California Bound, 1936
Top: Goldie LaValleur, Louise Evavold, Howard Melby, Hazel Goplin, Donald Johnson and Marjory Johnson.
Middle: One-wheel trailer with flat tire near Cedar City, Utah.
Bottom: Howard Melby and Donald Johnson at Grand Canyon.
Excerpt from Donald B. Johnson manuscript:
"In 1936 Marj and Louise Evavold [who also worked at the Equity] got 'California fever' and Marj had the new Plymouth, so they started laying plans. They tried to find enough other girls to ride along and help pay for the trip. Howard Melby and I wanted to go, too, but they wouldn't consider us at all."
"Marj and Louise [weren't] able to find enough unemployed girls who had any money to contribute to their expedition to California [so then] Howard and I were welcome to go along. 'Goldie' LaValleur and Hazel Goplin from Red Wing made six."
"Howard and I each deposited $125 for an emergency fund to come home on again if we didn't find our fortunes in California."
"I ordered a one-wheel trailer from Sears Roebuck and Howard and I built a nice plywood top on it. We were going to seek our fortunes and even talked about going to Alaska. We took all the clothes we owned, winter and summer, even our ice skates."
"Someone said we should take extra gas with us, because they really held you up some places out west. So we filled a 15-gallon barrel with gas and put it in the front of the trailer."
"We were going through sagebrush country and it was hot when the tire blew on the one-wheel trailer. We didn't have a spare for it, so we unloaded the trailer, unhooked it and took off the wheel. We left the girls in the road ditch with the stuff and went to a nearby filling station and got a 'boot' in the tire."
"After a few more miles the tire blew again and caught fire, so we backed the trailer out into the sagebrush and unhooked it.
"We were only a few miles from Cedar City, so we left the trailer and all our belongings and we all went to Cedar City and hunted up ... a two-wheel trailer and ... hauled ours in on that."
[They ordered a tire from Los Angeles and] "left the trailer by the motel and took a sightseeing trip to Zion National Park the next day. The day after that we took a trip to the Grand Canyon. That was an all-day trip. Down there we paid 44 cents a gallon for gas, because our cheap gas was up in the trailer."
"The next morning the tire still hadn't come, so I gave the dealer $17.50 and got the tire from the park [board's] trailer put on our trailer [in exchange for the new tire that hadn't come] and took off for Las Vegas.... We had heard that you should cross the desert at night, on account of the heat, so we did."
"We poured the gas from Minnesota into the tank in California. The price was 17.5 cents in the pumps there, the same as it was when we bought it in Minnesota."