Traveling Short-Coupled on a Single

How two college boys rode away from dull care on a 30.50 single and little money

By Henry Plaisance, Photography by Henry Plaisance

From the May 1935 issue of Motorcyclist Magazine

My Pal, Aristide Breaux, and I had been day-dreaming through many a college class in the joys of our anticipated trip, and now, at last, the day had come! Classes were out! The term was ended and accordingly at the end of the week on Saturday August 11th, 1934, I stopped in front of his home at Carencro. Our mount was a 30.50” Single of a standard American make, which although a late model, had already seen many miles. It was loaded with out pup tent, canvas, blankets, cam era and films, spyglass, frying pan, first-aid kit, coil of rope, a few odds and ends including our extra clothing; all essential to a five weeks vacation tour. Our pocketbooks were surprisingly low for such a lengthy ramble ahead, but we were skilled in the art of “skimping,” and our little “peashooter” justly merited our confidence and could rightfully return a snicker to these big gas hogs (74’s) which often do no more than a measly forty miles to the gallon.

So we two husky lads climbed into the Buddy Seat and spanked away the miles out of the realms of dreamland and supposedly away from our South Louisiana mosquitoes. That evening we spread our canvas in a patch of woods near the outskirts of Little Rock, Arkansas (some 450 miles from home), and were ready for the night’s rest. We were heartbroken to find that our little single couldn’t even outrun a mosquito, as these pesky little pests had followed us all the way there and were so busy biting us as to make sleep quite impossible. Upon moving into town, we were relieved to find out that these were Arkansas mosquitoes (another tribe of the same creatures), and had not followed us from Louisiana at all, but resided permanently about Little Rock. We found for a sleeping place, an empty, screened, market-place which seemed to have been set aside especia1ly for our use.

Our first day’s travel was over more or less familiar roads, and sight-seeing was cast aside. Our second day’s travel brought us to Petit Jean State Park, some few miles west of Little Rock. Here we spent a very interesting half-day looking the park over and exploring beautiful wooded trails and climbing steep canyon walls.

After quite a bit of deliberation we decided to make a loop through Russelville, Fayetteville, and back to Harrison, this being chosen in preference to the equally attractive and scenic route directly from Russelville to Harrison. That evening’s ride took us through some of the most beautiful scenery of the Ozark Region, our extra few miles being well repaid. That night Frog Bayou provided a fine camping site with its crystal clear waters for bathing.

This region had been suffering from a severe three months’ drought as was evidenced by much of the foliage of the mountainside being withered and scorched. We heard reports of places only a few miles distant where gasoline was selling for eighteen cents per gallon, and fresh water for twenty. The ride through Fayetteville included a trip to Arkansas State University and a ride up to scenic Mt. Sequoia. A ride through Eureka Springs would prove interesting to anyone as this little mountain resort has a uniqueness all of its own. Its main street winds about and climbs and drops from higher to lower elevations for a distance of several miles and the fact that it has a seven-story hotel with each story a ground floor will give an idea of the ruggedness of the landscape. A short side trip to Onyx Cave proved to be of interest to us. We rode into the town of Harrison which was to the nucleus of an area containing a great number of worthwhile spectacles. Our trip to Jasper took us over steep grades and around sharp curves through a section abounding in cool, spring-fed, fish-abounding mountain streams. The lure of Marble-City Falls was irresistible and in half an hour or so, we were at the bottom of the cataract with spray and mist about us, looking up at our faithful steed parked on a ledge of the highway several hundred feet above patiently awaiting our return. The ascent later provided a nice work-out for us two, and what a contrast we did make with our tongues hanging out after only a few minutes exertion, while our little motor, without hesitation barked with joy at the first crank ready to carry its monstrous load over hill and dale, mile after mile, without complaint, never too weary, never too tired. That night we found a nice secluded spot far from all worldly din, right on the banks of Buffalo River. Here we spent the evening swimming, and laundering our rather dirty travelling clothes and had a nice campfire with a hot supper and later a hot breakfast, after relaxing into a peaceful and comfortable night of rest.

By Henry Plaisance
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