The Romance of the Road

Oh, for the romantic days of coach travel!

Today I am on the road with my friend Julie. We’re driving to Orlando for the Romance Writers of America Annual Conference and it will take us two days. Should be fun, especially since we’ll spend our overnight at our friend, Maggie Toussaint‘s house.

But what if this were Regency England and we were traveling by carriage?

For one thing, we’d be hard-pressed to find a journey from one end of the UK to the other that would as long. Mapquest says our journey will be 852 miles; from Plymouth, England to Kirkwall, Scotland is only 798 miles.

If we were taking such a journey in Regency times, we would undoubtedly be traveling by coach, and at our middle class income levels, we would probably be passengers on a stage coach, like these.

On the other hand, Julie does drive a convertible, so maybe we’d be in a more sporting vehicle, and not public transportation at all.

Mapquest says our trip will take a total of 13 hours 19 minutes.

The trip from Plymouth to Kirkwall by coach, assuming there wouldn’t be the problem of mountain roads and bad weather, would be a great deal longer.

When figuring travel time in the Regency, I always rely on Shannon Donnelly who is such a great horse and carriage expert! Shannon says that a coach in the Regency could travel 4 to 12 miles per hour. (For my books, I usually estimate travel time by using 9 mph), but horses have to be rested or changed every 10-11 miles. A crack group of stable workers at a coaching inn could change a team in two minutes. Most would have taken longer, I’d guess.

So using the 9 mph estimate, our Regency trip of 798 miles would take 89 hours. That’s a whole lot more than Julie’s and my 14 hours.

I figure Julie and I will travel about 10 or 11 hours before we stop at Maggie’s house, then the next day we should only have to travel 4 or 5 hours. If our Regency selves also travel for 10 to 11 hours, we’ll go a distance of 99 miles in a day. That means our trip to Kirkwall would take us about 8 days.

And I’m not even discussing the differences of spending the night in inns, getting meals and…….BATHROOM BREAKS.

Are you traveling this summer? If you are coming to Orlando for RWA, how are you getting there? If you are coming to RWA, join us for breakfast on Friday. We’ll find a table at the free breakfast and try to make it easy to find us. If you are not coming to RWA, where are you traveling and how?

Julie is coordinating the Literacy Booksigning and I’ll be helping her all day Weds. If you have some time to spare, come and we’ll put you to work!

Thursday I’ll be blogging at Diane’s Blog and I hope to post some Conference photos. Next Monday Julie and I will be on the road again, but I’ll try to post some photos of friends in their Beau Monde Soiree Regency finery. Or SOME photos from Orlando! Maybe we’ll even get all the Riskies together for a photo!

Til then, Bon Voyage!!

About diane

Diane Gaston is the RITA award-winning author of Historical Romance for Harlequin Historical and Mills and Boon, with books that feature the darker side of the Regency. Formerly a mental health social worker, she is happiest now when deep in the psyches of soldiers, rakes and women who don’t always act like ladies.
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7 Responses to The Romance of the Road

  1. This is my first RWA ever, and my stomach is in knots and my suitcase is over-packed. :)I’m leaving my house sometime after 5 AM tomorrow and will drive almost 2 hours to the airport and fly from Portland, Maine to Orlando. According to my ticket (which I no longer believe), we’ll leave at 9:15 AM and get in at 2 PM. Amazing to traverse the east coast with 4 hours in the air and 5 on the road/in airports! I’m traveling with a not-quite-three-year-old who should add a frisson of folly to the whole process. Disney princesses here we come!

  2. Judy says:

    It sounds like a fun week!

    My first thought about that Regency trip is all those unwashed bodies in that tiny space. Not to mention some of the unsavory characters to whom you’re forced to “cuddle up.” *shudder* Not even the illusion of separate seats. Definitely take the more sporting vehicle. 🙂

    When I travel I prefer to fly. Not that I love flying. It’s unbelievably claustrophobic. However, it’s fast, even with time at the airport.

  3. catslady says:

    89 hours in those conditions sound horrible. This past May, 5 of us took a trip to Coco Beach to visit with our Uncle (my two daughters, one husband and one boyfriend and me). We rented a van and drove straight through (lots of drivers) and it took about 16 hours total. Of course we made stops and had a great time. I hope your trip goes well too and enjoy the conference.

  4. Carolyn says:

    Maggie: Woot for your 1st RWA! Come find one of the Riskies and we will help you through the nerves. Have a safe trip!

    Unlike Diane, I am flying to Florida. And I am grateful that I can leave Oakland CA at 7:50 AM PST and arrive in Orlando FL at 5:40 PM EST. I do not like traveling but I would like being on a coach for 10 days even less.

  5. Diane, you and Julie have fun on the road!

    See some/all of you there! I’m still at the laundry-packing stage.

  6. Diane Gaston says:

    See you soon, Maggie!!

    Judy, if I’d flown I’d be there by now (10 pm)

    catslady, what fun that must have been. Julie and I have stopped for the night at our friend Maggie’s house

    See you soon, Carolyn!! You, too, Janet!!!

  7. librarypat says:

    Was planning on attending the Literacy Signing and the Librarian Day and volunteering where I could. Unfortunately, I am in Nashville not Orlando. For once I got efficient and made reservations early. Unfortunately, they are nonrefundable, so I am here in Nashville and RWA isn’t.
    We drive on most of our trips. It is 5 hours to Nashville and about 12 to Orlando. We will be going to Orlando in Oct. We were in Florida in early June and it was as hot as it is supposed to be this week. Stay cool and enjoy.

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