Motor Trip to California & Oregon
July 9, 1937
Dearest Mother & all,
Arrived in Portland at 1:20 today having gone about 4000 miles. Sent Bea and Kenneth a telegram and they were there to meet me. This has certainly been a wonderful trip. We have seen & done so many wonderful things that my head is in a whirl almost. Just got through taking a bath and cleaning up so I feel much better. Was on the bus from 3:30 yesterday to 1:26 today. Didn't get much sleep.
Well, I don't know what I told you in the other letter, but we were in Santa Monica with Mary White Sunday, Monday, & Tuesday (July 4,5,6th). Arrived there about 11 on the evening of the 4th. She has a lovely home & took us all in. We were surely glad to have the opportunity of being in a real home after staying in tourist cabins. She was just lovely to us. Then Wednesday morning we left for San Francisco and arrived there about 8 PM. It was very foggy & we couldn't view the lights of the city so well, nor the new Golden Gate bridge which we wanted to see so badly. So, we drove down to Chinatown awhile & then back to the hotel. It was the first and only hotel we stayed in but we couldn't find any tourists cabins. We slept until about 9 the next morning & packed & they took me over to the bus station and here I am. It has certainly been a wonderful trip and fairly comfortable. The day we traveled up to San Francisco we rode right along the ocean all the way and it was really chilly. The roads wound in & out around the mountains, and it was rather scarry at times when we went up so high. But Earl was a very good driver & we weren't afraid.
The day we went to see Boulder Dam we rode through the desert all day & nearly suffocated riding through Kansas. It was hot! Also I had to pay Earl 16 dollars & 70 cents for the gas & oil and cabins which was quite reasonable I thought. Of course it cost me 10 dollars & 85 cents to come from San Francisco to Portland and my food cost me around 10 or 11 dollars. But, it is certainly worth it and I've gotten a lot more for my money than I would have had I come on the train.
How is the weather there? Pretty hot I bet. Bea & Kenneth haven't gone on their vacation yet but they are leaving Monday so I will get to go with them. They have bought a tent, equipment, etc. & are going to the hills up the river to fish, so maybe I will get to be a fisherman! (ha) They have a nice big home here in Portland and I know I am going to have a good time here. Their two little boys have grown so much I wouldn't have known Tommy, the baby. He is nearly 2 years old. They are little live wires and awfully sweet.
Well, I must end this letter & take it down before the post office closes so you will get it. Hope you are well and tell everyone hello. Tried to send cards to all but won't have time to write many letters. Did you send my riding pants? Write me at 4022 S.E. Salmon. We will be gone for 2 weeks but I'll get it when we come back. I will write to you anyway.
P.S. This is a fleet week and many of the Navy ships are here. It is interesting. You can see snow covered Mt. Hood in the distance all the time. It is beautiful.
July 20, 1937
4022 S.E. Salmon
Dearest Mother & all,
I haven't received a letter from you yet and wonder why, but received the riding pants last week OK. Bea & Kenneth decided not to stay 2 weeks on their fishing and camping trip so we were only gone from Tuesday July 13 to Saturday July 17. They got lonesome to see their boys so we broke up camp Saturday morning and started back to Portland. We came back through Eugene, Oregon where they are preparing for their trail to rail celebration. The men for weeks ahead let their beards & whiskers grow. The women wear old fashioned long flowing dresses and little bonnets on their heads. It seemed queer to see them going around the streets that way! Even some of the children!
We stopped at Junction City to see some of Kenneth's friends. They have a red & white store and the cutest little home. They gave us ice cream and soda and talked over old times. He & Kenneth were in high school together. We got back to Portland about 7:30 Saturday night. It stormed and rained that evening so its a good thing we came home if it rained on the McKenzie where we were camping, too, because we slept out under the stars. Bea left her boys with her Aunt Mary, Russel Hawley's wife, and when we got home the house was all topsy turvey. They were terribly disgusted and ready to move to another house! Russel is out of work now & they had just practically moved in on Bea & Kenneth while we were gone. Their son Donald is here, too. Bea is quite put out about it. We went house hunting the next day so I wouldn't be much surprised if they don't move. They don't have furniture of their own. This is a big two story furnished house, 3 big bedrooms upstairs! I have one. Bea & Kenneth & the kids the other, and Russel & Mary & Donald the third one.
The weather here is wonderful - comfortably warm in the day time but cool at nights. I have slept with blankets & a quilt & comforter over me ever since I've been here. It is too chilly to go anywhere without a coat at night. This is fleet week in Portland, July 16 to the 29th. There are 86 ships in the harbor: 11 heavy cruisers, 4 light cruisers, 12 destroyers, one hospital ship, one destroyer tender and coast guard cutter, one eagle boat & several small ships. We went down to see them Sunday. They surely are a pretty sight. Visitors are allowed to go on them from 1 to 4 each day, and I think we are going this afternoon. There are 1171 officers, 14,000 sailors, 40 giant sea planes and 220 aviators. There is to be a big parade tomorrow which I hope we will see.
Sunday a week ago we took a trip up the beautiful Columbia River Highway. We saw Keewahma Falls, Horse Tail Falls, and the gorgeous Multinomah Falls which has 2 drops. The upper falls are over 500 ft. and the lower ones are nearly 100 ft. It is marvelous. The road winds around the mountains up and then down many hair pin turns and curves. A very lovely trip. We took some pictures & I bought some. We had a good time on our camping trip walking & following Kenneth around, fishing, reading, eating. Had to go to bed at dark- no lights. The rushing, roaring river was just in front of us. We didn't go swimming. It was too swift & rocky. Kenneth kept us supplied with fish- rainbow trout & brook trout. We had fish every day! It was fun out there, but 2 weeks of that would have been too much.
Every evening at 9:30 the big ships turn on their flood lights. Last night we went out for supper and a drive around town. We drove up to a high point to see the lights of the city. When we got back to the bridge it was just 2 or 3 minutes before time for them to turn the big lights on. So, Kenneth stopped the car & we got out on the bridge and watched. It was a thrilling sight to see the big lights flood the sky. They moved back & forth in big streams of light for 15 minutes. Each ship had 4 lights. Then we went home about 10:30 and went to bed. Wednesday, July 21
I didn't have time to finish this yesterday as we started out right after dinner and went to see the battle ships. We went through the U.S.S. New Orleans* and it surely was interesting. They are so big and well equipped- almost like a city. We saw their kitchens where they were cooking rows of pans of potatoes on rows of stoves. They were also cooking liver. The sailors told us what they got to eat. Sure sounds good! They were also going to have cream puffs. There are 3 big guns on each end of the ship and many smaller ones- also small sea planes. We wanted to go through the hospital ship but it was 4 o'clock before we realized it and no visitors after that time. We went to a show after doing some marketing in an immense market as long as several buildings! Most all of the markets here are open front and some even open on the sides. Fruits and vegetables are as high here as at home. Everything is high. It costs 60 cents to go to a show at night, 40 cents before 6 o'clock. (We went before 6)
Bea's Aunt Mary Hawley is leaving today and she won't have anyone to leave the kids with so I don't suppose we will go so much. Kenneth is still vacationing until next Tuesday and we will go a lot until then because they will take the boys along. They are awfully good little kids to take places. They usually go to sleep right away though.
How is the weather there? Hot? It is certainly grand here. They think it is hot if it gets up to 85 and that seems cool to me. Have I gotten any mail from Ellene and Marie Bauer? If so I wish you would send it to me. Had a letter from Ethel and 2 from Vadys. Well, I can't think of anything else to write so I will stop. Tell everyone hello & don't forget to write.
*The New Orleans was at Pearl Harbor 4 years later. It survived the attack.
July 26, 1937
4022 S.E. Salmon
Dearest Mother & all,
Was sorry to hear that you were sick and Wava & Mary, too. Hope you are better by now. Had your letter & one from Louise Mulford here waiting for me when we got back Saturday night from the beach. It was quite warm here Friday (89) so Kenneth decided we'd go to the beach. We dressed in our slacks and sweaters and after seeing a big parade of 4000 sailor and marines, which were very thrilling, we started out. It was hot when we started but we soon got into the mountains and it cooled off. We went to a place they called bay ocean, about 100 miles from here, and rented a cabin in Cottage Park. It was real cool there so we built a wood fire and made us some coffee. They had brought along eats so we had a picnic supper after going down to the ocean.
It was beautiful. You could see the great ocean in front of you and over on one side you could see the bay in between two low mountains. It was foggy and misty but the next day the sun came out and Bea & I went in wading. It was too rough to swim, as the tide was coming in and the huge breakers dashing against the shore would knock you down! We all got a sunburn. They took the kids along as Bea's Aunt Mary isn't here any more. She is working for some other people. Yesterday Bea hired a 13 year old girl to help & keep the kiddies. You would never think she was only 13. She looked to be 16 or 18. Reminds me of Wauneta somewhat. She is very sweet and helpful. Nothing more has been said about moving so I guess they'll be at this place as long as I am here. It is a big house & Bea wants a smaller one. It surely would be expensive to live here. Food is high and their telephone costs $3 a month! They would like to buy a place if Kenneth knew for sure that he wouldn't be transferred somewhere else. His vacation is over today and he goes back to work in the morning.
I'm glad that the grass and flowers are pretty. Everything is pretty here, too, but they have to water a lot now or things die. Their rainy season is over now & things die if they don't water them. You asked about your check book. No, I don't have it but I'm sending you some Bradford checks out of my check book. Anybody can give you those. I expect Mr. White would have some. How are you getting along with the bills. Hope it isn't making it too hard on you to have to pay everything. Just a few more weeks until I'll be working and helping you out. Mother, I know it is hard on you. I still have about 50 dollars but I'm saving it to come home on. It will cost me more coming home than if I had bought a round trip ticket. Don't know just when I will come home, but I must be there at least by the 15th. Will probably come before that. They are planning a trip to Boneville Dam by boat and also to Crater Lake yet.
That was nice of Miss Sala and Miss McDonnold to come to see you. They are very thoughtful. I am going to write them as soon as we look up their friend, Vida Bennett.
It has been very interesting to be here during Fleet Fiesta and see the big ships. We went all over the U.S.S. New Orleans one day last week. We were on the bridge watching the boats when all of a sudden the gates were put out closing the bridge to cars. Kenneth said the bridge was going up and a boat was going out. Sure enough, that enormous bridge of steel and concrete began rising in the middle and unclosed for the ship to pass through. At the same time 2 other bridges opened. One swung around and another went straight up on pulleys. It surely was interesting. Bea said that was the first time she had ever seen it, too. Fleet Week ends the 29th and the boats will leave. Hope you have a nice time at Uncle Frank's. Has it been hot there? How is Aunt Jane? Did she have stomach flu, too? Take care of yourself & don't work too hard. Tell all "hello".
August 3, 1937
4022 S.E. Salmon
Sent you a card yesterday but thought I'd better write one- the last letter before I come home. It has been quite cool here up until last Sunday when the thermometer went up to 71. Before that (nearly all last week) it was 69, but today is the warmest day for quite awhile. It was 81 yesterday and it goes down to 50 & 60 at night. Covers feel good. Kenneth was gone to work all last week, so Bea & I didn't do much except go on a couple of shopping sprees. It takes all day to go up town here because you ride 40 blocks to get there. They have lovely buses & you can ride all that distance for a dime. We had our hair fixed one day & that took 2 or 3 hours nearly. Then Bea did some marketing. They have the nicest markets here- open front with delicious looking fruits and vegetables in most of them. You just pick up a basket & go around getting your own groceries and then pay as you leave. We have had so many cantaloupes, apricots and black cherries. Would like to send you a box but my money is all gone except 40 dollars to come home on the new Streamliner train, and it will take 35 of that for my train fare and the other 5 to eat on.
I am coming on the new streamliner train, City of Portland, Saturday (August 7) at 3:45 PM and arrives in Chicago at 9:30 AM Monday. I can get a bus out of Chicago at 11:35 AM and will get to St. Louis at 5:05 PM Monday evening, if they told me right. I mentioned on the card that it would be nice if someone drove down to St. Louis to meet me, but I realize that Monday is a hard day for them to get away from the shop, so I'll try to save enough of my five for bus fare. I think I'll miss the 5 o'clock bus by just 5 or 10 minutes, and will have to wait until the 7:30 bus. If the 5 o'clock bus is a little late maybe I can make it. Hope so.
Last Saturday evening Kenneth came home early and we went to a night baseball game between Portland Beavers and San Francisco Missions. After it was over we went to the dog races which were quite exciting. Kenneth drove home Saturday in a new pontiac 8, coach green with white wheels. A beauty! Sunday we drove to Boneville Dam- took the 2 kiddies to Ruthie, the little girl who takes care of them. Drove over on the Washington side following the river. Crossed the toll Bridge of the Gods and came back on the Oregon side up the Columbia River highway again, which is the most beautiful way. We saw it and the falls all over again because Ruth hadn't seen them. I enjoyed the trip very much but got sort of car sick coming around all those curves and nearly heaved up Jonah. But, I had the headache all day & probably that was the reason. Kenneth comes home Wednesday night for a district meeting Thursday, so he will probably be here the rest of the week to take us places & take me to the train on Saturday. Well, I'm running out of space so I will close. Hoping to see you Monday night.