Archives in the Attic
In a small town near the Blue Ridge Mountains of South Carolina lived two young lads of about nineteen years of age. They had finished high school together the year before but had not attended college the following year. They were two adventure seekers, very eager to see the country in which they lived; To see the things of which they had read. Their names for short were "Pick" and "Bob". They had withstood the lure of adventure long enough, so on one cold February morning they were sitting around a coal heater in a filling station discussing the possibilities of going places as usual. They decided to make a short visit to Central Florida to see Bobs brother, this being a distance of approximately 600 miles. They were to leave the next morning very early as it happened since they were lucky enough to get a ride on an orange hauling truck to Sanford Florida, only 18 miles from their destination, Mt. Dora, Fla. They packed their outfit and spent the night at Picks house, setting the alarm for 2 o'clock. They were scheduled to leave at 3. Here is their story:
After waiting around this mans truck for about one hour and thirty minutes downtown he finally came out of the house. The driver "Skeester", was with him and also his wife. They got in the cab of the Chevrolet truck and Pick & Bob got in the gigantic body behind, crawling under a heavy, dirty canvas so as to keep the very cold February wind out.
The going was pretty good for about ten miles and then, Bam!! The end of the pavement and an old bumpy dirt road for about 60 miles into Athens, Georgia was ahead of us. We were taking a short cut. Arriving in that city around daybreak which was about 7 o'clock. Here we stopped off for a cup of coffee and filled our forty gallon gasoline tank, of course our friend, Mr. Johnson paid the expenses. We resumed our journey then, starting for Macon, Ga. This distance was uneventful except for a million bumps, arriving there at eleven o'clock. We spent a couple hours in Macon where Mr. Johnson bought a used car body and we helped him load it into the truck. We rode in this body like a couple of millionaires into Sparta, Georgia, Mr. Johnsons home arriving there at two thirty; fixed two flats on Mr. Johnsons car and were called to enjoy a real nice old fashioned southern dinner. This finished we went to the City of Sparta and looked it over in general. It is a flourishing agricultural center of about 2000 people. Supper was served at Mr. Johnsons at six o'clock and again we were present. After the meal had been finished we were carried to a recital at the high school by two beautiful Georgia girls. We enjoyed this very much and afterwards were driven back to Mr. Johnson's house where we retired a bit later.
Mr. Johnson remained in Sparta and so did Skeesters wife but Pick & Bob and Skeester departed in the truck the next day about one o'clock. We had to pile up slightly in the cab since it was raining but that was o.k. we were making mileage and that's all that counted then. We arrived in in Greenes Springs, Florida at seven o'clock that night after an uneventful day of traveling, which had fatigued us somewhat. The night was spent there in a dollar hotel. Entrucking again at seven o'clock the next A.M. we felt much better and everything had begun to take on a semi-tropical atmosphere, to our delight. After stopping in several packing houses Skeester drove us to a point near Sanford, Fla; where we left him, with many thanks, and proceeded with our large decorated suitcase, to catch a ride into Mount Dora, Fla. We were finally successful. It was in a model Y ford and we covered the remaining 18 miles in two hours.
After searching a couple of minutes we found Bobs brother and he was very glad to have us visit in his city. We spend three days there and enjoyed our own cooking and the portable victrola at the apartment immensely. Also enjoyed the tropical fruits and the boat races in Eustis.
Restless was the word that suited us at the time so we decided to tour on to Key West, Fla. by foot, and after the decision was made we took leave immediately without telling anyone. Our finances were rather bleak at the time of our departure but that made the trip much more interesting.
The first ride was in an old model maxwell which carried us about ten miles. The next lift was a much nicer one but it took lots of crazy manuevers from us to flag them. We rode this one, a Buick four door sedan, which was already loaded with five people & baggage, into West Palm Beach. Arriving there at three o'clock, we saw lots of orange groves and truck farms on that ride and some of the most beautiful tropical scenes in the state of Fla. We walked out of West Palm Beach, Pick pulling a couple of green cocoanuts from a tree in a front yard just to see what they were like. We only stood in our chosen spot ten minutes when a nice doctor came along and gave us a lift into Miami, without our asking it of him too.
This ride into Miami was a very comfortable one so we were thouroughly rested upon our arrival in Miami. We secured a room in a thirty five cent hotel and immediately took a hot bath (shower). After the bath Bob purchased a sliced loaf and started eating a new kind of sandwich, but Pick did not like these sandwiches because they were just plain bread sandwiches, but he finally, later in the trip, learned to love them also. Bob consumed the whole loaf, almost alone. We viewed the city that night and were amazed at its tropical beauty, its warmth, and the beautiful women.
Leaving the city the next A.M. after more bread sandwiches for breakfast we were hoping to reach Key West by night. We got our first ride for a short distance, only to Cocoanut Grove, a suburb of Miami. The next one was a bit longer carrying us to Long Key Fishing Port, in the middle of the jungles. This was our first sight of such marshes. We were stuck in this spot one hour and thirty minutes but finally picked up by a traveling salesman in a new Pontiac from Alabama. What a relief. We learned that we had to ride on a ferry boat to Key West, riding the waves four hours. This was to cost us $1 each. The country was wonderful to see but our stomachs and pocketbooks were recks, very muchly so. The tropical sun blistered our arms while on the ferry. Another thrilling February experience.
Arriving in Key West at six o'clock we found a room in a very nice commercial hotel. This cost us $1.50 for the two of us after arguing with the manager for an hour for a cut which we got. Our finances were almost exhausted so we ate soup for all our meals, dividing the bottle of ketchup between ourselves always leaving an empty bottle on the table. We won a penny slot machine jack pot which netted us 20 cents and Bob got a shoe shine for one banana that first night. The people were all Spainish and their speech so fast we could not understand it.
The beach called us the next morning so we adhered to the call, blistering from head to foot in the hot tropical sun, and in the meantime missed our ride back to Miami with the man we had ridden over with.
What a kick we received from this sudden shock - almost broke, no friends within 350 miles and we knew it took a dollar each to ride the ferry. It was a thrilling sensation. We gathered our souveniers and got the suitcase from our room then went to a park where we concentrated together finally deciding to ride the Flagler Pullman back to Miami, which we did; boarding the front of the mail car at five thirty o'clock and after a wonderful ride, over water most of the way, we arrived in Miami at 9:30 o'clock and spent the nite at a twenty five cent hotel; being so tired anything that looked like a bed was good enough for us to sleep in. This expense brought our finances to their knees, we had less than one dollar left but we paid poverty no heed so long as we had bread.
We left Miami at eight o'clock the next morning bound for Tampa or at least that was where we expected to spend the night. Our luck was grand, catching a ride straight thru from Miami to Fort Myers where we visited the home of Edison hurriedly. The Everglades, with the wild birds and Seminole Indians and alligators with hundreds of other unusual attractions was very fascinating to us. We continued to St. Petersburg with perfect ease although we were almost drowned upon our arrival there at eight o'clock since it had rained on us continously since noon that day.
We bought a supply of groceries with our remaining few pennies upon our arrival in St. Petersburg and then went to the Sal. A. where we spent the night. After having some S.A. coffee from a five gallon pot with our groceries the next morning we departed from St. Pete, after a visit to the Bay where we picked shells & other souveniers. Our luck was not so good. We had to walk out about four miles to get the edge of city limits. After flagging about two hours we worked a ride with a chueffeur in a big Cadillac, crossing Gandy Bridge shortly afterward - a 7 mile span between Tampa & St. Pete. The day was uneventful since this ride carried us to Eustis - within 5 miles of Mt. Dora. We visited three more days in Mount Dora and then borrowed $5 from Bobs brother and started home
We were back in the orange territory again now so of course the first thing Pick did was to crawl a fence and get a couple of dozen. We caught a ride to Mount Dora with a real black negro and when we arrived there a boat race was on. The annual regatta had been held that day but was almost over when we arrived so we did not let it attract our attention away from some bacon and eggs which we prepared ourselves at the apartment. We ate one dozen blood oranges each for dessert.
The second visit to Mount Dora was a very enjoyable one but we only stayed three days. Bob borrowed five dollars from his brother & we started walking back home. The first day was not a success from a bummers stand point, only making about 100 miles into St. Augustine that night. This is a very old city, the oldest in U.S., being settled by Spainards in the 15th century. We enjoyed visiting its ancient buildings, statues and parks that evening after getting a tourists room for $1.50 together.
We left our room early the next A.M. and proceeded to get a ride hoping Savannah, Ga. to be our destination that night. We found a ride very hard to get but finally succeeded in getting one with a couple of boys in a ford roadster into Jacksonville. That was one of the hardest citys to get a ride away from that we had ever been in; But patiencence was finally given its reward. We arrived in Jacksonville around eleven oclock. We were standing on a safety block in Jacksonville waiting for a street car when an old gentleman of about 65 years picked us up in his Model Y laundry truck and carried us to the edge of the city limits at which place we bough a nice supply of Pork & Beans and a couple of loaves at a nearby A.&P. grocery store. We were all set so far as eats were concerned for a couple of days; and we expected to arrive back home by that time.
We were only in this spot about twenty minutes when we saw a big, over equipped, shiny Lincoln sedan with a New York licence coming down the road. We were all fired up at this prospect and gave an unusual exhibition of flagging arm waving and various other manuevers to attract the attention of the driver. In the meantime we had taken a chew of King Pin chewing tobacco, not as we made it a habit, but just for luck, and it must have taken effect, because to our great surprise and almost complete astonishment the Lincoln came to a stop a few hundred feet from us and the driver motioned us on. After a few necessary questions he took us in, and did we feel big? I'll say we did - and how!!
The driver happened to be a cheauffeur and was driving the car back from Miami to New York for his boss who was returning by boat. This fellow didn't like Florida at all and cared very little for any of the south - Although we were southerners we did not object to that as he was very nice and sociable with us and because of his dislike for the country he attained a higher speed than usual, which would have averaged 80 miles per hour driving time, I am quite sure. We arrived in Charleston, So. Car. about 6:30 o'clock and it had been 12:30 when we left Jacksonville. We refilled with gas & oil at Charleston and continued to Florence, S.C. that night arriving there about 9:30 o'clock where we spent the night. The gent from N.Y. could afford a good hotel as his expenses were being paid but we could not afford a hotel so Bob located a tourists home, very modern, only a few blocks from town, while "Pick" was calling his sister in Columbia, S.C. telling her where we were going etc. The lady asked $2.50 for the room but Bob got her down to $1 which he thought was for the two of us but when "Pick" came in about 11:30 the lady asked him for his dollar. We had to tell her we were broke and she took it good naturedly and we spent the rest of the night in the room. We agreed that we'd divide the sleeping time, one of us staying awake, so Bob won the toss and got in bed. Pick was supposed to wake him at two o'clock but Bob could not be aroused so poor Pick had to sit up and stay awake all night so we would be able to get our ride with the Lincoln at 6 o'clock the next morning; since we had decided to go on to New York with our friend. He was very glad to have us go. Although we were practically broke financially, we enjoyed the trip at all times, munching nice bread sandwiches all along, the ones we had bought in Jacksonville; we dared not open the beans for fear of mussing the car.
We saw lots of pretty country that day and every thing went nicely; we stopped for a short while in North Carolina and about an hour in Petersburg, Va. where we wired home for money to be sent to New York. We saw several of the old battle fields of the Revolution that day, also passed thru Washington and looked the capitol over very hurriedly. We also passed thru Baltimore and Philadelphia but since it was dark we did not see very much of them in particular. We arrived in New York City at 1:30 oclock in the A.M., after passing thru Holland tunnels under the Hudson, a miraculous engineering feat.
Well, we were in the big city of New York and another dream had come true. Hale, the driver with us helped get the money from the telegraph office; we had only 20 cents left between us upon our arrival and were not sure that the ordered money would be there but luck was with us and we got $30. We then had our first meal since leaving Mount Dora, Fla; that is our first real meal. That was down on 32nd st. off 8th Ave. a swell place too.
After getting our cavities throuroughly filled we inquired of an officer where to find the nearest Y.M.C.A.; as Hale had left us and gone to his home in the suburbs. The cop was nice, as all N.Y. cops are and we found the Y.M.C.A. on 23rd street off 8th Ave, as well as I remember. We retired about 2:30 or 3: o'clock, but Pick was raring to go the next morning at 7 o'clock so we started out to see the city which we did for two whole days and nites; going into all places of intrest such as the Bowery, Penna. Station, Statue of Liberty, the Aquarium, the Museums of Nat'l Art & History, the Bronx Park Zoo. During these sightseeing trips we rode on every kind of modern transportation including subways, elevator trains, trolly cars, double decked busses, ferry boats and automobiles. Some mixture.
It was very cold for us in New York since we were not used to it and were still blistered from being in the hot sun at Key West, Fla. the week before. Pick after lugging his overcoat over most of Fla. had left it on the side of the road in Miami and Bob didn't have an overcoat along at all; so that snow which fell the first day we were in the city hurt plenty, nevertheless, we did not let it stop us. We saw N.Y. Pick had his summer underwear along and Bob had his heavy long underwear so in Fla. Bob wore Picks shorts and in N.Y. Pick wore Bobs longs.
After the two days were spent and the biggest portion of the imported money we decided to leave town so Pick had twenty-five dollars owing to him by the McCalls Company. We collected that at their big office then started for Jersey City on the subway; and in the meantime Pick thought about an uncle who lived in Rahway, N.J. only about 18 miles from Jersey City so we stopped over there, catching rides from Jersey City to Rahway. Pick's uncle decided to get us a job on the Penna R.R. which he did after we had been there a month. We got a watchmans job on the highline of the Jersey side. We worked at this seven weeks and were given lite work on a T.O.S. gang where we had lots of fun for 3 months.
During these four months we were quite a curiosity in Rahway & elsewhere. The Northerners got a great kick out of hearing us talk so we made friends very rapidly everywhere around N.Y.C. We had a great time in the city where we visited very frequently at nite although we worked in New York most of that last 3 months. The Empire state building was completed and dedicated while we were there and what a beauty it was.
Since we could not save any money and did not have but very little to spend we decided to quit our job and leave N.Y., which of course we hated to do; Leaving the Paramount and Roxy theatres meant a lot. We had found very brilliant entertainment at these places, seeing such famous faces as Buddy Rogers, Rudy Vallee and many others as equally important. But our minds were made up so we gave them two weeks notice and applied for a trip pass to Chicago and return. At the end of two weeks we got our money but they held up our passes, to our greatest regret, since we were leaving the service of the company. We said farewell to the majority of our friends and started hiking again, this time bound for North Dakota to work in the wheat fields.
Our suitcase, a long, wide one, weighed about twenty pound more than it had previously, that is it weighed about 40 or 45 pounds at the time we left Rahway. We took time about carrying it, each one taking his turn until we reached the Lincoln Highway, which is the most traveled road in the country, especially at this point. We sat the suitcase down & started flagging and were successful after about 15 minutes in getting a ride about 200 yards. Some start to North Dakota!! We stood in this spot about ten minutes and got a ride on a Chevrolet truck going into Camden, New Jersey or almost there. We met three more bums in the back of the truck and enjoyed exchanging our experiences until we were dumped out about 5 miles from Camden. We walked about a mile so as to get in a commanding position then an agriculture professor came along and gave us a ride into Camden and he drained us of our little knowledge on farming. He let us out at the Philadelphia Airport and two nice ladies, thinking we were college boys who had come in by plane, gave us a lift in their big Packard touring car to the car station and gave us specific directions ere they departed.
It had taken us longer than we had expected to make the trip to Philly, leaving Rahway at 9 o'clock and arriving there at 12:30 o'clock. We got on the Lancaster Pike trolley car and rode it about five miles out from town, then walked about a mile to find a good spot. We stayed in this spot about 45 minutes and were very unsuccessful so decided to walk a bit farther. In this place a couple of fellows on motorcycles offered us a ride but our suitcase was entirely too heavy and we had to turn it down. We changed spots again in about an hour and after remaining in this last place about one hour we flagged a fellow in a Chevrolet truck with a delivery body on it. He had the back end full of rug cleaner - some of his own mixture. he begged us not to hold him up said he only had $27.00 to his name. We explained to him we were not that kind and he would be safer with us than without us. He stopped and changed his oil and refilled with gasoline a short time afterward and here he told us he was going to Reno, Nevada and would like for us to go with him. Our minds were already made up. Altho' we only had about $20 each. We were happy and on our way to the land of divorce.
This first day we saw plenty of interesting things, among them were the old battle field at Gettysburg; and the red hot iron smelters we saw in Pittsburgh that night about 2 o'clock. It was some sight there in the blackness of the night. We decided to sleep a bit in Pittsburgh so we found an empty brick building, an old garage with a concrete floor. Pick and Jack, our friend, decided to sleep in the truck but Bob got his flashlight and went in the building in search of something better. He was found about 30 minutes later lying on the hard concrete floor with an old tire as a pillow, by Pick and Jack, who had found the truck very uncomfortable. We all tried the floor but found it too hard and the tire was not such a good pillow either so we decided to move on about four o'clock. None of us had been able to get any rest or sleep. We crossed the Penna. line about 5 o'clock and were in West Virginia for the first time. A short distance accross the line we found a nice well so we stopped to get a drink. The water tasted like lime but was wet anyhow. We only crossed a corner of W. Va. and were in Ohio almost by sunrise. We stopped at a country home & got a fine breakfast. Jack sold rug cleaner & made our meals plus forty cents profit. They were drilling an oil well there.
Everything went o.k. that day except we were tired of driving so far without sleep. We didn't have any trouble with the car at all. There were not many towns of any size on our road although there were a thousand little ones. We wanted to go thru Chicago but we were following the Lincoln highway all the way accross and it did not go thru Chicago; and Jack was so worried about his wife, who was in Reno getting a divorce that he would not take time to go out of the way, so, we drove on and on getting more weary every mile. We were taking time about driving, while one of us tried to sleep in the back the other two tried to stay awake in front, one to drive and the other to keep him awake. We arrived in Clinton, Iowa at about ten o'clock and after much searching found a dollar hotel where we spent the night. We had never known until that night just how good a hot shower and a bed could feel. All of us were in a much brighter mood the next morning when we checked out about 9 o'clock.
The country from Clinton, Iowa to Council Bluffs is a very beautiful and prosperous agricultural area. Corn and other grain is the principal crop. We also passed thru an Osage Indian Reservation between Cedar Rapids and Ames.
Council Bluffs is rightly named and the bluffs or little round hills there along the Mississippi river are very scenical, especially in the summer months. We drove very slowly thru this section so as not to miss any of the beautiful scenes of nature. We drove thru Council Bluffs without a stop and crossed a toll bridge over the Miss and in a few minutes we were in Omaha, Neb., a real typical western city. We stopped in Omaha for our second meal of the day. The evening dinner we got for 25 cents each was very enjoyable and nourishing. We celebrated the day of luck by Bob smoking a dime cigar and continued to be on our way; leaving Omaha at about 7 o'clock that evening.
Our luck with the car had been extra-ordinary until this third night. We had two flats that night on the same wheel, the tire had gradually worn out on the long, continuous journey. We drove most of this third night, stopping early in the morning, at about three o'clock for a little rest. Our funds had become so low we slept in a big wheat field, in the open, since we were unable to find any straw stack. This was just a few miles out from Kearney, Neb. It was a bit too cold for out door sleeping even in August in Nebraska, so, we only tried to sleep there on the wheat stubble until about five o'clock; at which time we drove on toward North Platte, arriving there at nine o'clock, just in time for breakfast. We were really ready for food too, because the roads, which I believe are the roughest in the country, were full of holes and the jarring had shaken our food of the night before to the bottom. This town, North Platte, which is named for the beautiful river on which it is built, is typical old fashioned western. This was our first glimpse of what the west was like in the days that have gone. We were greatly interested in these rare cowboys and their long drawly speech, so we lingered in this city for about thirty or forty-five minutes after breakfast, in the meantime writing to our parents & friends to advise them of our safety and of the pleasure we were getting from our trip.
Driving out of North Platte at ten o'clock or thereabouts we were in a much better humor. There was not anything in front of us but the wide open spaces we had heard so much about in our eastern childhood days.
Many herds of cattle and sheep especially were all along our road that day and we enjoyed watching or actually seeing with our eyes what we had seen so many times in the movies, the old fashioned cowboys on duty minding their herds. As it happened we had plenty of time to watch them too because our tires gave us more trouble during the day. We had three punctures before arriving in Cheyene, Wyoming at about five o'clock in the afternoon. This being our fourth day on the road. This city of Cheyene is surrounded by some of the most beautiful scenes and curios of nature I have witnessed. On the east the low ranges which are covered with grass but without trees are a sight to behold, beneath the floating, beautifully colored clouds, which you will find only in the west. The small ranges extend to the western side also and in fact completely surround the city. Cheyene was a wonderful spot to us. We stopped there for about two hours, visiting the curio stores and writing cards, then looking the place over in general. Jack, our worried partner, investigated business conditions there, as usual, and found them to be quite favorable, in a time of depression too. We left the city about sundown but arrived at the place where a tree grows in solid rock in time to give it careful inspection and of course Pick had to jump over the fence which surrounded it and pull off a couple of small limbs just for souvenirs. We had only driven a short distance when our tires started shooting again. We fixed four that night before 12 o'clock, then decided to call it a day when the fifth one banged. The truck was more comfortable now or rather it seemed that way since we were so very tired. The road was very rough was why our weak tires did not last longer.
We found ourselves in the middle of a desolate prairie, in fact it was so bleak it seemed like a desert to us. Nothing but sage brush and jack rabbits could grow there. We borrowed a box of patching from a passing motorist and in about 30 minutes were ready to go again but not very far since our gasoline gave out after a few miles. We borrowed or rather bought a gallon from a man driving a truck after waiting about 30 minutes. This day everything went wrong. We fixed about a billion flats and only covered about sixty miles. We spent that night, the sixth one, in our truck on the highest peak in Wyoming, and it was plenty cold that night too. We arrived in Larimie the next morning at 9 o'clock after fixing two flats on the peak. We saw a pet bear on the rut. "Pick" and Bob gathered souvenier sticks from the highest point.
In Laramie, we had a nice breakfast which only cost 20 cents each. It was real wholesome western grub and plenty of it too. After breakfast we went tire hunting and found a comparitively new one for $4.00 which Bob paid and Jack agreed to pay back later. We had trouble with the tube at first but finally got it fixed after changing it about 6 or 7 times. Then we started driving again. The country was still very pretty, that is desert beauty; it was pretty to us because it was rare. It was not inhabited in the country and the towns were small and far between.
After we had driven about one hour we had another flat and our gas tank was dry when we tried to start after fixing it. We borrowed a quart and got to a Shell gas station. Here we bought gas, oil, and another second hand tire and tube. Bob paying for it with promises from Jack. Our tires were in good condition now and we expected to make Reno without much trouble from them but just as we were discussing this possibility we started down a long hill. Jack was driving and did not try the brakes until we were making about 40 per hr. Then he let out a yell that we had no brakes. There was a sharp curve at the bottom and Jack knew he couldn't make it so he turned in the opposite direction toward a filling station. In the meantime Bob grabbed the emergency and Bam!! We hit ole mother earth.
The truck had turned over on its right side. Jack was on top so he got out first thru the door above him, the glass happened to have been down at the time; Bob was in the middle so he was knocked cuckoo for a while. He was standing on top of Pick yelling, "open the door" and beating on the windshield. He finally spied the open hole above him and crawled out. Pick came out next. He was not hurt very bad, in fact none of us were hurt bad only receiving minor bruises. A crowd gathered in a short time, since there was a tourist camp at this place. They turned the truck back up and nothing seemed to be hurt badly, only a couple of flats and the switch key broken off. The place was Ft. Bridger, Wyoming.
Our wounds were well taken care of by the people at the tourists camp so we set about finding the wreck after being served candy by a couple of good looking town girls. Our almost new tire which we had bought in Laramie was torn to pieces and another also, so we had to put our spares on, which were not very good. We had picked them up all along the way. We got the tires fixed o.k. and found how to use the broken switch key, then fixed our brake rod and picked up our scattered clothes which were soaked, partly, with rug cleaner and were on our way to Reno once again. Very sore indeed but happy to still be alive.
Bad luck was with us all the day. We had driven hardly two miles when the old tires started banging regularly again and we thought Jack, the little Jew with whom we were riding, would pass out. He was a nervous wreck and we had to pacify him every few minutes to keep him from shedding tears. This Jack was some man - his feet were set at an angle of seventy five degrees when he walked and an oversized pair of brown & white sport shoes did not help the appearance of them at all. His legs were so bowed he could not have caught a five hundred pound hog in a corner; his head was bald with just a bit of chestnut brown hair around the edges. He did not have a hat of any kind and that worried look of wrinkles on his forehead was very noticable. He was probably thirty five years old but looked to be seventy and the brown sport sweater with golf knickers which he wore did not make him look any other way but daffy; but after all he was a good natured fellow when he wished to be.
We found plenty of time to look the country over carefully all that day since our bad tires continued to be naughty. We only covered about 100 miles that day, spending the night on the road with a flat. This was becoming a habit it seemed. We met many people all very nice, since we had to borrow a jack and pump every time we had a flat. The next morning we fixed our flat and proceeded to Evanston expecting to arrive there by noontime but the flats delayed us about four hours. We stopped in Evanston about two hours. Jack tried to get some money from the Masons but was unsuccessful as we expected. Pick & Bob visited the town in general and the S.P. depot in particular. It was an unusually pretty depot. Pick bought us a couple pair of ten cent sun glasses there but his did not last long since he & Bob got in a scrap and his spectacles were torn up.
We left Evanston at 7 o'clock and expected to arrive in Salt Lake City about ten which we did although we went out of our way somewhat when we got our roads crossed going almost to Ogden. We didn't mind that since the mountain scenery is very beautiful in that section.
When we arrived in Salt Lake our pockets were almost empty so we dared not go to a hotel. We spent that night in front of the Masonic temple on the grass and by the way - got our first bath, since leaving Clinton, Iowa, at the temple the next A.M. We felt almost new after that.
Some of Jacks rug cleaner was left from the wreck so we went out trying our salesmanship from door to door that morning but only sold one bottle and that at half price. We visited the old relics of Mormanism the remainder of the day. Salt Lake City we found was quite different from all the other American cities we had visited. We drove out to various places of interest on the outskirts of the city.
Late in the afternoon we left the city and drove out to Salt Lake - a miracle of nature. Jack did not swim but we persuaded him to wait while we took a dip. It was even more salty than we had expected, being almost impossible to keep any portion of the body under the water over three or four inches. It was such a thrill to us, we stayed in a couple of hours meantime making aquaintance with some girls from Salt Lake City. It was almost dark when we departed. Another new experience overtook us shortly afterward in the form of a dust storm. It raged for about fifteen minutes, so bad we had to stop driving and immediately afterwards a rain fell, just in sheets. We were on a desert too. Some strange desert we thought. We spent that night as usual on the road with a flat but it did not come until about three o'clock after we had crossed the Nevada line. We drove into Reno, the divorce center, the next afternoon at three o'clock, dirty, tired and almost broke. Jack had sold rug cleaner to buy gasoline for the trip between Winsover, Utah to Reno. Bob had a money order in the P.O. which had been forwarded from New Jersey. It was worth $20. We felt better after getting it.
Shortly after our arrival we made reservations in a dollar hotel in the main part of Reno.
Jack set out immediately to find his wife and succeeded that evening. We passed our time away in the highly decorated gambling halls watching the poor saps lose their dough. A curiosity to us.
Jack found, that night, that his wife did not care for him any longer but she did not make any moves that night to try to get him to leave town. They decided to hold council the next morning in the divorce park to see what could be done.
While Jack was busy with his wife we cleaned about ten bottles of rug cleaner, got a galvanized bucket and long handled brush and proceeded to sell our rug cleaner. It was not so easy as we had expected. We walked about ten blocks and went to around a hundred different houses but we were not salesmen enough to even get a demonstration, so disgusted we carried all the supplies back to the truck and started out to see Reno. We went to the University of Nevada first then after inquiring for stickers there returned to town and bought two dozen nice California peaches for lunch. They were a real treat.
We met Jack shortly afterward and he carried us to divorce park where we were introduced to his wife. She was a very lovely lady and we liked her very much altho' she was trying to divorce our friend, we could not hold that against her because he did act half cracked most of the time and besides he was too short and stubby for a woman of her calibre. We only remained with them about thirty minutes, then Jack made a date with his wife for that nite & proceeded to town where he sold rug cleaner for a couple of hours.
We returned to the gambling halls that afternoon and were amused more by the silly saps. We entered Monte Carlo - the biggest gambling hall in town - first, then proceeded to gamble away two bits each on the race horse wheel. We gave them a good play and got our two bits worth running that up to about two dollars & fifty cents then getting rich quick went to our head and we got careless and our money was gone but we could say we had the pleasure of gambling in the largest public gambling hall in U.S. and almost beating it too. We visited all the other halls in town that afternoon but did not linger there long, going back to divorce park about four o'clock that afternoon where we found Jacks wife and about a million other half cracked dames ages ranging from 18 on up. We left Jack there and started walking down the river hoping to find Jack Dempsey's residence, which we did but did not get any kick out of it since he had gone away for the afternoon. We proceeded on to the Reno public pool but did not take a swim then but returned that night about eight o'clock. The place was dark and there were only a few people in at the time. Oh Boy!! Was that water cold!! We returned to the city about 9:30 and made another round of the gambling halls, just to satisfy curiosity before retiring at eleven thirty. The people in Reno never go to bed. The gambling halls are always open and busy. They say too many people die in bed, it isn't safe.
Jack went out with his wife the first part of the nite and visited with an old friend after she deserted him at eleven o'clock for two other men. This friend told him the truth about his wife that night. Jack intended to sign the divorce papers the next A.M. but after hearing that, he changed his mind. He came to our room, a mass of tears, at two o'clock and said we would leave for Los Angeles the next A.M. at six o'clock so as to be able to get out of the state before his wife could know about it.
We left Reno almost on scheduled time and were accross the California line by nine o'clock. Another of our childhood dreams had come true we were in beautiful California now. The air tasted better immediately. We drove out of the way a bit to Lake Tahoe, a most gorgeous glacier lake just accross the state line. The water is crystal clear all over and is almost 1700 feet deep in some places. It is surrounded by beautiful mountains and there is a large hotel, built of pine logs with the bark on them at the northern shore. The manager welcomed us, since he was formerly of New Jersey, and showed us about the place for an hour. We then drove on towards Sacramento, expecting to arrive there by night but we arrived ahead of time everything seemed to go better in California. We passed thru the pear & apple section that afternoon but we were out of luck they were still green but the grapes were delicious.
We found Sacramento to be very beautiful and the tropical scenery began to appear there. Our money was running very low again, at least Jacks was, so Jack tried to solicit a bit of cash from the Masons there but was unsuccessful. His Jew friends also turned him down. We, "Pick" and Bob, stayed in a beautiful park all the time Jack was searching and met a pretty Sacramento girl who told us all about the city.
Jack returned about sundown and we drove to the business district and parked then proceeded by foot down main street. We met a former movie actor shortly afterwards and he offered us all kinds of encouragement but not any food nor money, the things we needed mostly. Jack thought we were all broke but we had a few dollars left, but knew we'd need it on our return trip east, so we let Jack beg all he cared to but it proved of little avail. We split up, each going in a different direction trying, Jack thought, to beg some money to buy gasoline and a meal. Bob bought three pounds of grapes for a nickel and returned to the truck about five minutes later. Pick had already arrived there. We consumed the grapes hurriedly and feel asleep in the truck. Jack after being lost a couple of hours returned to the truck about ten o'clock. Jack bought eight gallons of gasoline with his remaining seventy cents and we started towards Los Angeles again.
At a point about half way between Sacramento and Stockton - a distance of about twenty miles - we had our first California flat, so, we were so tired we just pulled out in a side road and Pick & Jack went to sleep in the truck but Bob searched for a straw pile and after visiting numerous vineyards and wheat fields he found one about a mile down the road behind us. He immediately returned to the truck to tell his companions and we all three dug a hole each in the gigantic pile and had an eight hours of perfect sleep & comfort, remaining in our beds until eight o'clock that Sunday morning.
There was a problem to be solved then our reserve tires and tubes had all been used and Jack was broke and we could not afford to spend what little we had left. We argued about it about thirty minutes and Jack was so worried he almost cried. We told him at the end of the argument that we had fixed enough flats for him and unless he made some effort to get a new one within the next thirty minutes we would leave him at once. We hated to do this but it was almost a necessity since he was such a nervous wreck. It helped too. He pulled himself together and begging us not to leave until he returned he stalked away to a nearby filling station. The owner was a mason so he let Jack have a new tire and tube accepting a nine dollar no good check on a New York bank for it. We put it on and were on our way to Los Angeles once more.
We had a wonderful day driving south through the Sacramento Valley. There were hundreds of different kinds of fruits and vegetables on each side of the road now, since we were further south. We kept a big supply of grapes, figs, quinces, peaches, plumgrannies and watermelons in the truck, stopping and replenishing our supply when it ran low. As it happened we didn't get caught a single time. We arrived in Fresno, a very beautiful Spanish-built town, at three o'clock that afternoon and decided to try to get a meal there. Work for it. Jack went down south main and we chose the northern section. We soon found we could not work for a meal so decided to buy a two bit chicken dinner. The old lady who served us was very mother like and gave us all the fried chicken she could pile on a big plate and besides gave us all the buttermilk we wished to drink, that was five glasses each. We also had two orders of bread each. We could hardly get up when we decided it would be a good idea to quit. It only cost twenty five cents each. What a meal!! Upon our return to the truck we found that poor Jack had been unable to find a meal so we gave him fifteen cents each and he had a meal too before leaving. We told him we had begged that change down the street. He believed us too.
We started driving again then feeling the best we had on the entire trip. Our spirits were high when we stopped in a mans watermelon patch and loaded seven into the truck after consuming all we could outside.
We did not remain in that mood very long because our gasoline was about to give out when we drove into Visalia about sundown. Jack tried to get several fellows to give us gas but they would not listen. He was also unsuccessful in begging for money so he decided to walk the streets for a while. He could not find any help so we decided to drive just as long as we could on the remaining gasoline. On our way out of town we found two more stations. Jack insisted on stopping at the first one. We let him out there to ask and told him we would drive over to the next station and try our luck. Of course our intentions were different. Bob had an idea. He wished to drive on into Los Angeles that night so he decided to buy a tank of gas - it only cost ten cents per gallon - in the meantime telling Jack he had met an old friend working there, whom he had once worked with in an Oklahoma oil field, and this friend had given him a tank of gas. It worked marvelously; Jack was so dumb he never caught on and the boy at the station played his part of an old acquaintance beautifully.
We drove all that night, staking one pretty mountain range overlooking Hollywood, the movie center. It was a beautiful sight to look down at the many lights from this snaky, mountain road. We drove through Hollywood and Glendale, suburbs of Los Angeles, without hardly knowing it and arrived in the big metropolis at six o'clock in the morning. It was very comfortable in this city we found and knew at once we would like it better than any other city from its nice atmosphere.
Our first ambition that morning was to find a nice reasonable eating place which we did very easily as food is very reasonable in Los Angeles. We ate three eggs and an order of buttered toast each. The total bill for us three was only thirty cents. We later found a place accross the street where eggs cost only two for a nickel. We thought we had found paradise at last when we found how reasonable food was.
We visited some of Jacks friends in East Hollywood, at their home, and hour or two later and they insisted that we eat again. Of course we never refused such a thing as free food. The young lady, a daughter of that family, served us with egg omelets and toast with coffee, very delicious. She was studying law at school but she was some cook too. After the meal they offered us the use of their shower and we accepted gladly and put on our third clean shirt since leaving New Jersey. We hardly ever wore anything but our sweaters & pants, sometimes Bob would not wear anything but his unionalls which he always used as pajamas at night.
We visited all of Hollywood, viewing the beautiful homes and movie lots, the latter from a distance, and saw part of Los Angeles that day. We ate at Mr. Yellens house again that evening, it was nice to sit at a table once more and even better to sit on a nice soft chair in a house. It had taken us twelve days to drive from Philadelphia to Los Angeles although our actual driving time was less than six days.
Our first night in Hollywood was spent in a small room at the back of Mr. Yellen's real estate office out on Hollywood Boulevard. Mr. Yellen, of whom we have spoken before, was Jacks old friend formerly of New Jersey. He was very nice to us. Our first nite in that vicinity was spent near Venice, California. We visited the beach oil field there that first night, also went to the seaside carnival but did not go in any place but the dance hall. It was free unless you danced. Jack was too proud to go back to see Mr. Yellen that nite is why we slept as we did in the truck. He found him the next day and after that we slept in a bed in Hollywood at nite so long as we stayed there.
We remained in this section several days, visiting many places of interest and beauty. Our swim at Santa Monica was enjoyed greatly, although the sea was full of weeds, it was our first dip in the calm pacific. We visited many notable things in Hollywood and looked over Los Angeles completely during our several days visit there. We like the place very much. It was our model of the most ideal place in America in which to live. We bought eight dozen oranges one time for 25 cents. They were good too.
After seeing the city and all its suburbs very completely we decided to go back east. Mr. Yellen gave us a dollar and we ate breakfast down town in Hollywood at a swell place that last morning. The whole outfit there thought we were broke is why we were given the dollar. "Pick" had $12 and Bob $15 when we left L.A.
It was only thirty one hundred miles back to South Carolina. Why should we worry when we had all that money? It was a fortune to us.
Our friends, Jack and an old pal of his, carried us out to Pasadena and put us out on a place they thought was the highway. Jack, with whom we had formed such a close friendship, did not like to see us leaving him, but we could not be his guardian for always. He remained in Hollywood with Mr. Yellen.
We had to walk about a mile and then got a lift another mile out to the edge of Pasadena and on the main highway. Our first ride was in an old model Buick sedan with a lady and two men. It only lasted about ten miles. We were in the grape section again now and as usual hungry Pick swiped a few bunches. The next ride was with a real black negro in a Model Y ford. He carried us about fifteen miles in an hour and a half but we enjoyed his company anyhow since he was about half tight and gave us a quart of wine which we consumed very hastily. We felt fine when time came to say "so long" to our colored friend. The third ride was much nicer and more comfortable, in a chevrolet coach. We made fine time covering about thirty miles in thirty five minutes. The orange, lemon and grapefruit groves were very beautiful at this point.
The fourth lift was with two insurance men from Upland, Calif. They carried us into San Bernadino thru the worlds largest vineyard, it is made up of 180,000 acres. They advised us to go by Phoenix and El Paso but we had learned in our travels to almost always do opposite what the advice was from a stranger and we'd be right, so we decided to go the north central route by Needles, etc. After a bite of refreshments we resumed our journey and caught three short rides into Barstow by six o'clock. We were unable to get a ride out of that place until ten o'clock. We traveled about thirty miles with a state inspector to the inspection station at Daggett. Arriving there at eleven o'clock.
This was the beginning of the great Mojave desert so there was almost as much traffic at night as in daytime. We tried our luck on the road until one o'clock without success so we retired at that hour in a small park at the depot where we found two other hobo comrades who had retired at an earlier hour. Those benches felt like feather beds to us. We rested well until seven o'clock the next morning and then resumed our duties on the road but they were not so easy as we had hoped for. The road was lined for a mile each direction with every kind of human being imaginable. It was real desert, the thermometer registering 120( about noontime. We remained in that same spot until three o'clock and decided to start walking out in the dessert. The nearest town was about thirty miles.
Our plans worked out beautifully since we had only walked two miles when a man in a new Studebaker came along and took pity on us because our bag was so big. We were very lucky indeed since people were all around us trying to get a ride and this fellow was pretty well loaded too; but he packed us in anyhow and he carried us into Needles, arriving there at four o'clock. We ate a good meal at a Japs restaurant which cost us .75 cents each. Things were very high in Needles. Our friend left us there since he was so crowded but he had pulled us out of a tough spot anyhow. Our efforts to hang a ride out from Needles were futile. We were on the banks of the Colorado river. It was good to see trees growing there but they only grew on the river bank, the country was a vast dessert. The river was made up of red quick sand and there was not any water visible at many places.
That night was spent on a platform of a storage house in the main part of Needles. We couldn't afford a room of any kind. We shipped our suitcase across the main part of the dessert to Winslow the next A.M. so it would be easier to catch a ride. We hooked that ride at eight o'clock. It was a very nice one. Carrying us into Ashport, Arizona that afternoon at three o'clock where we were dumped out. We will remember that section of country for its wonderful dessert mountains of all shapes and colors and for the unusual cactus plants which grow in that vicinity.
We ate another hearty, expensive dessert meal in Ashport before continuing into Williams. The ride to Williams was with a very nice bootlegger. He had a new Chevrolet car equipped with radio. He made record time going into Williams and asked us to wait for him there until six o'clock and he would carry us to the Grand Canyon with him that nite. We did not have to be begged. That was an opportunity for which we had hoped. He returned at the appointed time and after sampling his products drove for him into Grand Canyon. In the meantime, while we were waiting, we two got into a usual daily fight and both got muddy from head to foot since it had rained that day. Our clothes had been shipped ahead so we scraped away all we could and made the best of the dirty situation.
It was dark when we reached the Canyon, this wonderful, miraculous work of nature, so we could not see it that nite but we visited the rim anyhow and looked down at the miles of darkness below us. We were at the Bright Angel Trial Camp. Upon our return from the rim we found that our friend had a flat. We fixed it for him in a hurry as we had become experts at that job through our training received on the trip westward. He was very appreciative and showed it by carrying us to a cafe and buying our supper. Everything was sky high there so we only ate a doughnut and a cup of coffee, at that the bill was fifty cents. He carried us to a garage then & saw that we got a good place to sleep in the back of two big busses.
The gentleman at the garage was very nice. He bought us a wool blanket apiece before we retired. That seat felt much better than a sponge bed would have. After a very pleasant nights rest we were called by the garage man at six o'clock in the morning. Some service. We wished to get up at that early hour so as to see the sunrise on the canyon but we were a bit late for that; but I'm sure the canyon could not have been any more beautiful than it was, under any circumstances.
We ate a rather snappy, light breakfast consisting of one doughnut and a cup of coffee. That's all we could afford. After taking a good look at the "big hole" from the rim we ventured down Bright Angel Trail but at first did not expect to go to the bottom. The scenes became more beautiful the deeper we got so naturally we wish to see what it was like at the bottom.
The soft rocks, which had been cut into all kinds of imaginable forms and showed every color of the rainbow, glistened and gleamed in the early morning sunlight. The trail wound around with one lap about four or five feet above the other, sometimes further on a good grade. We did not walk down the trail, sliding from one to the other on the loose rocks. Bob tore the sole from one of his shoes, the only pair he had, and had to fix it in a rangers shack a short distance from the bottom of the canyon.
When we reached the bottom about eight thirty o'clock we were plenty dry, tired and hot. We satisfied our thirst at a spring and washed our hair and bodies too in a small clear stream on the banks of the Colorado river. The river was very muddy and was swirling and rolling, like a mad man, against the jagged rocks. It makes a big splashing noise but it cannot be heard until the river is close by because of the vastness of the canyon. After the bath in that cold water we were greatly refreshed and set about at once getting different colored rocks as souveniers. We tramped about on the hot rocks until our bare feet were almost blistered. This scene from the bottom of the Canyon looking up at the billions of tons of rocks, each one a picture by itself, is undoubtedly the most beautiful scene that can be witnessed by any human on the earth. It carries so many fascinating beauties that I would not, in this limited space, attempt to describe them.
After the souveniers had been collected and our socks dried we put on our shoes and pants and started back up the long, long trail. The thermometer was registering 104 degrees in the Rangers cabin where Bob stopped to fix his shoe and tape his blisters. We met three parties of mule trains going down the trail on our way back but only met two fellows walking and they expected to spend the night down there. It is unusual for anyone to walk down and then back up the same day as we did.
The trip back to the top was uneventful except for frequent stops for rest. Our doughnut and coffee had disappeared entirely even before we started back. We borrowed one drink of water from an old trail worker near the top and it tasted better than rye whiskey to us at the time. The trip going up required four hours. We had gone down in half that time. We arrived at the top at three o'clock and were greeted by many visitors, 2 or 3 hundred I suppose, for the feat which we had successfully completed. We were confronted with ten billion questions, most of them coming from women full of curiosity. We finally broke loose from them after an hour and proceeded to fill our very empty stomachs with one of those seventy five cent Grand Canyon lunches. After lunch we sent a few cards and posters to our friends then bade adieu to this wonder spot. We felt that we had been more successful in finding real interesting scenery that day than any other day in our lives. Our performance, walking down and back was worth a million dollars to each of us.
Upon our return to duties on the road we were successful in getting a ride almost to Williams, back on the main highway, after only a few minutes. Luck was still with us for we traveled beyond all expectations that afternoon and evening. The next ride carried us into Flagstaff and a third one after dark put us into Winslow at nine thirty. This was the place we had shipped our clothes the day before, it was Saturday night.
The express office was closed when we arrived in Winslow so we could not get our clothes. The nites were rather chilly and we really needed more clothing. We started searching for a good place to sleep about ten o'clock. This was a hard job in this dessert country since there were not many hay piles and very little suitable vegetation of which we could make a bed. A box car near the freight depot was the best thing we could find. We got in one end of it and lay down side by side just like we were in bed, using a real thin bandana handkerchief for a pillow. A hard bump socked our heads up against the wall almost breaking our necks about two o'clock. The engine had hooked up with that car and was carrying it back down the tracks before we jumped out. We walked accross the yards and got in a loose hack cab. We found a nice soft mat to sleep in there and were not disturbed but when Bob opened his eyes about six o'clock there was a two hundred pound man gazing down at him. He just closed his eyes and stayed asleep until man left our compartment. Then we beat it. We ate breakfast then visited the Santa Fe depot, a beautiful yellow stucco building which shows many signs of modern architecture, where we were successful in getting our baggage. We walked down the road a piece and went in a rest room at a filling station where we shaved, took a bath and changed shirts.
Only one clean shirt each was left so we decided then not to put it on until we reached Atlanta, Ga. so we could look clean when we got home. We stayed in that room so long the operator asked us if we thought it was a hotel. We joked him out of his angriness before leaving.
The going was rather tough that morning but we managed to hang three short rides and arrive in Holbrook at eleven o'clock. We bought a loaf and two quarts of milk there for dinner. It was on Sunday. We were not successful in getting a ride until we split up, Bob walking ahead. He won the toss of the coin our customary way of deciding things. The same fellows picked us both up a few minutes later. They were from Iowa, driving a Pontiac roadster and about our age. We drove until seven o'clock that evening, stopping at a tourists camp named "On Top of the World." It was near the continental divide. It only cost the four of us one dollar for a cabin. They had a dance at the place that night. A real old fashioned country affair, plenty of drinks et al. We left the camp at seven Monday morning. We had a breakfast at the next store and then started our daily drive. We had lots of fun that day. The four of us being together made it much more interesting. We drove into Albuquerque at five oclock. It is a very modern city in every respect and very busy also. They raise many oranges, apples and other fruit & vegetables by using irrigation. Santa Fe is only a short distance east of it but they are vastly different.
The streets are so narrow in Santa Fe it is difficult to drive in the city. It is jammed together, that is the buildings are close together. It is a real Spanish city and does not appear to be what it is, the capitol of New Mexico.
We had passed through a former volcano that day. The lava which looks like black rock was all along the road for ten miles. We also passed through an Aztec Indian reservation and visited one of their odd villages. The whole town is built of rock and painted white. There was a rock wall around the place also. They had beautiful, ancient model, rugs and beds for sale there. We also visited the houses of original cliff dwellers near Gallup. In our opinion the cliff dweller was wiser than most people thought.
We drove almost to Las Vegas before we met any more scenes. This one was pitiful. Two cars had run together and killed one man, injuring four other. We happened to be the first car to arrive so we carried the few injured ones into Las Vegas and left them at a hospital. They were rather badly torn up and bloody. We drove out of town a few miles and made camp on the dessert with the two boys outfit from Iowa. It was real comfortable out in the open. We were awake at six the next morning and started driving early. The country was still very desolate. We stopped at Wagon Mounds, N.M. and had our oil changed at nine o'clock then proceeded by way of Raton then Trinidad, Colorado arriving in Trinidad at one o'clock.
We found a nice big bakery in Trinidad and bought a good supply of bread then went to a grocery store and finished filling out our bill of fare with pork and beans and vienna sausage. We proceeded through a dry south eastern Colorado. There was not anything to see but dry plains, very barren. We arrived in Garden City, Kan. the first place we had seen that looked modern since leaving Albuquerque. The country from there to the Kansas-Col. line was rather prosperous, very rich prairie land. We bought large cantaloupes two for five cents. We stopped in Garden City and shaved at a filling station and cleaned up a bit in general then drove out from town about five or ten miles before making camp on the prairie grass. The bed was fine but it got so cold before morning we like to have frozen. It snowed in South Dakota that night we learned later. We were up early the next A.M. driving into McPherson, Kan. by way of Hutchinson. Our friends left us in McPherson to take a northern route. We exchanged home addresses before parting. We had ridden one thousand miles with those two boys through the most desolate territory in U.S.
We took a bath & another shave at a filling station, changed to our next to cleanest shirt and started walking southward. Before leaving the city we bought two quarts of milk and a three loaves. It only cost .26 cents. We also bought a box of liquid shoe polish and started shining our shoes.
Three good lifts put us into Wichita at three o'clock. We passed directly through that city without a stop because we hoped to spend that night in Oklahoma City. Our first lift out of Wichita with a very reckless driver carried us fifteen miles. We just got out in time to stop two good natured fellows from Texas. They were driving a twenty eight model Chevrolet with all the doors taken off. They gave us a lift and what a lift it was. They were very humorous and a fellow could laugh at them whether they said anything funny or not because of their very southern Texas brogue.
The car would not run but about fifteen miles per hour so we slept out on the side of the road that night a few miles north of Guthrie, Okla., arriving there at one o'clock. We tried to sleep until six o'clock then drove into Oklahoma City arriving there at seven o'clock. We had breakfast at a two bit boarding house and Bob visited a very close friend for a few minutes after breakfast.
We started driving again at eight o'clock. The day was uneventful and we arrived in Mt. Pleasant, Texas at eight o'clock that evening. We went to the depot after leaving our friends and shaved again, then went to an A&P store and had our regular meal of a quart of milk each & a loaf of bread.
Our luck was tried on the highway leading to Texarkana, Ark-Tex. that night until we became disgusted at our unsuccessful attempt at nine o'clock. We walked one mile from the town and found a couple of large sign boards standing in a triangular form. We decided to look that place over to see the possibilities of a bed might be behind it. There was lots of thick soft grass in between the boards so we made camp there - putting on our sleeping clothes and spreading our raincoats over ourselves, using the suitcase as a pillow. The night was a very pleasant one for us. We arose the next morning at seven oclock and walked back to town for a fifteen cent breakfast consisting of two eggs, bread, butter and a glass of milk. Groceries were very reasonable in that section.
After the meal we went back to the road again and were successful in getting a ride on a new ford delivery truck after one hour of waiting. This man dropped us in the country and we bought a dozen peaches at a farm house for a dime. They were fine but we were growing rather extravagant all at once. Two more short lifts put us in Texarkana at noon time. The going had been tough that morning so we ate a lunch of bread and milk at an A&P store there.
After mailing a few cards and glancing over the city very hurriedly we resumed our journey, taking a short cut to Shreveport. This short cut stuff proved fatal to our means of transportation. After getting one ride out of Texarkana, about fifteen miles, we were unable to get another since the traffic was so very light. The road was not paved. We tried in vain to get a ride all afternoon until five thirty. We started flagging both directions at that time and got a ride in a big moving van back to Texarkana. We walked out of the city again after our bread and milk dinner. It was almost dark when we started again. The musquito's were thick as they could stick everywhere. We got one short lift for two miles into the country then walked about three miles before we decided to stop for the night.
The woods were very bare so we decided to sleep on the side of the road on the soft bermuda grass. We had not got settled before a nearby farmers hound heard us and started raising the devil, barking as loud and fast as he could. We decided it would be a good idea to move and that we did, walking about a mile further where we found grass similar to the first bed. We slept very soundly that nite and when we awoke at seven the next day motorists passing by were gazing at us strangely. Guess it did look odd us lying on the side of the road with our dew soaked raincoats over us.
We ate our regular meal of milk and break at a county store that morning then resumed our strenuous journey. We tried the road together an hour then matched for a split up. Bob won the toss and walked ahead. He got a ride in a Model Y truck shortly afterwards for about ten miles or more into Atlanta, Texas. "Pick" passed Bob in Atlanta but was put out a short distance from where he stood. Another bum had happened along and was talking to Bob when a fellow stopped and gave them a lift into Shreveport. Poor "Pick" was left on the side of the road. This man did not have room for him but Bob carried the suitcase with him on the running board of the car. Bob arrived in Shreveport at twelve oclock. Pick did not arrive until four o'clock after it had started raining. We met at the post office as had been planned. "Pick" had a ride for us to Minden, Louisiana so we departed from Shreveport at four thirty; it was a real southern city everybody seemed to be enjoying life.
We arrived at Minden at six o'clock. The girls in that place are the most attractive we believe than any others in U.S. We had lots of fun there getting wet a few minutes after our arrival from a thunder storm. We could not get a ride out that afternoon so we walked back to town and ate dinner then started searching for a hobo hotel after we had taken a bath and shave at a filling stations rest room - our barber shop.
After an hours search of box cars, storage houses etc. we found a very comfortable pile of cotton seed in a big warehouse that looked abandoned but we soon found out it was not when a watchman with a lantern passed within two feet of where we were lying. Fortunately he did not see us and we passed into another land shortly afterwards.
We awoke at six o'clock the next A.M. and crawled from the scattered cotton seed and changed clothing, our night clothes had lent all over them an inch thick. We had coffee and hot cakes for breakfast and got a ride in the meantime with the restaurant man in his lizzy for about ten miles. Our next ride was with a half witted philosopher. He lectured to us for five miles it took him forty five minutes to cover the distance so we knew plenty (about him) when he put us out.
The next ride was in a taxi. The owner was driving and of course we didn't pay. We flagged anything from an ox cart to an ambulance. That ride carried us into Monroe, arriving there at twelve o'clock where we had a Sunday two bit chicken dinner. Our first ride out of Monroe carried us to the forks of the Pine Bluff-Vicksburg road, a distance of twelve miles, on the back of a chevrolet truck. After three more short rides we were in Vicksburg and had crossed the giant Mississippi by way of a beautiful bridge. It cost us thirty cents. The old battleground of the Civil War is just accross the river. We viewed that.
It was about five oclock when we arrived at the edge of the Vicksburg city limits so we went in a grocery store and ate our bread and milk for supper. The people in Vicksburg are the most friendly in the world to a bum. He is not ignored by any means. We got a great kick out of kidding the motorists who passed by us. After an hour of that amusement we hooked a ride with a man in a new ford into Jackson, Miss. Pick drove for him most of the way and we arrived there at eight o'clock. It was drizzling rain and was very dark so we went in search of lodging at once. The night was spent in a used car lot one block from main street. We had a car each, using the back seat. We did not rest much as the musquitos were there in droves and left their marks all over our bodies. We arose at 6 A.M., ate a fifteen cent breakfast and started traveling again. We both felt terrible and did not get a ride after an hours bumming so we decided to split up but the first man that came along gave us a lift of about two miles and we did not split up after that. We only covered about twenty miles up till three o'clock and were almost ready to quit when a Texas man and his sister came along in a Whippett coupe and gave us a lift. We rode on the running board all that night, one on each side and outside of almost being drowned by rain and mud everything was dandy. We passed thru Birmingham at midnite. It reminded us of Pittsburgh with all its glowing smelter plants.
We became slightly tired out there on the running board thru all those hours but we were willing to ride anywhere so long as this man was good enough to carry us to Atlanta, Georgia with him. Georgia was his former home so we saluted the state by shooting a round of bulletts from his Colts revolver just after crossing the line at sun up on that Tuesday morning. We arrived in Atlanta at nine o'clock dirty, tired, hungry and happy to be so near home again.
We went to a barber shop first and took a shower while our pants were being pressed. We changed to clean socks, underwear, shirts etc. which we had been saving for this occasion. We looked like two different people entirely. So much dirt had collected on us until the water was so thick it almost stopped the drain pipe (this is not such a great exageration).
We ate a big order of ham and eggs and everything that goes with it in an Atlanta restaurant the first time we had seen anything like it for sometime. We got a street car out about six miles and started flagging our last lap of 120 miles. We were fairly successful arriving in Toccoa, Georgia at four o'clock after four pretty good rides. We were stuck in Toccoa for two hours, then a man from N.Y. came along and carried us the remaining 28 miles. He insisted that we return to N.Y.C. with him but home looked so good we stopped off. It was great to be home among old friends again. We had almost four dollars left between us upon our arrival home.
Since we had left home the past February we had covered almost ten thousand miles. It had not cost us but approximately fifty dollars each. We had passed thru thirty states; had seen the most worthy scenes of our country; had swam in both oceans and most of the large inland bodies of water; passed through most of the large cities of U.S., and above all had gained much geographical as well as economical knowledge. The trip was made in about two months traveling time and could have been made quicker if we had not delayed many times at the important historical and natural scenes.
We think, in conclusion, that every healthy American boy between the ages of seventeen and twenty one should enjoy this experience of adventure.