Around the World on a Bicycle

In 1884, the 29 year old Thomas Stevens set out from San Fransisco on the 'modern mechanical invention' of the Penny Farthing to circumnavigate the globe on his 'big wheel'. His book - "Around the World on a Bicycle" - was published in 1888 and his writings are presented here in blog form. Read more in the archive.


Following the trail down Yellow Creek, I arrive at Hilliard after dark. The Hilliardites are "somewhat seldom," but they are made of the right material. The boarding-house landlady sets about preparing me supper, late though it be; and the "boys" extend me a hearty invitation to turn in with them for the night. Here at Hilliard is a long V-shaped flume, thirty miles long, in which telegraph poles, ties, and cord wood are floated down to the railroad from the pineries of the Uintah Mountains, now plainly visible to the south. The "boys" above referred to are men engaged in handling ties thus floated down; and sitting around the red-hot stove, they make the evening jolly with songs and yarns of tie-drives, and of wild rides down the long "V" flume. A happy, light-hearted set of fellows are these "tie-men," and not an evening but their rude shanty resounds with merriment galore. Fun is in the air to-night, and "Beaver" (so dubbed on account of an unfortunate tendency to fall into every hole of water he goes anywhere near) is the unlucky wight upon whom the rude witticisms concentrate; for he has fallen into the water again to-day, and is busily engaged in drying his clothes by the stove. They accuse him of keeping up an uncomfortably hot fire, detrimental to everybody's comfort but his own, and threaten him with dire penalties if he doesn't let the room cool off; also broadly hinting their disapproval of his over-fondness for "Adam's ale," and threaten to make him "set 'em up" every time he tumbles in hereafter. In revenge for these remarks, "Beaver" piles more wood into the stove, and, with many a westernism - not permitted in print - threatens to keep up a fire that will drive them all out of the shanty if they persist in their persecutions.

Posted in stevens blog by Thomas Stevens on Wednesday 21st May 1884 (23:00 +0000) | Add a comment | Permalink

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