Blog by VONNIE DAVIS -- International, Award-Winning Romance Author: Adventurous...Humorous...Amorous.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Travel to Western Frontier? Only The Hardy need Apply by Linda Carroll-Bradd

Two blogs are undergoing an identiy crisis today. Linda Carroll-Bradd's and Vintage Vonnie. I'm at her place and she's at mine. And here's the kicker, we've both written historicals set in Wyoming with strong heroines arriving to their destinations by stagecoach. My MAN FOR ANNALEE released yesterday. Hers will release soon, too. Please show Linda some love today and leave a comment for she's giving away a pdf copy. Then stop by her blog to visit me. Woot! 

In the mid-1800s, people needed determination and patience to travel from one side of the country to the other. Stagecoaches ran on a weekly or bi-weekly schedule. A trip from St Louis to San Francisco involved about 25 days of travel. The coaches were drawn by six horses and stops were made every 12 miles for fresh teams. Depending on the terrain, coaches covered between 5 and 12 miles per day—running day and night. Passengers were grateful to get hot coffee, biscuits and jerky at these stops; on rare occasions, hot meals were available.

True, the Transcontinental Railroad was completed in the summer of 1869 but that line served a route of the most-populous cities. How was someone, like my character Ciara Morrissey raised on the East Coast, to travel to an out-of-the-way location like Bull City, in northern Wyoming Territory? The Union Pacific Railroad ran through southern Wyoming and from Cheyenne a small-sized coach, most likely a Concord coach (built with sturdy braces for a more comfortable ride), ran a north/south route.

The suggested items to travel with would have filled a large satchel or three. In addition to their clothing, passengers were admonished to pack 6 pair of thick socks, woolen underdrawers, blankets—one in summer and two in winter, 3-4 towels, heavy overcoat, light coat, hat and their choice of pistol or knife for personal protection. Imagine being a well-bred lady from an upstanding Massachusetts family reading that list.

Once she got inside the stagecoach, she would have had her choice of window or middle position (approximately 15” in width) on either a forward or backward-facing bench seat. As she set out on her journey, she could read the rules about men forgoing swearing and smoking in a lady’s presence, but tobacco chewing was allowed, as long as the chewer spat downwind. I would hope so. Or if the person (presumed to be a male) couldn’t refrain from drinking alcohol, then he must pass the bottle around. Yum. Snoring loudly or using another passenger’s shoulder as a pillow were frowned upon. Improper advances toward a woman could get the male kicked off the stagecoach in the middle of nowhere. Forbidden topics of conversation were stagecoach robberies and Indian uprisings. Sounds like a smart rule. Shooting at wildlife (Wyoming had a huge population of pronghorn antelope) was prohibited. Passengers were encouraged not to jump from the stage in case of runaway horses so as not to be left victim to the weather, hostile Indians or hungry coyotes.

Like I mentioned, Ciara had a purpose and she looked at all these strictures as part of her great adventure. She’d made a deathbed promise to her mother to seek out the father she didn’t remember, and Bull City was his last known location. Not only does she have the “excitement” of the trip, her stage is attacked, a passenger dragged out and the driver shot. She arrives at her destination, hands locked tight around the leather reins. That’s the first time Sheriff Quinn Riley sees her and the story of Dreams of Gold begins.

Dreams of Gold is available on Kindle.

More information on Linda Carroll-Bradd can be found at,, Twitter @lcarrollbradd, and Facebook at
*** Linda will be giving away one pdf copy of her book to one lucky commenter. So please include your email address in your comment, so she can contact you.


Calisa Rhose said...

Haha your heroine sounds like my kinda girl. Tough through and through. Congrats on the release, Linda!

Cynthia Woolf said...

I didn't know so much about stagecoach travel. Thanks for the great blog.

Niecey Roy - Romance Author said...

I wonder how man men back then were actually able to keep a lid on their sailor mouths? Ha! I love historical western romance novels. There's just something about the headstrong, independent women in those novels, coupled with the rough around the edges hunky cowboy that equals dynamite!

Melissa Fox said...

This sounds like a rollicking good western adventure and great beginning. Loved the info on stagecoach travel and rules - thanks!

Linda Carroll-Bradd said...

Calisa, my heroine grew tough by her circumstances, as I'm sure so many of our pioneer ancestors did.
Thanks for stopping by.

Linda Carroll-Bradd said...

Cynthia, I love research. Sometimes I have to make myself stop so I can write the story.
I appreciate the post.

Linda Carroll-Bradd said...

Niecey, if you watched HBO's Deadwood you'd know that most everyday men didn't worry about their swearing. But when you write sweet historicals, your heroes have to be a bit better than real life.
Thanks for visiting.

Linda Carroll-Bradd said...

Thanks for stopping by. I love going to museums and can't help myself about picking up facts here and there.

Sarah Hoss said...

I love the old west. Thanks for the information!

Good luck in your writing career!

Linda Carroll-Bradd said...

Sarah, I appreciate the support of your post.

Celia Yeary said...

Whoa! What an exciting post! This is odd, because I've been researching modes of travel in Texas in 1910. In writing western historicals, it's best to get the facts straight,ma'am. And you did your homework very well.
My characters--two men and one woman--needed to travel from Houston to the South Plains near Lubbock. But! In 1910, there were no railroads out there. Nope--if you look at a map, Texas is divided pretty much in half from N to S of "railroads aplenty," to "nary a railroad." But the need for a railroad is important in this story for more than one reason, so, I had to pull my story back to North Central Texas.
And I researched so much, I lost a lot of writing time. But...I do have it right, now.
I liked your post--very good. And funny thing--I will host Vonnie tomorrow on Sweethearts of the West.

Angela Adams said...

I could never live back in those days. No, shower, no blow dryer, I would be lost (smile).

Best wishes, Linda, with your book.

Linda Carroll-Bradd said...

I had a similar incident researching another historical that was set in west Texas. Thought I'd have a train robber as the heroine's past lover, but had to revert to stagecoach robber for the same reason.
Even in a contemporary story set in central Texas, I had to keep my fictional city close to the real train line. Thanks for visiting today and sharing your thoughts.

Linda Carroll-Bradd said...

Good for everyone to know own limits. VBG. Thanks for stopping by.

Mona Risk said...

Thanks Linda for an interesting post. Fun to read and learn about the rules of traveling in stagecoach.

Caroline Clemmons said...

I love this post. I tried to find Linda's blog but kept getting an error message. I'll try again in a minute.

Linda Carroll-Bradd said...

Mona and Caroline,
I appreciate you stopping by.
My blog URL is tricky in that there's no www.
Thanks for the comments, ladies.