Continuing from Sunday

“I left Wadsworth on the 25th and made Mirage the same day, a distance of twenty-five miles. After leaving Wadsworth, the first six miles was through deep, heavy sand, the wheels sank into it about six inches, which made hard pulling for the horse. I also had a heavier load than usual: there was a sack of barley for the horse, and a sack of bran for the cow, each 100 pounds; ten gallons of water, 85 pounds; in all 285 pounds; besides my common outfit, such as clothing, bedding, provisions, and other things, say about 200 pounds more. My carriage is light, about 300 pounds, making a total of about 800 pounds. Fanny had to haul this through six miles of sand. I had been informed of this heavy road before starting.

“About nine o’clock I reached the desert; just as I was reaching the bottom of the bluff on the desert, the express train from the west passed me. I stopped and gave the horse a can of water, but did not give any to the cow although she wanted some. About two miles farther we came to a second station; I stopped and looked around but saw no one. I looked for the water tank and soon found it below the surface of the ground; I lifted the lid and found there was water; I got a pail and tested it and found it fair. I gave both horse and cow as much as they would drink and filled my empty can and then went on; it was about ten in the forenoon.

“I had not gone much farther, when on looking round saw the freight train from the west approaching. All hands on the trains knew me, as they had bought my milk. At this time I was traveling on the great desert, a better road I never saw; a hard smooth surface, rather too hard for Bessie’s feet. I am now on the left of the railroad, my direction is to the east. In front of me are some buildings, which proved to be salt works. About three o’clock I met the freight train from the east, and at four reached Hot Springs.

“Here I made a stop and introduced myself to the agent, showing him my card in regard to water. He told me that I could have all I wished. I gave the cattle water and grain and refilled my cans, intending to do so at every station. It was fair water, brought from Wadsworth from the Truckee river. ‘Where are the Hot Springs?’ I asked of the depot master. Pointing, he answered, ‘They are yonder. You will see where to turn in at the trail, it is only a short distance to your right.’ I went to see the springs and found a wet, dirty, nasty, mud-hole. The water was warm, not hot as I had supposed. I thought myself sold, as others before had been on this place.

“I traveled farther and about six o’clock met another train from the east, but could not see much express about it, as stops were made at every station, running at the rate of a mile in three minutes.”

Tomorrow: Mr. Johnson reaches Mirage …