquito record of thirteen killed at one slap has been broken
several times since reference was last made to the subject. The
mosquitoes, which swarm everywhere, rarely trouble us about the
hands or head, but the revolving motion of the legs seem to attract
them, and they collect on our stockings in regular military array,
every one headed toward the knee--of all the hundreds, and perhaps
thousands, that have alighted on us, we never have seen one headed
the other way--and many of them in straight lines, four and six in a
row. Once, after enduring the pricking sensation as long as I could,
I jumped off my wheel, and with a single slap on each stocking put
thirty-two of the sweet singing little creatures on their way to the
place where everybody sings. This was the result of the first two
blows, and there were several outlying sections to be heard from that
increased this number somewhat, for a Colorado mosquito that escapes
death the first slap is sure to wait for the second one. In fact,
one could almost tell the size of my hand by the area of crushed
mosquitoes on my stockings, which was almost entirely surrounded
by those still waiting and working. The reader may say the habits
of these mosquitoes are of little interest to him, but to me the
mosquitoes had points of keen interest about them.

The number of light complexioned men in Colorado is very noticeable. I
began to observe it at Denver and at Colorado Springs, and at Manitou
it was even more marked, till it seemed as if every man, woman,
and child had light, very light-blue eyes, and a light moustache;
that is, every one that wears a moustache of any color. Wheelmen,
guides, cowboys, they all had the same smiling blue eyes that seemed
to win one's confidence at the outset. Denver is noted for having many
confidence men and bunco steerers, but there is no class of men I would
sooner trust myself with than the ranchmen, guides, and cowboys of
Colorado. They like to open one's eyes by telling what they have done
in the past, but in the mountains, mines, or on the plains a traveler
is as safe in their hands as he would be in any city in the East.

There is a decided improvement in the general aspect of the country
north of Denver, through Longmont and Fort Collins, upon what
we saw south of that city for seventy-five miles. There is less
stock-raising and more farming. We passed many fields of wheat,
corn, and alfalfa. The latter is of the same nature as red clover and
grows nearly as high as herdsgrass. Once sown it never needs to be
restocked, and three and sometimes four large crops are cut from it
during the season. It is almost impossible to plow it up when once
it is thoroughly rooted, and one person told me the roots would go
down into the ground nearly fifty feet in search of moisture. I give
this as a Colorado li--statement. But the only thing that will kill
it out is water, too much of it, for it can be drowned out, finally.

This brings me to the most important interest of Colorado, and that is
water. Nearly all through the States of Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, and
Iowa, through which I have ridden, States from seven to eleven times
as large as Connecticut, the great question that directly interests
all the farmers, and that indirectly concerns every one dependent upon
the success of farming, is how to get rid of the water. In some of
those States great ditches, six, eight, or ten feet deep, and miles in
length, are dug, and smaller ditches and tile drains lead into these
main channels, and thus in the spring the water to a great extent is
drained away, so that the land will dry off and be fit to cultivate.

But the cost of this system of drains and ditches is very great,
amounting on some farms to ten dollars an acre. But in Colorado,
a State over twenty times as large as Connecticut, water is the one
subject uppermost in the minds of the people, as it is farther east,
but here it is how to get it, not how to get rid of it. There is the
same system of large ditches running for miles and miles through the
country, and these are tapped at convenient points by smaller ditches,
so that the water is spread out over the sandy, barren-looking
country, till by reversing the means used in those other States,
the land is brought up into a high state of cultivation. And it does
seem as if they even reverse the laws of gravitation, and make the
water run up hill, for many and many a ditch seems to go up over and
around a hill that is higher than the head of the ditch. There is
one advantage, too, the farmers here have over those farther east,
and that is, they can have a wet or dry season, just as they choose,
for the supply of ditch water is never failing. These main ditches
are dug by stock companies, and the stock is in the market just
as other stocks are. The water privileges are sold to the farmers,
and in some cases the price is twelve to fifteen dollars an acre for
perpetual lease. It is singular that in one section of the country
it should cost nearly as much per acre to get rid of the water as it
does in other sections to procure it.

But this ditch water is a great boon to the people in other respects
than for agricultural purposes, and that is for drinking. At first I
always preferred the well-water, but as I traveled up into the alkali
districts the ditch water was much more wholesome to drink, and now I
shun everything else. To be treated to ice-water at a farmer's house,
appeared at first rather extravagant on their part, but the ditch
water in summer gets so warm, ice-water is almost a necessity. Still,
a barrel full of this roily water bailed up in the morning and placed
in the shade or down cellar and allowed to settle, will remain pure
and palatable for a long while. At one ranch where we stopped, the
drinking water was brought nine miles, although a well of alkali water
was near the house. At another house I was pulling up the bucket over
a pulley, and thought the bucket would never reach the top, when the
rope broke, and down went the bucket, 140 feet to the bottom of the
well that was not even curbed or stoned up. It is needless to say we
did not stop to get the bucket out or to get a drink.

The annual rainfall is not only increasing in Iowa and Nebraska, but
in Colorado also. It is a true saying, civilization brings rain. In
the former States it is the natural result of the breaking up of so
much prairie land. That clay soil packed down hard by centuries of
rain would formerly shed water like a duck's back, but once loosened
and broken up, it tends to retain the water like a sponge, and the
more moisture retained, the greater the rainfall. In Colorado, the
extensive irrigation practiced tends to produce the same result; the
dry, sandy soil is becoming moist and filled with vegetable matter,
till in some instances the land needs only the usual rains to produce
good crops. This increased moisture in the atmosphere has another
effect, and that is upon the health of consumptives. Instances are
occurring where these invalids are leaving the plains with their net
work of ditches and are going up into the dryer mountain air.

Leaving Fort Collins, or "Collins" as it will shortly be called, we
tarried Monday night at a large sheep ranch on the way to Laramie,
where shearing commenced the next morning. The owner has nearly
10,000 sheep in his different camps, and six California shearers
began shearing at the rate of about 150 sheep a day for each man. The
sheep were caught by the hind leg and sat upon their haunches between
the legs of the shearer, and, commencing at their necks, the white
and cream-colored fleeces rolled off the sheep with surprising
rapidity. Occasionally, a piece of flesh would go with the fleece,
and hardly a sheep escaped without some bright red streaks or spots
upon it, the blood making a sharp contrast in color against the clean
white appearance of the naked sheep.

After watching the operation for an hour or more, we started up across
the foot-hills to get to the Laramie road on the other side, passing
a stream where the water was as red as blood from the red mud or sand
being washed down. These foot-hills are immense ledges of rocks that
look very much as I have seen ice packed up against the banks of the
Connecticut River when the ice breaks up in the spring. Looking at
these foot-hills toward the west, they present the appearance of so
many rounded hills of gravel and sand; but go up into and pass through
them, and turn about and look at them in the opposite direction,
and it seems really as if, ages ago, the crust of the earth had been
broken up, as ice is in the spring, and the immense cakes of red
and white sandstone had been jammed and forced up against the broad
shoulders of the Rocky Mountains, till these slabs of stratified rock,
several hundred feet thick, overlapped each other, and some of them
were even forced up into almost perpendicular positions.

Wherever I have passed through these foot-hills, whether at Manitou,
Boulder, or at Fort Collins, the country has the same general
appearance: that of some immense rock-jam forcing the cakes from
the east up on the banks of the Rocky Mountains. Much of the red
sandstone is very red, and the contrast between that and the white
sandstone is strongly marked, the red and white hills being mixed up
promiscuously. We followed a very good road up through the foot-hills
for awhile, but the wagon tracks grew fewer and fewer, as they
branched off in different directions, till we struck a common trail,
and as we wound around the north side of a high rocky hill this trail
disappeared entirely, and we found ourselves off among the barren and
sandy foot-hills without the slightest road, trail, or habitation
in sight for miles. We debated some time which direction to take,
but finally I left my knapsack and wheel and climbed up the rocky
side of that hill to get a better view, when behold, there was the
Laramie road, just over the hill about a mile away. We had a hard
job to get our machines over, but were soon on our way, spinning
over a fine mountain road that remained good for fifty miles to
Laramie, furnishing some of the finest coasting I ever had. This
road for many miles was probably 8,000 feet above the sea, so that
this elevation had the effect to dwarf the mountains that rose only
a little higher. In fact, it is generally remarked by travelers that
the Rocky Mountain scenery west of Cheyenne is very tame. Many of the
hills are perfectly level on top, looking at them against the horizon,
and the sides slant off, the angles being as sharp and clean cut as
if the hills were built by hand.

Just before reaching Laramie we noticed, off to the east on the plains,
another Garden of the Gods, that far exceeds in every way the one
near Manitou. It was with regret that I could only look at it from
a distance of two miles or more, but the perpendicular position,
the height, and the curious shape of the roads, standing up out of
the level plains, was certainly very interesting.

Arriving at Laramie I inquired of the first man I met, who happened to
be a good-natured Dutchman, where a certain friend of mine lived. "I
don't know," he said, "but Johnny Wilson is the one you want to see. I
will go find him for you. Any one coming so far as Conneckticut must
be taken care of. Wilson knows the whole beezness," and he ran into
his store, seized his coat and escorted us up the main street of
Laramie, calling out to every one he knew, "These two fellows came
from Conneckticut on a bicycle," and then he would haw-haw and laugh
as if he had secured the greatest prize in the country. In vain I told
him I wanted to find my friends before dark, but "Mr. Wilson is the
one to take care of you. He knows the whole beezness." We stopped on
the corner to find Wilson, who, it will be surmised, is a wheelman,
and men and boys, old and young, ran to that corner as if there was
a fire, and in less time than it takes to write it, the sidewalk was
blocked and the crowd extended out into the street. Really, Laramie
was more excited at the arrival of two tired wheelmen than any place
through which I have yet passed. The next morning we left the line
of the Union Pacific and followed the old emigrant trail across the
plains. The country is the dryest, sandiest, and most barren looking
of any I had yet seen. Hour after hour we rode over a treeless and
grassless country that would have been less disappointing if it had
been more level, for as we slowly reached the crest of one long,
gentle swell, through the deep sand, another billow, higher still,
came in sight, and when we had perhaps walked to the top of that,
still another, just a little higher, appeared ahead. Then over a
long, level space, and we came to a shallow basin, perhaps eight
miles across, on the other side of which could be seen the slender
thread of our future course. Then the same rolling country with not
a ranch in sight for hours.

That day we passed but one stream of water, and what made our thirst
more severe was a strong head wind that dried and parched our open
mouths till the flesh almost cracked open. About two o'clock we got
some milk at a ranch, but that only satisfied our hunger, it did not
quench our thirst. All day long we expected to come in sight of the
railroad again at the top of every long hill, but every time we were
disappointed, and we were doomed not to see railroad or telegraph
pole for two days longer.

About 7 o'clock that night we came in sight of a ranch, (ranches out
here are all slab huts), but there was no one at home, so we laid down
and rested, as the next ranch was eight or ten miles farther on, and
it was no use thinking of reaching it that night. Still no one came,
and about dark we began to investigate. Flour, sugar, lard, coffee,
salt, baking powder, and other things were found in the cupboard,
but not a thing cooked. Well, now, with all these things before them,
two half-starved boys would not go to bed hungry, "you bet."

Hasley started out with a tin pail to milk a cow, but the cattle
ran off as wild as deers and he concluded they were "all steers,
any how." Plenty of whole coffee, but no coffee-mill. I was on
the point of pounding up some of the kernels with a hammer when
the coffee mill was found. The smell of boiling coffee soon put a
keen edge upon our already ravenous appetite, but what could we cook
besides? Griddlecakes! Somehow I remembered lard was sometimes put into
griddlecakes to make them short, and in a jiffy I was trying to mix
three tablespoonfuls of lard into two quarts of flour with a spoon,
but the ingredients would not mix well so I used my hands, forgetting
that I had just used a greasy rag with which to clean the lantern
globe, and that some of the thick coat of soot might have remained
on my hands. Then two tablespoonfuls of Dr. Price's baking powder was
sprinkled in, and the whole wet up with water, but I must confess it
was very lumpy. But if those griddlecakes, covered thick with sugar,
didn't taste good! They were light and tender, and after a few trials
I could turn one, the size of a dinner plate, over without a break.

Beds of hay and plenty of blankets made us comfortable for the
night, and we did not lie awake listening for the folks to come home
either. Some more griddlecakes and coffee for breakfast, a card,
telling who we were and where we were going, and asking them to write,
was left on the table, and, man like, we left the log hut that had
given us such a kind shelter, without washing up the dishes.

That forenoon, we traveled over the same desolate dry country, and by
one o'clock saw no signs of getting anything to eat, when suddenly we
came to the edge of a high bluff, and below was a sparkling stream of
cold water and several houses, a most beautiful looking spot to us. We
were soon eating heartily at a ranchman's well-set table, and he not
only would take no pay, but urged us to stay longer. That afternoon
we overtook and passed an emigrant train of six or eight teams, but
the usual head wind prevented us from leaving them very far behind,
and it was not unpleasant having them so near.

Through Colorado, we saw plenty of harmless snakes by the roadside,
and would occasionally stop and kill one to add variety to the trip,
but for several days we had seen none of any kind. During the afternoon
I was pushing my machine along in the sand rut, leaning my arm on the
saddle, and had been trudging along with my head bent down against
the gale for some time, when about three feet in front of the wheel
I saw a rattlesnake wriggling slowly across the road. He stopped and
so did I. The reptile turned his head toward us, ran out his tongue
and crept along into the sage brush with his tail sticking up, and
disappeared. For a long while after that, I saw a snake behind every
bush, and never turned out into the sage brush to avoid the sand again
as I had often done before. Thin stockings are not the most effective
armor in which to attack one of these snakes, and since I have always
allowed them to go in peace. There are plenty of dead ones along the
road too, and for a few seconds, when they are curled up naturally,
there is as much "business" in a dead snake as a live one. It works
upon the nerves in the same powerful way.

We met another emigrant with a very sick boy in his wagon, and the
anxiety was plainly depicted on the father's face when we told him
the nearest ranch was about ten miles back, and no one knew whether
they had any kind of medicine there or not. I never once thought of
being ill myself off there, but fully realized the danger of a bite
from a rattlesnake so far from any medical help.

That night we found good accommodations, and the next forenoon came
in sight of the railroad once more, and crossed the bridge over the
Platte River on the ties to Fort Fred Steele.

There was one thought that was uppermost in my mind, during this
tramp of three days, and 110 miles, across the plains from Laramie to
Rawlins, and that was the utter insignificance of a human being in
such a place. One crossing these plains in the cars is too closely
connected, in his immediate surroundings, with the improvements of
modern civilization, to fully realize the utter helplessness of
a person left to his own resources on these deserts. The worldly
possessions of one going afoot across these plains, no matter
how rich and extensive those possessions are, dwindle into mere
worthlessness. All the gold in the world would not purchase him a
drop of water. His brain, no matter how active or ingenious, cannot
devise anything to satisfy his cravings of hunger. There is absolutely
nothing to eat. Emigrants, to be sure, start across prepared with
a good supply of food and water; but let one go, as we did, without
the slightest preparation in that line--for we supposed there were
small places every few miles, whereas there were only two ranches
together at one place, and the others averaged ten miles apart--and
he will soon realize that the only thing in this world that is of
any real value to him, is good muscle and a strong will to back it
up. Nothing else is of the slightest account to him, and nothing he
can do will give him a mouthful of food or a drop of water, if he has
not the strength to go where food and water are. Of course every one
has to do that as a general thing, but here it is a question of hours
of hard traveling over a desert without any sort of relief till the
end. Although we did not suffer for food or water to any great extent,
yet I never before fully realized the helplessness of a human being
when suddenly cast upon his own resources in such a place.

There is another thing that I begin to realize, but I never expect to
be able to fully grasp it, and that is the size of this country. Such
a trip, although it is only as yet through a very small portion of
the country, helps one to faintly comprehend the Infinite. Niagara
gives one an idea of the immense power of nature in motion; here one
can comprehend the vastness of nature in repose. In either place
the same feeling of awe and reverence comes over one, and his own
insignificance stands out very prominently.

The last ten miles to Rawlins was the most discouraging of any since
leaving Laramie. The road was aggravatingly level, smooth, and hard,
and ran close by the railroad, but those regular trade-winds that we
had faced for the last three days prevented any riding. After a while
we came to a section-house, and remained there two or three hours,
till the wind died down at sunset, and then we easily pushed on to
Rawlins. The only bright spot in that day's experience occurred just
before reaching Fort Fred Steele. I came upon a pasteboard box, about
the size and shape of those used for expressing suits of clothes,
lying in the road. A wagon wheel had crushed one corner, but inside,
what a sight for hungry wheelmen! Nicely packed in rows were two
dozen fresh, even warm doughnuts, all frosted with sugar, and four
dozen cookies, looking equally tempting. Then did we not go down by
the river where water was plenty and have a feast! What we could not
hold the knapsack did, and not a crumb was wasted. We felt sorry for
the ranchman who probably lost his stock of pastry on his way home,
but our sorrow did not seriously affect our appetites.

Distance on the wheel, 2,467 miles.



CHAPTER XIII.

AMONG THE MORMONS.


Seven cents a mile is the passenger rate upon the Union Pacific
Railroad west of Cheyenne. To one accustomed to the almost uniform
rate of two cents a mile on Eastern roads this at first seems high,
but there are many things that the Eastern roads do not have to contend
with that are sources of great expense to the Union Pacific. Water,
for instance, is a large item. Trains of low box cars filled with
water are almost as common on this road as gravel trains on a newly
constructed one. Every eight or ten miles are section-houses for
the accommodation of trackmen, and each one of these places has to
be furnished with a large cistern filled with water, and this water
is often brought by these trains of water cars from a distance of a
hundred miles or more. Then there must be water tanks for filling the
engines at certain distances, and much of this water is also brought
from distant rivers. Many persons pass over the thousand miles of this
road and the cost of distributing the necessary amount of water along
its line never enters their thoughts, but one who wheels over hundreds
of miles of this waterless country, and goes with parched tongue,
mouth, and throat for hours, fully realizes the absolute necessity of
having water distributed along the line of the road at whatever cost.

The wages of the employees, from the common laborer up, is considerably
higher than in the East--one deserves more for living out in such a
barren country--so that the more one learns of the cost of running
the road the less he grumbles at the high passenger fare.

But it may be asked what has a touring bicyclist to do with the
railroad, and why should he feel less or more like grumbling? It is
just here. We had ridden three or four days against a wind so strong
that it would not allow riding much of the time even on level ground,
and to keep up this discouragingly hard work for the sake simply of
riding the whole distance, was not the object of the trip. We could
already realize the hardships and privations of the early settlers
who crossed these same plains years ago, fighting Indians the whole
time. Of that part we, of course, knew nothing, but our experience was
sufficient. I do not regret it, but it is like putting one's head under
water the first time to feel that queer sensation. It is unnecessary,
though, to keep the head under for an hour or two to fully realize the
feeling, so we thought about the plains, and took a freight at Rawlins.

There we found a wheelman, Mr. James Deitrick, chief train dispatcher
on the Wyoming Division of the Union Pacific Railroad, whose kindness
to us, especially in a pecuniary manner, will never be forgotten. We
thought of him as the train slowly climbed the continental divide and
went spinning down the other side, over the same monotonous stretch
of sand and sage brush. A ride of seventy-five miles brought us to
Green River at eleven o'clock at night. We knew nothing of the town,
excepting that we wanted to find some other place to stay than at the
$4 a day hotel, and were inquiring at a saloon (there were plenty of
those open), when a little short man said: "Come over and stay with
me. You are welcome to the best I have." This open-hearted fellow
proved to be Frank H. Van Meer Beke, an older brother of the plucky
young wheelman who started last March from New York for San Francisco
via New Orleans and New Mexico. Frank was formerly a member of the
Kings County Bicycle Club of Brooklyn, N. Y., and we were his welcome
visitors for two days longer. If his brother Fred is anything like
him he is a royal good fellow.

Green River is a place of a few hundred inhabitants, without a shade
tree or a patch of green grass in the whole town. During the day
we took a swim in the cold waters of the river, the first stream
we had seen that empties into the Pacific Ocean, and climbed some
of the high rocks in the vicinity, and from their very summits we
picked out the fossil remains of many a tiny little fish that had
been imbedded there ages ago, when perhaps the only dry land on the
face of the earth was in the Adirondacks, Canada, and in the western
part of our own State of Connecticut. In the evening (Sunday evening,
July 4th) stores were open, saloons in full blast, and fireworks,
cannons, and bonfires added to the turmoil. They fired Roman candles
into each other's faces without the slightest warning, and the back
of my shirt shows the effect of one of the bolts that scorched the
skin through the flannel.

Monday our host took our machines to pieces and cleaned them
thoroughly, for he was perfectly at home at that work, having had
charge of a riding rink in Brooklyn, and Tuesday morning at 4 o'clock
found us on our way to Evanston. We started early to avoid as much as
possible the discouraging trade winds, and after crossing the river
on the ties of the railroad bridge we climbed a long hill, and got
a most extended view of just the same sand and sage brush. At noon,
to get out of the terribly hot sun, we crawled down under a railroad
bridge and ate our luncheon. We were beginning to learn to carry food
along with us.

But thirty miles of sand, railroad ties, and that blazing sun drove us
into another freight train, and Wednesday morning we left Evanston and
before noon were riding leisurely down Echo Cañon on our bicycles. I
did not regret then that I was traveling on my wheel, for the roads
were good and we stopped and enjoyed the grand scenery to our heart's
content. A train went whizzing by, and I saw passengers quickly
calling each other's attention to a particularly interesting place
in the cañon. With them it was simply a glance, and they were gone;
with us, an abundance of time to look as long as we liked. The finest
view of the best part of the cañon is to be had, I think, only from
the highway. Looking up the cañon, the rocks, four or five hundred
feet high projecting out into it, have very much the appearance of
the bows of so many immense ocean steamers lying side by side. These
rocks are a conglomerated mixture of sand, gravel, stones, and rocks
thrown together promiscuously and hardened by some process of nature
into one solid mass of rock again. On the outside the whole body
of rocks is colored red by some action of the atmosphere, I think,
but underneath they show their natural color, that of light sandstone.

Coming down the cañon we found an overall jacket lying in the road,
pretty soon we came to the tailboard of a wagon, then a ball of tobacco
twine, soon after a bottle (how our mouths watered) of varnish (then
they did not). Then more twine and a bunch of ropes and a bag and
then more twine. For five miles we could see the trail in the road
where this twine had been dragged along, and whenever it happened to
catch on a bush or stone the twine would be strung along for a quarter
of a mile or so. A small feed box came next and finally a good horse
collar. It still remains a mystery to whom all these things belonged,
and the reader must conjecture for himself. We really enjoyed wondering
what we should find next.

Gophers seem to take the place of prairie dogs in the high
altitudes. They are somewhat smaller, but have very much the same
ways of living and are more tame. One of the little fellows stopped
in front of his hole one day, within a few feet of me, sat up and ate
some sage leaves, came up and sniffed at the bicycle, and, indeed,
seemed very friendly. I really wanted to get hold of and squeeze him.

Traveling alone so much has made me feel very friendly toward the
lower animals. I have been as much inclined to stop and talk to a
horse or a little pig as to a person, and many times I longed to have
the different ones wait till I could get hold of and caress them. The
farther I travel the more this feeling grows on me, but there is still
one animal that I have not yet learned to love or to want to squeeze,
and that is a rattlesnake. But I can see I am growing in grace in that
respect also. Now, when I see a snake, I don't run and jump on it,
as I used to at home. The defenseless condition of my legs may have
had something to do with this change of heart, but really they are
the only living things that have annoyed me, thus far.

At Echo we found we were as near Salt Lake City as we should be at
Ogden, forty miles further along on the line of the Union Pacific,
so we started in a southerly direction over excellent roads, up the
beautiful Weber Valley, and were soon eating supper at a comfortable
farm-house, where everything was as homelike and pleasant as in any
New England home. Desiring information, I said: "I wonder if any of
those people in large canvas covered wagons we have been meeting
are Mormons?" "O, yes," the farmer's wife replied quickly, "there
are lots of them around here. They go out on fishing excursions this
time of the year a great deal. What do you Eastern people think of
the Mormons, anyway? Do you think we have horns?" You can imagine
my surprise, but the farmer and his wife, too, joined in and talked
so freely and pleasantly on the subject that I soon asked questions
as freely as they answered them. "Yes," the farmer said, "I have
been married twenty-three years and have never had more than the
one wife. I may sometime take another, but I don't see my way clear
to do so yet. A few Mormons around here have more than one wife,
but the elections show that only one in eight throughout the whole
territory are polygamists. The church does not oblige us to take
more than one wife any more than it does to pay one-tenth of what we
raise at tilling, and there are lots of Mormons who never do either,
but if we do our whole duty we should do both. It is not enough for
the Government to oblige us to give up wives we have loved and had
children by, but now they are trying to pass a law to disfranchise
us if we will not swear we will give up our religion. Juries are
packed and we are convicted without justice. We never will give up
our religion. We must submit for a while, but the time will come when
we shall be delivered from our persecutors."

This and much more was said, and it all gave me the impression that
if only one-eighth of the Mormons were polygamists, the extent of the
blot upon the good name of the country had been greatly over-estimated,
for these people were really as kind and Christ-like as any I have
met in my travels. But this was one side of the question.

During the day we climbed over the Wasatch Mountains, and came down
through Parley's Cañon into Salt Lake Valley. Although the sides of
this cañon are not as precipitous as some, yet the rocks go boldly
up into the air till their tops are covered with snow. The coasting
down this cañon would have been very good, but the great number of
team-wagons and Mormon camping parties made dismounts frequent and
unpleasant. Just before reaching Salt Lake City, which lies to the
northwest of the mouth of this cañon, we hid behind some bushes
and took a most refreshing bath in one of the irrigating ditches,
for the roads were very dusty all day.

Riding into the city about six o'clock, we had passed up Main street
but a little way when, by chance, we met the secretary of the bicycle
club. Before we had reached the hotel another member came tearing up
the street after us, and in less than fifteen minutes ten or twelve
wheelmen came into the hotel to welcome us, all this, too, without
a minute's warning from us, or without our knowing a single person
in the city by name. A few days before starting, in the spring, I
clipped from the L. A. W. Bulletin what few names of wheelmen I could
find, and thus, in almost every city, I knew some wheelman by name;
but here were only four or five League members and we knew no one,
but that made no difference. They heard we were from the East and
they were our friends, because we were wheelmen. Mr. A. C. Brixen,
proprietor of the Valley House, where we stopped, is a wheelman,
and so are several of his boarders, and although at Buffalo, Denver,
and many other places I have been most cordially received, the Salt
Lake City wheelmen outdid all other wheelmen in their spontaneous
outburst of welcome.

Shortly after supper, the sound of a brass band playing in front of
the hotel, made me wonder, as I sat in my room trying to get cool:
Could it be those enthusiastic fellows had gone so far as to give
us a serenade? Just then the music stopped and a knock at the door
convinced me. Surely they wanted me to come out and say something, I
thought; but what could I say? I had never made a speech in my life,
and the very idea of doing so made me blush there in the dark in my
room. But I must go out and say something to the crowd, and do the
best I could. So I did; I went out trembling. The music came from
some theater band out in the street in an omnibus, and just then
they drove on to the next hotel, to advertise simply themselves,
not me. And the expected crowd of enthusiastic admirers consisted of
two men and a boy, sitting under the trees with their feet cocked up,
reading, unconcernedly. I did not tremble any more. The knocker was
Mr. C. E. Johnson, who wanted us to take a ride about the city in the
morning with him. We did, and of him I asked more questions. "Why yes,
every member of the club is a Mormon. There is only one who has two
wives, and since he was fined he has only lived with one. It amuses
us to see Eastern tourists come here, as many of them do, and appear
afraid to ask us questions. We are glad to answer all inquiries,
and believe Eastern people would not be so prejudiced against us if
they knew us better,"--and much more.

The members of the club, in intelligence, personal habits, and
gentlemanly conduct, will compare very favorably with any Eastern club,
and they, from the first, showed such a liking for us, which we could
not help but reciprocate, that I left them with more of a feeling of
sadness than I have ever experienced in parting from new friends,--and
for this reason: These young men who were so full of kindness to us
believe in a religion that the government is totally opposed to, and
which it is determined to suppress, that is, the polygamous part of
it. In case of trouble, and I am afraid from what little I was able
to find out in regard to the situation that there will be trouble;
in that case these young wheelmen will stand up for their religion,
a religion they as honestly believe in as any Eastern wheelmen do
in theirs.

Then I talked a few minutes with the editor of the Tribune. "The
statement," said he, "that only one-eighth of Mormons are polygamists
is misleading, certainly. The number of Mormons disqualified from
voting for practicing polygamy may have been one-eighth of the whole
population, but that includes every man, woman, and child, Gentiles
and all. Now Gentiles and women and children are not polygamists;
women and children cannot be in the very nature of the case. So that
the number of Mormons, capable of being polygamists, that practice
it to-day, is nearer one-half than one-eighth. As for juries being
packed, the same course is being pursued here as in all courts. A man
disbelieving in capital punishment cannot sit in a murder trial, for
he would not convict on evidence; just so with a Mormon, he would not
convict another Mormon of polygamy. The only persecution practiced is
by United States deputies enforcing a United States law. The troops
are quartered here in the city because there has been, and is still,
need of them to preserve the peace."

I feel that what I have learned of the trouble here is only
superficial, for a two days' stop, with much of my time otherwise
occupied, is not a sufficient time to look up the subject; but one
thing seems certain, it will be a very long and a very hard struggle,
but the conclusion is foregone. Polygamy must go. Yesterday afternoon
we went bathing in Salt Lake; as far as the view is concerned, it
is like bathing in the ocean, you cannot see across the lake. It is
only three or four years since the people of the city have availed
themselves of the benefits of their salt water to any great extent,
but now, cheap excursions run out to the lake, twenty miles distant,
and returning trains frequently bring back 2,000 passengers. Yes, it
is genuine salt water bathing with a vengeance, for you can't swim in
it. It is almost like trying to swim in thin mud, you can't get along
any. The water is so heavy it is almost impossible to dive to any
depth, and then you bob up out of the water feet first, just like a
cork. It must be really dangerous to dive from any height. Sink! You
can't sink if you try. You can walk clear across the lake and not
go under; lie flat on your back with your hands under your head for
a pillow, and one who has never been in any water, salt or fresh,
could lie there all day without any trouble. Turn over and throw your
arms out like a spread eagle, and it is just the same, or sit straight
up, tailor fashion, and still you are high above the water; that is,
high enough not to feel any nervousness about getting strangled. I
never experienced such a pleasant sensation and never enjoyed bathing
more, unless it was high surf bathing, and here that is impossible,
for no wind, however strong, could raise very high waves on this
genuinely heavy sea. The water was full of men, women, and children,
all floating around, none swimming, some sitting bolt upright, others
lying around in any position that was agreeable, and all unconcerned
as to whether there was three or thirty feet of water under them.

I went out upon the beach to sit in the sun, to dry off, but soon
looked like a miller; hair, neck, face, and hands, were covered with
salt, and a bath with fresh water was of course necessary. This water
in your mouth or up your nose is very disagreeable; in your eyes,
painful; and to be strangled with it, simply terrible. Eyesight has
been permanently injured by people opening their eyes under this
water. I am told that it contains nearly three times as much salt as
ordinary salt water, and the numerous streams of fresh water which
empty into it, have no effect on its saline strength. Without any
visible outlet, the only change noticeable is a slight rise in the
water level.

Of course we had to visit the Tabernacle, which comfortably seats over
ten thousand people, and when we were told the great organ was brought
across the plains on ox-teams, over the same route we had just passed,
a chord of sympathy seemed to vibrate between the organ and us. The
Temple, which was commenced in 1853, and is to be finished in seven
years, making the allotted forty years that must be consumed in its
construction, is still nothing but four bare walls, nine feet thick
and 100 feet high.

Distance traveled with the wheel, 2,625 miles.



CHAPTER XIV.

AT THE BIG TREES.


With a full moon we had planned to travel most of the way across the
alkali and sandy deserts of Nevada at night, and were on the point of
leaving Salt Lake City to do so when the Grand Army of the Republic
excursion tickets were issued, enabling anyone to go from there to
San Francisco, up to Portland, Oregon, by water and return to Salt
Lake via the Oregon Short Line. Returning by this route would take
us within easy wheeling distance of Yellowstone Park, and with that
inducement, in addition to being taken across Nevada and over the
Sierra Nevada Mountains at half rates, we were not long in deciding
to take the cars. But now the first financial difficulty stared us in
the face. I had no trouble in Denver in getting identified, but, as
I said, we knew no one and no one knew us in Salt Lake City. Letters,
league ticket, and other papers were presented at the bank, but nothing
would prevail on the officials to give us a penny. The only thing to
do was to telegraph home, and that would probably delay us several
days, and, with that discouraging alternative in view, we told our
story to Mr. F. G. Brooks, a member of the bicycle club. "Wait till I
see what father says," said he, and he carried the worthless New York
drafts back to the desk. The elder F. G. Brooks hesitated a moment,
and then wrote his name across the back of those drafts, and we went
to the bank and received $150 in gold. And the old gentleman that did
that kind act was a Mormon, through and through. Surely I had reason
to like the Mormons, in every respect but their religion.

Thus far, in traveling twenty-six hundred miles or more over clay
ruts and mountain roads, I had taken only two tumbles, and was
beginning to think there was no such thing as headers when, in
gliding serenely across the street, in front of the Utah Central
Depot at Salt Lake City, I rode into a ditch, concealed with
fine sand, and instantly--that word makes the time altogether too
long--my nose and chin were scraping along on the hard gravel. I
never took such a tumble. It was like a flash. And the knapsack,
as usual, unkindly butted me on the back of the head as the ground
suddenly brought the trip to a close. With the blood starting from
both nose and chin, and a loosened handle bar, that at first sent a
cold chill all through me with the impression that it was broken, and
with a knee so badly sprained that I could only limp into the cars,
these things, altogether, served to remind me that carelessness and
'cycling are incompatible.

On the way to Ogden we saw several headers at work on the wheat fields,
and these served to awaken me from the dazed condition in which the
only kind of a header I had ever known had put me. The field headers
are mowing machines that go along in front of the horses instead
of behind them, as is usual with mowing machines in the East, and
as it cuts the wheat down--it simply cuts off the tops or heads of
the wheat, hence the name header--the wheat falls on to a long cloth
roller that revolves at right angles to the direction the machine is
going. A large box wagon is driven along at the left of the header
and the wheat is carried up on this cloth roller and loaded into
this wagon. When full another takes its place while the first wagon
is being unloaded at the stack.

The Wasatch Mountains, a range that extends from below Salt Lake
City to many miles above Ogden, are not dwarfed, as is the case with
so many other ranges of mountains, by foot hills at their base, but
they stand out bold and black, excepting where covered with snow, and
are the most impressive of any mountains I have yet seen. At Ogden,
through passengers are delayed two hours between the arrival of the
Union Pacific and the departure of the Central Pacific trains. Half
of this time is a needless delay, for the mail, baggage and express
matter was all transferred long before the train left, but this is
only a sample of the manner in which both roads are run.

The question of fast time is never considered in their operation. A
through Eastern fruit train now makes decidedly better time than the
regular passenger trains; and freight trains, as a rule, run faster
between stations than passenger trains. The time tables seem to be made
with the sole object of helping delayed trains get through on time,
no matter how slow that time is. One train we were on was an hour
and a half late at midnight, but on time before 5 o'clock the next
morning, and we did not run so fast but that passengers could sleep
as usual. There is talk of a new fast train being put on between Omaha
and San Francisco that will shorten the time perhaps a day, but in the
East even that train would not be considered anything very fast. Then
the Central Pacific trains are not only run slow but sure, sure that
everything is all right before they start. A brakeman comes through
from the front end of the train and calls for every one's ticket,
looks at the ticket and hands it back. Pretty soon a man in uniform,
a little higher up than the brakeman, but not so high as the conductor,
comes along through the train from the rear end, examines carefully
all the tickets, reads all the printed matter on them, punches them,
and hands them back, after perhaps taking a passenger out of the cars
to verify his statement in regard to an extra hole in his ticket made
by some other official. Then after the tickets have been examined
from the front to the rear, and scrutinized and punched from the rear
end to the front end of the train, even before the train had started,
to make the thing more binding the conductor himself comes through,
punches all the tickets, and gives each passenger a plain piece of
colored pasteboard without so much as a table of distances printed
on it, a convenience many times to passengers, and which is so rotten
that it breaks and falls to pieces at the least touch. Let a passenger
accidentally destroy one of these valuable pieces of plain rotten
pasteboard during his rolling and tumbling in his seat at night
and he is looked upon by the conductor as a criminal for wantonly
destroying so much valuable property, and financially crippling the
railroad company in consequence, and these priceless pieces of paper
are carefully gathered up at the end of each division of the road
by the economical conductors, who, at night, shake and arouse every
passenger who has so much of this valuable property of the company's
concealed about his person. Most of the postal, express, and baggage
cars used here are now built without doors at the ends. Perhaps the
numerous train robberies have caused this innovation.

Once during that Saturday night, after leaving Ogden, I looked out
of the car window and in the moonlight saw a perfectly level sea
of alkali without so much as a sage bush growing upon it, and then
I went to sleep again more contented than ever with the way I was
crossing this part of the continent.

At one of the stations were some horned toads for sale, the first I had
seen, and as I asked a passenger standing near what kind of animals
they were, "I think," said he, honestly enough, "they are what they
call prairie dogs." All day Sunday it was sand, sage-bush, and a sun
so hot that it would almost blister, and the same kind of a country
we had already seen so much of east of Ogden. So I occupied myself
most of the time writing. During the day at the different stations
situated along the sandy desert the thermometer registered 102° and
104°, and yet I was not uncomfortably warm. The air would blow in at
the windows as if it came direct from some furnace, and yet it was
so very dry that it would not start the perspiration. Until I reached
California there were only three days that were oppressively hot since
the commencement of the trip, and those were in the fore part of July
while crossing Iowa. In Colorado and over the plains the atmosphere
was so very dry that even with the thermometer up to ninety, as it was
in Iowa, one could exercise without feeling the heat nearly as much.

At Truckee we left the train at 12 o'clock at night, and as we wanted
to be off early the next morning for Lake Tahoe, fifteen miles up the
Truckee River, we decided not to go to bed. There were several bales
of hay on the freight house platform, and one had burst open. Into
that hay we crawled and slept till daylight, keeping comfortably
warm till nearly morning, but I had to go behind the freight house
and remove my clothes in order to shake out the innumerable spires
of hay that pricked me from head to foot.

We got started soon after four, and the road was decidedly better than
I had reason to think it would be, and the grade was easy, but the
dust rather uncomfortable. But that is to be expected in a country
that has so little rain in so many months, and where the roads are
used as much as this one is the fine dust gets very deep. Going up,
a couple of young deer remained in the road till I was nearly upon
them, and even when I dismounted they didn't run, but stayed within
six or eight feet of where I stood. They appeared so tame I wanted to
get my hands upon them and stroke their hair, but Hasley, coming up,
drew his revolver, and I hallooed "Don't shoot; they're tame." The
sound of a human voice sent them up the hillside like a streak,
and I saw it was the glistening nickel that fascinated them.

The waters of Lake Tahoe are very clear, and it never freezes over,
as I was told, although the weather is sufficiently cold; but really I
do not see what makes the place so celebrated. It is a beautiful lake,
thirty miles long, surrounded by wooded hills, but place it in New
England and it would hardly be noticed among the many there fully as
beautiful. The clearness of the water is remarkable, but no more so
than the water of any lake situated high up in the mountains, where
there is nothing but the pure white snow to furnish a water supply,
and where there is no loam, mud, or vegetable matter to discolor
it. There are no other attractions, unless it be the Hot Springs,
and as we did not go over there, five miles away, of course I cannot
form an opinion of that place.

A steamer goes around the lake once a day, carrying mail and
merchandise. We rowed and fished some, that is pulled out the same
fish, the minnows, that we threw in, but the rest, lying on the
pebbly beach, with the sound of the swash of the waves in my ears,
was enjoyed the most of any part of the day. And perhaps that is
the very reason why the lake is so noted. People from the East
come to it after days of travel over the sandy plains and alkali
deserts of Wyoming, Utah, and Nevada, and the change from the hot,
dusty ride to the clear, cold waters of the lake in the mountains,
is so delightful that the lake gets its full share, and more too,
of the credit for the pleasure in the change.

Both going up and coming down I must have passed hundreds of snake
tracks in the road, some of them two or three inches wide. What size
the snakes must have been to make such tracks I could only imagine;
but the woods were surely full of snakes.

Taking the train again at midnight, I was soon asleep, but something
awoke me just as we were rounding Cape Horn. The brakeman, the night
before, told me it would be seven o'clock before we should pass
that point of interest, so I went to sleep unconcerned about waking
in time, but something startled me as a call in the morning would,
and I rushed out upon the platform, rubbing my eyes open, just as we
were passing around the side of the mountain. It was barely light,
but the sight of two huge locomotives followed by a train of twelve
cars rushing around near the edge of a precipice four or five hundred
feet high will not soon be forgotten, and the manner in which the
railroad twists and turns around the sides of the mountains down into
Colfax is worth getting up pretty early to see. As far as the eye can
see from this point down into the Sacramento valley, California is
of one hue--straw-color. The ripe wheat is, of course, that color,
but the common grass has dried up and changed to the same, whereas
on the plains the dried grass is of nearly the same color as the
soil. The morning was not clear, so the view was not very extended;
but we were soon looking at objects that were of more practical value
to hungry wheelmen than the prevailing color of the country. We had
the best "two-bit" meal at Sacramento we had found in many a week.

The dome of the capitol, which from a distance resembles the dome at
Washington, naturally draws sightseers to visit the capitol building,
but the edifice looks old and out of fashion compared with many
other State structures. Above the first story, which is of granite,
it is built of brick plastered over and painted. The senate chamber
and house of representatives are furnished simply with cushioned and
cane-seated chairs, standing around promiscuously; no desks for any
one excepting clerks and presiding officers. The ascent to the lantern
above the dome is by winding stairs that twist about a wooden pole
in the center of the upper part of the dome, and it seemed as if the
whole building shook as we went up and down these stairs.

Salt Lake is a city laid out with very large blocks and built up of
very small houses, and Sacramento is a city of verandas. All the
sidewalks in the business portion of the city are covered and the
verandas are often two stories high. These add greatly to the comfort
of pedestrians, and we could fully appreciate them with the thermometer
at a hundred and over. Still, notwithstanding this intense, dry heat,
we started out in the middle of the afternoon and made thirty-two
miles before dark over roads that were certainly excellent. The
fine sand which covers the surface of the whole valley, during the
rainy season packs down very hard and the wind keeps the surface of
the roads in many places free of dust, so that they are as hard and
smooth as concrete.

That evening we went out into the farmer's garden and ate all the
fresh figs we wished. These figs are about the same shape and a little
smaller than Bartlett pears and the skin is almost black. They are
pink inside and have a sweetish taste that becomes fascinating. The
figs we have in the East must be of another variety, for the black
skin cannot be removed before drying. The next morning we passed some
century plants growing by the roadside in front of a farm-house.

The roads were good for twenty miles farther, but then we began
to get up into the foot hills and naturally the riding was not so
good; but still after waiting three hours or more in the shade at
noon we made nearly fifty miles more during the day towards the Big
Trees. That evening, after asking in vain for shelter for the night
at two or three places, we laid down under a tree, feeling too tired
to care much where we stayed. There was no particular hardship about
sleeping on the ground, for the night was warm and the ground dry,
and there was no dew. I was asleep in no time, but not for long. The
ants had pre-empted that section long before and were soon active in
finding out who was trying to jump their claim. I did not mind their
crawling up my pant legs or down the back of my shirt, or through my
hair, or across my face, for I could go to sleep with a whole army
walking all over me, but when an ant suddenly took it into his head
to bite it served to unpleasantly disturb my dreams. After wasting a
good part of the night in changing lodgings, I finally slept soundly
whether the ants did or not.

The next day, after riding and walking about equal distances for
thirty miles, we reached the Calaveras Big Trees, a little less than
one hundred and ten miles and two days' journey from Sacramento. The
heat, 102° in the shade, was so intense that the cement softened
under the tire so much that it could easily be removed, and the
three or four inches of hot, fine dust was very hard on the feet;
but after a cold bath and half an hour's rest the verdict was that it
paid. Although there are woods all over the mountains, and trees over
a hundred feet high in many places, yet the grove proper comprises
but about twenty-five or thirty acres.

I must say that trying to describe the trees themselves is beyond my
power. I can only tell what I did. There are smooth drives through the
groves, so I rode. Most of the trees are standing, but there was one
that had fallen. The inside is hollow, and about fifty feet from the
base is an immense hole in the side. Into this hole with my bicycle I
went, and rode through the inside of the tree for nearly two hundred
feet, emerging through another hole into the daylight again. There
is a knothole near this point large enough to allow a man of giant
frame to enter or crawl out of.

The inside of the tree was covered with charcoal, and it was quite dark
in there, so I felt my way along as I rode, getting my hands black,
but I washed some of it off at a pool of water that fills the inside
of the tree at one point. The basin of water is two or three feet
above the level of the ground, and where the water comes from and what
forces it up out of the ground into the hollow of this fallen tree
is a mystery. There is no rain here for months, and evaporation in
this dry air must tend to exhaust the supply wherever it comes from,
and yet the pool always remains at the same level.

This tree, "The Father of the Forest," is one hundred and twelve feet
in circumference at the base, and, judging from what remains of it,
four hundred and fifty feet was its height when standing. I have
no doubt a sixty-inch wheel could be ridden through where I went. A
driveway, or rather a tunnel, has been cut through another standing
tree, and the stage drives through there frequently. I found plenty
of room above and on either side in 'cycling through it. Imagine four
wheelmen abreast riding through such a place.

A pavilion has been built over the stump of another tree that was cut
down several years ago, and I rode around and cut figure eights on the
smooth floor of this stump. The diameter of this tree, at the base, is
thirty-two feet, but it was cut off about five feet from the ground,
and is twenty-five feet in diameter across the top. Five men worked
a month, boring auger holes into it, and when it was completely cut
across it would not fall, and so ropes and pulleys had to be used to
pull it over. When it fell it shook the ground for miles around, like
an earthquake. Thirty-two dancers are easily accommodated on the stump.

There are about ninety trees of similar dimensions in the grove,
and they bear the names of generals, statesmen, noted women, and
others. These trees all show the effects of fire, but younger trees
growing by their side, that are certainly from one to two hundred
years old, have not the slightest marks of the flames upon them. The
date of this ancient fire that burnt the inside out and killed so
many of the trees is beyond conjecture, but the age of these giant
sequoias must be reckoned up among the thousands.

A description of these other trees might be given, but it would simply
be a repetition of wonders. Seeing so many trees all the way up from
Murphy's that, to me, seemed prodigious, when I first reached here
the grove did not impress me, but every time I look at them now they
appear larger. As in looking from the rear end of a moving train,
as soon as the train stops the ties, rails, and everything begin to
enlarge in size, apparently, so with these trees, a couple of days
of rest has given me a much better idea of their immensity than could
be had at first sight.

Distance on the wheel, 2,768 miles.



CHAPTER XV.

IN THE YOSEMITE VALLEY.


From the Calaveras Big Trees to the Yosemite is one hundred and eight
miles, and it took me three days to make the journey. The wheelman,
Mr. J. A. Hasley, whom I met the day I reached Denver, who made a
good companion on the trip to Pike's Peak and across the plains to
Salt Lake City, and who bore the blazing hot sun of California as far
as the Trees, there decided not to continue the trip farther. For
several days it was evident he was beginning to lose interest in
sight-seeing, after a month's constant application to it, and when
he had the misfortune to lose his purse with something over twenty
dollars in it, he decided to get to San Francisco by the quickest and
cheapest route, which was by the Stockton boat, an opposition line of
steamers taking passengers for ten cents, a distance of one hundred
miles. So now I am alone again. The first of the three days' journey
was used up in coasting most of the fifteen miles down to Murphy's,
over the same road we had worked so hard in getting up to the Big
Trees, and then getting a few miles in a southerly direction beyond
the Stanislaus River.

During the afternoon, while riding along on the side of a high hill,
I passed a sign, which read "500 yards to the Natural Bridge, the
world's greatest wonder, and don't you forget that." Believing it to
be a fraud of some kind, I left the machine and walked down a steep
narrow path to the bottom of a ravine, perhaps 500 feet below the
level of the road. Here were two men clearing out the entrance to a
cave from which ran a good-sized stream of water. The surroundings
looked as if a land-slide had once choked up the ravine, but that
the stream of water had finally worked its way through underneath
the mass of rocks and earth, and had formed a tunnel perhaps four
hundred feet long and twenty or thirty feet high. Water was constantly
dripping from the roof of the tunnel, forming stalactites of various
sizes and shapes. To more fully impress me with the importance of his
discovery, the old bachelor who owned the place, stated that it had
taken forty-two millions of years to bring the place into its present
form and shape. Whether it had or not, I felt well paid for visiting
a place of which I knew nothing until I saw the sign.

The Stanislaus and the Tuolumne Rivers flow down from the Sierras in
a westerly direction, and in going southerly from the Big Trees to the
Yosemite, one must naturally cross them. The crossing is easy enough;
there is no trouble about that. It is getting down to them that causes
the trouble, and getting up away from them again. The profile of the
route I took resembled an immense letter W. It is a thousand feet
down to the Stanislaus River, and twelve hundred or more down to the
Tuolumne, and the two rivers are but a few miles apart.

The zigzag road down to the rivers is too steep and dangerous to
coast, and once down, walking is the only way up again. When I came
to the Tuolumne River, I believe I could have thrown a stone down
to the suspension bridge, a thousand feet or more below, and yet
it took four miles of walking to get down to it, and after climbing
up five miles farther, I could look across the valley about a mile
and see where I had been three or four hours before. I would not
believe it till I looked, but the thermometer was 105° down at the
bridge. Notwithstanding all this there was something about such
mountain scenery, combined with the roar of the river so far below,
that compensated for the heat and fatigue. Probably half the entire
distance between the Trees and the Valley had to be traveled afoot on
the hot road, but there is another grand view of the Tuolumne River,
and a small grove of big trees to vary the monotony of the last twenty
miles of hill climbing.

When we left Sacramento, it was with the vague impression that it
was somewhere in the neighborhood of two hundred and fifty miles to
the Yosemite, but the first day out the distance was reduced to below
two hundred by some one of whom we made inquiries. We were entirely
ignorant of the nearest route, but by making frequent inquiries we
kept on, generally in the right direction. The second day the entire
distance was further reduced to one hundred and twenty-five miles,
then the distance from the Trees to the Valley was put at twenty-five
miles by some one who knew it all, but such good news was not lasting,
for the very next man who had "traveled over that section," said it
was one hundred and seventy-five miles between the two places.

And so it was throughout the entire trip: First, we were almost
there, then at night, perhaps fifty miles farther away than in the
morning. Finally, after six days of hard work, with one object, the
Yosemite constantly in view, the answer to an inquiry came back,
"eight miles down to the hotel," and in less than a mile, while
rounding a bend in the road, the grandest sight I have lived to see,
suddenly burst upon me. It was sudden, because I supposed it would
be five miles farther before I should see anything but fine trees
and bushes, and grand beyond description. I forgot my aching feet
and tired legs, and walked along almost unconscious of them, down
the zigzag road into the valley, which runs up in a northeasterly
direction, the road entering it at the lower end.

The word valley hardly describes it, for the sides are perpendicular
and almost a mile high, and this immense chasm is ten miles long and
hardly a mile wide. The roar of the Merced River, so many thousand
feet almost perpendicularly below, is heard even before one gets a
glimpse of the river itself or even the valley, and my first thought
was, is there any bottom to this chasm. On the opposite side of the
valley I recognized Bridal Veil Fall from the many views I had seen of
it, and a little farther down the road, which runs dangerously near
the edge of precipices four and five hundred feet high, El Capitan
came suddenly into sight, the most prominent object to be seen in
the whole valley from that point of view.

It was quite dark when I reached the hotel, which is half way up the
valley, and the next morning my feet were too tired to think of much
hill climbing, so I walked up the valley about a mile where it seems to
separate into two branches, and taking the right hand one, climbed up
a rocky trail to the Vernal Falls. Here the Merced, a comparatively
small stream, falls straight down three hundred and fifty feet,
sending mist and spray up the sides of the rocks in all directions,
making a roar that can be heard long before one gets in sight of
the falls. "You can't follow that trail up by the falls; we got wet
through trying it," said a couple of tourists whom I met just below
the falls, and they started off on another trail two miles farther
around. But I took the shorter route, up over slippery shelving rocks
that would let one slide quickly down into the pool where the waters
came thundering down from a height of perhaps thirty feet, and before I
got through the shower of mist and spray, up to the ladders that lead
to the top of the falls, I was wet through, too. Lying on the rocks,
the warm sun soon dried my clothes, and after a good meal at Snow's,
a small hotel situated midway between the Vernal and Nevada Falls,
I climbed up to the top of the Nevada Falls. Here the water comes
rushing down over high rocks, goes through a narrow gorge under the
bridge with a roar, and plunges over the cliff. Down a short distance,
the water strikes a projecting rock, and the whole river is sent out
with a twist into the air, one mass of white foam that spreads out
into hundreds of little white rockets that never explode, but fade
away into thin spray. Down farther, another projecting rock tears the
water to pieces again and sends it shooting out into the air, till,
when it reaches the bottom and has fallen a distance of fully seven
hundred feet, there is scarcely anything left of the water but foam.

All the afternoon I lay on the flat rock at the top of the falls,
and after sleeping and writing by turns, and resting all the time,
I became so accustomed to the roar that I hardly realized that the
water was rushing by me and falling almost directly down seven hundred
feet to the rocks below. The Cap of Liberty is a very appropriate
name for a mass of granite that rises up over half a mile within a
few rods of the top of the falls.

The next morning, after a good night's rest at Snow's, where the
roar of the falls makes a soothing sound, I started up the trail
for Clouds Rest. "O you can't miss your way. Just follow the trail,"
is what everybody says, landlords, guides, ranchmen, and everybody
of whom the question is asked: "Is there any trouble in finding the
way?" This was the case in Colorado and it is so here, and one starts
off on such trips with the impression that he has simply to follow
his nose and he will get there. But it is the easiest thing in the
world for a tenderfoot, like myself, to miss the way.

I had gone nearly three miles up the only fresh trail there was to
follow, when coming to a log hut I asked how far it was to Clouds
Rest. "This is not the way. You missed the trail back there a mile and
a half," and so I turned back and hunted for an hour, climbed over
boulders, small rocky ridges and fallen trees, tore one knee out of
my trousers, ripped open my stockings, and was on the point of going
back and giving up the whole trip, when I found what was the trail;
but a heavy rain had completely obliterated the foot prints three
days before and the trail itself was washed out of existence in many
places. But up I started and walked in the direction of the peak for
an hour or two, when the trail seemed to lead away from the object
of my trip, and so I started straight up the side of the mountain,
crawling up over rocks on my hands and knees, sometimes slipping back,
but always struggling on, till I finally reached the top. Then how
thankful I was that I had not turned back. The top of the peak is,
perhaps, twenty by thirty feet in area, and is ten thousand feet above
the sea. That is not very high compared with some mountain peaks, but
it is six thousand feet above the valley, and as I write these words
I can look down, almost straight down, eight hundred feet more than
a mile. Think of sitting in the front row of the gallery and looking
down into the parquet six thousand feet below. I am sitting in such
a place now, only there is no railing or protection in front. The
sight is enough to make one almost lose his senses. I had been on
top but a few minutes when there was a rumbling sound like thunder
not very far off, and I began to wish myself somewhere else. Whether
it was a rock falling or simply the reverberation of a gun I don't
know, but it made me feel very uncomfortable for a while. The peak
is the highest of any in sight for many miles, and one can look down
into the whole length of the Yosemite Valley as he would into a deep
trench. The river, looking white and slender down there so far, is
roaring on its downward course, but I can't hear it. The heavy pine
trees from one to two hundred feet high down there in the valley,
look like standing evergreens in a meadow. El Capitan, the Half Dome,
the Cap of Liberty, the North Dome, and all the other immense peaks
that rise up three or four thousand feet above the valley, I can look
down on as a tall man upon a crowd of boys.

A swallow rushed by me with the whiz of a bullet, making my heart
beat with excitement for the moment, and then I began to think how
nice it would be to fly down to some of the peaks below; but when
a person begins to think of flying in such a place it is dangerous
business. He might suddenly take it into his head to try it. The
peaks to the east are all covered with snow, and the whole country
for miles in every direction has a very light colored appearance,
the granite of which it is all composed giving it that look. The mass
of rocks that are entirely bare, free from all kinds of vegetation,
is fully one-half of the entire area of the country within view.

Straight across the valley, and only a little lower down, is a mass
of granite, smooth as a floor, containing hundreds of acres, with
scarcely a tree or shrub on it. It is less than a mile away, and yet
what an awful chasm between us, a chasm deeper than it is wide. The
distant views from Pike's Peak are more extended, but there are no
such perpendicular heights as are here seen on all sides.

I cannot give any good reason for feeling so, but it takes all the
courage I have to stay here and eat my luncheon and write what little
I have written. Sitting in the middle of this small area the only
objects seen over the edge are from five to six thousand feet below,
and it is only by going near the edge, which I don't like to do,
that I can see the immense granite mountain that supports this small,
flat surface, and the sight of that reassures me. But I can't endure
it any longer. It is not pleasant up here alone. I feel all the time
as if I was just on the point of losing control of myself. I keep
thinking what if I should jump off, how would it feel going down a
mile or more through the air. People who talk contemptuously of what
is called altitude sickness can never have experienced it.

After an hour's unpleasant stay on top I got back to Nevada Falls all
right and then took the new trail around to Glacier Point, where,
after twenty-five miles of climbing during the day, I was ready
to rest for the night. The next morning I went out to the point,
or, that is, within ten feet or so of the edge. Glacier Point is
nearly opposite Yosemite Falls, and a magnificent view of the valley,
including both its branches, is to be had from this place, although
it is nearly three thousand feet lower than Clouds Rest. The rock
projects out over the edge of the cliff, and an iron railing has
been placed there. They say, I don't know anything about it, myself,
for I did not go out to this railing, but they say you can look down
under yourself thirty-two hundred feet into the valley below. The
feeling was sufficiently unpleasant the first time I went up the
winding stairs on the inside of the dome of the capitol at Hartford,
but here the height is over twelve times as great, and I did not care
to try it, but some do go out there and have their pictures taken.

Down the trail to Barnard's again, and up the opposite side of the
valley to the foot of the Upper Yosemite Falls. Here a small stream
plunges over the edge of the rocks and falls directly down over sixteen
hundred feet, ten times as high as Niagara; before the water reaches
the bottom the wind has reduced it to little less than spray, and
just before I got to the foot of the cliff the wind suddenly changed
and I was drenched to my skin before I could get away. These falls
produce a peculiar sound down in the valley that is not heard at
all near them. It is that of falling rocks or suppressed thunder,
caused probably by the water being blown against the face of the
precipice. Whether it was the small volume of water compared with the
Nevada Falls, or having my ardor so suddenly dampened by the shower
bath, but the Yosemite Falls did not impress me as the other falls I
had seen did. On the way back, a gentleman just ahead of me suddenly
came upon a rattlesnake a yard long, and the man jumped into the air,
and ran back like a deer, but his courage returning he struck the
snake a well-directed blow with a stone, and now has the four rattles
in his pocket as a trophy.

On the way out of the valley, in the afternoon, I stopped at the
Bridal Veil Falls, which are nine hundred feet high. Here I met a
lady painting near the falls. Two days before that I first saw her at
the Nevada Falls, where, before night, she had put upon canvas a most
striking picture of the falls. Now she was doing the same here, and we
sat upon the rocks at the foot of the falls and had a most delightful
talk, for nearly an hour, on the advantages we had (she traveled
horseback) over common tourists who depend upon cars and stages.

Like the Yosemite, these falls reach the bottom all blown to spray,
and I began to perceive that after three days of this tremendous
sight-seeing such common heights as one or two thousand feet were
passed by unnoticed, and it took some such prominent figure as
El Capitan to awaken any special interest. This solid, smooth,
perpendicular piece of granite juts out boldly into the valley over
three thousand feet high, and it easily holds first place in point
of interest at the south end of the valley, as the Half Dome does at
the north end.

The Half Dome rises above the valley four thousand eight hundred feet,
and as its name indicates, one-half of the upper portion is rounded
and smooth like any dome, but it is split in half; the other side
being vertical from the top down for one thousand five hundred feet,
and the lower portion descending nearly perpendicularly. And as I
climb up out of the valley, over the Big Oak Flat route, and take a
last look at the gigantic object below, I try to form some idea how
this valley, different from any other in the world, could have been
formed. But all attempted theorizing upon this stupendous subject
proves unsatisfactory, and I am more than willing to leave the problem
for some other fellow to solve.

Distance traveled on the wheel, 2,874 miles.



CHAPTER XVI.

ON THE SHORES OF THE PACIFIC.


To get out of the Yosemite Valley required nearly ten miles of hill
climbing, or rather walking, for there is no such thing as riding
up even an ordinary hill with three or four inches of fine dust and
numberless loose stones in the road. But once at the summit there were
thirty miles of coasting, such as it was. Long before, in going into
the valley, I had been obliged to take off the spring under the brake,
for it required every ounce of strength I had to control the machine
in coasting down some of those long hills without wasting any of my
strength in pressing down a stiff spring. The roads were very rough,
full of roots and stones, and so steep many times that it needed the
full strength of the brake to keep the machine slowed down to a safe
speed, but even then sometimes an unseen root or stone would throw
me forward on to my feet, and the head of the machine would strike
me on the lower part of the backbone till the flesh was black and
blue. So in order to keep on the bicycle for any distance, I had to
actually lie down on the saddle, keeping as far back on it as possible
and reach the handles. In this position, with my legs sprawling out
in front and the knapsack rubbing on the backbone of the machine,
I rode for miles and miles, often bounding into the air, so that
daylight might have been seen between myself and the saddle. It was
neither a graceful nor a comfortable position, but it was the only
way I could get along without walking, and to do that after walking
up these same hills in a broiling sun would have been too bad. Some
of the hills were too steep and crooked for coasting even, but most
of them I rode down without mishap.

The next day after I left the valley, just before dark, while riding
over a smooth, level strip of road, the felloe on the little wheel
broke. The butt end of an eight-penny nail was sticking through the
tire just at the point of fracture, but whether that was the cause
of the breakage or not I cannot say. But this I did know, the machine
was apparently useless,--forty-five miles from any railroad, and how
many miles from a blacksmith's shop I had not an idea. But with the
use of a piece of hoop iron and some wire that I brought all the way
from Indiana, where the old rubber tire had made the only previous
trouble with the machine, I bound up the felloe and it carried me
thirty miles, till the next noon, when a blacksmith riveted a piece
on, and made the wheel strong again.

The one hundred and sixty-two miles from the Yosemite back to
Sacramento were made in three days. On the way I dropped the machine
and ran a quarter of a mile across a wheat field to see a header
and thresher at work. It was drawn by eighteen mules, working six
abreast, and cut a swarth nearly if not quite ten feet wide. The tops
of the wheat as they fell were carried up on a cloth roller into the
threshing part of the machine which worked as the machine was drawn
along. Four or five men rode upon the machine, doing various work,
but the result of the whole was, the wheat was cut, threshed, run into
bags, and the bags tied up and thrown off, as the whole establishment
went along on two immense wheels. Any farmer can judge of the great
number of acres of wheat such a machine will harvest in a day.

Irrigation is carried on quite extensively here, but the source of a
great part of the water supply is ordinary or bored wells. Some farms
have twenty-five or thirty wells, and at each well is a wind-mill. The
wind blows almost invariably from the west, every afternoon, and
the number of revolving wind-mills seen over the level plains of the
Sacramento Valley is astonishing. They are as thick as the chimneys
in a city, and when they are all in motion, hundreds of them in all
directions, the sight is quite novel to an Easterner. An ordinary
good supply of water is had at a depth of less than twenty feet,
but let the well be carried down fifty or sixty feet and a source
of water is found that is inexhaustible, the size of the bore or the
quantity pumped up not having the slightest effect upon the clearness
or the supply of the water.

The dust, which to Californians must almost get to be a part of their
living before the season is over, is a source of great annoyance to
a wheelman who has much walking to do. The roughly worn rubber tire
raises a constant cloud and the taste and smell is very offensive,
but there are counter odors that are really very pleasant. The dried
"life-everlasting," that is very common among the foot hills, gives
off a most delicious perfume, and there is constantly being wafted
by the winds to our nostrils another scent so sweet as to be almost
sickening. What the source of this perfume is I could not ascertain,
for there was no shrub or bush in blossom to give off such fragrance,
but a farmer told me it was the leaves of the laurel, a bush that is
very common in the mountains. Crush these leaves and the smell is far
from sweet; but diluted by the air it may, perhaps, be different. At
any rate there is something in the hills and mountains of California
that constantly throws off a perfume that is most pleasant to one
breathing so much unpleasantly scented dust.

From the plains, as soon as the feed dries up in the summer, the cattle
are driven up into the mountains, where vegetation is much fresher,
and there they remain till fall. After making the journey once or twice
the cattle start off of their own accord for the mountains when the
feed gets scarce on the plains. This has the effect to diminish the
milk supply among the farmers, as I found out to my sorrow, for many
was the large farm-house at which I asked in vain for a bowl of milk.

Californians delight as much as do the Mormons in camping out. It
is the custom, after the harvest is over, for the farmer to lock
up his house, take his whole family up into the mountains and stay
for weeks. Many times a day I met these parties going or coming; and
taking an early start some mornings I passed men and women lying on
the ground under their wagons wrapped up in blankets, sound asleep, the
silent running machine not disturbing them in their slumbers. In fact
everywhere, at the Big Trees, in the Yosemite, and by the roadside,
along the route, everybody seems to be living out under the sky. It
must be a delightful life, for the ground is warm; there is no dew,
and by the side of a nice, clear, cool brook, where the fishing and
hunting is good, the enjoyment must be great. I really wanted to stop
with many a party I saw thus situated.

My appearance in Sacramento after a twelve days' trip of three hundred
and eighty miles in the Lower Sierras was, to put it mildly, peculiar,
and the attention I attracted from every one was rather disconcerting
to a modest man. My shoes had become so worn and torn, that the
different pieces of canvas had to be tied together with strings in
order to keep them on my feet. My stockings were little better than
leggings--feet all gone--and what there was left of the uppers was
very holey, in sharp contrast with the almost sole-less condition of
my shoes. And the trousers,--well, not to mention one knee torn out and
the other sewed up in a bunch, the part most intimately acquainted with
the saddle would make a very good crazy-quilt pattern. A piece of black
silk taken from an old skull cap, a portion of a pair of overalls, and
a part of a pair of merino stockings were all sewed into the inside
of the trousers to strengthen them, and as the different pieces wore
through it left a garment of many colors, and I felt constrained to
face every one. Had I brought the heavy corduroy buckskin-seated
trousers, instead of leaving them at Denver, on account of their
weight, I should not have been thus left at the last of the journey
in such a deplorable condition, but a traveling wheelman who does
his own tailoring whenever occasion suddenly requires, behind a
stone wall or clump of bushes, or after he was disrobed at night,
cannot stop to do a very nice piece of work even if he could. It
is needless to say that my first business on reaching civilization,
was in a clothing and shoe store.

I had ridden from Milton that day, a distance of sixty-seven miles,
and although I had eaten two hearty meals during the ride (and a hearty
meal for a hungry wheelman means a good deal), yet at five o'clock,
when I reached the hotel, I was half starved. At this hotel, the
instant you are seated at the table a waiter on one side of you reels
off: "Beef-steak, pork-steak, mutton-chop, fried tripe, corned-beef,
pork and beans, fried liver and onions, bacon, and potpie," with a
rapidity that classes him as a gastronomic; and another waiter on
the other side, the instant you have given your order says, "tea or
coffee?" so quickly that you really believe he is about to pour from
the large steaming pots which he holds in his hands, both the tea
and coffee all over you if you did not respond instanter.

Before the square chunks of sugar have had a chance to dissolve in
the coffee, the first waiter has returned, not only with what you
have ordered, but with lots of other stuff, and as there is not room
enough on the table for all the various dishes, he piles them up in
a semi-circle around you, two or three layers high. I rather liked
the way they had of doing business in that dining-room. Once or twice
during the first meal I dug a hole through the breastwork, but at a
nod the waiters quickly filled it up again, preventing my escape in
that direction. I liked the place, first-rate, and so I stayed there
two days--not in the dining-room, but close by. I had considerable
writing to do, and thus I simply vibrated all the next day between
the desk and the dining-room. It was immaterial what I ordered at the
table, everything tasted so good, and so much tasted that same way. In
short, I ate as never a wheelman ate before, and as this particular
wheelman will never eat again, under the same circumstances. I have
forgotten just what the various dishes were that surrounded me at the
beginning, during the progress, and at the latter part of the supper
siege, but I remember distinctly that fried liver and onions were the
last to enter the list and that in a few hours, they were, like the
"Bloody Sixty-ninth," the last on the field and the first to leave it.

That night I had not been abed long when, in my dreams, one of those
watchful waiters, seeing something troubled me, came to the bedside
with an armful of liver and onions, simply that and nothing more, and
as he placed the dishes around on the bed in that same semi-circle,
he took care to heap them up in the center of the circle so that I
could hardly see out. Although such a task at first weighed heavily
on me, I soon lifted the burden by devouring each dish in turn, but
scarcely had I drawn a sigh of relief when another waiter appeared,
more heavily loaded than the first, with the same, liver and onions,
simply that; but I said I didn't want any more. Still they came,
piling the dishes around and above me in an immense semi-circle
pyramid, and the more I tried to do my whole duty as a wheelman by
stowing away the monotonous meal before me, the more solid grew the
foundation of that pyramid. But there was no escape. On all sides of
the bed were those wasteful waiters filling the room, and hovering
about with dishes piled along up both arms and upon their shoulders,
until I seemed to be in the center of a great amphitheater of dishes
of liver and onions. Even then I should not have become discouraged
at that, simply that, but out in the hall there was plenty more. So,
much as I dislike to acknowledge defeat, I was finally induced (but it
took a deuce of a long while) to stop eating, and, in sudden awakening,
throw up the whole business, liver, onions, and all.

Once more taking the train, which was ferried across the water at
Benecia, the twelve heavy cars and monster locomotive not making the
slightest depression of the boat, I finally reached San Francisco,
the turning point on the trip. It may not be uninteresting to give the
boys a few notes in regard to the cost of the journey in time, money,
and muscle. The stock of muscle is of course decidedly larger than at
the beginning, but the amount of flesh is about fifteen pounds less,
which was all lost on the first month or six weeks. My stomach has
given trouble twice, both times when after long, hard riding for many
days, I ceased all work and tried to appease a ravenous appetite by
eating enormously. I succeeded, both in satisfying my appetite and
myself that even a wheelman's stomach can be overloaded when he stops
riding for a few days. The water, of which I have drank very freely
everywhere, excepting across the plains, where there was but little
to be had, has caused me no trouble. Three pairs of shoes have been
worn out, and the feet of twice as many pairs of stockings.

The distance on the wheel has been 3,036 miles, that on the cars
about 1,800, and in climbing up and about Pike's Peak and the peaks
about the Yosemite, nearly one hundred miles more, so that the entire
distance traveled has been nearly, if not quite, 5,000 miles. The
cost has been $120. This includes repairs to machine, new clothes,
and repairs of old ones, and every expense whatsoever.

It is a curious fact, curious to me at least, that on both the other
bicycle trips I have taken, one of 500 miles down through Rhode Island
and Martha's Vineyard, and the other of 1,200 miles up through the
White Mountains, the cost per mile of distance traveled should have
been so nearly what it has been on this trip. It is within so small
a fraction of two cents a mile that I feel confident one can travel
on a wheel, in almost any part of this great country, for nearly the
same price. And it would be almost ungrateful to the machine now not
to say a word in its favor, for I have a feeling of affection towards
this Columbia Expert, that is akin to that felt by an equestrian for
a strong, able horse that has carried him safely over so much country.

Before I started on this trip the machine had carried me 3,000 miles,
into mill flumes and mountain passes, and had been put to as severe
a test as it is possible for New England roads and a Yankee rider
to place upon it. It was the manner in which it stood the test that
inspired confidence to give it a harder task, and the manner in which
it has brought me here is now known to the reader. The trip into
the Yosemite was the severest strain ever put upon the machine, and,
in fact, the rider; but the wheel I think would have come out in a
whole condition had it not been for that butt end of an eight-penny
nail. As it is, the expense of keeping the machine in good repair
for three years has been less than five dollars, or one-thirteenth
of a cent a mile for distance traveled.

The time taken to accomplish this portion of the trip has been one
hundred and ten days, so that the living and traveling expenses
combined have been but little over a dollar a day.

And now that the turning point in the journey has been reached, and
as this is a "true relation," as our forefathers used to say, of the
common-place adventures of a wheelman, there is only one more little
incident that needs to be told, if it need be told at all, and that is
in regard to a bottle. From the start I have carried one. Many cowboys
and ranchmen thought the tool bag was a liquor flask, but the little
bottle above mentioned was carried in the knapsack, and everywhere the
knapsack went the bottle was sure to go. That bottle and the Yosemite
were the two objects, great and small, that kept my spirits up during
the thousands of miles, and many of them weary ones, that we traveled
together. The prime motive of the journey was to see the Yosemite
and carry that bottle of liquid to California. The cork was not even
drawn during the entire journey, and yet that liquid had a wonderful
power in keeping my spirits up. In fact, a glass of California wine
has been the only alcoholic stimulant thus far drank. The object
of carrying a bottle of liquid so far and not even smelling of the
cork may seem to some foolish on my part, but had the liquor being
used sooner the object sought could not have been accomplished, which
object was to get some mixed liquor, some "'alf and 'alf," and carry
it back to Connecticut. The object was partly accomplished to-day.

Last fall, while riding along the rocky shoes of Nahant, I filled a
small bottle with water from the Atlantic Ocean. To-day I emptied part
of that water into the Pacific Ocean near the Cliff House, and now I
have a bottle filled with water taken from the Atlantic and Pacific
Oceans, and in the bottom of the bottle are some pebbles and sand,
the former from the Atlantic, the latter from the Pacific.

And to-day, standing on the extreme western limit of the Great American
Continent, I make obeisance to the good wheel by whose aid I have
now accomplished the wonderful and laborious yet delectable journey!



CHAPTER XVII.

WITH THE VETERANS.


A bicycle is of little use in the city of San Francisco, that is, in
the city proper. The horizontal streets are too roughly paved and the
perpendicular streets are of course unrideable. It may be exaggerating
the case a little to speak of the streets as being perpendicular,
but many of them are nearer that than they are level. The city is full
of hills, such as Telegraph Hill, where there is a beer garden in the
shape of an old castle, and Nob Hill where Flood, Stanford, and other
California millionaires have built some of their fine residences. A
cable line of street cars runs over these hills, and it is quite a
treat at first to take a ride upon these cars. They go noiselessly
up a grade that often rises one foot in three, as steep as the Mount
Washington Railroad, and yet the speed of the car does not slacken in
the least, either going up or down, the rate being somewhat faster
than horse cars. Unlike the dummy or grip-car in Chicago, which has
a train of three or four cars, these have only one car attached,
which is often crowded to its utmost, but should the grip lose its
hold on the cable the car can be instantly lifted off its wheels on
to runners that would prevent the car sliding down the steep grade
at a very dangerous speed.

The cable, the power which moves the cars, runs along under the center
of the track entirely unseen, and the grip, a flat, iron beam, in the
center of the dummy, slides along in a slot in the center of the track,
and by an ingenious contrivance grasps or lets go of the running cable
at the will of the gripman. The power is communicated to the cable
by running it over grooved wheels at a central station in the cable
car line, which is often three or four miles long. In the rapidity
of transit, this system on a level is a great improvement upon horse
cars, and in surmounting these long, steep hills, where horse-power
would be utterly useless, it works equally well.

But to return to the bicycle. In going out to the Presidio, a
government reservation, west of the city, a mile or so, and to the
fort which stands just at the Golden Gate, I found excellent roads,
and so on, all the way to the Cliff House, which is four miles out
on the shore of the Pacific; but the drifting sand caused a few
dismounts. Strange as it may seem, this sand is the cause of great
expense to the people here. It drifts like snow, covering up fences,
houses, and in time blocking up thoroughfares if left undisturbed.

On the way out I passed square miles of sand hills that were being
blown by the westerly winds into heaps and drifts thirty or forty
feet high. And one of the petty annoyances from the sand is the dust
that is constantly filling every nook and corner of stores, shops,
and dwelling-houses. The trouble from flies is as nothing compared
to the evil which housekeepers have to endure from their greatest
enemy, dust. There is something about this California dust that is
more penetrating than Eastern dust, for the pedals on the machine
would in other places remain in good running order for several weeks
after cleaning, but here they get gummed up in a very few days.

A most novel attraction at the Cliff House is the sea lions that
swarm all over a mass of rocks out in the ocean, perhaps a hundred and
fifty feet from the cliff. Here hundreds of these growling, snarling
animals crawl up out of the cold waves, floundering over each other in
search of a warm place to sleep in, and disturbing other slumberers,
thus creating a constant uproar. The grounds and flower gardens about
the residence of Adolph Sutro, of Sutro Tunnel fame, are certainly
very pretty--the most beautiful I have seen--and the situation,
just back of the Cliff House, and higher up, is a very fine one.

After a short trip across the bay, by water and rail, to Alameda, the
Saratoga of California, all interest was lost for awhile in everything
else in the growing excitement attending the Grand Army Encampment. To
one who had been so long in coming across the continent, the sight
of those who had so recently left Connecticut was a real pleasure,
and I keenly enjoyed looking at fellow Yankees, especially into the
faces of those from Hartford. But it was a great disappointment to
see Connecticut unheralded in the grand procession except by a small
banner belonging to the New Haven Post. The colors that should have
made the forty members from Connecticut who joined in the procession
distinguishable in the thousands of other marching veterans, arrived
an hour after the parade was dismissed.

The Avenue, which one here soon learns to know means Van Ness Avenue,
is a fine broad street, just suited (as it is not a business street)
for the easy formation of a parade, and the sight of the marching and
counter-marching regulars, the State militia, and the ten thousand
veterans, many of these carrying large silk flags, taken in connection
with the scores of playing bands and drum corps, altogether, was very
inspiring. Certainly the streets and buildings of San Francisco were
never so gayly and handsomely decorated, and there never were so many
people here.

It was interesting to see the faces of Generals Sherman and Logan as
they stood up in their carriages reviewing the procession, nearly
opposite the Palace Hotel. Sherman's keen eye noted everything. He
frequently pointed out some veteran or banner in the procession
in his quick eager manner, and seemed as anxious as a boy not to
let anything escape him. He acknowledged the cheers and shouts of
the passing veterans by little short, quick nods, keeping his head
going and eyes winking almost continually, only occasionally waving
his hat a little, which he held down at arm's length most of the
time. Sometimes a veteran would leave the ranks to grasp his hand,
but not very often, and if a number came at once he would wave them
off with an impatient gesture as if the thing that pleased him most
was to see them keep marching, marching. Every action of his was
quick, active, and almost nervous, and the only time I have seen
him do anything slowly was at the pavilion one evening, when he
followed Commander-in-Chief Burdette around the floor with a lady
on his arm during the grand march preceding the dancing. Then he was
obliged to go slow. His photographs flatter him only in one respect,
and that is his nose. The end of his nose is larger, fuller, redder,
than it appears in his photograph, and curves at the end like a beak.

General Logan stood in his carriage almost the antipode of
Sherman. Logan was slow, graceful, smiling, saw the procession pass
in a calm sort of a way, and took no particular notice of anything
in it but once. He replied to the hurrahs and yells of the veterans
by slowly raising his black flat brimmed hat, bowing gracefully and
smiling, and replacing his hat on his head.

The regulars marched by in splendid form, without so much as
turning their eyes to the right, but the militia could not resist
the temptation to look at Sherman and Logan, and their lines were
very wavy in consequence. The veterans simply straggled by, cheering
and yelling in squads or singly, just as the spirit moved them. Some
Grand Army of the Republic officer, arrayed in glistening uniform
and riding a fine horse, would come sailing up with his face and
body as immovable as a statue, when suddenly becoming aware of the
presence of these generals the officer would unbend, turn his head
on a pivot, bow and smile his sweetest, but in nine cases out of
ten these supreme efforts of the officers were all lost on Logan,
for he was gazing with earnest look at the line of veterans.

A stout, full bearded man left the ranks and walked firmly up to Logan,
grasped the hand that was always ready, and said, in a low, trembling
voice, "God bless you." And I know from his looks he felt a good
deal more than he said. Another rather timid man came from the ranks
and shaking Logan's hand, said: "I can't help it," and walked off,
hanging his head, as if he had done something foolish. Then another
came rushing up with a wild glaring look in his eyes, and shaking,
and yelling "Twenty-second Ohio," was off again with the moving
mass. Up ran another, and, shouting the one word "Chattanooga,"
as Logan gave him a hearty shake, was gone.

And so it was throughout the whole review; no matter whether they came
singly or whether whole companies left the ranks in a body, and made
a rush for the carriages, Logan's hand was always extended, and a
"Glad to see you," or "Yes, that's so, boys," made the old veterans
feel happy; for only when Logan was shaking, as fast as he could,
a score of uplifted hands, did his black eyes flash, and look as if
he really was, as he said he was, glad to see the crowd of comrades
pushing eagerly toward him. Once a great burly six footer, crowded up,
and extending his broad hand eagerly shouted, "Touch her, God Almighty,
touch her." A veteran who had been irrigating a little too freely,
stood for quite a while in front of the carriage, and as the old
soldiers tramped by he would call their attention, in a maudlin way,
to the personage he had in charge by saying, "don't forget John." But
it was plain to be seen there was no danger of that. Then another one
came up with a demijohn, and, pouring out a glass of water and spilling
twice as much all over himself, said, "Drink with me, Gen'al, if you
never drink again," and the general did. Then when he joined in singing
"Marching Through Georgia," all the ladies in the windows on both sides
of the street waved their handkerchiefs; but when a little raggamuffin,
during a lull in the yells and shouts of the veterans, rushed out in
front of the carriage, and called for "Three cheers for Black Jack,"
he failed to get them. It certainly required considerable patience
on Logan's part to be shaken and almost yanked out of the carriage,
as he was several times, but he bore it with good grace, and replied
to the hundreds of questions and salutations as pleasantly as possible.

Again at the concert at the pavilion he was heartily applauded as he
came in and took his seat, and while the ten thousand persons present
were clapping their hands, cheering and yelling "Logan, Logan," he sat
perfectly still, looking straight in front of himself with that same
far away look in his eyes. As nothing less would satisfy the audience
he finally climbed upon the stage, when with one accord the thousand
singers present showered him with flowers and bouquets. This time
he seemed to be somewhat disconcerted and blushed as the bouquets
hit him in the breast and face and knocked his long straight black
hair all over his eyes. Still he bowed and bowed, and jumped down
and took his seat as soon as possible. His manner certainly wins the
admiration and respect of the average American.

A day's trip to Monterey on the cars is sufficient to see the beautiful
grove of live oaks there and to view the old town and bay. The Hotel
Del Monte is a magnificent structure, and the floral display about
the hotel, in the court in the rear, where there is a garden of an
acre of the most brilliant flowers imaginable, and many more out in
the grove, this makes the whole place the most delightful resort I
have seen. The beach is strewn with the bones of whales, and in places
they are thrown up tons of them in heaps. I saw one curiosity hunter
lugging off a vertebra that must have weighed fifty pounds. The waves
would occasionally float a jelly-fish closely up on the beach, and
we finally succeeded, two of us, in holding one of these quivering,
slippery masses of living matter from sliding back with the waves,
but wet feet was the price of the prize. Some of these masses of jelly
that are about the shape of a scalloped summer squash, are nearly as
large as a tub, certainly larger than a half bushel.

The water on the coast here is too cold for comfortable bathing,
and hot salt water bathing is advertised everywhere, but to any one
who has enjoyed the surf anywhere on the Atlantic coast the idea of
swimming in a tank of heated salt water is not very attractive. For
all they have no winter here the cost of fuel is greater, if anything,
than where the climate is more severe. Coal costs more per ton, and
is delivered to families in fifty pound sacks. Fires are comfortable
every day in the year, and sealskin cloaks are seen in the streets
all summer long. Why they don't have more big fires in San Francisco
is a wonder. Acres of frame dwellings and business blocks are here, a
strong wind is always with them, and after four or five months without
a drop of rain it naturally seems as if the buildings must be as dry
as tinder. But they tell me the red wood, which is the chief building
material, does not burn very readily, as there is very little if any
resin. The thing they dread most is a thunder storm. A good lively
earthquake is barely noticed, and the people walk along with the
ground trembling and shaking under them, and the occurrence is hardly
mentioned, but let an ordinary thunder storm pass over them and it is
the subject of conversation for weeks. The week before I reached here
a thunder storm occurred that in New England would hardly be noticed,
but here it startled the whole city, and was the occasion of many
an animated discussion among the natives who still gather in little
groups upon the streets to express their various opinions regarding
the phenomenon.



CHAPTER XVIII.

MONTEREY AND THE GEYSERS.


My trip to Monterey, which was mentioned in the last chapter, was
made in connection with an excursion arranged as a part of the Grand
Army of the Republic programme. I was very glad the ride was taken
on the cars, for the last fifty miles was over a section of country
that strongly resembles in appearance the sage bush and sandy deserts
of Wyoming and Nevada. The prospect of traveling over such roads on
a wheel does not stir up in me such an enthusiastic determination
to undertake their passage as it did two months ago, and the chance
of meeting Eastern people on the train was quite an inducement to
go by cars; but a bicycle is just the thing with which to visit the
Geysers. The knapsack on this trip was left behind, not because of any
inconvenience that it causes, for the longer it is used the better I
like it for carrying the amount of baggage necessary on long tours,
but the knapsack is the occasion of so many questions, it is such an
advertisement, that whenever it is possible on these side excursions
it is left behind. But although I started out wearing trousers and
dressed otherwise in ordinary clothes, and entertaining the idea that
I should not be so publicly bored as usual on this journey because
of my ordinary appearance, this impression proved to be a false one
as soon as I took the ferry for Oakland.

Every one on the boat seemed to know the machine and rider, and on
a boat or train it is the same everywhere. Why they knew the machine
will be explained shortly, but a few words first about being bored by
so many questions. It is not because of any reserve I feel in regard to
imparting information about this mode of traveling across the country,
to any one interested in such touring, for four or five years ago I
asked just such questions of Professor Williams of Brown University,
on his return from his European bicycling tour, and whenever any one
on the road or at a private house asks questions I feel only glad to
answer them; but let any one on a ferry boat, at a station, hotel,
or any public place commence the usual string of questions--and this
string never varies from one end of the country to the other--then a
crowd of listeners quickly gathers around, each one in the audience
eager to ask the same or some question the others have not thought of,
and it becomes disagreeable in the extreme.

The machine became known in this manner. The enterprising agent of
the Columbia machine here, with a manner that he must have imbibed
from Chinatown, it was so child-like and bland, and with an eye to
business which I did not see him open, asked permission to "fix up
the machine a little, cement the tire on good," or something, and the
next morning the machine was covered with Grand Army of the Republic
decorations, a big placard citing its history hung upon it, and the
whole affair placed on the sidewalk in front of the agent's place of
business, opposite the Palace Hotel, to be viewed by the thousands
of people not only from California, but here from all parts of the
country during encampment week. So that is the reason why machine
and rider are so well-known in this vicinity, better known perhaps
than in any other part of the country outside of New England.

The ride of three hours to Napa was a delightful one, across the
bay to Oakland, then a few miles on the cars to Vallejo Junction,
across the bay again, and a few miles farther by train to Napa. After
stopping over night there with a new-made friend, I started out up
the Napa valley in the cool of a pleasant Sunday morning. The roads
were excellent and the country pretty thickly settled for California,
but very few persons were stirring about, and the quiet and peaceful
appearance of everything was in pleasant contrast with the noise and
excitement of the past week in the city. Calistoga, ambitiously named
the "Saratoga of the Pacific," on account of a few mineral springs,
and a hotel that wants custom, was reached by noon, and it was twelve
or fifteen miles farther before any hill climbing to speak of was
necessary. Then it all came together, about seven miles of it.

It seems strange, in passing through as much unsettled or newly
settled country as I have, not once being obliged to go without food
for more than six or seven hours during the day, that now, in this
old inhabited part of California, I should not be able to procure a
mouthful of food for eleven hours, but so it was. It was partly my
fault though, for I had ridden thirty-five or forty miles, and it
was two o'clock in the afternoon before I thought of being hungry,
and then the hill-climbing commenced, and the farm-houses were minus.

It was nearly six o'clock before Pine Flat, five miles up the mountain,
was reached, and during the last two or three miles I could not walk
without staggering sometimes, and often stopping to rest, I was so
faint. But a good meal of eggs and venison fixed me all right, and the
next morning the summit was reached without much trouble, and only
six miles of coasting remained. But such coasting! The grade is not
as steep as in some parts of the Yosemite route, Priest's Hill, for
instance, on the Big Oak Flat route, but the road is much narrower and
decidedly more crooked. It twists around the sides of the mountain and
runs so close to the edge of precipices two or three hundred feet high,
that it must make one's head swim to ride round these turns in a stage.

Clark Foss, the celebrated driver, who owned this route, and was
one of the twenty-five different men in different places who drove
Horace Greeley on the ride when he promised "to get him there in time"
(every one who ever came to California has heard the story; it is
the worst chestnut ever perpetrated, but they still retail it),
died about a year ago, and his son, Charlie Foss, now drives the
six-horse open wagon. For three or four miles I was in constant dread
of meeting the stage coming up, and had I done so on some of those
oxbow shaped curves in the road, where there is not a foot of space
on either side of the hubs, between a ledge of rocks and a precipice,
the result can well be imagined. The stage suddenly appeared around
one of these very curves, when but a few seconds before, I had been
thrown off upon my feet by a rock in the road and was walking, but
although I was told I should hear the stage coming, I did not till the
leaders' heads appeared around the ledge of rocks, not ten feet ahead
of me. But for striking the rock in the road, I should surely have
been coasting, and the result would have been, in all probability,
I should have gone over the edge, or the horses and stage would
have done so. Then what a volley of questions was fired at me by the
dozen passengers aboard. The driver stopped, and for five minutes it
seemed as if everyone in the stage was talking and asking questions,
all at the same time. Some of the passengers had seen me before and
knew of the trip, and as the stage disappeared around the curve with
the gentlemen waving their hats and the ladies their handkerchiefs,
and all wishing me good luck, the pleasant impression left with me
will long be remembered, not only for the good feeling shown towards
me, but because our meeting on that sharp curve at one of the most
dangerous points of this dangerous mountain road might have terminated
so differently and perhaps disastrously.

Only once did I come near having any trouble with the wheel. In
crossing the numerous dry creeks that run down the steep sides of
the mountain, the road makes horse-shoe curves, descending rapidly
down to the creek and then rising as sharply on the other side. In
coasting down into these curved gullies, one has to get his feet
back upon the pedals pretty lively in order to climb up the grade
on the other side without dismounting, but once the wheel slowed up
quicker than I expected, and before my feet were back on the pedals,
the wheel turned straight across the road and rolled slowly to the
edge of the precipice. I took one look down, my heart leaped into my
mouth, and I sprang out of that saddle backwards quicker than I ever
did before in my life. It was undecided for a few seconds whether
the machine would go over the edge with or without me, but after
balancing there for a year and a half, as I remember it, I got the
best of gravity and finished the ride down to the geysers in safety.

The distance from Napa, fifty-five miles, could easily have been
made in a day, had I had a good meal in the middle of the day to work
on; but as it was, I saw all there was to see in an hour, and after
resting another hour was ready to start on before noon.

Those who have visited the geysers lately, and also saw them a dozen
or fifteen years ago, tell me the springs are not nearly as active
now as they were then. I certainly was disappointed. It is surely a
queer place up that narrow little cañon, with the different colored
rocks--red, green, blue, yellow, and white ones--all crumbling down in
one confused mass into the little stream of scalding hot water that
runs down through the cañon. The sides of the cañon were sizzling
and bubbling over with little hot springs, and the steam that escapes
from the holes was sickening. It smelled like eggs that have passed
their prime. Once I poked some of the crumbling stuff down into one
of these little vent holes, and the creeping steam spitefully blew the
hot sand-stones in my face and eyes. I pushed a stone a little larger
than my fist into the most noisy hole, but the escaping steam barely
moved it. Years ago, they tell me, a rock as large as a man could lift,
would be thrown out of this hole with considerable force. The witches'
caldron, a boiling pool of lead-colored water, not now over five or six
feet in diameter, is the most active of any of the springs, but there
is nothing that can be called a spouting geyser in the whole cañon.

The ride down to Cloverdale, seventeen miles, was greatly enjoyed, for
the grade was just steep enough to coast, but not to make dangerous
riding, and there certainly was something very novel about gliding
safely along in the wheel track close to a ledge of rocks, with a
yawning precipice within a foot of the other wheel track, and the road
winding around projecting points of rocks, and in and out along the
side of the mountain, and yet with a grade so gentle that the wheel
kept on quietly without the use of a brake. The mountains were so
bare of trees that the fine views were unobstructed, and one could
look down the winding valley and see points in the road that he would
eventually reach in that quiet, easy manner, always without the use of
any power either to accelerate or retard the speed of the wheel. Yes,
a trip to the geysers on a bicycle is well worth taking, but it is the
riding and sight-seeing on the way that pays, and not the geysers. With
a barrel of water, a few barrels of lime, and a little coloring matter,
one could almost discount the geysers in their present activity.

The ride down the Sonoma valley, and to the point where wheelmen are
obliged to take the train and ferry over to San Francisco, was through
a level country and over excellent roads, and an average speed of
six miles an hour was maintained throughout nearly the whole of the
ninety miles of the return trip. California is over twenty-five times
as large as Connecticut, and I have only seen a small portion of it,
but to say, as most Californians insist, that what I have seen is
a beautiful country, is certainly drawing upon the imagination to a
great extent. The roads are dry and terribly dusty, the grass is dead,
the streams all dried up, and the only green objects to be seen,
as you look across the country, are the trees and grape-vines and
occasionally a few acres of shriveled-up corn. And these are covered so
thickly with dust that the color underneath is hardly discernible. To
one accustomed to the refreshing showers of the Eastern States during
the summer, which render the verdure so luxuriant, the dry, dead,
dusty appearance of almost everything from the tops of the mountain
peaks to the rocky bottoms of the dry creeks and rivers, is anything
but beautiful. It looks as if the face of nature needed washing. But
let one imagine the hills and mountains covered with rich, green grass
and bright-colored wild flowers, as they were only a few months ago,
and think of the streams and rivers brimming full, or imagine the
hundreds of acres of grape-vines I have seen, loaded down with their
dark, rich fruit, and he can easily see that California has been
and will soon be again, a most beautiful country through which to
travel. We see California at its worst in August.

"Do the fleas trouble you any? We are eaten up alive with them,"
said an Eastern lady to me one day. My experience in Colorado
with mosquitoes was sufficient, it seems, for the fleas here have
troubled me very little, but they are a source of great discomfort to
most travelers, and even the old residents. Persons going out for a
walk will sometimes come back covered with them. The pleasure of an
evening's entertainment or social call is often sadly interfered with
by the presence of a flea in a lady's underclothing, and a clergyman
here was once seen to suddenly leave the pulpit during service and
rush for his study, and afterwards explained to some one that he
had to go out and "hunt a flea," but that was not the one that "no
man pursueth." It is said that some California genius has invented
a flea-trap, but I hear of no well-authenticated instance in which
the flea was captured.

Distance traveled on the wheel, 3,200 miles.



CHAPTER XIX.

OUT ON THE PACIFIC.


So pleasant was my visit in the city of the Golden Gate that
it was with some regret that I left San Francisco and took the
electric-lighted steamship Columbia for Portland. It was certainly
very fortunate for me while there to make those side excursions
to Monterey, to the Geysers, and to other places, and yet have the
pleasure each time of returning to a good home, while so many Eastern
people were cast upon the friendless hotels. This pleasant refuge was
at the residence of Mr. A. B. Crosby, formerly of Rockville, Conn.,
into whose family I was most cordially received, and will always be
remembered as a bright spot in my wanderings.

The excitement of encampment week and the excursions taken prevented
my making the acquaintance of many wheelmen, but I found Mr. Cook,
who took such an unfortunate fall at the Hartford races last year,
Chief Consul Welch, Mr. George H. Adams, and several others, all
gentlemen, as, it is almost needless to say, is the status of the
great majority of wheelmen everywhere. There were a great many New
England people among the five hundred or more passengers aboard
the steamer, but the only Connecticut people I found were from
New Haven and Birmingham. Still we were quite a distinguished
company. The large frame, the bald head, and smiling face of
ex-Commander-in-chief Burdette, the empty sleeve and gray head of
the newly-elected Commander-in-chief Fairchild, Governor Robie of
Maine, Professor Williams of Brown University, my tutor, in the sense
that his delightful account of his European trip first set me wild
to be a bicycle traveler there, and many other intelligent ladies
and gentlemen helped to form a party that cheered and happily waved
their handkerchiefs as the iron steamer left the wharf, turned about,
and passing through a fleet of ferry-boats in the harbor, glided out
through the Golden Gate, and into a bank of fog and a gale of cold
raw wind.

How different from what I anticipated. When climbing up to the Big
Trees and into the Yosemite, through the hot sand, the suffocating
dust, and under a blazing sun, how I looked forward to this ride on
the Pacific. In place of the dry and barren country covered with dust,
I pictured the broad ocean of bright blue. Instead of hours of raging
thirst I looked forward to the time when it would be "water, water
everywhere," and plenty of ice water to drink. When I was so tired I
sat right down in the road in the dirt, with the sun pouring its rays
down, and the air so stiflingly still that the sweat ran down my whole
body clear to my ankles, then I thought how nice it would be sitting
on deck in an easy chair, with the cool breezes making the bright
sun feel just comfortable. How cosy it would seem, and how I would
rest, take the physical rest I had so well earned, and the mental
rest that would result, with nothing in the blue sky or the smooth
waters to cause the slightest mental action. I would just be lazy and
do nothing but eat, lay around on deck and dream and sleep. After so
many months of constant sight-seeing and hurried thinking, the prospect
of a chance to remain inactive, mentally and physically, for a while,
seemed like paradise to me. It was the prospect of this delightful
sail on a smooth ocean, under a perfectly clear sky and bright sun,
that induced me to buy the excursion ticket at Salt Lake City, and it
was in anticipation of this voyage that my spirits kept up climbing
into the Sierras. The thought of seasickness never entered my mind,
and if it had I should have scoffed at the idea of my being sick if
others were. All this and more I anticipated.

What I realized is this and a great deal more. As I said, we went
out through the Golden Gate into a bank of fog and a gale of cold,
raw wind. The sound of the fog horn at the entrance of the harbor,
which I had heard so many days and nights during the past three
weeks, was the only thing to indicate that we were not a thousand
miles at sea. But that mournful sound soon died away, and when the
fog occasionally lifted afterwards, it showed us that we were indeed
out of sight of land, upon an ocean I had so innocently supposed was
pacific. How much misery I saw there, and how many times I wished
I had kept on from the Geysers and ridden up to Portland on the
wheel! I could have done it and reached there as soon as by boat,
but I did not want to miss the delightful sea voyage. No, I would
not then have missed it for all the world. But I would now.

The fog and cold wind made the ladies' cabin the most comfortable
place, and for a while the piano and the strong voices of the many
veterans on board singing their familiar songs made the time pass
pleasantly, but before dark the trouble began. About ten o'clock I went
below, thinking I was fortunate to even secure a clean bunk in the bow
of a boat where the state-rooms were all taken for two weeks ahead. My
bunk-mate, a fine old gentleman from Kansas, had already turned in,
but he came crawling out from his bunk, saying, "I can't stand this
any longer." I did notice the boat lifted things up higher and let
them fall lower than it did during the day, but I felt all right. "O,
I stayed here too long, I guess," said my friend, as he started for
the round box of sawdust near the bunk. A gentleman in the upper bunk
had been leaning out of his bed, intently but quietly looking down in
this same box for some time, but this doleful remark of my bunk-mate
seemed to suddenly touch his sympathetic nerve, and they mutually,
and at the same time, cast away all bitterness in the same small box
of sawdust. My friend's head, which was the lower of the two suspended
over the box, and which was scantily clothed with gray hair, received
a shampoo of a variety of ingredients, but he scarcely minded this
in his haste to get away, and I undressed and went to sleep after a
while, notwithstanding the place was full of men apparently tearing
themselves all to pieces during most of the night.

Yes, I slept some but not as soundly as I have done, for the
seventy-five sick men down there occupied my thoughts some. And
after a while I got the notion into my head that the boat would
not go down into the trough of the sea so far if I held myself up
a little, so I did. When the boat went up, up, every nerve in my
body tingled, and I felt a prickling sensation clear to the ends of
my fingers and toes, and the higher up the boat went the stronger
was the nervous action. But I did not feel sick. Then when the boat
went down I straightened out stiff and rigid in order, if possible,
to hold the boat. Although I saw it did not make much difference
with the boat whether I tried to sustain it or not, yet I could not
relax my muscles sufficiently to rest easily. But in the morning,
before I could get washed, I found out what sea-sickness was, but
only to a slight degree, and for an hour or two.

Lying out on one of the benches on the upper deck with the cold, raw
wind blowing into his pale face, was a young gentleman of thirty,
with blue eyes, but a face so smooth and fair that he looked much
younger, another Bartley Hubbard, if I ever pictured one. He had been
stripped of the blanket he had brought up from the hole of misery,
where it seems he had spent the night near me, the steward saying,
as he took the blanket, "he must go below to lay down," but rather
than do that he lay shivering in the wind. I had found it impossible
to keep warm, even by pacing the decks, and, contrary to rules, had
robbed my bunk of its blankets and was walking about covered from
head to foot in the warm wool; but it did not take long to tuck that
living representative of the leading character in "A Modern Instance"
up warm with my blankets, and when the steward came again to take
them, Bartley said the captain, or some fellow with a uniform cap,
gave them to him. Watching my chances I soon had another pair about
me, but Professor Williams, with heavy underclothing and overcoat,
was unable to keep from shivering, and so forcing those last ones upon
him, I successfully committed a third burglary without being detected,
although the steward came to me afterwards and wanted to know "who
was carrying off the blankets." I said I had taken my own on deck,
but truthfully replied I did not know whether any one else had taken
theirs or not.

Bartley was unable to go down to supper, and after I had brought him
some tea and crackers we enjoyed the sudden change in the faces of
many of the lady passengers, as they sympathizingly patted him on
his feverish cheeks, called him "little fellow," and asked if he was
thinking of his mother, and then were told he was thinking of his
wife and children at home. They didn't pat his cheeks again after
that. After we had waited till everybody else had turned in and he
had flatly refused to go below, under any consideration, we laid
down together on the deck, near the middle of the boat, and slept
warm and well all night with the cold wind blowing across our faces.

The first afternoon out the beds were made up on the floor of the
ladies' cabin before three o'clock, and the bustling stewardess said
to a spinster, among others: "Come, take your bed now if you want
to be sure of it." The spinster hesitated, before all the gentlemen
then in the cabin, and looked shy, but the stewardess repeated the
request with impatience, almost, when the maiden lady replied in
a low, complaining voice, as she looked at the gentlemen present:
"Why, I don't want to go to bed now." She felt relieved, however,
when she found it was only to claim the bed by placing baggage on it.

The same afternoon I was talking with some lady friends, where the
deck was rather crowded, when I heard, just behind me, the voice of
this same kind, but business-like stewardess, saying, "Come! out of
the way, little boy," and turning around to see who the youngster
was I saw that whoever he was he had suddenly disappeared, and that
I was the only person in her way. The ladies, who had just a moment
before expressed admiration for the manly effort that it seemed to
them was necessary to make such a trip as I had, now smiled, in fact
all did, everyone within hearing, and no one laughed heartier than the
"little boy."

And what an appetite I expected to have from sniffing the salt sea
air all day, when, in reality, after that short season of personal
disgust with the inner man in the morning, I got sufficient nourishment
by sniffing the boiled-vegetable air every time I passed the ladies'
cabin door. The very sound of the gong was nauseating, and what in the
world that young fellow wanted to go around through the different decks
whanging away eighteen times a day, and calling on us to go down and
eat, when the thought of doing so was more than sufficient! Apparently,
from the sound of the gong, it was eat, eat all the time; but I doubt
if many did more than go through the form of eating. I did not eat
more than one square meal out of the eight on the boat.

Forty-five hours after we lost sight of land the boat stopped and
floated around in the fog among a lot of buoys, and soon after got
across the bar and steamed up the Columbia River to Astoria, and a
short time later to Portland. The whole voyage was a cold, foggy,
uninteresting ride; the sun never shone once; but on the boat the
experience to me was new, and disagreeable as much of it was, I am not
sorry for it. Still, very few of the passengers will take that trip
again. We were still further disappointed in finding the atmosphere
along the river very smoky, and after stopping over night at Portland,
a city finely built, but like San Francisco, with a Chinatown in the
very heart of it, we took the train, or most of the boat party did,
at 3 p. m., and went slowly up the south bank of the Columbia River.

A bicycle is some bother in traveling on the cars, for where they
run such long trains as they do on all these trans-continental lines,
and consequently have so much baggage to load, the machine is the last
piece to be taken aboard, and as it is always at owner's risk I often
have to hand it up as the train is starting, and then jump on myself,
rather than leave it to be left, perhaps. The steamship company would
neither take it as a part of the one hundred and fifty pounds of
baggage allowed every passenger nor allow me to care for it, and I
had to ship it by freight, still at owner's risk, at an anticipated
expense of three or four dollars, but when I saw it unload on the
wharf at Portland, among a lot of horses and truck wagons, I thought
the owner was running a great risk of having it smashed by leaving
it there any longer, and so I walked away with it, asking questions
of no one. Whether the owner took too great a risk by so doing is
still unsettled.

The ride up the river by boat, with a clear atmosphere, must certainly
equal in grandeur that up the Hudson, but the smoke was too dense
to see across the water and we could only catch a glimpse of the
shadowy outlines of the high mountains on either side and see for
a few seconds the beautiful little waterfalls coming down over the
rocks. Then again it was rather aggravating to hear the roar of the
river as we stopped in the night at a station somewhere, and to go
out and see the ghost of what must have been a magnificent sight by
daylight--some great falls in the river.

I have seen and heard just enough of this country to wish to make
another trip, but it should be taken four or five months earlier in the
year; and other mistakes can be avoided. What there was in the trip
to the Geysers to cause it I can't think, for the roads were smooth
(no such pounding as there was riding through Illinois), but the
result of that trip has been another eruption, not at the Geysers, but
upon me. Where there is the Devil's kitchen, the Devil's gristmill,
and lots of other articles of furniture belonging to his satanic
majesty, it is certainly a devil of a place for a wheelman to visit,
but in going there I did not look forward to any such outcome of the
trip. And that is just what is the matter with me now. I can't look
forward to the unpleasant results. In short I have boiled over again,
and as a result of these eruptions I shall carry back with me as a
souvenir of the trip, many miniature craters of extinct volcanoes.



CHAPTER XX.

AT SHOSHONE FALLS.


"Why don't you stop off at Shoshone and go down and see the falls? They
are only twenty-five miles from the station," said one of the Union
Pacific officials with whom I became acquainted at Denver. This was
just at dark the next night after leaving Portland. I had forgotten
what little I knew of those falls, excepting their name, and had no
idea of going so near them on this trip, but I left the train at 3.30
the next morning, and about sunrise started out due south. "I suppose
there are ranches along the road," said I to the stage-driver at this
end of the route. "No, not one; and you can't get any water till you
get there," said he. So with a bottle of water, which did not last
much more than half the distance, I rode along over the slightly
undulating lava beds, which are mostly covered with a few feet of
sand and with sage brush, but which occasionally come to the surface
in broken masses of dark brown, perforated, metallic sounding rocks.

It certainly was not a very interesting ride of four or five hours,
for jack rabbits in great numbers and an occasional gopher were
the only living things I saw, and in looking across the same level,
treeless country, far ahead, I had begun to wonder where the Snake
River could possibly be, when suddenly I heard the roar of the falls,
and came to the edge of a cañon perhaps three hundred feet deep. The
rocks of this cañon, from top to bottom, are composed of this lava,
and it is formed in layers from twenty to thirty feet thick, looking
as if the lava had, at different times, overflowed the country to
that depth, which it really had. But what was my astonishment when
I found, on inquiry, that these layers in some places number as many
as thirty, and that their depth in many places was several thousand
feet. For instance, the Columbia River, which I had so recently
seen, has cut its way through lava beds three and four thousand feet
thick. And this is not all. These immensely thick beds of lava not
only cover the entire surface of Idaho, but also of nearly the whole
of Oregon and Washington Territory, and parts of California, Nevada,
and Montana. When it is stated that the entire surface covered by
this lava is not less than two hundred thousand square miles, forty
times as large as Connecticut, one can only faintly comprehend the
statement, and many may not believe it; but the fact remains. And to
me the thought that I had been allowed to ride over a portion, a very
small portion of this lava that ages ago burst out through some immense
fissure or great vent in the earth's surface, this thought alone paid
me for the hours of thirst endured. The simple fact that I have seen
this lava bed has left on my mind one of the strongest impressions
of the whole trip; an impression, if not exactly taken on dry plate,
yet that was left on a very dry pate. Still no one need to come out
into this country to see the effect of some ancient eruption. The
hills at Meriden, Conn., and East and West Rock at New Haven, as
well as Mount Tom near Holyoke, Mass., hills that I have climbed
and ridden over since the bicycle enlarged my means of traveling,
these are all lava formations.

There is a fine view of the cañon, looking up the river towards
the east for a couple of miles as you go. Then a zigzag road down
into the cañon, and half a mile below are the falls. The ferry is
just above the falls, and I had to wait some time there, before the
ferryman, at the hotel just below the falls, on the opposite side
of the river, saw me. The ride across in a leaky row-boat--there is
a cable ferry-boat for the stage--with broken oars and oarlocks,
only a little way above the cloud of mist, was not the safest one
I have ever taken, but with my wheel lying flatwise over the edges
of the boat, we crossed all right and I had soon climbed out upon
a projecting point in the precipice below the hotel, and obtained
a magnificent view of the falls, which are but little inferior to
Niagara, far ahead of any other falls I have seen in the West.

Snake River flows down through the cañon with scarcely a ripple, until
at the falls it is broken up by half a dozen or more of rocky islands,
and after plunging into pretty cascades for a short distance, it leaps
over the cliff, which curves in a little, and falls two hundred and
ten feet down into the cañon, there not far from six hundred feet
deep. Although the perpendicular fall was greater by fifty feet than
at Niagara, the volume of water is less, but there is the dark cañon
above and below the falls that adds greatly to the impression one
receives. Eagles were seen soaring around in the skies in almost every
direction, and on a huge boulder just above the falls in the middle
of the river, was a nest of young ones being fed by the parent bird.

After spending three or four hours there, I crossed the river again,
and climbed up out of the cañon and started back. I took a larger
bottle filled with cool spring water--the location of that spring,
as well as many others in this Western country, I shall never
forget. I can, in imagination, see them now, almost every one of
them. The water, of course, got warm, and before dark I had drained
every drop of it. There was no riding after dark, and for miles I
pushed the machine along in the sandy rut, thinking of little else
than that tank of ice-water in the station I was trying to reach. I
might mention, as an instance of how similar situations recall mental
impressions, that in crossing the plains from Laramie, the song of
"Tit Willow" was continually running through my mind, and for days
I could do nothing to rid myself of what came to be very unpleasant,
but after reaching California I scarcely hummed the tune once. I was
not troubled with the song at all after leaving the sand and sage
brush, but with the first return to the sage brush, the tune I had
not hummed or thought of for weeks came back, pursuing me with all
its unpleasant monotony--the smell of the sage revived it.

About an hour after dark I lost the wheel tracks, and but for the
clear sky and north star, should have had some trouble in getting
back to the station. As it was I laid the machine down and commenced
feeling around in the sand with my hands for the ruts, and wandered
about so long I even lost the machine. There are patches of ground,
of an acre or more in extent, entirely free from sage brush, and it
was in crossing one of these, where there is no bushy border to the
sandy road to make its direction discernible in the dark, that I got
into trouble. But I found the wheel tracks after a while, and soon
after the wheel, and was very careful from that time to keep the
wheel from turning out of the rut, for I had to feel the rut with
the machine, as I could not see it. It was after ten o'clock when I
reached the station, and no lights ever shone brighter in the distance
than did those of Shoshone, and that ice-water, as I poured it down
at intervals all night, till the train arrived at 3.30 next morning,
served to quench my thirst in the manner I had anticipated for so
many hours. Thirsty and tired as I was, I felt fully recompensed
by the sight of Shoshone Falls, without visiting the upper falls,
situated about two miles up the river. The machine has acquired the
distinction of being the first one to visit this place of interest.

At the terminus of the Oregon Railway and Navigation Company's line
at Huntington, I went into the baggage car to get the machine. "$3
to pay on that," said the baggage-master. As I had traveled over
1400 miles on the Union and Central Pacific railroads without being
charged a penny for the machine, this charge for one day seemed to be
rather exorbitant, and I said so. "Well," said the baggage-master very
confidently, "I can't help that. It is $1.50 on the other division, and
the same on this." I told him to give me a receipt, if I must pay it,
for I should try to get it back from headquarters. That he did not like
to do, for whatever I paid him he intended to "knock the company down
for it," and the receipt would come home to roost, so he compromised by
throwing off one-half, which I paid. On the other side of the depot,
the Union Pacific's Oregon Short line came in, and that was the first
and last charge made for carrying the machine till I reached Baltimore,
where the Penn. Railroad Company's price is one-half cent a mile.

After waiting all day at Pocatello, where I put in five or six
hours of good sleep on the platform, on the shady side of the depot,
with the knapsack for a pillow, I reached Beaver Cañon, on the Utah
Northern Railroad, at three A.M., and before daylight slept an hour
or two more on the floor of the waiting-room, near a stove that
was really comfortable, for the nights were quite cold up there. I
had lost so much sleep the past week, I could lie down and take a
comfortable nap anywhere I could get a chance. The two nights on the
boat, it may be remembered, were not accompanied with many hours of
sound repose. The first night out of Portland, I talked with friends
on the train who were to return home by the Northern Pacific, till
late, and then I wrote till after one o'clock. After that there was
not much rest sitting bolt upright, for every seat in the car was
taken. The next night it required more force of will to stop off at
Shoshone than anything I had done during the trip, for these reasons:
I was going towards home, after four months and a half of constant
traveling away from it. That thought alone made me very happy, and
I could not bear to be delayed even for a day; and besides, I had
laid down with four seats all to myself even before dark that night,
with the intention of having a good long night's rest. But I did not
want to miss any great sight so near as that to my route, and so I
took short naps all night till three in the morning, for I did not
want to be carried by the station. The next night I took the train
at the same hour that I left it the previous night; and thus I had
had only one good night's sleep in over a week, when I started out
due east early in the morning, Aug. 22d, for the Yellowstone.

Distance on the wheel, 3,251 miles.



CHAPTER XXI.

IN THE YELLOWSTONE PARK.


Next morning I left Beaver Cañon, taking some luncheon along with me,
and it was well I did, for there was no place to get food, and I saw no
one all day. But the roads were excellent, level, and running through
some beautiful meadows, with hills on either side covered thick with
pines. There were many streams to ford, though, and taking off my shoes
and stockings so often was the cause of much delay. It was the first
delay of this kind during the trip. However, I reached the Half-Way
Hotel sometime before sundown, after riding fifty-five miles, and was
obliged to stop there, for the next ranch was twenty miles farther on.

This hotel is a log hut, with rows of tents on the sides, for
sleeping-rooms, and is situated close to Snake River, a splendid
trouting stream, the hills in the rear being covered with heavy
timber. About dark nearly a dozen passengers arrived in the stages
bound for the Yellowstone, and the sleeping apartments were taxed
to their utmost; so when the bar-tender offered me a bed with him,
on the ground, in his tent, or bar-room rather, I was glad to accept
it. Drinks were twenty-five cents there. The next morning one of the
horses that had been turned out the night before, was found with a
great chunk of flesh torn from his shoulder, and his haunches and other
portions of his body badly clawed up. The drivers said it was done
by a bear; and that was as near as I came to seeing one on the trip.

The second day I came to Snake River Crossing, which at this point
is about two hundred feet wide, and too deep for a forty-six inch
wheelman to ford without removing his trousers as well as his shoes
and stockings. I had started out ahead of the stages, which had several
lady passengers aboard, and supposed I had plenty of time to get across
before the stages reached the ford, and so I should have had but for
the fact that the water here was too deep for me to carry trousers,
shoes and stockings, knapsack and bicycle all at one trip. I had waded
once across, through water so cold it made my legs ache, and so deep
that it wet a certain short, thin under garment that persisted in
dropping down after being tucked up under my blouse out of the way,
and had got back into about the middle of the stream when I heard
the stage coming down through the woods. Trousers, shoes, stockings,
and knapsack had been carried across, the machine still remained to be
taken over, and the one to do it was standing waist deep in the water
of an icy river, undecided which way to turn. The temperature of the
water would not allow of much delay, even were I inclined to wait,
and so dashing and splashing through the water as fast as the soft,
sandy bottom would admit, I crawled out and laid down on the grass
behind a convenient tree, near the machine, curling up and covering
myself, though my good intentions were practically unfulfilled by
the short garments I then wore. But as good fortune would have it,
the lady passengers waited to ride in the second stage, and the men
in this one laughed well at what appeared to them uncalled-for modesty
on my part in retiring so expeditiously behind so slight a shelter.

Coming to another smaller stream soon after, I hoped to avoid further
delay by riding with a spurt down into the water and across, as I had
done many times before under similar circumstances, but the pebbly
bottom was not so firm as it looked, and the wheel slowly came to a
standstill in the middle of the stream, while I quickly dismounted
into the water, in so doing ripping both inside seams of my nether
garment down to the knees. This necessitated more fine tailoring behind
some bushes, and, before I had finished, the coarse grass and sticks
beneath me had produced in red a very good etching of that immediate
section of country; but the sketch soon faded.

The roads all the forenoon were fully as good as the day before,
and it was much pleasanter riding through dense pine forests and
along fine, cool streams of clear water. I took my luncheon that
noon by a spring that flows into the Pacific, and about half a
mile farther on took a drink from one flowing into the Atlantic. I
should not have known this but for the stage-driver, on whose heels
I followed all the forenoon. There was nothing in the appearance of
the surrounding country to indicate that I was crossing the back-bone
of the continent. During the afternoon I left the stage far behind,
and rode for twelve miles through pine forests, over a road that
twisted about and pleasantly found its way through where there were
the fewest trees to be cut away.

From Beaver Cañon to Fire Hole, the first stopping place in the park by
this route, the distance is one hundred and five miles, and of that,
ninety miles is as fine riding as any wheelman could desire. That
night, long before dark, I reached Fire Hole, after climbing one
long, hard hill, and was ready to start out on short trips to see the
wonders, but decided to wait till morning. I took a bath in Fire Hole
River in water so warm one would know it came from "Hell's Half Acre,"
or some other portion of the farm, and the stage-driver offered to
share his blankets with me, on the ground of course, in a tent. The
next morning the first point of interest visited was the Falls and the
Grand Cañon to the northeast. The ride of thirty miles was over the
same excellent gravel roads, and through the same beautiful meadows,
that abound all over this section of country, but there were six
or eight small streams to wade, and a mile of steep hill climbing
to offset this, and before I reached the hotel a hard shower wet
me through and covered the machine thick with mud. Still the sight
of Sulphur Mountain, on the way, was very interesting. It is a hill
perhaps one hundred and fifty feet high apparently all sulphur, and at
its base is a spring perhaps twelve by twenty feet in diameter that
has more business in it than all the California geysers, so called,
combined twice over. The water in this spring is constantly boiling,
rising sometimes to a height of four or five feet. The Upper and Lower
Falls of the Yellowstone River, which are respectively one hundred
and sixty and three hundred and fifty feet high, are very imposing,
but hardly more so than the Nevada and Vernal Falls in the Yosemite,
although the volume of water is a little larger. The river rises
in Yellowstone Lake, which is in the southeastern part of the park,
flows north, and going over the falls plunges down into the cañon.

But the Grand Cañon! It is useless to try to describe it. There is
nothing with which to compare it, for there is nothing like it in the
world. A photograph may give the outlines in cold gray, but no artist
can paint the colors of the rocks. The cañon is nearly two thousand
feet deep, but the sides are far from perpendicular, in some places
the angle being about forty-five degrees. But as the soft crumbling
rocks slide down to the green river at the bottom the different colors
are blended together in a most beautiful manner. Pure white, yellow,
brown, fire-red, pink, and all the different shades and tints of these
and many other colors are mixed up in striking contrasts. I walked
down to Inspiration Point and crawled out on a projecting rock, where
a fine view is had of the cañon for five or six miles. It certainly
is the most beautiful spot I ever saw. Up the cañon, three miles,
the Green River leaps over the falls and comes roaring down through
the cañon two thousand feet, almost directly beneath this point, and
turns a corner two miles below and disappears, while the bright sun
brings out the varied colors of the rocks with a most brilliant effect.

The next day a ride of twelve miles, to the Norris Geysers, and
eighteen miles back to Fire Hole, was over roads not so good, but
the coasting down through the fine woods for miles, with the roads
full of stumps, required some lively work and close steering. There
were no geysers of any account in action at Norris, but plenty of hot
springs. In fact, during a frosty morning one can hardly look in any
direction in the Park, which is fifty-five by sixty-five miles in area,
without seeing steam arising through the trees from these springs,
of which it is estimated there are three thousand in the Park.

In passing a party of campers, for the Park is full of campers, and
tourists as well, on the way to Fire Hole, I was kindly invited to
spend the night with them, and the tent was pitched near the Fountain
Geyser. This experience of camp life was just what I had been longing
for all summer, and it fully met my expectations. This party of
five young men, two of whom, Mr. John B. Patterson and Mr. Joseph
M. Thomas, were Philadelphia wheelmen, were jolly fellows; and after
supper, a meal I relished better than any I had had for months, we
all went over in the dark to the fountain. Pretty soon some young
ladies from another camping party near by came over, and a bright
fire was soon burning within six or eight feet of the geyser, which
was then a quiet pool of water twenty feet across. One of the young
ladies recited a poem, a love story, in really very fine style, the
young men sang "Pinafore," "Mikado," and other selections with very
pleasing effect, others waltzed on the coarse gravel, and altogether
the party were enjoying themselves, when suddenly the water began
to boil, and in less than half a minute it was flying up into the
air thirty or forty feet. It was certainly a queer sight, the white
spray and steam rising high up into the starry heavens, the bright
camp fire making the surroundings all the blacker, and a dozen or
fifteen persons looking on with bright eyes and red faces, and their
forms standing out so distinctly against the black background.

The machine, that night, was, of course, left outside the tent, and
a heavy thunder shower not only wet that, but came near soaking us
through. There was no ditch dug to turn the water, and it ran down
under us as we lay on the ground. But that was part of the fun of
camping out.

The next morning we started for the Upper Geysers, but before I had
ridden a mile the left handle-bar broke. The day before, while taking
dinner with another party of campers, two young fellows tried to ride
the machine while I was very busy eating some delicious ham boiled in
one of the hot springs, and I noticed the handle-bar began to get loose
during the afternoon, and now it came out of the socket. But by slow
riding I reached the Upper Geysers, ten miles distant, and during the
afternoon saw Old Faithful send a spray of water up one hundred feet
into the air once in sixty-five minutes, as regular as clock-work;
but there are indications that the time is gradually becoming longer,
the force is subsiding. There is more satisfaction to be had from
this Geyser than any other, for there is no waiting. Crowds of people
are seen going to this place just before the appointed time, and Old
Faithful never disappoints them. It plays for about five minutes,
and then subsides as quickly as it commenced spouting. This Geyser
is in the form of a small volcano or cone, perhaps ten feet high,
composed of white, flakey rock.

We climbed up on the white mound of the Giantess and waited hours for
her eruption, for there was every indication of it, one sign being
a thumping sound beneath our feet, but she failed to make a display
till two hours after I had departed next day. This Geyser is a pool of
water fifteen feet in diameter, so clear that one can see down into it
thirty or forty feet, and so hot it boiled occasionally while we were
lying around on the warm rocks waiting. When it did go off, I was told,
it looked like a boiling pyramid, sending jets of water into the air
150 feet. When it subsides, which is not for a day or two, it leaves
the crater empty to some depth; when it gradually fills up again,
and in a week or two, just as it happens, off it goes again. That
night the boys sat around the camp-fire, sung, and told stories,
but with my thin clothes on I was glad to crawl just inside the
tent, cover myself with blankets, and lie there watching the rest,
and thinking of the wonderful experience I was having.

The next morning I started back for Fire Hole, riding with the broken
machine as well as I could, and saw the Grotto in eruption. This one is
a mound six or eight feet high, filled with large holes through which
the water spurts in all directions. And the Growler was muttering,
too. This is not much more than a hole in the earth, but the deep,
guttural sound that comes forth every few minutes with a gush of hot
steam, leaves the impression that it is well named. I might go on
and describe the Castle, the Grand, the Giant, and others,--there are
seventy-one of these spouting hot springs in the park--but will mention
only one more, and that the greatest of all. It is the Excelsior at
Hell's Half Acre, an appropriate name, as you will see. It isn't a
half acre alone, but an acre and a quarter of water heated to the
verge of boiling. The immense caldron is so obscured by clouds of
steam that one only obtains momentary glimpses of its surface, but he
who has seen it may well speak of it as an outflow from the infernal
regions. There is no sight in the park more impressive. The water,
boiling sometimes, is about four feet below the banks that enclose it
on one side, on which it is continually making encroachments. These
banks jut over it from having been hollowed away beneath, and there is
danger in going too near, as it is not easy to tell when they will cave
in. The whole surface about is made by a lime deposit, and behind as
well as before the visitor are these lakes of heated water, from which
arise clouds of steam that are colored green and red by the reflection
from the water below. This geyser has been known to go off but once,
and that in 1882, when it suddenly burst forth, sending a stream of
hot water 300 feet into the air, and boiling over such a quantity
that it raised Fire Hole River two feet. It played for nearly a week,
then subsided, and has since remained comparatively quiet. I wet my
feet in the warm water, then started on toward Fire Hole. The paint
pots, springs of boiling mud of red, gray, and different colors,
are to be seen in several localities.

The roads in many places are black with small pieces of glass,
and I saw chunks of it by the road-side, from the Obsidian Cliffs,
mountains of black and different colored glass, two or three hundred
feet high; but these, as well as the Mammoth Hot Springs, I missed by
not going forty miles out of my route. Still, as it was, I saw enough,
much more than I can describe.

Reaching Fire Hole, where the only blacksmith's shop within a hundred
miles is situated, I found the blacksmith was off on a drunk, so I
had to try and fix the handle bar or walk a hundred miles to Beaver
Cañon, for my supply of money was nearly gone. But I found something
with which to run a new thread upon the handle bar, and getting out
the broken piece I screwed the shortened bar in place, and went on
my way rejoicing.

The day before I started back for Beaver Cañon a detachment of
United States troops were sent out in that direction from the park,
to intercept and drive back a party of Indians who were reported
on their way from a reservation to hunt in the park. The first day
I saw and heard nothing of them, but the next forenoon, when about
ten miles from any ranch, for the ranches are fifteen or twenty miles
apart, an Indian came galloping up from across the meadow. According
to tradition my scalp should have been the first thing he asked for,
but instead he wanted to know, in broken English, if I had seen a party
of Indians hunting, and asked where I came from, how many miles a day I
could make, and the usual string of questions that almost every white
person asks, and then he said, "You know my name?" I replied I had
no recollections of ever meeting him before. "My name is Major Jim,
Major," with considerable emphasis on the last word; and with that
we parted, and I reached Beaver Cañon without further incident.

Distance traveled with the wheel, 3,505 miles.



CHAPTER XXII.

THROUGH THE BLACK CAÑON AND THE ROYAL GORGE.


One day's ride by train from Beaver Cañon through a section of
country composed mostly of sand and sage brush, overlying that same
sheet of lava, and through Mormon cities of eight and ten thousand
inhabitants, where they had made the desert blossom for miles around,
brought me back to Salt Lake City. Here occurred the first rain that
had caused even an hour's delay in my trip since the middle of May,
three months and a half ago. After leaving Omaha, sufficient rain
had not fallen in the eight or ten States and Territories through
which I had passed to dampen my shirt sleeves, and when I reached the
Yellowstone, it had been so long since I had even felt a rain drop,
that the thorough wetting I received there was really enjoyed. But
on reaching Salt Lake City, I was delayed a week by a cloud burst on
the line of the Denver and Rio Grande Western Railroad, which swept
away seven bridges and a mile or two of track.

I started out and had gone about 100 miles before coming to the
break, when the train was sent back to Salt Lake City again. As it
was in going West, so now in returning, I was laid under lasting
obligations to another Mormon, for cash on a personal check. This
time it was Mr. D. S. Davis, Captain of the bicycle club. Still the
enforced delay was not time wholly wasted. It showed me Mormonism
in a different light from that in which I had seen it on my first
visit. The Mormons professed to me their thorough loyalty to the
United States Government, but their actions belie their words. The
act of hoisting the stars and stripes at half mast on the Fourth
of July does not strengthen one's belief in their loyalty, and to
refer to the returning army of Eastern veterans who are daily passing
through the city on their way home as a "parcel of blatherskites,"
as a Mormon bishop did on a public occasion, these and many other
instances are daily occurring to show that the Mormons, instead of
loving, are beginning to fairly hate the government.

A book published a year and a half ago entitled, "The Fall of the
Great Republic," finds many enthusiastic readers here. It prophesies
the breaking up of the government in a very few years, and it is
only too plain to be seen that the Mormons would rejoice to see the
prediction fulfilled. Whether the strong hand of the government will
succeed in suppressing polygamy without any serious outbreak here is,
to say the least, uncertain, for at times it would take very little
to start a riot.

Sunday afternoon I went to the Tabernacle. It was communion, as it
is every Sunday with them, I have since been told, and I suppose
all the faithful ones were on hand, occupying the front seats, ready
to perform their part of the service. At least, it seemed to be the
extent of their mental capabilities, to take a piece of bread and a
drink of water when it was offered them. A more ignorant, inferior,
almost idiotic set of people I never saw. The women, most of them
had sharp noses, peaked chins, and a wild sort of look about the
eyes. They looked hard. The men, the gray-haired, bald-headed ones,
looked simple and childish, the middle-aged ones were dull and heavy
featured. There was not a noble looking woman, or an intelligent
appearing man among them. This description may not hold good of the
whole congregation, for there were probably five thousand present,
the Tabernacle being about half full, but it is a fair estimate of
those in the front part of the house as I sat facing them.

The bread was distributed among the vast audience by eight or ten
men who were continually returning to the front to have their silver
baskets refilled, until the stock of bread was entirely exhausted. Two
barrels of water, however, was sufficient to go around, although
at one time it seemed as if even this amount would not supply the
thirsty multitude. As soon as the bread was blessed, in a very brief
manner, the speaker commenced his sermon, but was interrupted after
a while by a subordinate, who as briefly blessed the two barrels of
water. How much impression the sermon made can well be imagined,
when you consider the aisles full of men passing bread and water,
children chasing each other about and pulling hair, scores of babies
squalling--I never saw a greater proportion of small children in any
congregation--and people passing out.

But in the midst of all this hubbub, the preacher suddenly stopped. A
young man, perhaps 30 years of age, stepped to the front and without
any apparent embarrassment, asked the congregation to deal leniently
with him, that he would do better hereafter, but he was guilty of a
sin which the church considered next to that of shedding blood, and
so on. Then his nearest relative made a motion, that as his nephew
had thus publicly confessed his adulterous actions, he, the nephew,
should be turned out of Zion's church, and a sea of uplifted hands
forthwith excommunicated him.

As this young man holds a high office in the church, and is the
son of George Q. Cannon, who is still a fugitive from justice, for
practicing polygamy, this prompt action of the church may at first
seem meritorious, but the licentious reputation of the son has long
been known, and it is thought this public confession and prompt
excommunication was for effect upon the large number of Eastern
people present. But if so, the effect was hardly favorable, even if
it was hoped it would be. The whole service was most irreverent and
disgusting. Not a head was bowed during prayer, the little children
and even babies were allowed to grab for the bread as they would
for sweetmeats, nearly all drank the blessed water as if they were
really thirsty, and in the midst of this easy free lunch sort of a
meeting, with a discordant sound of crying babies, a prominent member
of the church unblushingly confesses his guilty actions in a very
business sort of a way! It is all a poor burlesque of the religion
of civilization.

Not wishing to miss the scenery along the line of the Denver and
Rio Grande, a railroad which traverses a section of country through
which there are very few wagon roads, and in the most interesting
portions none at all, I saw the bicycle handed into the baggage car,
and with a pasteboard box as large as a small trunk, filled with pies,
cakes, peaches, and grapes, I settled down into a seat in a cozy,
narrow-gauge car with the firm belief that another washout on the
way would not, at least, reduce me by famine. But accustomed as
I have been for months to an appetite of the most ravenous kind,
it now surprised even me, to say nothing of the blank astonishment
with which the other passengers must have noticed my almost hourly
devotion as I bowed over that monstrous pasteboard shoe-box. And so,
notwithstanding I had laid in rations sufficient for an ordinary
week's trip, when another washout did occur, and lengthened the ride
of thirty-three hours from Salt Lake to Denver to fifty hours, the
stock of eatables fell far short of the end of the journey.

But what shall I say of the scenery? Unlike the dreary hours and days
of sand and sage brush along the lines of the Union and Central Pacific
Railroads, here is nothing monotonous. At the outset, the ride for
hours is in a southerly direction, along the base of those grand old
snow-capped mountains, the Wasatch range, until the snorting little
engine turns up a cañon, and, puffing like mad, pulls the train of
twelve cars as far up the grade as it is possible even for such an
ambitious little locomotive to do. Then two more eight wheelers are
attached, and the three engines take us to the summit in a short time.

The hills along this cañon are covered with shrubbery, which has
already begun to show the approach of winter by changing its color
to the beautiful hues so common in New England in the fall. If there
are long stretches of desert on this line, we must have passed them
that night, for the next morning, soon after breakfast, an observation
car was attached to the rear of the train, and we all, or as many as
could, took seats in a car that is like an ordinary one with the top
taken off above the window sills. And then commenced the ride through
the Black Cañon. The train ran rather slowly, so that we all had a
good opportunity to view the cañon without that hurried feeling so
commonly experienced in sight-seeing from a fast rushing train. The
dark colored rocks rise in jagged and broken masses to a height of
nearly, if not quite, two thousand feet on either side of the Gunnison
River, which comes roaring and tumbling down through this narrow and
very crooked defile in the heart of the Rocky Mountains, and a most
interesting part of the whole ride was the sight of a long train of
cars crossing and recrossing the foaming river and winding its dark
way along through what seemed to be the very bowels of the earth.

Almost every one of us was soon standing, for who could sit still
when there was so much to be seen on all sides, and if one imagined
these grand sights lasted only a short time, that was where he was
wrong, for the cañon is fifteen or twenty miles long, and we were
considerably over one hour in passing through it. Then, soon after,
came Marshall Pass. Here the situation was just reversed. Instead of
groping along in a deep and narrowly contracted defile, where the
only outlook was heavenward, now we glided along up the sides of a
deep ravine, rising higher and higher, getting a wider and wider view
of the surrounding country, until, after twisting around the sides of
the mountains, and passing around more horseshoe curves than we ever
dreamed of, we finally reached the top of the range of mountains,
eleven thousand six hundred feet above the sea. Here, in an immense
snow shed, filled with black smoke, we waited for the second section
of the train, for it had been divided in climbing this last grade, and
then we started down the other side. A locomotive preceded our train,
and the second section followed us. Down we went at a lively rate,
coming close on to the heels, sometimes, of that single locomotive,
which would then dart on ahead out of the way for a time; and looking
back we could see the other train rushing close upon us. Sometimes,
in going around and down some of those horseshoe curves, we could
look out of the window, high up the sides of the mountains, but only a
short distance across, and see the passengers on the other train waving
papers and handkerchiefs at us as if to hurry us out of their way.

And so we went, chasing each other down grades that made one think
of Mt. Washington Railroad, and at times so close to each other that
both trains and the locomotive were all within a mile. It certainly
was dangerous, but we enjoyed it just the same, perhaps all the more,
and, finally, just before dark, we came to the Royal Gorge, a cañon,
not so long as the Black Cañon, but with sides higher, more nearly
perpendicular, and closer at the bottom, if that were possible. The
sides of this cañon are 2,800 feet high by actual measurement. Down
through this cañon the consolidated train rushed as if the very
devil was after it, the little low eight-driving-wheel engine being
on the point, seemingly, of tearing itself all to pieces or jumping
off into the rocky river at every sharp curve, and it was all curves
through the cañon. At one point the cañon is so narrow that the track
is suspended over the river, it being held up by braces overhead,
the ends of which rest against the rocks on either side. This was the
last of the marvelous scenery, but it was the best; it was grand beyond
anything I can describe. One who crosses the continent without passing
over the Denver and Rio Grande, misses the finest mountain scenery
there is in the country, I think, outside of the Yosemite. It beats
Salt Lake City, with its many-wived Mormons and bottle-sucking babies,
"higher than a kite."



CHAPTER XXIII.

A VISIT TO PRUDENCE CRANDALL.


I reached Denver, and went to the bicycle club rooms one evening,
meeting Mr. Van Horne, and many other good fellows, but was sorry not
to again see Mr. C. C. Hopkins, fancy rider, whose acquaintance I made
on my other visit here. The prospect of wheeling across the State of
Kansas was not very encouraging, the country being fairly flooded with
water, and so I took the train again, and the next afternoon left it at
Emporia, a thriving town in Kansas, on the Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe
Railroad, with the purpose of visiting Prudence Crandall Philleo (of
almost national renown), at her home at Elk Falls. Here the rainfall
had been very slight and the roads were in excellent condition, so
that after traveling so many days on the cars and taking no exercise
on the wheel, I returned to the saddle with the keenest enjoyment.

But the corduroy knickerbockers, which I then put on again, felt very
stiff and clumsy after wearing thinner ones so long, and they will
be the last corduroy trousers I shall ever have. The country south
of Emporia, for eighty or ninety miles, is a gentle rolling prairie,
which looks as fresh and green as in the spring, and the timber and
numerous farm-houses tend to break up what little monotony there is in
the prospect. But all the enjoyment of the trip was soon swept away by
a drizzling rain which set in on the second day of the ride, and I was
glad to find even a grassy place on the side of the road to walk on,
for in the road the sticky black clay would clog up under the saddle
and entirely stop the wheel. However, after pushing the machine along
in this manner for eighteen or twenty miles, I was made glad by the
sight of Elk Falls, a town of seven or eight hundred inhabitants,
situated within thirty miles of the northern border of the Indian
"Nation."

The town is surrounded by low hills, and a good patch of timber
is close by, so that the general appearance of the country is
very different from the level, treeless prairie, so common west
of the Missouri River. Inquiring at the first house I came to,
the man said, pointing to a house west of us on the brow of a hill,
"Mrs. Philleo lives out on that farm, about a mile and a half from
town. A Mr. Williams lives with her and takes care of the farm, but
she goes around lecturing some, talking on temperance, spiritualism,
and so on." I had ridden part way out there, when in answer to another
inquiry, I was told: "Mrs. Philleo, since she got her pension from
New Jersey, has bought a place in town, and lives next house to the
Methodist Church."

So turning about, riding through the place, and going around to the
back door of the house, which was a plain story and a half, with an
ell on the back side, I was pleasantly received by Mr. Williams,
a man of 35, with brown hair and mustache, large blue eyes, and
a most sympathetic, almost affectionate, manner. "Mrs. Philleo,"
he explained, "is at church. She enjoys excellent health, and it is
wonderful how much she, a woman of 84 years, can endure. Yesterday
she wanted to ride over to the farm and see about some things, and
before I was ready to come home she started on foot and got clear
home before I overtook her, and she didn't seem tired either." Just
then Mrs. Philleo came in, and said cordially, "I am glad to see any
one from good old Connecticut." As she removed her bonnet, it showed
a good growth of sandy gray hair, smoothed back with a common round
comb, and cut straight around, the ends curling around in under and
in front of her ears; of medium height, but somewhat bent and spare,
and with blue eyes, and a face very wrinkled, and rather long;
her chin quite prominent, and a solitary tooth on her upper jaw,
the only one seen in her mouth.

She smiled with her eyes, and with a pleasant voice, said: "Come,
you must be hungry, coming so far" (I had only told her then I
came from Connecticut on the bicycle), and she urged the apple pie,
ginger snaps, johnny-cakes, potatoes, ham, bread and butter, and tea,
upon me promiscuously, and in great profusion. "No; as my grandmother
used to say, I never break a cup, you must take another full one. Now
do you make yourself at home; I know you must be tired. Why, you
have seen enough to write a book. [This, after I had explained more
fully the extent of the trip.] When you get home you must write up
an account of your journey for some newspaper. [Further explanation
seemed unadvisable just then.] Now come into the other room; I want
to show you some pictures."

So, talking every minute, we went into the sitting-room, and drawing
up rocking-chairs, we sat down cosily together. "I am going to have
these photographs of these noble men all put into a frame together. I
don't want them in an album, for I have to turn and turn the leaves so
much. I want them in a frame, so I can get the inspiration from them
at a glance. This is Samuel Coit, who did so much last winter in my
behalf, and this is S. A. Hubbard of the Courant. This is ----. Why
I see you know all of these noble souls. Well, I want to read you a
letter he sent me," and she slowly picked out the words of the writer
who said, among other generous things, that he would be only too glad
to load her down with any number of his books, and would send her a
complete file of them. The letter was signed Samuel L. Clemens.

"But," she added, "he has never sent them. Probably so busy he
forgot it. I do wish I could see them, for I had a chance once to
read part of 'Innocents Abroad,' and I do like his beautiful style
of expression. And here is Major Kinney, and George G. Sumner,
and Rev. Mr. Twichell. What grand good men they are. And this--you
say you have heard him preach! How much I would give to hear that
great soul speak," and she handed me Rev. Mr. Kimball's photograph,
and several others, every one of which is more precious to her than
gold. In this collection also, were photographs of William Lloyd
Garrison, Wendell Phillips, and other anti-slavery friends of hers,
and I noticed several others of Garrison framed and hung about the
house. When I expressed the opinion that the amount of her pension
was too small in proportion to the injury inflicted, she said: "O,
I am so thankful for that. It is so much better than nothing."

During the evening, the collection was again displayed to a visitor,
and it is plain to be seen, the sight of those faces does her a great
amount of good. She and I went through them again the next day. After
breakfast, I sat down to glance through a book I had seen her reading,
"Is Darwin Right," by William Denton of Massachusetts. Soon she
came into the sitting-room with a pan of apples, and drawing a low
rocking-chair up in front of me said, "Now you must stop reading, for
I want to talk," and we talked. In fact, she became as interested in
the conversation, and so far forgot herself that, in cutting out the
worm-holes from the apples, she once put the worthless portion into her
mouth, and munched it thoroughly before she discovered her mistake. The
conversation drifted from one subject to another, and on her part it
was carried on in a clear, connected, and enlightened manner.

I can only give a few sentences of hers. "My whole life has been one of
opposition. I never could find any one near me to agree with me. Even
my husband opposed me, more than anyone. He would not let me read the
books that he himself read, but I did read them. I read all sides,
and searched for the truth whether it was in science, religion, or
humanity. I sometimes think I would like to live somewhere else. Here,
in Elk Falls, there is nothing for my soul to feed upon. Nothing,
unless it comes from abroad in the shape of books, newspapers, and so
on. There is no public library, and there are but one or two persons
in the place that I can converse with profitably for any length of
time. No one visits me, and I begin to think they are afraid of me. I
think the ministers are afraid I shall upset their religious beliefs,
and advise the members of their congregation not to call on me, but I
don't care. I speak on spiritualism sometimes, but more on temperance,
and am a self-appointed member of the International Arbitration
League. I don't want to die yet. I want to live long enough to see
some of these reforms consummated. I never had any children of my
own to love, but I love every human being, and I want to do what I
can for their good."

After dinner while I was reading--for there is a host of good books
in the house--she sat down to copy off a short account of my trip I
had written at her request the night before for a local paper, but
every few minutes she would stop to talk on some subject that had
just entered her mind, and sometimes we would both commence speaking
at the same instant. "Go ahead," she would say, or "keep on, I have
kept hold of that idea I had," pressing her thumb and forefinger
together, and then again she would say, "When you get another idea
just let it out." And so two days passed, very pleasantly, for me
at least. There was no subject upon which I was conversant, but that
she was competent to talk and even lead in the conversation, and she
introduced many subjects to which I found I could only listen. At
night Mr. Williams's bed and my own were in the same room, and this
gave him an opportunity to say of Mrs. Philleo, "I never knew a person
of a more even temperament. She is never low spirited, never greatly
elated. When things don't go right she never frets." And of him,
when he was off at work, she said, "You don't know how much comfort
I get from my adopted son. We have lived together nearly four years,
and my prayer is that he will grow up a noble man to do all the good
he can in this world," and I can add, judging from his conversation,
he has a mind so broad and intelligent that he is fully abreast and
even a little beyond her in mental growth, and that is saying a good
deal. The last thing she said as I left them was, "if the people of
Connecticut only knew how happy I am, and how thankful I am to them,
it would make them happy too."

Surely she has one of three graces, the greatest of the three, charity
for every one. Of strong religious convictions, a thorough spiritualist
herself, she respects the beliefs of others, and uttered in my presence
not a word ill of any one. The State of Connecticut certainly is
to be congratulated that it did not neglect its opportunity last
winter. What a shame had this good woman, this great mind, gone to
another world without having even that slight justice done it. Very
few people in Connecticut realize what a narrow escape they had from
a lasting disgrace.

The ride on the return to Emporia was uneventful, excepting that a
break in the head of the machine obliged me to take the train sooner
than I expected, and after a short stop in Kansas City, to keep on by
rail to this place where there are facilities for repairing the break.

At Kansas City I met Mr. C. B. Ellis, dealer in bicycles, and one or
two other wheelmen. In meeting, as I have on the trip, many Connecticut
people who have settled in the West, it is pleasant to have them all
or nearly all express the desire to return East to live, sometime,
when they have made money enough. Some place that wished-for event
ten years hence, others longer, but all show that the "good old State
of Connecticut" occupies a prominent place in their future plans and
prospects. It is their ideal of a place to live in. It is mine.

Miles traveled on the wheel, 3,627.



CHAPTER XXIV.

THE TRIENNIAL CONCLAVE AT ST. LOUIS.


Reaching San Francisco in season to witness the encampment of the
Grand Army of the Republic, I was quite as fortunate in getting
to St. Louis on the eve of the triennial conclave of the Knights
Templars. Intending at first to make a stay in the city of but a few
days, various causes induced me to lengthen the visit to nearly or
quite two weeks, and the chief reason for this was the kind invitation
of A. W. Sumner, now proprietor of the St. Louis Stoneware Company,
but once an old schoolmate of mine, to remain with him while waiting
for my bicycle to be repaired. He and I had not met since we both
attended Rev. Mr. Hall's School at Ellington, Conn., nearly twenty
years since, and after "Hello, Poggy," and "Hello, Bubby," had come
to our lips spontaneously, we talked over and looked back to the time
we spent in Ellington with very much the same feelings, I think,
that Nicholas Nickleby had when he recalled his experiences under
Squeer's at Dotheboy's Hall. Still we bear no ill will against the
apple-trees in the rear of the school-house, but think it doubtful if
those trees themselves have borne anything since, after furnishing
so many switches to be used for our moral welfare and physical
uplifting. But these reflections were soon forgotten in the noise
and excitement of the week.

The Charity Concert at the fair grounds, the proceeds of which were for
the benefit of the widows and orphans of Masons, was a great success
money-wise, but hardly from any other point of view. The immense
band-stand was built on the inside of the mile track so far out into
the field that the music could scarcely be heard on the grand-stand,
which, by the way, is probably the largest and finest one in the
country, and after the first number had been played the majority of
the eight or ten thousand people who had paid a dollar for a seat,
in addition to the fifty cents admission fee, on the grand-stand,
left it in disgust and gathered out in the field where something of
the music could be heard, besides the cannon accompaniment, if that
part can be called music at all. Seats were provided for twice the
number of musicians that could finally be persuaded to participate,
for many union musicians refused to play in a concert with non-union
musicians, and so there were many vacant chairs among the performers.

Into one of these seats a press committee's badge made way for me, and
there the noise during the anvil chorus was fairly deafening. Before
the piece was played Gilmore came over to the anvils on one side of
the stand, and rather sternly placed the men, who wore white shirts
instead of the customary red ones, in a different position from the
one they had taken, but as if to soften his orders he said, smiling,
"You are to strike first, you know, but you will do it all right,
I guess." During the performance, as one set of musicians would play
too loud, or too soft, or too slow, or too fast, Gilmore would look
sharply at them, and raise his eyebrows almost to the top of his head,
and when the fifty anvils came in, and the cannons went off, both at
first in poor time, it seemed as if he would fly all to pieces, he
had so much to see to, but after a few beats, and after bending his
body sidewise, almost double, and sweeping his arms from above his
head down to the floor, he had the thousand performers all playing
in very good time. The effect upon the great audience was shown by
the way they cheered at the end, and even Gilmore seemed to be well
pleased, for he cried "bravo," and bowed to his musicians before he
turned about and acknowledged the applause of his audience. When some
one of his performers, carried away by the enthusiasm of the moment,
proposed "three cheers for Gilmore," he had to fairly yell "hold on,
hold on," in order to be heard, and by features and gesture frowned
down and nipped in the bud the proposed compliment.

The gate receipts show there were one hundred and twenty-five
thousand people in attendance, and of this number I did not see one
drunken person. Actually, I have been, many a time, to a county
fair in Connecticut where there were not one-hundredth part as
many persons present, and have seen decidedly more disturbance and
drunkenness. Undoubtedly there were some among this great number who
were not sober, but I did not happen to see them and I was around a
good deal. It was beer, beer everywhere, and everybody drank it, nicely
dressed and otherwise fine appearing women ordering their beer brought
to them on the grand-stand fully as freely as the men. One hundred and
fifty waiters were kept busy all day on the grand-stand alone. Coffee,
lemonade, and soda could be had at exorbitant prices, but the price of
beer was restricted to five cents a glass by the Brewer's Association.

And in addition to the fact that beer drinking was a question of
economy, there was still greater influence brought to bear in favor
of beer. It was a very warm day, many were overcome by the heat, but
there was no place where one could get a glass of water. I went from
one end of the fair-grounds to the other in search of it, and finally
was obliged to drink from the end of an iron pipe where they water
horses. Water, evidently, is not used here as a beverage. They tell of
a Missourian who was knocked off a ferry-boat into the water and was
rescued after being in great danger of his life and was asked if he
was much hurt, "No," he replied, "thank God, I don't think a drop of
water got into my mouth." This is a chestnut out here. Has it got East?

Some of the members of the Womans' Christian Temperance Union in the
Eastern cities, who do such a grand good thing by freely furnishing
ice-water to the thirsty crowd at all such out-door public gatherings,
might suggest the idea to some of the members of the society in
this city with good results. Still, notwithstanding the fact that
saloons here keep open day and night, seven days in the week, the
number of arrests for drunkenness last year was a little less than
forty-two hundred, which is not one per cent. of the present estimated
population of the city. It would be interesting to compare this with
the percentage of drunkenness in Eastern cities. Here the license
fee is $600, and the more I can learn of the practical workings of
high license in these Western States, the more I am impressed with
the belief that high license must for a long time precede prohibition
in large cities, in order to insure any practical, good results.

But even expecting something of the kind, I was surprised at the
practical working of the prohibitory law in Kansas. At Elk Falls,
where I spent a couple of days so pleasantly with Mrs. Philleo,
the same crowd of loungers congregated about the drug stores that
are usually seen near the saloons, and upon inquiry, while waiting
in the drug store, I was told anyone could get liquor by signing a
blank statement. This statement is filled out by the druggist at his
leisure, and gives the name of the disease with which the person is
afflicted. The probate judge gets five cents each for recording these
statements which are sent to him by the druggists. As I sat there,
one poor sufferer passed out from behind the counter where he had
probably just disclosed to the druggist the nature of the terrible
disease from which he was undergoing inward torment, but which had as
yet only shown itself outwardly on the end of his nose. Drug stores
have increased three-fold in Elk Falls within a short time, and the
increase in other parts of the State is surprising. The probate office
has suddenly become a very lucrative position, and judging from the
records in this office, Kansas must be the most unhealthy place in
the country.

But to return from the subject of temperance to the Templars. For
several nights the city was beautifully illuminated in their honor. It
is impossible to give a good idea of the beautiful effect of the
numerous gas-jets used in the illumination. I counted the number of
gas-lights upon one of the arches, and found it had 346. Different
colored shades were used, and these arches, surmounted with small
pyramids of lights, were erected along three or four of the principal
streets at the intersection of every cross street. In addition to
these large arches were smaller ones extending along on the curbs. The
effect, for instance, at the corner of Washington avenue and Fourth
street, was like that produced in looking through an immense arbor
two or three miles long, completely covered with variegated colored
gas lights. Thirty-five thousand gas-jets were used in this manner.

The flambeau battalion paraded the streets on several evenings,
burning up a couple of thousand of dollars' worth of fireworks each
night, and sending off a dozen or so large rockets at a time, with
fine effect, as they marched along, colored lights and a shower of
Roman candles adding to the beautiful sight. The trades' display
parade was another occasion gotten up for the edification of the
visiting Knights, and included a parade of the fire department.

During a break in the procession, I had gone into the exposition
building to hear the "Poet and Peasant" rendered by Gilmore's band
as I never heard it before, when coming out and crossing over to
Franklin avenue, I found the street full of people, all apparently
waiting for something. Soon the bell of a fire engine was heard, and in
another instant four large gray horses on a keen run came rushing down
through the crowd drawing an engine finely decorated with flags and
bunting. The crowd opened barely wide enough for the engine to pass,
and closed up again, when another engine rushed down the street in
the same reckless manner, no one making the slightest effort to keep
the street clear. There was something exciting about the affair that
is relished by the average American, just as we enjoyed the way those
trains chased each other down the side of the mountain from Marshall
Pass, but it was dangerous business.

The prize drill of the different commanderies at the fair grounds, and
the street parade of the Knights Templar, was a very fine exhibition
of what degree of perfection in the different manoeuvers can be
attained by uniformed men outside of the regular army and State
militias. But with me there was something lacking in the procession
and the appearance of these bodies of fine looking men. The sight of
that procession of veterans in San Francisco was constantly coming
up in my mind, and in that there was a something decidedly lacking in
this. Here the white plumes, the showy uniforms, the costly banners,
the glistening jewels, the elegant regalia, the diamond studded
swords and crowns, all this beautiful display of costly equipments
to be seen on the streets and in the show-windows, certainly made
a finer appearance than anything to be seen at a veteran reunion,
but in it there was nothing to stir a man's soul. The sight of a
torn battle-flag is worth more to me than all the banners in any
Knight Templar's procession. The flag cost men's lives, and an
empty sleeve has more in it, so to speak, than the finest Knight
Templar's uniform in the procession, more of history, of patriotism,
and of true religion. "In Hoc Signo Vinces," "Christian Warriors,"
"Defenders of the Cross," and such mottoes, are here seen on all
sides, but "Gettysburg," "Appomattox," "Defenders of our country,"
are words that are more tangible, and have more meaning in them,
to the average patriot certainly.

But this is hardly a subject for a touring bicyclist to get warmed up
over. One of the greatest attractions in the city during this month
of festivities, is Gilmore's band at Music Hall in the exposition
building. The hall is truly what its name indicates. It is built
without boxes, and with the stage well out into the auditorium. The
auditorium is boarded up on the sides and overhead with narrow
beaded strips, which have the musical effect, I am told, of an
immense sounding board; and when Gilmore's sixty-five players are
all getting red in the face under his energetic leadership, the air
is so filled with music that, as has been said, one could cut the
music up in chunks and deliver it around the city for little private
serenades. Twice every afternoon and twice in the evening, this hall
is filled with four or five thousand visitors to the exposition, who
during the intermissions wander about the Machinery Hall and other
parts of the immense building. For twenty-five cents this exposition
is, as it ought to be, the most popular attraction in the West. It
is said, however, that, cheap as is the price of admission, over two
thousand dead-head tickets have been called for and issued. There is
always an army of applicants at headquarters, and the bald-headed
secretary seems to have his time thoroughly occupied in writing
passes for this omnipresent crowd. But he is an amiable person and
performs this unprofitable service with an alacrity and cheerfulness
which I have rarely observed in officials who possess the authority
to disburse free passes of any kind.



CHAPTER XXV.

THE WHEELMEN'S ILLUMINATED PARADE.


The wheelmen's illuminated parade here, on the evening of October 1st,
was a success. It not only surprised and gratified the crowds of people
that lined the streets in the most fashionable part of the city, but
the effect was beyond what the wheelmen themselves expected. I rode out
to the natatorium, about dark, where the wheelmen had already begun
to congregate, and it was interesting to witness the transformations
in their appearance. One after another came hurriedly in, wearing his
ordinary clothes, and disappeared in the numerous dressing-rooms in
the building. Very soon out would come an immense green frog nearly
six feet high, walking on his hind legs, then came a gorilla, but with
an unusual appendage in the shape of a tail long enough for several
"missing links"; soon after a great white rooster came strutting about;
then appeared the devil in red tights and with wings so broad he had
to go sideways through the doors; closely following him was "Cupid"
in white tights with nothing to keep him warm (it was a cold frosty
evening) but a pair of tiny wings and an eye-glass. "Cupid" is better
known to Hartford wheelmen as George W. Baker, who made the wonderful
ride from St. Louis to Boston last year in nineteen and one-half
days. Many had their faces painted white with L. A. W. across their
noses and cheeks in red paint. But I cannot stop now to even attempt
to describe the different costumes.

The machines were variously and tastefully trimmed with different
colored paper and hung with Chinese lanterns. One machine, or rather
three bicycles fastened together and supporting a sort of canopy,
was festooned with nearly a hundred lanterns. There were various
other designs, and in all there were two hundred riders in line, and
probably several thousand lanterns. The ride was over a route nearly
four miles in length, and excepting a few blocks, the pavement was
entirely of asphalt.

Being at the head of the line, as an aid to the grand marshal, with
no duties to perform, and assisted in that work by Mr. H. C. Cake
of Clarksville, Mo., and Mr. H. G. Stuart of Kansas City, Mo.,
I was unable to get a good view of the procession till it reached
the exposition building, where the immense crowd reduced it nearly
to a single line of walking wheelmen, pushing their machines along
as best they could. But the view down Pine street was very fine,
where the street for nearly a mile was filled to the curbstones
with colored men on the sides carrying torches of red fire, and
the middle of the street a mass of moving wheels, burning torches,
fantastically dressed wheelmen, and hideous looking animals astride
of wheels, and the whole filled in with Chinese lanterns hanging not
only from the pedals, handle-bars, and backbones of the machines,
but moving along in the shape of trees, crosses, boats, and canopies.

It was such a weird and beautiful sight that it is almost universally
acknowledged that of all the fall festivities held here this
procession has only been excelled in beauty by that of the Veiled
Prophet. And judging only from the newspaper accounts of the night
parade of the Boston wheelmen last fall, this one far surpasses that,
which was the first and only affair of the kind ever gotten up in
this country. It certainly does in one very important particular of
a negative character. There was no molestation of a single rider by
the crowd of hoodlums that followed the parade everywhere. When it is
remembered how, at Boston, bricks were thrown in the way and sometimes
at the heads of the riders, how sticks were thrust through the wheels,
causing innumerable headers, and how finally some of the wheelmen
dismounted and engaged in knock-down arguments with the roughs and drew
revolvers on them, it may at least be placed to the credit of a city
that is supposed to be so far removed in respect to the civilization
of the "Hub" as is St. Louis, that in this particular, as well as in
other respects, the wheelmen have furnished an example that may well
be followed by wheelmen and hoodlums alike in Eastern cities.

Judging from the remarks at the banquet the next evening, at the
Lindell Hotel, given by the St. Louis wheelmen to the many visiting
wheelmen who joined in the parade, the credit for the great success
of the whole affair seemed to rest mainly upon the shoulders of Grand
Marshall E. K. Stettinills and W. E. Hicks, a "literary fellow" on the
Post-Despatch, both of whom, with becoming modesty, tried to shift the
responsibility upon the other's shoulders. Hicks has dark hair, blue
eyes, a thin face, small moustache, and is slightly built, and a little
above the medium height. A wiry, active sort of a fellow, all nerves,
just the one to create enthusiasm. Stettinills, on the contrary,
is solidly built, of medium height, full face, black hair and eyes,
small moustache, and has a sledge hammer way with him that is sure to
remove all obstruction and insure success. One was imaginative, the
other executive, "chiefly executive." One went off like a sky-rocket,
the other like a cannon--a good combination, as it proved.

After Chief-Consul Rogers, who presided in a very happy manner, had
called upon Mr. Gus Thomas, another literary fellow, to respond to
"The Press," and he had done so in a speech that for wit and humor
is rarely excelled and which kept the wheelmen in a continual roar
of laughter, the presiding officer then said there was in their midst
a touring wheelman who had accomplished the "great feat of crossing,
etc., etc., etc.," and called upon him to respond. This wheelman had
had a Colorado ranchman advance upon him with glaring eyes threatening
to put a hole through him, and he did not know enough perhaps to feel
afraid; had seen an Indian fully armed and galloping towards him,
off on the plains of Idaho near the Yellowstone Park, without having
one additional heart-beat, and during his entire trip had carried
as his only weapon of defense a dull jack-knife with the point of
the blade filed off for a screw-driver, and yet after hearing the
account of his trip so greatly exaggerated, and seeing the eyes of
seventy-five or a hundred friendly wheelmen turned suddenly towards
him, he trembled and turned pale, his breath came and went as if that
Indian was after his scalp, he hid behind the back of his chair,
he could not think of some things he wanted to say and said some
things he did not want to, and altogether presented an appearance
that ought to dispel any impression that might be entertained of his
supposed courage in going where he has been. He says he had rather
wheel another thirty-seven hundred miles than be where he was then.

The Simmons Hardware Company, agents for the Columbia bicycles in
this city (in whose employ were Messrs. Jordan, Sharps, Dennis,
and Smith, and other wheelmen, whose acquaintance I made), had just
moved a part of their immense business into a new six-story brick
block, which was to all outward appearances substantially built,
when one Sunday evening, without the slightest warning, the upper
floor dropped and carried with it the five other floors down into the
basement, burying and ruining one hundred and twenty-five bicycles and
a full stock of bicycle sundries, the walls of the building remaining
standing, apparently little injured. This occurred a short time before
I arrived in the city, and, consequently, an order for a new head for
my machine had to be sent to Hartford; but the delay has given me an
opportunity to become better acquainted with the wheelmen, and although
at Buffalo, Denver, San Francisco, and especially at Salt Lake City,
not to mention other places, the cordial treatment I received made
me regret to go on, yet, notwithstanding I have made the longest stay
here that I have at any place, I am more loath to leave the St. Louis
wheelmen than any I have met, and that is saying a good deal for them.

Distance traveled on the wheel, 3,740 miles.



CHAPTER XXVI.

THROUGH KENTUCKY.


I took the train from St. Louis, after receiving some road routes
kindly given by Mr. Harry L. Swartz, to Louisville, Ky. My recollection
of the Illinois dirt roads, after a lapse of five months, was too
vivid. The result of my encounter with one hundred and twenty-five
miles of clay ruts and lumps, had left too many scars behind, and
my indignation had not sufficiently subsided from the boiling point,
to make me care to wheel across that State a second time; so, after
making the acquaintance of a few wheelmen in Louisville, among them
Messrs. Thompson, Adams, Allison, and Huber, I started out over the
Shelbyville pike.

The pikes in Kentucky are macadamized, the rock used for that purpose
being hauled and dumped alongside the road where it is broken up
by negroes. It was no uncommon sight to see four or five "niggers,"
as they are always spoken of there, seated in rows by the roadside
in the scorching sun pounding these rocks into small pieces. From
twenty to twenty-five cents a perch is the price paid for this rock,
and five perch is a very good day's work. The riding, as a general
thing was very good, and there was plenty of coasting interspersed,
but the many loose stones in the road would not allow very lively work.

Although I did not go through the finest portion of the blue-grass
region, it was a very pretty country to ride over, plenty of trees,
cool-looking groves, and fine-looking farm-houses set back quite
a distance from the road on a knoll, a winding driveway leading to
them. Sometimes these farm-houses would have a cluster of tumble-down
shanties near them, a reminder of ante-bellum times. All the houses,
unless of the recent build, had the chimneys on the outside.

Besides enjoying the ride through this fertile, beautiful-looking
country, it was quite refreshing to be able to pass a group of
children, quite mature ones, sometimes, without being the object
of such facetious remarks as "Get up there, Levi," "Let her go,
Gallagher," and so on, words that are always on the tip of the
tongue of every white young American all through the West as well
as in the East. But no such remarks ever fell from the lips of the
colored children. They would open their eyes wide, and grin perhaps,
but not a word was said, unless, as it sometimes happened, it was
"Good mornin'," or "How de do." Much as I had to regret the ignorance
of the colored people--for they hardly ever gave a satisfactory answer
to an inquiry about roads and streets--still they never tried to say
something smart as I passed by, a compliment that cannot be paid to
the white people of Kentucky, or anywhere else.

The first night out I stopped at a farm-house with a widow and a lazy
son. The husband had been killed in the rebel army. The next morning
at the breakfast table the old lady asked me what kind of bread
I had to eat in California. I replied, "Very good, both home-made
and baker's." "Well," said she, "my daughter has been visiting in
California, and she says they make their bread there in this way:
The women take a mouthful of water and squirt it over the flour,
and then take another mouthful and do the same, and in this way mix
it up. I don't want to eat any of their bread." I explained how the
Chinese laundrymen sprinkle their clothes, and suggested that perhaps
there was some mistake, but it was no use trying to enlighten a mind
that probably, until the war, believed the Yankees had horns and tails.

The bicycle is not in favor in Kentucky. I was obliged to make more
dismounts on account of frightened horses than in any section of this
country through which I have passed. And not only do the horses and
their drivers dislike them, but the women express themselves very
forcibly about them. A saddle-horse, left unhitched in front of a
house, ran away down the road at my approach, but was easily caught. "I
don't wonder he was afraid of the thing. They had not ought to be
allowed in the road," said a female voice, with emphasis. The sound
came from the inside of the house somewhere, I did not look to see
where. Meeting a carriage, in which were two persons, I dismounted,
as the horse showed some signs of fright, but it was needless, and
as they drove leisurely by the man smiled and bowed to me. "Don't
bow to him. I would not be seen bow--", was what I heard issuing
in a piping voice from the inside of the dilapidated vehicle. She
evidently belonged to the aristocracy--to the same liberal class of
females that spat upon Union soldiers during the rebellion.

Toward night I came suddenly upon another saddle-horse around a bend
in the road. Saddle-horses are in such customary use, both by men and
boys, that it is no uncommon sight to see half a dozen such horses
hitched to trees near the school-houses, the scholars riding them
to and from school. This particular horse was hitched in front of a
saloon out in the country, and before I could stop he pulled back,
broke the bridle, and ran down the road. A man came reeling out of
the saloon into the road with a black rawhide whip in his hand, a
tall, large-framed man, with full, red cheeks, long face, moustache,
and goatee, a typical Kentuckian, drunk, too. "Now you jest take
that bridle, and ketch that horse, and bring him back here again,
or you'll get a pounden. I am a peaceable man, but I ain't afraid of
Christ, damnation, or high water. Now you do as I say," and he walked
deliberately back into the saloon, perhaps out of consideration for
my humiliated feelings, but probably to take another drink.

Although I was not mentioned in his "little list," from his other
remarks I judged he was not afraid of me either, and certainly a
Kentuckian who is not afraid of water is a brave man indeed. So
quickly mending the bridle with a string, I walked a rod or so,
put the bridle on the horse without the least trouble, hitched him,
and went on my way. Passing through Frankfort, I went to the north of
Lexington, which is situated in the heart of the blue-grass region,
and rode on to Georgetown. The term "blue grass" is derived, I was
told, from the fact that the grass in that section of the State has
a bluish color when it is in seed. The sun, during the middle of
the day, was so hot that occasionally I was inclined to lie down on
the grass under a shady tree. Once I was stretched out with my head
within a foot of a stone wall, and had dozed off almost to sleep,
when I suddenly smelt a snake. To one who has handled so many live
and dead ones, the scent of a snake is very familiar, and, as may be
supposed, I was not long in jumping to my feet. There was no snake in
sight, but sure enough out on the road was the track of a snake that
had recently crossed, and I felt certain it was not many inches from
my head when I awoke. Judging from the size of the track left by one
I saw crossing the road a little farther on, this one must have been
five or six feet long.

Reaching Cincinnati on the third day from Louisville, I had a few
moments' pleasant talk with Robert H. Kellogg, formerly of Manchester,
Conn., but now general agent of Cincinnati for the Connecticut Mutual
Life Insurance Company. "Seeing a Yankee from Connecticut will make
me feel good for a week," said he, as I left him.

When I went across Ohio in May, the consul at Cleveland in directing
me to Columbus sent me off into a section of the State where the
roads were miserable, and where I got stuck two days in the yellow
clay. Consequently I never felt like advising others to follow the
misdirections of that consul at Cleveland. But after traveling so many
miles since, and not being misled by any one to amount to anything,
it is curious, upon entering Ohio again, and applying to the consul for
the best roads to Chillicothe, that he, even with the help of the Ohio
State Road Book, should be unable to send me out of Cincinnati in the
right direction. The map that goes with the road book is a splendid
map. It gives every river, all the railroads, the outlines of every
town, the name of every county, city, and village--everything almost
but the roads. It is large in size, but it is remarkably small in road
information, and so of little use to a touring wheelman. At least the
consul and I studied it diligently for nearly half an hour, and then
he decided I must go out to Loveland, twenty or twenty-five miles,
and inquire, just as the consul at Cleveland sent me to Wellington,
and then told me to inquire, just as any three-year-old boy could
direct me.

So the next morning I started for Loveland, but I inquired before I got
there, and found I was going in the wrong direction, of course. Then I
rode across four or five miles of dirt roads, composed mostly of loose
rocks and dust, to another pike, a splendid one, but at Goshen found
I was still going in the wrong direction; so after six or eight more
miles of dirt roads, I found a pike that leads almost in a straight
line from Cincinnati to Chillicothe. The pikes radiate from the
city as do the spokes of a wheel from the hub, and consequently it
is important to start out on the right one, but it was two o'clock
in the afternoon before I found out which one that was. But it was a
good one, especially near Hillsboro, and the second night I was one
hundred and twenty miles from that useless road book and the friendly
but misleading consul.

Coming, with the help of steam-power for a short distance, to the
Ohio River again, opposite Parkersburg, West Virginia, I rode along up
toward Marietta. The roads were good, running close to the bank of the
river which was forty or fifty feet below, and, with fine farm-houses
along both banks, and trains of cars rushing up and down, the ride
was greatly enjoyed. I kept pace for miles with a stern-wheel steamer
going up the river. The water looked so inviting, I pushed the machine
down behind some bushes next the river, stripped, and took a good
bath. Then I hung the pocket-mirror against the root of a large stump,
left there by the big flood probably, took the shaving apparatus out
of the knapsack, and had a good shave. This recalled to my mind where
I performed the operation one morning in the Yellowstone. It was in a
pretty meadow between the Grand Cañon and Morris, and near a pebbly
brook. I had laid the machine up against a pine tree, under which I
was standing, and had just got my face well lathered when three stages
came down the road close by. Several ladies exclaimed simultaneously,
"O, see the bicycle!" but catching sight of me, with me chin elevated,
they murmured something more I could not hear, and went out of sight.

Leaving the machine outside in front of the post-office at Marietta
I found I must wait several hours for the next Eastern mail, and
so escaping the crowd that in so short a time had blocked the door
and filled the sidewalk, I pushed my way out, and rode a mile to the
"Mound Cemetery," as it is called, and I believe generally accepted to
be the resting place of a part of the nation, the Toltecs of Mexico,
who passed from the face of the earth before the Aztecs appeared,
who were in turn annihilated by the conquering Spaniards. I had
not time to pursue the study of ethnology, but climbed to the top
of the big mound, feeling secure there among those quiet folks from
the flood of questions that inevitably pour down upon me wherever I
stop. But no, a man who heard me inquire the way followed and climbed
up the forty-five stone steps only to bore me while I write these
words. He could not wait to give the others a chance, those who had
waited silently for a couple of thousand years. But the Toltecs have
more sense. As I pushed the machine up the steep side of the mound
they did not ask me "Why don't you get on and ride?" but I have met
hundreds of persons who would not derisively but soberly ask that
same question if they saw a wheelman pushing his machine up the side
of a house. And doubtless this man would have done the same when I
came if he had been where the Toltecs are. (I wish he was.) But he
is gone now, and I can almost hear the old Toltec beneath me give a
sigh of relief. It may be the wind, though, blowing through the big
oak trees that are growing up the sides of the mound.

Distance traveled with the wheel, 4,005 miles.



CHAPTER XXVII

Chapter XXVII.

Down the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal, and Home again.


A bicycle excites more attention through Southern Ohio and West
Virginia than in any State or Territory across which I have ridden. On
one occasion, in Ohio, a district school was dismissed, and the
schoolmaster asked me to perform a little for the edification of the
scholars. I was climbing a steep hill at the time, in a broiling hot
sun, and so declined, but was sorry afterwards that I did so. Crossing
the Ohio River at Marietta, and following the north-western pike,
east through West Virginia, over a very fair road, notwithstanding
the hills, the machine was an object of curiosity to every one. In
passing the farm-houses, some one was sure to give the alarm, and in
some mysterious way the whole household was instantly aware that the
opportunity of a lifetime was at hand, and they were bound to improve
it. Out would come "Paw" and "Maw," and four or five children, and
generally three or four guests, for the people are great visitors
in this section. And after I had passed they would all laugh, not
derisively, but because they were pleased. The grown folks really
acted childish about the machine.

One morning a little boy on horseback rode on ahead, and aroused the
neighbors for miles. On another morning I got started early, and was
noiselessly passing the house when the dog, I believe, gave the alarm,
and the whole family, nine of them, broke from the breakfast-table
and rushed out into the road, the farmer holding a Bible in his hand,
with his finger in the place, so that the morning service might be
resumed when I was gone. It was a pleasure to answer the questions of
all these simple people, but when I passed through the larger towns
it was really annoying to be the object of so much interest.

At Grafton, for instance, I stopped on the sidewalk for a minute,
and in less time than it takes to write this I was surrounded. Then
I moved out upon the curbstone, and instantly the crowd surged into
the street and gutter, simply to get in front and look me squarely
in the face. Here a reporter, in the form of an elderly gentleman,
slightly inebriated, interviewed me, and contrary to my usual feeling
when being questioned, I was decidedly pleased this time, and the
crowd enjoyed it fully as much. It was only after asking and hearing
the answers to his questions over and over again that he was able to
put them upon paper, and when I told him the distance I had traveled
on the wheel he made a calculation in regard to the circumference of
the earth that surprised me, but I said nothing. This is the result
of his muddled memory as it appeared in a Grafton paper:


    "Mr. Thayer may be regarded as one of the most remarkable men
    of the age, who has accomplished the feat of traveling more
    than half way around the world on his bicycle. In his modest,
    unassuming way he informs us he has traveled 4,100 miles on his
    bicycle since leaving home."


But to counterbalance the annoyance there were many things about the
ride through West Virginia that were pleasing and new. A very busy
branch of the Baltimore & "Ohar" railroad runs for miles close to the
pike, and many times while I was climbing the long hill the trains
would take a short cut and go through the hill, making the ground
tremble beneath me as they rushed through the tunnel. The beauty of
the changing foliage was at its prime, the air cool, and the wind blew
the rustling leaves about with a pleasing noise. Sometimes I would
sit down under a shady tree and quench my thirst with two or three
nice apples (they were very plenty everywhere) or crack a few black
walnuts, much to the anxiety of the chirping squirrels in the trees,
or pull up a root of sassafras or a bunch of pennyroyal.

I stopped for a few minutes near a pair of bars. A squirrel came
running along on the stone wall to these bars with something in its
mouth, and, jumping down to the ground, skipped across to the other
side, and went on his way along the wall. Pretty soon he came back,
and in a short time had another chestnut in his mouth to be stored
away with the first. As he jumped down to the ground to cross the space
between the walls for the third time, a good-sized rat sprang out from
under a large stone, and chased the squirrel half way across. Then
the rat went back into his hole and waited. I could just see the
head peeping out. Pretty soon the squirrel came back as big as life,
and had got about half way across when the rat pounced out upon him,
and the squirrel gave one squeak, and was back on the wall again in
an instant. The rat retired to the hole again with a very determined
look. I was getting very much interested. The squirrel, with more
discretion, came slowly down to the ground with compromising chirps
and creeped along, turning first to one side and then the other,
but all the time arguing the question in his squeaking voice. The rat
came out to meet him, a few steps at a time, sullen, but settled in
his purpose to allow no more crossing on his premises under penalty
of his jaw; and the affair to me was getting more than interesting
when a small, shaggy dog came running along, in the road, turned,
and went under the bars, and the rat went one way and the squirrel
the other, without more ceremony.

All this added spice to the trip, especially as I had ridden so many
miles through a section of the country where there were neither hills,
trees, apples, nuts, sassafras, pennyroyal, nor water--to say nothing
about squirrels and rats. Here there was too much water--hundreds
of little brooks crossing the road, making unnumbered dismounts
advisable. This reminds me of the different remedies wheelmen have of
quenching thirst. Some advise taking toothpicks, others pebbles in the
mouth, and so on. But somehow I have become accustomed to using water,
that is, when I could get it. With the perspiration oozing visibly from
every pore in a wheelman's body for hours at a time, it seems only
common sense to think that that waste of moisture must be supplied,
not by extracting the juice from a wooden toothpick or a stone, but
by a liquid in some form or other. When the system is dry it needs
water, just as the stomach does food when it is empty. Toothpicks
and pebbles may excite saliva in the mouth for a short trip, but as
a regular beverage they are of little use.

It is quite common to see three or four kinds of sauce on the table,
such as apple, grape, and peach sauce, but it is spoken of as "apple
butter," and "grape butter." At one house where I was taking a meal,
some one said, "Pass the butter," but that not being quite plain
enough, he said, "Pass the cow butter."

The rain drove me into a house one afternoon, and while waiting there,
the brother of the lady of the house came in. She was a woman of more
than ordinary intelligence for this section, and fairly good looking,
and as she sat by the stove, nursing her baby to sleep, I noticed
she spit upon the floor behind the stove. Humming some tune as she
rocked back and forth, her voice was frequently interrupted as she
expectorated, and for rapidity of fire and accuracy of aim, she greatly
excelled her brother who sat near her. Her lips were stained and her
teeth discolored. Pretty soon her brother said, "Got any terbacker,"
and she, without the slightest concern, pulled out a plug from her
pocket and gave it to him. At two other farm-houses where I stopped
the women chewed, and upon inquiry I find it is a very common habit
with the women in this section, as a little boy said to me, "Yes,
some of 'em chew a nickel's worth a day."

One noon I was seated by a table in an old-fashioned kitchen eating
some hot short-cake, that had just been taken from the open fire-place,
when a tall, gray-haired, grizzly-bearded farmer came in, and yanking
a chair away from near where I sat, he said to his wife, as he sat
down, "Where did the damn Dutchman come from?" Smiling, I answered,
I was a Yankee. "Then you are worse still," said he, and he muttered
something else I could not hear. But after finding out I had passed
through in Illinois the same town in which their son lived the man
became mollified, and after showing them how the bicycle worked I
thought they seemed more lenient to Yankees than at first.

Hotel-keepers along here show more care for their guests, in some
particulars, than anywhere I have been. One asked, as he showed me
into my room, if I knew how to put the gas out. This inquiry, although
made with the best intentions, no doubt, rather hurt my vanity, for
by this time I thought I had traveled enough not to look fresh, at
least. Another one took me out of my room in the dark to show where
the door was that would lead to the fire-escape, which thoughtfulness
I certainly appreciated.

Once, at Cumberland, Md., and on the banks of the Chesapeake & Ohio
Canal, and the hills, the only impediment to a perfect bicycling
trip was gone, and all else remained--the fine mountain scenery, the
beautiful foliage, the cool, bracing air, a broad river, a winding
canal, and an almost perfect bicycle path for nearly two hundred
miles. This charming prospect is in wait for any wheelman who has
the good fortune to be at Cumberland in October. I glided along for
hours and hours, until I was tired of riding, and yet there was no
monotony. The scenes were always shifting.

The Potomac River is very crooked, and the canal follows it closely
on the north side most of the way. It is not the tow-path, the path
where the mules walk; that is nice riding; that is very poor indeed,
but it is the smooth, hard wagon road on the bank of the canal that
makes the fine wheeling. Where the wagon road is missing, and this is
only for a short distance, there is a smooth foot-path made so by the
mule-drivers, and this answers all purposes. Wherever the river does
not, the canal hugs close to the sides of the mountain, and so for
hours and even days I rode along. On the left the mountains, covered
with the various colored leaves, then the canal with the numerous
boats moving slowly and silently along, in front a broad, smooth,
winding path, on the bank of the canal large shady trees; then the
wide, smooth river, on the opposite side the numerous trains of the
Baltimore & Ohio Railroad, and then the mountains again. Occasionally
the canal would widen into a lake half a mile wide, at other times a
perpendicular ledge of rocks on one side and the river on the other
would force it into a narrow limit. The ride was most enjoyable,
gliding along in the shade and without fatigue for hours.

Occasionally at the locks there was just a little fine coasting, but
only a little. The mules on the tow-path made no trouble to speak of,
and those in the bows of the boats, with their mouths full of hay,
would look out of their little windows and prick up their big ears as
they rode by as if they were perfectly contented with their lot; but,
when they were taken out to drag the boat and the tired mules along,
in their turn, they apparently changed their minds.

At one place I came to a tunnel about half a mile long and started
to ride through it, but it soon grew so dark riding was unsafe, so I
walked, but before I got through even walking was not very pleasant. I
could not even see my hand before me and the nickel on the machine
was only faintly visible. The railing that prevented me from walking
off into the canal I could only feel, not see, and, altogether, it
was the darkest tunnel I was ever in. Had a boat entered the other
end of the tunnel before I got there, I should have had to go out
the way I went in, but I was soon gliding on as usual.

Leaving the canal at Williamsport, I followed along the road
towards Sharpsburgh, just in the rear of Lee's line of battle at
Antietam. After spending a little time at the National Cemetery, which
is on a hill that commands a fine view of the whole battle-field,
and on which, I was told, a part of Lee's artillery was stationed,
but out of ammunition, I rode around to Burnside Bridge. Not till
I saw that bridge did I fully realize where I was. A picture of it
appeared in Harper's Weekly twenty-four years ago, and all those
war sketches were so familiar to me, having made a strong impression
on my boyish memory, that when I passed a bend in the road, and the
three-arched stone bridge came in sight, I felt as if I was walking on
sacred ground. More lives were laid down in other parts of the field,
I did not know just where, but this spot I recognized instantly,
and remembered reading at the time of how much importance it was,
and I left it with a greater respect than I ever had for the brave
Connecticut men who faced death in that battle.

Getting back upon the tow-path again at one of the fords where Lee's
army slipped away across the Potomac into Virginia, I was soon at
Harper's Ferry. The brick building still remains in which so many men
were imprisoned by John Brown on the night and morning of his raid,
and I was shown the spot where he and his men shot down in a most
cold-blooded and unprovoked manner several defenseless citizens of
the place.

Reaching Baltimore by train I made a stop of a day and a half, but
couldn't resist the temptation, after so long an absence from home,
to step upon another train that brought me home to Hartford without
change.

Perhaps a few dry statistics of the trip may not be uninteresting
to wheelmen. During the trip the points of special interest visited
were the Hudson River and the Highlands, the Catskill Mountains,
Niagara, Pike's Peak, Salt Lake, Tahoe, the Calaveras Big Trees, the
Yosemite Valley, the California Geysers, Monterey, Columbia River,
Shoshone Falls, the Yellowstone Park, the Black Cañon, the Royal
Gorge, and Marshall Pass. The route was through twenty-three States
and Territories, and a stop of from one day to three weeks was made
in the principal cities in those States and Territories. The distance
traveled by wheel, rail, and steamer, was a little over eleven thousand
miles; the time nearly seven months.

Distance traveled on the wheel during the trip, 4,239 miles, making
a total distance traveled on the same machine, 7,900 miles. The only
tire that was ever on the front wheel is still in good condition;
that wheel runs almost as true now as it did when it was new. Only one
spoke has ever got loose or broken in it. The rim of the little wheel,
although repaired once or twice, is still in good shape, the middle
looks well, and the whole machine is in good serviceable condition. In
fact, it carries me nearly every day now, over rough pavements
and sometimes out into the country eight or ten miles over frozen
ground and dangerous ruts. I often got reduced rates on railroads,
being a newspaper correspondent, but this help was counter-balanced
by paying local rates which are always higher than through rates,
but the total cost of the long trip, including repairs, clothes,
and every expense whatsoever, was $284.70.





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