The First and Only Weekly Online Fanzine Devoted to the Life and Works of Edgar Rice Burroughs
Since 1996 ~ Over 15,000 Webpages in Archive
Volume 6011
Cruise of the Sub-Mole-Rine
(Part II Continued in ERBzine 6012)
By John "Bridge" Martin

I dwarf the only Tantor at Zoo Montana

1: Everywhere is ERB Country

  While those in Houston and elsewhere were inundated by rising waters, it was fire and smoke for the people in places like Montana, with half of the "Big Sky" canopy of The Treasure State a mass of grey that made the tops of mountains and distant horizons appear as if they'd been painted by a novice who used too much water in the watercolors.

  It was into this region we ventured in the Sub-Mole-Rine, seeking out Edgar Rice Burroughs's worlds of adventure, knowing that some of the things which were true of the many worlds of which he wrote would also be true of some wild regions of the United States.

  We three were guys who happened to be related. There was Schuyler, not yet a professor but with a name that at least sounded professor-ish, and Dan, his father, the navigator. Me, I was the master planner, the head honcho, since I am the owner of the Sub-Mole-Rine and the chief backer of the expedition, which was designed to broaden the outlook of the recently graduated Schuyler, prior to his entry into further education.

  And part of his education was that the name Schuyler itself is apparently reserved for those who do scholarly work and are too studious to venture  into tourist areas. For at all souvenir stands along the way, where coffee mugs, key chain fobs or other items were for sale, featuring the names of everyone under the sun, including John and Dan, there were none to be found with the name of Schuyler. It was obvious that the manufacturers consider that people named Schuyler are too intelligent to purchase such tailored kitsch.

    From Washington State, the trusty vehicle sped into Northern Idaho on I-90. The Sub-Mole-Rine, christened the Henry Bull, is a unique vehicle designed to enter the realms of Edgar Rice Burroughs, able to plow beneath the water, to places such as Caspak; tunnel through the earth, enroute to locations such as Pellucidar, and travel overland on the Earth, like Barney Custer, Tarzan and even ERB himself.

 Idaho is one of a handful of states with a panhandle. It's handle is upright, as if hanging on a wall. And a wall is a good place for it, since its shape is such that no one would wish to use it for cooking.

  One-hundred seventy-five miles south of I-90 lies the broad bottom of Idaho, otherwise known as Edgar Rice Burroughs Country, where the great man dwelt as a storekeeper in the eastern Idaho city of Pocatello, a cowboy in the rolling hills of the Raft River area in central Idaho, and a city councilman in the western town of Parma. No, the adventurers would not be heading through that region of Idaho this trip, although there is plenty relating to ERB that has been discovered and plenty more waiting to be found there. While the ERB haunts of old in Southern Idaho, along I-80, have been explored by modern-day ERB fans, we have yet to find the exact spot where he drove tent peg holes along the Salmon River in the shadow of the Sawtooth Mountains, in which he and Emma could dwell while he built a cabin.

  Even the Craters of the Moon National Monument, 75 miles north of Pocatello, seldom explored by modern ERB fans, were given the once- or twice-over in 2011 when John Tyner II and Joan “the V” Bledig visited it to reconnoiter for the 2011 Dum-Dum. And, during the Pocatello Dum-Dum itself, one of its ancient volcanic cones was climbed by adventurers three: Bill Ross, Mike Conran and J.G. "Huck" Huckenpohler.

  They did not report seeing a vision of Nah-ee-lah riding a Va-gas across the rumpled landscape, but likely got some idea of the exterior of the Moon, within which dwell the invaders who will yet come to Earth and wreak a reign of terror and deprivation upon this world, as ERB has warned us in “The Moon Maid” trilogy. Alas, his warning goes largely unheeded.

  As for the tent and cabin, we read in Robert Fenton's biography of ERB and Tarzan:

  "Ed and Emma first went to Mackay and then to the Stanley Basin in Idaho's Sawtooth Mountains, to work with his brothers in gold-dredging operations on the Salmon River."
  He said they "...pitched a tent on a hill while he built a cabin, 'the construction of which was original and not too successful but timber was plentiful and I felled what I needed at no great distance from our cabin site'."

  As for the remainder of ERB country in the south, one can search the term “Edgar Rice Burroughs Country” for my past articles at, as well as "The Burroughs Bulletin" Nos. 88, 89 and 90, which detail the findings of Tyner and Bledig, intermixed with actual photos and accounts of Bibliophiles members from the Idaho Dum-Dum.

  But there are other worlds of ERB, or at least worlds reminiscent of ERB, and the reader is invited to follow the adventures of the crew of the Henry Bull.

2: Silver Threads Amongst the Gold

  While Edgar Rice Burroughs sought to draw gold from beneath the eddies and currents of the Snake and Salmon Rivers in southern Idaho, miners in Wallace, Idaho, in the northern Panhandle sought silver.

  The town of Wallace is proud of its heritage of silver mining as well as still pretty much dependent upon it, since the whole town seems to exist for the purpose of drawing silver from tourists simply on the basis that a silver mine was once there.

  At the westernmost freeway exit stands an enticing area which resembles a miniature golf course although the various, brightly colored displays are of old mining equipment rather than windmills and other obstacles past which someone might try to maneuver a dimpled spheroid.

  A building at the western entrance to the town is partly visitors center, where an enthusiastic native may attempt to persuade visitors of the wisdom of spending the rest of their vacation right there in Wallace, with the other part of the building having restrooms to cater to that other periodic need of explorers who aren’t towing vehicles with all the comforts of home.

  The town itself features a number of vintage-looking stores, some of which probably sell old ERB books, although we don't know because we couldn't stay long enough to explore them all (ripe pickings for someone else!).

  Driving around several square blocks of the small downtown area, we were most impressed by the big sign on the store called Fonk's, which, in its window below the sign, encouraged us to examine Fonk's Fabulous Finds. So we did. Fonk's had some amazing things in its display windows but these turned out to be a Wallace, Idaho, version of clickbait, since the window displays featured the only interesting things the store had. Inside, 90 per cent of the fabulous finds turned out to be racks of little girls' dresses.

  We moved from there to a pawn shop full of antiques and its rack full of comics that no one would want. Well picked over, it would seem.

  Across the street, though, was the Mining Museum, and this we were determined to explore. It was well worth the token admission price and we marveled at a cutaway which shows how deep the silver mine actually was and convinced me that under no circumstances would I ever want to be a miner in such a place. I may be John, but I'm not Big John, and have no desire to grab a sagging timber and give out with a shove!

  The museum also featured strange tools that, while enormous, did look as if they could be operated by one strong man or two or three less strong men and, if miniature versions exist, could well be found in a dentist's office.

  But time beckoned us on and so at last we bid adieu to the charming town, not taking the time to also check out the railroad museum in the old depot or take the trolley ride up to the mine entrance. We did, however, make it a point to stop at a dairy bar to acquire, for each of us, a milkshake made with fresh huckleberries, a panhandle staple.

3: A Land Not Quite Forgotten

  In pre-planning the expedition, I easily found places to go and things to see by googling the word "attractions" along with the name of whatever city we would visit. And so, when I googled Bozeman Montana attractions I found something called the Museum of the Rockies.

  Thanks to research by ERB historian and scholar Alan Hanson, we know that ERB only actually mentioned Montana once in his writings. Quoting from Alan's contribution to ERBapa 56 (Part 2 of "ERB and the 50 States,") Alan wrote:

  "On seeing a huge creature in Caspak, Bradley observed, 'It's a tyrannosaurus. Saw picture of skeleton in magazine. There's one in New York Natural History Museum. Seems to me it said it was found in place called Hell Creek, somewhere in western North America.'

  "Sinclair, a fellow American sailor, responded, 'Hell Creek's in Montana.’ (from The Land That Time Forgot)

  Here be dragons, and giants, and their kin, at the museum, along with rooms of more common exhibits, such as a few vintage autos, old cannon, and so forth.

  Montana is a rich archaelogical area, as Bradley and Sinclair alluded to, and the claim was made that many of the assembled skeletons, or parts of skeletons, came from digs in that very state, although I suspected some of them had actually been acquired in Caspak or Pal-ul-don.

  There was T-Rex himself and, in addition, a couple of extra T-rex heads which were about four feet high from bottom of jaw to top of head. One bite would just about take care of a human, as was the case for poor John Tippet, the Englishman who was killed by a tyrannosaurus in 1916, as reported in The Land that Time Forgot.

  Here too was the RV-size gryf that Tarzan had encountered in Pal-ul-don in Tarzan the Terrible. The scientific name for these beasts is "triceratops," and if the specimens in the museum were not actual gryfs they were at least close relatives.

  Tarzan's more common foes were featured in another vast cavern of the museum, with various crocodiles, some stuffed, some real. Crocs don't move unless they have to so it took a bit of examination to determine that some of the beasts in this area were not simply stuffed, but actually living. Fortunately, the croc in the center was not alive, for he was not caged, and would have wrought terrible destruction.

  Overall, the museum visit was a terrifying experience, yet satisfying, to think of the brave ERB heroes who had come across and battled such behemoths and leviathans.

  Finally, there was the museum’s Planetarium, where one could gaze skyward and imagine himself streaking through space to Mars, the world of ERB’s Barsoom novels. And once that scene had been played on the large, round overhead screen, it was easy to shut ones eyes and dream of John Carter and Ulysses Paxton, each of whom soared to Mars, and it was also easy to allow one to drift off to much needed sleep for the remainder of the half-hour program to recover from an hour or two of walking around the museum complex.

~ Part II Continued in ERBzine 6012

Photos from Dan Martin, John Martin and the Internet

Cody Wyoming may have the "Center of the West,"
but Wallace, Idaho, lays claim to the "Center of the Universe."

Quaint Wallace, Idaho

Museum of the Rockies

Many more photos are featured in Part II


Visit our thousands of other sites at:
All ERB Images© and Tarzan® are Copyright ERB, Inc.- All Rights Reserved.
All Original Work © 1996-2018 by Bill Hillman and/or Contributing Authors/Owners
No part of this web site may be reproduced without permission from the respective owners.