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Saturday, November 17, 2012

MY WESTWARD TREK Chapter 11




Westward Ho
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Morgan was anxious to hear Virgil’s explanation as to why he was willing to sell a horse that meant so much to him.  

Virgil had mentioned that it was a sad tale, and said he had returned from the west intending to settle down and live a life of ease.  He had struck it rich in the gold fields, and had come east when he thought he had all he needed.  

Bad Woman
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Upon his return he had met a nice lady, and they made plans for a life together. One evening they were imbibing a little, and she put something in his drink that put him to sleep until late the next day. When he awoke it took some time for him to get his wits about him, and to realize all of his money was missing.

Virgil hadn’t kept any secrets from her, and she knew where his stash was hid. He spent the next two weeks trying to find out where she had gone to no avail.  All he had left was a few dollars in his pocket which she didn't take, and he spent that during his search for her.

So here he sat with his few clothes, a couple of horses and a hotel bill plus what he owed the livery stable. That was why he wanted to sell his colt.

He needed money for other reasons, one of which was he had signed on with the wagon master to supply fresh meat along the trail for they needed the additional food to supplement the food they could carry.

Virgil also wanted to buy some cheap trading goods in case they encountered some friendly Indians. One other reason was he wanted to buy some jewelry that people were willing to sell for almost nothing.  He knew he could make a killing, selling jewelry to the miners who found a lot of gold.

Virgil offered to be equal partners with Morgan if he would put up his money to buy in with him.  He said Morgan wouldn't have to buy the horse instead they would invest it. Being partners with Virgil meant Morgan also had to hunt with him, and help supply meat for the wagon train.
 
While Morgan thought he might be uncomfortable with this partnership, he later agreed, and they shook hands on the deal.

There was much to do.  Virgil did the buying and Morgan did the paying. One of the first purchases was a rifle and a side gun for Morgan.

Morgan started to protest but Virgil said, “These guns may be more important to you than food.”  When Morgan explained; “I don't know how to shoot,” to which Virgil said; “All you need to be able to shoot is a keen eye and a steady hand.”  Before the week was over Morgan could shoot as well as Virgil, and hit what he aimed at.

The wagon train was just about made up, and Virgil stowed their stuff in the company wagon where they also had some blacksmith tools, and equipment that would be sorely needed before the trip was over. They carried extra staves for the water barrels, spokes for the wheels and hopefully everything they might need.

Each wagon was required to carry an extra something that might be useful to someone during the trip.

The final check on things, such as the condition of the stock, wheels and axels greased with extra grease if they needed it, canvas repair material and needles, and a few boards just in case they were needed. The specified amount of food per person, guns for defense if required, and one of the most important things was a thick padding on the driver’s seat of the wagons for the rough roads could work havoc on the posterior of an individual.

Finally it was “Wagons ho” time; sixty wagons, sometimes all in a row, other times two side by side.

To be Continued.  

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