The First Trans-Canada Auto Trip

Halifax: August 27, 1912 <<<    >>> Victoria: October 17, 1912

Jack Haney's Diary

This page contains exerpts from Jack Haney's diary, recorded as he participated in the First Trans-Canada auto trip.

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Diary of F.V. (Jack) Haney ... Halifax to Vancouver, 1912
Reprinted with permission of Mrs. F. Hicks
August 27 Left Halifax at 4:30 PM. Arrived at Truro 8 PM. Bum roads most of the way. Mud got in carburetor, will fix protection for it in the morning. ... tired, going to bed now 10:30 PM.
August 28 Left Truro at 7:45 AM, got good send off, arrived in Moncton 7:30 PM. Roads were bad. Had much trouble with poor gas and spark plugs, motor missed all day. ... Come near losing spare tire somewhere near Amherst. The bracket got loose. Got a pilot out of Amherst. He run out of gas so we left him. Worked on car at Moncton until 11:30 PM. ... Put "Rajah Plugs" in and they have been doing fine. 133 miles.
August 29 Left Moncton 7:30 AM. Car going fine. Roads good in spots, and some places poor. Bad culverts, and holes and stones. Arrived at St. John 3:30 PM. ... got away at 4:30 PM. Were piloted out by Olds Limited for 15 miles. Reached Fredericton Jct. at 7 PM. 144 miles.
August 30 Left Fredericton Jct. at 7:45 AM, arrived Fredericton at 10:00 AM. Took on gas and put some semental in radiator to stop a leak. ... Had dinner on the banks of the St. John River at a summer hotel, enjoyed the feed fine ... Come near not getting any supper, cost 35 cents and there wasn't enough to feed a chicken at a summer hotel.

Come near to running out of gas about 15 miles out of Grand Falls. The hills were bad, so in order to feed the gas I blew into the tank and then plugged the vent hole with a piece of match. The weather is fair, had some showers to-day. Roads good in spots, rotten in others, lot of hills. Bought camera at Woodstock. I took pictures of Harland and Florenceville. Finally got to Grand Falls 1 o'clock with 160 miles for the day. 506 miles from Halifax.. Motor has had only one filling of oil. I will now write A. G. and then to bed.

Car going pretty fair, tightened up bolts, spring clips and left front wheel this morning, and took off remaining spring rebound strap as it was doing no good. Lost my water pail. Good Night!
August 31 Left Grand Falls at 8 o'clock. Got filled up with gas and greased the trans. and axle. Bought a funnel, am now carrying 7 1/2 gal. in reserve tank.

Roads were pretty good until noon, which by the way was the end of the eastern time belt, as we had to set the clock back an hour. We ate crackers and cheese for dinner. Got some mighty poor roads until about 4:30 PM when we got to Riviere Du Loup. After that we had 25 miles of good road along the St. Lawrence River. Got picture of it. Some scenery all right. We have put up at a place called St. Andre at a summer Boarding house. Had a good supper. Will write the shop, then cut about a foot of whiskers off my face and go to bed. We will get to Quebec tomorrow if all is well. 144 miles for to-day.
September 1 Arrived here in Quebec at 12:45. We came from St. Andre, 92 miles, leaving there at 7:30 AM. Roads were fair and scenery fine, took pictures of windmill, catholic cross and French ovens. Their country was all out to Church, in fact the church is everything here. ...

Horses are very much afraid of mobiles. We came across from Levis on ferry boat as there is no bridge across the St. Lawrence River. Worked on car all afternoon just going over bolts, nuts and greased cups and pumped up tires. This is the first pumping since leaving Halifax. The tires all look good except the left rear which has a pretty bad cut and was almost punctured by a large nail today.

I just finished mailing out expense account and will to bed. Got good room in a rooming house, next to garage. ... I'm going to bed.
September 2 Left Quebec about 4 PM. Got to see a little of the town in the forenoon. A fellow from the garage took me around. Saw inside three of their noted churches, and the oldest street in Quebec. It is as crooked as a dog's hind leg and about 10 ft. wide. Montcalm died in the building which is now the Campbell garage and where the "Red Route Reo" was stored while in Quebec.

We were escorted out of town by the Labor Day Auto Parade. Had trouble getting up a hill about 20 miles out of Quebec. It was too steep for gas to feed with full tank so I tried backing up, but when about 100 ft. from top could not get traction. There were four French peasants standing along the hill. I got them in the rear seat to hold her down and was able to back up and over it. I will put pressure in the tank when I get to Montreal.

We got to Three Rivers about 10 o'clock. I will be glad when I get out of the country for I can't understand anything they say, everybody is French. They have a shed about a mile from the hotel which is used for a garage, It is the only one in the town, 15,000 inhabitants. ...
September 3 Got a letter from the wife, most acceptable of anything I have had since leaving St. Kitts. Left Three Rivers about 8 o'clock, got to Montreal at 3 o'clock. Made 93 miles to-day.

Came near getting stuck in a sand hill about 30 miles outside of Three Rivers. Went by a sign which had a hand pointing and the word "Dr Automobile". It meant that we should go around, but we did not get wise until we had gone down a gulley and then tried to get out the other side. Had a bad time turning around but finally got out and went around.

We then proceeded to miss our trail and got a mile out of the way before we discovered it. This is the first time we had to go back or missed the right road. We spent from 3 till 6 o'clock getting our names up in the papers and fussing around with the nabobs of Montreal.

Ottawa to-morrow or bust.

The speedometer now shows 958 miles from Halifax. Took out Rajah Plugs to look at them. They are fine. No tire trouble yet. Well I guess I will go to bed.
September 4 Left Montreal about 10 AM, was raining and roads rotten. Arrived Ottawa 6 o'clock PM. Was in company of Ford most of the way. Came very near causing a serious accident. A woman with three kids came along [in a buggy]. The kids got out but the woman wouldn't. I stopped the car and motor. Got out to lead horse but she said she could drive him by. Ha! Got away from her, threw her out but she was not hurt.

The roads were rotten most of the way. When there was any road it was a toll. I am heartily sick of my companion and will be mighty glad when the trip is over. ... Montreal is bum. Storage for car $1.00 per night and just under a shed at that. I got a good bath last night anyway.

We done 131 miles to-day, expect to get to Belleville to-morrow. Good Night. 1086 miles from Halifax.
September 5 Left Ottawa 7:30 AM. I was ready at 6:30 but the Captain of the schooner slept in so we could not get away.

It rained all day and has just finished a heavy thunder storm. Roads are rotted, full of deep holes. Had to ford two creeks to-day, bridges out. Came near getting stuck in one. Had to put mud hooks on, they done the business.

Had a warm argument with the Captain to-day. He says it makes him sick to run over a chicken, also he is afraid to go more than 25 M.P.H.. - Rather a soft outfit for the Captain of a transcontinental automobile trip. ...
September 6 Got to Toronto 3 PM, missed the boys who came out to meet us, but went out and fixed it up. Went to St. Kitts to see the sweetheart. It was fine. Got trans. and clutch plates. Start to Toronto.
September 7 Came to Toronto ... Worked on car till 11 o'clock, changing trans clutch and putting on shock absorbers.
September 8 Worked on car till noon. Left Toronto at 2:30, got to Gravenhurst at 7:30 PM. Good roads. Going to bed.
September 9 Left. Gravenhurst at 9 o'clock. Got a shovel, axe and pump, soldered in valve for tank. The pressure works fine. Roads are bad hills and sand.

Got Scotia Jct.. about 4 o'clock. Got stuck in sand hill north of town and had to be pulled out. Twisted trans. shaft, so will have to stay here till a new one comes. Shaft is too soft. I expect the new one to-morrow night. Will get away 11 of Sept. I am trying to figure out some sort of rig to pull the car out with one man. Can't do it with the block and tackle. About everything that has tried that hill has had to be pulled out.
September 10 Got breakfast about 8 AM. Went up the hill and took out trans. Went to dinner. Hung around Hotel Scotia Jct. all afternoon. Trans. got in about 8:30 PM. Went to bed after figuring out windlass. Will try and get one made at North Bay. Went to bed 9:30.
September 11 Got up at 5 o'clock, uncrated trans., recrated bad one. Murphy came by for it at 6. Got it in car and away about 8:30. Got about 27 miles from Scotia when the fun began. Got to a very high hill with about 40% grade and rutty slippery surface. Could not get over. A number of cars have tried it but not succeeded. We were told of a way around ... Got stuck on a corduroy stairs, two times, put the trans. on the bum again. Got hung up on rocks which were too high to clear. Had to rebuild a bridge which had broken down. Had to come 12 miles on low, could not get into any other gear. Got to Trout Creek 8 PM. Gone 64 miles, but only 30 miles nearer to North Bay. With poor prospects ahead.

Had a good supper but have not bed yet, hope to get one soon. Wilby is pretty sore about the delay, is almost ready to give up. The trip is a farce anyway.
September 12 Fixed shaft up. Got car going about noon. She is doing fine now. Had a deuce of a time getting gasoline. Had pilot with us into North Bay. Got there at 5 PM.

Got car loaded [on a railcar] for Sudbury, as we could not get overland, no roads. ... Will get to Sudbury to-morrow afternoon. Feeling Good. Wrote letter to shop and 6 cards. ... Good Night! Wilby just left for Sudbury. 9:30 PM.
September 13 Got car unloaded and left Sudbury at 6:15 PM. Taking young lad with us to the Sault, nice chap. Got to Massey, 25 miles. Car going O.K. Getting winch made at Sudbury to be shipped to Sault. Good-night! Captain getting worse.
September 14 Got away about 8 AM. Got to Culter about 1 PM. Had a 35 mile trip on a tug boat over the North Channel, Great sport, reached Blind River. Got away about 6, got stuck in the mud out about 3 miles. . . Rest good going to Thessalon. Billy McLeod is with us. Good Sport. Will try to get to Sault by 1:30 to get boat to-morrow.
September 15 Left Thessalon about 7:30, was raining pretty hard. Got good road until about 10 miles from Sault. Were held up in mud hole where there had been washout, for 3 hours. Cost $6.00 to get out. Had dinner at a construction camp. Pretty good feed. Got to Sault at 3, too late for passenger boat. Waited till midnight for Steamer Ames but she did not get in till morning.
September 16 Left Sault. about 10 o'clock. Fine trip if start is a prediction. I find that the car has a cracked spring seat. Will have to fix it up in Fort William. Expect to reach there to-morrow noon. I am sitting in the car down in the hold. Am getting more sick than ever of the Captain.
September 17 Got to Port Arthur about 11 AM. Unloaded car, went to post office and on way to freight shed, had trouble with Wilby concerning the signs on car. I went over to Fort William, got dinner and went out about a mile to a small machine shop and got a spring seat made and put it on. I think it is a good job. Loaded car [on a railcar] for Selkirk about 7. Ate supper, went to bed. Took bath though, before.
September 18 Got up at 6:30 this morning, found 9:30 train 6 hours late. Loafed around till 4 o'clock. Got away about 4:30. Got to Kenora at 12:30 midnight. Went to bed and got out next morning.
September 19 Left Kenora 7:45, got to Selkirk 11 AM. East Selkirk is 4 miles east of Selkirk proper and is only a depot. As the car had not got there yet and no signs of Wilby, I walked over to Selkirk. Had to row across the Winnipeg River. Ate dinner and took car to Winnipeg 4 PM. Found where Syffers lived but not him. Found Leo and we went back to Selkirk for the car.
September 20 Raining hard all night and all day. Got car unloaded about 10 o'clock, and got to Winnipeg at 5 o'clock. Fierce roads, 28 miles.
September 21 Got out at 8 AM. Had big fight with Wilby. He was going to leave at 1:30 today. I said NO, owing to condition of car and roads. Expect to leave the 23rd. Worked on car all afternoon. Found Syffers to-night. Went to show and am now going to bed.
September 22 Worked on car all day; ground valves, took out clutch, oiled and cleaned it, was chattering pretty bad. Left Winnipeg about 4:30 PM. Went to Headingly, left car and returned to Winnipeg on electric.
September 23 Got out of Headingly at 1 PM. Bad roads to Portage, which was reached at 5:30.
September 24 Left Portage 8:15. Got stuck in slough for 2 hrs. Reached Brandon at 5:30. Received telegrams from Fifield saying that signs [on the car] are not needed.
September 25 Left Brandon 8:30 with Mr. Elliot as pilot. He took us to Elkhorn and we were piloted within 7 miles of Moosomin by Mr. Flanders. Arrived Moosomin 5 o'clock.
September 26 Left Moosomin 7:30 with James Hart as pilot.
September 27 Got to Regina 7 PM. Rotten roads.
September 28 Left Regina 3 PM with Morley Wright as pilot. Got to Moose Jaw 6:30 PM with Wise along as help.
September 29 Left Moose Jaw 9 AM. Arrived Swift Current 6 PM. Rough going over trails, ploughed ground and gopher holes.
September 30 Left Swift Current 9:15. Arrived Maple Creek 6 PM. Had a little hunting on way. Rough going.
October 1 Left Maple Creek 9:30 AM. Arrived Medicine Hat 1:30 PM Fair going. Left Medicine hat 4 PM. Arrived Lethbridge 10:30 PM. Good going. 196 miles, record. Had very heavy head wind all the way. Feeling fine, just got out of bath.
October 2 Left Lethbridge 9:40 AM. Arrived Mcleod 2 PM. Left Mcleod 4 PM. Arrived Frank 10 PM. Got off road three times and come near going through break in bridge.
October 3 Took pictures of slide at Frank. Left there 10 AM for Cranbrook. Arrived 6:30 PM. Come over some fierce hills, but got there alright. Were met out 6 miles by Auto Club.
October 4 Left Cranbrook 2 o'clock. Had hard time getting to Creston which we reached 3 o'clock next morning. 14 miles on ties, and up some fierce hills. Left Creston 11 o'clock.
October 5 Had bad time getting over Kootenay River. Reached Kootenay Landing 5 PM. Took boat. Nelson 8:30.
October 6 Left Nelson on freight car 9:30, reached Castlegar 11 AM. Drove to Trail, Rossland and bed at Customs House near Rossland. Mr. Wood is the officer.
October 7 Left Patterson about 10 AM., taking Mr. Wood with us to Bossburg. We crossed river on ferry and drove through States to Cascade, result of railroad. We arrived at Grand Forks about 9 PM.
October 8 Left Grand Forks about 9 AM., up a 3000 ft. hill to Phoenix. Going down hill we near burned the brakes out. We reached Fairview about 8 PM., after going down a mountain. . The road had about 20 switchbacks. and at the foot the sand was bad.
October 9 Left Fairview about 9 AM for Princeton where we arrived 7 PM over good roads and fair grades. Piloted by Mr. Turner in a McLaughlin car.
October 10 Left Princeton about 8 AM. Had lunch in Merritt and reached Ashcroft that night. 142 miles over fair roads.
October 11 Fixed right hand spring seat and away about noon. Had lunch at 12 Mile House on the Cariboo Trail. Passed through Lillooet at 4. Got stuck with an empty [acetylene] gas tank and had to drive 15 miles in to Lytton without lights, over dangerous roads.
October 12 Shipped from Lytton to Hope. Ball game going on at Hope when we got there.
October 13 Unloaded car about 6 o'clock and drove about 4 miles up Yale Road to get some pictures. Got stuck on hill for an hour on account of loose gravel. Left Hope 2 PM. Drove 2 miles up to end of construction of Princeton-Hope section of Canadian Highway. Reached Chilliwack 7 PM.
October 14 Left Chilliwack 8 AM. Saw some great fish in Vedder River. Reached New Westminster 12:30 PM. They had a lunch for us and then we left for Vancouver which we reached 4 PM.

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