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A Magic Carpet Ride , And The Rugg's

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Posted 07-05-2009 at 11:54 PM by trfour
Updated 02-14-2010 at 02:00 AM by trfour (Additions to text)

My Mom and Dad were thinking about moving to California from the east coast back in 19and 51. This adventure would have to be thought out well in advance because at the time we were a family of 9 children. First of all, as we all know today, how can we make this gigantic move, and secondly, do we have anymore families of this size today?.... Food for thought. If you are thinking that maybe times were better back in the day, try it!!

Second of all, logistics, feeding the family while in route....Take the kitchen and the hotel with. Well and Wallah, we purchased a 46' house trailer, and affectionately Named it , "The Magic Carpet".... Troubles are not over yet, by any means folks, We were able to bring the Very and Large Hotel with, thanks to some more ingenuity from my Dad.... I will say here, again that my Mom & Dad also purchased an 1949 Buick Roadmaster with an Dynaflow automatic transmission. My Dad equipped it with overload springs and a Heavy duty trailer hitch.... My Dad, full knowing about all things, transportation wise!.... He took the trailer on a shakedown cruise in Stoneham Ma. and the heavy duty trailer hitch bent down and the trailer almost became dislodged with!! This trailer, by the way weighed some 7 and 1/2 ton when loaded with all of our "bringalongs".. so to speak. This trailer was purchased new, a Michigan Aero, and was six' longer than a railroad boxcar, at the time. A design flaw that they have corrected since was that it only had two axles. This meant that there would be an unbelievable amount of what they call, ( tongue weight ), at the hitch of the tow vehicle.
Back to the drawing board for my Dad. He checked around and found a few different tongue dollies that mounted in the tow frame at the front of the trailer that would take the load off of the tow vehicle, in this particular case, the poor Buick Roadmaster. Well he tested these until he found one that he, and the old Buick felt good with and chose a triple wheeled, air over hydraulic unit that filled the bill for the long trip. It turned out to be a finicky apparatus in that keeping the three wheels at a constant tire pressure, or the thing would go about to shimmying.
Just and by the way, the Buick was powered buy a straight eight engine! Thats 1/2 of a V16, save the raw horse power. Could have pulled Paul Bunions socks from his boots while holding the world upon his shoulders and towing the Magic Carpet twice boots!

The Largest trailer that ever crossed the Rockie Mountains, at the time... And negotiating Donner Pass in the northern Sierra Nevada's at 7'085 feet above sea level, was a trip in itself. ... And thank God that the snow Gods were vacationing down under!

"YES, And OH YES" were we ever pulled over by whatever States finest en route, wanted to ticket us, for "Over Length" and over weight.

My Mom's Sister's husband was an very talented commercial artist, and was friends with photographers that worked for Life Magazine, he informed them about our intended adventure, and Life wanted to follow us on our trip to the west and do a public interest story!

Yes this trip today would be much easier, although just remember those whom have gone before us, my Dad also had some US Patents.... And yet, this is another story.

This story will continue here with published and unpublished photos from Life, and as well, the Rugg family.
Love,
T

Did I say here that we were pulled over, not to worry, because we had the proper permits for the States that we traveled and through..

Photo by a Life Photographer taken from his 1949 Ford rag top!! Do not worry folks, these pics will get better along the way as they will all be scanned, and not be photographed through a protective film in the album.

Added Photos; My Dad With Permits in hand.
HP looks a lot more worried than my Dad, at this point.

"On The Road Again "....


Now back to the prep work. My Dad got things ironed out on the mechanical side, and my oldest Brother Fred and I were right there to give a hand whenever he needed us. No problem....

Okay, with a head check, we were off on our journey that took us to New York City, The Empire State building, Statue Of Liberty, and I will add some photos as we go along here.
Have I told you the part about getting to see some of this stuff that most only got to see in a history book, back in the fifties!! "It Was Awesome"!!!! and I was 7 years old, at the time. We did some sightseeing and it was time to find our way to the George Washington Bridge. Well let me say this to all today. New York City was and is still under construction!! and with the poor signage somehow we ended up on some Parkway, that didn't allow trailers and the next thing we knew we were at the on ramp to, The Bridge!!.... it only gets better from here.... The travel lanes were too narrow for a bicycle, let alone a flip pen 46' house trailer, and there were a Gazilion traffic cones so as to make any attempt at negotiating The Bridge Impossible!! A side note, before this day, I thought only animals had horns!! and well, there just happened to be a motorcycle cop directing traffic, and you should have seen the glare in which he gave my Dad when he had to move them to let us continue!! This was a hot and sunny day, he didn't try to stop us and wright a ticket. to this day, I think he was a smart guy!!
Continuing story to follow.

It was on to Washington DC where we enjoyed some more sightseeing. From there it was on to Harrisburg, PA. and the Gettysburg Memorial Battleground.
From there, on to Chicago...., through Pennsylvania, Ohio, Indiana and finally into LaGrange Illinois.
Oh, in Ohio we ran into some weather and, "What it is". a tornado had closed the main road and route, we were detoured onto a dirt road, that in retrospect, I would have Not taken a four wheel drive pickup, without any trailer!!
Here we go!, Back before we even left on this trip, my Dad picked out some rear, or Drive tires for the 1949 Buick, that through his wisdom took us safely from Coast to Coast, up and over all of the badlands and beyond!.... If my memory serves me, they were and maybe the first all weather tread design, made by Cooper Tire & Rubber Co..... Here it is, 1952.

Yes and "We did get beyond the detour".

A day or two in LaGrange and we were on our way.

Dad hadn't picked up a permit for Illinois........ and don't you know that we were pulled over by Illinois's finest. He measured with his ruler, tape measure and found that we were 215 inches over length!
A justice of the peace was wakened and Mom & Dad were taken off to court.

"One dollar an inch"! was the penalty.
Dad said, "Well your honor, we don't have that kind of money so you will have to put us and our 9 children in jail."....

"Twenty dollars, and get out of here." was the judge's response.


We travelled up to the Wisconsin Dells, another delight to see.... Put it in your things to do....
Revisit, and we then headed further west.

Wherever we stayed, people would throng to our trailer to walk through and visit. It was a large trailer. We travelled west from Wisconsin through Minnesota and into Brookings, South Dekota. This was petty bleak territory at that time (probably still is) Outside of Brookings, we almost lost the Magic Carpet on a mud slicked road that had flooded out the day before.


We none-the-less moved across South Dekota to Rapid City, where we stayed in a Native American Trailer Park.......we ventured out from there to visit Mount Rushmore (awesome!)
and Dinasour Nationel Park (equally awesome!).
Have I forgot-en to say how Awesome this entire trek was for all of us Kids!!!!



[Quote,] About US Patents, FDR; One of and his hand drawings in this application.
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