Sunday May 15
Donn visited for a short stay: playing his familiar roles as traveling support team, master mechanic, resupply station and friend. How many times can I sa
Tuesday May 17th
The Cold Springs Tavern and stagecoach stop
Britt picked me up and we drove secondary sinewy roads into the mountains.
Along the way Britt stopped at a roadside yucca plant. It has a delicate smell, and its leaves make a good tea. I was obliged to chew on the leaves for its tea taste. But I was never was a tea lover and I wondered if the word “yuck” might be derived from yucca.
The stagecoaches and pony express were the fastest transcontinental transportation in the 1850s. Wells Fargo routes west of the Missouri River covered 2,500 miles of territory from California to Nebraska, Arizona to Idaho. But many lesser known companies vied for this business. Horse drawn coaches, pulled by teams of four or six horses, bounced along in tight quarters at an average speed of five miles per hour (about the same speed as Raven’s Dance travels). Stops were needed every twelve miles to water or change horses, and about every forty-five miles to allow driver and passengers to eat a quick meal. A Code of Ten Commandments helped promote civility.
The Cold Springs Tavern and rest stop began operations for weary horses and people in 1886. The stop is strategically located on the site of a flowing river near the top of a long mountain grade. It was an essential watering hole for the horses. Today Britt lightly steps on the gas pedal to ascend a mountain, but not so long ago it wasn’t so easy. Walking this authentic property, it’s easy to imagine how hard the horses worked pulling coach, cargo and passengers up the long mountain grade. This stop wouldn’t exist save for the need to water the horses at the top of the long mountain grade.
Stage coach service was short-lived. It died on continental routes with the completion of the transcontinental railroad in 1869. However it continued to thrive on offline routes until the automobile finally killed it off in the early 1900s.
Today the Cold Springs property is frozen in time, and their literature speaks to that different time in our history before cars and trains. It’s an earthy place to wander around and sense the stories of working people just like you and me living here summers and winters in a bygone era. Today we enjoy lunch and a beer at a picnic table… the antithesis of the art museum’s formal experience.