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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