Here Comes Trouble

From 1914 to 1915, Della Crewe made an epic journey through North and South America on her 1914 Harley-Davidson Two-Speed Twin.  Her only companion through much of the trip was her dog Trouble, who rode next to her in a sidecar.  What started out as a 5,000 mile trip from Texas to New York, became an 11,000 mile trip by the time she finished.

Della was living in Waco, Texas when her nephew gave her the idea of riding cross country on a motorcycle.  She was already an experienced traveler having spent time in Panama, Alaska and much of North America, but she has never ridden a motorcycle.  Della wasn't the kind of women to let minor details like that get in the way and she soon was the proud owner of a Harley-Davidson Two-Speed Single.

Luck was not on her side and the trip stalled before she even left Waco.  1914 must have been an extremely wet year as summer rains destroyed many of the roads and bridges leading out of town.  Undaunted, Della traded the Single for a Twin with an attached sidecar giving her the power and stability she needed to maneuver across the washed out roads.  Before she left, the townspeople presented her with a Boston bull pup which she named Trouble.

Here she is at her first stop in Dodge City, Kansas where she attended some motorcycle races on July 3, just a little over a week into her trip.

From Kansas she continued on to St Louis, Missouri to attend the annual convention of the Federation of American Motorcyclists, the predecessor of the American Motorcycle Association

Next stop was Milwaukee, Wisconsin and the headquarters of Harley-Davidson.  There she was treated to a picnic by the stenographers employed by Harley-Davidson.

Weather again became an issue as she headed towards New York.  Early autumn snows made travel extremely difficult.  It is said that when she arrived in New York she was wearing 4 jackets, 4 pairs of stockings and sheepskin shoes.  The weather was so cold that even the dog was wearing a sweater.

From New York, Della had planned to take a ship to Europe and continue her motorcycle adventure.  This is probably why her gas tank is painted with the words "Around The World" in place of "Harley-Davidson".  Of course, World War I had started about a month into her travels, so that put an end to the European tour. I'm sure that after riding in all that snow, Della was looking for somewhere a bit warmer and soon she was on a ship to Florida.

Her travels continued through the southern States, Cuba and parts of South America before finally returning home sometime in 1915.

Oddly enough, this is where her story ends.  Voter registration records showed that she moved to California in 1920, but after 1926 there are no other records as to her whereabouts.  Perhaps she left on another trip in 1926 and simply never returned to the US.  I'd like to think she spent the rest of her days riding through strange countries with Trouble by her side, always ready for a new adventure.