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.

Isolation of the Prairie

Gradually the Rockies have receded from my range of vision, and I am alone on the boundless prairie. There is a feeling of utter isolation at finding one's self alone on the plains that is not experienced in the mountain country. There is something tangible and companionable about a mountain; but here, where there is no object in view anywhere - nothing but the boundless, level plains, stretching away on every hand as far as the eye can reach, I and all around, whichever way one looks, nothing but the green carpet below and the cerulean arch above-one feels that he is the sole occupant of a vast region of otherwise unoccupied space. This evening, while fording Pole Creek with the bicycle, my clothes, and shoes - all at the same time - the latter fall in the river; and in my wild scramble after the shoes I drop some of the clothes; then I drop the machine in my effort to save the clothes, and wind up by falling down in the water with everything. Everything is fished out again all right, but a sad change has come over the clothes and shoes. This morning I was mistaken for a homeless, friendless wanderer; this evening as I stand on the bank of Pole Creek with nothing over me but a thin mantle of native modesty, and ruefully wring the water out of my clothes, I feel considerably like one.

Posted in stevens blog by Thomas Stevens on Wednesday 04th Jun 1884 (20:00 +0000) | Add a comment | Permalink

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