Monday, November 12, 2018

Andi's Journal - Yosemite, Here We Come! Part 2

August 11, 1887

Well! I thought I would have more time to write about our ill-fated honeymoon to Yosemite. But alas! I ran out of room in my latest journal. I opened the cedar chests and added this filled book to the others. It took me a few days to get to town and purchase another. Of course Mr. Goodwin would tease me. "Goodness, Andi! You should buy two or more at once. You seem to be filling them up awfully fast. Perhaps you should write a book."

I just smiled sweetly, bought two, and left. Pretty soon the whole town will know that I am writing in a journal. Oooh, why can't folks mind their own business?

So that explains the delay in getting down the next exciting "chapter" in my honeymoon story. I've decided that I like writing in third person. It doesn't seem as personal, and I can enjoy the story without my stomach knotting up. Hmmm, maybe I should change the names to protect the guilty? No, probably not. Anyway, I had to peek in my old journal one last time to see where I left off.

************


June 12, 1886

Chapter 2

“Wake up, Andi.” A gentle shake made Andi snuggle down deeper under the quilt.
“Uh-uh. Go away.”
Andi knew what would happen next. One of her brothers would throw a glass of water on her head. She didn’t care. She was so tired she kept her eyes tightly closed.
When no water splashed her face, she opened one eye. She gasped.
Riley sat on the bed next to her. “We’re not going to catch that stagecoach to Yosemite if you don’t get a move-on.”
Andi blinked. Visions of being rousted from bed for school flew from her head.
She hadn’t been in school for over a year.
Her mind cleared. No more school! Not ever. No more mean brothers trying to pull her out of bed on school days. No more icy water in her face.
Hurrah!
She was so happy she sat up and flung her arms around Riley’s neck. “What time is it?”
“Five-fifteen.” He untangled Andi’s arms and stood up. A few strides took him to the window, where he flung the curtains aside. “Sun’s been up half an hour already. Stage leaves at six-thirty.”
Andi’s exhaustion from the day before suddenly overpowered her. She fell back against the soft pillows. She barely remembered the rest of party, or even the twenty-mile train trip. Andi had gone around in a fog, doing whatever anyone had told her.
Even the half-hour train ride from Fresno to Madera last night was a mist.
“We don’t have to go if you’re all tuckered out,” Riley said. “We can hang around Madera.” He pressed his nose to the glass. “Though, I’m not thinking there’s much to do or see here.”
“No, I’m fine.” She threw aside the covers and hurried to the washroom to splash water on her face and get ready.
This really was some kind of fancy hotel. A private washroom instead of a washroom down the hall that all the guests shared? Heaven!
Must have cost a fortune, Andi mused silently. Reckon that’s why they call it the bridal suite?
Whatever the reason, Andi was sure glad she didn’t have to tromp down the hotel hallway in her dressing gown. Yes sirree! This was much better.
Andi didn’t know how long it took other young ladies to wash, dress, and do up their hair, but she managed it in fifteen minutes. She let her thick, dark braid hang down her back. All too soon some stuffy old matron would tell her to put it up now that she was a married woman, but until then . . . she could avoid a headache.
Besides, Riley liked Andi’s hair down. “What’s the point of putting all that lovely hair up where nobody can see it?” he’d complained more than once after a Sunday service.
Very progressive thinking, that man.
Riley had clearly been up for at least an hour. He was shaved and dressed in familiar duds—long-sleeved shirt, dungarees, high-heeled, high-topped (what some citified people called “cowboy”) boots, and a vest with pockets to hold his odds and ends. His jacket lay slung over a chair.
The newlyweds breakfasted in the hotel dining room, along with eight or nine other people who were obviously headed up the mountain. An older gentleman and his wife, both white-haired and jolly-looking, chatted at the table next to Andi and Riley.
Across the room, two other couples ate heartily. It wasn’t hard to overhear their conversation.
“Oh, do you think we’ll be robbed on this trip?” a woman with tightly pulled-back hair and a pouting lower lip asked the waiter as he walked past.
The waiter smiled. “Oh, no, madam. There is no danger at all.”
The woman’s mouth showed even more of a pout. “Oh, I do wish they would.”
Andi rolled her eyes at the silly comment. Who would wish to be robbed? She caught Riley’s amused grin. Greenhorns, he mouthed.
Just like everyone else for miles around, Andi knew the stories. The Yosemite Stage had its share of mishaps. Road agents hid and waited, usually when the coach had to slow down at the mountain curves. Then they popped out and demanded the strongbox. They also took watches, rings, money, and even buttons.
But that was all they ever did. 
One would think that these reports—the ones that showed up weekly in the Expositor during the tourist season—would scare visitors away. But oddly, at least to Andi, they were looked on as romantic.
Adventure for the city folks, she thought with a giggle.
The idea of a romantic encounter with a real, live robber in the dark forests surrounding a mountain road clearly added excitement to the women’s otherwise dreary lives.
“Be assured, Miss Amber,” the woman’s male companion was saying. “I and the other gentlemen aboard the stage will certainly be on the alert, prepared for any kind of terrible confrontation.”
Riley stifled a snort, and Andi nearly choked on her orange juice. “Time to go,” she whispered. “Before I back out.”
Riley raised his eyebrows. “You afraid of getting held up?”
“Not at all. I just might not want to spend six hours stuffed in a stagecoach with this present company.”
Riley rose and helped Andi with her chair.
“You’ll be one of those gallant young show-offs to come to our rescue, won’t you, Sir Galahad?” Andi quipped.
“Indeed.”
Smiling, Riley and Andi left the hotel. They were first in line when the Yosemite Stage and Turnpike coach rolled to a stop by the front porch. 
THE REAL YOSEMITE STAGE OUTSIDE THE YOSEMITE HOTEL IN MADERA--1884
The coach was spanking clean and looked brand-new, painted bright red, with red and yellow spoked wheels. However, it wasn't quite like the other stagecoaches Andi had seen and ridden in during her life.
It was a big coach. But there was no door. Instead, the sides were wide open to the air--and the dust and dirt, Andi thought. 
"Step right up, folks," the driver called from the wide seat high above the passengers.
There were three rows, all facing forward. Each bench seat no doubt held four passengers--five in a pinch. 
Andi shuddered. Very cozy indeed
Another man stashed the luggage in a boot at the back of the coach, for this was not a day trip. By the time the stage pulled into the Mariposa Grove six hours later, the passengers would be too tired from rattling and bumping around to ooh and ahh at the giant sequoias.
One needed a good night’s sleep to appreciate Yosemite.
Riley found seats for himself and Andi in the first row just behind the driver. “Less bumps and jarring,” he whispered in her ear.
Andi nodded and looked out. She had a sudden urge to ask Riley to trade places with her. There was no door. No nothing. Why! If the horses raced around a curve, she'd be tossed out like the end boy in a game of Crack the Whip. 
 A man with a satchel settled himself next to Riley. He clearly knew the best seat in the coach too. “Howdy.”
“Howdy yourself,” Riley answered.
The man leaned back. “First time up to the Valley?”
Riley nodded. “But we’ve heard lots about it. You been there before?”
He nodded. “Oh, yeah. I live there. Just came down to Madera on business and now I'm headed back. Hope I don’t have to go down again. Prefer my job of caretaker of the hotel up there.”
“Hey, Sam!” the driver poked his head through the door’s window. “Mind riding up top with me? Got extra passengers this trip.”
The man sitting beside Riley sighed. “Reckon so, Tad.” He tipped his hat to Andi. “Ma’am. Have a good trip.” 
 

13 comments:

  1. Can't wait to see what happens next!!!

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  2. I like it! I can't wait for the next entry! But for some reason, Sam doesn't seem safe...

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    1. What do you mean?

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    2. Good question. I think she means the Sam referred to here:
      “Hey, Sam!” the driver poked his head through the door’s window. “Mind riding up top with me? Got extra passengers this trip.”

      She thinks he might be a sneaky character. Right, Savannah?

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    3. He does seem suspicious! Thank you once again for another amazing post!

      ~Leah

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  3. Loved this story! :) Is there going to be a part 3?
    Didi

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  4. Mrs. M, I loved this! I am a big Andi fan. Thank you so much for doing these journal entry's, I love them!

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  5. Nice! The description of the stagecoach makes me glad I don't have to travel long distances in one of those nowadays. :)

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  6. Thank you!! Can’t wait for next week!

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  7. I think something bad is going to happen?!!

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Let Andi know what you think!