Meanwhile, still headed west, Cal didn’t even wait for his wounds to heal. Early on the morning of November the 5th, wearing an arm sling to match his leg cast, he made the hop from Imperial Junction through the San Gregorio Pass to Banning, and from there on to Pomona, where he made a last refueling stop. And finally, at 4:08 p.m. on Sunday November 5, 1911, Cal Rodgers landed at the Tournament of Roses Park, on the current grounds of Cal Tech. He was met by 10 to 20,000 cheering people, most of whom had paid a quarter apiece to be there. The New York Times reported, ''...a maelstrom of fighting, screaming, out-of-their-minds-with-joy men, women and children.'' Cal was loaded into a car and driven around and around the stadium. And amongst all of the cheering and back slapping, poor deaf Cal kept asking, “I did it, didn’t I? I did it?”
Meanwhile, out in the wilds of Mastodon, New Mexico, Bob Fowler was still stuck in the sand and beginning to think he would never get out. Finally, on the 10th of November, a two man Santa Fe work crew appeared over the horizon, pumping a handcar. And that gave Bob had an idea. He talked to the railroad and they agreed to help him out. Using railroad cross ties they fashioned a platform to sit atop a hand car, and struggled to secure the “Cole Flyer” atop that platform. On the morning of Monday, November 13th, the entire contraption was pushed from the siding onto the main line. Bob Fowler clambered into the pilot’s seat. The motor was started. And with railroad workers running alongside to stabilize the wings, the “Flyer” began to move along the track (below). This was much like the system the Wright brothers had used to launch their orignal flyer, back in 1903.
- 30 -NEXT WEDNESDAY: AMAZING RACE; PART VIII - AN ASIDE