50 MPH Stagecoach (Held her at 50 most of the way) We drove 600 miles this way to Estes Park, making it in 16 hours in 1939 (& back). On top were 5 blanket rolls covered with heavy canvas which was tied with rope running to bumpers both “fore” and “aft.” On back was a platform that carried all of the grub, army cots, and cooking utensils. On the left running board – carried all the suitcases and any additional junk. There were five of us, Bill Rosencrans, Jim Mauzy, Bruno Riestadht and Chuck Grosshans & myself. Had plenty of flats, bought 3 new tires between Lincoln, Nebr & home on way back. Same car made 2 more trips west – but with a trailer.”
-John Rishel, Plattsmouth, as written on the back of the photograph
The picture is of my dad’s car in 1939. My dad, John Rishel of Plattsmouth, along with buddies, had sometimes hitchhiked from Plattsmouth to Rocky Mountain National Park (Estes Park) during the mid-1930’s when the Depression was in full force. By 1939, he was able to buy a car so they could drive to the national park. They would follow Highway 34 all the way from Plattsmouth to Estes Park. My dad died in 1976 so I have not heard his stories about the trips for some time. They would always camp at Glacier Basin Campground in the national park and did extensive hiking while there. I do not know if any of the other men are still alive. My dad would have been 22 years old when they made the 1939 trip.
Submitted by: Steve Rishel, Plattsmouth, Nebraska
This “Portrait from the Past” appeared in the April 2014 issue of NEBRASKAland Magazine.
Send contributions to: Portraits from the Past, NEBRASKAland Magazine, P.O. Box 30370, Lincoln, NE 68503-0370 or e-mail: Tim.Reigert@Nebraska.gov. Photos will be returned. When possible, please include a story about the photograph and identify the people, places and approximate date it was taken. Photos will be returned.