An epic journey long forgotten


Just about everything I know about the photograph shown below is contained on the image itself: a name, a hometown and evidence of an epic journey through the United States, Europe, Canada and Mexico.
The Lone Star Rambler, as J. Carroll Davis of Fort Worth called himself, had ridden 59,018 miles by the time this postcard-sized image was handed out. Long-distance cyclists sometimes carried photographs of themselves to give to people curious about their journeys or to sell at lectures to help sustain themselves during their travels.

Davis apparently slept along the road in the trailer he hauled behind his bike. It appears that he may also have cooked inside the trailer, judging from the small chimney on the roof. I’m guessing that the trailer is of wood and it appears to be homemade.
The photograph has no date, so I’d have to guess at that, too. Judging from Davis’ clothing and bicycle, I’d reckon that the photo is from the late 1940s or early 1950s.
A copy of the card was given to me by a cycling friend, Ralph Watterson, who has a business called Old Home Supply in the historic Fairmount neighborhood on the Near South Side of Fort Worth. Ralph salvages fixtures and fittings from buildings set for demolition and sells them to people restoring old homes. He also frequents flea makets and yard sales in search of items to sell in his shop.
I can find nothing about J. Carroll Davis or his journey on the Internet. So if any reader of this blog can supply additional information, I’d be very grateful. A bicycle ramble equivalent to more than twice around the world at the equator deserves to be remembered.

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9 Comments

Filed under Americana, Cycling across America, History, Texana, Travels

9 responses to “An epic journey long forgotten

  1. There is a Jefferson Carroll Davis that lives in San Antonio. At age 78, the long shot is slightly less long. You’re the journalist. I’m just an engineer providing a possibly dead-end lead. 😉

  2. Oh boy!
    Hope this pans out.

  3. Start at

    search.my life.com/whitepages and then search for Carroll Davis in Texas.

  4. Dean Wisleder

    Davis must have been Superman to pedal such a load on what appears to be either a single-speed or possibly, a 3-speed bike. No doubt lots of miles required walking. Nevertheless, quite an accomplishment.

  5. zack

    Definitely intrigued, keep us posted!

  6. Pingback: Epic Journeys « Mine & Other Stories

  7. Dan Vie

    Hi Jim. There is a tiny column of page 3 of this April 1940 Ogden, Utah paper that confirms Davis was there, and age 21. So, that was 73 years ago… if Davis still has his youthful stamina, he would be 94 years old. http://newspaperarchive.com/ogden-standard-examiner/1940-04-10

    I get intrigued by these aprocyphal mentions of epic journeys that cannot be verified such as: “In 1909 Johann Hurlinger of Austria walked on his hands from Vlenna to Paris in 55 dally 10-hour stints, covering a distance of 871 miles”

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