OFF FOR THE WEST

The next morning Roy went to the factory with his father and saw
every piece of the aeroplane crated. As the parts would have to be
transported over nearly one hundred miles of desert, the machine was
taken entirely apart. Even the rubberized silk plane surfaces were
unlashed from the ribs. The section frames and plane strips and ribs
were numbered and made into compact bundles. On a blue-print drawing
of the Model No. 1 machine, Roy made careful notes relating to each
dismounted piece.

“One thing is certain,” said his father, when the packing was
completed, “you’ll save money on your freight bills but you’re piling
up trouble at the other end.”

“That’s where I earn my pay,” answered his son, laughing. “I reckon
there ain’t any great supply of spruce and bamboo out there in Bluff to
duplicate smashed parts.”

In his red memorandum book Roy also set down the number and contents
of each parcel and box in order that he might check up the shipment
at the end of its journey. After luncheon in the shop, Mr. Osborne,
with the approval of Mr. Atkinson, made an extra crate of various sized
pieces of spruce timber, several yards of silk plane cloth with gum
for pasting in making patches, wire, screws, bolts, reserve engine
batteries and last and most important, a small box of such tools as
would be most useful.

When the wagon of the company backed up to the shipping room to
transfer the formidable looking boxes, crates and bundles to the
express office, Roy was a lively assistant in the loading. The engine,
covered with waterproof canvas and braced in a steel-hooped box, was
the last package to be lifted into the van. Roy patted the box and
exclaimed, as he wiped his perspiring face:

“Good bye, old boy, till I see you again. Meet you at Dolores.”

The wagon rolled away, and Roy crossed the assembling room to the
corner where the painter did his work. Having been put on the market
as a commercial product, no detail was omitted that would add to the
salability of the company’s machines. In addition to the lacquering of
bolts and metal work, each bit of timber was coated with an aluminum
varnish.

This was done for a double purpose. It not only gave the machine an
attractive and finished appearance, but the nature of the varnish
provided a safeguard against accidents. After the aluminum varnish was
dry and set, any split or new defect in the wood at once produced a
break in the aluminum coat. Instead of concealing damage to the wood,
the varnish at once called attention to it.

But Roy was not investigating varnish or lacquer. When he left, a
little strip of plane-silk was drying in a corner of the paint shop.
On this in brilliant crimson letters nearly a foot high, was the word
“_Parowan_.”

“I don’t know that I can use it,” Roy chuckled to himself, “but if Mr.
Cook and his company don’t object and haven’t any other name for the
air-line express, it’s going to be the ‘Parowan.’”

Roy could not get away from the thought of his great uncle, Willard
Banks, and the mountain town where his mother’s family history said the
old Mormon had lived.

“Those long whiskers and that big black hat seem to belong to the
desert where I’m goin’. They bob up whenever I think of Utah. That’s
why my machine is the ‘Parowan,’” he said.

Roy was exceedingly anxious to learn more about Utah–more about the
Indians and some additional details concerning the nature of the
country. He told his father he meant to spend the remainder of the
afternoon in the Newark Public Library. On his way to the street car,
he passed the open window of President Atkinson’s office.

That gentleman chanced to look up at the moment and as Roy lifted his
hat, Mr. Atkinson called to him to come in.

“I have something that may interest you,” the president explained.
“May interest me, too, if it’s right,” he added. He had in his hand
a newspaper clipping. “Looks as if the boys of America were getting
on to a good thing right away,” he added. Mr. Atkinson handed Roy the
clipping. It had been taken from a Pensacola, Florida, paper, and read:

THE BOY AERONAUTS’ CLUB

Six Pensacola Lads To Buy an
Aeroplane

Result of Recent Salvage Case

It became known yesterday that the six juvenile members of the
Anclote Boat Club, who were recently awarded ten thousand
dollars salvage in the Honduras mahogany schooner wreck, have
determined to put a part of their treasure trove into an
up-to-date aeroplane. Thomas Allen and Robert Balfour, nineteen
and eighteen years old, and president and secretary of the
club, respectively, have been delegated to go to New York to
select the airship.

It also became known at the same time that there is a decided
objection to this on the part of the parents of more than one
boy. But the youngsters seem determined, and there is a strong
probability that parental objection will be defied.

Tom Allen, president of the club, said yesterday: ‘You bet we
are going to do it. Every one of the six members of the club
risked his life to earn that money and why shouldn’t we spend
it as we like? We are going to use five thousand dollars to buy
an aeroplane, one thousand dollars to fix up our club house
over on Anclote Island, and divide the rest. The court awarded
us the money, and we’re going to beat the men of Pensacola by
bringing an aeroplane down here before they wake up.’

Then followed nearly a column story that set Roy’s nerves tingling.
It reviewed the history and adventures of the Anclote Boat Club. This
juvenile organization of boys, ranging in age from sixteen to nineteen
years, had for a couple of winters maintained a sort of winter quarters
on Anclote Island about five miles off the west Florida coast and north
of Tampa.

In the previous February the club members had, in a bad sou’wester,
been instrumental in saving a three-mast schooner loaded with
mahogany and driven out of her course on a voyage from Honduras to
Mobile. This had been done with the help of the “_Escambia_,” an old
lifeboat rebuilt and converted into a power boat by the addition of a
ten-horsepower motor.

The details of the salvage trial in the U. S. Court were also given
briefly, and then followed various anecdotes about the club, which
had, apparently, afforded a number of adventurous tales to the local
newspapers. When Roy finished the long story his face was aglow with
more than perspiration.

“Looks as if the American Aeroplane Company hadn’t got into business
any too soon, don’t it?” exclaimed Mr. Atkinson, good-humoredly.

Roy handed the president the clipping with a sigh.

“Isn’t it great?” he exclaimed, shaking his head. “Reads like a story
out of a book. Camping on an island in the Gulf of Mexico; fishing,
swimming, boating and oranges and things. I suppose the club’ll fly all
over the Everglades now–when it gets its airship.”

“Well,” laughed Mr. Atkinson, “I don’t see that the club has much
advantage over you.”

“Yes, I know,” replied Roy, a little ruefully. “I wouldn’t exactly
trade with those boys, but then, you know, I’m goin’ to be all alone. I
won’t have any other boy with me.”

“I suppose that does make a difference,” added the man of business.

“All the difference in the world,” exclaimed Roy, “if you’re lookin’
for fun.” Then his voice changed; he threw off his disappointed look
and added cheerfully: “But business is business. I’m satisfied. Only–”
and he smiled, “if I wasn’t just starting for Utah, I’ll bet I could go
down there and sell those boys an aeroplane.”

“I haven’t any doubt of it,” answered Mr. Atkinson.

It was a curious coincidence that, hardly had this account of Roy
Osborne’s remarkable adventures been written, than a story came on its
heels that found in Roy an enthusiastic reader. This was the narrative
of the adventures of the members of the Anclote Boat Club, entitled,
“The Boy Aeronauts’ Club, or Flying for Fun.”

Roy hurried to the library. Singularly enough, in addition to U. S.
Survey reports on the Grand Canyon of Colorado and the mighty Green
River chasm and an ethnological report on the Navajo and Ute Indians,
Roy–rather guiltily–asked the librarian for a map showing the west
coast of Florida.

For a time he diligently applied himself to the volumes concerning
the region he was about to visit. But, when it came time to close the
library for the day, any one looking over Roy’s shoulder would have
seen him tracing out Anclote Island, the waters of Pensacola Bay and
the wild, swampy stretches of the mysterious Everglades of Florida.

“Anyway,” he said to himself, “even if this isn’t for me I’ve learned a
little geography. Good luck to the southern kids. It’s me for Utah and
the desert.”

Roy was determined to get his western outfit in Chicago. So there was
little to do in the few days before his departure except to visit the
library and read up on the history of the west.

Among other things, he learned that the great Navajo reservation, on
the edge of which he would undoubtedly operate, was yet a mountain and
mesa wilderness sealed against even the boldest white men. Many who had
ventured to penetrate into the Indians’ jealously guarded domain had
never returned.

He learned, too, with a little shock to him, to tell the truth, that
the adjoining Ute land (along which he would have to travel in going
to Bluff) was the home of the desperadoes of the last of the red men.
“Renegade Utes” the books called them–outcasts, not even fit to mingle
with other Indians. Among them, he read, were to be found specimens of
all savage villains, Indians who made no pretense of work or self help,
cattle and horse thieves and even murderers who were watched by the
government as recognized criminals.

But, above all others in gripping interest, was the vague story of
the hidden Indians, savages buried in the uncharted wastes of the
southwestern Utah mountains, who had as yet evaded the white man.
As Eskimos are known to dwell on the ice fields of the far northern
British America who have never seen human beings other than of their
own race, so, it was reported, a like remnant of Indians concealed
themselves between the deep canyon of the Colorado and the terrible
Death Desert to the west.

The next day was Saturday. When Mr. Osborne came home at noon, he was
the bearer of a parting gift from Mr. Atkinson, who seemed to have
taken a strong liking to Roy. The present was a thin, open-faced gold
watch and a plain leather fob.

“I noticed you didn’t have a watch,” Mr. Atkinson said, in a note, “and
since you are going to run an aeroplane express you must have a good
timepiece.”

On Sunday, Mr. Osborne’s second son, Phil, came over from Orange, where
he was employed in the Edison laboratories. A part of the day was given
up to a good-natured argument between Roy and his mother as to whether
the latter should take a trunk or a suit case. Mrs. Osborne had enough
articles laid out to have carried Roy on a cruise around the world.
But, after repeated explanations, she surrendered. The suit case won.
And in that were only a few toilet necessities, for Roy realized that
in the west he would need only what he meant to buy in Chicago.

A little after ten o’clock Monday morning, Roy was off. At half-past
seven Tuesday morning the eager young traveler–never before so far
from home–found himself in the dingy, smoky Union Station in Chicago.
In the station dining-room he first ate a good breakfast. An hour later
he called a cab and drove to the downtown offices of the railroad over
which he planned to travel to Pueblo.

Having secured transportation and sleeping car accommodation, he
re-entered his cab, and directed the driver to one place of which he
had dreamed for days–a well-known sporting goods and “outfitting” shop
on Wabash Avenue. Here he dismissed his cab. When Roy left this store
at noon he was the happiest lad in all that great city.

With his shopping done, he did what sight-seeing he could until five
o’clock, at which hour he was again at the store. His precious supplies
had been compactly placed in a strong box and labeled, “Mr. Royce
Osborne, Bluff, Utah, via Pueblo and Dolores.” Loading the box into
another cab, Roy saw his baggage deposited at the Dearborn Street
Station, got a check for it, tipped the baggageman a quarter and was at
last ready for his real journey.

The only change he had made in his list of things needed was to
substitute a shoulder water canteen for his ½-gallon affair.