Simanaitis Says

On cars, old, new and future; science & technology; vintage airplanes, computer flight simulation of them; Sherlockiana; our English language; travel; and other stuff


WHENEVER I CONSIDER giving a book away, I leaf through it to recall why I bought it in the first place. And then I wonder if I really want to give it away.

Travels With Zenobia: Paris to Albania by Model T Ford, by Rose Wilder Lane and Helen Dore Boylston, edited by William Holtz, University of Missouri Press, 1983.

A Flyleaf Summary. The Travels With Zenobia flyleaf reads, “In 1926, two American women, Rose Wilder Lane and Helen Dore Boylston, dissatisfied with their lives in the United States, left Paris in a Model T Ford named Zenobia to settle in Albania.” The women were “loosened from their roots by World War I” and part of “the first generation of Americans to accept the automobile wholly into their lives, even while endowing it—like a favorite horse—with character, personality, and a name.”

Well, you can see why, 25 years ago, I bought this book, priced $13, marked down to $7. 

Now that I’ve actually read it through, I mark it as part of my permanent collection. Here, in Parts 1 and 2 today and tomorrow, are selected tidbits.

Intrepid Motorists. Rose was 39 at the onset of their adventure. Again, from the flyleaf, she “had already written biographies of Henry Ford and Herbert Hoover, two novels, a travel book, and numerous magazine stories and articles.”

Rose Wilder Lane, c. 1925. This and other images from Travels With Zenobia.

Helen Dore Boylston “had served as a nurse in a field hospital in France during World War I and, finding it difficult to return to the routine of nursing in a Massachusetts hospital, had returned to Europe with the American Red Cross where she met Rose Wilder Lane.” 

Helen “Troub” Dore Boylston, c. 1928.

“Encouraged by Lane, Boylston published her war diary and would later write the Sue Barton Nurses tales for girls, for which she is perhaps better known.”

Speaking of “better known,” Rose’s parents were Laura Ingalls and Almanzo Wilder. And, come to think of it, Laura, Rose, and a fellow named MacBride had already appeared here at SimanaitisSays in “Little Con on the Prairie.”

Tomorrow in Part 2, Helen, aka Troub as in “Trouble,” and Rose acquire Zenobia as well as a traveling companion. ds

© Dennis Simanaitis,, 2021


  1. Jack Albrecht
    December 23, 2021

    Ironically, a couple of weeks ago I read a long and very interesting article about Rose Wilder Lane. Most very likely Rose wrote the “Little House on the Prairie” series as a ghost-writer for her mother. Details here:

    View at

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