On the morning of August 29, 1882, Mr. Johnson left Rye Patch …

“I was directed to cross the railroad above the water tank and follow the river to the second right-hand trail, as it was the harder and better road to Humboldt station, and no sand for nine miles. I left this morning in high glee, everything bright and cheerful.” …

“It was midnight of the morning of September first, as I left Humboldt station and at six I reached Mills City station, a journey of thirteen miles by railroad and fourteen by trail. This morning’s walk was very invigorating, a good road and fine weather, even the coyotes’ call was melodious.” …

“Mills City is a station on the Central Pacific Railroad, and consists of a hotel and store in one, house for the boss of repairs, and one for his Chinamen — in all, four buildings making the city. My stop was short, just one hour in feeding the cattle and myself. As I was leaving, the morning’s freight and emigrant train passed me. At this place, I was advised to take the left-hand trail to the river, as it was the better road and more traveled, and freer from sand, which I did. I was still but a short distance from the railroad; on the left the river and on each bank an abundance of grass, but now, nearly all were fenced with barbed wire. About eleven o’clock I came near the river, and at this place there was a break in the fence; I went in and gave my cattle water from the river and fed them with grain and the grass. I detached the horse from my carriage, giving her liberty, which she enjoyed by a series of rollings; she did enjoy it. The cow luxuriated on the grass.

“About half past one o’clock, I resumed my journey, returning to the road through the break in the fence. During the afternoon the expresses from the east and west passed me. About five o’clock I saw some men hauling hay. I spoke to my horse, as I frequently do, saying, ‘Fanny, we will soon turn in for the night.’ I traveled on until we came around a knoll of land on which was a stack of hay, along side of which I drove, giving my cattle a chance to eat as much as they wished.

“Presently, some men came with another load, when I said to them, ‘Gentlemen, excuse me, and I think you will when you know my story.’ There were four of them, and the elder, a man about sixty-five, who replied: ‘Stranger, what is your story, you look as if you had one?’ ‘Well, sir; we are both strangers, I am a traveler and have come a long distance, three hundred miles north of San Francisco.’ ‘What place, so far north?’ ‘Eureka city, Humboldt Bay.’ ‘What, with that cow?’ ‘Yes, just as you see.’ ‘Well, stranger, where do you intend to fetch up?’ ‘I intend to fetch up in Massachusetts; I may fail, there is abundance of room for that.’ ‘Yes, I think your chances of slipping up are very good, but you look the man to perform the journey if it can be done by any one, and you are about the right age too. Will you allow me to ask your age?’ ‘Sir, I was sixty-three years of age on the eleventh of July.’ ‘I was sixty-eight on the fourth of May last.’

“[I replied,] ‘I came from Humboldt station this morning, and I want to stay overnight here, as it looks a fine place for my cattle. I have to look well after them, so that I can have a chance to accomplish my great undertaking. I carry grain and feed them three times a day; hay is something I cannot always get.’ ‘You can stay here and welcome.’ … I gave the cattle water and grain, greased my carriage, and got everything ready to start in the morning.”