Jean Ames


The Colorado River divides California and Arizona. On the California side, one must cross a huge barrier of Sahara-sized sand dunes. In the old days there was no way to go over the dunes except by foot. Someone got the idea of using camels, but that didnít work. The camels were turned loose.


Next a plank road was laid on top of the shifting sand. It was just wide enough for one car. Every so often there was a turn-out allowing an auto to pass. Whoever was the closest to the turn-out had to pull over to let the approaching car continue.


My parents bought a 1923 Chevy coupe. We used to leave Tucson in the hot summer and drive to Long Beach to avoid the desert heat. 


When I was about five years old, I remember crossing the desert on the plank road at night. It seemed as if we would never get to the other side, but we did make it without any mishaps.


On another trip as we were driving from Yuma to Tucson on an unpaved road when we came upon a line of cars. A flash flood was rushing through the wash, making it unsafe to get across. However a man with a truck began pulling a car, one at a time, through the swirling water to safety.


Each time a car was pulled through, Dad had to get out and crank our Chevy to get it going so we could move up one space. This happened several more times as we approached other washes.


Finally we came to a wash filled with gushing water. It was too dangerous for any car to get through to the other side. No one even tried to make the crossing.  Luckily there was a railroad track parallel to our road. There was even a railroad bridge over the wash.


It was decided that Mother and I would walk onto the railroad tracks and Dad would stay with the car. Before departing, Dad gave Mother a small amount of money and he kept the Travelers Checks.

Mother and I climbed over a fence, walked a short distance to the railroad, walked over the bridge, and went down to a waiting car that took us to Gila Bend.


Mother tried to buy train tickets to Tucson, but she did not have enough money. She offered her gold wedding ring, but the agent refused to take it.


I never knew what arrangements they made. All I remember is that we were on the train to Tucson and on the way home.


Meanwhile on his way home Dad needed money to buy gas, food, etc. All he had were Travelers Checks. He managed somehow and arrived home the next day. We were happy to be reunited at last.


This ends my adventures in our 1923 Chevy Coupe.


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