May 12, 1914 Greenville to Columbus, Ohio

In His Own Words

Day 10. May 12, 1914: Greenville, IL to Columbus, OH

Caught by the Rain at Last

With thunder storms all around me, I was somewhat worried during the night, as I was getting near to the point where my friend Brant (the weather clerk at Phoenix) had predicted I would have a storm overtake me. I knew I never would get through even with a team of horses over the mudholes if I was caught in heavy rain, so bright and early on the morning of May 11 (*4) I mounted my machine and rode for dear life, not even stopping for breakfast. I rode for Casey, Ill., which was about 90 miles from Greenville, and the rain started to pour down on me and I found then that the roads were getting so slippery it was necessary for me to ride seven or eight miles on the railroad ties in order to reach a well-known gravel road, which led into Terre Haute. I entered Terre Haute, Ind., in torrents of rain.

I was informed then that I could pass through with no limit to speed. Being a native of Indiana, everyone was out to welcome me and the message was sent along the way: “Clear the road; I am a-coming.” As I passed through small towns and villages the natives were standing on the roadsides with umbrellas up waiting for me.

I rode from Terre Haute to Indianapolis—a distance of 72 miles—in a downpour of rain, in an hour and 55 miles, reaching Indianapolis, which is my hometown, at five minutes to 12. At last I was at home in my native city with my folks and ravenouts for the mid-day dinner, and I found that they had a regular banquet arranged for me. I remained there two hours and a half.

Mr. Westing, the Indian dealer, telegraphed ahead to Dayton, Ohio, the fact that I was on my way. I reached Dayton, rode up to W.B. Schaefer’s, the Indian agency, and found a crowd of motorcyclists ready to start out to meet me in an hour or two, as they expected that I would take at least five hours to ride the distance of 112 miles. I had accomplished it in three hours and twelve minutes. They had my machine filled up with gasoline and oil and I continued on my way and rode from there to Columbus, Ohio, having finished a ride that day of 376 miles. As I approached the city of Columbus, Mr. Barr, with a number of motorcyclists, met me and escorted me into the city, where I put up overnight.

*4: Baker incorrectly listed this as “May 10.”