FOUR BEE’S AND A BOAT TRIP IN 66

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Courtesy of Clarence E. Mitcham, Route 1, Mead, Washington 99021 Charles Bennett firing up the little steam boat.
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Courtesy of Clarence E. Mitcham, Route 1, Mead, Washington 99021 Bennett's engine
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Courtesy of Clarence E. Mitcham, Route 1, Mead, Washington 99021 Steaming along
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Courtesy of Clarence E. Mitcham, Route 1, Mead, Washington 99021 Charles Bennett and Mrs. Mitcham on Charles' steamboat

Route 1, Mead, Washington 99021

In August our V. W. Bus took us to Silverton, Oregon to the
Mikkelson’s Harvest Festival. After four days there and a fine
Bee, we went up the coast to Seattle, then home. Just one week and
we started for Montana, visited a son at Kalispell and another at
Lakeside, went fishing on Flathead Lake and four of us caught 23
nice trout. Then on to Cut Bank and saw the Chrisoferson
collection. He has two Canadian engines and a bend gear
Aultman-Taylor and many others.

Then about 5:30 p.m., we arrived at Mehmke’s, 11 miles east
of Great Falls. Now, Walter has a real collection. You just name it
and he has it. We got there Thursday and left Monday and what a
time! There were 19 steam engines and that many oil pulls and gas
rigs and about 14 old cars – two Stanley Steamers in the parade and
what a crowd!

We left early Monday, Sept. 12 and fifteen miles south of Great
Falls we visited the Clarence Youngs and his big collection. We
stopped near Missoula Monday night in a rain and lightning storm.
Next day we stopped at St. Regis, Montana to see an old friend,
Charles Bennett. He wasn’t home but his wife and daughter were
and they showed us his beautiful Case engine. Charles surely takes
good care of this engine, keeps it under cover and well oiled.
About three days later, his letter asked us if we would care to
take a ride in his steam boat on Lake Coeur Dalane in Idaho. Well,
we sure accepted and kept our fingers crossed for this late in
September you might get anything in the weather line.

We arrived at high noon Sept. 21 and he had a fire going and it
wasn’t long before the little craft was moving down a lane of
beautiful yachts, some costing $30,000.00, but none could move as
cheaply as the one we were in. We went about three miles south then
turned west to a dock where I got out and took some pictures in
action. My wife, Beatrice, had a hay day steering the craft that
day. I sure liked the way Charles watched that engine and fired
that little boiler. He kept it at about 140 lbs. nearly all the
way. That little 10 hp. Twin compound (made by Simple Engine Co. of
St. Louis, Mo.) sure did itself proud that day. The boiler pops at
160 lbs. but the only pop we heard that day was the big whistle he
used as we passed a fleet of fishing boats in Wolf Lodge arm near
Beauty Bay about 10 miles from Coeur Dalene. Very seldom do you
find Coeur Dalene Lake with a glass surface, with no wind, 84
degrees above on the last day of summer. We had a wonderful trip
and only hope the Bennett’s give us a chance to do it again.
This boat is an old 18 foot Rienell hull and Charles is looking
around for a bigger hull and if he gets it I only hope the
Mitcham’s have another chance at a boat trip but the next time
we will furnish the wood.

On the 24th, we headed west and north from Spokane to Evan Jones
Bee near Riverside, Washington. We sure enjoyed that and the
wonderful hospitality they put out. Picked up our winters supply of
delicious apples at Riverside, stopped overnight at Coulee Dam and
the next day headed for home with 17 beautiful rainbow trout. We
were home six days and went to C. J. Pounder’s Bee just north
of Spokane. This Bee was only 14 miles from our home. The Kiwanis
Club had a lunch stand and they served corn on the cob dipped in
hot butter. I will never forget that. M. Anderson of Oksogan, had
his hot air engine there and at Jone’s too. This engine made in
about 1900 and restored by Anderson ran like a clock all day
pumping water. We only hope the good Lord gives us good health for
a few years yet, so we can take in the Bee’s again.

Farm Collector Magazine
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