Travel Reference
In-Depth Information
are kept, together with some 'drug-store cowboys' whose job it is to act the 'tough hombres'.
Rich people from the industrial towns come to stay at these family hotels, where they equip
themselves with huge sombreros, high-heeled boots, fantastically designed 'chaps,' etc., and
then go out to do the 'shooting' with cinema and other cameras, in order to show their friends
at home what a rough life they led out in the Far West or down in wild and woolly Texas.
Nowhere did I enjoy myself more than in San Antonio, where I spent quite a number of
days as the guest of the army at Fort Sam Houston, which is the largest army post in the U.S.
Not only was I entertained at dances, polo games, etc., but I was given the opportunity to get
an insight into the splendid organisation and esprit de corps that exist in the U.S. Army, and,
in fact, I was shown so many things of interest that I was unable to take them all in.
Before being taken up in a 'plane I was dressed up in overalls, helmet and goggles, until
I looked 'airworthier' than participants in the Schneider Cup races, and when the method of
releasing the parachute had been explained to me, we circled up until the hangars and the city
of San Antonio looked like miniature toys below.
Whilst wondering what I would do if I had to jump and release the parachute, it struck me
that the present-day system of releasing them in America has one great defect, for this is done
by pulling a ring that is over the region of the heart. I am not criticising the system from a
mechanical point of view, but as this usually effective life-saving device depends on a man's
almost subconscious movements inapsychological moment, Ithinkthat there isroomforim-
provement, and that a way should be found to attach the releasing ring to the hip flask.
With all the entertainments it looked as if I should never reach my goal, but the day came
that I felt like leaving home when a mounted detachment accompanied me for some miles
out. Had it not been for the heavy traffic and the many people who continually stopped me to
Texas, where I started another round of entertainments. In practically every town and village
where I stopped the same thing happened, and with all the speeches I had to make at Rotary,
Lions, Kiwanis, and other clubs, societies and schools, I nearly ran dry of material and jokes.
The climate in Texas is very changeable and tricky, and strong winds sometimes rise when
the day has promised to be warm and pleasant. A yarn that is often told in these parts well
illustrates such sudden changes, and goes as follows:
Afarmer workedwith ateam ofmules, andthe daywassohotthat oneofhisanimals sud-
denly died from heat stroke. The farmer ran back home for help, and by the time he returned
the other mule had frozen to death!
Mancha and Gato were sick with distemper for a few days, but luckily the attacks left
them with no bad aftereffects. They must have picked up the germs in some stable or drinking
trough, and this is the only time I have known them to have been sick.
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