As one might imagine, there was a great deal of talk as we rounded into the Front Range at the feet of the Rocky Mountains. For my part, I passed into unconscious sleep somewhere about the time Prof. Chuck was talking about some place or group called ‘the Collegium’ which was supposed not to be far from Denver or another nearby city, Boulder.
In the dim light of the early evening, the smoke and light that signaled a settlement on the horizon was especially welcome. It had been an alacritous journey, but there was as much wear in the swift miles travelled as if we’d travelled on foot.
A page has been physically removed from this point in the journal.
Actually, I’d like to spare a few words for the surprising effectiveness of the Hellstromme Industries invention. The amount of distance we travelled – nine hundred miles – in about nine days is good to fair time for any professional stage company with a system of fresh hosses every forty miles or so. It’s fair to poor in comparison even to rail travel!
We’d been given a full month to make the trip, and had used less than a third of that time. If one discounted the time we spent dallying about, added the Boom Brothers’ lanterns from the beginning of the journey, and used a team of drovers rather than just the one, I’d estimate we could have made the trip in about four days! As a man that’s spent alot of his days on the back of a hoss, I have to say I’m impressed.
These are some of the same words I wrote in my (somewhat abridged) accounting of our travels given in payment as previously discussed for the travel to Denver. The still-unnamed United States Marshal asked me to amend certain events as well as the mention of thier presence – for national security reasons, of course.
Well, as I did not want a gun pointed in my belly, and not wantin’ to scare off anybody anyhow, I wrote things a little differently than I might have otherwise. You’ll find no lies in this account (or my statement to Hellstromme Industries, for that matter) save for the ones of omission.
The real cost of the journey, I can’t imagine. I have no idea what one of these auto-engines costs to build or maintain, but it must be a damn sight more than a hoss. There’s also the human cost to consider. Bruce and Benny were dead, after all, and I imagine John-Boy will be doin’ some drinkin’ to forget for some time to come.
When I arrove in town with the rest of our ‘posse’ what would now hold together on account of greed (Yes, me too!) rather than collected travel, I was compelled by the gentlemen from Hellstromme Industries to doctate or write about my experiences.
Write I did, with the considerations listed above in mind, and thanked the smiling gentlemen for the ‘unique opportunity’.
To my surprise, I was not one of the first to be done with my report. Several of the others were done first, and only the Belle and the Boom Brothers took longer than I did to finish writin’ what all they had to say.
Wit (who’d finished early) reported that the Platte River ferries that ran up to and through the Missouri would be leaving in almost a week, which left the lot of us with far too much time on our hands.
Most of the Posse then spent far too much money checking into the Grand Hotel and goin’ about thier errands. For my part, I went to the Denver Hotel to secure lodgings before attending to various errands (bath, shave and haircut, new clothes (but no Stetsons for sale!), Church, breakfast, a telegraph message home, getting the news of the world at large, etc.) I also endeavored to find a fresher copy of the Tombstone Epitaph than Mr. Rawlins had given me, but to no avail.