It’s been a while since we caught up with Mr. Johnson on his travels across the continent. Let’s see what he’s up to …

On the morning of August 14, 1882, he “left Grass Valley for Reno, traveling the old trail known as Henness Pass, which passes through Nevada City, North Bloomfield, Graniteville, Jackson’s Ranche, Webbers Lake, Sardinian Village, and comes out on the old turnpike, by Silver Peak Mountain to Reno.”

After passing through Nevada City in the early morning, he stopped to give his horse and cow some water and grain. While stopped, he met and struck up a conversation with a couple who lived there but who were originally from Connecticut. Being from (and on his way back to) Massachusetts, Mr. Johnson chatted with them for a while.

Finally, he said, “‘I must go on, I am making too long a stop, I have so many miles to make per day.’ ‘How many miles a day do you travel?’ ‘When I travel ten hours, I make twenty-five miles; when but eight hours, only twenty miles; in this way I know the number of miles.’

“‘Stop and have some dinner with us,’ [said his new friends.] ‘Thank you; it will make a small day’s journey, I dare not travel in the night it is so hilly, [and] I have no brake on my carriage. When I have a hill to descend, I block the wheels with a rope.’ ‘You have one hill to go down, about six miles from here, that will make you shake. You have to get down into a canyon; don’t miss tying both wheels, should your harness break you would go where we don’t know; going down is worse than coming up.’

“‘Our dinner is ready, it is early, but some hot coffee will do you good,’ said the wife. I sat down and ate with these good people of Connecticut. It was eleven o’clock when goodbye was said on both sides.

“About three in the afternoon I met the stage, with six horses; it was a strong double-brake Concord coach. The driver stopped and said, ‘Stranger, chain your wheels before you go down the mountain, and be careful, you are a stranger to these parts, I think.’ ‘I am, sir.’

“In descending the hill to the first turn, I did not chain my wheels; at the turn I chained both and continued down to the bridge. I paid my toll and went on, up the opposite side of the canyon, which has but one turn.”