WHEN THEY MARRIED in April 1912, Olive and Ben King had a dream: a year's tour of the United States. They could not take such a honeymoon just after the marriage, yet they dreamed. "Always this year of stargazing danced ahead, an utterly delightful vision which we doubted not could some day be realized. Our wait was only nine years."1
Although the couple lived in Washington, D.C., in the early 1920s, their car tour began from Kirkwood, Missouri, the home of kin. Olive explained, "We'd have started from Washington, D.C. in the Ford, but that several very proper visits demanded we do credit to our relatives--a credit hardly possible out of suitcases" (1). They made those visits, and then they bought a car for the trip.
The car, which they christened "Stargazer," since it was to be the vehicle of their dreams, was not the ideal chariot. At the beginning of the travel diary she kept of the journey, a journal she called "Log of the Stargazer," Olive first denounced the purchase. "Great was my disgust," she complained, "over the purchase of a second hand Ford" (1). However, a secondhand car was the best they could do. They would have had to wait six weeks or more for delivery of a new vehicle, and mechanics advised the couple that no car should begin a cross-country jaunt without having been broken in, a matter of a thousand miles' driving.
"Shortly Stargazer was ours," Olive lamented, coming a step closer to accepting the machine, "Ours to be trundled home and put thro preliminary paces. Most lame those paces! Our solicitous family waxed lugubrious as one and all saw how long it took to start her, how she refused the hills, how she stopped betimes for no apparent cause. One confided to another that there was no doubt about it, the car was quite impossible--we'd never get out of the state of Missouri in her" (1). With some pride, Olive boasted, "We did, tho--and back into Missouri, eleven months after" (1).
What we will do is to trace the trials and tribulations of half that journey, the trip from Missouri to the West Coast. It all began on July 1, 1921. "Many expecta-