Sleepless Night in the Morton Mansion and the Unforgettable Guernsey RutsI'll be honest. I didn’t want to leave the car at the Guernsey Ruts. Now in the fourth day of our road trip adventure, the grueling pace had caught up with me. It didn't help that I’d spent a restless night despite the grandeur and comfort of the Morton Mansion.
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The historic home of John Morton, mayor of Douglas and state representative for Wyoming’s Converse County has now closed its doors to overnight guests, joining the ranks of many vintage hotels and historic homes I’ve slept in during my travels. If you have an interest in staying in such places, sooner is usually better than later. I like to think that by reserving accommodations in historic homes and vintage hotels that I’m helping preserve them.
|The Morton Mansion in Douglas, Wyoming; image by Andrew Farkas (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons|
Guernsey RutsI dragged myself from the car and chatted with family members while following the paved path that circled upward from the parking area. With much to see and far to drive, we’d left early, and the day’s heat hadn’t built yet. Birds trilled and wildflowers showed their faces. At the top of the rise, we stepped into history.
Traders, trappers and missionaries all traveled a route through this place, with the first recorded crossing by a fur trader named Robert Stuart on his way to Astoria, Oregon in 1812. Captain John Bartleson and John Bidwell led the very first wagon train here in 1841. Thousands followed in the years between that event and the completion of the railroad, which throttled travel on the Oregon Trail. The local geology virtually guaranteed that travelers on the Oregon Trail would cross in this same spot, and the wheels of their passing gouged the soft sandstone as much as six feet in places.
|Guernsey, Wyoming Oregon Trail ruts; image by Paul Hermans (Own work) [GFDL or CC BY-SA 3.0, |
via Wikimedia Commons
A state park preserves about a half mile of the Oregon Trail, which continues beyond the ruts we saw. It was tempting to linger, but with more stops planned for the day, we moved on. Walking in the Guernsey ruts made an impression on me that would later breathe life into my western historical fiction series.
I would call upon my experience of this and other locations on the trip while writing Montana Gold, a western historical romance series with the Oregon Trail always in the background. Hills of Nevermore, the first installment, is now available for Kindle preorder. Order Hills of Nevermore before the May 1st launch date for the best price.
About Janalyn Voigt
My father instilled a love of literature in me at an early age by reading chapters from The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, Robinson Crusoe and other classics. When I grew older, and he stopped reading bedtime stories, I put myself to sleep with tales I 'wrote' in my head. My sixth-grade teacher noticed my interest in storytelling and influenced me to become a writer.
I'm what is known as a multi-genre author, but I like to think of myself as a storyteller. The same elements appear in all my novels in proportions dictated by their genre: romance, mystery, adventure, history, and whimsy.
Epic Fantasy: DawnSinger and Wayfarer are the first two novels in the epic fantasy series, Tales of Faeraven. The final books in the series, Sojourner and DawnKing, are under contract with my publisher.
Historical Fiction: Hills of Nevermore, first installment in Montana Gold, set during Montana's gold rush in the days of vigilante justice, will release May 1, 2017.
Romantic Suspense/Mystery: Deceptive Tide (Islands of Intrigue-San Juans) is set to launch in 2017. This title is romantic suspense, but I am also moving into writing mystery novels written in the classic style of Mary Stewart and Victoria Holt.
Sign up at http://janalynvoigt.com to be notified when these titles release and for book extras and reader bonuses.