Pan-American Trails Part 2

By Jose Porta, Photography by Jose Porta

And a regular bunch of fellows they were, those workers. I found a hundred of them at their camp and they all made me feel like an honored guest. The foremen gave orders to the men to help me in every possible way. Mechanics wanted to fix my motorcycle which indeed looked like a wreck. But it wasn’t that bad. All it needed was a little dusting and everything else was in perfect condition.

They gave me shelter and a cot to sleep on and I was sure thankful for having reached the place because we soon had a heavy storm that lasted late into the night.

In the morning the sky was clear but the ground was muddy and they wanted me to wait another day. I couldn’t afford to lose any more time. Also I couldn’t use the road they were building because it wasn’t going my way and also because it wouldn’t be passable yet for at least two years. I couldn’t wait that long.

After a few miles of riding the mud turned into deep sand and at noon I reached San Pedro. More sand and towards evening I was in Torreon.

Here was a large sized town, more up-to-date and cleaner than Monterrey and I decided to stay for a couple of days.

When I reached the Plaza I was swarmed by a crowd of idlers who told me they heard of my coming through the Prensa, and that was all I needed to know to take advantage of my opportunity. I took out a bunch of cards and passed them around. The cards went out and the centavos came in.

I stayed in Torreon for two days, in the meantime visiting Gomez Palacio and Lerdo, two towns adjoining Torreon. On the third day I left and headed north towards Chihuahua. The roads were very primitive and sandy, going through everlasting deserts. The ranches were always far apart but I was never refused food when I needed it, the natives being very polite and obliging in the extreme.

The Surge of Transcontinentals

Even as the love bug works overtime in the Spring so has the long distance bug been feeding overtime as it nears the season of Indian Summer. Maybe there is a connection and Indian Summer carries with it some of the precedents of that picturesque race after which it is named. In any event, simultaneous with the decision made by Earl Robinson of Michigan to make a long distance run so did Fred Ham, district 37 commissioner, decide to battle against the record recently established by “Steve” Whiting.

Ham is a well known rider on the West Coast and one who has hung up more than one victory where endurance and perseverance play a part. Fred is a Hollander, five years a resident in this country. Like most people from the land of windmills and wooden shoes he is graced with an abundance of good nature. No one ever thinks of Fred without a smile on his face. Backing his smile is a physique of worthy proportions and one capable of great endurance. This he has demonstrated by twice winning the Big Bear Enduro, ridden under the most trying conditions of weather.

Even as this issue speeds through the mails Ham will probably be fighting his way across desert and plain, through the intricacies of metropolitan traffic and against any odds the weather man may have to offer. Hearing that Robinson was likely to be riding against the same record at the same time Ham switched on his brightest smile and said “Good.” No doubt Earl feels the same way about it for it is of that spirit that motorcycle competition is made. And say the brethren, “May the best man win.”

By Jose Porta
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