A Ten Pound Bag
Chapter 113: Preparing for a Trip

Copyright© 2020 by Emmeran

Road trips have always been a favorite part of my life. I spent most of my youth moving about and I always seemed a little more comfortable on the road. In other words, I was looking forward to this trip. I was even happy that the next two days would be spent in preparation.

First priority was to insure Jeb was properly armed and prepared. After breakfast I issued him his weapons for the trip. He was happy to replace his musket with the Harper rifle and the musket pistol was nothing new to him. He did marvel at the quality of each and promised to take care with them. The revolver simply amazed him. I spent a half an hour explaining the operation and maintenance before we went out shooting. Most importantly, I explained to him that it was advanced technology and had to be hidden away. People would kill him just to get that weapon.

I would carry the double barrel, my musket pistol, and, of course, the M1911. For a long gun, I finally settled on the 30.06. When in the scabbard, it looked no different from a musket. Plus, we used full length scabbard that covered even the butt of the rifle. I had been using those for years, after tiring of my rifle getting wet and dirty.

So we went out shooting. Familiarization fire was the term for it. Basically, Jeb practiced with each piece until he could reload and shoot confidently. He loved the rate of fire out of the pistol and commented several times on the accuracy of the rifle. I’d have a hard time getting him happy with his old musket again and needed to look into procuring some more rifles. I decided that I would find a way to replicate our repeating rifles in the next decade and who cared if we made our mark in the world as an arms dealer?

We spent a couple of hours on shooting drills and then another hour on proper cleaning and maintenance. By then, dinnertime was approaching and I told Jeb we’d work on our travel packs after the break. Thomas had shown up while we were gone and he joined us for a nice meal that Matilda and company had created. We were treated to a full three courses, with a brisk summer salad to start. I could taste my good balsamic in the dressing and we had the first of the tomatoes. The tomatoes were sweet and meaty; they could have been a meal all on their own.

Thomas got his promised steak at this meal, also. It was one of my thick ribeye cuts from the freezer, broiled over fire to medium-rare perfection, then topped with a few pan-fried crayfish. Pete, Timmons, Holder and I each got one, also, while the women had a variety of dishes almost like they’d ordered from a restaurant. Matilda and Sarah stood by while Esther and the older girls served, Matilda glowed with pride and Sarah looked simply exhausted.

The final course was a rich New England brown bread, sweet and completely filling. Even coffee would make it difficult to avoid a nap after this meal. I was gone before the coffee even got there, deep in a steak-induced food coma. Someone sweet led me to my bed and even set a fan on me. I snoozed for almost a full hour and woke feeling completely refreshed.

The after-dinner mission was to prepare for the journey. I wanted to spend some time with those close to me on Sunday. I also wanted to insure that the boatmen were well provisioned for their journey, so I opened the larders to Timmons. I also reminded him that we would be purchasing goods in St. Louis, so we didn’t need to restock completely here.

 
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