Day 2. May 4, 1914: Yuma to Phoenix
A Close Call in the Desert
The next morning, May 4, a 6 a.m., I was ready to start my journey to Phoenix. Knowing there would be no “corner saloons” to stop off at, I made sure that my canteen was loaded right up to the cork. I rode to a station called Dome, there getting a post mark registration from the postmaster. Crossing the Gila River, from there I started over a road of deep washes, but outside of this there was fairly good going. Then I came into the Castle Dome Mountains and passed through this wonderful desert mountain range, which was nothing more than a series of mammoth flat-faced rocks, having the appearance of city skyscrapers, church spires or capitol domes, but without one sign of life, which could be seen from points of 80 to 100 miles. From then on I rode a very bad stretch of desert, made up of rocky gulches, deep washes and quantities of sand, all the while through intense heat. Four miles before reaching the town of Agua Caliente (called by the natives Water Springs) I ran out of gasoline while in deep sand, and from there I had to push my machine along until I reached the springs, with the thermometer standing at 119 degrees in the shade.
There I spent four hours, having dinner and then resting up from the exertion of pushing my machine through the deep sand in the intense heat. I was so exhausted when I reached the Spring house that someone suggested pouring ice-cold water right down my spine, which certainly did revive me. I was fortunate in hitting this Spring house, because they had a little ice machine there and I think if it hadn’t been for that ice machine I would never have seen the bright lights of Broadway. If I could have got a moving picture man to take pictures of the things I saw on that desert in my imagination after the heat hit me, they sure would have some moving picture stunt.
I found fairly good going for 14 miles from there on, and then struck sand and silt for 32 miles, riding rocky gulches and sandy washes in to Arlington. At this point I was met by Lorenzo Boido, one of the “crack” motorcycle riders of Phoenix, who escorted me into Phoenix.
I was given a right warm welcome reception when I entered Phoenix by all my friends. This was 441 miles from San Diego, and I had covered the distance in two days. My friends saw to it that I had a good square meal and a soft, downy place to sleep.