APRIL 11, 1940
CARLIN, Nev., Aboard the Overland Limited, Wednesday—We had a most beautiful trip today, stopping off for a few minutes to see some acquaintances in Sacramento, then proceeding on our way toward the mountains. We stopped for lunch just before we reached Colfax, California, in a little wayside restaurant frequented by skiers all winter long, and there we had a most delicious meal of fried chicken, Montana ham, sweet potatoes and peas. One can not help admiring a woman like our hostess who with her husband is making a success of a small restaurant. She is no mere girl and the work is hard, but she and her husband are doing it with cheerfulness and zest in the adventure. I have been over Donner Pass before, but to come over the top of the mountains and look down on the blue lake below is a lovely and stirring sight no matter how often you see it. The memorial to the Donner party, many of whom perished in crossing this pass, is an interesting landmark, but Donner Lake is a memory to carry away and dwell upon.
We turned off the direct road to Reno to get a view of Lake Tahoe, for Miss Thompson and I had never seen it before. It was well worth the extra miles we travelled. In certain lights along the shore it is emerald green, merging into a deep purple and blue further out. Across from us, the snow covered mountains gleamed in the sun and the beauty of it was something to fortify the soul against the ugliness of much that is going on in the world today.
More small nations are being taken over by force. To be sure, the Berlin dispatches say Norway is being protected against the British. I wonder if history will not merely record what soldiers actually went into various countries, and pay little attention to the pronouncements given out by governments.
We reached Reno, Nevada, that curious city which is made up of people from all over the country of varying backgrounds, who come to live here for a short time, and of simple people who live their daily lives looking curiously at the visitors, but take no part in their somewhat feverish existence. A place of real sorrows and of sham ones, and in its midst the University of Nevada, the one university in the state, where youth, we hope, lives and learns from both the joys and sorrows that go on around it.
Both the Governor and the Mayor greeted me at the lecture. I think the questions asked me were as interesting as any that have come to me in any previous lecture on this trip. Then I shook hands with various people for about half an hour and was happy to get a glimpse of a few old friends. Miss Thompson and I returned to the hotel to pack and sleep for a very few hours and to rise again at 4:45 a.m. to take the 5:30 train! Now we are started on a long trip across the country.