In the next two columns I wish to present a condensed version of a diary very well and painstakingly kept by Flying Farm Hobart Creighton and his 16-year-old son, Eddie. It is the hour by hour and day by day account of their recent flight to Mexico. It was edited only because of space requirements. I can assure you that the original unabridged version, made while the plane was actually in flight, was much better, more interesting and proves Mr. Creighton's ability as an observer as well as pilot and farmer.
It's six o'clock and only four degrees above zero. Our ship is covered with frost and it takes 15 minutes to warm up the engine. With our destination Mexico, our first stop is scheduled at Evansville, Ind., for refueling. The ship is heavily laden with clothing, cameras and other accessories. As soon as we are in the air and headed southwest Eddie takes over the controls. Steadily our Ercoupe east up the miles--Mentone, Akron, Logansport--and after being in the air only two hours and30 minutes we refuel at Evansville.
10:55 a.m.--We are over Paducah, Ky. A big barge is pushing its way up the river. All the way down from Evansville the Ohio has been first on one side and then the other. When Illinois was to our right the trees below were loaded with ice. They glisten in the sun as we look east but as we look west the ice becomes invisible. The old Ohio is muddy as always.
11:47 a.m.--The big thrill! We are nearing Old Man River, himself. The mighty Mississippi! About five miles ahead is Reel-Foot lake, which appears to be covered with moss. As we pass directly overhead we learn that the green vegetation is actually the tops of many trees flooded and covered over by this great artificial lake. We are now near the corners of Missouri, Kentucky, and Tennessee.
12:42 p.m.--In about five minutes we will be over the radio range station at Brasher, Mo. The sight of many sawmills below tells us that another state has slipped beneath our fast moving airplane--Arkansas for today and crossing the old Mississippi once again. You see, we are flying a straight line while the river and state lines zig-zag beneath us. We land at the modern Memphis airport, only eight miles from the Mississippi line. Just think--from Atwood to Mississippi in five hours.
1:50 p.m.--Off again; headed 280 miles southwest for Shreveport, La. At 2:34 we are over the White river and there is plenty of worthless real estate under us right now. A lot of money has been spent here for levees; but I doubt if the land is worth the money it costs to protect it.
3:40 p.m.--Passed Eldorado, Ark. Black gold is beneath us. Oil wells and storage domes as far as we can see. At Haynesville, La., they are burning waste gas. Flames shoot upward 20 feet. We land at Shreveport.
We are headed for Houston, Tex. The land under us is 60 per cent timber and 40 per cent cleared. Contour-farming is generally practiced. I see no wheat fields. At 9:50 we are over Logansport, Tex. Yesterday at this time it was Logansport, Ind. The air here is so saturated with the odor of oil that we notice it at 15 feet. The climate has changed and it is warm.
10:36 a.m. -- We are crossing the Angelina river. We are navigating strictly on our own. We are not within sight of anything made by man. It's a comfortable feeling in a few minutes to notice indications that Houston is just ahead, with the reappearance of railroads, highways and transmission lines, and finally a glimpse of Galveston bay.
1:00 p.m. -- We are flying across what appears to be good black farmland. The buildings look good. We are on our way to Corpus Christi. At 1:17 we are once again over trees and wooded country. But, as Bay City falls away on our left, we are back in the oil country and the surplus is being wastefully burned.
1:50 p.m. --We are skirting the great Gulf of Mexico, just starting a 3 mile hop across Lavaca Bay. At 1:56 we are over Indianola airport. We are down to 800 feet over San Antonia at 2:06. A very light rain has reduced visibility. We will stay at Corpus Christi tonight.
It was 8:45 when we left corpus Christi and by 9:06 we are over the range country. Lots of Hereford cattle. Below us is the big King's ranch--biggest in America. We are bucking a 40 mile wind. It is so bumpy I can hardly write. There are airports galore. We have seen twenty million dollars worth of airports in the last 30 minutes, all built by Uncle Sam. At 9:33 we are still flying over the King's ranch. It must be 100 miles long.
10:10 a.m. -- Over Lyford, Tex. Fruit and vegetables everywhere. We are over a 160 acre orange grove, and even the ground beneath the trees is cultivated. We are headed southeast towards Brownsville. Some of this land I thought was vegetable land is being prepared for cotton. The garden spot below is irrigated. We have a wonderful view of the canals. Eddie has just spotted the Rio Grande river, and of course, on the other side is old Mexico. At 10:43 we land at Brownsville international airport.
We cleared customs and took off west along the Rio Grande over old Mexico at 9:30 a.m. The air is so dusty we can see only 3 or 4 miles. The fertile valleys have disappeared and below is only mesquite. There are some oil wells and signs of an irrigation project-to-be.
11:00 a.m. -- Eddie says, "Daddy, there's a mountain."
At first we think they are the mountains beyond Monterey, but they are not.
They are the 2500 foot youngsters on this side. We will fly around
them. We have now climbed to 3000 feet. Our Mexican maps are not
accurate. Eddie again exclaims, "Up there in the sky is another
mountain!" It's the real McCoy --one of those 8000 foot ones.
The Monterey airport, built by American Airlines, is now in sight.
We'll get a taxi to town.
Warsaw Daily Times Tues. January 25, 1949