10,000 Miles on my Scout

By Rural Murry, Photography by Rural Murry

From the January 1935 issue of Motorcyclist Magazine

There must have been a little confusion in Heaven the night the shipping clerk sent me out and he did not notice he was sending out a boy in a girl’s body-or, it might have been the confusion was here on earth where I was welcomed by three brothers who proceeded to bring me up in their boyish fashion. Along with them I fell from horses, from windmill towers, from house tops, and from all the other millions of places that boys fall from but still survive.

The banner day, however, was undoubtedly the one when my oldest brother taught me to ride his 1915 Harley-Davidson motorcycle. Women and girls lived sufficiently restricted lives in those days that my motorcycle riding brought forth much comment.

Then along came the war, and with it a new world for women. With my first job came a new feeling of independence and I immediately began to dream of a time when I would be able to own as well as ride a motor. Along with that dream was another, a desire to travel. The two went well in hand, but I realized the first sooner than I did the second.

This last summer came the opportunity to fulfill both dreams. A motor was available for my use and by scraping together a little money I was able to slip away. No one guessed what I had in mind when I packed the little saddle bags on my motor but everyone supposed I was going to see my mother. Preparations were simple and I was off. (I might say here that I live in San Antonio, Texas, and it was from there I started my great experience.)

Passing through Dallas, Texarkana, Little Rock and Memphis it seemed as though the cities departed even more quickly than they appeared upon the horizon. With the breeze blowing my hair back, and my heart pounding, I was happy beyond description.

All went well along the early part of my route. I had swept across the south and was swinging north. Near Adkins, Virginia, I stopped for a cold drink and some gas. Waving goodbye to a couple of well wishers I departed only to hear a loud clatter just as I started down a hill. I tried all gears, and gunned the motor- but, there was no power. I pulled over to the side of the road and parked. There flashed through my mind a cartoon I had seen in The Motorcyclist. Maybe my motor had decided to go nudist, and had stripped the gears. About the time I had some tools dragged out a car drove up and stopped.

“Lady, did you lose this?”

Alas, he was holding out my chain.

Assuring him that its installation was a simple matter I thanked him and he drove on. Hardly had he disappeared from sight when along came a lone motorcyclist. No sooner said than done. The chain was on and I was on my way.

I skipped Roanoke, Virginia, being anxious to see the Natural Bridge in Virginia as soon as possible. Night overtook me at Buchanan so I found a nice room wherein I relaxed and poured over my maps.

Early next morning I was on my way and had crossed the Natural Bridge before I knew it. Paying my entrance fee I walked down the long lane to the river. One of my first surprises came before I got far. A quaint old lady with a monocle and what I presumed to be a New England poise greeted me.

She had just visited the Shenandoah Caverns and insisted that I, too, must take the time to see them. Likewise she thought I should try the wonderful meals at the place-only seventy-five cents. Only seventy-five! Who ever heard of a lone lady cycler on tour throwing away that much when hamburgers are so good for only a dime?

Leaving her I strolled on to wonder at two lovely arbor vitaes, one on each side the walk. They were 1,000 years old and measured 56 inches in diameter.

By Rural Murry
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