The Original Amazing Race
In October 1936, three journalists battled to circle the globe first.
- AirSpaceMag.com, September 01, 2011
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He is the Maharajah of Jodhpur, Lieut. Col. H. H. Raj Rajeshwar Sarmad-I Rajhai—oh well, he has about 40 such names, but I won’t go on with them, or I’ll have the linotype operators and proofreaders down my neck when I get back.
Bump! bump! splash! We thumped down jarringly in the middle of a rice field. The plane [a Puss Moth] was not damaged, but in a second I thought all my worst fears about Kwangsi province were realized. Appearing like gnomes from the ground, about 600 chattering natives, nearly naked, surrounded the plane. They spoke no English, of course, and could not understand Siamese. We waved our arms, made signs without fingers, played “handies,” and finally made them understand we were lost.
...A typhoon caused a four-day delay in Manila as the inbound China Clipper waited out the storm.
I’m already getting jesting complaints from the 17 men with whom I’ll take off in the China Clipper over spoiling the Eveless Eden they enjoyed on their Western [inbound] voyage.… They also grumbled at having to curtail their smoking-car stories, but they were cheered when they learned I could shoot dice. They asked me to prove it, and I shot a 7 on the first roll. Dice is rated the favorite game aboard the Clippers as they wing across the Pacific.
At Guam we’ll spend the night, and then there are stops at Wake Island, Midway and Honolulu before we make the last long hop for San Francisco and the plane that’s to take me to New York.
We've twisted time completely around our fingers. We took off from Wake Island today, Thursday, flew 1,248 miles and arrived at Midway Island yesterday, Wednesday! [crossing the International Date Line]
SAN FRANCISCO! They call it the Golden City, and it beckons to me right now with all the lure of its gold of ’49, for there waits my dad….
At noon we sighted Mount Tamalpais, the slumbering guardian of the Golden Gate. Then we roared through the Golden Gate itself—low between the great brown headlands, over the fairy span of the Golden Gate Bridge.
I’m back home—and, my, but it seems good!
I came from San Francisco Bay airdrome in a powerful, single-motor Vultee, yellow and red in hue, in lightning speed. We made three stops en route to refuel. The actual flying time was 12 hours and 54 minutes.
I circumnavigated the globe in 24 days, 12 hours and 51 minutes—figuring from the time I left the city room of the New York Evening Journal until I checked back in there yesterday morning.… It’s been a thrill. I’d be a bit of a hypocrite if I assumed it was just a casual trip. It was anything but.
It was a panorama of life in two hemispheres, photographed with a quick avid lens, never to be forgotten. The earth rode under me on a swift wheel for twenty-four days, sliding beneath a Zeppelin over the Atlantic, streaking under the dusty wheels of a fast train through Italy, moving smoothly below the silver belly of a flying boat over the Mediterranean.… It was all the promised “somedays” of an earth-bound dreamer’s wish. It was adventure in a nutshell.
From Girl Around the World by Dorothy Kilgallen, David McKay Co. Philadelphia, King Features, 1936