From Springfield, Mass., to San Francisco the distance, even without wabbling, is more than 3000 miles. From San Francisco to Honolulu, about as much farther; from Honolulu to Sydney, at least twice as far again- a total of easily 12,000 miles- nearly half the world’s circumference.
That’s where Baker’s going next, to do some more long-distance stunts-from Springfield to Indianapolis, first, by train, to renew acquaintance with the family; then to Los Angeles, also by train, to loll awhile in the sticky (har! har!) Southern California climate; then, on Nov. 10, aboard the “Sierra,” out of San Francisco and the Golden Gate and due southwest, over about 10,000 miles of trackless ocean, except for the stop-in at Uncle Sam’s place, one-third the way, for a drink of pineapple juice and to say howdy to Hawaii. Then more than 6000 miles more to Sydney, on the southwest shore of Australasia’s biggest unit.
What He Will or May Do
Yep-that’s him-Erwin G. Baker; the loosely assembled, lengthitudinous, grandfatherly, goldarn sort of geezer they sometimes call “Long-legged” Baker; the one who tucked away the records from San Diego to New York and from Vancouver to Tia Juana, just like that, without stopping for a shave; whom a West Virginia newspaper man who had hit one too many wheeling stogies also even credited with the record from the southern end of South America to Alaska.
He might-who knows-try to get that, too. When he gets through riding record streaks across and rings around Australia and the two islands of New Zealand, he might take it into his noodle to sail across the 9000 or more watery miles to Patagonia and try to make that Cape Horn-to-Nome record a reality; through all that Chilean nitrate dust, Peruvian bark, and all that stuff; causing another Culebra slide, perhaps, by crossing the Panama ditch too suddenly; and further disturbing poor Mexico’s equilibrium in getting back into God’s country. All to boost the 1916 Powerplus, with U.S. Nobby Treads.
But no, it can’t be done. Until the many counties from the Mexican line south, and a few north of that, are heard from by way of finishing the Pacific Highway, that last mentioned saunter will be our idea of an impossibly rotten ride on a motorcycle, for man or beast.
Australia, Then New Zealand
After Baker has demolished the present record for the 600 miles from Sydney south to Melbourne, on the southern coast, he will do a certain 1200-mile run “around Australia”; the advance agent meaning, presumably, just round about the humanly-habitated parts thereof; not out where only kangaroos, whangdoodles and slobbery-jowled bushmen hold forth; for actually tracing Australia’s shore lines would be like putting a fringe around the United States.
After properly polishing off every single long-distance thing there is, in the home of the Eucalyptii Giganticus, the gigantic cuss will move eastward, waterwise, as far from Melbourne as one-third the way from New York to Europe, to New Zealand, where the north island has a 1000-mile trail that he will give what is coming to it; then an other, half as long, on the south island.
Then Up to Hawaii Again
After which, rest-up and an occasional pull at that Thermos milk bottle, to recover from the little bumps and the hospitality of the Antipodes, while sitting on the deck of some returning steamer, over the trackless Pacific again to the Hawaiian archipelago.
Compared with Australia, even the biggest of these islands, Hawaii, is a mere fly speck. Yet Hawaii, on which is Hilo, the second biggest city, is large enough to accommodate, if need be, a hundred volcanoes like Mauna Kea and Mauna Loa, which is the greatest in the world with a crater full of hot lava, 14 miles wide at the top. Baker may ride a few times around its rim, or break record up and down it, there being a road, with rest stations and under military supervision. On this island there awaits the legislature’s authority the building of the only fairly long road, 132 miles from Hilo westward to Kailua, on the other edge. Hilo is the harbor town. Kailua is high and dry, above the rain belt; and if the road were finished Baker doubtless would put all records for the entire course-high, low and middle-up on the shelf, high and dry, with Kailua.