Mom in playful mood with campground neighbor.
Their lives crossed at a dance in San Francisco, where Pop was stationed. Discharged on August 24, 1921 and married his chosen in The City the next day. And the great adventure two-years later was forged. Marie and Albert were on their way to Worcester, Mass., to see Albert’s family and introduce his new bride. While mom’s “Memorandum” ran some 60-plus pages, the following are many of the highlights – and lowlights – of this momentous journey, reminisces Al Auger.
Part 2 of 2
Our intrepid adventures have reached Bijou, California and are now preparing to once again to hit the road.
Day Four, Sand Springs: “Hit some pretty bad roads and one which is said to be 33-1/3% right at the top. Albert backed up it. Stubby and I unloaded the car and packed the stuff to the top. I was scared half to death for fear Al would get hurt. 122 miles mileage made.”
Day Eight, Salt Lake City: “We are going to stay over here a couple of days. I washed (clothes) – Albert and Stubby went up town after breakfast to have the rims fixed, a shorted timer wire and the mag (magneto) charged, also a shave and a haircut they said they didn’t need. Oh, my no! Mileage made 000.”
Day nine, Salt Lake City: Stubby and Albert took the car to the blacksmith to have the wheels reset. We saw the people with the Chev (Chevy); They told us they had a broken master gear in Ely (Nevada) and that they did it towing up the hill. Mileage made 0000.”
Day Ten, Leaving Salt Lake City: “Came over a part of Rockies – “the Wabash” which after arriving Fort Bridger we were told by a Wyoming man who claimed he was on the Geological Survey that the elevation was about 10,000 ft. I know we felt like we on the top of the world. Mileage made 145 miles.
These truncated descriptions of the adventure’s beginning were a palpable vision to the reader of ongoing mechanical woes the simplistic version Henry Ford developed to put a Tin Lizzie in every man’s garage. Ahead, though, lay the physical challenges of even today’s traveler experiences. In Fort Bridger, after dinner, the men went to play some pool and mom to get some water. A sense of loneliness had her call to her companions to join her. A “smudgy” fire was built to drive off the hordes of mosquitoes.
But, as we all seem to find on our far trails traveled are people from every corner of our world. New, short-term friends, to swap stories and share their fortunes when needed. But, the sheer beauty of the country was the overwhelming drama our bold trio experienced as the miles crept onward. Mom describes the “prettiest rock formations called the “Church Butte.” She goes on about photographing a mysterious subject she said was the “Old Man of the Mts.”
Our adventurous trio trekked on: Leaving Fort Bridger they came upon “…a deserted coal mining town of about 15 houses and shacks.” Swell roads, Mom wrote, led them to the burg Wamsutter where they enjoyed a dinner of “Roast beef, potatoes, spinach, gravy, potatoes and apricot pie for the magnificent price of 65 cents.” From Rawlins, Wyoming the three passed through some of the most dramatic landscape to be found in the West. Crossing the Platte River they motored to the famed town of Medicine Bow, through the Laramie Plains and on to celebrated Laramie itself and on to even more renown Cheyenne.
Day 14, Leaving North Platte, Nebraska: “The road was no peach to Brady. Went for a little ways and the carburetor began to spit. After fooling around a little, discovered it was the timer. Albert fixed that and then put the new fan belt on, it was a little too small so Stubby stretched it on a jack. Mileage made 127 miles.”
A bit of whimsy in Oakland, Iowa. “Stopped at Oakland to buy some cards to have some fun with our folks in Oakland. We wrote them, ‘Half across the continent and still in Oakland.’” In Des Moines, Iowa, Mom found more eye-candy to add to her growing archive of sights. “…came to Des Moines, the capitol of Iowa. The Capitol’s tower was like a glittering gold from a distance. It was beautiful. Drove on into Davenport. Went to a little café to get dinner. A young man and his family were in their Chevrolet by the café and kindly offered to come back in three-quarters of an hour and show us out to the campgrounds.”
Drama again, this time in Chicago. “All the big stores and hotels had mourning out for President Harding. Gorgeous drapes of royal purple and black.” Worcester was getting close as they cleared Buffalo to Niagara Falls, “It was surely was the most beautiful sight I ever saw. Shaped like a horseshoe. On the other side you could see Canada.”
Day 22, Worcester, Mass: “When we drove in Albert’s yard, Mr. Auger (Pop’s father) was sitting on the front porch. Albert hollered ‘Hello, Joe.” It took him a minute to realize who It was. Then he run up the stairs and down the stairs again, calling ‘Emma, Emma, Albert is here, Albert is here.’ Believe me , he was excited. So was Blanche and Albert’s mother and Armand (Pop’s brother) was petrified nearby. So that ended a wonderful trip of nearly 4,000 miles.”
Photos by Marie Auger, Albert Auger & Sterling Wheeler
Archive photos courtesy of Patti Auger.