Return to    Air Force    or      Home Page

A Wild Drive in the West

     After my Air Force enlistment was up in October of 1952, I stayed about two more weeks working for Shad while getting organized for a trip home.  I was driving a '39 Buick when I got discharged and it was overheating. I couldn't find the problem.  It would not have made it across the United States. I found a '49 Buick Super 4 Door at the Fairfield Buick dealership and traded the '39 Buick and some cash to finance it.

The trip home …racing a 49 Roadmaster, rabbits feet

     When I started for home from California in October, 1952, I wanted to try a route other than Rt. 66 which I had driven twice, once with the '42 Buick and once with the '50 Nash. I headed straight over Donner Pass to Reno, Carson City, and eastward on roads I don't remember. My plan was to not drive over 60 miles per hour.
        Somewhere along the route, a 1949 Buick Roadmaster caught up to me. After it passed me, I increased my speed to just keep pace. After a few minutes, the Roadmaster speeded up about 5 miles per hour. This game continued for about 30 miles until I was registering 90 miles per hour. My Super wouldn't go faster, so I slowed down and watched the Roadmaster fade in the distance.
        I  remember the jack rabbits. While driving all night across the northwest, there were highways that were covered with dead rabbits, some old, some new.  I know you could walk down the road stepping on one dead rabbit after another without stepping on the pavement. The rabbits were on the shoulder of the road and were spooked as cars came by.  Some would run across under the traffic.  I was swerving and braking, trying to miss them, but found I missed more by holding my speed and course--and it was safer.  The next day I stopped for a grease job and the mechanic had to wipe blood and fur off the fittings to find them.  Later that month I was walking from the barn to the house when I noticed something dangling under the fender of the Buick.  I reached under the bumper and pulled out a rabbit's foot.