It’s helpful to remember

A genuine stagecoach on display at Marshall Gold Discovery SHP in Coloma, California 2004

A genuine stagecoach on display at Marshall Gold Discovery SHP in Coloma, California 2004

“In times like these, it is helpful to remember that there have always been times like these.”Paul Harvey

Today’s post is dedicated to all of us who are FED UP with:
1. traffic, gas prices and ridiculous parking costs;
2. the hassles of air travel;
3. public bus or rail system problems; or
4. all of the above.

Lest our blessings become curses to us, I hope we can get some perspective by reflecting that it could be worse, and in fact, it almost always was.  I’m not just referring to the days some of us can remember all too well, when cars did not have air conditioning and the interstate highway system was far from complete. You don’t have to go back in time very far to read some really harrowing details about travel that have been left out of our overly-romantic movies of the past.

Just for fun, read this article from the California Department of Parks and Recreation. It gives an interesting and fairly detailed description of what stagecoach travel was like. We rode in a stagecoach briefly in Placerville, California, formerly known as “Hangtown.”  I don’t think the account given above is exaggerated; if anything, it probably doesn’t begin to capture what it was like to endure such discomfort for days on end.  Maybe it will help if we think of this next time we’re stuck in traffic.

21 Comments

  1. Since I’ve been doing a lot of 1800’s research lately, I’ve reminded myself frequently while traveling that things could be much worse, just as you’ve mentioned. What a padded, comfortable life we lead with well-paved roads and cars that don’t bounce us around like popcorn.
    I love seeing some of your photos. Have you ever considered selling them on the internet? Cannot remember the site where that is done, but yours evoke moods and are artistic. You’ve been blessed with “the eye.”

    • Anne, thanks so much for your kind words about my photos, and welcome to the blog! I hope you will visit with us often. There was a time when I was trying to look into selling my photos, but when I saw the amazing artistry of what’s already out there, I concluded that far more talented people deserve that spot. As my nephew (who has worked as a photographer) said a few years ago, “I realized that trying to be a professional photographer is sort of like trying to be a professional baseball player.” 🙂 But I really appreciate your positive comments, that makes my day!

  2. This reminds me of my favorite quote by Dr. Wayne Dyer ~ If you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change! xo

    • That’s a great quote! I’ll have to use it here sometime 🙂 if you don’t mind!

  3. victoria k. copp

    Perspective is indeed helpful. There will always be problems but problems lead to solutions. There is out there an answer for a sustainable life style for us all.

    • Victoria, it’s so true that problems lead to solutions. Often we get in a rut with our thinking and aren’t willing to even TRY something new until we are forced to do so. One of the most important traits I hope to carry into old age with (assuming I get there :-)) is the ability to remain flexible and look at the big picture.

  4. I also love that Dr Dyer quote. Good one! What I love about these quotes, that almost make me laugh with their stripped down simplicity is that they are so common sense. We rode in a stage coach and steam train at Fort Edmonton Park. It’s a re-creation of 17th century life in Edmonton, even Brad Pitt was there filming once. It went pretty slow and it was a beautiful day, but yikes it could be torture on a bad day.

    • I agree – the stagecoach was fun for about the first 5 minutes! After that it was pretty crowded, even in December when it was cool! I find it very amusing that stagecoach passengers were ADVISED to carry guns and knives! How things change! 🙂

      • The Wild West wouldn’t be for me, ha 🙂 unless I could be a proper lady with lots of pretty clothes.

        • Yes, the clothes are definitely the most appealing thing, except I bet they got pretty hot in the summertime!

  5. Sheila

    Julia, recently Bill watches Bonanza and Gunsmoke every evening when he gets home. So
    I catch a glimpse of stagecoach travel occasionally. It is not realistic, to say the least. We certainly aren’t watching Myrtle Manor, a slice of southern beach life at a trailer park. You may not know what I’m referring to and that’s quite alright. Let’s smile! Sheila

    • Sheila, you’re correct that I don’t know about Myrtle Manor, but I certainly remember Bonanza! I had a crush on Adam Cartwright, and quit watching it when he left. I was never a Gunsmoke fan, though.

      • Sheila

        To justify this, at Bill’s age, I think it must be therapeutic! “Hangtown” ……I shudder!
        I pray for such a good weekend for you,there! Sheila

        • I can see where Bonanza would be therapeutic. I remember it as being a pretty good show. I don’t remember much at all about Gunsmoke. It’s funny that Placerville was once called Hangtown, because it’s a delightfully appealing town, so many cute shops and pretty homes, and a gorgeous setting not far from Lake Tahoe. A lot of the cozy homes Thomas Kinkaid painted are there; that’s where he was from. Hope you and bill have a good weekend too! We are supposed to have nice weather, sunny and in the high 50’s tomorrow.

  6. One more comment about horse travel: recently i was driving my car and got behind a Mennonite buggy on a narrow road. I put down the window to hear the clop-clop of the horse and notched back mentally since there was no reason to hurry. It made me think how slow life must have been in the horse and buggy days, plenty of time for quality thinking and not rushing decisions. We’ve lost something precious as we cram activities into our days. I think I’ll force myself to not over-pack my waking hours! What a great idea! : )

    • Anne, thanks for sharing this experience with us. I’ll try to remember your wise decision to “notch back mentally” the next time I get stuck behind a school bus making frequent stops! I agree with you, we lose something precious in the rush. I appreciate your comment.

  7. I am reminded of what George often says….”We wouldn’t trade places with King Solomon even with all of his riches. He did not know so many of the luxurious conveniences that we common folk know today.” Living in these days definitely has its advantages. I wouldn’t want to have to travel by stagecoach on a routine basis!!!! 🙂

    • Or for that matter, I wouldn’t want to go back to corded telephones and propeller-driven airplanes! Life is way easier in most ways than it was even when we were kids.

  8. P.S. Even though I spent over an hour stuck in a traffic jam yesterday I was in a nice comfortable car!

    • It’s still pretty maddening, isn’t it? 🙂

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