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Thread: 5000 miles - 73 days - 11 Boy Scouts - 1 Jeep Truck

  1. #1
    Bigger Hammer gimbelsjeep's Avatar
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    5000 miles - 73 days - 11 Boy Scouts - 1 Jeep Truck

    Gather around kids and read this reprinted story from The Gaslamp Newsletter.

    Submitter note: A journey like this realistically will never happen again, I wish I was there. There are also photos of the Jeep Truck. This truck burned in a garage fire the next year. The garage and truck were never rebuilt. Enjoy

    Rocky Mountain Trek
    In the summer of 1952 I was one of 11 Boy Scouts from Glen Ridge who joined Troop 3 Scoutmaster George Gimbel
    on a 73-day cross-country adventure. The trip took in 22states and two Canadian provinces. Nineteen fifty-two
    was years before the construction of the Interstate Highway System, so all of our travel was via state and local
    roads. We saw the country up-close. We camped out every night in national parks, state forests, and Boy Scout camps.
    We departed from Glen Ridge on June 17, just a couple of days after the start of school vacation. The prior three months we
    had worked together to refit Gimbelís Jeep truck with seating benches, storage chests, canvas curtains, a galvanized roof to carry two 18-foot aluminum canoes, and a trailer for tents, packs, provisions, and two more canoes. Our itinerary called for us to travel south and west through the Ozarks to Little
    Rock, Ark., and continue west through Oklahoma and the Texas panhandle. Driving through the Ozark Mountains, it became obvious that the local lifestyle was worlds away from anything I had experienced in Glen Ridge. By the time we reached Drumwright, Okla., with oil wells in all directions, the upholstered green benches in the Jeep had turned a dusty brown. In early July, we reached Philmont Boy Scout Ranch in eastern New Mexico, where we spent
    nearly a week with fellow scouts from all over the country. One evening while there,
    we watched as professional rodeo cowboys at the Raton Rodeo wrestled steer to the ground and rode bareback on broncos. Next we headed north to Colorado. After establishing our campsite in Rocky Mountain National Park, five scouts, including me, headed off on a two-day hike to the summit of Longís Peak. Halfway up the open mountain face we encountered a July snow storm. Very scary!
    In northwestern Wyoming we visited Grand Teton and Yellowstone national parks. It was here that I celebrated my 14th birthday on July 22. We rigged masts on our canoes with lodge pole pine trunks that we found in the woods, adding ponchos as sails and driftwood as daggerboards.
    Sailing in the shadows of the Tetons was unforgettable. One fine day we embarked on a canoe trip down the
    Snake River in Wyoming. We linked up with a local guide who assured us he had everything under control. Not so! We had to rescue two scouts as their canoe disappeared downstream near Jackson Hole. Some of my clearest memories are of Glacier National Park in northern Montana, where we hiked to the forest fire observation towers and were educated by the rangers in charge. We also spent a memorable day hiking on the surface of glaciers and
    dropping rocks down the crevasses to get a sense of their depths. One night after falling sleep on the shore of Saint Mary Lake,
    we were interrupted by unfamiliar sounds. About 30 feet beyond our tents were two bears competing for the food we had suspended by rope from a tree limb. Eventually they were successful and wandered off. One of our frequent distractions was flat tires. We became Nascar-proficient at unexpected pit stops. The most memorable took place in the Blackfoot Confederacy territory of northern Montana. While changing the tire we heard unusual noises that sounded
    like distant firecrackers followed by whistling zings. Turned out two guys on the next ridge were using our truck-mounted canoes for target practice. That tire change set a speed record. Our scoutmaster, an engineer by profession, included non-touristy visits across the country, such as a refinery, copper mines, and a power plant. My father, Herb, also arranged a visit to General Motors in Detroit through a college friend who was a vice-president. On our arrival at
    the outskirts of Detroit, we received a police escort to the downtown headquarters, where we were photographed and interviewed. We arrived back in Glen Ridge on August28, just in time for the school year. Ted Meyer
    Attached Images Attached Images

  2. #2
    Precision-Fit leiniedude's Avatar
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    Wow! Outstanding story!

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    Well-Oiled
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    That definitely would not happen these days. I did much of the same trek in the early 70's when I was 12 years old with my brothers in a Apache popup trailer.

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    Precision-Fit Flinthillsben's Avatar
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    That is one fine story. I would say it ranks up there with two teenage kids climbing the Grand Teton in the 20s. I read about it 10 years ago or so. Here is a video of one of the actual kids telling the story.

    https://youtu.be/hpnUbI-tkuE
    1957 Willys Wagon with overhauled 1960 Super Hurricane 226 and frame. Driving - but always a work in progress.

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    Well-Oiled dahreno's Avatar
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    What a great story Duffy, it's a story to remember for a lifetime. Hell, your 80 and look how well you remember it. I have some great stories that I have remembered through out my entire life. Me and my best friend drove from Southern California to Fairbanks Alaska in a 60 something, maybe a '69 Toyota FJ40 Landcruiser right after graduating High School. At that time the entire Alaskan Highway was all dirt, all 1,500 miles of it or so. We had broken the windsheild, popped tires, lost our brakes for 400 miles,broke our radiator, etc. Saw some of the best country this world has to offer. It was the best trip either of us have ever had in our lives. My friend has passed away several years ago and it seems odd now not being able to share the good times we had. These days I share those times and stories with his son. I hope he passes them on to his son.
    I think the second best trip was getting lost for 14 hours with my wife while 4 wheeling in the jeep through the high Sierras ! That's a whole story in itself ! lol

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  7. #6
    Bigger Hammer gimbelsjeep's Avatar
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    Just for clarification I was not on this trip, I wish I was. Ted Meyer authored the story and he is a fellow Boy Scout from my troop.

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    Well-Oiled dahreno's Avatar
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    Does that mean your not 80 ? lol

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    Precision-Fit Broken Wagon's Avatar
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    Great story,

    I shared with a number of my fellow former Cub and Boy Scout Adult Leaders. We all agreed this would be a really fun trip without the boys, wives nagging via cell phone etc. HaHa

    As someone above mentioned, this would never happen today. Our troop was considered High Adventure. We struggled non stop with permits, permissions and getting adult volunteers to get the proper training. Too many adults and even more kids lack the experience to check tire pressure much less pull off any sort of roadside repair.

    The boys that went on this adventure got a true once in a lifetime experience.

    Thank you very much for sharing.

    Duane

    Sent from my SM-G920V using Tapatalk

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  11. #9
    Bigger Hammer gimbelsjeep's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Broken Wagon View Post
    Great story,

    I shared with a number of my fellow former Cub and Boy Scout Adult Leaders. We all agreed this would be a really fun trip without the boys, wives nagging via cell phone etc. HaHa

    As someone above mentioned, this would never happen today. Our troop was considered High Adventure. We struggled non stop with permits, permissions and getting adult volunteers to get the proper training. Too many adults and even more kids lack the experience to check tire pressure much less pull off any sort of roadside repair.

    The boys that went on this adventure got a true once in a lifetime experience.

    Thank you very much for sharing.

    Duane

    Sent from my SM-G920V using Tapatalk

    Duane,

    When I heard the story of the 1952 Trek I was fascinated. It was 1972 and our troop had just returned from a Florida trip that was unbleivable in it's own right. We had just spent two weeks at military bases in south Florida where we para sailed at Mira Mar Naval Station and threw training genages at Homestead Air Force Base. Just touching on the some highlights. When we returned to our Ramapo Mountain troop cabin thereafter I Became aware of the Rocky Moutain Trek. It was when we opened a mystery box in the cabin the had a canvas seat pad hinged upon the top. Inside the never opened box was a cast iron letter press with ink and neckercheif blanks already hemed. Also there were neckercheifs that were made from prior trips. This was one of the seats that were made for the back of the pick up truck.
    When I found the Rocky Mountian Neckercheif I asked about that trip and It blew me away. George Gimbel took 11 scouts in a Jeep truck with no seat belts or A/C or heat or windows on a cross country trek with one adult in a pick up truck. George told me that the truck was new and had a four cylinder engine with overdrive. He took the Jeep truck over his 1951 wagon for this trip because it was able to carry more scouts and the canoes better. I own a Willy's pick up truck and think of this story every time I get in it.

    Duane, Thank you for your volunteering and reply, this trip could never be duplicated. It maybe unlawful in today's time.

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    Precision-Fit Broken Wagon's Avatar
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