The last time we checked in with Mr. Johnson, he was in the middle of his cross-country trek and was keeping a watchful eye out for wild animals.

I’m afraid our “read-along” of Mr. Johnson’s story is taking longer than it took him to drive with his horse & wagon, and his cow and dog, from California to Maine, but we’ll keep checking in with him to make sure he makes it all the way to the East Coast.

If you have no idea what I’m talking about, or if you’d like to refresh your memory, click on “Mr. Johnson’s Trek” in the blog-topics list at the right of this page to find all the previous posts.


“The last day of May [1883], the 31st, I was up early, as usual, getting ready to strike out. At six o’clock I left the camp and at eight I made the mountain’s base on the left, traveling east, I came to a stop. I left my cattle and ascended the mountain, when about half-way up I stopped hesitating, but walked to the summit. Beyond I could see a great distance. Here my imagination carried me home. Well, here I am; my cattle are yonder at the base.

“I went back to them, saying to the horse, ‘Fanny, can you make this mountain? I think you can, but you will have to work smart to do it.’ My weight is about 600 pounds in all. ‘Fanny,’ I said, ‘you can’t take it all at once; we must make two loads of it.’ I took the grain from the carriage and left it at the foot of the hill. I did not leave the cow, knowing that she is good at going up hills, her halter being at all times slack. The horse succeeded in drawing up the load after a hard pull; then we returned for the grain, taking the cow back with us to act as a brake on going down the hill. I then re-loaded the grain and took up the second load; this is the worst hill I have traveled so far on my journey — if there are any mountains in Wyoming this must be one of them. In journeying from the east, this hill is not near so hard as from the west.

“It was just twelve at noon as we made the summit the last time. I gave the cattle some grain and when they had finished eating went on further, and about two o’clock we came to a small creek at an opportune time, as the cattle were very thirsty and they drank freely. Going on, we traveled a good down grade, with a tip-top trail, crowding along as fast as we could. In fact, today I am feeling well.

“As I traveled along I saw smoke in front of us and I am sure the horse saw it also, as she pricked her ears until we came to a camp, where I stopped and inquired if there was any water near by, how they had come and where they made camp last night, and if there were any rivers to ford? I ask such questions whenever I meet such trains of travelers. This company consisted of five wagons, twelve horses, four tents, and twenty-two persons, hailing from Kansas, on their way to Oregon. ‘Where are you from and where are you going?’ asked the strangers. ‘I am from California, going east,’ I replied. ‘What, don’t you like California, stranger?’ ‘Yes, but I like the East much better,’ I answered. ‘That beats the devil; ain’t you just a little crazy?’ ‘No, not much,’ I said. ‘You have not brought that cow from California, have you?’ ‘No, I have not brought her a step, I have led her all the way as you now see,’ I remarked. ‘Ha, ha-ha!’ laughed the stranger. ‘I’ll bet you are a Yankee.’ ‘Yes, I am.’ ‘Here, come with me.’ I went with him to his wagon, there he took out a small barrel that would hold about a gallon, took out the stopple and drank, I should think as much as a point, and then handed it to me, saying, ‘Drink, Yankee, drink; it will do you good. I have plenty more.’ I took it and drank three small swallows, and handed it back to the man, he taking another drink, and then handed it to me again, but I refused to drink any more. I then said, ‘I will stop here overnight if you will allow me to do so?’ ‘Yes, stranger, stop with us overnight. I will find the whisky.’ ‘I will milk the cow and we will have some good coffee, that will be better than whisky,’ I answered.

“It is now about six o’clock, rather early to go into camp, but we will make it up tomorrow. ‘Where is the water?’ I asked. ‘You can have some of ours, we carry it in a barrel and don’t intend to be without; we keep the barrels full. This we got at Platt River; we were in camp there last night and came from there today.’ ‘About how many miles have you made today?’ I asked. ‘About twenty miles.’ I gave my cattle water and grain, remarking that it was getting low, half gone, but it must last until I reach Laramie, as there is none to be bought this side of that place. The teamster said it was not so, [but that] I could get grain where I should cross the river, which I would reach tomorrow. ‘Then you will follow the river to the bridge, just put up by Uncle Sam, and beyond the bridge you will come to a store. There you can get grain, flour, bacon, tea, coffee, sugar, and all the whisky you want.’ ‘When in Green River city, I was told that I would have to take grain that would last me till I reached Laramie, and you say that I can get grain after crossing the river?’ ‘Yes, all you want.’ ‘I bought enough to last me to Laramie. Had I known that I could buy more, it would have saved me hauling it this distance. I will feed my cattle a little more. How many days have you been coming from Laramie?’ I asked. ‘Left Laramie on the 24th, eight days,’ answered the stranger. ‘About how many miles, think you?’ ‘About one hundred and forty. We ought to travel about twenty miles a day, but our first day out, we only traveled to the river.’ ‘What river?’ I asked. ‘I do not know the name.’ ‘I want some hot coffee and want to go to bed, as I desire to start early in the morning and make that store.’ ‘Oh, let your coffee go, take a drink of whisky, that will do you some good,’ said the stranger. ‘Friend, I am not in the habit of taking such strong stuff; it does us no good, you must excuse me.’ ‘Yes, I will, but stranger, I tell you that you had better get some whisky when you get to the store; it will help you along so much easier. You have got a hard road before you; you have got to cross what will make you quail.’ ‘Friend, I am alone and must keep my head clear, it will not do for me to meddle with that whisky much.’ ‘Well, we will go to bed and get up early in the morning for a good, early start.’ Securing my cattle, I went to bed.”

[to be continued …]




For carriage-driving fans, the final day of the Royal Windsor Horse Show (last Sunday) featured two beautiful, yet very different, events.

Throughout the morning, the four-in-hand competitors in the FEI driving event battled through the final phase of their three-day event, the cones competition.

I went over to the driving arena after watching show jumping and happened to catch the final (top in the standings) five drives of the day. Shown below are U.S. driver Chester Weber, Koos de Ronde (The Netherlands), and the winner of the event, Australia’s Boyd Exell.





Immediately after the cones competition, members of the British Driving Society (and a few invited guests, including the CAA’s immediate past president, Tom Burgess, shown below, with his wife, Gloria, seated next to him) began to gather for their drive through the Windsor Home Park and their “Concours d’Elegance” competition.



After the participants had gathered in a warm-up arena (below, one of the pretty turnouts, and a line-up of four-in-hand vehicles with Windsor Castle in the background), HRH Prince Philip arrived to lead them on their drive.





(Now that I’m back in the States, and using the Internet in the CAA office instead of the slooooow Internet in our Windsor hotel, I’ll be uploading a few more blog posts about the Royal Windsor Horse Show.)

Friday morning began with the (adorable!) in-hand classes for the wide variety of Britain’s “mountain and moorland” native pony breeds. These include everything from Shetland and Fell ponies (in the first two photos) to Exmoor, Dartmoor, Dales, Connemara, and Highland ponies … and probably a few I’m forgetting.




Then, around midday, twenty coaches set out on their drive through the park.









Later in the afternoon, A.J. and I stepped back in time as we visited the campsite of a group of World War II “home front” re-enactors. One of the interesting things about the gala performance every evening (celebrating the Queen’s birthday) is that many of the performers — like these re-enactors, or the Royal Canadian Mounted Police in the final photo — had outposts of sorts throughout the show grounds, or they would present special demonstrations and shows during the day.

Every year, the Royal Windsor Horse Show is so much more than just a horse show!





Good morning from Winsdor!

I’ve realized, as I prepare and post these (somewhat daily) reports from the CAA’s trip to the Royal Windsor Horse Show, you may not know who I am. If you are a regular follower of my blog for the CAA, The Slower Road (or were, back when I was posting more regularly), we may’ve already met.

But the CAA got a brand-spanking new website within the last year, and now, during CAA trips, each blog posted is magically whisked over to land on the front page of the website. If you’re reading this there, however, you may be left wondering who’s actually doing the talking and photographing.

I’m Jennifer, and I work in the CAA office. If you have any questions or comments on these posts about the CAA trip to Windsor, or if you’d like to see more of the CAA blog, come on over to The Slower Road.



I’m a bit behind on posting photos from the show. I apologize for that, but I’ve been working through technical difficulties.

So, even though it’s Saturday night here in Windsor, here are photos from Thursday at the Royal Windsor Horse Show.

First, we saw the impressive musical ride of The Household Cavalry Mounted Regiment.


At the very end of the performance, four individual riders gallop out of the arena carrying the flags of England, Scotland, and Wales, followed by the Union Jack.



The next class in the main arena was the Light Trade Turnouts, sponsored by our own Carriage Association of America.

The winner of the two-wheeled class was the milk float. The winner of the four-wheeled class, and the overall champion, was a beautiful delivery vehicle.

Dr. Thomas & Gloria Burgess presented the ribbons and trophies on behalf of the CAA.