I came across this 1959 "auto biography" at the following link:
The memoir, by Ivan M. Wooley, M.D., released in 1959, describes the early efforts to move tourists to the base of Mount Hood by motor cars. Several makes and models of cars were used, and it sounds as though the conditions were rugged and primitive. A good, and free, read about early automobile shortcomings in conditions that I suspect would be a challenge for any motor car, even today's modern four wheel drive SUV's:
Below, page 12 begins with the first automobile to be used as a livery vehicle to move guests, a 1905 Thomas Flyer (about 1911). The Flyer is traded for a Stoddard Dayton. Next, a Pope Hartford is in service, until the author comes upon the Pope burning along the route.
In addition to Peerless, and White steamer, a Model T is tried during the 1912 season. However, the Model T "was unable to carry on because of constant transmission failure." Too bad a Ruxtel wasn't available at the time (were Ruxtel predecessors available by 1912?).
Page 15, about the same time, a 1907 Model K is tried. Also mentioned on this page is a six cylinder Pierce. In the rugged terrain, the Model K shortcoming is the two speed transmission. If anyone reads this portion (link above) several of the cars had different failures, usually relating the drive trains.
By page 16, the Model K has been heavily modified, and the author says takes on the appearance of a "motorized daschund," with components from Pope Hartford (transmission) and a Stevens Duryea (radiator).
The last highlighted portion of the page mentions some of the many makes used by the tourist stage lines. Makes included Ford, Wintons, Garfords, Stoddard, Peerless, Stearns and others.
All in all, a short, good read for anyone interested in early automobiling in the rugged Mt. Hood area. And, the price is right.......
Here's a related article from the Sunday Oregonian, January 17, 1915. It was on page 13 of the "Annual Automobile Show" section, which begins partway down this page. Fun reading from a time when Ford was just one of hundreds of car manufacturers.
The steam car boiler problems were probably made worse by the necessity of using water from streams, ponds, and rivers in the area. Dirt and minerals, suspended in the water, cooks and hardens on the water side of the boiler tubes, acting as an insulation. This can result in overheating the fire side and burning up the boiler.
Friends with steam cars tell me that this was a big problem back in the day.
Studying automotive history is fascinating. While we "Americans" like to think of ourselves as trail-blazers and leaders in development of all things scientific, there is much more to history than that. Europe beat us for the first twenty years (or a lot more if you consider Cugnot) for one main reason. Roads.
Roads, throughout Europe, Great Briton, and Northern Africa date back long before the Roman Empire. While the cobblestone nightmares throughout Europe were terrible by modern standards? With a few exceptions around the Eastern seaboard, most "roads" in North America amounted to little more than deer trails. Americans were slower about picking up on automobile development simply because we had so few areas to drive them that early.
Even as late as 1912 (these stories), many areas, especially in the Western states were still incredibly bad for automobile travel.
A point to consider. Things did improve quite a lot after 1846 when the Donner Party got stuck in the mountains of the Sierra (yes, living here, I know that is redundant, most people elsewhere do not). But things had not changed all that much, yet.
One of several factors that led to the Donner Party disaster was the fact that it was a relatively wealthy group that headed for California. Instead of using standard available wagons, they custom ordered extra large wagons so that they could carry more stuff with them to open their shops, businesses, and homes in the new land. The problem was, when they reached the forests on the Eastern slopes of the Sierra, the "roads" were too narrow. Cutting a path through heavy forest was back-breaking hard work. So all the previous groups had cut through the trees just barely wide enough for the standard wagons. The Donner Party found that they had to re-cut through narrow paths to make them wide enough for their wagons. This after first surveying for about a week, The combined delays helped to catch them in a blizzard.
THAT is what travel was like in the West over a century ago.
Drive carefully, and enjoy, W2
The water in Oregon (around Mt. Hood)is so soft, you can't even tell when you get all the soap off when you take a shower. I think the water there compares with distilled water and would not cause a problem with the boiler.