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

Packing our baggage, we rode the trail to Diamond Cave, the most wonderful and largest cave of the Ozarks. For a comparatively moderate fee of one dollar we were guided through a labyrinth of underground passages which were developed and electrically lighted for a distance of five miles and which had been explored some twenty-four miles beyond the entrance. Although this cave has not as yet received such wide-spread publicity, it is of much greater beauty and is far larger than many of the more famous caverns of other sections. Our four-hour visit was so pleasant and thrilling that we were almost sorry to have to leave.

Back at Harrison, we purchased more supplies, and got my shoes resoled, they having been badly used up in the mountain climbing and we having quite a bit more hiking to look forward to. That evening we rode more rugged roads to Compton. The next morning we were shown through one of the many lead mines in and about Ponca City and the visit proved to be fascinating and informative. A few miles distant was Hemmed-In-Hollow. This is a beautiful gorge surrounded by a perpendicular bluff three hundred feet in height. The descent to the hollow is without a trail, and difficult and somewhat risky; but the energetic climber is well rewarded for his efforts. The stream flowing at the bottom of the hollow is fed by a waterfall having a drop of a sheer two hundred and eighty feet, and presents an inspiring sight to the onlooker. The stream above the falls has cut through the rock some twenty feet and forms a series of pools, one of which is ten feet deep and of just the right size to form a fine swimming-hole. Needless to say we did not let this opportunity go by and gave the “bath tub” a real tryout. The hollow is near the goat-ranch of Mr. I.A. Bruce at Compton, Arkansas, and Mr. Bruce himself was on hand to give us a hearty welcome and I know will do the same for any other tourists interested in visiting Hemmed-In-Hollow.

Our next two days of joy were dimmed by a continuous rain. With no waterproof clothing in our possession, we were at times quite miserable. Our pup tent had been packed away for two years before this trip, and when the test came we found that it leaked like a basket and gave little protection from the elements. On cloudy nights after this, we were always on the lookout for shelter, a handy barn deserted house, covered haystack or the like. Along with fair weather and first class roads we made rapid progress through St. Louis, Springfield. Bloomington, and Joliet. On this night we rodeuntil 10:00 p.m. looking for a good roof along the wayside and were fortunate in finding one, as a heavy shower came down during the early morning hours. The next day which was Sunday, we rode through Aurora, Elgin, and into Lake Geneva, Wisconsin, a beautiful resort town.

A trip around the lake included a visit to Yerkes Observatory, which harbors the largest refracting telescope in existence and which is noted for its great amount of astronomical research work. That evening took us into Milwaukee, the home of Harley-Davidsons. Here, in this city, we learned that the Badger Derby Endurance Run had just ended a few hours earlier and enthusiasm was still running high. This road event is an annual affair promoted by the Milwaukee Motorcycle Club and arouses interest for many miles around. Too bad we couldn’t have arrived a day earlier and seen more of the sport or possibly entered the event ourselves.

That night the weather turned real cool, and having taken only light flannel blankets along with our canvas, we were set to shivering so vigorously that we had to be very careful not to rest against the billboard posts for fear of shaking the signboard from its moorings.

The next morning at eight o’clock we were at the Harley-Davidson Motor Co. and soon introduced ourselves.

One of the factory men asked, “Boys, where are you stopping during your visit in Milwaukee?” seemingly expecting us to say, “The Waldorf,” or “Ritzmore” or some such thing.

“Back of a billboard,” was our droll reply, “but will be looking for a warmer spot tonight.”

We soon made friends with the several other guests in the factory visiting room and accordingly set forth exchanging a veritable carload of motorcycle yarns. The factory guide took us through a several hour tour of the plant and showed us the many wonders to be seen.

By Henry Plaisance
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