Shop Opening and Upcoming Trip

Welcome, everyone! I’m still working on the rest of the Nobles Emigrant Trail posts, which will cover the western third of the trail, including Lassen Volcanic National Park, the Upper Sacramento Valley, and Shasta City. Those posts should be up over the next few weeks. If you haven’t already subscribed, fill in the “Follow via email” box on the side or bottom of this page and you’ll be notified when each new segment is posted.

In the meantime, I’ve got a couple pieces of exciting news to share. First, the website shop is now live, and can be accessed from the Menu bar above. If you’re interested in my earlier work, this is where you can order an autographed copy of my book Images of Rail: San Diego Trolleys. This was published by Arcadia Press in 2017 and is full of historic photos that tell the story of the San Diego streetcar systems from the 1880s to the 1940s. If you’re in the San Diego area, I’d be glad to deliver in person to save the cost of shipping, just send me a message using the Contact feature from the menu and we can work out the details that way.

Also available in the shop is the first trail sticker – for the Nobles Emigrant Trail, of course. The sticker illustration was created by artist and fellow archaeologist Rachel Droessler. You can see more of her work on Instagram @artsaeologist and in her Etsy store ArtsaeologistDesign. I have two of her custom pet portraits and they’re amazing! She’ll be doing a new design for each of the upcoming trails I’ll be visiting over the next few months. The stickers are $3 each and are a great way to decorate your water bottle or laptop and support the site at the same time.

The next big piece of news is an upcoming field trip. This weekend, I’m hitting the road for Austin, Texas and will be exploring several trails on the way there and back. The main route I’ll be checking out will be the San Antonio-San Diego Overland Mail, also known as the “jackass” mail since portions of it were too rough for wagons and the mail had to be carried by donkey. Think of this as our desert version of the Pony Express. Much of this route later became the Butterfield stagecoach route, and I’m planning to visit the ruins of several stations associated with both lines, as well as a few frontier forts in Texas. The western part of my trip, along the Gila River between Yuma and Tucson, Arizona, was the route used by Juan Batista de Anza’s second expedition to California (1775-1776) and Kearny’s Army of the West (1846-1847) during the Mexican-American War, among others.

West Texas Trails 1850-60 (courtesy Fort Davis National Historic Site)

I’ll be posting daily on Facebook and Instagram during my trip if you’d like to follow along, including little bites of trail history and the best campsites and restaurants along the way (I’m obligated to try as much Texas BBQ as I can handle!). So, in the words of Juan Batista de Anza, “¡Vayan Subiendo!” (“Everyone mount up!”) and I’ll see you on the trail!

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