JULY 28, 1954
PORTLAND, Maine, Tuesday—When I returned to New York from Colorado, I found that a great deal of work needed to be done. It is extraordinary how much mail can accumulate in a few days. Also, I wanted to see people at the office of the American Association for the United Nations and to go over plans with the newly appointed executive secretary for the Mayor's Committee on Hospitality, of which I am chairman.
Therefore, I spent much time at the AAUN office, dashed around town doing various errands, sat at my desk for hours, and went over details with two very efficient ladies, Miss Rothblatt and Miss Longyear at 500 Park Avenue. In between times I had some very pleasant meals, largely on the cool porch of the Cosmopolitan Club, and thus saw a number of friends.
When I left New York to drive up here to Portland, Maine, and spend two nights with my uncle, David Gray, I felt extremely virtuous, glad to have so much work actually accomplished.
New super-highways and park systems make driving up the New England coast so different from what it was years ago, when you had to go through every big city and usually lost your way. Now you can hardly believe you have passed them, and the distances seem to melt away.
I was joined here in Portland by Mrs. Joseph P. Lash, so we will make the rest of the trip up the Maine coast together. This is a great joy for me, for I have not driven up this coast, which I once knew so well, for a number of years, and there is something very invigorating in the smell of the sea, the warm sun and the cool breezes.
On the way here I saw a number of automobile camping parties, and these reminded me of a book written by two friends of mine, Mr. and Mrs. George S. Wells. It is a handbook on auto camping.
These friends have been gadding about the United States, more or less, for over a year. They keep a permanent address in Pleasant Valley, Dutchess Country, New York, but I have a feeling it will be some time before they will see that quiet, peaceful spot again.
Let me quote a paragraph from their last letter to me, and you will have an idea of the experiences which went into the writing of their book:
"Our year certainly has been adventurous. We were caught in a perigee on Cape Hatteras and were marooned for several hours when the sea surrounded our tent on a sand dune. A car burned up within a few steps of our tent. We lived with rattlesnakes and poisonous trees in the Everglades, beyond the end of the road. And we were lucky enough to survive a near hurricane and a sand storm in the desert mountains of West Texas."
Out of this sort of experience the handbook on auto camping was written. If you are thinking of an adventurous trip, be sure to take a copy with you. You won't need it, however, in New England.