Oregon Desert model 45

Adventures in a 490 Chevrolet

Recommended Posts

In 1922-23 my grandfather and his father drove their 490 Chevrolet cross country looking for work.

Grandpa kept a diary during this trip, and recorded driving through states Ore,Id,Ut,Wy,Neb,Ia,Mo,NM,Tex,Ark,Ok, for a total of 7,025 miles.

The work they found included shocking wheat & working in a header barge (modern combines do this work now), weeding, picking peaches, pears, apples, tomatoes, strawberries, cotton, cut wood, cut brush, cut fence posts, pruned fruit trees in an orchard.

Grandpa worked in the garage at Fayetteville Ark for a few days while the Chevy was getting fixed at cost of $45.
They spent winter 1922-23 in a 12 x 14 tent near Prarie Grove, Ark.  
The Chevy gave them a lot of trouble, with frequent notations of tire punctures, blowouts, losing compression, replacing rings, broken gears, and 7-10-22 "Papa ran the car in a creek, got stuck, pulled out with horse".  A new car license for 1923 cost $12

Below is a small selection of photos mostly taken on the return trip after Grandpa bought a camera, but not in order.
1. This may have been just before they began the trip.
2. Multnomah falls along the new Columbia river highway
3. Roadside water fountains like this were commonplace in the 1920's
4. Picking apples in Idaho
5,6,7. picking peaches in Palisades Colorado. IN CAMP and ASLEEP campsite is in the orchard
8.  Horsepower was still commonplace in rural America
9, 10, 11.  in Palisades they go sight seeing by climbing the surrounding high places, posing for photos on the edge of cliffs like daredevils.  
Great Gramp was in his mid 50's at this time, and still able to do hard physical work and climb rocks with his teen age son.
12. Manitou Colorado
13,14 Grand River


1 trip begins.jpg

2 Multnomah falls.jpg

3 Idaho water fountain.jpg

4 Idaho apples.jpg

5 Orchard camp.jpg

6 IN CAMP.jpg

7 ASLEEP.jpg

8 horse power.jpg

9 Just Peaches Palisades Colorado.jpg

10 cliff top.jpg


12 Manitou Colorado.jpg


14 Grand River.jpg

Edited by Oregon Desert model 45 (see edit history)
  • Like 5

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

Excellent story and pictures.  Sometimes we forget there is more to the story than just the car.  Thank you for sharing.

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

That is so great to have an archive and diary of your grandfather and great grandfather.  Really making a living on the road.  Tough to be away from home for that long of a journey.  Not an easy journey for the Chevy either.  No paved roads in any of the pictures, and probably little if any along the way.  Thanks for posting these.   

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites
On 2/25/2019 at 12:42 AM, Oregon Desert model 45 said:

In 1922-23 my grandfather and his father drove their 490 Chevrolet cross country 

Interesting as Swedish engineer Hörstadius accompanied with a teacher from Denmark that also was a high ranking Boy-Scout leader drove cross USA  in a similar Chevrolet 490 Touring at about the same time or more exactly 1922. Hörstadius wrote about the trip in a multipart feature in Svensk Motor Tidning 1924. 


Edited by Casper Friederich (see edit history)

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now