May 5, 1914 Phoenix to Springerville

In His Own Words

Day 3. May 5, 1914: Phoenix to Springerville, AZ

On the morning of May 5 I told the boys that I was going to Springerville. Ariz., and that I was going to do it that day before sundown. Everyone gave me the laugh, because they knew I had some riding before me, having to ride from 250 feet below sea level to a rise of 9,647 feet above sea level—a ride through hot desert sands and right up through three inches of snow—a distance of 265 1/2 miles from Phoenix.

I also had some very unkind comments made to me regarding the little “pop-gun” I was carrying, and Doc Boido stepped up to me, took the toy away and snapped a real “cannon” on my handlebars—a Smith & Wesson 38-caliber long, for which I was mighty glad afterward. The gun looked all right to me because it had three notches on the butt of it. It proved afterward that I sure did have use for this gun, for while coming through the Indian reservation at Fort Apache I was given a big welcome by more dogs than Indians, and I had to put this gun to use. These dogs were worse than wolves and I had to drop two of them in their tracks to get by. I stopped at the Indian agency (not Indian Motocycle agency, but the Government Indian agent) and some of the Indians gathered around making noises that sounded to me like: “Ugh! Heap fine pony! Heap fast pony! Ugh! Go get ‘em pony.”

After leaving the boys at Phoenix, I started over the famous “Roosevelt Route.” This route is similar to the picturesque Grand Canyon of Arizona. I will say right here that it is absolutely impossible for a motorcycle to go over this route without a two-speed, for after I started out of the lower sea level to go up into the higher altitudes, I used my two-speed every inch of the way. The ride of this day was a continuous one over narrow, dangerous cliff roads and the change of climate from the hot desert sands to the snow-peaked mountains was enough to give a man the shivers and shake him off his machine.

A Perilous Ride Over the Mountains

When I reached the top of these lofty mountains I felt as if I had been down on a visit to “Old Nick” and had used my excursion ticket back to heaven, because that good cold air revived me, gave me new life and spurred me on my way. I could have ridden further, but I felt as if I was getting cross-eyed from making the twists and turns through those paths on the cliffs. Some of them made me feel that I could almost shake hands with myself so I rested the night at Springerville over night.