From the Archives: Runaway back home after three-week trek around California


Fifteen-year-old Robert Bly and his dog spent three weeks hitchhiking around California in 1935.

A story in the Aug. 13, 1935, Los Angeles Times explained:

With 30 cents in his pocket, Robert Bly, 15-year-old Eagle Rock High School youth, returned home yesterday from a three weeks’ hitchhiking, hunting and fishing trip on which he was accompanied by his 7-year-old bull terrier, Don.

At the home of his parents ... (in) Eagle Rock, the red-haired youth expressed sorrow that his father, Frank Bly, is seriously injured in the King City Hospital. The parent sustained a fractured arm and severe bruises in an automobile accident near that city while rushing north to greet his son after the latter had been detained by San Francisco police following a State-wide police search for the missing youth.

Young Bly left home three weeks ago last Saturday morning with $5, which his parents had given him for spending money at a Boy Scout camp, his dog, a gun, a blanket, a frying pan and a fishing pole.

The first day he caught a ride to Tulare, he said yesterday. There he found a camping place in a culvert, shot a jackrabbit on which he and the dog made their dinner, and stayed through the night.

On the rest of the trip he shot other rabbits and reaching Grants Pass, Or., he caught trout in the Rogue River for his meals. There he made the acquaintance of a youth on a ranch whose mother mended his overalls.

After writing to his parents to tell them where he was, he started homeward. Catching a ride on a truck he lost his pack but he and the dog managed to live on the small amount of money he had, sleeping out nights without a blanket.

In San Francisco police detained him, but he was released after his father’s accident and when his mother informed them he could be trusted to return home.

Following his 1935 adventure, there is no further mention of Robert Bly in the Los Angeles Times.

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