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Maynard Roberts’ Two-Year Jeep Trip Through South America

• CATEGORIES: Features, Old News Articles • TAGS: This site contains affiliate links for which I may be compensated.

Maynard Roberts pictures on the left in San Paulo, Brazil, from the January 23, 1950, issue of the Pomona Progress Bulletin.

In 1948, 34 year-old Maynard Roberts, from La Verne, California, traveled south into Mexico and spent the next 18 months exploring Central and South American. He wrote a series of articles for the Pomona Progress Bulletin detailing his trip. He’d hoped to write a book, but I have been unable to locate one. If he didn’t, it’s too bad, because I think he was a very good writer.

His skill is evident early on when he wrote a phrase that caught my attention, “About seven years ago I was keeping company with my last twenty-dollar bill …” His attention to details and telling a few small stories make his tale worth reading. It’s unfortunate that these articles only share snippets, for it seems he’s got a good story to tell and the skill to tell it.

His idea to travel germinated prior to WWII. He was born in Lima, Ohio, in 1914. As a child, his parents moved to California, Near the start of WWII he got the idea to travel to South America, so he began saving money. During WWII he was a draftsman, perhaps a skill learned during his college days at Chaffee college? Finally, by 1948, he saved up enough money to buy a jeep and afford to travel.

Part one of his adventure appeared in the January 09, 1950, issue of the Ponoma Progress Bulleting, split into two sections.


Part II: This is the second installment of Maynard’s adventure. It appeared in the January 16, 1950, issue of the Pomona Progress Bulletin.



Part III: This is the third installment of Maynard’s adventure. It appeared in the January 23, 1950, issue of the Pomona Progress Bulletin.


Part IV: This is the final installment of Maynard’s adventure. It appeared in the January 30, 1950, issue of the Pomona Progress Bulletin.


During his trip, between March 4, 1948, and November 1949, a few news updates reached the local newspapers:

This blurb appeared in the June 18, 19i48, issue of the Pomona Progress Bulletin and notes his trip aboard the “Don Aurelio”:


A year later, on August 05, 1949, this update appeared in the Chino Champion newspaper:


Following his trip, Maynard provided a few lectures about his trip, such as a presentation to the Kiwanis club in February and an April presentation to the Monrovia-Arcaidia-Duarte High School Spanish classes in April of 1950.


April 20, 1950, Daily News Post and Monrovia News Post

Maynard didn’t last long in California. By May of 1950 he was restless, so he began a trip east with friends.

By May of 1951 he was living in Los Angeles and, in  November 1951, returned to La Verne to dine with his parents and family.

By June of 1953, Maynard found himself employed by the Allen Engineering Company of Detroit, Michigan. He worked as a tool designer out of Muncie, Indiana. While there, in July of 1953, he married Miss Martha Ellen Luckey. Their plan was to move back to California.

Rather than move back to California, it appears Maynard settled in Michigan with his wife Martha and at least on child, Mary. Unfortunately, in December of 1968, just two days before Christmas, Maynard was severely injured in a 65-car-pile-up on a sleet-sheeted section of Edsel Ford Freeway. He died of his injuries in early January of 1969. He was 55 years old. His wife Martha passed away in 1989 at the age of 60.

As for his photos and either a diary or a book, I’m still hoping to uncover some information..


3 Comments on “Maynard Roberts’ Two-Year Jeep Trip Through South America

  1. James Knight ( Jay )

    seems like part of IV is missing? January 30th 1950….. starts with repair the sloop… mention of what happened to the Jeep. Love the whole story…. sounded for a while he would end up coming home with ‘Pigtails’ !

  2. David Eilers Post author

    Jay … I thought he’d bring Pigtails back, too! Yep, I screwed up … I’ll get that other section posted in a few minutes.

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