Around the World on a Bicycle V1
Thomas Stevens

Part 1 out of 9

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778 lines of code.

Ray Schumacher











Shakespeare says, in All's Well that Ends Well, that "a good
traveller is something at the latter end of a dinner;" and I never was
more struck with the truth of this than when I heard Mr. Thomas Stevens,
after the dinner given in his honor by the Massachusetts Bicycle Club,
make a brief, off-hand report of his adventures. He seemed like Jules
Verne, telling his own wonderful performances, or like a contemporary
Sinbad the Sailor. We found that modern mechanical invention, instead
of disenchanting the universe, had really afforded the means of exploring
its marvels the more surely. Instead of going round the world with a
rifle, for the purpose of killing something, - or with a bundle of tracts,
in order to convert somebody, - this bold youth simply went round the globe
to see the people who were on it; and since he always had something to
show them as interesting as anything that they could show him, he made
his way among all nations.

What he had to show them was not merely a man perched on a lofty wheel,
as if riding on a soap-bubble; but he was also a perpetual object-lesson
in what Holmes calls "genuine, solid old Teutonic pluck." When the
soldier rides into danger he has comrades by his side, his country's
cause to defend, his uniform to vindicate, and the bugle to cheer him
on; but this solitary rider had neither military station, nor an oath
of allegiance, nor comrades, nor bugle; and he went among men of unknown
languages, alien habits and hostile faith with only his own tact and
courage to help him through. They proved sufficient, for he returned

I have only read specimen chapters of this book, but find in them the
same simple and manly quality which attracted us all when Mr. Stevens
told his story in person. It is pleasant to know that while peace reigns
in America, a young man can always find an opportunity to take his life
in his hand and originate some exploit as good as those of the much-wandering
Ulysses. In the German story "Titan," Jean Paul describes a manly youth
who "longed for an adventure for his idle bravery;" and it is pleasant
to read the narrative of one who has quietly gone to work, in an honest
way, to satisfy this longing. THOMAS WENTWORTH HIGGINSON.

CAMBRIDGE, MASS., April 10, 1887.




The beauties of nature are scattered with a more lavish hand across the
country lying between the summit of the Sierra Nevada Mountains and the
shores where the surf romps and rolls over the auriferous sands of the
Pacific, in Golden Gate Park, than in a journey of the same length in
any other part of the world. Such, at least, is the verdict of many whose
fortune it has been to traverse that favored stretch of country. Nothing
but the limited power of man's eyes prevents him from standing on the
top of the mountains and surveying, at a glance, the whole glorious
panorama that stretches away for more than two hundred miles to the west,
terminating in the gleaming waters of the Pacific Ocean. Could he do
this, he would behold, for the first seventy-five or eighty miles, a
vast, billowy sea of foot-hills, clothed with forests of sombre pine and
bright, evergreen oaks; and, lower down, dense patches of white-blossomed
chaparral, looking in the enchanted distance like irregular banks of
snow. Then the world-renowned valley of the Sacramento River, with its
level plains of dark, rich soil, its matchless fields of ripening grain,
traversed here and there by streams that, emerging from the shadowy
depths of the foot-hills, wind their way, like gleaming threads of silver,
across the fertile plain and join the Sacramento, which receives them,
one and all, in her matronly bosom and hurries with them øn to the sea.

Towns and villages, with white church-spires, irregularly sprinkled over
hill and vale, although sown like seeds from the giant hand of a mighty
husbandman, would be seen nestling snugly amid groves of waving shade
and semi-tropical fruit trees. Beyond all this the lower coast-range,
where, toward San Francisco, Mount Diablo and Mount Tamalpais - grim
sentinels of the Golden Gate - rear their shaggy heads skyward, and seem
to look down with a patronizing air upon the less pretentious hills that
border the coast and reflect their shadows in the blue water of San
Francisco Bay. Upon the sloping sides of these hills sweet, nutritious
grasses grow, upon which peacefully graze the cows that supply San
Francisco with milk and butter.

Various attempts have been made from time to time, by ambitious cyclers,
to wheel across America from ocean to ocean; but - "Around the World!"

"The impracticable scheme of a visionary," was the most charitable
verdict one could reasonably have expected.

The first essential element of success, however, is to have sufficient
confidence in one's self to brave the criticisms - to say nothing of the
witticisms - of a sceptical public. So eight o'clock on the morning of
April 22, 1884, finds me and my fifty-inch machine on the deck of the
Alameda, one of the splendid ferry-boats plying between San Francisco
and Oakland, and a ride of four miles over the sparkling waters of the
bay lands us, twenty-eight minutes later, on the Oakland pier, that juts
far enough out to allow the big ferries to enter the slip in deep water.
On the beauties of San Francisco Bay it is, perhaps, needless to dwell,
as everybody has heard or read of this magnificent sheet of water, its
surface flecked with snowy sails, and surrounded by a beautiful framework
of evergreen hills; its only outlet to the ocean the famous Golden Gate - a
narrow channel through which come and go the ships of all nations.

With the hearty well-wishing of a small group of Oakland and 'Frisco
cyclers who have come, out of curiosity, to see the start, I mount and
ride away to the east, down San Pablo Avenue, toward the village of the
same Spanish name, some sixteen miles distant. The first seven miles are
a sort of half-macadamized road, and I bowl briskly along.

The past winter has been the rainiest since 1857, and the continuous
pelting rains had not beaten down upon the last half of this imperfect
macadam in vain; for it has left it a surface of wave-like undulations,
from out of which the frequent bowlder protrudes its unwelcome head, as
if ambitiously striving to soar above its lowly surroundings. But this
one don't mind, and I am perfectly willing to put up with the bowlders
for the sake of the undulations. The sensation of riding a small boat
over "the gently-heaving waves of the murmuring sea" is, I think, one
of the pleasures of life; and the next thing to it is riding a bicycle
over the last three miles of the San Pablo Avenue macadam as I found it
on that April morning.

The wave-like macadam abruptly terminates, and I find myself on a common
dirt road. It is a fair road, however, and I have plenty of time to look
about and admire whatever bits of scenery happen to come in view. There
are few spots in the "Golden State" from which views of more or less
beauty are not to be obtained; and ere I am a baker's dozen of miles
from Oakland pier I find myself within an ace of taking an undesirable
header into a ditch of water by the road-side, while looking upon a scene
that for the moment completely wins me from my immediate surroundings.
There is nothing particularly grand or imposing in the outlook here; but
the late rains have clothed the whole smiling face of nature with a
bright, refreshing green, that fails not to awaken a thrill of pleasure
in the breast of one fresh from the verdureless streets of a large sea-
port city. Broad fields of pale-green, thrifty-looking young wheat, and
darker-hued meads, stretch away on either side of the road; and away
beyond to the left, through an opening in the hills, can be seen, as
through a window, the placid waters of the bay, over whose glittering,
sunlit surface white-winged, aristocratic yachts and the plebeian smacks
of Greek and Italian fishermen swiftly glide, and fairly vie with each
other in giving the finishing touches to a picture.

So far, the road continues level and fairly good; and, notwithstanding
the seductive pleasures of the ride over the bounding billows of the
gently heaving macadam, the dalliance with the scenery, and the all too
frequent dismounts in deference to the objections of phantom-eyed
roadsters, I pulled up at San Pablo at ten o'clock, having covered the
sixteen miles in one hour and thirty-two minutes; though, of course,
there is nothing speedy about this - to which desirable qualification,
indeed, I lay no claim.

Soon after leaving San Pablo the country gets somewhat "choppy," and
the road a succession of short-hills, at the bottom of which modest-looking
mud-holes patiently await an opportunity to make one's acquaintance, or
scraggy-looking, latitudinous washouts are awaiting their chance to
commit a murder, or to make the unwary cycler who should venture to "coast,"
think he had wheeled over the tail of an earthquake. One never
minds a hilly road where one can reach the bottom with an impetus that
sends him spinning half-way up the next; but where mud-holes or washouts
resolutely "hold the fort" in every depression, it is different, and
the progress of the cycler is necessarily slow. I have set upon reaching
Suisun, a point fifty miles along the Central Pacific Railway, to-night;
but the roads after leaving San Pablo are anything but good, and the day
is warm, so six P.M. finds me trudging along an unridable piece of road
through the low tuile swamps that border Suisun Bay. "Tuile" is the
name given to a species of tall rank grass, or rather rush, that grows
to the height of eight or ten feet, and so thick in places that it is
difficult to pass through, in the low, swampy grounds in this part of
California. These tuile swamps are traversed by a net-work of small,
sluggish streams and sloughs, that fairly swarm with wild ducks and
geese, and justly entitle them to their local title of "the duck-hunters'
paradise." Ere I am through this swamp, the shades of night gather
ominously around and settle down like a pall over the half-flooded flats;
the road is full of mud-holes and pools of water, through which it is
difficult to navigate, and I am in something of a quandary. I am sweeping
along at the irresistible velocity of a mile an hour, and wondering how
far it is to the other end of the swampy road, when thrice welcome succor
appears from a strange and altogether unexpected source. I had noticed
a small fire, twinkling through the darkness away off in the swamp; and
now the wind rises and the flames of the small fire spread to the thick
patches of dead tuile. In a short time the whole country, including my
road, is lit up by the fierce glare of the blaze; so that I am enabled
to proceed with little trouble. These tuiles often catch on fire in the
fall and early winter, when everything is comparatively dry, and fairly
rival the prairie fires of the Western plains in the fierceness of the

The next morning I start off in a drizzling rain, and, after going sixteen
miles, I have to remain for the day at Elmira. Here, among other items
of interest, I learn that twenty miles farther ahead the Sacramento River
is flooding the country, and the only way I can hope to get through is
to take to the Central Pacific track and cross over the six miles of
open trestle-work that spans the Sacramento River and its broad bottom-lands,
that are subject to the annual spring overflow. From Elmira my way leads
through a fruit and farming country that is called second to none in the
world. Magnificent farms line the road; at short intervals appear large
well-kept vineyards, in which gangs of Chinese coolies are hoeing and
pulling weeds, and otherwise keeping trim. A profusion of peach, pear,
and almond orchards enlivens the landscape with a wealth of pink and
white blossoms, and fills the balmy spring air with a subtle, sensuous
perfume that savors of a tropical clime.

Already I realize that there is going to be as much "foot-riding" as
anything for the first part of my journey; so, while halting for dinner
at the village of Davisville, I deliver my rather slight shoes over to
the tender mercies of an Irish cobbler of the old school, with carte
blanche instructions to fit them out for hard service. While diligently
hammering away at the shoes, the old cobbler grows communicative, and
in almost unintelligible brogue tells a complicated tale of Irish life,
out of which I can make neither head, tail, nor tale; though nodding and
assenting to it all, to the great satisfaction of the loquacious manipulator
of the last, who in an hour hands over the shoes with the proud assertion,
"They'll last yez, be jabbers, to Omaha."

Reaching the overflowed country, I have to take to the trestle-work and
begin the tedious process of trundling along that aggravating roadway,
where, to the music of rushing waters, I have to step from tie to tie,
and bump, bump, bump, my machine along for six weary miles. The Sacramento
River is the outlet for the tremendous volumes of water caused every
spring by the melting snows on the Sierra Nevada Mountains, and these
long stretches of open trestle have been found necessary to allow the
water to pass beneath. Nothing but trains are expected to cross this
trestle-work, and of course no provision is made for pedestrians. The
engineer of an approaching train sets his locomotive to tooting for all
she is worth as he sees a "strayed or stolen" cycler, slowly bumping
along ahead of his train. But he has no need to slow up, for occasional
cross-beams stick out far enough to admit of standing out of reach, and
when he comes up alongside, he and the fireman look out of the window
of the cab and see me squatting on the end of one of these handy beams,
and letting the bicycle hang over.

That night I stay in Sacramento, the beautiful capital of the Golden
State, whose well-shaded streets and blooming, almost tropical gardens
combine to form a city of quiet, dignified beauty, of which Californians
feel justly proud. Three and a half miles east of Sacramento, the high
trestle bridge spanning the main stream of the American River has to be
crossed, and from this bridge is obtained a remarkably fine view of the
snow-capped Sierras, the great barrier that separates the fertile valleys
and glorious climate of California, from the bleak and barren sage-brush
plains, rugged mountains, and forbidding wastes of sand and alkali, that,
from the summit of the Sierras, stretch away to the eastward for over a
thousand miles. The view from the American River bridge is grand and
imposing, encompassing the whole foot-hill country, which rolls in broken,
irregular billows of forest-crowned hill and charming vale, upward and
onward to the east, gradually getting more rugged, rocky, and immense,
the hills changing to mountains, the vales to ca¤ons, until they terminate
in bald, hoary peaks whose white rugged pinnacles seem to penetrate the
sky, and stand out in ghostly, shadowy outline against the azure depths
of space beyond.

After crossing the American River the character of the country changes,
and I enjoy a ten-mile ride over a fair road, through one of those
splendid sheep-ranches that are only found in California, and which have
long challenged the admiration of the world. Sixty thousand acres, I
am informed, is the extent of this pasture, all within one fence. The
soft, velvety greensward is half-shaded by the wide-spreading branches
of evergreen oaks that singly and in small groups are scattered at
irregular intervals from one end of the pasture to the other, giving it
the appearance of one of the old ancestral parks of England. As I bowl
pleasantly along I involuntarily look about me, half expecting to see
some grand, stately old mansion peeping from among some one of the
splendid oak-groves; and when a jack-rabbit hops out and halts at twenty
paces from my road, I half hesitate to fire at him, lest the noise of
the report should bring out the vigilant and lynx-eyed game-keeper, and
get me "summoned" for poaching. I remember the pleasant ten-mile ride
through this park-like pasture as one of the brightest spots of the whole
journey across America. But "every rose conceals a thorn," and pleasant
paths often load astray; when I emerge from the pasture I find myself
several miles off the right road and have to make my unhappy way across
lots, through numberless gates and small ranches, to the road again.

There seems to be quite a sprinkling of Spanish or Mexican rancheros
through here, and after partaking of the welcome noon-tide hospitality
of one of the ranches, I find myself, before I realize it, illustrating
the bicycle and its uses, to a group of sombrero-decked rancheros and
darked-eyed se¤oritas, by riding the machine round and round on their
own ranch-lawn. It is a novel position, to say the least; and often
afterward, wending my solitary way across some dreary Nevada desert,
with no company but my own uncanny shadow, sharply outlined on the white
alkali by the glaring rays of the sun, my untrammelled thoughts would
wander back to this scene, and I would grow "hot and cold by turns," in
my uncertainty as to whether the bewitching smiles of the se¤oritas were
smiles of admiration, or whether they were simply "grinning" at the
figure I cut. While not conscious of having cut a sorrier figure than
usual on that occasion, somehow I cannot rid myself of an unhappy, ban-
owing suspicion, that the latter comes nearer the truth than the former.

The ground is gradually getting more broken; huge rocks intrude themselves
upon the landscape. At the town of Rocklin we are supposed to enter the
foot-hill country proper. Much of the road in these lower foot-hills is
excellent, being of a hard, stony character, and proof against the winter
rains. Everybody who writes anything about the Golden State is expected
to say something complimentary - or otherwise, as his experience may seem
to dictate - about the "glorious climate of California;" or else render
an account of himself for the slight, should he ever return, which he
is very liable to do. For, no matter what he may say about it, the "glorious climate"
generally manages to make one, ever after, somewhat
dissatisfied with the extremes of heat and cold met with in less genial
regions. This fact of having to pay my measure of tribute to the climate
forces itself on my notice prominently here at Rocklin, because, in-
directly, the "climate" was instrumental in bringing about a slight
accident, which, in turn, brought about the - to me - serious calamity of
sending me to bed without any supper. Rocklin is celebrated - and by
certain bad people, ridiculed - all over this part of the foot-hills for
the superabundance of its juvenile population. If one makes any inquisitive
remarks about this fact, the Rocklinite addressed will either blush or
grin, according to his temperament, and say, "It's the glorious climate."
A bicycle is a decided novelty up here, and, of course, the multitudinous
youth turn out in droves to see it. The bewildering swarms of these small
mountaineers distract my attention and cause me to take a header that
temporarily disables the machine. The result is, that, in order to reach
the village where I wish to stay over night, I have to "foot it" over
four miles of the best road I have found since leaving San Pablo, and
lose my supper into the bargain, by procrastinating at the village smithy,
so as to have my machine in trim, ready for an early start next morning.
If the "glorious climate of California " is responsible for the exceedingly
hopeful prospects of Rocklin's future census reports, and the said lively
outlook, materialized, is responsible for my mishap, then plainly the
said "G. C. of C." is the responsible element in the case. I hope this
compliment to the climate will strike the Californians as about the
correct thing; but, if it should happen to work the other way, I beg of
them at once to pour out the vials of their wrath on the heads of the
'Frisco Bicycle Club, in order that their fury may be spent ere I again
set foot on their auriferous soil.

"What'll you do when you hit the snow?" is now a frequent question asked
by the people hereabouts, who seem to be more conversant with affairs
pertaining to the mountains than they are of what is going on in the
valleys below. This remark, of course, has reference to the deep snow
that, toward the summits of the mountains, covers the ground to the depth
of ten feet on the level, and from that to almost any depth where it has
drifted and accumulated. I have not started out on this greatest of all
bicycle tours without looking into these difficulties, and I remind them
that the long snow-sheds of the Central Pacific Railway make it possible
for one to cross over, no matter how deep the snow may lie on the ground
outside. Some speak cheerfully of the prospects for getting over, but
many shake their heads ominously and say, "You'll never be able to make
it through."

Rougher and more hilly become the roads as we gradually penetrate farther
and farther into the foot-hills. We are now in far-famed Placer County,
and the evidences of the hardy gold diggers' work in pioneer days are
all about us. In every gulch and ravine are to be seen broken and decaying
sluice-boxes. Bare, whitish-looking patches of washed-out gravel show
where a "claim " has been worked over and abandoned. In every direction
are old water-ditches, heaps of gravel, and abandoned shafts - all telling,
in language more eloquent than word or pen, of the palmy days of '49,
and succeeding years; when, in these deep gulches, and on these yellow
hills, thousands of bronzed, red-shirted miners dug and delved, and
"rocked the cradle" for the precious yellow dust and nuggets. But all
is now changed, and where were hundreds before, now only a few "old
timers " roam the foot-hills, prospecting, and working over the old
claims; but "dust," "nuggets," and "pockets " still form the burden of
conversation in the village barroom or the cross-roads saloon. Now and
then a "strike " is made by some lucky - or perhaps it turns out, unlucky -
prospector. This for a few days kindles anew the slumbering spark of
"gold fever" that lingers in the veins of the people here, ever ready
to kindle into a flame at every bit of exciting news, in the way of a
lucky "find" near home, or new gold-fields in some distant land. These
occasions never fail to have their legitimate effect upon the business
of the bar where the "old-timers" congregate to learn the news; and,
between drinks, yarns of the good old days of '49 and '50, of "streaks
of luck," of "big nuggets," and "wild times," are spun over and over
again. Although the palmy days of the "diggin's" are no more, yet the
finder of a "pocket" these days seems not a whit wiser than in the days
when "pockets" more frequently rewarded the patient prospector than
they do now; and at Newcastle - a station near the old-time mining camps
of Ophir and Gold Hill - I hear of a man who lately struck a "pocket," out
of which he dug forty thousand dollars; and forthwith proceeded to imitate
his reckless predecessors by going down to 'Frisco and entering upon a
career of protracted sprees and debauchery that cut short his earthly
career in less than six months, and wafted his riotous spirit to where
there are no more forty thousand dollar pockets, and no more 'Friscos
in which to squander it. In this instance the "find" was clearly an
unlucky one. Not quite so bad was the case of two others who, but a few
days before my arrival, took out twelve hundred dollars; they simply,
in the language of the gold fields "turned themselves loose," "made
things hum," and "whooped 'em up" around the bar-room of their village
for exactly three days; when, "dead broke," they took to the gulches
again, to search for more. "Yer oughter hev happened through here with
that instrumint of yourn about that time, young fellow; yer might hev
kept as full as a tick till they war busted," remarked a slouchy-looking
old fellow whose purple-tinted nose plainly indicated that he had devoted
a good part of his existence to the business of getting himself "full
as a tick" every time he ran across the chance.

Quite a different picture is presented by an industrious old Mexican,
whom I happen to see away down in the bottom of a deep ravine, along
which swiftly hurries a tiny stream. He is diligently shovelling dirt
into a rude sluice-box which he has constructed in the bed of the stream
at a point where the water rushes swiftly down a declivity. Setting my
bicycle up against a rock, I clamber down the steep bank to investigate.
In tones that savor of anything but satisfaction with the result of his
labor, he informs me that he has to work "most infernal hard" to pan
out two dollars' worth of "dust" a day. "I have had to work over all
that pile of gravel you see yonder to clean up seventeen dollars' worth
of dust," further volunteered the old "greaser," as I picked up a spare
shovel and helped him remove a couple of bowlders that he was trying to
roll out of his war. I condole with him at the low grade of the gravel
he is working, hope he may "strike it rich " one of these days, and
take my departure.

Up here I find it preferable to keep the railway track, alongside of
which there are occasionally ridable side-paths; while on the wagon roads
little or no riding can be done on account of the hills, and the sticky
nature of the red, clayey soil. From the railway track near Newcastle
is obtained a magnificent view of the lower country, traversed during
the last three days, with the Sacramento River winding its way through
its broad valley to the sea. Deep cuts and high embankments follow each
other in succession, as the road-bed is now broken through a hill, now
carried across a deep gulch, and anon winds around the next hill and
over another ravine. Before reaching Auburn I pass through "Bloomer
Cut," where perpendicular walls of bowlders loom up on both sides of the
track looking as if the slightest touch or jar would unloose them and
send them bounding and crashing on the top of the passing train as it
glides along, or drop down on the stray cycler who might venture through.
On the way past Auburn, and on up to Clipper Gap, the dry, yellow dirt
under the overhanging rocks, and in the crevices, is so suggestive of "
dust," that I take a small prospecting glass, which I have in my tool-bag,
and do a little prospecting; without, however, finding sufficient "color"
to induce me to abandon my journey and go to digging.

Before reaching Clipper Gap it begins to rain; while I am taking dinner
at that place it quits raining and begins to come down by buckets full,
so that I have to lie over for the remainder of the day. The hills around
Clipper Gap are gay and white with chaparral blossom, which gives the
whole landscape a pleasant, gala-day appearance. It rains all the evening,
and at night turns to heavy, damp snow, which clings to the trees and
bushes. In the morning the landscape, which a few hours before was white
with chaparral bloom, is now even more white with the bloom of the snow.
My hostelry at Clipper Gap is a kind of half ranch, half roadside inn,
down in a small valley near the railway; and mine host, a jovial Irish
blade of the good old "Donnybrook Fair" variety, who came here in 1851,
during the great rush to the gold fields, and, failing to make his fortune
in the "diggings," wisely decided to send for his family and settle
down quietly on a piece of land, in preference to returning to the "ould
sod."He turns out to be a "bit av a sphort meself," and, after
showing me a number of minor pets and favorites, such as game chickens,
Brahma geese, and a litter of young bull pups, he proudly leads the way
to the barn to show me "Barney," his greatest pet of all, whom he at
present keeps securely tied up for safe-keeping. More than one evil-minded
person has a hankering after Barney's gore since his last battle for the
championship of Placer County, he explains, in which he inflicted severe
punishment on his adversary and resolutely refused to give in; although
his opponent on this important occasion was an imported dog, brought
into the county by Barney's enemies, who hoped to fill their pockets by
betting against the local champion. But Barney, who is a medium-sized,
ferocious-looking bull terrier, "scooped"the crowd backing the imported
dog, to the extent of their "pile," by "walking all round" his adversary;
and thereby stirring up the enmity of said crowd against himself, who - so
says Barney's master - have never yet been able to scare up a dog able to
"down" Barney. As we stand in the barn-door Barney eyes me suspiciously,
and then looks at his master; but luckily for me his master fails to
give the word. Noticing that the dog is scarred and seamed all over, I
inquire the reason, and am told that he has been fighting wild boars in
the chaparral, of which gentle pastime he is extremely fond. "Yes, and
he'll tackle a cougar too, of which there are plenty of them around here,
if that cowardly animal would only keep out of the trees," admiringly
continues mine host, as he orders Barney into his empty salt-barrel

To day is Sunday, and it rains and snows with little interruption, so
that I am compelled to stay over till Monday morning. While it is raining
at Clipper Gap, it is snowing higher up in the mountains, and a railway
employee 'volunteers the cheering information that, during the winter,
the snow has drifted and accumulated in the sheds, so that a train can
barely squeeze through, leaving no room for a person to stand to one
side. I have my own ideas of whether this state of affairs is probable
or not, however, and determine to pay no heed to any of these rumors,
but to push ahead. So I pull out on Monday morning and take to the
railway-track again, which is the only passable road since the tremendous
downpour of the last two days.

The first thing I come across is a tunnel burrowing through a hill. This
tunnel was originally built the proper size, but, after being walled up,
there were indications of a general cave-in; so the company had to go
to work and build another thick rock-wall inside the other, which leaves
barely room for the trains to pass through without touching the sides.
It is anything but an inviting path around the hill; but it is far the
safer of the two. Once my foot slips, and I unceremoniously sit down and
slide around in the soft yellow clay, in my frantic endeavors to keep
from slipping down the hill. This hardly enhances my personal appearance;
but it doesn't matter much, as I am where no one can see, and a clay-
besmeared individual is worth a dozen dead ones. Soon I am on the track
again, briskly trudging up the steep grade toward the snow-line, which
I can plainly see, at no great distance ahead, through the windings
around the mountains.

All through here the only riding to be done is along occasional short
stretches of difficult path beside the track, where it happens to be a
hard surface; and on the plank platforms of the stations, where I generally
take a turn or two to satisfy the consuming curiosity of the miners, who
can't imagine how anybody can ride a thing that won't stand alone; at
the same time arguing among themselves as to whether I ride along on one
of the rails, or bump along over the protruding ties.

This morning I follow the railway track around the famous "Cape Horn,"
a place that never fails to photograph itself permanently upon the memory
of all who once see it. For scenery that is magnificently grand and
picturesque, the view from where the railroad track curves around Cape
Horn is probably without a peer on the American continent.

When the Central Pacific Railway company started to grade their road-bed
around here, men were first swung over this precipice from above with
ropes, until they made standing room for themselves; and then a narrow
ledge was cut on the almost perpendicular side of the rocky mountain,
around which the railway now winds.

Standing on this ledge, the rocks tower skyward on one side of the track
so close as almost to touch the passing train; and on the other is a
sheer precipice of two thousand five hundred feet, where one can stand
on the edge and see, far below, the north fork of the American River,
which looks like a thread of silver laid along the narrow valley, and
sends up a far-away, scarcely perceptible roar, as it rushes and rumbles
along over its rocky bed. The railroad track is carefully looked after
at this point, and I was able, by turning round and taking the down
grade, to experience the novelty of a short ride, the memory of which
will be ever welcome should one live to be as old as "the oldest
inhabitant." The scenery for the next few miles is glorious; the grand
and imposing mountains are partially covered with stately pines down to
their bases, around which winds the turbulent American River, receiving
on its boisterous march down the mountains tribute from hundreds of
smaller streams and rivulets, which come splashing and dashing out of
the dark ca¤ons and crevasses of the mighty hills.

The weather is capricious, and by the time I reach Dutch Flat, ten miles
east of Cape Horn, the floodgates of heaven are thrown open again, and
less than an hour succeeds in impressing Dutch Flat upon my memory as a
place where there is literally "water, water, everywhere, but not a
drop to -;" no, I cannot finish the quotation. What is the use of lying'.
There is plenty to drink at Dutch Flat; plenty of everything.

But there is no joke about the water; it is pouring in torrents from
above; the streets are shallow streams; and from scores of ditches and
gullies comes the merry music of swiftly rushing waters, while, to crown
all, scores of monster streams are rushing with a hissing sound from the
mouths of huge pipes or nozzles, and playing against the surrounding
hills; for Dutch Flat and neighboring camps are the great centre of
hydraulic mining operations in California at the present day. Streams
of water, higher lip the mountains, are taken from their channels and
conducted hither through miles of wooden flumes and iron piping; and
from the mouths of huge nozzles are thrown with tremendous force against
the hills, literally mowing them down. The rain stops as abruptly as it
began. The sun shines out clear and warm, and I push ahead once more.

Gradually I have been getting up into the snow, and ever and anon a
muffled roar comes booming and echoing over the mountains like the sound
of distant artillery. It is the sullen noise of monster snow-slides among
the deep, dark ca¤ons of the mountains, though a wicked person at Gold
Run winked at another man and tried to make me believe it was the grizzlies
"going about the mountains like roaring lions, seeking whom they might
devour." The giant voices of nature, the imposing scenery, the gloomy
pine forests which have now taken the place of the gay chaparral, combine
to impress one who, all alone, looks and listens with a realizing sense
of his own littleness. What a change has come over the whole face of
nature in a few days' travel. But four days ago I was in the semi-tropical
Sacramento Valley; now gaunt winter reigns supreme, and the only vegetation
is the hardy pine.

This afternoon I pass a small camp of Digger Indians, to whom my bicycle
is as much a mystery as was the first locomotive; yet they scarcely turn
their uncovered heads to look; and my cheery greeting of "How," scarce
elicits a grunt and a stare in reply. Long years of chronic hunger and
wretchedness have well-nigh eradicated what little energy these Diggers
ever possessed. The discovery of gold among their native mountains has
been their bane; the only antidote the rude grave beneath the pine and
the happy hunting-grounds beyond.

The next morning finds me briskly trundling through the great, gloomy
snow-sheds that extend with but few breaks for the next forty miles.
When I emerge from them on the other end I shall be over the summit and
well down the eastern slope of the mountains. These huge sheds have been
built at great expense to protect the track from the vast quantities of
snow that fall every winter on these mountains. They wind around the
mountain-sides, their roofs built so slanting that the mighty avalanche
of rock and snow that comes thundering down from above glides harmlessly
over, and down the chasm on the other side, while the train glides along
unharmed beneath them. The section-houses, the water-tanks, stations,
and everything along here are all under the gloomy but friendly shelter
of the great protecting sheds. Fortunately I find the difficulties of
getting through much less than I had been led by rumors to anticipate;
and although no riding can be done in the sheds, I make very good progress,
and trudge merrily along, thankful of a chance to get over the mountains
without having to wait a month or six weeks for the snow outside to
disappear. At intervals short breaks occur in the sheds, where the track
runs over deep gulch or ravine, and at one of these openings the sinuous
structure can be traced for quite a long distance, winding its tortuous
way around the rugged mountain sides, and through the gloomy pine forest,
all but buried under the snow. It requires no great effort of the mind
to imagine it to be some wonderful relic of a past civilization, when a
venturesome race of men thus dared to invade these vast wintry solitudes
and burrow their way through the deep snow, like moles burrowing through
the loose earth. Not a living thing is in sight, and the only sounds the
occasional roar of a distant snow-slide, and the mournful sighing of the
breeze as it plays a weird, melancholy dirge through the gently swaying
branches of the tall, sombre pines, whose stately trunks are half buried
in the omnipresent snow. To-night I stay at the Summit Hotel, seven
thousand and seventeen feet above the level of the sea. The "Summit"
is nothing if not snowy, and I am told that thirty feet on the level is
no unusual thing up here. Indeed, it looks as if snow-balling on the "
Glorious Fourth" were no great luxury at the Summit House; yet
notwithstanding the decidedly wintry aspect of the Sierras, the low
temperature of the Rockies farther east is unknown; and although there
is snow to the right, snow to the left, snow all around, and ice under
foot, I travel all through the gloomy sheds in my shirt-sleeves, with
but a gossamer rubber coat thrown over my shoulders to keep off the snow-
water which is constantly melting and dripping through the roof, making
it almost like going through a shower of rain. Often, when it is warm
and balmy outside, it is cold and frosty under the sheds, and the dripping
water, falling among the rocks and timbers, freezes into all manner of
fantastic shapes. Whole menageries of ice animals, birds and all imaginable
objects, are here reproduced in clear crystal ice, while in many places
the ground is covered with an irregular coating of the same, that often
has to be chipped away from the rails.

East of the summit is a succession of short tunnels, the space between
being covered with snow-shed; and when I came through, the openings and
crevices through which the smoke from the engines is wont to make its
escape, and through which a few rays of light penetrate the gloomy
interior, are blocked up with snow, so that it is both dark and smoky;
and groping one's way with a bicycle over the rough surface is anything
but pleasant going. But there is nothing so bad, it seems, but that it
can get a great deal worse; and before getting far, I hear an approaching
train and forthwith proceed to occupy as small an amount of space as
possible against the side, while three laboriously puffing engines,
tugging a long, heavy freight train up the steep grade, go past. These
three puffing, smoke-emitting monsters fill every nook and corner of the
tunnel with dense smoke, which creates a darkness by the side of which
the natural darkness of the tunnel is daylight in comparison. Here is a
darkness that can be felt; I have to grope my way forward, inch by inch;
afraid to set my foot down until I have felt the place, for fear of
blundering into a culvert; at the same time never knowing whether there
is room, just where I am, to get out of the way of a train. A cyclometer
wouldn't have to exert itself much through here to keep tally of the
revolutions; for, besides advancing with extreme caution, I pause every
few steps to listen; as in the oppressive darkness and equally oppressive
silence the senses are so keenly on the alert that the gentle rattle of
the bicycle over the uneven surface seems to make a noise that would
prevent me hearing an approaching train. This finally comes to am end;
and at the opening in the sheds I climb up into a pine-tree to obtain
a view of Donner Lake, called the "Gem of the Sierras." It is a lovely
little lake, and amid the pines, and on its shores occurred one of the
most pathetically tragic events of the old emigrant days. Briefly related
: A small party of emigrants became snowed in while camped at the lake,
and when, toward spring, a rescuing party reached the spot, the last
survivor of the partly, crazed with the fearful suffering he had under-
gone, was sitting on a log, savagely gnawing away at a human arm, the
last remnant of his companions in misery, off whose emaciated carcasses
he had for some time been living!

My road now follows the course of the Truckee River down the eastern
slope of the Sierras, and across the boundary line into Nevada. The
Truckee is a rapid, rollicking stream from one end to the other, and
affords dam-sites and mill-sites without limit. There is little ridable
road down the Truckee ca¤on; but before reaching "Verdi, a station a few
miles over the Nevada line, I find good road, and ride up and dismount
at the door of the little hotel as coolly as if I had rode without a
dismount all the way from 'Frisco. Here at Verdi is a camp of Washoe
Indians, who at once showed their superiority to the Diggers by clustering
around and examining; the bicycle with great curiosity. Verdi is less
than forty miles from the summit of the Sierras, and from the porch of
the hotel I can see the snow-storm still fiercely raging up in the place
where I stood a few hours ago; yet one can feel that he is already in a
dryer and altogether different climate. The great masses of clouds,
travelling inward from the coast with their burdens of moisture, like
messengers of peace with presents to a far country, being unable to
surmount the great mountain barrier that towers skyward across their
path, unload their precious cargoes on the mountains; and the parched
plains of Nevada open their thirsty mouths in vain. At Verdi I bid good-by
to the Golden State and follow the course of the sparkling Truckee toward
the Forty-mile Desert.



Gradually I leave the pine-clad slopes of the Sierras behind, and every
revolution of my wheel reveals scenes that constantly remind me that I
am in the great "Sage-brush State." How appropriate indeed is the name.
Sage-brush is the first thing seen on entering Nevada, almost the only
vegetation seen while passing through it, and the last thing seen on
leaving it. Clear down to the edge of the rippling waters of the Truckee,
on the otherwise barren plain, covering the elevated table-lands, up the
hills, even to the mountain-tops-everywhere, everywhere, nothing but
sagebrush. In plain view to the right, as I roll on toward Reno, are the
mountains on which the world-renowned Comstock lode is situated, and
Reno was formerly the point from which this celebrated mining-camp was

Before reaching Reno I meet a lone Washoe Indian; he is riding a diminutive,
scraggy-looking mustang. One of his legs is muffled up in a red blanket,
and in one hand he carries a rudely-invented crutch. "How will you trade
horses?" I banteringly ask as we meet in the road; and I dismount for
an interview, to find out what kind of Indians these Washoes are. To my
friendly chaff he vouchsafes no reply, but simply sits motionless on his
pony, and fixes a regular "Injun stare" on the bicycle. "What's the
matter with your leg?" I persist, pointing at the blanket-be-muffled

"Heap sick foot" is the reply, given with the characteristic brevity
of the savage; and, now that the ice of his aboriginal reserve is broken,
he manages to find words enough to ask me for tobacco. I have no tobacco,
but the ride through the crisp morning air has been productive of a
surplus amount of animal spirits, and I feel like doing something funny;
so I volunteer to cure his " sick foot" by sundry dark and mysterious
manoeuvres, that I unbiushingly intimate are "heap good medicine." With
owlish solemnity my small monkey-wrench is taken from the tool-bag and
waved around the " sick foot" a few times, and the operation is completed
by squirting a few drops from my oil-can through a hole in the blanket.
Before going I give him to understand that, in order to have the "good
medicine " operate to his advantage, he will have to soak his copper-colored
hide in a bath every morning for a week, flattering myself that, while
my mystic manoauvres will do him no harm, the latter prescription will
certainly do him good if he acts on it, which, however, is extremely
doubtful. Boiling into Reno at 10.30 A.M. the characteristic whiskey-
straight hospitality of the Far West at once asserts itself, and one
individual with sporting proclivities invites me to stop over a day or
two and assist him to "paint Reno red " at his expense. Leaving Reno,
my route leads through the famous Truckee meadows - a strip of very good
agricultural land, where plenty of money used to be made by raising
produce for the Virginia City market." But there's nothing in it any
more, since the Comstock's played out," glumly remarks a ranchman, at
whose place I get dinner. "I'll take less for my ranch now than I was
offered ten years ago," he continues.

The " meadows" gradually contract, and soon after dinner I find myself
again following the Truckee down a narrow space between mountains, whose
volcanic-looking rocks are destitute of all vegetation save stunted sage-
brush. All down here the road is ridable in patches; but many dismounts
have to be made, and the walking to be done aggregates at least one-third
of the whole distance travelled during the day. Sneakish coyotes prowl
about these mountains, from whence they pay neighborly visits to the
chicken-roosts of the ranchers in the Truckee meadows near by. Toward
night a pair of these animals are observed following behind at the
respectful distance of five hundred yards. One need not be apprehensive
of danger from these contemptible animals, however; they are simply
following behind in a frame of mind similar to that of a hungry school-boy's
when gazing longingly into a confectioner's window. Still, night is
gathering around, and it begins to look as though I will have to pillow
my head on the soft side of a bowlder, and take lodgings on the footsteps
of a bald mountain to-night; and it will scarcely invite sleep to know
that two pairs of sharp, wolfish eyes are peering wistfully through the
darkness at one's prostrate form, and two red tongues are licking about
in hungry anticipation of one's blood. Moreover, these animals have an
unpleasant habit of congregating after night to pay their compliments
to the pale moon, and to hold concerts that would put to shame a whole
regiment of Kilkenny cats; though there is but little comparison between
the two, save that one howls and the other yowls, and either is equally
effective in driving away the drowsy Goddess. I try to draw these two
animals within range of my revolver by hiding behind rocks; but they are
too chary of their precious carcasses to take any risks, and the moment
I disappear from their sight behind a rock they are on the alert, and
looking " forty ways at the same time," to make sure that I am not
creeping up on them from some other direction. Fate, however, has decreed
that I am not to sleep out to-night - not quite out. A lone shanty looms
up through the gathering darkness, and I immediately turn my footsteps
thitherwise. I find it occupied. I am all right now for the night. Hold
on, though! not so fast. "There is many a slip," etc. The little shanty,
with a few acres of rather rocky ground, on the bank of the Truckee, is
presided over by a lonely bachelor of German extraction, who eyes me
with evident suspicion, as, leaning on my bicycle in front of his rude
cabin door I ask to be accommodated for the night. Were it a man on
horseback, or a man with a team, this hermit-like rancher could satisfy
himself to some extent as to the character of his visitor, for he sees
men on horseback or men in wagons, on an average, perhaps, once a week
during the summer, and can see plenty of them any day by going to Reno.
But me and the bicycle he cannot "size up" so readily. He never saw
the like of us before, and we are beyond his Teutonic frontier-like
comprehension. He gives us up; he fails to solve the puzzle; he knows
not how to unravel the mystery; and, with characteristic Teutonic
bluntness, he advises us to push on through fifteen miles of rocks, sand,
and darkness, to Wadsworth. The prospect of worrying my way, hungry and
weary, through fifteen miles of rough, unknown country, after dark, looms
up as rather a formidable task. So summoning my reserve stock of persuasive
eloquence, backed up by sundry significant movements, such as setting
the bicycle up against his cabin-wall, and sitting down on a block of
wood under the window, I finally prevail upon him to accommodate me with
a blanket on the floor of the shanty. He has just finished supper, and
the remnants of the frugal repast are still on the table; but he says
nothing about any supper for me: he scarcely feels satisfied with himself
yet: he feels that I have, in some mysterious manner, gained an unfair
advantage over him, and obtained a foothold in his shanty against his
own wish-jumped his claim, so to speak. Not that I think the man really
inhospitable at heart; but he has been so habitually alone, away from
his fellowmen so much, that the presence of a stranger in his cabin makes
him feel uneasy; and when that stranger is accompanied by a queer-looking
piece of machinery that cannot stand alone, but which he nevertheless
says he rides on, our lonely rancher is perhaps not so much to be wondered
at, after all, for his absent-mindedness in regard to my supper. His
mind is occupied with other thoughts. "You couldn't accommodate a fellow
with a bite to eat, could you." I timidly venture, after devouring what
eatables are in sight, over and over again, with my eyes. "I have plenty
of money to pay for any accommodation I get," I think it policy to add,
by way of cornering him up and giving him as little chance to refuse as
possible, for I am decidedly hungry, and if money or diplomacy, or both,
will produce supper, I don't propose to go to bed supperless. I am not
much surprised to see him bear out my faith in his innate hospitality
by apologizing for not thinking of my supper before, and insisting,
against my expressed wishes, on lighting the fire and getting me a warm
meal of fried ham and coffee, for which I beg leave to withdraw any
unfavorable impressions in regard to him which my previous remarks may
possibly have made on the reader's mind.

After supper he thaws out a little, and I wheedle out of him a part of
his history. He settled on this spot of semi-cultivable land during the
flush times on the Comstock, and used to prosper very well by raising
vegetables, with the aid of Truckee-River water, and hauling them to the
mining-camps; but the palmy days of the Comstock have departed and with
them our lonely rancher's prosperity. Mine host has barely blankets
enough for his own narrow bunk, and it is really an act of generosity
on his part when he takes a blanket off his bed and invites me to extract
what comfort I can get out of it for the night. Snowy mountains are round
about, and curled up on the floor of the shanty, like a kitten under a
stove in mid-winter, I shiver the long hours away, and endeavor to feel
thankful that it is no worse.

For a short distance, next morning, the road is ridable, but nearing
Wadsworth it gets sandy, and " sandy," in Nevada means deep, loose sand,
in which one sinks almost to his ankles at every step, and where the
possession of a bicycle fails to awaken that degree of enthusiasm that
it does on a smooth, hard road. At Wadsworth I have to bid farewell to
the Truckee River, and start across the Forty-mile Desert, which lies
between the Truckee and Humboldt Rivers. Standing on a sand-hill and
looking eastward across the dreary, desolate waste of sand, rocks, and
alkali, it is with positive regret that I think of leaving the cool,
sparkling stream that has been my almost constant companion for nearly
a hundred miles. It has always been at hand to quench my thirst or furnish
a refreshing bath. More than once have I beguiled the tedium of some
uninteresting part of the journey by racing with some trifling object
hurried along on its rippling surface. I shall miss the murmuring music
of its dancing waters as one would miss the conversation of a companion.

This Forty-mile Desert is the place that was so much dreaded by the
emigrants en route to the gold-fields of California, there being not a
blade of grass nor drop of water for the whole forty miles; nothing but
a dreary waste of sand and rocks that reflects the heat of the sun, and
renders the desert a veritable furnace in midsummer; and the stock of
the emigrants, worn out by the long journey from the States, would succumb
by the score in crossing. Though much of the trail is totally unfit for
cycling, there are occasional alkali flats that are smooth and hard
enough to play croquet on; and this afternoon, while riding with careless
ease across one of these places, I am struck with the novelty of the
situation. I am in the midst of the dreariest, deadest-looking country
imaginable. Whirlwinds of sand, looking at a distance like huge columns
of smoke, are wandering erratically over the plains in all directions.
The blazing sun casts, with startling vividness on the smooth white
alkali, that awful scraggy, straggling shadow that, like a vengeful fate,
always accompanies the cycler on a sunny day, and which is the bane of
a sensitive wheelman's life. The only representative of animated nature
hereabouts is a species of small gray lizard that scuttles over the bare
ground with astonishing rapidity. Not even a bird is seen in the air.
All living things seem instinctively to avoid this dread spot save the
lizard. A desert forty miles wide is not a particularly large one; but
when one is in the middle of it, it might as well be as extensive as
Sahara itself, for anything he can see to the contrary, and away off to
the right I behold as perfect a mirage as one could wish to see. A person
can scarce help believing his own eyes, and did one not have some knowledge
of these strange and wondrous phenomena, one's orbs of vision would
indeed open with astonishment; for seemingly but a few miles away is a
beautiful lake, whose shores are fringed with wavy foliage, and whose
cool waters seem to lave the burning desert sands at its edge.

A short distance to the right of Hot Springs Station broken clouds of
steam are seen rising from the ground, as though huge caldrons of water
were being heated there. Going to the spot I find, indeed, " caldrons
of boiling water;" but the caldrons are in the depths. At irregular
openings in the rocky ground the bubbling water wells to the surface,
and the fires-ah! where are the fires. On another part of this desert
are curious springs that look demure and innocuous enough most of the
time, but occasionally they emit columns of spray and steam. It is related
of these springs that once a party of emigrants passed by, and one of
the men knelt down to take a drink of the clear, nice-looking water. At
the instant he leaned over, the spring spurted a quantity of steam and
spray all over him, scaring him nearly out of his wits. The man sprang
up, and ran as if for his life, frantically beckoning the wagons to move
on, at the same time shouting, at the top of his voice, "Drive on! drive
on! hell's no great distance from here!"

>From the Forty-mile Desert my road leads up the valley of the Humboldt
River. On the shores of Humboldt Lake are camped a dozen Piute lodges,
and I make a half-hour halt to pay them a visit. I shall never know
whether I am a welcome visitor or not; they show no signs of pleasure
or displeasure as I trundle the bicycle through the sage-brush toward
them. Leaning it familiarly up against one of their teepes, I wander
among them and pry into their domestic affairs like a health-officer in
a New York tenement. I know I have no right to do this without saying,
"By your leave," but item-hunters the world over do likewise, so I feel
little squeamishness about it. Moreover, when I come back I find the
Indians are playing " tit-for-tat" against me. Not only are they curiously
examining the bicycle as a whole, but they have opened the toolbag and
are examining the tools, handing them around among themselves. I don't
think these Piutes are smart or bold enough to steal nowadays; their
intercourse with the whites along the railroad has, in a measure, relieved
them of those aboriginal traits of character that would incite them to
steal a brass button off their pale-faced brother's coat, or screw a nut
off his bicycle; but they have learned to beg; the noble Piute of to-day
is an incorrigible mendicant. Gathering up my tools from among them, the
monkey-wrench seems to have found favor in the eyes of a wrinkled-faced
brave, who, it seems, is a chief. He hands the wrench over with a smile
that is meant to be captivating, and points at it as I am putting it
back into the bag, and grunts, " Ugh. Piute likum. Piute likum!" As I
hold it up, and ask him if this is what he means, he again points and
repeats, " Piute likum;" and this time two others standing by point at
him and also smile and say, " Him big chief; big Piute chief, him;"
thinking, no doubt, this latter would be a clincher, and that I would
at once recognize in " big Piute chief, him " a vastly superior being
and hand him over the wrench. In this, however, they are mistaken, for
the wrench I cannot spare; neither can I see any lingering trace of
royalty about him, no kingliness of mien, or extra cleanliness; nor is
there anything winning about his smile - nor any of their smiles for that
matter. The Piute smile seems to me to be simply a cold, passionless
expansion of the vast horizontal slit that reaches almost from one ear
to the other, and separates the upper and lower sections of their
expressionless faces. Even the smiles of the squaws are of the same
unlovely pattern, though they seem to be perfectly oblivious of any
ugliness whatever, and whenever a pale-faced visitor appears near their
teepe they straightway present him with one of those repulsive, unwinning
smiles. Sunday, May 4th, finds me anchored for the day at the village
of Lovelocks, on the Humboldt River, where I spend quite a remarkable
day. Never before did such a strangely assorted crowd gather to see the
first bicycle ride they ever saw, as the crowd that gathers behind the
station at Lovelocks to-day to see me. There are perhaps one hundred and
fifty people, of whom a hundred are Piute and Shoshone Indians, and the
remainder a mingled company of whites and Chinese railroaders; and among
them all it is difficult to say who are the most taken with the novelty
of the exhibition - the red, the yellow, or the white. Later in the evening
I accept the invitation of a Piute brave to come out to their camp,
behind the village, and witness rival teams of Shoshone and Piute squaws
play a match-game of " Fi-re-fla," the national game of both the Shoshone
and Piute tribes. The principle of the game is similar to polo. The
squaws are armed with long sticks, with which they endeavor to carry a
shorter one to the goal. It is a picturesque and novel sight to see the
squaws, dressed in costumes in which the garb of savagery and civilization
is strangely mingled and the many colors of the rainbow are promiscuously
blended, flitting about the field with the agility of a team of professional
polo-players; while the bucks and old squaws, with their pappooses, sit
around and watch the game with unmistakable enthusiasm. The Shoshone
team wins and looks pleased. Here, at Lovelocks, I fall in with one of
those strange and seemingly incongruous characters that are occasionally
met with in the West. He is conversing with a small gathering of Piutes
in their own tongue, and I introduce myself by asking him the probable
age of one of the Indians, whose wrinkled and leathery countenance would
indicate unusual longevity. He tells me the Indian is probably ninety
years old; but the Indians themselves never know their age, as they count
everything by the changes of the moon and the seasons, having no knowledge
whatever of the calendar year. While talking on this subject, imagine
my surprise to hear my informant - who looks as if the Scriptures are the
last thing in the world for him to speak of - volunteer the information
that our venerable and venerated ancestors, the antediluvians, used to
count time in the same way as the Indians, and that instead of Methuselah
being nine hundred and sixty-nine years of age, it ought to be revised
so as to read " nine hundred and sixty-nine moons," which would bring
that ancient and long-lived person-the oldest man that ever lived-down
to the venerable but by no means extraordinary age of eighty years and
nine months. This is the first time I have heard this theory, and my
astonishment at hearing it from the lips of a rough-looking habitue of
the Nevada plains, seated in the midst of a group of illiterate Indians,
can easily be imagined. On, up the Humboldt valley I continue, now riding
over a smooth, alkali flat, and again slavishly trundling through deep
sand, a dozen snowy mountain peaks round about, the Humboldt sluggishly
winding its way through the alkali plain; on past Eye Patch, to the right
of which are more hot springs, and farther on mines of pure sulphur-all
these things, especially the latter, unpleasantly suggestive of a certain
place where the climate is popularly supposed to be uncomfortably warm;
on, past Humboldt

Station, near which place I wantonly shoot a poor harmless badger, who
peers inquisitively out of his hole as I ride past. There is something
peculiarly pathetic about the actions of a dying badger, and no sooner
has the thoughtless shot sped on its mission of death than I am sorry
for doing it.

Going out of Mill City next morning I lose the way, and find myself up
near a small mining camp among the mountains south of the railroad.
Thinking to regain the road quickly by going across country through the
sage-brush, I get into a place where that enterprising shrub is go thick
and high that I have to hold the bicycle up overhead to get through.

At three o'clock in the afternoon I come to a railroad section-house.
At the Chinese bunk-house I find a lone Celestial who, for some reason,
is staying at home. Having had nothing to eat or drink since six o'clock
this morning, I present the Chinaman with a smile that is intended to
win his heathen heart over to any gastronomic scheme I may propose; but
smiles are thrown away on John Chinaman.

" John, can you fix me up something to eat. " " No; Chinaman no savvy
whi' man eatee; bossee ow on thlack. Chinaman eatee nothing bu' licee
[rice]; no licee cookee." This sounds pretty conclusive; nevertheless I
don't intend to be thus put off so easily. There is nothing particularly
beautiful about a silver half-dollar, but in the almond-shaped eyes of
the Chinaman scenes of paradisiacal loveliness are nothing compared to
the dull surface of a twenty-year-old fifty-cent piece; and the jingle
of the silver coins contains more melody for Chin Chin's unromantic ear
than a whole musical festival.

" John, I'll give you a couple of two-bit pieces if you'll get me a bite
of something," I persist. John's small, black eyes twinkle at the
suggestion of two-bit pieces, and his expressive countenance assumes a
commerical air as, with a ludicrous change of front, he replies:

" Wha'. You gib me flore bittee, me gib you bitee eatee. " "That's what
I said, John; and please be as lively as possible about it."

" All li; you gib me flore bittee me fly you Melican plan-cae." " Yes,
pancakes will do. Go ahead!"

Visions of pancakes and molasses flit before my hunger-distorted vision
as I sit outside until he gets them ready. In ten minutes John calls me
in. On a tin plate, that looks as if it has just been rescued from a
barrel of soap-grease, reposes a shapeless mass of substance resembling
putty-it is the " Melican plan-cae; " and the Celestial triumphantly
sets an empty box in front of it for me to sit on and extends his greasy
palm for the stipulated price. May the reader never be ravenously hungry
and have to choose between a " Melican plan-cae " and nothing. It is
simply a chunk of tenacious dough, made of flour and water only, and
soaked for a few minutes in warm grease. I call for molasses; he doesn't
know what it is. I inquire for syrup, thinking he may recognize my want
by that name. He brings a jar of thin Chinese catsup, that tastes something
like Limburger cheese smells. I immediately beg of him to take it where
its presumably benign influence will fail to reach me. He produces some
excellent cold tea, however, by the aid of which I manage to "bolt" a
portion of the "plan-cae." One doesn't look for a very elegant spread
for fifty cents in the Sage-brush State; but this "Melican plan-cae" is
the worst fifty-cent meal I ever heard of.

To-night I stay in Winnemucca, the county seat of Humboldt County, and
quite a lively little town of 1,200 inhabitants. "What'll yer have."
is the first word on entering the hotel, and "Won't yer take a bottle
of whiskey along." is the last word on leaving it next morning. There
are Piutes and Piutes camped at Winnemucca, and in the morning I meet a
young brave on horseback a short distance out of town and let him try
his hand with the bicycle. I wheel him along a few yards and let him
dismount; and then I show him how to mount and invite him to try it
himself. He gallantly makes the attempt, but springs forward with too
much energy, and over he topples, with the bicycle cavorting around on
top of him. This satisfies his aboriginal curiosity, and he smiles and
shakes his head when I offer to swap the bicycle for his mustang. The
road is heavy with sand all along by Winnemucca, and but little riding
is to be done. The river runs through green meadows of rich bottom-land
hereabouts; but the meadows soon disappear as I travel eastward. Twenty
miles east of Winnemucca the river arid railroad pass through the ca¤on
in a low range of mountains, while my route lies over the summit. It is
a steep trundle up the fountains, but from the summit a broad view of
the surrounding country is obtained. The Humboldt River is not a beautiful
stream, and for the greater part of its length it meanders through
alternate stretches of dreary sage-brush plain and low sand-hills, at
long intervals passing through a ca¤on in some barren mountain chain.
But "distance lends enchantment to the view," and from the summit of
the mountain pass even the Humboldt looks beautiful. The sun shines on
its waters, giving it a sheen, and for many a mile its glistening surface
can be seen - winding its serpentine course through the broad, gray-looking
sage and grease-wood plains, while at occasional intervals narrow patches
of green, in striking contrast to the surrounding gray, show where the
hardy mountain grasses venturously endeavor to invade the domains of the
autocratic sagebrush. What is that queer-looking little reptile, half
lizard, half frog, that scuttles about among the rocks. It is different
from anything I have yet seen. Around the back of its neck and along its
sides, and, in a less prominent degree, all over its yellowishgray body,
are small, horn-like protuberances that give the little fellow a very
peculiar appearance. Ah, I know who he is. I have heard of him, and have
seen his picture in books. I am happy to make his acquaintance. He is
"Prickey," the famed horned toad of Nevada. On this mountain spur, between
the Golconda miningcamp and Iron Point, is the only place I have seen
him on the tour. He is a very interesting little creature, more lizard
than frog, perfectly harmless; and his little bead-like eyes are bright
and fascinating as the eyes of a rattlesnake.

Alkali flats abound, and some splendid riding is to be obtained east of
Iron Point. Just before darkness closes down over the surrounding area
of plain and mountain I reach Stone-House section-house.

" Yes, I guess we can get you a bite of something; but it will be cold,"
is the answer vouchsafed in reply to my query about supper. Being more
concerned these days about the quantity of provisions I can command than
the quality, the prospect of a cold supper arouses no ungrateful emotions.
I would rather have a four-pound loaf and a shoulder of mutton for supper
now than a smaller quantity of extra choice viands; and I manage to
satisfy the cravings of my inner man before leaving the table. But what
about a place to sleep. For some inexplicable reason these people refuse
to grant me even the shelter of their roof for the night. They are not
keeping hotel, they say, which is quite true; they have a right to refuse,
even if it is twenty miles to the next place; and they do refuse. "There's
the empty Chinese bunk-house over there. You can crawl in there,
if you arn't afeerd of ghosts," is the parting remark, as the door closes
and leaves me standing, like an outcast, on the dark, barren plain.

A week ago this bunk-house was occupied by a gang of Chinese railroaders,
who got to quarrelling among themselves, and the quarrel wound up in
quite a tragic poisoning affair, that resulted in the death of two, and
nearly killed a third. The Chinese are nothing, if not superstitious,
and since this affair no Chinaman would sleep in the bunk-house or work
on this section; consequently the building remains empty. The "spooks"
of murdered Chinese are everything but agreeable company; nevertheless
they are preferable to inhospitable whites, and I walk over to the house
and stretch my weary frame in - for aught I know - the same bunk in which,
but a few days ago, reposed the ghastly corpses of the poisoned Celestials.
Despite the unsavory memories clinging around the place, and my pillowless
and blanketless couch, I am soon in the land of dreams. It is scarcely
presumable that one would be blessed with rosy-hued visions of pleasure
under such conditions, however, and near midnight I awake in a cold
shiver. The snowy mountains rear their white heads up in the silent
night, grim and ghostly all around, and make the midnight air chilly,
even in midsummer. I lie there, trying in vain to doze off again, for
it grows perceptibly cooler. At two o'clock I can stand it no longer,
and so get up and strike out for Battle Mountain, twenty miles ahead.

The moon has risen; it is two-thirds full, and a more beautiful sight
than the one that now greets my exit from the bunk-house it is scarcely
possible to conceive. Only those who have been in this inter-mountain
country can have any idea of a glorious moonlight night in the clear
atmosphere of this dry, elevated region. It is almost as light as day,
and one can see to ride quite well wherever the road is ridable. The
pale moon seems to fill the whole broad valley with a flood of soft,
silvery light; the peaks of many snowy mountains loom up white and
spectral; the stilly air is broken by the excited yelping of a pack of
coyotes noisily baying the pale-yellow author of all this loveliness,
and the wild, unearthly scream of an unknown bird or animal coming from
some mysterious, undefinable quarter completes an ideal Western picture,
a poem, a dream, that fully compensates for the discomforts of the
preceding hour. The inspiration of this beautiful scene awakes the
slumbering poesy within, and I am inspired to compose a poem-"Moonlight
in the Rockies"-that I expect some day to see the world go into raptures

A few miles from the Chinese shanty I pass a party of Indians camped by
the side of my road. They are squatting around the smouldering embers
of a sage-brush fire, sleeping and dozing. I am riding slowly and carefully
along the road that happens to be ridable just here, and am fairly past
them before being seen. As I gradually vanish in the moonlit air I wonder
what they think it was - that strange-looking object that so silently and
mysteriously glided past. It is safe to warrant they think me anything
but flesh and blood, as they rouse each other and peer at my shadowy
form disappearing in the dim distance.

>From Battle Mountain my route leads across a low alkali bottom, through
which dozens of small streams are flowing to the Humboldt. Many of them
are narrow enough to be jumped, but not with a bicycle on one's shoulder,
for under such conditions there is always a disagreeable uncertainty
that one may disastrously alight before he gets ready. But I am getting
tired of partially undressing to ford streams that are little more than
ditches, every little way, and so I hit upon the novel plan of using the
machine for a vaulting-pole. Beaching it out into the centre of the
stream, I place one hand on the head and the other on the saddle, and
vault over, retaining my hold as I alight on the opposite shore. Pulling
the bicycle out after me, the thing is done. There is no telling to what
uses this two-wheeled "creature" could be put in case of necessity.
Certainly the inventor never expected it to be used for a vaulting-pole
in leaping across streams. Twenty-five miles east of Battle Mountain the
valley of the Humboldt widens into a plain of some size, through which
the river meanders with many a horseshoe curve, and maps out the pot-hooks
and hangers of our childhood days in mazy profusion. Amid these innumerable
curves and counter-curves, clumps of willows and tall blue-joint reeds
grow thickly, and afford shelter to thousands of pelicans, that here
make their homes far from the disturbing presence of man. All unconscious
of impending difficulties, I follow the wagon trail leading through this
valley until I find myself standing on the edge of the river, ruefully
looking around for some avenue by which I can proceed on my way. I am
in the bend of a horseshoe curve, and the only way to get out is to
retrace my footsteps for several miles, which disagreeable performance
I naturally feel somewhat opposed to doing. Casting about me I discover
a couple of old fence-posts that have floated down from the Be-o-wa-we
settlement above and lodged against the bank. I determine to try and
utilize them in getting the machine across the river, which is not over
thirty yards wide at this point. Swimming across with my clothes first,
I tie the bicycle to the fence-posts, which barely keep it from sinking,
and manage to navigate it successfully across. The village of Be-o-wa-we
is full of cowboys, who are preparing for the annual spring round-up.
Whites, Indians, and Mexicans compose the motley crowd. They look a
wild lot, with their bear-skin chaparejos and semi-civilized trappings,
galloping to and fro in and about the village. "I can't spare the time,
or I would," is my slightly un-truthful answer to an invitation to stop
over for the day and have some fun. Briefly told, this latter, with the
cowboy, consists in getting hilariously drunk, and then turning his "pop"
loose at anything that happens to strike his whiskey-bedevilled fancy
as presenting a fitting target. Now a bicycle, above all things, would
intrude itself upon the notice of a cowboy on a " tear" as a peculiar
and conspicuous object, especially if it had a man on it; so after taking
a "smile" with them for good-fellowship, and showing them the modus
operandi of riding the wheel, I consider it wise to push on up the valley.

Three miles from Be-o-wa-we is seen the celebrated "Maiden's Grave," on
a low hill or bluff by the road-side; and "thereby hangs a tale." In
early days, a party of emigrants were camped near by at Gravelly Ford,
waiting for the waters to subside, so that they could cross the liver,
when a young woman of the party sickened and died. A rudely carved head-
board was set up to mark the spot where she was buried. Years afterward,
when the railroad was being built through here, the men discovered this
rude head-board all alone on the bleak hill-top, and were moved by worthy
sentiment to build a rough stone wall around it to keep off the ghoulish
coyotes; and, later on, the superintendent of the division erected a
large white cross, which now stands in plain view of the railroad. On
one side of the cross is written the simple inscription, "Maiden's
Grave;" on the other, her name, "Lucinda Duncan" Leaving the bicycle
by the road-side, I climb the steep bluff and examine the spot with some
curiosity. There are now twelve other graves beside the original
"Maiden's Grave," for the people of Be-o-wa-we and the surrounding country
have selected this romantic spot on which to inter the remains of their
departed friends. This afternoon I follow the river through Humboldt
Ca¤on in preference to taking a long circuitous route over the mountains.
The first noticeable things about this ca¤on are the peculiar water-marks
plainly visible on the walls, high up above where the water could possibly
rise while its present channels of escape exist unobstructed. It is
thought that the country east of the spur of the Red Range, which stretches
clear across the valley at Be-o-wa-we, and through which the Humboldt
seems to have cut its way, was formerly a lake, and that the water
gradually wore a passage-way for itself through the massive barrier,
leaving only the high-water marks on the mountain sides to tell of the
mighty change. In this ca¤on the rocky walls tower like gigantic
battlements, grim and gloomy on either side, and the seething, boiling
waters of the Humboldt - that for once awakens from its characteristic
lethargy, and madly plunges and splutters over a bed of jagged rocks
which seem to have been tossed into its channel by some Herculean hand -
fill this mighty "rift" in the mountains with a never-ending roar. It has
been threatening rain for the last two hours, and now the first peal of
thunder I have heard on the whole journey awakens the echoing voices of
the ca¤on and rolls and rumbles along the great jagged fissure like an
angry monster muttering his mighty wrath. Peal after peal follow each
other in quick succession, the vigorous, newborn echoes of one peal
seeming angrily to chase the receding voices of its predecessor from
cliff to cliff, and from recess to projection, along its rocky, erratic
course up the ca¤on. Vivid flashes of forked lightning shoot athwart the
heavy black cloud that seems to rest on either wall, roofing the ca¤on
with a ceiling of awful grandeur. Sheets of electric flame light up the
dark, shadowy recesses of the towering rocks as they play along the
ridges and hover on the mountain-tops; while large drops of rain begin
to patter down, gradually increasing with the growing fury of their
battling allies above, until a heavy, drenching downpour of rain and
hail compels me to take shelter under an overhanging rock. At 4 P.M. I
reach Palisade, a railroad village situated in the most romantic spot
imaginable, under the shadows of the towering palisades that hover above
with a sheltering care, as if their special mission were to protect it
from all harm. Evidently these mountains have been rent in twain by an
earthquake, and this great gloomy chasm left open, for one can plainly
see that the two walls represent two halves of what was once a solid
mountain. Curious caves are observed in the face of the cliffs, and one,
more conspicuous than the rest, has been christened "Maggie's Bower,"
in honor of a beautiful Scottish maiden who with her parents once lingered
in a neighboring creek-bottom for some time, recruiting their stock. But
all is not romance and beauty even in the glorious palisades of the
Humboldt; for great, glaring, patent-medicine advertisements are painted
on the most conspicuously beautiful spots of the palisades. Business
enterprise is of course to be commended and encouraged; but it is really
annoying that one cannot let his esthetic soul - that is constantly
yearning for the sublime and beautiful - rest in gladsome reflection on
some beautiful object without at the same time being reminded of " corns,"
and " biliousness," and all the multifarious evils that flesh is heir

It grows pitchy dark ere I leave the ca¤on on my way to Carlin. Farther
on, the gorge widens, and thick underbrush intervenes between the road
and the river. From out the brush I see peering two little round
phosphorescent balls, like two miniature moons, turned in my direction.
I wonder what kind of an animal it is, as I trundle along through the
darkness, revolver in hand, ready to defend myself, should it make an
attack. I think it is a mountain-lion, as they seem to be plentiful in
this part of Nevada, Late as it is when I reach Carlin, the "boys"
must see how a bicycle is ridden, and, as there is no other place suitable,
I manage to circle around the pool-table in the hotel bar-room a few
times, nearly scalping myself against the bronze chandelier in the
operation. I hasten, however, to explain that these proceedings took
place immediately after my arrival, lest some worldly wise, over-sagacious
person should be led to suspect them to be the riotous undertakings of
one who had "smiled with the boys once too often." Little riding is
possible all through this section of Nevada, and, in order to complete
the forty miles a day that I have rigorously imposed upon myself, I
sometimes get up and pull out at daylight. It is scarce more than sunrise
when, following the railroad through Five-mile Canon - another rift through
one of the many mountain chains that cross this part of Nevada in all
directions under the general name of the Humboldt Mountains-I meet with
a startling adventure. I am trundling through the ca¤on alongside the
river, when, rounding the sharp curve of a projecting mountain, a tawny
mountain lion is perceived trotting leisurely along ahead of me, not
over a hundred yards in advance. He hasn't seen me yet; he is perfectly
oblivious of the fact that he is in "the presence." A person of ordinary
discretion would simply have revealed his presence by a gentlemanly
sneeze, or a slight noise of any kind, when the lion would have immediately
bolted back into the underbrush. Unable to resist the temptation, I fired
at him, and of course missed him, as a person naturally would at a hundred
yards with a bull-dog revolver. The bullet must have singed him a little
though, for, instead of wildly scooting for the brush, as I anticipated,
he turns savagely round and comes bounding rapidly toward me, and at
twenty paces crouches for a spring. Laying his cat-like head almost on
the ground, his round eyes flashing fire, and his tail angrily waving
to and fro, he looks savage and dangerous. Crouching behind the bicycle,
I fire at him again. Nine times out of ten a person will overshoot the
mark with a revolver under such circumstances, and, being anxious to
avoid this, I do the reverse, and fire too low. The ball strikes the
ground just in front of his head, and throws the sand and gravel in his
face, and perhaps in his wicked round eyes; for he shakes his head,
springs up, and makes off into the brush. I shall shed blood of some
sort yet before I leave Nevada. There isn't a day that I don't shoot at
something or other; and all I ask of any animal is to come within two
hundred yards and I will squander a cartridge on him, and I never fail
to hit the ground.

At Elko, where I take dinner, I make the acquaintance of an individual,
rejoicing in the sobriquet of "Alkali Bill," who has the largest and
most comprehensive views of any person I ever met. He has seen a paragraph,
something about me riding round the world, and he considerately takes
upon himself the task of summing up the few trifling obstacles that I
shall encounter on the way round:

"There is only a small rise at Sherman," he rises to explain, " and
another still smaller at the Alleghanies; all the balance is downhill
to the Atlantic. Of course you'll have to 'boat it' across the Frogpond;
then there's Europe - mostly level; so is Asia, except the Himalayas - and
you can soon cross them; then you're all 'hunky,' for there's no mountains
to speak of in China." Evidently Alkali Bill is a person who points the
finger of scorn at small ideas, and leaves the bothersome details of
life to other and smaller-minded folks. In his vast and glorious imagery
he sees a centaur-like cycler skimming like a frigate-bird across states
and continents, scornfully ignoring sandy deserts and bridgeless streams,
halting for nothing but oceans, and only slowing up a little when he
runs up against a peak that bobs up its twenty thousand feet of snowy
grandeur serenely in his path. What a Ceasar is lost to this benighted
world, because in its blindness, it will not search out such men as
Alkali and ask them to lead it onward to deeds of inconceivable greatness.
Alkali Bill can whittle more chips in an hour than some men could in a
week. Much of the Humboldt Valley, through which my road now runs, is
at present flooded from the vast quantities of water that are pouring
into it from the Ruby Range of mountains now visible to the southeast,
and which have the appearance of being the snowiest of any since leaving
the Sierras. Only yesterday I threatened to shed blood before I left
Nevada, and sure enough my prophecy is destined to speedy fulfilment.
Just east of the Osino Ca¤on, and where the North Fork of the Humboldt
comes down from the north and joins the main stream, is a stretch of
swampy ground on which swarms of wild ducks and geese are paddling about.
I blaze away at them, and a poor inoffensive gosling is no more. While
writing my notes this evening, in a room adjoining the "bar" at Halleck,
near the United States fort of the same name, I overhear a boozy soldier
modestly informing his comrades that forty-five miles an hour is no
unusual speed to travel with a bicycle. Gradually I am nearing the source
of the Humboldt, and at the town of Wells I bid it farewell for good.
Wells is named from a group of curious springs near the town. They are
supposed to be extinct volcanoes, now filled with water; and report says
that no sounding-line has yet been found long enough to fathom the bottom.
Some day when some poor, unsuspecting tenderfoot is peering inquisitively
down one of these well-like springs, the volcano may suddenly come into
play again and convert the water into steam that will shoot him clear
up into the moon. These volcanoes may have been soaking in water for
millions of years; but they are not to be trusted on that account; they
can be depended upon to fill some citizen full of lively surprise one
of these days. Everything here is surprising. You look across the desert
and see flowing water and waving trees; but when you get there, with
your tongue hanging out and your fate wellnigh sealed, you are surprised
to find nothing but sand and rocks. You climb a mountain expecting to
find trees and birds' eggs, and you are surprised to find high-water
marks and sea-shells. Finally, you look in the looking-glass and are
surprised to find that the wind and exposure have transformed your nice
blonde complexion to a semi-sable hue that would prevent your own mother
from recognizing you.

The next day, when nearing the entrance to Moutella Pass, over the Goose
Creek Range, I happen to look across the mingled sagebrush and juniper-spruce
brush to the right, and a sight greets my eyes that causes me to
instinctively look around for a tall tree, though well knowing that there
is nothing of the kind for miles; neither is there any ridable road near,
or I might try my hand at breaking the record for a few miles. Standing
bolt upright on their hind legs, by the side of a clump of juniper-spruce
bushes and intently watching my movements, are a pair of full-grown
cinnamon bears. When a bear sees a man before the man happens to descry
him, and fails to betake himself off immediately, it signifies that he
is either spoiling for a fight or doesn't care a continental password
whether war is declared or not. Moreover, animals recognize the peculiar
advantages of two to one in a fight equally with their human infer! - superiors;
and those two over there are apparently in no particular hurry to move
on. They don't seem awed at my presence. On the contrary, they look
suspiciously like being undecided and hesitative about whether to let
me proceed peacefully on my way or not. Their behavior is outrageous;
they stare and stare and stare, and look quite ready for a fight. I don't
intend one to come off, though, if I can avoid it. I prefer to have it
settled by arbitration. I haven't lost these bears; they aren't mine,
and I don't want anything that doesn't belong to me. I am not covetous;
so, lest I should be tempted to shoot at them if I come within the
regulation two hundred yards, I "edge off" a few hundred yards in the
other direction, and soon have the intense satisfaction of seeing them
stroll off toward the mountains. I wonder if I don't owe my escape on
this occasion to my bicycle. Do the bright spokes glistening in the
sunlight as they revolve make an impression on their bearish intellects
that influences their decision in favor of a retreat. It is perhaps
needless to add that, all through this mountain-pass, I keep a loose eye
busily employed looking out for bears.

But nothing more of a bearish nature occurs, and the early gloaming finds
me at Tacoma, a village near the Utah boundary line. There is an awful
calamity of some sort hovering over this village. One can feel it in the
air. The habitues of the hotel barroom sit around, listless and glum.
When they speak at all it is to predict all sorts of difficulties for
me in my progress through Utah and Wyoming Territories. "The black gnats
of the Salt Lake mud flat'll eat you clean up," snarls one. "Bear River's
flooding the hull kintry up Weber Ca¤on way," growls another. "The
slickest thing you kin do, stranger, is to board the keers and git out
of this," says a third, in a tone of voice and with an emphasis that
plainly indicates his great disgust at "this." By " this" he means the
village of Tacoma; and he is disgusted with it. They are all disgusted
with it and with the whole world this evening, because Tacoma is "out
of whiskey." Yes, the village is destitute of whiskey; it should have
arrived yesterday, and hasn't shown up yet; and the effect on the society
of the bar-room is so depressing that I soon retire to my couch, to dream
of Utah's strange intermingling of forbidding deserts and beautiful
orchards through which my route now leads me.



A dreary-looking country is the " Great American Desert," in Utah, the
northern boundary line of which I traverse next morning. To the left
of the road is a low chain of barren hills; to the right, the uninviting
plain, over which one's eye wanders in vain for some green object that
might raise hopes of a less desolate region beyond; and over all hangs
an oppressive silence - the silence of a dead country - a country destitute
of both animal and vegetable life. Over the great desert hangs a smoky
haze, out of which Pilot Peak, thirty-eight miles away, rears its conical
head 2,500 feet above the level plain at its base.

Some riding is obtained at intervals along this unattractive stretch of
country, but there are no continuously ridable stretches, and the principal
incentive to mount at all is a feeling of disgust at so much compulsory
walking. A noticeable feature through the desert is the almost unquenchable
thirst that the dry saline air inflicts upon one. Reaching a railway
section-house, I find no one at home; but there is a small underground
cistern of imported water, in which "wrigglers " innumerable wriggle,
but which is otherwise good and cool. There is nothing to drink out of,
and the water is three feet from the surface; while leaning down to try
and drink, the wooden framework at the top gives way and precipitates
me head first into the water. Luckily, the tank is large enough to enable
me to turn round and reappear at the surface, head first, and with
considerable difficulty I scramble out again, with, of course, not a dry
thread on me.

At three in the afternoon I roll into Terrace, a small Mormon town. Here
a rather tough-looking citizen, noticing that my garments are damp,
suggests that 'cycling must be hard work to make a person perspire like
that in this dry climate. At the Matlin section-house I find accommodation
for the night with a whole-souled section-house foreman, who is keeping
bachelor's hall temporarily, as his wife is away on a visit at Ogden.
>From this house, which is situated on the table-land of the Bed Dome
Mountains, can be obtained a more comprehensive view of the Great American
Desert than when we last beheld it. It has all the appearance of being
the dry bed of an ancient salt lake or inland sea. A broad, level plain
of white alkali, which is easily mistaken in the dim distance for smooth,
still water, stretches away like a dead, motionless sea as far as human
vision can penetrate, until lost in the haze; while, here and there,
isolated rocks lift their rugged heads above the dreary level, like
islets out of the sea. It is said there are many evidences that go to
prove this desert to have once been covered by the waters of the great
inland sea that still, in places, laves its eastern borders with its
briny flood. I am informed there are many miles of smooth, hard, salt-flats,
over which a 'cycler could skim like a bird; but I scarcely think enough
of bird-like skimming to go searching for it on the American Desert. A
few miles east of Matlin the road leads over a spur of the Red Dome
Range, from whence I obtain my first view of the Great Salt Lake, and
soon I am enjoying a long-anticipated bath in its briny waters. It is
disagreeably cold, but otherwise an enjoyable bath. One can scarce sink
beneath the surface, so strongly is the water impregnated with salt. For
dinner, I reach Kelton, a town that formerly prospered as the point from
which vast quantities of freight were shipped to Idaho. Scores of huge
freight-wagons are now bunched up in the corrals, having outlived their
usefulness since the innovation from mules and "overland ships " to
locomotives on the Utah Northern Railway. Empty stores and a general air
of vanished prosperity are the main features of Kelton to-day; and the
inhabitants seem to reflect in their persons the aspect of the town;
most of them being freighters, who, finding their occupation gone, hang
listlessly around, as though conscious of being fit for nothing else.
>From Kelton I follow the lake shore, and at six in the afternoon arrive
at the salt-works, near Monument Station, and apply for accommodation,
which is readily given. Here is erected a wind-mill, which pumps the
water from the lake into shallow reservoirs, where it evaporates and
leaves a layer of coarse salt on the bottom. These people drink water
that is disagreeably brackish and unsatisfactory to one unaccustomed to
it, but which they say has become more acceptable to them, from habitual
use, than purely fresh water. This spot, is the healthiest and most
favorable for the prolific production of certain forms of insect life I
ever was in, and I spend the liveliest night here I ever spent anywhere.
These people professed to give me a bed to myself, but no sooner have I
laid my head on the pillow than I recognize the ghastly joke they are
playing on me. The bed is already densely populated with guests, who
naturally object to being ousted or overcrowded. They seem quite a
kittenish and playful lot, rather inclined to accomplish their ends by
playing wild pranks than by resorting to more austere measures. Watching
till I have closed my eyes in an attempt to doze off, they slip up and
playfully tickle me under the chin, or scramble around in my ear, and
anon they wildly chase each other up and down my back, and play leap-frog
and hide-and-go-seek all over my sensitive form, so that I arise in the
morning anything but refreshed from my experience.

Still following the shores of the lake, for several miles, my road now
leads over the northern spur of the Promontory Mountains. On these hills
I find a few miles of hard gravel that affords the best riding I have
experienced in Utah, and I speed along as rapidly as possible, for dark,
threatening clouds are gathering overhead. But ere I reach the summit
of the ridge a violent thunder-storm breaks over the hills, and I seem
to be verily hobnobbing with the thunder and lightning, that appears to
be round about me, rather than overhead. A troop of wild bronchos,
startled and stampeded by the vivid lightning and sharp peals of thunder,
come wildly charging down the mountain trail, threatening to run quite
over me in their mad career. Pulling my six-shooter, I fire a couple of
shots in the air to attract their attention, when they rapidly swerve
to the left, and go tearing frantically over the rolling hills on their
wild flight to the plains below.

Most of the rain falls on the plain and in the lake, and when I arrive
at the summit I pause to take a view at the lake and surrounding country.
A more auspicious occasion could scarcely have been presented. The storm
has subsided, and far beneath my feet a magnificent rainbow spans the
plain, and dips one end of its variegated beauty in the sky-blue waters
of the lake. From this point the view to the west and south is truly
grand-rugged, irregular mountain-chains traverse the country at every
conceivable angle, and around among them winds the lake, filling with
its blue waters the intervening spaces, and reflecting, impartially
alike, their grand majestic beauty and their faults. What dreams of
empire and white-winged commerce on this inland sea must fill the mind
and fire the imagery of the newly arrived Mormon convert who, standing
on the commanding summit of these mountains, feasts his eyes on the
glorious panorama of blue water and rugged mountains that is spread like
a wondrous picture before him. Surely, if he be devotionally inclined,
it fails not to recall to his mind another inland sea in far-off Asia
Minor, on whose pebbly shores and by whose rippling waves the cradle of
an older religion than Morrnonism was rocked - but not rocked to sleep.

Ten miles farther on, from the vantage-ground of a pass over another
spur of the same range, is obtained a widely extended view of the country
to the east. For nearly thirty miles from the base of the mountains,
low, level mud-flats extend eastward, bordered on the south by the marshy,
sinuous shores of the lake, and on the north by the Blue Creek Mountains.
Thirty miles to the east - looking from this distance strangely like flocks
of sheep grazing at the base of the mountains - can be seen the white-
painted houses of the Mormon settlements, that thickly dot the narrow
but fertile strip of agricultural land, between Bear River and the mighty
Wahsatch Mountains, that, rearing their snowy crest skyward, shut out
all view of what lies beyond. From this height the level mud-flats appear
as if one could mount his wheel and bowl across at a ten-mile pace; but
I shall be agreeably surprised if I am able to aggregate ten miles of
riding out of the thirty. Immediately after getting down into the bottom
I make the acquaintance of the tiny black gnats that one of our whiskey-
bereaved friends at Tacoma had warned me against. One's head is constantly
enveloped in a black cloud of these little wretches. They are of
infinitesimal proportions, and get into a person's ears, eyes, and
nostrils, and if one so far forgets himself as to open his mouth, they
swarm in as though they think it the "pearly gates ajar," and this their
last chance of effecting an entrance. Mingled with them, and apparently
on the best of terms, are swarms of mosquitoes, which appear perfect
Jumbos in comparison with their disreputable associates.

As if partially to recompense me for the torments of the afternoon, Dame
Fortune considerately provides me with two separate and distinct suppers
this evening. I had intended, when I left Promontory Station, to reach
Corinne for the night; consequently I bring a lunch with me, knowing it
will take me till late to reach there. These days, I am troubled with
an appetite that makes me blush to speak of it, and about five o'clock
I sit down - on the bleached skeleton of a defunct mosquito! - and proceed
to eat my lunch of bread and meat - and gnats; for I am quite certain of
eating hundreds of these omnipresent creatures at every bite I take. Two
hours afterward I am passing Quarry section-house, when the foreman
beckons me over and generously invites me to remain over night. He brings
out canned oysters and bottles of Milwaukee beer, and insists on my
helping him discuss these acceptable viands; to which invitation it is
needless to say I yield without extraordinary pressure, the fact of
having eaten two hours before being no obstacle whatever. So much for
'cycling as an aid to digestion. Arriving at Corinne, on Bear River, at
ten o'clock next morning, I am accosted by a bearded, patriarchal Mormon,
who requests me to constitute myself a parade of one, and ride the bicycle
around the town for the edification of the people's minds.

" In course they knows what a ' perlocefede' is, from seein' 'em in
picturs; but they never seed a real machine, and it'd be a 'hefty' treat
fer 'em,"is the eloquent appeal made by this person in behalf of the
Corinnethians, over whose destinies and happiness he appears to preside
with fatherly solicitude. As the streets of Corinne this morning consist
entirely of black mud of uncertain depth, I am reluctantly compelled to
say the elder nay, at the same time promising him that if he would have
them in better condition next time I happened around, I would willingly
second his brilliant idea of making the people happy by permitting them
a glimpse of my " perlocefede " in action.

After crossing Bear River I find myself on a somewhat superior road
leading through the Mormon settlements to Ogden. No greater contrast can
well be imagined than that presented by this strip of country lying
between the lake and the "Wahsatch Mountains, and the desert country to
the westward. One can almost fancy himself suddenly transported by some
good genii to a quiet farming community in an Eastern State. Instead of
untamed bronchos and wild-eyed cattle, roaming at their own free will
over unlimited territory, are seen staid work-horses ploughing in the
field, and the sleek milch-cow peacefully cropping tame grass in enclosed
meadows. Birds are singing merrily in the willow hedges and the shade-trees;
green fields of alfalfa and ripening grain line the road and spread
themselves over the surrounding country in alternate squares, like those
of a vast checker-board. Farms, on the average, are small, and, consequently,
houses are thick; and not a farm-house among them all but is embowered
in an orchard of fruit and shade-trees that mingle their green leaves
and white blossoms harmoniously. At noon I roll into a forest of fruit-
trees, among which, I am informed, Willard City is situated; but one can
see nothing of any city. Nothing but thickets of peach, plum, and apple
trees, all in full bloom, surround the spot where I alight and begin to
look around for some indications of the city. "Where is Willard City. "
I inquire of a boy who comes out from one of the orchards carrying a can
of kerosene in his hand, suggestive of having just come from a grocery,
and so he has. " This is Willard City, right here," replies the boy; and
then, in response to my inquiry for the hotel, he points to a small gate
leading into an orchard, and tells me the hotel is in there.

The hote l -like every other house and store here - is embowered amid an
orchard of blooming fruit-trees, and looks like anything but a public
eating-house. No sign up, nothing to distinguish it from a private
dwelling; and I am ushered into a nicely furnished parlor, on the neatly
papered walls of which hang enlarged portraits of Brigham Young and other
Mormon celebrities, while a large-sized Mormon bible, expensively bound
in morocco, reposes on the centre-table. A charming Miss of -teen summers
presides over a private table, on which is spread for my material benefit
the finest meal I have eaten since leaving California. Such snow-white
bread. Such delicious butter. And the exquisite flavor of "spiced peach-
butter" lingers in my fancy even now; and as if this were not enough
for "two bits" (a fifty per cent, come-down from usual rates in the
mountains), a splendid bouquet of flowers is set on the table to round
off the repast with their grateful perfume. As I enjoy the wholesome,
substantial food, I fall to musing on the mighty chasm that intervenes
between the elegant meal now before me and the "Melican plan-cae " of
two weeks ago. "You have a remarkably pleasant country here, Miss," I
venture to remark to the young lady who has presided over my table, and
whom I judge to be the daughter of the house, as she comes to the door
to see the bicycle.

"Yes; we have made it pleasant by planting so many orchards," she
answers, demurely.

"I should think the Mormons ought to be contented, for they possess the
only good piece of farming country between California and 'the States,'"
I blunderingly continued.

"I never heard anyone say they are not contented, but their enemies,"
replies this fair and valiant champion of Mormonism in a voice that shows
she quite misunderstands my meaning. "What I intended to say was, that
the Mormon people are to be highly congratulated on their good sense in
settling here," I hasten to explain; for were I to leave at this house,
where my treatment has been so gratifying, a shadow of prejudice against
the Mormons, I should feel like kicking myself all over the Territory.
The women of the Mormon religion are instructed by the wiseacres of the
church to win over strangers by kind treatment and by the charm of their
conversation and graces; and this young lady has learned the lesson well;
she has graduated with high honors. Coming from the barren deserts of
Nevada and Western Utah - from the land where the irreverent and irrepressible
"Old Timer" fills the air with a sulphurous odor from his profanity
and where nature is seen in its sternest aspect, and then suddenly finding
one's self literally surrounded by flowers and conversing with Beauty
about Religion, is enough to charm the heart of a marble statue. Ogden
is reached for supper, where I quite expect to find a 'cycler or two
(Ogden being a city of eight thousand inhabitants); but the nearest
approach to a bicycler in Ogden is a gentleman who used to belong to a
Chicago club, but who has failed to bring his "wagon" West with him.
Twelve miles of alternate riding and walking eastwardly from Ogden bring
me to the entrance of Weber Canon, through which the Weber River, the
Union Pacific Railroad, and an uncertain wagon-trail make their way
through the Wahsatch Mountains on to the elevated table-lands of Wyoming
Territory. Objects of interest follow each other in quick succession
along this part of the journey, and I have ample time to examine them,
for Weber River is flooding the canon, and in many places has washed
away the narrow space along which wagons are wont to make their way, so
that I have to trundle slowly along the railway track. Now the road turns
to the left, and in a few minutes the rugged and picturesque walls of
the canon are towering in imposing heights toward the clouds. The Weber
River comes rushing - a resistless torrent - from under the dusky shadows
of the mountains through which it runs for over fifty miles, and onward
to the pkin below, where it assumes a more moderate pace, as if conscious
that it has at last escaped from the hurrying turmoil of its boisterous
march down the mountain.

Advancing into the yawning jaws of the range, a continuously resounding
roar is heard in advance, which gradually becomes louder as I proceed
eastward; in a short time the source of the noise is discovered, and a
weird scene greets my enraptured vision. At a place where the fall is
tremendous, the waters are opposed in their mad march by a rough-and-tumble
collection of huge, jagged rocks, that have at some time detached
themselves from the walls above, and come crashing down into the bed of
the stream. The rushing waters, coming with haste from above, appear to
pounce with insane fury on the rocks that dare thus to obstruct their
path; and then for the next few moments all is a hissing, seething,
roaring caldron of strife, the mad waters seeming to pounce with ever-
increasing fury from one imperturbable antagonist to another, now leaping
clear over the head of one, only to dash itself into a cloud of spray
against another, or pour like a cataract against its base in a persistent,
endless struggle to undermine it; while over all tower the dark, shadowy
rocks, grim witnesses of the battle. This spot is known by the appropriate
name of "The Devil's Gate." Wherever the walls of the canon recede from
the river's brink, and leave a space of cultivable land, there the
industrious Mormons have built log or adobe cabins, and converted the
circumscribed domain into farms, gardens, and orchards. In one of these
isolated settlements I seek shelter from a passing shower at the house
of a "three-ply Mormon " (a Mormon with three wives), and am introduced
to his three separate and distinct better-halves; or, rather, one should
say, " better-quarters," for how can anything have three halves. A
noticeable feature at all these farms is the universal plurality of women
around the house, and sometimes in the field. A familiar scene in any
farming community is a woman out in the field, visiting her husband, or,
perchance, assisting him in his labors. The same thing is observable at
the Mormon settlements along the Weber River - only, instead of one woman,
there are generally two or three, and perhaps yet another standing in
the door of the house. Passing through two tunnels that burrow through
rocky spurs stretching across the canon, as though to obstruct farther
progress, across the river, to the right, is the "Devil's Slide" - two
perpendicular walls of rock, looking strangely like man's handiwork,
stretching in parallel lines almost from base to summit of a sloping,
grass-covered mountain. The walls are but a dozen feet apart. It is a
curious phenomenon, but only one among many that are scattered at intervals
all through here. A short distance farther, and I pass the famous
"Thousand-mile Tree" - a rugged pine, that stands between the railroad and
the river, and which has won renown by springing up just one thousand
miles from Omaha. This tree is having a tough struggle for its life these
days; one side of its honored trunk is smitten as with the leprosy. The
fate of the Thousand-mile Tree is plainly sealed. It is unfortunate in
being the most conspicuous target on the line for the fe-ro-ci-ous youth
who comes West with a revolver in his pocket and shoots at things from
the car-window. Judging from the amount of cold lead contained in that
side of its venerable trunk next the railway few of these thoughtless
marksmen go past without honoring it with a shot. Emerging from "the
Narrows" of Weber Canon, the route follows across a less contracted
space to Echo City, a place of two hundred and twenty-five inhabitants,
mostly Mormons, where I remain over-night. The hotel where I put up at
Echo is all that can be desired, so far as "provender" is concerned;
but the handsome and picturesque proprietor seems afflicted with sundry
eccentric habits, his leading eccentricity being a haughty contempt for
fractional currency. Not having had the opportunity to test him, it is
difficult to say whether this peculiarity works both ways, or only when
the change is due his transient guests. However, we willingly give him
the benefit of the doubt.

Heavily freighted rain-clouds are hovering over the mountains next morning
and adding to the gloominess of the gorge, which, just east of Echo City,
contracts again and proceeds eastward under the name of Echo Gorge.
Turning around a bold rocky projection to the left, the far-famed
"Pulpit Rock" towers above, on which Brigham Young is reported to have
stood and preached to the Mormon host while halting over Sunday at this
point, during their pilgrimage to their new home in the Salt Lake Valley
below. Had the redoubtable prophet turned "dizzy " while haranguing his
followers from the elevated pinnacle of his novel pulpit, he would at
least have died a more romantic death than he is accredited with - from
eating too much green corn.

Fourteen miles farther brings me to "Castle Rocks," a name given to the
high sandstone bluffs that compose the left-hand side of the canon at
this point, and which have been worn by the elements into all manner of
fantastic shapes, many of them calling to mind the towers and turrets
of some old-world castle so vividly, that one needs but the pomp and
circumstance of old knight-errant days to complete the illusion. But,
as one gazes with admiration on these towering buttresses of nature, it
is easy to realize that the most massive and imposing feudal castle, or
ramparts built with human hands, would look like children's toys beside
them. The weather is cool and bracing, and when, in the middle of the
afternoon, I reach Evanston, Wyo. Terr., too late to get dinner at the
hotel, I proceed to devour the contents of a bakery, filling the proprietor
with boundless astonishment by consuming about two-thirds of his stock.
When I get through eating, he bluntly refuses to charge anything,
considering himself well repaid by having witnessed the most extraordinary
gastronomic feat on record - the swallowing of two-thirds of a bakery.
Following the trail down Yellow Creek, I arrive at Hilliard after dark.
The Hilliardites are "somewhat seldom," but they are made of the right
material. The boarding-house landlady sets about preparing me supper,
late though it be; and the "boys" extend me a hearty invitation to turn
in with them for the night. Here at Hilliard is a long V-shaped flume,
thirty miles long, in which telegraph poles, ties, and cord wood are
floated down to the railroad from the pineries of the Uintah Mountains,
now plainly visible to the south. The "boys" above referred to are men
engaged in handling ties thus floated down; and sitting around the red-hot
stove, they make the evening jolly with songs and yarns of tie-drives,
and of wild rides down the long "V" flume. A happy, light-hearted set
of fellows are these "tie-men," and not an evening but their rude shanty
resounds with merriment galore. Fun is in the air to-night, and "Beaver"
(so dubbed on account of an unfortunate tendency to fall into every
hole of water he goes anywhere near) is the unlucky wight upon whom the
rude witticisms concentrate; for he has fallen into the water again to-
day, and is busily engaged in drying his clothes by the stove. They
accuse him of keeping up an uncomfortably hot fire, detrimental to
everybody's comfort but his own, and threaten him with dire penalties
if he doesn't let the room cool off; also broadly hinting their disapproval
of his over-fondness for "Adam's ale," and threaten to make him "set
'em up" every time he tumbles in hereafter. In revenge for these remarks,
"Beaver" piles more wood into the stove, and, with many a westernism
- not permitted in print - threatens to keep up a fire that will drive them
all out of the shanty if they persist in their persecutions. Crossing
next day the low, broad pass over the Uintah Mountains, some stretches
of ridable surface are passed over, and at this point I see the first
band of antelope on the tour; but as they fail to come within the
regulation two hundred yards they are graciously permitted to live.

At Piedmont Station I decide to go around by way of Port Bridger and
strike the direct trail again at Carter Station, twentyfour miles farther

A tough bit of Country. The next day at noon finds me "tucked in my
little bed" at Carter, decidedly the worse for wear, having experienced
the toughest twenty-four hours of the entire journey. I have to ford no
less than nine streams of ice-cold water; get benighted on a rain-soaked
adobe plain, where I have to sleep out all night in an abandoned freight-
wagon; and, after carrying the bicycle across seven miles of deep, sticky
clay, I finally arrive at Carter, looking like the last sad remnant of
a dire calamity - having had nothing to eat for twenty-four hours. From
Carter my route leads through the Bad-Lands, amid buttes of mingled clay
and rock, which the elements have worn into all conceivable shapes, and
conspicuous among them can be seen, to the south, "Church Buttes," so
called from having been chiselled by the dexterous hand of nature into
a group of domes and pinnacles, that, from a distance, strikingly resembles
some magnificent cathedral. High-water marks are observable on these
buttes, showing that Noah's flood, or some other aqueous calamity once
happened around here; and one can easily imagine droves of miserable,
half-clad Indians, perched on top, looking with doleful, melancholy
expression on the surrounding wilderness of waters. Arriving at Granger,
for dinner, I find at the hotel a crest-fallen state of affairs somewhat
similar to the glumness of Tacoma. Tacoma had plenty of customers, but
no whiskey; Granger on the contrary has plenty of whiskey, but no
customers. The effect on that marvellous, intangible something, the
saloon proprietor's intellect, is the same at both places. Here is plainly
a new field of research for some ambitious student of psychology. Whiskey
without customers. Customers without whiskey. Truly all is vanity and
vexation of spirit.

Next day I pass the world-renowned castellated rocks of Green River, and
stop for the night at Rock Springs, where the Union Pacific Railway
Company has extensive coal mines. On calling for my bill at the hotel
here, next morning, the proprietor - a corpulent Teuton, whose thoughts,
words, and actions, run entirely to beer - replies, "Twenty-five cents a
quart." Thinking my hearing apparatus is at fault, I inquire again.
"Twenty-five cents a quart and vurnish yer own gan." The bill is abnormally
large, but, as I hand over the amount, a "loaded schooner" is shoved
under my nose, as though a glass of beer were a tranquillizing antidote
for all the ills of life. Splendid level alkali flats abound east of
Rock Springs, and I bowl across them at a lively pace until they terminate,
and my route follows up Bitter Creek, where the surface is just the
reverse; being seamed and furrowed as if it had just emerged from a
devastating flood. It is said that the teamster who successfully navigated
the route up Bitter Creek, considered himself entitled to be called "a
tough cuss from Bitter Creek, on wheels, with a perfect education." A
justifiable regard for individual rights would seem to favor my own
assumption of this distinguished title after traversing the route with
a bicycle. Ten o'clock next morning finds me leaning on my wheel, surveying
the scenery from the "Continental Divide" - the backbone of the continent.
Pacing the north, all waters at my right hand flow to the east, and all
on my left flow to the west - the one eventually finding their way to the
Atlantic, the other to the Pacific. This spot is a broad low pass through
the Rockies, more plain than mountain, but from which a most commanding
view of numerous mountain chains are obtained. To the north and northwest
are the Seminole, Wind River, and Sweet-water ranges - bold, rugged mountain-
chains, filling the landscape of the distant north with a mass of great,
jagged, rocky piles, grand beyond conception; their many snowy peaks
peopling the blue ethery space above with ghostly, spectral forms well
calculated to inspire with feelings of awe and admiration a lone cycler,
who, standing in silence and solitude profound on the great Continental
Divide, looks and meditates on what he sees. Other hoary monarchs are
visible to the east, which, however, we shall get acquainted with later
on. Down grade is the rule now, and were there a good road, what an
enjoyable coast it would be, down from the Continental Divide! but half
of it has to be walked. About eighteen miles from the divide I am greatly
amused, and not a little astonished, at the strange actions of a coyote
that comes trotting in a leisurely, confidential way toward me; and when
he reaches a spot commanding a good view of my road he stops and watches
my movements with an air of the greatest inquisitiveness and assurance.
He stands and gazes as I trundle along, not over fifty yards away, and
he looks so much like a well-fed collie, that I actually feel like patting
my knee for him to come and make friends. Shoot at him . Certainly not.
One never abuses a confidence like that. He can come and rub his sleek
coat up against the bicycle if he likes, and - blood-thirsty rascal though
he no doubt is - I will never fire at him. He has as much right to gaze
in astonishment at a bicycle as anybody else who never saw one before.

Staying over night and the next day at Rawlins, I make the sixteen miles
to Port Fred Steele next morning before breakfast, there bein" a very
good road between the two places. This fort stands on the west bank of
North Platte River, and a few miles west of the river I ride through the
first prairie dog town encountered in crossing the continent from the
west, though I shall see plenty of these interesting little fellows
during the next three hundred miles. These animals sit near their holes
and excitedly bark at whatever goes past. Never before have they had an
opportunity to bark at a bicycle, and they seem to be making the most
of their opportunity. I see at this village none of the small speckled
owls, which, with the rattlesnake, make themselves so much at home in
the prairie-dogs' comfortable quarters, but I see them farther east.
These three strangely assorted companions may have warm affections toward
each other; but one is inclined to think the great bond of sympathy that
binds them together is the tender regard entertained by the owl and the
rattlesnake for the nice, tender young prairie-pups that appear at
intervals to increase the joys and cares of the elder animals.

I am now getting on to the famous Laramie Plains, and Elk Mountain looms
up not over ten miles to the south - a solid, towery mass of black rocks
and dark pine forests, that stands out bold and distinct from surrounding
mountain chains as though some animate thing conscious of its own strength
and superiority. A snow-storm is raging on its upper slopes, obscuring
that portion of the mountain; but the dark forest-clad slopes near the
base are in plain view, and also the rugged peak which elevates its white
crowned head above the storm, and reposes peacefully in the bright
sunlight in striking contrast to the warring elements lower down. I have
heard old hunters assert that this famous "landmark of the Rockies"
is hollow, and that they have heard wolves howling inside the mountain;
but some of these old western hunters see and hear strange things!

As I penetrate the Laramie Plains the persistent sage-brush, that has
constantly hovered around my path for the last thousand miles, grows
beautifully less, and the short, nutritious buffalo-grass is creeping
everywhere. In Carbon, where I arrive after dark, I mention among other
things in reply to the usual volley of questions, the fact of having to
foot it so great a proportion of the way through the mountain country;
and shortly afterward, from among a group of men, I hear a voice, thick
and husky with "valley tan," remark: " Faith, Oi cud roide a bicycle
meself across the counthry av yeez ud lit me walluk it afut!" and
straightway a luminous bunch of shamrocks dangled for a brief moment in
the air, and then vanished. After passing Medicine Bow Valley and Como
Lake I find some good ridable road, the surface being hard gravel and
the plains high and dry. Reaching the brow of one of those rocky ridges
that hereabouts divide the plains into so many shallow basins, I find
myself suddenly within a few paces of a small herd of antelope peacefully
grazing on the other side of the narrow ridge, all unconscious of the
presence of one of creation's alleged proud lords. My ever-handy revolver
rings out clear and sharp on the mountain air, and the startled antelope
go bounding across the plain in a succession of quick, jerky jumps
peculiar to that nimble animal; but ere they have travelled a hundred
yards one of them lags behind and finally staggers and lays down on the
grass. As I approach him he makes a gallant struggle to rise and make
off after his companions, but the effort is too much for him, and coming
up to him, I quickly put him out of pain by a shot behind the ear. This
makes a proud addition to my hitherto rather small list of game, which
now comprises jack-rabbits, a badger, a fierce gosling, an antelope, and
a thin, attenuated coyote, that I bowled over in Utah.

>From this ridge an extensive view of the broad, billowy plains and
surrounding mountains is obtained. Elk Mountain still seems close at
hand, its towering form marking the western limits of the Medicine Bow
Range whose dark pine-clad slopes form the western border of the plains.
Back of them to the west is the Snowy Range, towering in ghostly grandeur
as far above the timber-clad summits of the Medicine Bow Range as these
latter are above the grassy plains at their base. To the south more snowy
mountains stand out against the sky like white tracery on a blue ground,
with Long's Peak and Fremont's Peak towering head and shoulders above
them all. The Rattlesnake Range, with Laramie Peak rearing its ten
thousand feet of rugged grandeur to the clouds, are visible to the north.
On the east is the Black Hills Range, the last chain of the Rockies, and
now the only barrier intervening between me and the broad prairies that
roll away eastward to the Missouri River and "the States."


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