Learn about Life in the 1920s

Motoring Vacation Ideas for California

California is calling the motorists of America to a Winter of varied delight on perfect roads under her genial sun.

WHEN the snow flies, when the ice grows thicker, thicker, over lake and over river, then the thoughts of the indurated motorist fly to other lands and climes, and he turns the prow of his rubber-tired craft to either the Pacific south-land or to the "sweet, sunny South" itself. In that portion of California lying below the Tehachepi, in the Counties of Tulare, Kern, Inyo and Mono, Santa Barbara, San Luis Obispo, Ventura, San Diego, San Bernardino, Los Angeles, Riverside, Orange and Imperial, he will find a remarkable area of "unwintered" territory, brimming with a really extraordinary variety of scenery, bordered on its western limits by the Pacific ocean, and "grid-ironed" in every direction with automobile highways which take the visitor from the orange-laden valleys of the interior to the mountain summits, and on down to the bays and estuaries of the bluest of blue sea-waters.

He may bring his skates, snow-shoes and skis along if he likes, and enjoy these sports within a couple of hours driving to the upper heights, where frozen lakes and wastes of glittering snows overhang the lower levels where citrus orchards give out their gold and green pictures of fruit-clustering branches.

Surf-bathing on many days in the winter is genuinely enjoyable, although on other days the air may be too cold to be agreeable. Surf fishing, and fishing from the many ocean-resort piers can be counted on, and deep sea fishing at various points for the more ambitious of the anglers. He can shoot ducks, geese, jack-snipe, valley and mountain quail and rabbits from November 1st to January 15th. He can play golf, tennis, and all other outdoor games all winter, and motor any day of the year in comparative comfort. Polo, yachting, motor-boating, "hiking", horse-back riding, and other forms of recreation are open to him during the winter months, in addition to those such as skating, ski-ing, and snow-shoeing, as practiced in the Eastern and Northern States, which he can have by driving his motor-car to the mountain lakes, and upper reaches.

Automobile on edge of lake in California

It is no trouble at all to play a round or two of golf in the forenoon or a few games of tennis, and then take an automobile and enjoy a tramp over snow-drifts on your snow-shoes, or cut a few "figure eights", or "the grape-vine" on your skates in the afternoon, returning to the valleys before nightfall. All this, of course, is common knowledge to those who know Southern California.

The main influence in making this whole country so accessible to the motorist is the universal inter-linking and inter-connecting system of highways which extend through these Counties in every direction. These have been built by the Counties, the State, and the municipalities. There are altogether approximately 65,000 miles of all roads and highways in the State of California, paved, improved and partly improved, desert and dirt roads. Many millions of dollars have been expended in their construction, and many millions must be expended on their improvement and up-keep. Eternal vigilance is the inevitable price of a highclass road system.

To the man from the Atlantic slope, or from the Northern or Mid-Western States who contemplates visiting Southern California, the first thought is, "how shall I reach there"? Speaking from a strictly "wintry" stand-point, his choice of Trans-Continental Highways is practically limited to three thoroughfares, the National Old Trails Route, the Bankhead Highway, and the Old Spanish Trails Route. The first is easily negotiable from the Atlantic Coast, the North, and the Middle West, but of course there is the possibility of being stopped by snow-storms. The Bankhead Highway, starting from Washington, D. C., soon puts the motorist out of the "snow belt," and connects with the Old Spanish Trails Route at Van Horn, Texas. The Bankhead highway and the Old Spanish Trails Route are the two really dependable all-year routes to the Pacific Coast. While the latter is not paved through at present, it will eventually be a wonderful all-paved highway from Coast to Coast, and an avenue of Trans-Continental travel of the greatest importance.

From Kansas City west to Los Angeles, the National Old Trails Route has been sign-posted by the Automobile Club of Southern Calfornia, and travelling is thereby made easy from that point in Missouri, westward to the Pacific. The Bankhead Highway dips south and then south-west from Washington, and runs diagonally to its joining with the Old Spanish Trails route, and thence on to San Diego and Los Angeles. By writing to the Touring Bureau Department of the Automobile Club of Southern California, at Los Angeles, California, any motorist can get full and free directions as to proceeding west over any and all of these highways, together with minute and accurate data as to travelling from any principal town to get to these highways from any State in The Union.

Information as to supply stations, hotels, garages, road conditions west of the Rockies, will also be furnished all motorists writing for this data. This is given in accordance with the universal custom of all motoring Clubs to render this service to members and non-members alike.

Automobile parties coming to Southern California can either spend their nights at the various hotels and stopping-places found everywhere, or they can camp out at the almost numberless automobile camps or they can combine both hotels and automobile camps as places to stay over for the night. Many parties bring tents with them, and they will find plenty of beautiful and comfortable places to camp out, far removed from the haunts of civilization, and where they can get excellent shooting and fine black bass fishing during November, January and February.

All possible information will be tendered them at the 27 offices of the Automobile Club of Southern California. The Home office in Los Angeles is re-inforced and supplemented by 26 additional offices in the Counties heretofore named, and these offices have the data regarding their various Counties thoroughly up-to-date, and at the service of visiting motorists.

Of the scenic beauties of California, it is hard to write in terms that do not seem extravagant. There are more than 200 mountain peaks in the Sierra Nevada Range that are over 12,000 feet in height, and 14 that are over 14,000 feet in altitude. Mount Whitney is 14,501 feet high, the loftiest peak in The United States outside of Alaska. The lake country of Southern California, particularly in Inyo, Mono, San Bernardino, San Diego, and Santa Barbara Counties is very beautiful, Inyo and Mono Counties especially having lakes that rival Lucerne, Geneva and Brienz in Switzerland. Some of the rivers are exceedingly picturesque, none of them, of course, with the majesty and width of the Hudson. Many lovely waterfalls are found among the mountains, and even to those who have viewed the resistless might of Niagara, these cascades are inspiring.

All of the manifold beauties and wonders of Southern California are an open book to the motorist by reason of the convoluting and involuting net-work of highways which cross and re-cross one another at every hand, each road and highway, each causeway and by-way thoroughly signed by the warning and directing signs of the Automobile Club. Hand in hand with this universal sign service is the completeness of the automobile Camping Ground system. Some of these camps furnish all their accommodations free to the motorists; others make a charge of 25 cents a day, and some charge 50 cents a day for the service they furnish. These accommodations range from water, fuel and camping space to much more elaborate service, such as laundry and cooking utensils and arrangements, hot and cold water shower baths, plenty of excellent drinking water, lavatories, gas and electric light and other important accessories. At each camp there is a man in charge, and the grounds are kept up in a sanitary and healthy manner.

Motorists traveling the Counties of Southern California can get a list of the various camps, their location, and their charges, without any cost, by applying to any one of the different offices of the Automobile Club. Many of these camps are situated in picturesque and attractive rural situations, and many others are located close to the edges of the principal towns and smaller cities. They will be found from the upper to the lower tier of the Southern Counties, and their value and importance to traveling motorists becomes more apparent every season. No motorist need fear as to lack of stopping-places in the Southern Counties either as regards hotels or automobile camps, and the list he can obtain, and the information concerning their location will enable him to find them by either night or day.

Article from "Motor" magazine November 1922