The Famous 4 HP Cushman


| January/February 1985



805 E. San Rafael Street Colorado Springs, Colorado 80903

Certainly not a unique, unusual or rare engine in any way, it was designed to drive corn binders on midwestern farms. How one ever got to southwestern Utah, into the depths of Glen Canyon on the Colorado River where it operated a Wil-fley shake table at an old abandoned gold placer mine, would make an interesting story in itself.

The summer before the completion of the Glen Canyon Dam, during a Boy Scout river trip through that spectacular gorge, we discovered the old engine at a place called Shock's Bar on our maps, between Hall's Crossing and the confluence of the San Juan, just a little downstream from the historic Hole-in-the-Rock crossing of Mormon fame. The water and the gas tanks had been used for target practice, someone had lifted the brass carburetor, but otherwise it seemed to be intact, and more importantly, free and un-stuck.

My interest in antiques and 'things old' was then limited to vintage cars, but right away I developed a yearning for that old forsaken piece of scrap iron. Of course we couldn't just take it with us; its sharp corners would surely poke holes in our rubber rafts, and we had many miles to go and much more white water to negotiate. We would have to come back overland with the truck, and somehow figure out a way to sky-hook it straight up the mile or so of solid rock from the river bank to the canyon rim. Time was running out-Glen Canyon Dam was scheduled for completion that winter, and the area would soon be submerged under hundreds of feet of Lake Powell water.

Glen Canyon lies in one of the most rugged and desolate (and beautiful) parts of the country; at that time there were no roads into the region and no maps. We were on our own. We began to take exploration trips, hidden in the guise of 'Boy Scout outings' into the godforsaken desert badlands soutwest of Blanding, down in that vast triangle of broken mesas and buttes bounded by the Colorado and the San Juan, whose only access was by a tortuous and billious jeep road over and obscure 'Clay Hills Pass', always searching for the elusive old Mormon wagon road that led down into the Hole-in-the-Rock, which we suspected would have to be our only way in.

Somehow our endeavors paid off; we found that 'road', now no more than faint wheel ruts worn into slick rock. We bushwacked our way off out into the tules to the very brink of the canyon, and could look at the river and Shock's Bar only one mile away-straight down.