Wagons East

6 February 2013

Wagons East
by Victoria Taylor
Published by Your Nickel’s Worth Publishing
Review by Keith Foster
$14.95 ISBN 978-1-894431-88-0

Have you ever felt like taking off – to nowhere in particular? That’s what Victoria Taylor and her partner Carl did, virtually on the spur of the moment. It was this spontaneity that led to the great adventure she relates in Wagons East.

Following their dream, the couple set out from British Columbia on a cross-country tour, roughing it as they made their way east. They only got as far as Saskatchewan, but they took the scenic route.

They travelled by covered wagon, accompanied by their team of horses, Hoss and Tracker, whom Victoria refers to as “the boys.” Plodding along on a wagon seat at three-and-a-half miles an hour provided a different sensation than driving in a car.

Victoria uses a chatty, conversational writing style with a wry sense of humour, saying that indoor plumbing consisted of a cold water tank with a tap.

She describes crossing a logging bridge with “no side rails and a million miles to the river bottom.” Despite this and other harrowing experiences, she displays an optimistic buoyancy throughout.

The couple stopped at farms and ranches on the way, developing new friendships. To earn some cash, Carl worked as a tour guide at the Bar U Ranch, which had 10,410 cattle at its peak, ranging over 157,960 acres. But Carl’s “facts” came out a little skewed. He accidentally reversed the statistics and had more cows than acres!

Victoria supplements her narrative with five illustrations by RoseMarie Condon, a map, and several dozen black and white photos, often with humorous captions, such as describing a large cow as “The cream machine.”

The couple settled in a beautiful ranching area near St. Walburg in western Saskatchewan. Whether they stay put for long or head in a new direction will depend on where Victoria’s next impulse takes them.


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