“O WHAT A LIFE”

Continuation of excerpts from the diary of John Barclay MAYON on his 1939 visit to his 80 year old mother for the first time since they emigrated from Liverpool UK in 1910, he to Sydney and his mother to Vancouver BC.

Monday, August 7
Continued journey to Portland. Viewed the city, quite a large place, many fine buildings. The highway through the States are wonderful – everything possible is done for the driver and the pedestrian. Every possible required signs are to be seen along the highways and the roads are marked to give the fullest safety possible. Most of the highways have two roads each way, catering for fast and slow traffic and in many parts, three roads each way and sides for parking. Right here I give it to the Americans for their wonderful roads and bridges and I feel sure that during this 1400 mile trip approximately 200 bridges were crossed. The meter parking system in Portland is unique allowing the required space meters resembling microphones are placed on the edge of the footpaths. The cost of parking is 5 cents per hour. The system works the same as a clock, when a coin is placed in the slot, a finger automatically springs over to 0, then slowly moves over to 60 minutes clock time. A great revenue system and modern. The outlying parts of the city were later visited. A great point of interest was Washington Park. It is situated on a mountain side and the winding roads through heavy timbers made it very scenic.

Tuesday, August 8
Another drive through Portland city, then left for Astoria, 102 miles enjoying a very scenic drive. Stayed for a while at Chitskaine for lunch, then completed trip to Astoria. Visited the Astor Column, a very fine lighthouse sort of tower, cut in and coloured around the outside in a spiral fashion – showed the history of the town. Climbed 160 steps up spiral staircase inside to the tower and viewed the city. Being a fishing town, there was much of interest on the waterfront. A population of about 15000 and things seemed busy. This town was the pick of the trip for layout. Very nice.

Wednesday, August 9
Took a detour road to Seaside on the coast, nice summer resort resembling English style beach Photographed at huge Douglas Fir log. Inscription on log as follows:
• Height 231 feet
• Diameter 9ft 7 inches
• 9701 board feet
• 27 ½ tons weight
• Age 624 years

Some tree. Drove through City to waterfront, then crossed the Colombia River by ferry to Megler, Washington State, again. From here drove to Aberdeen, population 20000. Next to Olympia – 48 miles. Capital City of Washington.

Thursday, August 10
Most of today spent visiting the Parliament Buildings. Went through the Parliament House and saw the Assembly and Senate rooms – also Governors – Private and Public. Marvellous building, inside corridor is covered by a very fine dome at a great height – a pendant chandelier hangs from same, the whole thing being a very massive affair. The chandelier weighs 5 ½ tons carrying 200 large lamps and the suspending chain is 102 ft long. An elevator runs from ground level to the top of the dome then a spiral staircase with 150 steps leads to the lookout tower and a most glorious view can be seen for miles around. There is also a MEAL HOURS ABOARD THE S.S. NIAGARA 6.30am Tea, Biscuits, Fruit in Cabin 8.15am Breakfast 10.30am Tea or Coffee 1.00pm Luncheon 1.45pm Tea or Coffee in Lounge 3.30pm Afternoon Tea 6.15pm Supper 6.45pm Tea or Coffee in Lounge 10.00pm Late Supper CANADA B.C. AND UNITED STATES OF AMERICA diary of trip to very fine War Memorial Statue of which I have a picture. A rose garden was very beautiful and the layout generally very fine. Drove on to Sheldon, the on to Port Angeles to take the ferry across to Vancouver Island. Found on arrival that the ferries were not running due to a strike an much disappointment was felt, Hearing later that there might be a settlement, decided to remain here a couple of days. This is an industrial and fishing town. Passed by two of the largest paper mills on the Pacific Coast, also out along a spit to view the Airdrome, Lighthouse and also saw many boats containing fishermen trolling for salmon with rods and line. This was part of a contest in what is known as the Washington Salmon Derby – saw many fine salmon on show up to 50lbs in weight.

Friday, August 11
Drove out a distance of 20 miles to a place known as Agate Beach. Collected some nice agate and later drove up a mountain road to the Olympia Hot Springs. This is a natural sulphur spring and a very beautiful swimming bath is built 7 – 8,000 ft up the mountainside Hearing that no settlement of strike was likely we decided to return next morning via Seattle – feeling sorry that we would have to retrace our way back. To be continued.