Search My-West

"Informative and entertaining, My-West will be a valued destination for westerners and devotees of all things western. Well-written posts, evocative photos and fine art, valuable travel tips, and an upbeat style make this a destination site for travelers and web surfers. Go West!" - Stan Lynde, Award-winning Western novelist and cartoonist
Subscribe to Hit the Road
« Ruff Riders | Main | Post Modern Mails »

Bannack Star Route - Haulin’ the Mail

By Bennett Owen

Credit: ©

The F-S is a good 40 miles from town, connected by a stretch of two-lane that…well, let’s put it this way, if you’re looking for the road less traveled, you’ll most certainly pass by the F-S on the way. It wasn’t always that easy to hitch a ride out to the ranch, so on a few occasions I became unofficial freightage of the US postal service, riding shotgun on ‘The Stage.’

Credit: ©

No, I'm not that old, by my time the horse teams had been replaced by horsepower and a pickup truck but the idea remained the same. Riding with the stage was a peculiar experience because just outside of town he’d start taking detours off of that ribbon of blacktop onto some dirt washboard roads that were often glorified cow-trails. But at the end of those ‘roads’ we’d come upon something like this –

Credit: ©

Or this ...

California. Credit: Gregory Jordan

The ride took hours and was fascinating for the countryside you’d see. And by the time he dropped off me, and the mail, at the F-S, he wasn’t even half way through his route. 

Credit: ©

There was no TV at the F-S and the radio reception was so scratchy that listening was pretty much limited to Paul Harvey News & Comment.  So the stage was an important lifeline and one of my chores was to walk down the lane and pick up that canvas satchel full of mail and the Montana Standard newspaper. The Sunday edition arrived on Monday, feeding my addiction to Rick O’Shay and Prince Valiant via the Sunday funnies. Yes, I read Ann Landers too.

Credit: ©

Yes a ‘link’ literally with the outside world. All that stuff about rain and snow and gloom of night may sound quaint in the Internet age. But I can remember a lot of wind-swept, snowed over winter days when the stage tracks were the only ones on the road.

Credit: ©

Arizona. Credit: WVS

Reader Comments

There are no comments for this journal entry. To create a new comment, use the form below.

PostPost a New Comment

Enter your information below to add a new comment.

My response is on my own website »
Author Email (optional):
Author URL (optional):
Some HTML allowed: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <code> <em> <i> <strike> <strong>