A Chat with a lad he had such a good time, so full of every-day-out-in-the-wide-world experiences, that he really didn’t remember when he started; he had lost his diary; but he thought he had left vhicago “about a month ago,” and he had spent some days here.
He had ridden over a rattlesnake somewhere. The sheriff in Lexington, Neb., had taken his gun away. He had started out from his home in Riverside, a Chicago suburb on his Excelsior 1914 regular, with the idea that some pretty good roads were pretty bad ones, but by the time he reached the California line, via the Lincoln Highway route, he had learned to believe that some “roads” with celebrated names were good to keep away from and that some pretty rotten roads were pretty good ones. And life looked good to him.
He was a tall, 20-year-old lad, good-looking except for an over-sun-baked nose; a Lewis Institute student in Chicago, well acquainted with some newspaper cartoonists; with a penchant for electricity and possessed of a wireless outfit at home; and with enough mechanical ability to have overhauled his motor thoroughly before starting out.
He shipped his “boat” by boat from San Francisco to San Diego, rode northward again, the coast route, dropped in here and took supper with ye editor one evening, and next morning rambled on toward Paso Robles, where his uncle has a ranch.
Yep-He’d Have “Mud” on His Pie
A.C. Cameron was his name, and Tommy Girton, the “X” distributor, sent him over. Thanks, Tommy. It’s like a day off to talk with an intelligent young fellow-whether he was educated in a school or by experience-out to see the world as one of the best ways in which it is possible to see it -on two wheels, with either a motor or a good pair of legs to push them and an open, cheerful set of brains above them. It was great to just gabble with this six-foot boy about the world’s nothings-inparticular; as a wideawake boy, untouched by slum stuff, sees them; and just as great to see the facility with which his cheerful countenance absorbed a well-cooked supper and expressed wistful hesitancy when he was asked if he would have a little “mud” on his pie. He had lost his memory of dates, but not his tourist’s appetite.
He Didn’t Rob the Soldier
He shipped his “store” clothes through; wore a corduroy lined tan leather coat (leather side out while riding, vice versa when in town-good cleanliness idea) and corduroy breeches. At San Diego he met a United States soldier, and in Los Angeles, later, was wearing a good-as-new pure wool army shirt and breeches. And he didn’t rob the soldier, either. Soldiers save ‘em and sell ‘em.
He highly praised his 1914 “X,” which is a quiet runner, and found the handlebar clutch fine in the sand.
He had three-inch Goodyear studded tires. The front one he had ridden to Boston last year, on the same machine. That tire was used 4500 miles before it started on this tour. In Los Angeles he still had Chicago air and looked good for a return trip. The new rear tire, put on in Chicago, leaked slowly. On last year’s Boston trip he had many punctures-but on this trip he did not have a single one.
Last year, frequent chain breaks-chain too light. This trip, none. Short chain, Perry; long one, Duckworth.
Last year, on “good” roads, many spills. This trip only three-one entering Cheyenne, where he broke his pedal gear, which was excellently duplicated by a blacksmith; one coming into Laramie and one near Elko, where he made a 30-foot dive into sand.
At Grand Island, Neb., a wise garage gazabo noticed the magneto control worked hard, so he oiled the magneto-salivated it. Later Cameron, at Columbus, discovered no spark of life in the mag, and cleaned it with gasoline, fortunately being lucky and getting it reassembled as one, not more than one, magneto.
Somewhere along, somebody sold him something called oil-fit for a harvesting machine, it proved. Result: Had to have a bunch of carbon burned out at Cheyenne.
At Winnemucca, Nev., he smashed his rear wheel and with his machine rode in an army truck about 160 miles to Reno, where it was fixed.