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ON SUNSET HIGHWAYS ***




Produced by Melissa McDaniel and the Online Distributed
Proofreading Team at http://www.pgdp.net (This file was
produced from images generously made available by The
Internet Archive. The map and cover are courtesy of the
California History Room, California State Library,
Sacramento, California.)







Transcriber's Note:

Inconsistent hyphenation in the original document has been
preserved. Obvious typographical errors have been corrected.




ON SUNSET
HIGHWAYS




"SEE AMERICA FIRST" SERIES

Each in one volume, decorative cover, profusely illustrated


CALIFORNIA, ROMANTIC AND BEAUTIFUL
BY GEORGE WHARTON JAMES $6.00

NEW MEXICO: The Land of the Delight Makers
BY GEORGE WHARTON JAMES $6.00

SEVEN WONDERLANDS OF THE AMERICAN WEST
BY THOMAS D. MURPHY $6.00

A WONDERLAND OF THE EAST: The Mountain and Lake Region of
New England and Eastern New York
BY WILLIAM COPEMAN KITCHIN, PH.D. $6.00

ON SUNSET HIGHWAYS (California)
BY THOMAS D. MURPHY $6.00

TEXAS, THE MARVELLOUS
BY NEVIN O. WINTER $6.00

ARIZONA, THE WONDERLAND
BY GEORGE WHARTON JAMES $6.00

COLORADO: THE QUEEN JEWEL OF THE ROCKIES
BY MAE LACY BAGGS $6.00

OREGON, THE PICTURESQUE
BY THOMAS D. MURPHY $6.00

FLORIDA, THE LAND OF ENCHANTMENT
BY NEVIN O. WINTER $6.00

SUNSET CANADA (British Columbia and Beyond)
BY ARCHIE BELL $6.00

ALASKA, OUR BEAUTIFUL NORTHLAND OF OPPORTUNITY
BY AGNES RUSH BURR $6.00

UTAH: THE LAND OF BLOSSOMING VALLEYS
BY GEORGE WHARTON JAMES $6.00

NEW ENGLAND HIGHWAYS AND BYWAYS FROM A MOTOR CAR
BY THOMAS D. MURPHY $6.00

VIRGINIA: THE OLD DOMINION. As seen from its Colonial
waterway, the Historic River James
BY FRANK AND CORTELLE HUTCHINS $5.00


L. C. PAGE & COMPANY

53 Beacon Street
Boston, Mass.




[Illustration: THE GATE OF VAL PAISO CANYON, MONTEREY
From Original Painting by M. De Neale Morgan]




On Sunset
Highways

A Book of Motor Rambles
in California

New and Revised Edition

BY THOS. D. MURPHY

AUTHOR OF

"IN UNFAMILIAR ENGLAND WITH A MOTOR CAR,"
"SEVEN WONDERLANDS OF THE AMERICAN WEST,"
"NEW ENGLAND HIGHWAYS AND BYWAYS," ETC.

WITH SIXTEEN ILLUSTRATIONS IN COLOR FROM ORIGINAL PAINTINGS,
MAINLY BY CALIFORNIA ARTISTS, AND THIRTY-TWO
DUOGRAVURES FROM PHOTOGRAPHS.
ALSO ROAD MAP COVERING ENTIRE STATE.

BOSTON
L. C. PAGE & COMPANY
PUBLISHERS




Copyright, 1915, by
L. C. PAGE & COMPANY

Copyright, 1921, by
L. C. PAGE & COMPANY


All Rights Reserved

Made in U. S. A.




Preface


The publishers tell me that the first large edition of "On Sunset
Highways" has been exhausted and that the steady demand for the book
warrants a reprint. I have, therefore, improved the occasion to revise
the text in many places and to add descriptive sketches of several
worth-while tours we subsequently made. As it stands now I think the
book covers most of the ground of especial interest to the average
motorist in California.

One can not get the best idea of this wonderful country from the railway
train or even from the splendid electric system that covers most of the
country surrounding Los Angeles. The motor that takes one into the deep
recesses of hill and valley to infrequented nooks along the seashore
and, above all, to the slopes and summits of the mountains, is surely
the nearest approach to the ideal.

The California of to-day is even more of a motor paradise than when we
made our first ventures on her highroads. There has been a substantial
increase in her improved highways and every subsequent year will no
doubt see still further extensions. The beauty and variety of her
scenery will always remain and good roads will give easy access to many
hereto almost inaccessible sections. And the charm of her romantic
history will not decrease as the years go by. There is a growing
interest in the still existing relics of the mission days and the
Spanish occupation which we may hope will lead to their restoration
and preservation. All of which will make motoring in California more
delightful than ever.

I do not pretend in this modest volume to have covered everything
worth while in this vast state; neither have I chosen routes so
difficult as to be inaccessible to the ordinary motor tourist. I have
not attempted a guide-book in the usual sense; my first aim has been
to reflect by description and picture something of the charm of this
favored country; but I hope that the book may not be unacceptable as a
traveling companion to the motor tourist who follows us. Conditions of
roads and towns change so rapidly in California that due allowance must
be made by anyone who uses the book in this capacity. Up-to-the-minute
information as to road conditions and touring conveniences may be had
at the Automobile Club in Los Angeles or at any of its dozen branches
in other towns in Southern California.

In choosing the paintings to be reproduced as color illustrations, I was
impressed with the wealth of material I discovered; in fact, California
artists have developed a distinctive school of American landscape art.
With the wealth and variety of subject matter at the command of these
enthusiastic western painters, it is safe to predict that their work is
destined to rank with the best produced in America—and I believe that
the examples which I show will amply warrant this prediction.

THE AUTHOR.




CONTENTS


I A MOTOR PARADISE 1

II ROUND ABOUT LOS ANGELES 19

III ROUND ABOUT LOS ANGELES 43

IV ROUND ABOUT LOS ANGELES 62

V THE INLAND ROUTE TO SAN DIEGO 82

VI ROUND ABOUT SAN DIEGO 110

VII THE IMPERIAL VALLEY AND THE SAN DIEGO
BACK COUNTRY 126

VIII THE SAN DIEGO COAST ROUTE 150

IX SANTA BARBARA 178

X SANTA BARBARA TO MONTEREY 198

XI THE CHARM OF OLD MONTEREY 225

XII MEANDERINGS FROM MONTEREY
TO SAN FRANCISCO 252

XIII TO BEAUTIFUL CLEAR LAKE VALLEY 277

XIV THE NETHERLANDS OF CALIFORNIA 296

XV A CHAPTER OF ODDS AND ENDS 311

XVI OUR RUN TO YOSEMITE 343

XVII LAKE TAHOE 358




In making acknowledgment to the photographers through whose courtesy
I am able to present the beautiful monotones of California's scenery
and historic missions, I can only say that I think that the artistic
beauty and sentiment evinced in every one of these pictures entitles its
author to be styled artist as well as photographer. These enthusiastic
Californians—Dassonville, Pillsbury, Putnam, and Taylor—are thoroughly
in love with their work and every photograph they take has the merits
of an original composition. I had the privilege of selecting, from
many thousands, the examples shown in this book and while I doubt if
thirty-two pictures of higher average could be found, it must not be
forgotten that these artists have hundreds of other delightful views
that would grace any collection. I heartily recommend any reader of
the book to visit these studios if he desires appropriate and enduring
mementos of California's scenic beauty.

Detailed maps covering any proposed tour can be had by application to
the Automobile Club of Southern California.

THE AUTHOR.




LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS


COLOR PLATES

PAGE

THE GATE OF VAL PAISO CANYON, MONTEREY Frontispiece

HILLSIDE NEAR MONTEREY 1

CLOISTERS, SAN JUAN CAPISTRANO 72

PALM CANYON 132

WILD MUSTARD, MIRAMAR 194

POPPIES AND LUPINES 198

OAKS NEAR PASO ROBLES 214

CYPRESS POINT, MONTEREY 225

ROBERT LOUIS STEVENSON HOUSE 234

EVENING NEAR MONTEREY 242

A FOREST GLADE 246

THE PACIFIC NEAR GOLDEN GATE 277

A DISTANT VIEW OF MT. TAMALPAIS 311

VERNAL FALLS, YOSEMITE 350

NEVADA FALL, YOSEMITE 352

ON THE SHORE OF LAKE TAHOE 372


DUOGRAVURES

SAN GABRIEL MISSION 64

CORRIDOR, SAN FERNANDO MISSION 74

CAMPANILE, PALA MISSION 106

SAN DIEGO MISSION 110

A BACK COUNTRY OAK 134

ROAD TO WARNER'S HOT SPRINGS 146

A BACK COUNTRY VALLEY 148

TORREY PINES, NEAR LA JOLLA 158

RUINS OF CHAPEL, SAN LUIS REY 164

ENTRANCE TO SAN LUIS REY CEMETERY 166

FATHER O'KEEFE AT SAN LUIS REY 168

A CORNER OF CAPISTRANO 170

ARCHES, CAPISTRANO 172

RUINED CLOISTERS, CAPISTRANO 174

RUINS OF CAPISTRANO CHURCH BY MOONLIGHT 176

GIANT GRAPEVINE NEAR CARPINTERIA 184

ARCADE, SANTA BARBARA 186

THE OLD CEMETERY, SANTA BARBARA 188

THE FORBIDDEN GARDEN, SANTA BARBARA 190

BELL TOWER, SANTA YNEZ 204

INTERIOR CHURCH, SAN MIGUEL 216

ARCADE, SAN MIGUEL 218

DRIVE THROUGH GROUNDS, DEL MONTE HOTEL 228

CARMEL MISSION 236

CYPRESSES, POINT LOBOS 240

OLD CYPRESSES ON THE SEVENTEEN-MILE DRIVE,
MONTEREY 244

CHURCH AND CEMETERY, SAN JUAN BAUTISTA 252

A LAKE COUNTY BYWAY 284

ON THE SLOPES OF MT. ST. HELENA 290

SAN ANTONIO DE PADUA 328

RUINS OF LA PURISIMA 332

A ROAD THROUGH THE REDWOODS 338


MAPS

ROAD MAP OF CALIFORNIA 374




[Illustration: HILLSIDE NEAR MONTEREY
From Original Painting by Helen Balfour]




On Sunset Highways




I

A MOTOR PARADISE


California! The very name had a strange fascination for me ere I set
foot on the soil of the Golden State. Its romantic story and the
enthusiasm of those who had made the (to me) wonderful journey to
the favored country by the great ocean of the West had interested
and delighted me as a child, though I thought of it then as some dim,
far-away El Dorado that lay on the borders of fairyland. My first visit
was not under circumstances tending to dissolve the spell, for it was
on my wedding trip that I first saw the land of palms and flowers,
orange groves, snowy mountains, sunny beaches, and blue seas, and I
found little to dispel the rosy dreams I had preconceived. This was
long enough ago to bring a great proportion of the growth and progress
of the state within the scope of my own experience. We saw Los Angeles,
then an aspiring town of forty thousand, giving promise of the truly
metropolitan city it has since become; Pasadena was a straggling
village; and around the two towns were wide areas of open country now
teeming with ambitious suburbs. We visited never-to-be-forgotten Del
Monte and saw the old San Francisco ere fire and quake had swept away
its most distinctive and romantic features—the Nob Hill palaces and
old-time Chinatown.

Some years intervened between this and our second visit, when we found
the City of the Angels a thriving metropolis with hundreds of palatial
structures and the most perfect system of interurban transportation to
be found anywhere, while its northern rival had risen from debris and
ashes in serried ranks of concrete and steel. A tour of the Yosemite
gave us new ideas of California's scenic grandeur; there began to
dawn on us vistas of the endless possibilities that the Golden State
offers to the tourist and we resolved on a longer sojourn at the first
favorable opportunity.

A week's stay in Los Angeles and a free use of the Pacific Electric
gave us a fair idea of the city and its lesser neighbors, but we found
ourselves longing for the country roads and retired nooks of mountain
and beach inaccessible by railway train and tram car. We felt we should
never be satisfied until we had explored this wonderland by motor—which
the experience of three long tours in Europe had proved to us the only
way to really see much of a country in the limits of a summer vacation.

And so it chanced that a year or two later we found ourselves on the
streets of Los Angeles with our trusty friend of the winged wheels,
intent on exploring the nooks and corners of Sunset Land. We wondered
why we had been so long in coming—why we had taken our car three times
to Europe before we brought it to California; and the marvel grew on us
as we passed out of the streets of the city on to the perfect boulevard
that led through green fields to the western Venice by the sea. It is
of the experience of the several succeeding weeks and of a like tour
during the two following years that this unpretentious chronicle has to
deal. And my excuse for inditing it must be that it is first of all a
chronicle of a motor car; for while books galore have been written on
California by railroad and horseback travelers as well as by those who
pursued the leisurely and good old method of the Franciscan fathers,
no one, so far as I know, has written of an extended experience at the
steering wheel of our modern annihilator of distance.

It seems a little strange, too, for Southern California is easily
the motorist's paradise over all other places on this mundane sphere.
It has more cars to the population—twice over—and they are in use a
greater portion of the year than in any other section of similar size
in the world and probably more outside cars are to be seen on its
streets and highways than in any other locality in the United States.
The matchless climate and the ever-increasing mileage of fine roads,
with the endless array of places worth visiting, insure the maximum
of service and pleasure to the fortunate owner of a car, regardless of
its name-plate or pedigree. The climate needs no encomiums from me, for
is it not heralded and descanted upon by all true Californians and by
every wayfarer, be his sojourn ever so brief?—but a few words on the
wonders already achieved in road-building and the vast plans for the
immediate future will surely be of interest. I am conscious that any
data concerning the progress of California are liable to become obsolete
overnight, as it were, but if I were to confine myself to the unchanging
in this vast commonwealth, there would be little but the sea and the
mountains to write about.

Los Angeles County was the leader in good roads construction and at
the time of which I write had completed about three hundred and fifty
miles of modern highway at a cost of nearly five million dollars. I know
of nothing in Europe superior—and very little equal—to the splendid
system of macadam boulevards that radiate from the Queen City of the
Southwest. The asphalted surface is smooth and dustless and the skill
of the engineer is everywhere evident. There are no heavy grades;
straight lines or long sweeping curves prevail throughout. Added to
this is a considerable mileage of privately constructed road built by
land improvement companies to promote various tracts about the city,
one concern alone having spent more than half a million dollars in this
work. Further additions are projected by the county and an excellent
maintenance plan has been devised, for the authorities have wisely
recognized that the upkeep of these splendid roads is a problem equal
in importance with building them. This, however, is not so serious a
matter as in the East, owing to the absence of frost, the great enemy
of roads of this type.

Since the foregoing paragraph was first published (1915) the good work
has gone steadily on and despite the sharp check that the World War
administered to public enterprises, Los Angeles County has materially
added to and improved her already extensive mileage of modern roads.
A new boulevard connects the beach towns between Redondo and Venice; a
marvelous scenic road replaces the old-time trail in Topango Canyon and
the new Hollywood Mountain Road is one of the most notable achievements
of highway engineering in all California. Many new laterals have been
completed in the level section about Downey and Artesia and numerous
boulevards opened in the foothill region. Besides all this the
main highways have been improved and in some cases—as of Long Beach
Boulevard—entirely rebuilt. In the city itself there has been vast
improvement and extension of the streets and boulevards so that more
than ever this favored section deserves to be termed the paradise of
the motorist.

San Diego County has set a like example in this good work, having
expended a million and a half on her highways and authorized a bond
issue of two and one-half millions more, none of which has been as
yet expended. While the highways of this county do not equal the model
excellence of those of Los Angeles County, the foundation of a splendid
system has been laid. Here the engineering problem was a more serious
one, for there is little but rugged hills within the boundaries of
the county. Other counties are in various stages of highway building;
still others have bond issues under consideration—and it is safe to say
that when this book comes from the press there will not be a county in
Southern California that has not begun permanent road improvement on
its own account.

I say "on its own account" because whatever it may do of its own motion,
nearly every county in the state is assured of considerable mileage
of the new state highway system, now partially completed, while the
remainder is under construction or located and surveyed. The first bond
issue of eighteen million dollars was authorized by the state several
years ago, a second issue of fifteen millions was voted in 1916, and
another of forty millions a year later, making in all seventy-three
millions, of which, at this writing, thirty-nine millions is unexpended.
Counties have issued about forty-two millions more. It is estimated that
to complete the full highway program the state must raise one hundred
millions additional by bond issues.

The completed system contemplates two great trunk lines from San Diego
to the Oregon border, one route roughly following the coast and the
other well inland, while lateral branches are to connect all county
seats not directly reached. Branches will also extend to the Imperial
Valley and along the Eastern Sierras as far as Independence and in
time across the Cajon Pass through the Mohave Desert to Needles on
the Colorado River. California's wealth of materials (granite, sand,
limestone, and asphaltum) and their accessibility should give the
maximum mileage for money expended. This was estimated by a veteran
Pittsburgh highway contractor whom I chanced to meet in the Yosemite,
at fully twice as great as could be built in his locality for the same
expenditure.

California was a pioneer in improved roads and it is not strange
that mistakes were made in some of the earlier work, chiefly in
building roadways too narrow and too light to stand the constantly
increasing heavy traffic. The Automobile Club of Southern California,
in conjunction with the State Automobile Association, recently made
an exhaustive investigation and report of existing highway conditions
which should do much to prevent repetition of mistakes in roads still
to be built. The State Highway Commission, while admitting that some
of the earlier highways might better have been built heavier and wider,
points out that this would have cut the mileage at least half; and also
that at the time these roads were contracted for, the extent that heavy
trucking would assume was not fully realized. Work on new roads was
generally suspended during the war and is still delayed by high costs
and the difficulty of selling bonds.

At this writing (1921) the two trunk lines from San Diego to San
Francisco are practically completed and the motorist between these
points, whether on coast or inland route, may pursue the even tenor of
his way over the smooth, dustless, asphalted surface at whatever speed
he may consider prudent, though the limit of thirty-five miles now
allowed in the open country under certain restrictions leaves little
excuse for excessive speeding. It is not uncommon to make the trip over
the inland route, about six hundred and fifty miles, in three days,
while a day longer should be allowed for the coast run.

In parts where the following narrative covers our tours made before much
of the new road was finished, I shall not alter my descriptions and they
will afford the reader an opportunity of comparing the present improved
highways with conditions that existed only yesterday, as it were.

Road improvement has been active in the northern counties for several
years, especially around San Francisco. I have gone into the details
concerning this section in my book on Oregon and Northern California,
and will not repeat the matter here, since the scope of this work must
be largely confined to the south. It is no exaggeration, however, to say
that to-day California is unsurpassed by any other state in mileage and
excellence of improved roads and when the projects under way are carried
out she will easily take first rank in these important particulars
unless more competition develops than is now apparent. Thus she supplies
the first requisite for the motor enthusiast, though some may declare
her matchless climate of equal advantage to the tourist.

If the motor enthusiast of the Golden State can take no credit to
himself for the climate, he is surely entitled to no end of credit
for the advanced state of affairs in public highway improvement. In
proportion to the population he is more numerous in Southern California
than anywhere else in the world, and we might therefore expect to
find a strong and effective organization of motorists in Los Angeles.
In this we are not disappointed, for the Automobile Club of Southern
California has a membership of more than fifty thousand; it was but
seven thousand when the first edition of this book was printed in 1915—a
growth which speaks volumes for its strides in public appreciation.
Its territory comprises only half a single state, yet its membership
surpasses that of its nearest rival by more than two to one. It makes
no pretense at being a "social" club, all its energies being devoted
to promoting the welfare and interests of the motorist in its field of
action, and so important and far-reaching are its activities that the



Online LibraryThomas D. MurphyOn Sunset Highways → online text (page 1 of 25)