Reaching Rapid City, I mingled with a group of men in front of the U.S. Employment office to get information and with the idea that I might find a gentleman to go with me. Noticing a clean, nice-apearing man of about 30, I made it a point to talk to him and "Lo and Behold", he knew me and had worked at Morrells. Furthermore, he was once for two days under my supervision there, but I hardly knew him now as outside work had changed his appearance. He invited me for coffee and doughtnuts, how much in common we working men have. I shall not soon forget his conviviality and enthusiasm. He was a bulldozer operator and was now going somewhere to one of several jobs but didn't know just where as yet. It was through him that I found John Fromdahl and I knew at sight that this honest, hard-working carpenter was the man I was looking for.
God Gave a Companion Share the Long Ride
By now it was a question if I had money enough to make it to the coast alone. Saying good-bye to our friend who evidenced such sincere concern for me, we drove north through the Black Hills and out over the endless plains of Wyoming. It was very hot as we continued over a vast expanse of barren prairie land. The car was functioning okay, but taking lots of oil. However, in the evening, near Gillette, Wyoming, the generator burned out. Purchasing one from a Gamble Store there we drove on only to have it burn out late that night near Sheridan, Wyoming. Being very tired from the strain of a long, hot day, the two weary travelers pulled up in a wheat field and slept until morning. There was enough life in the battery to take us into a city somewhere in Montana, I don't recall the name now, where I told our story to another Gamble Store man and as a result he gave me a good deal on another.
Passing Through "Holbeck Ministry Country"
We also located the cause of the trouble and this resulted in no more delay from that source. We drove on through some very fine country in Montana, irrigated valleys near Bozeman, also very fertile and beautiful. We also passed through Billings, where Rev. Holbeck, Pearl's Uncle Andrew, had preached the Gospel for so many years, but had now moved to N. Dakota. We could see huge mountains to the south and west of us, but I purposely drove the northern route in order to avoid the high mountains of the Yellowstone region in order to save the car, but we hit some awful big ones in western Montana just the same [the Bitteroot Mountains?], where we crossed the Great Divide.
31 Cents for Soup!
In the afternoon of the 22nd of July we reached the city of Helena, teaming with construction work. No doubt we could have had weeks or months of carpenter work there, but it was my conviction to continue on to the coast and obtain a permanent job in the shipyards. Driving on through a rugged and semi-mountainous country, we entered at 10 that night the big western city of Missoula, Montana. John insisted we must have some warm nourishing food so against my wishes I went with him to a neat, clean, little place by the side of the road and ordered a bottle of soup. I assumed the price would be 10 or 15 cents, but to my disappointment, 31 cents; well, this was the first and last time that I entered a cafe on the trip, other than to fill our bottle with warm coffee [31 cents would buy a gallon of gas!].
Crossing No. America's Backbone, the Rockies
Proceeding west out of Missoula we crossed the Continental Divide and into those great and beautiful mountains of Idaho. I can see them yet, as we kept on through the night. They were so magificent and huge in the moon-light and semi-darkness. Toward morning we were all worn out as neither one of us slept to amount to anything. We parked and got an hour or so of sleep. We change off driving but I never quite trusted John at the wheel up there in the darkness of those mountains, so I did most of the driving myself.
A Near Plunge to Certain Death
At dawn we realized that we were in a new and beautiful country with magnificent timber, mountains, and roads, and the mining region near Wallace, Idaho, afforded sight such as cannot be described with words. In the early morning somewhat dulled by lack of sleep, I suppose, and therefore not conscious of excessive speed, coming around on a newly built road without any guard rails on the side of a high mountain in Idaho, we should have [gone off the road and] rolled over and over into a river far below, but the Lord is good! I shall never be able to understand why car didn't go off the side of that mountain. We got out to see if there were any tires left on the wheels, but to our astonishment, no harm was done. John remarked later about how, referring to the time the car started swinging in a wild, crazy fashion, I said, "Here we go!"
Hello to Golden Wheat Country
Driving through the unique and beautiful Coeur D'Alene region of northern Idaho, we turned south just 20 miles east of Spokane, Washington, for another 200 miles to Walla Walla, Washington, where I had promised to take John. This was just inside the Idaho-Washington boundary line and in passing I hope to take Pearl back there to that beautiful inland Sound up in Idaho sometime. I was impressed with the beauty of this region. We now continued south through the famous Genesee Valley and I was thrilled at the sight of the fields of golden wheat that were just ready for the combines. Of course, I have seen wheat in North Dakota and Canada too, but I have never seen any that looked just like this, and the fields were miles in length. I inquired of a Gamble Store man in the city of Moscow, Idaho, as to the financial condition of these farmers, and he replied, "They are wallering in wealth," to use his own words. This man was from Minnesota.
NOW PLEASE LINK TO PART FOUR, "REMINISCENT REFLECTIONS"!