It was Saturday, the 14th, at nine o'clock, when we left New York for Albany, following the route of the Endurance Contest.

The morning was bright and warm. The roads were perfect for miles. We passed Kings Bridge, Yonkers, Hastings, and Dobbs Ferry flying. At Tarrytown we dropped the chain. A link had parted. Pushing the machine under the shade of a tree, a half-hour was spent in replacing the chain and riveting in a new link. All the pins showed more or less wear, and a new chain should have been put on in New York, but none that would fit was to be had.

We dined at Peekskill, and had a machinist go over the chain, riveting the heads of the pins so none would come out again.

Nelson Hill, a mile and a half beyond Peekskill, proved all it was said to be, - and more.

In the course of the trip we had mounted hills that were worse, and hills that were steeper, but only in spots or for short distances; for a steady steep climb Nelson Hill surpassed anything we found in the entire trip. The hill seems one-half to three-quarters of a mile long, a sharp ascent, - somewhat steeper about half-way up than at the beginning or finish. Accurate measurements were made for the Endurance Contest and the results published.

The grade was just a little too much for the machine, with our luggage and ourselves. It was tiresome walking so far beside the machine, and in attempting to bring it to a stop for a moment's rest the machine got started backward, and was well on its way down the hill, gaining speed every fraction of a second. It was a short, sharp chase to catch the lever operating the emergency brake, - which luckily operated by being pushed forward from the seat, - a pull on the lever and the machine was brought to a stop with the rear wheels hanging over the edge of a gulley** at the side. After that experience the machine was allowed to go to the top without any more attempts to rest.

At Fishkill Village we saved a few miles and some bad road by continuing on to Poughkeepsie by the inland road instead of going down to the Landing.

We inquired the way from an old man, who said, "If you want to go to P'keepsie, follow the road just this side the post-office; you will save a good many miles, and have a good road; if you want to follow the other fellers, then keep straight on down to the Landing; but why they went down there, beats me."

It was six-thirty when we arrived at Poughkeepsie. As the next day would be Sunday, we made sure of a supply of gasoline that night.

Up to this point the roads, barring Nelson Hill, and the weather had been perfect, but conditions were about to change for the worse.

Sunday morning was gray and drizzly. We left at eight-thirty. The roads were soft and in places very slippery; becoming much worse as we approached Albany, where we arrived at half-past three. There we should have stopped. We had come seventy-five miles in seven hours, including all stops, over bad roads, and that should have sufficed; but it was such an effort to house the machine in Albany and get settled in rooms, that we decided to go on at least as far as Schenectady.

To the park it was all plain sailing on asphalt and macadam, but from the park to the gate of the cemetery and to the turn beyond the mud was so deep and sticky it seemed as if the machine could not possibly get through. If we had attempted to turn about, we would surely have been stuck; there was nothing to do but follow the best ruts and go straight on, hoping for better things. The dread of coming to a standstill and being obliged to get out in that eight or ten inches of uninviting mud was a very appreciable factor in our discomfort. Fortunately, the clutch held well and the motor was not stalled. When we passed the corner beyond the cemetery the road was much better, though still so soft the high speed could be used only occasionally.

The tank showed a leak, which for some reason increased so rapidly that a pail of water had to be added about every half-mile. At last a pint of bran poured into the tank closed the leak in five minutes.

On reaching Latham it was apparent that Schenectady could not be made before dark, if at all, so we turned to the right into Troy. We had made the two long sides of a triangle over the worst of roads; whereas, had we run from Albany direct to Troy, we could have followed a good road all the way.

The next morning was the 16th of September, the sun was shining brightly and the wind was fresh; the roads were drying every moment, so we did not hurry our departure.

The express office in Albany was telephoned for a new chain that had been ordered, and in about an hour it was delivered. The machine was driven into a side street in front of a metal roofing factory, the tank taken out and so thoroughly repaired it gave no further trouble. It was noon before the work was finished, for the new chain and a new belt to the pump had to be put on, and many little things done which consumed time.

At two o'clock we left Troy. The road to Schenectady in good weather is quite good, but after the rain it was heavy with half-dried mud and deep with ruts. From Schenectady to Fonda, where we arrived at six-thirty, the roads were very bad; however, forty-five miles in four hours and a half was fairly good travelling under the adverse conditions. If the machine had been equipped with an intermediate gear, an average of twelve or fifteen miles could have been easily made. The going was just a little too heavy for the fast speed and altogether too easy for the low, and yet we were obliged to travel for hours on the low gear.

From New York to Buffalo there is a succession of cities and villages which are, for the most part, very attractive, but good hotels are scarce, and as for wayside inns there are none. With the exception of Albany and one or two other cities the hotels are old, dingy, and dirty. Here and there, as in Geneva, a new hotel is found, but to most of the cities the hotels are a disgrace.

The automobile, however, accustoms one to discomforts, and one gets so tired and hungry at night that the shortcomings of the village hotel are overlooked, or not fully realized until seen the next morning by the frank light of day.

Fonda is the occasion of these remarks upon New York hotels.

It was cloudy and threatening when we left Fonda at half-past seven the next morning, and by ten the rain began to fall so heavily and steadily that the roads, none too dry before, were soon afloat.

It was slow going. At St. Johnsville we stopped to buy heavier rubber coats. It did not seem possible we would get through the day without coming to a stop, but, strange to relate, the machine kept on doggedly all day, on the slow gear nearly every mile, without a break of any kind.

It was bad enough from St. Johnsville to Herkimer, but the worst was then to come.

When we came east from Utica to Herkimer, we followed the road on the north side of the valley, and recalled it as hilly but very dry and good. The Endurance Contest was out of Herkimer, through Frankfort and along the canal on the south side of the valley. It was a question whether to follow the road we knew was pretty good or follow the contest route, which presumably was selected as the better.

A liveryman at Herkimer said, "Take my advice and keep on the north side of the valley; the road is hilly, but sandy and drier; if you go through Frankfort, you will find some pretty fierce going; the road is level but cut up and deep with mud, - keep on the north side."

We should have followed that advice, the more so since it coincided with our own impressions; but at the store where we stopped for gasoline, a man who said he drove an automobile advised the road through Frankfort as the better.

It was in Frankfort that several of the contestants in the endurance run came to grief, - right on the main street of the village. There was no sign of pavement, macadam, or gravel, just deep, dark, rich muck; how deep no one could tell; a road so bad it spoke volumes for the shiftlessness and lack of enterprise prevailing in the village.

A little beyond Frankfort there is about a mile of State road, laid evidently to furnish inhabitants an object lesson, - and laid in vain.

A little farther on the black muck road leads between the canal and towpath high up on the left, and a high board fence protecting the railroad tracks on the right; in other words, the highway was the low ground between two elevations. The rains of the week before and the rains of the last two days had converted the road into a vast ditch. We made our way slowly into it, and then seizing an opening ran up on to the towpath, which was of sticky clay and bad enough, but not quite so discouraging as the road. We felt our way along carefully, for the machine threatened every moment to slide either into the canal on the left or down the bank into the road on the right.

Soon we were obliged to turn back to the road and take our chances on a long steady pull on the slow gear. Again and again it seemed as if the motor would stop; several times it was necessary to throw out the clutch, let the motor race, and then throw in the clutch to get the benefit of both the motor and the momentum of the two-hundred pound fly-wheel; it was a strain on the chain and gears, but they held, and the machine would be carried forward ten or twelve feet by the impetus; in that way the worst spots were passed.

Towards Utica the roads were better, though we nearly came to grief in a low place just outside the city.

It required all Wednesday morning to clean and overhaul the machine. Every crevice was filled with mud, and grit had worked into the chain and every exposed part. There was also some lost motion to be taken up to stop a disagreeable pounding. The strain on the new chain had stretched it so a link had to be taken out.

It was two o'clock before we left Utica. A little beyond the outskirts of the city the road forks, the right is the road to Syracuse, and it is gravelled most of the way. Unfortunately, we took the left fork, and for seven miles ploughed through red clay, so sticky that several times we just escaped being stalled. It was not until we reached Clinton that we discovered our mistake and turned cross country to the right road. The cross-road led through a low boggy meadow that was covered with water, and there we nearly foundered. When the hard gravel of the turnpike was reached, it was with a feeling of irritation that we looked back upon the time wasted in the horrible roads we need not have taken.

The day was bright, and every hour of sun and wind improved the roads, so that by the time we were passing Oneida Castle the going was good. It was dark when we passed through Fayetteville; a little beyond our reserve gallon of gasoline was put in the tank and the run was made over the toll-road to Syracuse on "short rations."

A well-kept toll-road is a boon in bad weather, but to the driver of an automobile the stations are a great nuisance; one is scarcely passed before another is in sight; it is stop, stop, stop. There are so many old toll-roads upon which toll is no longer collected that one is apt to get in the habit of whizzing through the gates so fast that the keepers, if there be any, have no time to come out, much less to collect the rates.

It was cold the next morning when we started from Syracuse, and it waxed colder and colder all day long.

The Endurance Contest followed the direct road to Rochester, going by way of Port Byron, Lyons, Palmyra, and Pittsford. That road is neither interesting nor good. Even if one is going to Rochester, the roads are better to the south; but as we had no intention of visiting the city again, we took Genesee Street and intended to follow it into Buffalo.

The old turnpike leads to the north of Auburn and Seneca Falls, but we turned into the Falls for dinner. In trying to find and follow the turnpike we missed it, and ran so far to the north that we were within seven or eight miles of Rochester, so near, in fact, that at the village of Victor the inhabitants debated whether it would not be better to run into Rochester and thence to Batavia by Bergen rather than southwest through Avon and Caledonia.

Having started out with the intention of passing Rochester, we were just obstinate enough to keep to the south. The result was that for nearly the entire day the machine was laboring over the indifferent roads that usually lie just between two main travelled highways. It was not until dusk that the gravelled turnpike leading into Avon was found, and it was after seven when we drew up in front of the small St. George Hotel.

The glory of Avon has departed. Once it was a great resort, with hotels in size almost equal to those now at Saratoga. The Springs were famous and people came from all parts of the country. The hotels are gone, some burned, some destroyed, but old registers are preserved, and they bear the signatures of Webster, Clay, and many noted men of that generation.

The Springs are a mile or two away; the water is supposed to possess rare medicinal virtues, and invalids still come to test its potency, but there is no life, no gayety; the Springs and the village are quite forlorn.

At the St. George we found good rooms and a most excellent supper. In the office after supper, with chairs tipped back and legs crossed, the older residents told many a tale of the palmy days of Avon when carriages filled the Square and the streets were gay with people in search of pleasure rather than health.

It was a quick run the next morning through Caledonia to Le Roy over roads hard and smooth as a floor.

Just out of Le Roy we met a woman, with a basket of eggs, driving a horse that seemed sobriety itself. We drew off to one side and stopped the machine to let her pass. The horse stopped, and unfortunately she gave a "yank" on one of the reins, turning the horse to one side; then a pull on the other rein, turning the horse sharply to the other side. This was too much for the animal, and he kept on around, overturning the light buck-board and upsetting the woman, eggs, and all into the road. The horse then kicked himself free and trotted off home.

The woman, fortunately, was not injured, but the eggs were, and she mournfully remarked they were not hers, and that she was taking them to market for a neighbor. The wagon was slightly damaged. Relieved to find the woman unhurt, the damage to wagon and eggs was more than made good; then we took the woman home in the automobile, - her first ride.

It does not matter how little to blame one may be for a runaway; the fact remains that were it not for the presence of the automobile on the road the particular accident would not have occurred. The fault may be altogether on the side of the inexperienced or careless driver, but none the less the driver of the automobile feels in a certain sense that he has been the immediate cause, and it is impossible to describe the feeling of relief one experiences when it turns out that no one is injured.

A machine could seldom meet a worse combination than a fairly spirited horse, a nervous woman, and a large basket of eggs. With housewifely instincts, the woman was sure to think first of the eggs.

We stopped at Batavia for dinner, and made the run into Buffalo in exactly two hours, arriving at four o'clock.

We ran the machine to the same station, and found unoccupied the same rooms we had left four weeks and two days before. It seemed an age since that Wednesday, August 24, when we started out, so much had transpired, every hour had been so eventful. Measured by the new things we had seen and the strange things that had happened, the interval was months not weeks.

A man need not go beyond his doorstep to find a new world; his own country, however small, is a universe that can never be fully explored. And yet such is the perversity of human nature that we know all countries better than our own; we travel everywhere except at home. The denizens of the earth in their wanderings cross each other en route like letters; all Europe longs to see Niagara, all America to see Mont Blanc, and yet whoever sees the one sees the other, for the grandeur of both is the same. It does not matter whether a vast volume of water is pouring over the sharp edge of a cliff, or a huge pile of scarred and serrated rock rises to the heavens, the grandeur is the same; it is not the outward form we stand breathless before, but the forces of nature which produce every visible and invisible effect. The child of nature worships the god within the mountains and the spirit behind the waters; whereas we in our great haste observe only the outward form, see only the falling waters and the towering peaks.

It is good for every man to come at least once in his life in contact with some overpowering work of nature; it is better for most men to never see but one; let the memory linger, let not the impression be too soon effaced, rather let it sink deep into the heart until it becomes a part of life.

Steam has impaired the imagination. Such is the facility of modern transportation that we ride on the ocean to-day and sit at the feet of the mountains to-morrow.

Nowadays we see just so much of nature as the camera sees and no more; our vision is but surface deep, our eyes are but two clear, bright lenses with nothing behind, not even a dry plate to record the impressions. It is a physiological fact that the cells of the brain which first receive impressions from the outward organs of sense may be reduced to a condition of comparative inactivity by too rapid succession of sights, sounds, and other sensations. We see so much that we see nothing. To really see is to fully comprehend, therefore our capacity for seeing is limited. No man has really seen Niagara, no man has ever really seen Mont Blanc; for that matter, no man has even fully comprehended so much as a grain of sand; therefore the universe is at one's doorstep.

Nature is a unit; it is not a whole made up of many diverse parts, but is a whole which is inherent in every part. No two persons see the same things in a blossoming flower; to the botanist it is one thing, to the poet another, to the painter another, to the child a bit of bright color, to the maiden an emblem of love, to the heart-broken woman a cluster of memories; to no two is it precisely the same.

The longer we look at anything, however simple, the deeper it penetrates into our being until it becomes a part of us. In time we learn to know the tree that shades our porch, but years elapse before we are on friendly terms, and a lifetime is spent before the gnarled giant admits us to intimate companionship. Trees are filled with reserve; when denuded of their neighbors, they stand in melancholy solitude until the leaves fall for the last time, until their branches wither, and their trunks ring hollow with decay.

And if we never really see or know or understand the nature which is about us, how is it possible that we should ever comprehend the people we meet? What is the use of trying to know an Englishman or a Frenchman when we do not know an American? What is the use of struggling with the obstacle of a foreign tongue, when our own will not suffice for the communication of thoughts? The only light that we have is at home; travellers are men groping in the dark; they fancy they see much, but for the most part they see nothing. No great teacher has ever been a great traveller. Buddha, Confucius, and Mahomet never left the confines of their respective countries. Plato lived in Athens; Shakespeare travelled between London and Stratford; these great souls found it quite sufficient to know themselves and the vast universe as reflected from the eyes of those about them. But then they are the exceptions.

For most men - including geniuses - travel and deliberate observation are good, since most men will not observe at home. Such is the singularity of our nature that we ignore the interesting at home to study the commonplace abroad. We never notice a narrow and crooked street in Boston or lower New York, whereas a narrow and crooked street in London fills us with an ecstasy of delight. We never visit the Metropolitan Art Museum, but we cross Europe to visit galleries of lesser interest. We choose a night boat down the majestic Hudson, and we suffer untold discomforts by day on crowded little boats paddling down the comparatively insignificant Rhine.

Every country possesses its own peculiar advantages and beauties. There is no desert so barren, no mountains so bleak, no woods so wild that to those who dwell therein their home is not beautiful. The Esquimau would not exchange his blinding waste of snow and dark fields of water for the luxuriance of tropic vegetation. Why should we exchange the glories of the land we live in for the footworn and sight-worn, the thumbed and fingered beauties of other lands? If we desire novelty and adventure, seek it in the unexplored regions of the great Northwest; if we crave grandeur, visit the Yellowstone and the fastnesses of the Rockies; if we wish the sublime, gaze in the mighty chasm of the Canon of the Colorado, where strong men weep as they look down; if we seek desolation, traverse the alkali plains of Arizona where the trails are marked by bones of men and beasts; but if the heart yearns for beauty more serene, go forth among the habitations of men where fields are green and sheltering woods offer refuge from the noonday sun, where rivers ripple with laughter, and the great lakes smile in soft content.

Unhappy the man who does not believe his country the best on earth and his people the chosen of men.

The promise of automobiling is knowledge of one's own land. The confines of a city are stifling to the sport; the machine snorts with impatience on dusty pavements filled with traffic, and seeks the freedom of country roads. Within a short time every hill and valley within a radius of a hundred miles is a familiar spot; the very houses become known, and farmers shout friendly greetings as the machine flies by, or lend helping hands when it is in distress.

Within a season or two it will be an every-day sight to see people journeying leisurely from city to city; abandoned taverns will be reopened, new ones built, and the highways, long since deserted by pleasure, will once more be gay with life.