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Art & Minnie Williams

Art WilliamsMinnie Williams

My grandparents' trip to California with their friends, Lou and Evelyn Wyman took place in 1939. They mention visiting a fair while in San Francisco on Treasure Island which could only be the 1939-1940 Golden Gate International Expositon. The Exposition only had two runs from February 18 through October 29, 1939 and May 25 through September 29, 1940. Since the diary is dated February, clearly they attended the 1939 bash. Still, my grandparents took this vacation in FEBRUARY, the middle of winter!!! California in winter is pleasant enough, but driving out of northwest Colorado through Utah in the dead of winter is hazardous, even by today's standards. And back then, there were so super highways, and not much more than a dirt trail leading over the mountains. Note how they had to use chains and a shovel to dig their way through at times, and how they made their own road when the map failed to provide them with one.

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THE STORY OF OUR TRIP

by Minnie Hiney Williams

Our trip really began Saturday night, February 4. Art got home from work at 11:00 p.m., and so by twelve o'clock had finished our last minute packing. We went over to the Wymans to spend the night. We were up early and on our way by seven Sunday morning, a cold, cloudy morning and snow falling all the way to Grand Junction. It was cold and stormy all afternoon as we rode through Colorado and entered Utah. Driving into Moab, Utah (one of the oldest Mormon towns) we saw beautiful red rock formations and a few cliff dwellings. We didn't linger, though, and drove through to Monticello, Utah arriving there about 4:30 p.m. We were advised to stay all night as it was still storming and found a nice little hotel here. Everyone gave us the laugh when we told them we were going over the "Indian Trail" to Tuba City, but we had our minds made up and so started out next morning with a big box lunch and beer to wash it down.

In due time we arrived in Bluff, Utah, February 6th. Bluff is a small town out in nowhere (first Mormon settlement in Utah), very unusual looking place, and here we got our first sight of a few Indians huddled in the center of the street around a little fire about the size of a plate. One squaw had bright red paint all over her face. All in all, this was a very impressive sight to me. We talked to a couple of Government men, and they said we might get on through if we had a shovel. Nothing daunted us this morning, so we purchased a shovel and proceeded on. One of the Government men followed us up to the Divide to see if we made it. There was only a narrow track, but we put on chains and pushed on. We are now completely out from civilization, snow deep and mostly guess work at the road. Monument ValleyWe went through Monument Valley (beautiful formations). Our next destination, Mexican Hat and we thought perhaps we might stop there. It proved to be a very large rock with a flat rock on top, well named. This is just a small trading post, no place to stay, we must go on. We watched the map and made our own road, nothing in sight. Just a little terrifying (if the wind had come up, we'd been there still). Finally we came to Kienta, a large trading post. Here we saw Indians in large numbers, all types and colors. I especially remember one big old Buck that came in the store. He had large turquoise earrings, his long hair done up in a huge knot at the nape of his neck tied with heavy cord string. He stood around and finally grunted his wants. Things at the store are kept behind heavy iron wire net. The keeper showed us their "Pawn Shop" where he had $3,000 worth of their belongings, mostly jewelry. They usually try to redeem it when they put on a big dance. I didn't envy his job.

A few miles out we ate our lunch, not much snow, good dirt road, and no habitation but Indian hogans. These are round mounds of earth, with a hole in the top for smoke. The entrance must always face the rising sun. Frequently we came up on old squaws out in the snow, bare-headed, feet bundled in rags, herding a small band of sheep. We tried to get pictures, but they dropped flat on the ground when they saw what we were trying to do. We dropped down again into Tuba City; weather warm and road dusty. Always hot and dry here, lots of sand, bad wind storms in the spring. This is a real Indian city. They have the largest Indian school in the States, but we didn't have time to go through. At the large trading posts, we were amazed at the rugs, baskets and jewelry made by the Indians. A couple of miles out is an old Hopi village, so we drove over. The first thing we saw was an old, old squaw sitting on the ground shelling corn. Art started to take her picture, but she hid her face under her arm, but he took it anyway. Evelyn gave her a sack of popcorn, and asked her if we may see inside her abode. She couldn't understand what we wanted, so she took us over to another part of the village and had a young Indian interpret. She smiled and smiled and was pleased to take us in her hut. She showed us how she grinds corn meal on stones. Would liked to have spent more time in Tuba City, and expect to return some day over the same trail, but will choose a warmer season.

Leaving Tuba City, we began climbing again, and along the way we saw more Indians and trading posts. Red Cedar pines were beautiful as we neared Grand Canyon, altitude 7,000 feet. Our first stop was "Watch Tower" where an Indian guide took us to the top and we climbed and climbed and climbed. The interior was all decorated with Indian designs, sand painting on one floor. In this tower we got our first view of the Grand Canyon. We arrived at the town of Grand Canyon by 6:00 p.m. and stayed at the Grand Canyon Lodge. We enjoyed pictures, lectures, picture shows by the Ranger in the evening and also music and songs by a cowboy band. We lounged around a huge fireplace in easy chairs and finally crawled into bed. The lodge is in a dense forest and it stormed and the wind howled all night.

On February 7th we arose early enough to see the sun rise on the canyon; the snow was drifted high and all in all a very beautiful sight. Although when we saw the drifted snow we wondered if we could get out, but the highway was clear. The town, Prescott is quite a little city. As we left it we climbed again and went over a pass as high and with as many curves as Rabbit Ears [a mountain peak near Craig, readily identifiable by its striking similarity to rabbit's ears - a landmark I remember well from childhood visits to Craig] used to have, then we dropped again and in a short time we were at Wickenburg where we saw our first cactus and palms. We got to Phoenix at 12:30 and after lunch we took a drive over the city to see the famous Biltmore Hotel, Camelback Inn, and tropical gardens. We bought a dozen tangerines just to get to pick them off the tree. On to Tucson, not much to see but desert, so made good time and arrived in Tucson about 6:30.

Saguaro National Park On the morning of February 8, we went for a drive over the city, and out to a Saguaro National Park of giant cactus. We took pictures, visited San Xavier Mission, first ever built in U.S. (one of the most interesting places of the whole trip). On our return to town saw an old Indian woman carrying a huge bundle of wood by balancing it on top of her head. Many pretty buildings and trees in Tucson, and we liked it better than Phoenix. We left Tucson reluctantly at 2:30 p.m. As we crossed the plains near Yuma, encountered a bad dust storm. The sand pitted the windshield, took painting off the front license plate. We stayed all night in Yuma at a nice hotel.

February 9th found us with an early start and a flat tire. This was soon fixed, however, and we crossed the river into California and lo and behold, there were the customs officers. Everybody was stopped and there were a lot of cars. All baggage was unloaded and everything in your suitcase turned upside down (a little embarrassing for some). They let us off easy, however. Guess they liked our looks. We turned our watches back an hour, which helped, and now we are really and truly in sunny California, but all we can see is sand and more sand, but it is plenty warm. Next we came to a range of mountains, climbing began again and up into the snow we went and then down and down, and before our eyes was beautiful California. Everything was green, all kinds of trees and flowers. As we went into San Diego we got our first glimpse of the ocean. We found a hotel, and got located for the night, after which we hurried to the beach, as we are all anxious for a good look at the ocean. We watched the ferries to Coronado, drove to Balboa Park, walked miles, saw the Zoo, largest bird cage in the world, every kind of bird there. We had dinner about 8:00 and was it swell! Had my first fresh lobster in the shell. Afterwards we went to the Paris Inn, had cocktails and saw a good floor show. This is quite a hangout for the sailor boys. We stayed at the New Plaza Hotel (very nice). We saw the city at night from Hotel Roof Gardens.

February 10th, we went out to "Ramona's Marriage Place" (Helen Hunt Jackson). This place covers an entire block, Spanish style, twelve large rooms that open out on the patio, walls adobe three feet thick, tiled roof resting on timbers tied with rawhide things, built in 1825, timbers carried on the shoulders of Indians from the mountains. All these rooms were furnished as they were in those times. This included the family chapel. Many marriages are still performed there. The patio is 100 x 150 all flowers, shrubs, grape arbor and the well-known wishing well. Evelyn took a drink out of it, but I didn't. We hated to leave San Diego, but of course we must go on. We drove north on the ocean highway to the town of Oceanside. Here we left the highway and went out in the country three miles and visited the old mission San Luis Rey. This is the most magnificent and largest of the twenty-one missions in California, founded in 1798 and 33 years spent in its construction. It sits upon a hill and is surrounded by green hills that look like carpet. A monk took us all through and we saw many interesting things. Arrived in Long Beach in the later afternoon. Art and I got a room at a hotel just two blocks from the ocean. We were not looking for a large hotel as we found out that the largest ones have never been reopened since the quake.

February 11. We made a visit to the "City Market". This market surrounds the library square on all four sides and is a sight to see. We then went on a long drive through the citrus fruit country, trees are hanging full of lemons, grapefruit, oranges and avocados. We had dinner (noon) at the Knott Ranch, famous for its Boysenberries and Southern Fried Chicken Dinners. I found I had never tasted fried chicken before. The Boysenberries are sort of a cross between loganberries and blackberries and make delicious pie. We will never forget that meal. They serve from 1,000 to 3,000 people for dinner. It is 15 miles from Long Beach and 22 miles from Los Angeles. Art and I met Evelyn and Lou at nine o'clock and went out to the "Tango", a gambling boat that sets out in the ocean. So down to the pier we went; there they have launches going back and forth all the time taking people out. You should have seen the mob of people waiting to get on, and the way they pile them in, you have a feeling the thing might capsize. You are sitting almost flat down on the bottom and there isn't much between you and the water. After we were out from the wharf they turned the lights out. It was pitch dark, but a door was rolled up on either side and you can look out there. I sat by the door and enjoyed the splash of the waves and the lights on shore. This was a forty minute ride. The young folks sang and raised the dickens in general. As we neared the large vessel it was a beautiful sight, all strung with colored lights. Well, they loaded us on to the big ship and was there a jam. As it was a Saturday night, you couldn't get near the dining room and dance floor, nor near the gambling tables. Lou said he did get close enough to one to lose a dollar. There was no place to sit down, so we came back, had a swell ride back as it wasn't crowded, home by twelve, dead tired.

February 12. Up in good time. Lou and Evelyn came by and we went down to the wharf and took the boat for Catalina. It was a perfect sunshiny day and large crowd going. As we pulled out, saw the palatial Vanderbilt yacht laying the harbor. Such a warm day, most people rode on top deck. There were cute stewardesses, three girls dressed in Spanish sailors and cape suits. On the first deck was spacious lounging room, cafe, rest rooms, etc., below dancing floor, orchestra plays all the time. Everybody got excited when some large fish appeared. Officer gave lecture on points of interest. Takes little over two hours to go over. Spanish band played when we land. Those who had bought tickets for a ride on the glass bottom boat are rushed over to that. We rode along the coast for perhaps half-hour. After lunch we took a long walk and marveled at the tropical flowers, etc. Went by the "Cubs" training ground. There is also a park, which has all kinds of birds. We saw the home of Zane Grey and the Wrigley mansion in the distance. Then back to the Casino. It sits on the bay, a two million dollar house of pleasure. The building is round, supposed to be no other like it. The dance floor is on the top story; instead of stairs you wind around on a gradual incline heavily carpeted. Of course the dance floor is circular and will hold a thousand couples, wide doors are spaced and open out on a promenade overlooking the ocean. Our boat left at 4:30, so we rushed back. Native girls pinned on bouquets, Spanish orchestra played and we really felt we have been somewhere. I didn't learn the population of Avalon, but it is quite a little town. I noticed apartments cheap there this time of year, certainly an ideal place to go. We saw a beautiful sunset on the ocean, it is cool. Most everyone rides inside. It was dark as we pull into Long Beach Harbor. Art and I climbed to the top deck again to enjoy the sights as we pull in. Lights all along the coastline as far as the eye can see. The stewardess girls are up there raving because people are such sissies and stay inside because it's cold and windy, when there is such a wonderful view from on top. So ends a perfect day.

February 13. Spent forenoon driving over to L.A. and getting located. Decided to take an apartment at the Tick-Tock Auto Court for a week. Have two bedrooms, bath and kitchen. We bought some coffee, bacon and eggs and loaded up on grapefruit and oranges, so we can have all we want for once. We always got our breakfast while here before we started out for the day. Art was the official "juicer", Lou made the coffee, Evelyn made the toast and set the table, and it was my job to fry the bacon and eggs. Everybody has to do dishes. Spent afternoon driving around town, go out to Hollywood and get reservations for Earl Carrolls nightclub. As long as we are going to crash a nightclub, might just as well go to the best. We took in the show "Kentucky" in the evening. We always spend considerable time for several evenings trying to find our way home.

February 14 (birthday of Art and Evelyn). Evelyn and I spent the morning getting our hair fixed. Our pass for the Hunnington Library said 1:00 o'clock so were out there in good time, about fifteen miles, I believe. We had lunch at Pictes in Marino (very swank). The library was one time the mansion house of the Hunningtons, very spacious and grand. The wide stairway still is covered with heavy white carpet. One of the best collections of paintings and period furniture can be seen here. The grounds are supposed to have at least one tree of every kind to found in the tropics.

Earl Carrolls nightclub theater is new, just opened Christmas. I couldn't begin to describe it so a few notes I copied read thus:

The first double revolving stage ever constructed.
Main dining auditorium seats 1,000 (and it was full)
First theater with auxiliary stages in the auditorium walls.
Florescent illumination on ceiling first of its kind in world.
Stage 80 feet in diameter, etc.

After you enter you climb stairs and the tables are terraced from the top of stairs and down to the stage. They have two orchestras, both broadcast (I was thrilled to get them over my radio last night) on Columbia network. Needless to say, the show was wonderful and dazzled you from beginning to end. Everybody goes down and dances on the stage between acts. Plenty of movie people there and probably plenty of tourists like us there to see all they can.

February 15. Got a driver to take us sight seeing. Spent most of the day driving. We drove through Beverly Hills, Hollywood, and we saw many homes of the stars. We lunched at the Brown Derby, went to the Planetarium, Hollywood Bowl, the Chinese Theater and many other drives, back to L.A. Had supper with a Mr. and Mrs. Brown, cousins of Lou's, then took in the show, Nelson Eddy in "Sweethearts" and Jack Haley in "Thanks for Everything".

February 16. We drove out to Forest Lawn Cemetery. It is about 25 miles out by Glendale. We were taken all through the Mausoleum, were lucky to get a pass to see the stained glass window "The Last Supper". It was made in Italy, took seven years to make it, and one year to install it after getting it here. This was the day of the bad wind storm in California, trees are out by the roots everywhere, large plate glass windows out and in millions of pieces. We just went on and didn't seem to notice it. The worst might have been while we were in the Mausoleum. All boats were turned back to shore that day. We drove on to Pasadena as we wanted to see the Rose Bowl, stopped one place while in Pasadena to consult the map. A young man stepped up, said, "You'd better drive up, a tree is about to topple over on your car." The wind didn't seem bad to us at all. We had dinner that night in L.A. at the Clifton Cafe. It is an unusual place; inside it is rustic, and you are among real trees, palms, fountains, even the old water wheel, pipe organ music and singing coming from somewhere. You feel you are in a woods. The food is good, but cheap. You can give more if you wish or walk out without paying anything. Don't miss Cliftons if you are ever in L.A.

February 17. Spent morning shopping in Hollywood. After lunch while Lou and Art went bowling at the "Hollywood Sports Club" (it almost covers a block, very swell), Evelyn and I loafed around and we saw several movie people - Mary Brian, Ed Arnold, Wallace Beery, Al Jenkins, Chico and Groucho Marx, Adolph Manjou, Irene Rich, Beverly Roberts and dozens we didn't know. We had tickets for a broadcast at 4:30 so were killing time. Finally all of us went to Clara Bows "It" Cocktail Lounge. It is a swell place, but she doesn't own it anymore. We enjoyed Jack Haley's broadcast (Wonderbread program) with Ted Floritoes orchestra. Had a fish dinner out on Santa Monica Pier, home to bed early, the one and only time on the trip. Both broadcasting buildings are in Hollywood, almost across the street from each other. The National is new, modernistic or streamlined or whatever you might call it, covers a block. Earl Carrolls is also the same kind of architecture.

February 18. At the beginning of our trip we had set Saturday, February 18th aside to attend the Santa Anita races as this was the day of the $50,000 handicap. It was another of those perfect days for weather, we had reserved seats near the finish line. There were 12 races and the whole afternoon was one thrill after another. We spent some time at the beginning finding out just what it was all about, but we soon learned how to lose our money. There is a 30 minute recess between each race. Bets are placed at this time, an electric board tells you every dollar that is put up on each horse, and the horses and jockeys are on parade on a small circular track behind the grandstand, so you go down to the excitement and incidentally eat a few hot dogs. (Art said he found himself elbowing with Clark Gable.) Then you rush back for the race and it's some climb. No dull moments, excitement from start to finish. The track has a beautiful setting of flowers all abloom in designs with mountains in the background. We got into our heaviest traffic leaving here. Eight lanes of cars. We had planned to go to Phil Harris' nightclub that night, but by the time we arrived home, everybody was too tired to get ready. Then, too, nobody had won any money which probably dampened our enthusiasm about stepping out again. We went again to Cliftons cafe for dinner and took in the L.A. Follies (enough said). When morning came we all were mad at ourselves because we hadn't had the gumption to get ready to go to see Phil Harris and our last chance gone as it was our last night in L.A. Our rent is paid till Monday and we had a pass to a broadcast from the Ambassador Hotel (home of Coconut Grove), but decided Sunday is a good day to start for Frisco.

February 19. Having been in L.A. a week, every dud we had along had been dragged out so there was considerable packing to do all around. Another beautiful day and we took the ocean drive, enjoyed the ocean on our left and the green hills with pretty towns on the right. You are hardly ever out of town, but I thought Ventura unusually pretty. Nice homes on the slopes down to the ocean. It is called the Poinsettia town and they grow as high as the house roofs. Stopped at the beach and watched them dig clams. Had a nice Sunday dinner at Santa Barbara, dark when we got to Monterey, where we stayed all night at Hotel Monterey. This is a fishing village, set on a small peninsula. It was California's first capitol and there are many things of historical interest here.

Lone Cypress, CarmelFebruary 20. Carmel is about six miles from Monterey and is rightly named "Beautiful Carmel by the Sea". The town is in a forest of Cypress trees, clear to the ocean edge and the water seems much more blue. We could hardly pull ourselves away from here. (Lou and Evelyn plan to spend their next honeymoon here.) We ate lunch at a very nice hotel coffee shop in San Jose (yellow jonquils everywhere). San Jose is a nice town of 60,000. Great large Acacia trees yellow with bloom along the highways. We saw our first artichoke fields and a few large Redwoods. Stopped in Burlingame a few minutes to see a cousin of Evelyn's. Arrived in Frisco about 3:00 p.m., stayed all night at Hotel Senator.

February 21. Didn't like that hotel very well so moved over to Hotel Golden State, which we liked very much and so stayed a week there. It is located in the central part of the downtown district and easy to get to from anywhere in the city. It is just two blocks from the Hotel St. Frances that you hear so much about. We spent this day at the fair (Golden Gate International Exposition), took a street car and crossed the bay by ferry. We walked and walked; the buildings are so large it takes forever to get anywhere. We finally took a ride around the grounds on the elephant train. I wouldn't know how to tell you about the fair. It would take weeks instead of days to do it justice. The buildings with their settings are past description, especially the lighted effects at night. My favorite lane I call it, was where the buildings (at night) were a vivid orchid and the tops of them would shade into rose. The trees have lights under them so the leaves look dark green at night. The evening show "Cavalcade of the Golden West" was the grandest thing. The charge is $.50 but it's worth $5.00. There were 200 people in the cast and 100 horses. The screen was fine sprays of water with colored lights in it. Crossing the bay back to Frisco at night was a wonderful sight. Ahead of you is the city on hills all lighted, to your right "Alcatraz" with its search lights, and behind Treasure Island with all its array of color.

Golden Gate bridgeFebruary 22. As this is a holiday, decided to go to the fair again. This time we took the car and drove over the great bridge. The crowds were immense, but everything was handled so perfectly there was no confusion. We again went on the trot all day trying to see everything. Many of the buildings were uncompleted and crews work night and day. While Evelyn and I went to the "Art Gallery", Art and Lou visited "Sally Rand's Nude Ranch", the biggest drawing card on the gay-way. The Legion put on a long, long parade, stunt flying, and fireworks rounded out the day.

February 23. Evelyn and I spent the morning getting our hair fixed. Art and I walked over to Chinatown in the afternoon. In the evening, we all went to the "Bal-Tabern" nightclub. This is one of Frisco's most popular places and was highly recommended to us, but it seemed pretty flat after having been to Earl Carrolls. Everything was common but the price.

February 24. Off early to Golden Gate Park; went through Japanese Tea Garden, had rice cakes and tea. There is a very large museum and we took in as much of it as we could. Also a large fish aquarium, with most every kind that grows, even the huge octopus. We had lunch on the ocean beach, then went through another park where they have a very large zoo. Then took a drive around the edge of the peninsula from the ocean to the bay; good view of the Golden Gate Bridge, Alcatraz and fishing docks. Coming to the wharf we found out that a large army transport boat, the "Republic" had just docked, and we had been on the walk all day but decided we must see this boat if possible. They were very gracious to us and got a guide to take us all though (notice picture of it). We climbed and climbed from one deck to the other, and every officer seemed so pleased to explain and show us everything. Even on the bridge all the fine scientific gadgets in the running of the ship were shown to us. In peace time they have two thousand people; even that seemed a lot to us. In the evening take a ride on a sight-seeing bus.

February 25. Spent the morning doing a little shopping in Chinatown. Their shops are so interesting, I could spend a day there just looking. My L.R.C. Club has a custom; if any member takes a trip of any note, they expect a little souvenir of some kind. As there are 20 of us, it takes a little shopping around. We ended up by getting them Chinese Good Luck Charms - little miniature animals fasted on a ring. The Chinese wear them for rings. I might mention that the Chinese were celebrating New Years week while we were there. Art bought me a kimono; it is plain gold satin with a green dragon on the back. In the afternoon we went through some of the best department stores of Frisco and are they swell! The best I have ever seen, but were terribly high in price. As we had taken in the L.A. Follies it wouldn't be quite fair not to go to the S. F. Follies, so went that evening. They sure put the L.A. show to shame, me, oh my, such goings on.

February 26. This is Sunday again and Evelyn and Lou went out to Burlingame to have Sunday dinner with her folks. Art and I decided we would rather mill around Frisco. We spent the morning down at the pier and along the water front. The U.S. Washington docked. This is the largest liner the U.S. owns. It came from New York on way to Honolulu and piermen had agreed to work it. (They were on strike.) We wanted to go through it, but found we must get a pass from the steamship office up town. You have heard of the water front where they cook you seafood while you wait. I talked to some of them and found out all about it. One Italian boy that was boiling crabs fished me out a leg and was it ever good. Art and I ended up by having fresh crab in the shell for lunch. We were in Joe DeMaggio's place. Very nice. We then took a car over to the Cliff House on the ocean, and watched the seals sunning themselves on big rocks. We walked along the promenade; seemed like the whole city was out there. Some of the natives were in bathing suits, but the air would be too cool for tenderfeet like us. Walked through Sutter Park; this was once a private estate, is full of statuary and flowers. Back downtown we had the best dinner at the Oxford Charcoal Grill, then went to the Golden Gate Theater. The picture was the "Great Man Votes", and they also had a good stage show. Leon Nayaro and his piano was one part.

February 27. Well, we were to leave this morning, but Lou and Art got passes to go through this big boat I was telling about. We were more than astounded by the size and the luxury of the things. We certainly wished we could stay on it and go to Honolulu. It was about 11:00 a.m. when we got started for Reno. We also learned that the strike was settled that morning after a period of two years, and the city was rejoicing. We again cross the Bay Bridge; it is 8 1/2 miles long. There are six lanes for cars. The street cars go underneath; I don't know how many tracks they have. Anyway, it is a great, great bridge; toll 50 cents for all of us. We felt it was too late to try to see Oakland; the highway goes through just the edge of it and Berkeley. Soon came to Sacramento River; and they charged us a dollar to go over a bridge about like the one over Coon River. The Sacramento Valley is a beautiful farming country, and the orchards were all abloom. Ate lunch in the city of Sacramento. We soon began to climb a pass and are soon in snow again, and we felt like we didn't ever want to see snow, but there was some more or less all the way to Reno. We arrived there at 5:00 p.m. Stayed at the "Overland Hotel", had a good dinner at the Grand Cafe. Then we made a raid on several of the gambling clubs, but they soon made a raid on us, not too much, however. We thought we might see a floor show there, as we saw a place we thought we would like to go to, but we found out the first one didn't start until 11:30, next one at 2:30 a.m. and the next on at 4:30 a.m. Knowing we would have to get up at five in order to make Salt Lake, didn't go. Reno is sure some night-owl town. Our hotel was on the main drag, just across from the two largest clubs and from twelve o'clock on they sure made a rumpus.

Colorado RockiesFebruary 28. We were up at 5:00 a.m., a light snow falling. We hadn't gotten much sleep for the noise and it was just an ordinary night with nothing unusual going on. We are soon out in desolate country, can't even get radio reception. Had lunch at Elko, more barren, desolate country and everybody sleeps but the driver. We got into Salt Lake at five p.m., but have to turn our watches up to six p.m. Blew ourselves to a dinner at the Rotisserie and later took in a show.

March 1. Had intended to spend part of the morning at least in Salt Lake, but quite a blizzard is on, so started for home. After we were out a few miles got out of the storm and the sun was shining and I was still mad at Art because he wouldn't let me stay long enough to buy a dress. Had lunch in Vernal and as we near Moffat County, find the snow terribly deep, but the highway was clear. If we had been a couple of days earlier, could not have made it through as they had had the worst storm in years. We arrived in Craig about five p.m., tired, broke, but happy.

Grandparents' Car
Grandparents' First Car
Car
Typical Colorado Road circa 1940

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Craig Empire Courier - "Unusual But True"

Last February as Mr. and Mrs. A.K. Williams and Mr. and Mrs. L.S. Wyman were returning to Craig from a vacation trip in Southern California, they decided to drive home by the way of Death Valley. After entering the valley and driving for a short time they noticed a few trucks and a group of people some distance from the side of the road, stopped and started over to investigate. To their amusement, they saw a mounted Indian dash from behind a pile of rock, tear off across the valley hotly pursued by two white men who were firing on him at every jump of their horses. The Craig people believed that they had stumbled onto a real western tragedy and were about to witness a killing, but it developed that it was only a moving picture company on location making 20 Mule Team, a picture of the early days in Death Valley. They met Wallace Beery, found him to be as affable in person as he is on the screen and he invited them to remain until the following day when more interesting scenes would be shot. They accepted his invitation and spent two delightful days talking to members of the cast and watching pictures being made from behind the camera. 20 Mule Team plays at the Craig theatre next Sunday and Monday and Art Williams says wild horses couldn't keep him from seeing the completed film after watching part of it in the making.

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All color photos © 1998, Sam Behling; black & white photos by Art Williams and © 1998, Sam Behling

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