A Stagecoach Ride to Surf - Lompoc, 1898
October 21, 2011
At one place, the stageway is barred by a gate, the first of half a dozen that yield promptly to requesting hand. The first and last thirty miles apart mark the exterior lines of the great San Julian Ranch, a memory of baronial days.
Over this ranch,
the stage road is strictly private, usually in fine condition, and the drive over it a thing to make one sigh for such an inheritance....
But the downward run into Lompoc, covering a distance of four or five miles along the woodland bank of a river, the horses shaking their heads and manes in excess of happiness with rays of setting sun gilding every object, is one experience of a lifetime, and of itself an ample guerdon for any real or imaginary hardship on the trip.
At Lompoc, a stop is made of half an hour for dinner when wanted, and then in the gloaming with change of vehicle and fresh team, the nine mile avenue is taken for Surf.
We had full moon and shadows. Wandering away into the distance there was music of hoof beat and whirr of wheels, melody without harmony within, and golden silence - a symphony in which speech would have been discord.
The first short journey of fancy along the banks of Thessalian Pencius and the Vale of Tempe had not ended, when the driver explosively cried out,"Surf!" and there we were, the waters sweeping along the shore line,
sands on the one hand and well-lighted office and welcoming agent of Southern Pacific Company on the other.
Not one of us did say - not one could say - "I am tired," nor could we call the trip a hard one for any not invalid. At Lompoc, the stage agent said to us,"You can go at once to Surf and find a Pullman car awaiting you, or you can stay over night here at the hotel and go down with the mail at four o'clock in the morning."
The Pullman has great attractive power over the average globe trotter; we chose it at once, and on arrival, found it sweet and clean and the porter like a translation from our domestic staff, full of kindly offices and efforts to please. We slept within hearing of ocean's pulsating murmurs, and the gentle rhythmic percussion of the waves on the shingly beach was our slumberous lullaby.
~ William Boardman, "Coaching in California", Sunset, Passenger Dept, Southern Pacific Co, 1898