Ever wonder where the term “riding shotgun” came from? A stagecoach ride around the town square in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, is more than a fun activity for the kids during a family vacation. You can sneak a little history lesson in as well.
The middle seat in coach is nothing when you realize that each stagecoach could carry nine passengers all squeezed on to three tiny benches. They sat so close they had to tuck their legs around one another AND carry their luggage on their lap. Oh, and the unlucky three in the middle bench had no backrest. They would ride this way for 24 hours per day for over 20 days to cross the country.
The drivers and horses were traded out in “stages” so the coach could travel continuously. The driver’s job, of course, is clear. The guy next to him? Shotgun. So next time the kids yell “I call shotgun,” only give it to the one who knows where the term came from.
A stagecoach ride is a must-do in Jackson Hole. The coaches leave about every 15 minutes from the wood shack in the center of town (you’ll find it, trust me) and it’s only $4 per child, $6 per adult and more than worth it.
Wells Fargo posted these rules about passenger behavior:
Abstinence from liquor is requested, but if you must drink, share the bottle. To do otherwise makes you appear selfish and un-neighborly.
ladies are present, gentlemen are urged to forego smoking cigars and pipes as the odor of same is repugnant to the gentler sex. Chewing tobacco is permitted, but spit with the wind, not against it.
Gentlemen must refrain from the use of rough language in the presence of ladies and children.
Buffalo robes are provided for your comfort in cold weather. Hogging robes will not be tolerated and the offender will be made to ride with the driver.
Don't snore loudly while sleeping or use your fellow passenger's shoulder for a pillow; he or she may not understand and friction may result.
Firearms may be kept on your person for use in emergencies. Do not fire them for pleasure or shoot at wild animals as the sound riles the horses.
In the event of runaway horses, remain calm. Leaping from the coach in panic will leave you injured, at the mercy of the elements, hostile Indians and hungry coyotes.
Forbidden topics of conversation are: stagecoach robberies and Indian uprisings.
Gents guilty of un-chivalrous behavior toward lady passengers will be put off the stage. It's a long walk back. A word to the wise is sufficient.
Get help in planning your Jackson Hole vacation from the Jackson Hole Chamber of Commerce. They were kind enough to organize activities for my family so we could tell everyone the best things to do in Jackson Hole.
We were the guests of Castagno Outfitters.
Find more fun things to do in Jackson Hole at Luxury Travel Mom.