Quiyarah (Gayyarah), Mesopotamia
April 20, 1920
Tuesday, 4 P.M.
This has been a hard day. It rained again last night and was raining this morning when I turned out at 5:30. At 6:30 the general’s orderly came in to inquire whether we were going. I sent word that I must leave the decision with Colonel Duncan, the chief of staff, who replied to my inquiry that the convoy would go. At seven I was in the car driving over to the funny little shack which served as the hotel where Luckenbill and the boys were. The mails delayed us and it was not until nearly eight that we finally started,—a convoy of twenty machines! A few miles outside of Mosul we found a bridge washed out by the terrible storm of the 18th of which I have written you, though I did not know when I wrote, what a destructive storm it had been. It took over an hour to get the twenty machines, mostly by pushing with plenty of men, across the wadi where the washed out bridge was. The officers in command of the convoy seriously considered turning back, for the road was in a terrible condition, but they finally decided to go on. It drizzled dismally, and the machines went just fast enough so that the drizzle drove in under the tops as there were no side-curtains. We skidded about helplessly, thumping and bumping, and at short intervals a machine would stop, bringing the whole convoy to a standstill. We have now been on the road nearly 8-1/2 hours and we are now waiting at Gayyarah for a machine with a broken spring. Two of our cars are repair cars with Indian mechanics, and they are now busy putting in the broken spring some miles back on the road. The name of this place means “oil well”,` and there is both a well and a refinery here, which furnishes all the oil and gasoline needed at Mosul. We are still 28 miles from Shergat, where we should have taken our train for Baghdad at 1:25 this afternoon, but we do not worry about the train for the storm washed out the railroad south of Shergat, and there isn’t any train! If the machines behind us do not delay us too long we shall make Shergat before dark this evening in about three hours. Repairs are being made at the wash-out, and it is hoped there will be a train tomorrow. I sit writing in the machine [my car], but they report that our delayed machines have heaved in sight, so I must shut up shop and make ready to go on.
For the full story of my exciting trip you should come to the special exhibit “Pioneers to the Past: American Archaeologists in the Middle East, 1919-1920,” at the Oriental Institute!
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