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Jim Kershner’s This day in history

From our archives, 100 years ago

Three Spokane men returned from an epic auto trip in a Chalmers-Detroit “30.” They drove to Walla Walla, to Portland, to Seattle, to Ellensburg and then back to Spokane – in just about three weeks.

“Poor roads were common and a block and tackle was an indispensable part of the equipment,” said The Spokesman-Review. “In fact, there was hardly a day that it was not necessary to use it in getting out of a bad hole. Often, this was of no avail and men and horses had to be secured.”

Thrills, they said, were common. When driving through the Columbia Gorge, the passage was so narrow they smashed their fender when a car surprised them by coming the other way.

The car also got stuck “on top of one of the mountains in the Cascades.” They had to trudge to a cabin for help.

In Wallula, they gave a ride to a drunk who steered them in the wrong direction and got them mired in the desert sand.

The motorists reported that the roads in Eastern Washington were generally the best; the roads “on the Coast and in the mountains” were often nearly impassable.

They said the car came through in excellent shape, “with the exception of the tires.”

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