After this apergu of the motives which sent me forth, once more a pilgrim, to young Meccah in the West, of the various routes, and of the style of country wandered over, I plunge at once into personal narrative.

The United States territory lying in direct line between the Mississippi River and the Pacific Ocean is now about 1200 miles long from north to south, by 1500 of breadth, in 49° and 82° N. lat., about equal to Equatorial Africa, and 1800 in N. lat. 88°. The great uncultivable belt of plain and mountain region through which the Pacific Railroad must run has a width of 1100 statute miles near the northern boundary; in the central line, 1200; and through the southern, 1000. Humboldt justly ridiculed the “maddest natural philosopher” who compared the American con-

The Various Routes:

As all the world knows, there are three main lines proposed for a ‘Pacific Railroad” between the Mississippi and the Western Ocean, the Northern, Central, and Southern.

Sam Clemens and his brother, Orion, rode the Overland Stage from St.Joseph, MO to Carson City in 1861. Richard Francis Burton took the same journey in 1860. Although only a year apart, their experiences were quite different. The Clemens brothers took just less than three weeks but Burton's journey ran between August 7, 1860 to October 19th, granted he spent almost a month in Salt Lake City.
Following the end of his career as a Mississippi River Boat pilot, Sam Clemens headed for Carson City in the Nevada Territory, with his elder brother, Orion. He expected to "go about of an afternoon when his work was done, and pick up two or three pailfuls of shining slugs, and nuggets of gold and silver on the hillside. And by and by he would become very rich, and return home by sea, ...". He was sorely disappointed and soon became a newspaper reporter.

Why I went to Great Salt Lake City:

Clips and images from this book are from the Google Books edition scanned from a volume from the Harvard College Library.  Their scanned copy publisher was New York: Harper Brothers, Publishers, Franklin Square,  1862.

The quality of the scan varies greatly with many errors of punctuation and character recognition.  I attempted to validate the clips using an edition from The Narrative Press, 2003.  Theirs is reportedly a scan of the first edition from Longman, Green, Longman and Roberts, London, 1861.  The Narrative Press edition suffers from a lack of proof reading.

Beirut to Dahr El Baydar



Damascus to Dummar .. .. 1 15
Dimas ….. 2 30
Mejdel’Anjar .. .. .. . 4 30
El-Merjy .. ..  1 20
Mekseh .. .. ..  1 20
Summit of Lebanon.. .. .. 1 20
Beyrout .. .. .. 6 30
| Total .. .. 18 45

Fast, without baggage.

This route passes only one spot of any interest, the site of Chalcis. The rest of it is dreary; the path none of the best; and except when pressed for time no traveller should think of following it.


Ba’albek to Mu’allakah.. 6 OU
Junction of Damascus road .. 2 0
Beyrout (see Rte. 36) 7 50
Total (fast) .. .. 15 50

This road has little to recommend it except its shortness. Rte. 40 will, of course, be selected instead so soon as the snow on Lebanon will permit us to pass over to the Cedars; and should the traveller be obliged to abandon the Cedars, then I recommend Rte. 39.