Wednesday, January 17, 2018

1915 - Mullins: Early Boats Designed for Outboard Motors

 

This is the steel bodied Mullins I mentioned yesterday.
Wooden ribs and gunwales.

The Outboard Special was their model designed for detachable motors.

If you want to hear the history of the boat industry tersely and interestingly told, make it a point to run across C. C. Gibson of the W. H. Mullins Co., some day and get him to talk.

Gibson's pet hobby is “specialization in boatbuilding". He believes that it is all right for some builders to build boats to order of any size and at any price, but he will tell you that for 20 odd years the Mullins company have confined their operations to the building of power boats ranging in size from 16 to 26 feet and they have left the “big work" to the other fellows.

“Specialization has a double-edged advantage" says Mr. Gibson. “It helps the builder because he can bring all his ingenuity to bear on a few sizes. It helps the boat buyer be

to the details. He has already disposed of nearly all the space allotted to exhibitors and has many applicants for the little space left. This winter the show will be larger and better than ever. More space has already been engaged by manufacturers than at any previous show in the history of the association and consequently things look very good.

(1916 Power Boating, Volume 15)


Remember, you can click on the image to see it full sized. 


Ferros were sold with Mullin


Tuesday, January 16, 2018

1916 - Evinrude: Early Boats Designed for Outboard Motors

I have been meaning to collect articles about the boats that were made for the early motors for years.  Jack had a Mullins for awhile that was really interesting (until you tried stripping off the weird gunk that had been painted over everything). A more energetic friend has it now!  
There is a nice boat on the Evinrude page at Jack's rowboat motor site to go and see.

Here is a June 1916 issue of Power Boating article for the the Evinrude boats.

Wouldn't it be nice if we had time warp shopping?  Every time I read an article's reminder to send for a catalog, or pop down to a dealer, I feel it should be possible.   

Because of the fact that most boat builders insist on building rowboats in the same old way with narrow stems and insufficient beam the Evinrude Motor Co. decided that if their customers were to have good boats that would give service with Evinrude outboard motors. they must build them in their own factory under their own supervision. The result was that they developed two models, a round and a flat bottom each 16 feet long which are thoroughly standardized, built in quantities from lumber bought in car load lots and sold as a consequence at a very reasonable price.

The boats are smooth seam construction which the makers find to be best adapted for outboard motors. They find they stand more abuse around docks and hauling out on floats and on the beach and they give better speed, too, which is worth considering. The main feature, however, is the design which includes a wide deep stern and insures safety even in a rough sea. The boats have good breadth and one can move about in them without fear of a capsize. They are perfectly safe for ladies and children in ordinary weather and cannot be excelled for family use.

The planking is sound selected stock 1/2 to  5/8 inch thick. The transom or stem piece is 1 1/2 inches oak fitted with steel dowels to prevent any chance of splitting. Heavy knees tie the transom and gunwales together and vibration is practically eliminated. The ribs are steam bent and the planks are screw fastened to them.

Special attention has been given the seating arrangement. The seats are high and very wide and there is plenty of room for six or seven persons. The after seat can be extended so as not to cramp the operator. A brief specification of both boats follows:


Anyone wanting a boat to use without waiting to have one built should write the Evinrude Motor Co., 479 Evinrude Blk., Milwaukee. Wis., and get a new illustrated circular describing these craft.





Monday, January 15, 2018

1910 - Two Early Evinrude Outboard Articles

This is two short promotional articles from 1910.  Not really ads, but I assume they were promotional news releases written by the Evinrude company. 
What I find interesting is I have no Evinrude ads for 1910.  1911 finds sophisticated, expensive ads everywhere.




Saturday, January 13, 2018

1916 - Part 2 - Down the Columbia River with a Ferro

WE thought from our experience related at the end of the last installment, in which we suddenly were shot through a boiling stretch of river, that we had passed through the Umatilla Rapids, but our hopes were vain. For we had gone but a few miles farther, when suddenly I descried the genuine triangle range marks on the Oregon shore that indicated the real Umatilla Rapids, and Miller and I looked at each other and smiled sickly smiles. We afterward learned that we had mistaken the Mill Rock Rapids for the boiling Umatillas. (No longer there.)


The original b&w illustration
was the same as a color post card.


















Landing on the Oregon shore to reconnoiter, Miller and I walked a mile or more along the high land, and what we saw was enough to shake the nerve of even seasoned river men unused to that water. For as far as the eye could see the mile wide Columbia boiled and heaved and tore along jagged reefs of brownish rock, battered unceasingly at fangs of stone that split the turbulent tide, or curled in deadly cockscomb waves against the rushing current. 

I looked at Miller and Miller looked at me, and I can’t say there was joy expressed on either face. That little boat of ours, heavily laden as she was, and with less than six inches of freeboard amidships, seemed pretty small and frail to us about that time.

But as we scanned the boiling waters, Miller suddenly gave a cry of surprise. and, following his pointing arm, I saw away out in the very vortex of the swirling waters, a tiny motor boat fighting bravely to reach the upper river.

Looking through the glasses, I could make out a man and two women in the little craft, and though it seemed to us that every moment might be the last for the brave little boat, the women were apparently very unconcerned over their turbulent surroundings, for they sat in the stern and seemed to be enjoying the trip immensely. I think they were discussing the fall styles.

We hurried back to our boat, hoping to get information as to the channel from the launchman when he emerged from the upper entrance to the rapids. Better than that was in store for us, however, for as soon as he got within hailing distance he shouted to us that he would return that way in about fifteen minutes and would then pilot us through the torrent.

This gave us a new idea, for with a boat to lead the way it would be possible for one of us to board it and take moving pictures of our little craft hitting the high places in the boiling rapids. I didn’t object a little bit to being the one to get in the larger boat and operate the movie camera, so as soon as our pilot returned we transferred the heavier luggage from our boat to his, lightening our craft as much as possible, so she would ride the waves.

Our pilot proved to be James Atchison of Umatilla, who not only knew his business, but proved a very courteous and pleasant acquaintance as well. Mr. Atchison uses his boat, the Ocia, in transporting supplies and men from Umatilla to the big government rock drill working at the head of the rapids, and runs this route several times a day. The Ocia is a well-built little runabout, 32 feet long and 5 feet of beam, and is powered with a 20-25 h. p. Sterling motor that gives her a speed of about 18 miles per hour. Mr. Atchison is justly proud of his Sterling motor, which he says has never
failed him for an instant. I had a very pretty demonstration of what the motor would do on the trip through, for we were constantly stopping, reversing and shooting ahead to stay with the slower boat, yet keep steerage way and avoid danger. And the motor just purred along as though on a slow speed drifting match instead of a hard grind.


I have but a confused recollection of that exciting trip through the Umatilla Rapids, for I was mighty 
busy from the time we first felt the pull of the sweeping current until we stopped in quiet water. Grinding the moving picture camera and trying to keep it pointed at Miller, careening along astern of us, was no task for a man with a weak heart, for the Ocia was plunging like a wild “bronc” with a burr under its saddle. Between turning the machine, holding my footing, and keeping the minute speck representing Miller and the boat in the camera finder, I had about all I could do.

I was just dimly conscious as we tore along of the immense billows we skirted, the big overfalls off which we dropped, and the express train speed with which we plunged on through that maelstrom of seething, tumbling waters. 

“We’ll stop here and wait for your friend,” I finally heard Atchison say, and coming out of my trance I saw that we had come about at the end of a long, sandy island in a comparatively quiet eddy, though the full flood of the bellowing Columbia tore by us on either side, to crash over a jagged reef on the south, and to pour oilily through a deep gap in this reef, the main channel, to the north. 

Miller fought his way, inch by inch, back from dangerous proximity to the reef, whither the current had carried him, to our quiet water, and the dunnage and myself were soon in the little boat again and headed down the swift chute of the main channel toward the lower river. We waved a goodbye to Atchison, already heading up through the rapids toward the rock drill, and gradually the roar of the mighty waters died away as we slipped on down stream.

The Umatillas are dangerous to the navigator quite as much from the tortuous channel through them as from the waters and rocks. You enter the rapids near the Oregon shore, in swift, smooth water running between boiling reefs and ending in a terrific cockscomb, which you skirt gingerly. As soon as the range marks on the Oregon shore are in line you fight your way diagonally across toward the Washington side, the full strength of the river all the time trying with its tremendous current to sweep you down onto a long reef just below, where it roars its challenge unceasingly.

Near a long island in midriver you again head down stream in swift, swirling, billowy water, and woe betide you if you don’t turn quickly to the right at the lower end of the island. For the river shoots straight along over another ragged reef, and the mariner must edge his way over to the opening in the channel, a hundred yards to the northward, or go to destruction over this rock-edged trap. And he has little time enough to accomplish this shift in the 9}-mile current. They say this is the most dreaded of spots on the Columbia among steamboat captains, and I can well believe it.
We felt thankful indeed that we had come through safely. 
I wonder even to this day that we did.

We camped a few miles below, on the Washington side, in a wonderfully attractive little spot among the rocks, our exertions making the camp bed very welcome indeed.
This night, for the first time since we started, we slept ashore. Miller rustled some dried-out “tumble weed,” and a large pile of this, compressed under our blankets, made a bed quite as comfortable as any pine bough mattress in northern forest.

We had scarcely gotten to bed when, not over a hundred yards away, soared up what Harry Leon Wilson calls “the flute obligato of an emotional coyote.” Immediately, from away off to the eastward, came through the cold, clear night air a similar yowl, in a higher key. And soon, from every direction, went up the coyote chorus, an old song, probably, to most up-river folk, but new and thoroughly unique to us. We enjoyed the serenade hugely, and snickered like a couple of kids at their wild efforts at “close harmony.” 
The big full moon, that had been with us every night of our trip thus far, came sailing up into the sky above us, and we slept the sleep of tired men.

The next day was Sunday, and we crossed over to Umatilla, a strictly railroad town on the Oregon shore. But we were in a hurry and didn’t stay long, and were soon under way again headed westward on what proved to be our longest day’s run, 46 miles. Only two small rapids were encountered, the Devil’s Bend and Canoe Encampment Rapids, and each of these we shot with little difficulty.
http://columbiariverimages.com/Regions/Places/canoe_ridge.html

Of interesting scenery along the banks there was little, occasional lava cliffs varying the monotony of the sand and sagebrush shores. We were glad of the rest, however, and tied up in the late afternoon at the ferry landing at Arlington, a delightful little town on the Oregon
shore.
That night the Columbia rocked us to sleep, for we let the boat ride to her painter all night, streaming from the steamer pier. I laid for a half hour, near midnight, watching the flashing arc head lights of two oncoming trains, the night passengers out of Portland racing up the two banks of the river from the west. The brilliant lights and roaring trains brought weird
thoughts, and I wished I might conjure back to sudden  life the Indians, the explorers, the fur traders and the grim immigrants in their dusty caravans, that they might see these demons of the night go tearing on, piercing the darkness with their blinding eyes, awaken-
ing the echoes with their shrieking whistles, and blinking mockingly with their red tail lights as they roared away into the dusky distance up-river. A strange contrast to their day, surely. 
Nor could I help contrasting the luxurious trains, speeding like the wind, with the slowly creeping immigrant wagons, crawling over the mountains toward the coast, in the earlier days. Verily, the world has moved fast in the past generation along the valley of the Columbia. 
This is not an illustration from this article.
Monday morning saw an early start, and this day proved the most trying and the most adventurous of the entire trip. All day Sunday we had drawn closer and closer to the mountains to the westward, and this day we early left the level country and entered between
the high lands. We shot the Owyhee Rapids easily, a half hour out of Arlington, and encountered about the same time the first wind and waves of the entire trip. We had feared wind at this season of the year, and had been dutifully and dolefully promised it by many. Today we got it, all we wanted of it.

By 9 o’clock we were approaching Blalock Rapids swiftly, and before we knew it we were in a regular “jack pot” of little islands and rocks. Miller took the little boat grandly through the mess, however, though one big rock swept by within ten feet, and I’ll swear the water banked up against that rock, as it turned the corner was at a 30 degree angle. Why we didn’t slide
down the hill I don’t know but we didn’t.


Ragged lava cliffs, and later the “flat rock” formation from which the Dalles are named, slid by us on either side, and we enjoyed every foot of scenery when we weren't busy fighting the big waves that constantly battered at us. About 9:30 we ran into the worst chop of the morning, caused by the wind sweeping against the Rocky Creek Rapids, and we had our hands good and full for about ten minutes. We shipped one big comber while working our way through, and emerged drenched but smiling. 

We learned in these rapids that even the little motor could not always handle the boat in perverse currents, so in all future rapids I took one of the oars, and, watching the tiller as it swung from side to side at Miller’s bidding, helped guide the boat by means of the sweep extended aft. This proved an excellent auxiliary in the worst spots, where sudden swirls
are always to be expected.
Three miles below here is Squally Hook and Squally Hook Rapids. We had been told time and again that the wind never ceased blowing up-river at this point. And neither does it, as far as we know, for the moment we had pounded through the rapids and rounded the point to the westward we ran into the full sweep of a real wind. We sidled successfully through the big rollers coming up the river, however, and were soon hitting the bottom at Indian Rapids, though fortunately we bumped along without injury to the boat.

We knew we were due to hit the nasty John Day Rapids along in here somewhere, and had been told we would recognize them by the rock drill working at their head, where the government is making the channel better by blasting out a huge rock. Miller had a letter of introduction to the engineer in charge of the rock drill and we planned to stop and see him.
Did we stop? We did not. For when we approached that rock drill we found ourselves slipping along over a sleek, oily run of water that shot us by that drill as though we were trying for the Harmsworth trophy. We considered ourselves fortunate to be able to wave to the men as we passed, for we mighty soon had our hands and heads busy in the thick of the first John Day Rapids. The rapids take you boiling through a veritable nest of little islands. and you can imagine how hard it is to pick a course through such a melange when you are going over fifteen miles an hour. Miller decided quickly, however, and veered off to the Oregon shore. And right here things happened. A quick, upboiling overfall sent us suddenly careening sidewise. and before we could head her off on her course again the boat
 bumped lightly against a great rock rising from the swirling waters on our port side. Miller stuck out his foot and I my oar quickly enough to save a real smash, but as the boat edged along the rock the propeller struck, shearing the little pin holding it to the shaft, and the engine buzzed like a Jersey ’skeeter.

“Goodnight!” thought I,’ “we’ve lost our propeller.”

But we hadn’t. The pin had sheared, but the propeller was still on the shaft, though not revolving.  Quick maneuvering landed us on the island, and it was the work of but a few moments to unship the engine, rivet in a new propeller pin (which should always be carried as a spare), and we were on our way rejoicing. 

And even in the swirl of the following rapids I couldn’t help but bless the memory of the man who had had sense enough to pin on small propellers such as these, to save the blades that would surely have gone, had the wheel been attached with a key as on larger craft.

For fifteen minutes after the accident we went tearing through the three John Day Rapids, always on the alert to pick out the right channel, dodge the bad spots and keep off the bottom. And at fifteen miles an hour in a small boat this gives the crew something to do,
believe me.  Out of the rapids we ran into a strong northwesterly wind, and bucked a heavy sea and wind all the way to Maryhill, on the Washington shore, where we stopped to rest. 

Not an illustration original  to this article.
While we had headed squarely into a good thirty-mile blow coming down this stretch, and had climbed what seemed mountainous seas to us in that frail boat, we had shipped no solid water, for the little ship shouldered the waves like a liner. Big sheets of solid spray came hurtling over the bows full at us, however, and had we not been dressed for it, we would have been soaked to the skin.
Both sides of the river at this point edge big “sheep country,” and a flock of 500 were being ferried across the river from Oregon on the afternoon we were there. The big motor ferry boat Governor West was bringing the sheep over, taking many trips to the job.
Two miles below Maryhill, an hour’s drive against that sea, we called it a day’s journey and came to in a little rocky bay on the Washington side. tired, stiff and sore from the hard going we had encountered since early morning. We made camp in the shelter of some lava cliffs and cottonwoods and, as nearly as we could, sifted the sand out of our belongings.

 (To be continued)























































Friday, January 12, 2018

1916 - Early Boats Designed for Outboards: Evinrude "Power Rowboats"

I have been meaning to collect articles about the boats that were made for the early motors for years.  Jack had a Mullins for awhile that was really interesting (until you started stripping off the weird gunk that had been painted over everything). A more energetic friend has it now!

Here is a June 1916 issue of Power Boating article for the the Evinrude boats.
Wouldn't it be nice if we had time warp shopping?  Every time I read an article's reminder to send for a catalog, or pop down to a dealer, I feel it should be possible.   


Because of the fact that most boat builders insist on building rowboats in the same old way with narrow stems and insufficient beam the Evinrude Motor Co. decided that if their customers were to have good boats that would give service with Evinrude outboard motors. they must build them in their own factory under their own supervision. The result was that they developed two models, a round and a flat bottom each 16 feet long which are thoroughly standardized, built in quantities from lumber bought in car load lots and sold as a consequence at a very reasonable price.
The boats are smooth seam construction which the makers find to be best adapted for outboard motors. They find they stand more abuse around docks and hauling out on floats and on the beach and they give better speed, too, which is worth considering. The main feature, however, is the design which includes a wide deep stern and insures safety even in a rough sea. The boats have good breadth and one can move about in them without fear of a capsize. They are perfectly safe for ladies and children in ordinary weather and cannot be excelled for family use.

The planking is sound selected stock 1/2 to  5/8 inch thick. The transom or stem piece is 1 1/2 inches oak fitted with steel dowels to prevent any chance of splitting. Heavy knees tie the transom and gunwales together and vibration is practically eliminated. The ribs are steam bent and the planks are screw fastened to them.

Special attention has been given the seating arrangement. The seats are high and very wide and there is plenty of room for six or seven persons. The after seat can be extended so as not to cramp the operator. A brief specification of both boats follows:


Anyone wanting a boat to use without waiting to have one built should write the Evinrude Motor Co., 479 Evinrude Blk., Milwaukee. Wis., and get a new illustrated circular describing these craft.





Tuesday, January 9, 2018

1917 - "A Worryless Rowboat Motor", the Koban

This little article is a puff piece for the Koban rowboat motor published in the May 1917 issue of Outing Magazine. 
I have added a few other ads from Outing that year. 
Click on the image to view it larger, or without the navigation column's info plopped on top.

A Worryless Rowboat Motor 

WHEN the "horseless carriage" first burst upon an astonished and altogether incredulous world only one thing was asked of the new marvel and that was that it arrive eventually at its destination. Continuous and dependable progress, speed, comfort, convenience and freedom from engine troubles were things too remote to be thought of and the success of your trip, however short, depended upon two things— your arrival at your journey's end and your arrival there in one undamaged piece.

Much the same conditions prevailed when the outboard motor made its appearance.  Those hardy individuals who actually abandoned oar and paddle for the new device, did so with misgivings, and in most instances their fears were quite justified.  Balky motors that jarred the very soul out of your body when, by chance, they did operate made rowboat motoring a sport more novel than enjoyable.


As in the case of the automobile, however, Yankee ingenuity piled improvement upon improvement and refinement upon refinement until today the outboard motor is thoroughly dependable and a source of pleasure and profit to many thousands.

The Koban motor is an unusually good example of the successful climax of such development. Few motors that I have seen combine so many advantageous features with saving simplicity of design. The engine has two cylinders placed opposite one another with the crank case between them so that the explosion of one is balanced by the explosion in the other which results in reducing vibration to a negligible quantity, a condition that does away with the disagreeable shaking of the boat so common in rowboat motors.



Leakage and misalignment of the cylinders are impossible since crank case and cylinders are cast in one piece and the water jackets are also a part of this casting.

The gasoline tank is of pressed steel and is placed back of the fly wheel so that the whole motor except for the clamps that hold it in position hang outboard and do not project over the stern seat and the comfort derived from this feature is increased by the position of the tiller which is far to one side, enabling the operator to steer with his back to the engine.

The carbureter is as nearly fool-damage, and waterproof as such a device can be made.

The Koban is made in three designs, magneto and battery for use over the stern and a special inboard model especially suitable for canoes where the weight of the motor and operator at the stern is apt to lift the bow out of water. All three types are the same motor adapted for their various uses. In the first named the magneto is built into the fly wheel and is protected absolutely from water, and in all of them the reverse is controlled without stopping the engine by merely pressing a button.

The motor will develop a full three-horse power and is capable of driving a heavy boat 8 to 10 miles and a canoe as high as 12 miles an hour. It can be throttled down to a quarter of that speed.

As will be seen from the illustration the propellor is protected from contact with submerged obstructions by the rudder and both of these parts are so shaped as to minimize the weed nuisance.

A special tilting device makes it possible to raise the propeller well above the keel line when backing or to avoid snags without unshipping the motor.

In the matter of fuel economy the Koban has a good record. The tank has a capacity of 1 1/8 gallons which is sufficient to drive the boat from 28 to 30 miles pretty consistently. In many instances larger mileages have been obtained.

The motor weighs 67 pounds and is priced from $75.00 to $112.50 according to the model.

Limited space prevents a more detailed summary of the many commendable and ingenious features of the Koban, but from the brief outline given it is apparent that it is worthy of the most serious consideration of Outing's readers. It has our enthusiastic endorsement.

1916 - Part 1 - Down the Columbia River with a Ferro

This article from the December 1915 issue of Pacific Motor Boat is an entertaining read.  At least I found it so as way below average freezing weather made sitting in front of the fire reading about some other person facing the elements a desirable situation!  The fact this is the first outboard motor trip down the Colombia using improved waterways makes it fit into this blog.  I'll fess up and tell you now that the Ferro they used does not feature too often in the story, other than in an implied "phew! it didn't fall off or smash up".  It did a great job. (Go, Ferros!)  I have added illustrations, but the sepia colored ones are original to the article.


IN the spring of 1915 the United States government threw open to public use the splendid Celilo canal on the Columbia river and, for the first time in history, there was an open steamboat channel from the salt water of the Pacific Ocean to Priest Rapids, Wn., on the Columbia, and to Lewiston, Idaho, on the Snake.  






















Finally removing the menace of the roaring “Dalles of the Columbia” marked an epoch in Columbia river navigation, and long and continued was the celebration of the cities along the big waterway.
A procession of steamboats loaded with the leading citizens of every community along the Columbia and Snake stopped at each city on the route, and celebrations unique and picturesque marked their every stop.



The “big river”, toward which Lewis and Clark fought their way in 1804-5, with the guiding hand of the Shoshone squaw Sacajawea pointing always onward even as she is shown at the
head of this story, at last had become a commercial highway worthy of the country through which it flows.   

Long before the Celilo canal opened, I hoped to so manage that the very first motor boat to make the through trip from the new head of navigation on the Columbia river to the Pacific ocean should be sent by Pacific Motor Boat, but my plans were not formulated till late in the summer. 



said nothing about it to anyone, for I wanted to be certain before I broached the subject to my associates.  And when I finally had matters pretty well arranged, and told them my plans, they were quite as enthusiastic over the trip as I was.

From our standpoint the trip in a motor boat of any considerable size was out of the question, so I finally decided to ship a small boat over to Priest Rapids, and, with an outboard motor for power, sail of down the Columbia on this initial gasoline voyage down its historic waters.

Postcards of the Celilo Rapids were popular if you consider how many are on eBay now!




The question of a companion for a trip like this is no inconsiderable question, and after due thought I asked Walter P. Miller, the well known outdoor photographer, if he would make the trip with me. Miller was mightily quick on the trigger with his acceptance, which pleased me, for I needed just such a man as he on this voyage.


Selection of a boat was not so easily arranged.  Our first plan was to ship, knocked down a big, able skiff 
which we could put together at Priest Rapids and dispose of at the end of the trip. Later, we decided to use a boat belonging to Mr. Miller, and this craft was the one that
took us through.

Motive power for the craft was courteously offered us by the Pacific Net & Twine Co., of Seattle, agents for the Ferro line of motors in the Pacific Northwest. 

Mr. Edward Cunningham, manager of the Pacific Net & Twine Co., placed at our disposal his own Ferro outboard motor, together with a trunk for shipping it, and all the needed accessories.
This ad was in the same issue as this article.
With crew, boat and engine arranged for, everything seemed to come our way with amazing ease. First, having to ship everything from Seattle meant we must have a “base” at Priest Rapids where we could get our supplies together, and this problem was solved through the
courteous assistance of Messrs. Everett S. and Milton E. Dam, of Seattle, who placed at our disposal their famous “Diamond D” ranch, located right at the foot of the rapids.




The ranch is close to the Beverly-Hanford spur of the Chicago,
Milwaukee & St. Paul Railroad,
which made it very accessible, a
quality that after events proved of value.











A little time was wasted in getting our dunnage together, and the heavier articles, including the boat and engine, were shipped across by freight. 

And on Wednesday morning, Oct. 6th, I boarded the splendid “Olympian” of the Chicago, Milwaukee & St. Paul Railway and took the beautiful ride across the state
of Washington to Beverly, on the Columbia, where I transferred to the spur running down to Hanford.

That night I went to sleep for the first time with the roar of rapids for a lullaby. And it was a song with which I was to become very familiar in the weeks to come.


It is hard to write of the next seven days without letting my enthusiasm get the better of me, for they certainly were wonderful days. I, who had hardly been out of range 
of Klaxons and trolley car gongs for a year or more, fairly revelled in the solitude of the mountains back of the  the range, in exploring the roaring  rapids, in riding horse back and in appeared inland, and, for aught I doing the thousand and one things that make ranch life worth while.

Off the beaten track though it was, nevertheless, the Diamond D ranch had electric lights, hot and cold water, all the modern conveniences.   But best of all, the hospitality extended by John Reese, the ranch superintendent, went farthest in making my stay pleasant. Every possible courtesy was shown me by Mr. Reese, and every facility placed at my disposal to further our interests.


On Friday the boat and our dunnage came, and the next morning, mounted on a hay rack lightly strewn with  green alfalfa, we drove over to the station and soon had the craft back at the ranch ready for overhauling preparatory to the trip.
Now, understand, this was no ordinary rowboat. It is a boat with a history. 



Back in 1888 (and that’s a long, long time ago) one of Her Royal Majesty’s men-o’-war dropped anchor at the British naval station at Esquimalt, B. C., which is about twelve miles across the Straits of Juan de Fuca from Port Angeles, Wn.  And that night two of her majesty’s blue jackets, tired of deck swabbing, and flag hoisting, and polishing the breeches of the nine-point-twos, eluded the vigilance of the shore gazing “snotties” on watch, and, quietly sliding down a rope into this same little rowboat, sculled noiselessly off into the enveloping darkness and headed for the American shore. Their seamanship being

good, and the weather moderate, they arrived off Angeles next morning.  Abandoning the boat, they disappeared inland, and, for aught I know, they are still ticketed as deserters on the R. N. lists. 
(Midshipmen, the most junior rank for officers, were commonly referred to as "snotties".)



The boat that brought them over fell into the hands of an uncle of my partner, Miller, and later descended to him after many years of faithful service in and around Pt. Angeles. And for several years it has floated serenely on the fresh waters of Lake Washington, at Seattle, all unconscious of this impending chapter of adventurous old age.

The boat was built by coolies in the boat yards at Hong Kong, China, and is absolutely the best model I have ever seen for a craft of this type. It rides the biggest waves like a stormy petrel, and, old as it was, I never doubted for a moment its ability to carry us through.

 It is fifteen feet long, five feet of beam, and even with the 800 pounds of cargo it carried, I could stand on the gunwale without her shipping a drop of water. In as much as the boat had only about six inches of freeboard amidships when loaded, this is a pretty good tribute to her stability.





Since the article so obviously inserted
the "thank you" plug, I thought you
might want to see this ad from that time.
I spent three days in going over every inch of her, and when I was through and she was ready for launching she looked like new. From Jack Merriman, who sells thousands of gallons of Jones-Duncan paints to motorboat owners of the Pacific northwest every year, I had secured a gallon of their famous “2045” Marine White paint, and when I had put three coats of this outside, and two inside, that little boat looked like a yacht.


And I might mention here, in passing, that that paint wore like iron and was fresh and bright above and below the waterline even at the end of the hard trip. And the Jones-Duncan marine putty Merriman furnished was the best caulking I have ever used in a clinker built boat. It made that thirty-year old hull tight as a drum.





We planned to sleep aboard, thus obviating the necessity of choosing camping sites with good sleeping accommodations. To make this possible, I cut boards to fit within the transom scat, supported by crosspieces that swung under the seat during the day. Two boards were also fitted across between the transom seat, and after-thwart, and when these were all in place we had a bed larger than most double beds ashore. And spread with our blankets, etc., we found the bed mightily conducive to dreamless slumber. During the day the boards were removed and stowed.  

We found this method of camping at night very satisfactory at all times, even in the rainy weather encountered on the lower river. A large waterproof “tarp”, loaned us by that dean of sail makers and riggers, George Broom, of Seattle, kept us dry as prohibitionists on many a night. Mr. Broom furnished us with a newly waterproofed  canvas, light and pliable and just the thing for such a trip, for it was really waterproof. (Which is not always true of this article.)

With the boat fixed I turned to other details. A convenient box I fitted with rope handles for easy carrying, and in this was stowed most of the provisions and all of the cooking utensils. This was always the first piece of baggage ashore when we landed for the night. A smaller box carried the engine supplies, and practically all the rest of the dunnage, with the exception of the cameras and plates, went safely into a bag.


With the plates, cameras, moving picture outfit, gasoline, etc., the boat was very well loaded down, but we found this no handicap at any time, for she carried her cargo like a British tramp.
Practically everything was ready for departure when Miller arrived, but we were very anxious to get some pictures at Priest Rapids before we started, and as the weather was none too good, we were delayed till Thursday.



Priest Rapids in 1884
Priest Rapids, in themselves, are among the most interesting rapids of the whole Columbia river. 
For ten miles the Columbia leaps and
surges through ragged channels cut from the solid volcanic rock, with occasional stretches of calm, smooth water. 


They form an absolute impediment to
navigation as they stand, though steamboats have made the trip up, one do-
ing the ten miles in three days against the raging current.


The days of their bold defiance are numbered however, for slowly but surely work is being
done that will eventuate in removing the rapids as an obstacle. The Messrs. Dam, at whose ranch we were guests, are at the forefront of the group who are planning to dam the Columbia at this point, making available waterpower equalling 500,000 horse power, which will be used to irrigate the tens of thousands of acres contiguous to the river for miles both up and down the stream. And this land, once irrigated, is fertile beyond the wildest dreams.




And the damming of the river will make possible a canal lock that will take steamers safely by the rapids, and open many more miles to navigation from the sea. It’s a stupenduous project, and will cost millions of dollars, but this is a big country, this west of ours, and big men are doing these big things all the time. There is already a comparatively small hydro-electric plant at Priest Rapids, two big units developing current that irrigates thousands of acres and lights hundreds of homes along the Columbia from Beverly to Hanford.


But to get back to our trip. The weather finally cleared Wednesday, and, with all the pictures we wanted we were ready bright and early Thursday morning, Oct. 14th. 
Again the rack strewn with alfalfa was requisitioned and aboard it was loaded the boat and all our luggage. “Joe” clucked to the big Percherons they strained at their collars and the procession started toward the old Columbia.  We had located a nice beach, no easy matter in the vicinity of Priest Rapids, and there the boat was unloaded and slipped for the first time into the swirling waters of the mighty river.


A “movie” of our “departure” was taken, goodbyes were spoken, and finally, at 9:40, everything was in readiness. Miller came aboard, shoved the boat off, and we were on our way. A few revolutions of the little Ferro backed us out into swift water, and we whirled off down stream, turning ever and again to wave a few last farewells to good old John Reese, and to the Priest Rapids country, weirdly beautiful in the brilliant October sunshine. For some distance below Priest Rapids the country is very much the same, high, rolling hills of volcanic rock covered with sand and sage brush, with occasional outcroppings of the bare rock. 

For nearly two hours we went whirring down the broad, swift river, and shortly before 11:30 sighted our first rough water, the Coyote Rapids. At a little higher stage of the river, these rapids would not bother at all, but as we approached them we saw the bottom of the river come sneaking up toward us in a very uncomfortable manner, and it was a bottom all big, round boulders, with no sand. 


The rapids themselves are just a series of undulations in the surface of the river, caused by the water tearing along over the shallow river bed, and we went bobbing through in fine style, with Miller half erect in the middle of the boat with a tiller line in each hand, steering the boat around boulders that seemed too close to the surface for comfort, and keeping out of the worst of the rollers. We were through in no time, and out upon the comparatively slow water again.

Just before we entered these billows I had cast longing eyes on our life preservers, but as I had never shot rapids before I didn’t know the etiquette of life preservers as related to fearsome looking rapids. Miller had shot many, many rapids, and I thought I’d take my cue from him.  Therefore, I was greatly relieved when I saw him reach around and slip his preserver over his shoulders, and I had mine on and adjusted in no time. We didn’t go through any considerable rapids after that without our life preservers on, and though I dare say many old rivermen—and many a tenderfoot—will laugh at this precaution, I, for one,
am for it.

With Coyote Rapids gradually slipping astern, we took the big bend of the river to the eastward toward White Bluffs, which I had seen in the far distance on one of my excursions up into the mountains back of the Diamond D ranch. We arrived at the head of the bluffs at 12:30, and landed on the edge of a very large eddy just above the highlands, to take some pictures. The bluffs, of some pinkish-white, clay-like substance, were a glare of blazing reflection in the brilliant sunlight. They sweep in a giant crescent to the southward, turning the river at this point at almost a right angle.  Just below here, and opposite, is the village of White Bluffs, and thereby hangs a tale. 


Somewhere, I don’t know where, the White Bluffs paper had secured word that we were coming, but unfortunately they expected us on the previous Sunday. They suggested a very warm welcome, but as we didn’t get along there till Thursday, I’m afraid they got tired of waiting. And the tragedy of it was, that when we did get there, we didn’t stop, just the same as we didn’t stop at many a town on the trip, for lack of time.

 And oh, the roast that newspaper gave us in its next issue for passing up their fair little city. I don’t blame them, for White Bluffs is a nice place, and we would like to have stopped, but time didn’t permit. And so I’m afraid we will never be welcome in White Bluffs, even though we might go there hat in hand and beg for forgiveness.

A few miles beyond, we sighted several Indian tepees on the west bank, but found on investigation they were on a channel of the river on the opposite side of a sand bar from us. At the lower end of the sand bar we turned back to the camp, and landed to take pictures,
if possible. We found several squaws drying peaches in the blazing sun, and one surly young buck, down by the river, repairing some salmon spears very much as his progenitors repaired spears on the same spot a century before. He was a splendid “type,” but evidently the union scale among the Yakimas, for posing for the amateur photographer, is somewhat
higher than among our west coast Siwashes, as he wanted a dollar for letting me snap him with my camera. The trip was too young for me to be paying out any such money so we sadly boarded the “ship” and left.

Chart Showing the Course of the Cruise Down River from Priest Rapids to Astoria and the Sea 
(1) Homly Rapids, 
(2) Bull Run Rapids, 
(3) Bull Run Shoal, 
(4) Mill Rock Rapids, 
(5) Umatilla Rapids, 
(6) Devil’s Bend Rapid, 
(7) Canoe Encampment Rapids,   
(8) Owyhee Rapids, 
(9) Blalock Rapids, 
(10) Four O’CIock Rapids.  
(11) Rock Creek Rapids. 
(12) Squally Hook Rapids,  
(13) Indian Rapids, 
(14) John Day Rapids, 
(15) Schofield Rapids, 
(16) Preacher‘s Eddy, (17) Biggs Rapids, (18) Hell Gate.
Learn more about this...
Nowhere on the whole trip was the water more beautiful than at this spot, and as we sailed away there came to my mind the words and plaintive cadence of that weird Indian song of Cadman’s:  “From the land of the sky-blue water".

For the water was like the sky, a brilliantly beautiful blue, in one broad, mirror-like sheet from shore to shore of the mile-wide stream. ’Round all our horizon there was nothing in sight that might not have been there a century or more ago, even to the rude Indian encampment. Yet it will not be many years before irrigation will make this part 
of the Columbia as populous as many others, for the soil awaits only the magic of water to bring forth in abundance.

Shortly after two we ran into a series of shallows, in midstream, and though we bumped lightly three times on the bare boulders of the river bottom, we slid over unscathed. This running into shallows in the middle of the stream was something that rather got on our nerves the first few days. We would be slipping along easily and confidently on the slow, limpid current, with a half-mile of water on either side of the boat. And suddenly, almost imperceptibly, we would begin to go faster and faster, and up would come that boulder-strewn bottom and the way it went by us two, looking over the gunwales, made our hair stand on end. And then up would jump Miller, and with taut tiller lines and eyes glued to the water ahead, he would guide the boat carefully by the larger boulders till the bottom would gradually disappear from beneath us and we could once more breathe easier with deep water under our keel. 

We found that it was absolutely necessary for one of us to be on watch all the time, for nowhere from Priest Rapids to Bonneville, on the lower river, did we find any considerable stretch of water, at this stage of the river, where there were not occasional shallows and fast water, even though not what might be called rapids. And our boat, with its heavy load and low freeboard, would have filled easily had it once struck bottom and swung broadside to the current in these swift places.


Another thing that surprised me was the absence of sand on the upper river bed. I had believed that we would find much sand in the bed of the entire river, but this is not

so. Practically the entire upper river is swept clean of sand by the rushing current, and the bottom is a solid mass of boulders about as large as one’s two fists doubled together.
Lower down these boulders are 
much larger, but the sand is scarce, except on occasional bars, till the lower river is reached.


At three o’clock we landed at Hanford, the terminus of the C., M. & St. P. Ry. spur (Forgetting its mention earlier, I had to look that up -The Chicago, Milwaukee, StPaul and Pacific Railway) from Beverly, and completed our outfitting with the many things we had planned to buy here instead of bringing from Seattle.



 At 3:25 we were under way again, and an hour later ran into some exceedingly swift water in an “S” turn in the river, winding up by coming about in a small cove on the east shore, where we landed at 5:05 and determined to camp for the night, with 37 miles to our credit as our first day’s run.
There was plenty of drift wood for a fire, and Miller and I each fell to doing our parts in the evening camp-making as naturally as though we had been out a month.  Perhaps previous trips together had something to do with it. While I started the fire, he brought the “cook box” ashore, and by the time I had a good, hot dinner ready he had the boat fixed for the night, with our bed made up aboard.


In October, night falls early over the Columbia river, and we found that 7:30 o’clock was none too early to turn in.
We slept the sleep of tired men till after midnight, when we were both awakened by a cold, penetrating wind that came purring down the Columbia valley from the north
and sought out every little crevice in our covering. Try as we might, it was hard to keep it out, but we finally managed to cover up sufficiently, and morning found us awake with the dawn and feeling like fighting cocks. I have read since our trip, in the journal of the Lewis and Clark expedition from St. Louis to the Pacific coast during 1804-5-6, that they suffered from this same wind at night, so I guess it is as much a part of the country at this season of the year as the river, the hills and the sky.



(Continued in February Number.)