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Title: On Sunset Highways - A Book of Motor Rambles in California
Author: Murphy, Thomas D.
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.
Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "On Sunset Highways - A Book of Motor Rambles in California" ***

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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
benefits it confers on the car owners of Southern California are by no
means limited to the membership. Practically every owner and driver of
a car is indebted to the club in more ways than I can enumerate and as
this fact has gained recognition the membership has increased by leaps
and bounds. I remember when the sense of obligation to become a member
was forced upon me by the road signs which served me almost hourly when
touring and this is perhaps the feature of the club's work which first
impresses the newcomer. Everywhere in the southern half of California
and even on a transcontinental highway the familiar white diamond-shaped
signboard greets one's sight—often a friend in need, saving time and
annoyance. The maps prepared and supplied by the club were even a
greater necessity and this service has been amplified and extended
until it not only covers every detail of the highways and byways of
California, but also includes the main roads of adjacent states and one
transcontinental route as well. These maps are frequently revised and
up-to-the-minute road information may always be had by application to
the Touring Department of the club.

When we planned our first tour, at a time when road conditions were
vastly different from what they are now, our first move was to seek
the assistance of this club, which was readily given as a courtesy to
a visiting motorist. The desired information was freely and cheerfully
supplied, but I could not help feeling, after experiencing so many
benefits from the work of the club, that I was under obligations to
become a member. And I am sure that even the transient motorist, though
he plans a tour of but a few weeks, will be well repaid—and have a
clearer conscience—should his first move be to take membership in this
live organization.

We found the club an unerring source of information as to the most
practicable route to take on a proposed tour, the best way out of the
city, and the general condition of the roads to be covered. The club
is also an authority on hotels, garages and "objects of interest"
generally in the territory covered by its activities. Besides the main
organization, which occupies its own building at Adams and Figueroa
Streets, Los Angeles, there are numerous branch offices in the principal
towns of the counties of Southern California, which in their localities
can fulfill most of the functions of the club.

The club maintains a department of free legal advice and its membership
card is generally sufficient bail for members charged with violating the
speed or traffic regulations. It is always willing to back its members
to the limit when the presumption of being right is in their favor,
but it has no sympathy with the reckless joy rider and lawbreaker and
does all it can to discourage such practices. It has been a powerful
influence in obtaining sane and practical motor car legislation, such
as raising the speed limit in the open country to thirty-five miles
per hour, and providing severer penalties against theft of motor cars.
One of the most valuable services of the club has been its relentless
pursuit and prosecution of motor car thieves and the recovery of a large
percentage of stolen cars. In fact, Los Angeles stands at the head of
the large cities of the country in a minimum of net losses of cars by
theft and the club can justly claim credit for this. The club has also
done much to abate the former scandalous practices of many towns in
fixing a very low speed limit with a view of helping out local finances
by collecting heavy fines. This is now regulated by state laws and the
motorist who is willing to play fair with the public will not suffer
much annoyance. The efforts of the club to eliminate what it considers
double taxation of its members who must pay both a horse power fee and
a heavy property tax were not successful, but the California motorist
has the consolation of knowing that all taxes, fines and fees affecting
the motor car go to the good cause of road maintenance.

Another important service rendered by the club is the insurance of
its members against all the hazards connected with operation of an
automobile. Fire, theft, liability, collision, etc., are written
practically at cost. The club also maintains patrol and trouble cars
which respond free of cost to members in difficulty.

Besides all this, the club deserves much credit for the advanced
position of California in highway improvement. It has done much to
create the public sentiment which made the bond issues possible and
it has rendered valuable assistance in surveying and building the new
roads. It has kept in constant touch with the State Highway Commission
and its superior knowledge of the best and shortest routes has been of
great service in locating the new state roads.

My story is to deal with several sojourns in the Sunset State during
the months of April and May of consecutive years. We shipped our car by
rail in care of a Los Angeles garage and so many follow this practice
that the local agents are prepared to receive and properly care for the
particular machines which they represent and several freight-forwarding
companies also make a specialty of this service. On our arrival our car
was ready for the road and it proved extremely serviceable in getting
us located. Los Angeles is the logical center from which to explore the
southern half of the state and we were fortunate in securing a furnished
house in a good part of the city without much delay. We found a fair
percentage of the Los Angeles population ready to move out on short
notice and to turn over to us their homes and everything in them—for a
consideration, of course.

On our second sojourn in the city we varied things by renting furnished
apartments, of which there are an endless number and variety to
choose from, and if this plan did not prove quite so satisfactory and
comfortable as the house, it was less expensive. We also had experience
on several later occasions with numerous hotels—Los Angeles, as might
be expected, is well supplied with hotels of all degrees of merit—but
our experience in pre-war days would hardly be representative of the
present time, especially when rates are considered. The Alexandria and
Angelus were—and doubtless are—up to the usual metropolitan standards
of service and comfort, with charges to correspond. The Gates, where
we stopped much longer, was a cleanly and comfortable hotel with lower
rates and represents a large class of similar establishments such
as the Clark, the Stillwell, the Trinity, the Hayward, the Roslyn,
the Savoy, and many others. One year we tried the Leighton, which is
beautifully located on Westlake Park and typical of several outlying
hotels that afford more quiet and greater convenience for parking and
handling one's car than can be found in the business district. Others
in this class are the Darby, the Hershey Arms, the Hollywood, and the
Alvarado. Los Angeles, for all its preeminence as a tourist city, was
long without a resort hotel of the first magnitude, leaving the famous
Pasadena hostelries such as the Green, Raymond, Maryland and Huntington,
to cater to the class of patrons who do not figure costs in their quest
for the luxurious in hotel service. This shortage was supplied in 1920
by the erection of the Ambassador Hotel on Wilshire Boulevard—one of
the largest resort hotels in the world. The building is surrounded by
spacious grounds and the property is said to represent an investment of
$5,000,000. It is one of the "objects of interest" in Los Angeles and
will be visited by many tourists who may not care to pay the price to
become regular guests. After our experience with hotels, apartments and
rented houses, we finally acquired a home of our own in the "Queen City
of the Southwest," which, of course, is the most satisfactory plan of
all, though not necessarily the cheapest.

Prior to the Great War Los Angeles had the reputation of being a
place where one could live well at very moderate cost and hotels and
restaurants gave the very best for little money. This was all sadly
changed in the wave of profiteering during and following the war. The
city acquired a rather unenviable reputation for charging the tourist
all the traffic would bear—and sometimes a little more—until finally
Government statistics ranked Los Angeles number one in the cost of
living among cities of its class. The city council undertook to combat
the tendency to "grab" by passing an ordinance limiting the percentage
of rental an owner might charge on his property—a move naturally
contested in the courts. At this writing, however, (1921), the tendency
of prices is distinctly downward and this may reasonably be expected
to continue until a fair basis is reached. It is not likely, however,
that pre-war prices will ever return on many items, but it is certain
that Los Angeles will again take rank as a city where one may live
permanently or for a time at comparatively moderate cost.

Public utilities of the city never advanced their prices to compare with
private interests. You can still ride miles on a street car for a nickel
and telephone, gas and electric concerns get only slightly higher rates
than before the war. Taxes have advanced by leaps and bounds, but are
frequently excused by pointing out that nowhere do you get so much for
your tax money as in California.

Naturally, the automobile and allied industries loom large in Los
Angeles. Garages from the most palatial and perfectly equipped to the
veriest hole-in-the-wall abound in all parts of the town. Prices for
service and repairs vary greatly but the level is high—probably one
hundred per cent above pre-war figures. Competition, however, is strong
and the tendency is downward; but only a general wage lowering can
bring back the old-time prices. Gasoline is generally cheaper than in
the East, while other supplies cost about the same. The second-hand
car business has reached vast proportions, many dealers occupying
vacant lots where old cars of all models and degrees brave the sun—and
sometimes the rain—while waiting for a purchaser. Cars are sold with
agreement to buy back at the end of a tour and are rented without driver
to responsible parties. You do not have to bring your own car to enjoy
a motor tour in California; in fact this practice is not so common as
it used to be except in case of the highest-grade cars.

Another plan is to drive your own car from your Eastern home to
California and sell it when ready to go back. This was done very
satisfactorily during the period of the car shortage and high prices for
used cars following the war, but under normal conditions would likely
involve considerable sacrifice. The ideal method for the motorist who
has the time and patience is to make the round trip to California in
his own car, coming, say, over the Lincoln Highway and returning over
the Santa Fe Trail or vice versa, according to the time of the year.
The latter averages by far the best of the transcontinental roads and
is passable for a greater period of the year than any other. In fact, it
is an all-year-round route except for the Raton Pass in New Mexico, and
this may be avoided by a detour into Texas. This route has been surveyed
and signed by the Automobile Club of Southern California and is being
steadily improved, especially in the Western states.

Although California has perhaps the best all-the-year-round climate
for motoring, it was our impression that the months of April and
May are the most delightful for extensive touring. The winter rains
will have ceased—though we found our first April and a recent May
notable exceptions—and there is more freedom from the dust that
becomes troublesome in some localities later in the summer. The
country will be at its best—snow-caps will still linger on the higher
mountains; the foothills will be green and often varied with great
dashes of color—white, pale yellow, blue, or golden yellow, as some
particular wild flower gains the mastery. The orange groves will be
laden with golden globes and sweet with blossoms, and the roses and
other cultivated flowers will still be in their prime. The air will be
balmy and pleasant during the day, with a sharp drop towards evening
that makes it advisable to keep a good supply of wraps in the car. An
occasional shower will hardly interfere with one's going, even on the
unimproved country road.

For there is still unimproved country road, despite all I have said
in praise of the new highways. A great deal of our touring was over
roads seldom good at their best and often quite impassable during the
heavy winter rains. There were stretches of "adobe" to remind us of
"gumbo" at home; there were miles of heavy sand and there were rough,
stone-strewn trails hardly deserving to be called roads at all! These
defects are being mended with almost magical rapidity, but California
is a vast state and with all her progress it will be years before all
her counties attain the Los Angeles standard. We found many primitive
bridges and oftener no bridges at all, since in the dry season there is
no difficulty in fording the hard-bottom streams, and not infrequently
the streams themselves had vanished. But in winter these same streams
are often raging torrents that defy crossing for days at a time. During
the summer and early autumn months the dust will be deep on unimproved
roads and some of the mountain passes will be difficult on this account.
So it is easy to see that even California climate does not afford ideal
touring conditions the year round. Altogether, the months of April,
May, and June afford the best average of roads and weather, despite
the occasional showers that one may expect during the earlier part of
this period. It is true that during these months a few of the mountain
roads will be closed by snow, but one can not have everything his own
way, and I believe the beauty of the country and climate at this time
will more than offset any enforced omissions. The trip to Yosemite is
not practical during this period over existing routes, though it is to
be hoped the proposed all-the-year road will be a reality before long.
The Lake Tahoe road is seldom open before the middle of June, and this
delightful trip can not be taken during the early spring unless the
tourist is content with the railway trains.

Our several tours in California aggregated more than thirty thousand
miles and extended from Tia Juana to the Oregon border. The scope of
this volume, however, is confined to the southern half of the state
and the greater part of it deals with the section popularly known as
Southern California—the eight counties lying south of Tehachapi Pass.
Of course we traversed some roads several times, but we visited most of
the interesting points of the section—with some pretty strenuous trips,
as will appear in due course of my narrative. We climbed many mountains,
visited the endless beaches, stopped at the famous hotels, and did not
miss a single one of the twenty or more old Spanish missions. We saw
the orange groves and palms of Riverside and Redlands, the great oaks
of Paso Robles, the queer old cypresses of Monterey, the Torrey Pines
of La Jolla, the lemon groves of San Diego, the vast wheatfields of the
San Joaquin and Salinas Valleys, the cherry orchards of San Mateo, the
great vineyards of the Napa and Santa Rosa Valleys, the lonely beauty of
Clear Lake Valley, the giant trees of Santa Cruz, the Yosemite Valley,
Tahoe, the gem of mountain lakes, the blossoming desert of Imperial, and
a thousand other things that make California an enchanted land. And the
upshot of it all was that we fell in love with the Golden State—so much
in love with it that what I set down may be tinged with prejudice; but
what story of California is free from this amiable defect?



II

ROUND ABOUT LOS ANGELES


When we first left the confines of the city we steered straight for
the sunset; the wayfarer from the far inland states always longs for a
glimpse of the ocean and it is usually his first objective. The road,
smooth and hard as polished slate, runs for a dozen miles between green
fields, with here and there a fringe of palms or eucalyptus trees and
showing in many places the encroachments of rapidly growing suburbs. So
seductively perfect is the road that the twenty miles slip away almost
before we are aware; we find ourselves crossing the canal in Venice and
are soon surrounded by the wilderness of "attractions" of this famous
resort.

There is little to remind us of its Italian namesake save the wide
stretch of sea that breaks into view and an occasional gondola on the
tiny canal; in the main it is far more suggestive of Coney Island than
of the Queen of the Adriatic. To one who has lost his boyish zeal
for "shooting the shoots" and a thousand and one similar startling
experiences, or whose curiosity no longer impels him toward freaks of
nature and chambers of horror, there will be little diversion save the
multifarious phases of humanity always manifest in such surroundings. On
gala days it is interesting to differentiate the types that pass before
one, from the countryman from the inland states, "doing" California and
getting his first glimpse of a metropolitan resort, to the fast young
sport from the city, to whom all things have grown common and blase and
who has motored down to Venice because he happened to have nowhere else
to go.

With the advent of prohibition the atmosphere of the place has
noticeably changed—the tipsy joy-rider is not so much in evidence nor
is the main highway to the town strewn with wrecked cars as of yore.
But for all this, Venice seems as lively as ever and there is no falling
off in its popularity as a beach resort. This is evidenced by the prompt
reconstruction of the huge amusement pier which was totally destroyed by
fire in 1920. It has been replaced by a much larger structure in steel
and concrete—a practical guarantee against future conflagrations—and
the amusement features are more numerous and varied than of yore. It
is still bound to be the Mecca of the tourist and vacationist who needs
something a little livelier than he will find in Long Beach and Redondo.

But to return from this little digression—and my reader will have to
excuse many such, perhaps, when I get on "motorological" subjects—I
was saying that we found little to interest us in the California Venice
save odd specimens of humanity—and no doubt we ourselves reciprocated
by affording like entertainment to these same odd specimens. After
our first trip or two—and the fine boulevards tempted us to a good
many—we usually slipped into the narrow "Speedway" connecting the town
with Ocean Park and Santa Monica. Why they call it the Speedway I am
at a loss to know, for it is barely a dozen feet wide in places and
intersected with alleys and streets every few feet, so that the limit of
fifteen miles is really dangerously high. The perfect pavement, however,
made it the most comfortable route—though there may be better now—and it
also takes one through the liveliest part of Ocean Park, another resort
very much like Venice and almost continuous with it. These places are
full of hotels and lodging-houses, mostly of the less pretentious and
inexpensive class, and they are filled during the winter season mainly
by Eastern tourists. In the summer the immense bathing beaches attract
crowds from the city. The Pacific Electric brings its daily contingent
of tourists and the streets are constantly crowded with motors—sometimes
hundreds of them. All of which contribute to the animation of the scene
in these popular resorts.

In Santa Monica we found quite a different atmosphere; it is a residence
town with no "amusement" features and few hotels, depending on its
neighbors for these useful adjuncts. It is situated on an eminence
overlooking the Pacific and to the north lie the blue ranges of the
Santa Monica Mountains, visible from every part of town. Ocean Drive, a
broad boulevard, skirts the edge of the promontory, screened in places
by rows of palms, through which flashes the blue expanse of the sea. At
its northern extremity the drive drops down a sharp grade to the floor
of the canyon, which opens on a wide, sandy beach—one of the cleanest
and quietest to be found so near Los Angeles.

This canyon, with its huge sycamores and clear creek brawling over the
smooth stones, had long been an ideal resort for picnic parties, but in
the course of a single year we found it much changed. The hillside had
been terraced and laid out with drives and here and there a summer house
had sprung up, fresh with paint or stucco. The floor of the valley was
also platted and much of the wild-wood effect already gone. All this
was the result of a great "boom" in Santa Monica property, largely the
work of real estate promoters. Other additions were being planned to the
eastward and all signs pointed to rapid growth of the town. It already
has many fine residences and cozy bungalows embowered in flowers and
shrubbery, among which roses, geraniums and palms of different varieties
predominate.

Leaving the town, we usually followed the highway leading through the
grounds of the National Soldiers' Home, three or four miles toward
the city. This great institution, in a beautiful park with a wealth of
semi-tropical flowers and trees, seemed indeed an ideal home for the
pathetic, blue-coated veterans who wandered slowly about the winding
paths. The highway passes directly through the grounds and one is
allowed to run slowly over the network of macadam driveways which wind
about the huge buildings. At the time of which I write, there were
some thirty-five hundred old soldiers in the Home, few of whom had not
reached the age of three score and ten. Their infirmities were evidenced
by the slow and even painful manner in which many moved about, by the
crowded hospitals, and the deaths—which averaged three daily. True,
there were some erect, vigorous old fellows who marched along with
something of the spirit that must have animated them a half century
ago, but they were the rare exceptions. Visitors are welcomed and shown
through all the domestic arrangements of the Home; the old fellows
are glad to act in the capacity of guides, affording them, as it does,
some relief from the monotony of their daily routine. So perfect are
the climatic conditions and so ideally pleasant the surroundings that
it seems a pity that the veterans in all such homes over the country
might not be gathered here. We were told that this plan is already
in contemplation, and it is expected, as the ranks of the veterans
are decimated, to finally gather the remnant here, closing all other
soldiers' homes. It is to be hoped that the consummation of the plan may
not be too long delayed, for surely the benign skies and the open-air
life would lengthen the years of many of the nation's honored wards.

We passed through the grounds of the Home many times and stopped
more than once to see the aviary—a huge, open-air, wire cage filled
with birds of all degrees, from tiny African finches half the size of
sparrows to gorgeous red, blue, green, and mottled parrots. Many of
these were accomplished conversationalists and it speaks well for the
old boys of the Home that there was no profanity in the vocabulary of
these queer denizens of the tropics. This and other aviaries which
we saw impressed upon us the possibilities of this pleasant fad in
California, where the birds can live the year round in the open air in
the practical freedom of a large cage.

Returning from the Home one may follow Wilshire Boulevard, which passes
through one of the most pretentious sections of the city, ending at
beautiful Westlake Park; or he may turn into Sunset Boulevard and pass
through Hollywood. A short distance from the Home is Beverly Hills, with
its immense hotel—a suburban town where many Los Angeles citizens have
summer residences. A vast deal of work has been done by the promoters of
the town; the well-paved streets are bordered with roses, geraniums, and
rows of palm trees, all skillfully arranged by the landscape-gardener.
It is a pretty place, though it seemed to us that the sea winds swept it
rather fiercely during several of the visits we made. Another unpleasant
feature was the groups of oil derricks which dot the surrounding
country, though these will doubtless some time disappear with the
exhaustion of the fields. The hotel is of a modified mission type,
with solid concrete walls and red tile roof, and its surroundings and
appointments are up to the famous California standard at such resorts.

Hollywood is now continuous with the city, but it has lost none of
that tropical beauty that has long made it famous. Embowered in flowers
and palms, with an occasional lemon grove, its cozy and in some cases
palatial homes never fail to charm the newcomer. Once it was known as
the home of Paul de Longpre, the flower painter, whose Moorish-looking
villa was the goal of the tourist and whose gorgeous creations were a
never-failing wonder to the rural art critic. Alas, the once popular
artist is dead and his art has been discredited by the wiseacres; he was
"photographic"—indeed, they accuse him of producing colored photographs
as original compositions. But peace be to the painter's ashes—whether
the charge of his detractors be true or not, he delighted thousands with
his highly colored representations of the blooms of the Golden State.
His home and gardens have undergone extensive changes and improvements
and it is still one of the show places of the town.

The Hollywood school buildings are typical of the substantial and
handsome structures one sees everywhere in California; in equipment
and advanced methods her schools are not surpassed by any state in the
Union.

No stretch of road in California—and that is almost saying in all the
world—is more tempting to the motorist than the twenty miles between
Los Angeles and Long Beach. Broad, nearly level, and almost straight
away, with perfect surface and not a depression to jolt or jar a swiftly
speeding car, Long Beach Boulevard would put even a five-year-old model
on its mettle. It is only the knowledge of frequent arrests and heavy
fines that keeps one in reasonable bounds on such an ideal speedway
and gives leisure to contemplate the prosperous farming lands on either
side. Sugar beets, beans, and small grains are all green and thriving,
for most of the fields are irrigated. There is an occasional walnut
grove along the way and in places the road is bordered with ranks of
tall eucalyptus trees, stately and fragrant. Several fine suburban homes
adjoin the boulevard and it is doubtless destined to be solidly bordered
with such.

Long Beach is the largest of the suburban seaside towns—the new census
gives it a population of over 55,000—and is more a place of homes than
its neighbor, Venice. Its beach and amusement concomitants are not its
chief end of existence; it is a thriving city of pretty—though in the
main unpretentious—homes bordering upon broad, well-paved streets, and
it has a substantial and handsome business center. You will especially
note its churches, some of them imposing stone structures that would
do credit to the metropolis. Religious and moral sentiment is strong
in Long Beach; it was a "dry" town, having abolished saloons by an
overwhelming vote, long before prohibition became the law of the
land. The town is pre-eminently the haven of a large number of eastern
people who come to California for a considerable stay—as cheaply as it
can possibly be done—and there are many lodging-houses and cottages
to supply this demand. And it is surprising how economically and
comfortably many of these people pass the winter months in the town
and how regularly they return year after year. Many others have become
permanent residents and among them you will find the most enthusiastic
and uncompromising "boosters" for the town—and California. And, indeed,
Long Beach is an ideal place for one to retire and take life easy; the
climate is even more equable than that of Los Angeles; frost is almost
unknown and the summer heat is tempered by the sea. The church and
social activities appeal to many and the seaside amusement features are
a good antidote for ennui. There are not a few old fellows who fall into
a mild dissipation of some sort at one or the other of the catch-penny
affairs along the promenade. I was amused at one of these—a grizzled
old veteran, who confessed to being upwards of seventy—who could not
resist the fascination of the shooting galleries; and I knew another
well over eighty who was a regular bather in the surf all through the
winter months.

A little to the east of Long Beach is Naples, another of the seaside
towns, which has recently been connected with Long Beach by a fine
boulevard. It gives promise of becoming a very pretty place, though at
present it does not seem much frequented by tourists. About equally
distant to the westward is San Pedro, the port of Los Angeles, and
really a part of the city, a narrow strip some two miles wide connecting
the village and metropolis. This was done to make Los Angeles an
actual seaport and to encourage the improvement of San Pedro Harbor.
The harbor is largely artificial, being enclosed by a stone breakwater
built jointly by Government appropriations and by bond issues of the
citizens of Los Angeles. The ocean is cut off by Catalina Island, which
shelters San Pedro to some extent from the effects of heavy storms and
makes the breakwater practicable. It is built of solid granite blocks of
immense size, some of them weighing as much as forty tons each. It is a
little more than two miles long and the water is forty-five feet deep
at the outer end where the U. S. Lighthouse stands. There is no bar,
and ocean-going vessels can go to anchor under their own steam. There
are at present about eight miles of concrete wharfage and space permits
increasing this to thirty miles as traffic may require. Improvements
completed and under way represent an investment of more than twenty
million dollars. The World War put San Pedro on the map as a great
ship-building point; there are two large yards for construction of steel
ships and one for wooden vessels. These will be of great interest to the
tourist from inland states. A dry dock of sufficient capacity for the
largest ocean-going steamers is under construction and will afford every
facility for repairing and overhauling warships and merchant vessels.
All of which indicates that Los Angeles' claim as an ocean port of first
magnitude has a substantial foundation and that its early fulfillment
is well assured. A broad boulevard now joins the widely separated parts
of the city and a large proportion of the freight traffic goes over this
in motor trucks, which, I am told, give cheaper and quicker service than
the steam railroad.

Aside from the shipyards, San Pedro has not much to interest the
tourist; there is a pretty park at Point Fermin from which one may view
some magnificent coast scenery. A steep descent near at hand takes one
down to an ancient Spanish ranch house curiously situated on the water's
edge and hidden in a jungle of neglected palms and shrubbery. On an
eminence overlooking the town and harbor is located Fort McArthur with
several disappearing guns of immense caliber. There are also extensive
naval barracks and storehouses on the wharf and usually several United
States warships are riding at anchor in the harbor.

The new boulevard from San Pedro to Redondo, however, has quite enough
of beauty to atone for any lack of it on the way to the harbor town from
the city, especially if one is fortunate in the day. In springtime the
low rounded hills on either side are covered with verdure—meadows and
grain fields—and these are spangled with great dashes of blue flowers,
which in some places have almost gained the mastery. The perfect road
sweeps along the hillsides in wide curves and easy grades and there is
little to hinder one from giving rein to the motor if he so elects. But
we prefer an easy jog, pausing to gather a handful of the violet-blue
flowers and to contemplate the glorious panorama which spreads out
before us. Beyond a wide plain lie the mountain ranges, softened by
a thin blue haze through which snow-capped summits gleam in the low
afternoon sun. As we come over the hill just before reaching Redondo,
the Pacific breaks into view—deep violet near the shore and shimmering
blue out toward the horizon.

We enter the town by the main street, which follows the shore high
above the sea and is bordered by many pleasant cottages almost hidden in
flowers. It is one of the most beautifully situated of the coast towns,
occupying a sharply rising hill which slopes down to a fine beach.
On the bluff we pass a handsome park—its banks ablaze with amethyst
sea moss—and the grounds of Hotel Redondo, (since closed and falling
into decay) elaborately laid out and filled with semi-tropical plants
and flowers, favored by the frostless climate. The air is redolent
with fragrance, borne to us on the fresh sea-breeze and, altogether,
our first impressions of Redondo are favorable indeed—nor has further
acquaintance reversed our judgment.

There are the customary resort features, though these are not so
numerous or extensive as at Venice. Still, Redondo is not free from
the passion for the superlative everywhere prevalent in California, and
proudly boasts of the "largest warm salt-water plunge on earth and the
biggest dancing pavilion in the state." There is a good deal of fishing
off shore, red deep-sea bass being the principal catch. Moonstones
and variegated pebbles are common on the beach and there are shops for
polishing and setting these in inexpensive styles. If you are not so
fortunate as to pick up a stone yourself, you will be eagerly supplied
with any quantity by numerous small urchins, for a slight consideration.

Redondo is not without commercial interest, for it is an important
lumber port and a supply station for the oil trade. There are car shops
and mills of various kinds. Another industry which partakes quite as
much of the aesthetic as the practical is evidenced by the acres of
sweet peas and carnations which bloom profusely about the town.

In returning from Redondo to the city we went oftenest over the new
boulevard by the way of Inglewood, though we sometimes followed the
coast road to Venice, entering by Washington Street. These roads were
not as yet improved, though they were good in summer time. Along the
coast between Redondo and Venice one passes Hermosa and Manhattan
Beaches and Playa del Rey, three of the less frequented resorts. They
are evidently building on expectations rather than any great present
popularity; a few seaside cottages perched on the shifting sands are
about all there is to be seen and the streets are mere sandy trails
whose existence in some cases you would never suspect were it not
for the signboards. We stuck closely to the main streets of the towns
which, in Manhattan, at least, was pretty hard going. It is a trip that
under present conditions we would not care to repeat, but when a good
boulevard skirts the ocean for the dozen miles between these points, it
will no doubt be one of the popular runs. (The boulevard has since been
built, enabling one to follow the sea from El Segundo to Redondo with
perfect ease and comfort.)

I have written chiefly of the better-known coast towns, but there are
many retired resorts which are practically deserted except for the
summer season. One may often find a pleasant diversion in one of these
places on a fine spring day before the rush comes—and if he goes by
motor, he can leave at his good pleasure, should he grow weary, in
sublime indifference to railroad or stage time-tables. A Los Angeles
friend who has a decided penchant for these retired spots proposed that
we go to Newport Beach one Saturday afternoon and we gladly accepted
this guidance, having no very clear idea ourselves of the whereabouts
of Newport Beach.

We followed him out Stevenson Boulevard into Whittier Road, a newly
built highway running through a fertile truck-gardening country to the
pleasant village founded by a community of Quakers who named it in honor
of their beloved poet. One can not help thinking how Whittier himself
would have shrunk from such notoriety, but he would have no reason to be
ashamed of his namesake could he see it to-day—a thriving, well-paved
town of some eight thousand people. It stands in the edge of a famous
orange-growing section, which extends along the highway for twenty
miles or more and which produces some of the finest citrus fruit in
California. Lemon and walnut groves are also common and occasional fig
and olive trees may be seen. The bronze-green trees, with their golden
globes and sweet blossoms, crowd up to the very edge of the highway for
miles—with here and there a comfortable ranch-house.

We asked permission to eat our picnic dinner on the lawn in front of one
of these, and the mistress not only gladly accorded the privilege, but
brought out rugs for us to sit upon. A huge pepper tree screened the
rays of the sun; an irrigating hydrant supplied us with cool crystal
water; and the contents of our lunch-baskets, with hot coffee from our
thermos bottles, afforded a banquet that no hotel or restaurant could
equal.

Further conversation with the mistress of the ranch developed the fact
that she had come from our home state, and we even unearthed mutual
acquaintances. We must, of course, inspect the fine grove of seven
acres of Valencias loaded with fruit about ready for the market. It was
a beautiful grove of large trees in prime condition and no doubt worth
five or six thousand dollars per acre. The crop, with the high prices
that prevailed at that time, must have equaled from one-third to half
the value of the land itself. Such a ranch, on the broad, well-improved
highway, certainly attains very nearly the ideal of fruit-farming
and makes one forget the other side of the story—and we must confess
that there is another side to the story of citrus fruit-farming in
California.

The fine road ended abruptly when we entered Orange County, a few miles
beyond Whittier, for Orange County had done little as yet to improve
her highways, and we ran for some miles on an old oiled road which for
genuine discomfort has few equals. One time it was thought that the
problem of a cheap and easily built road was solved in California—simply
sprinkle the sandy surface with crude oil and let it pack down under
traffic. This worked very well for a short time until the surface began
to break into holes, which daily grew larger and more numerous until no
one could drive a motor car over them without an unmerciful jolting. And
such was the road from Fullerton to Santa Ana when we traversed it, but
such it will not long remain, for Orange County has voted a million and
a quarter to improve her roads and she will get her share of the new
state highway system as well. (All of which, I may interject here, has
since come to pass and the fortunate tourist may now traverse every part
of the county over roads that will comfortably admit of all the speed
the law allows).

Santa Ana is a quiet town of fifteen thousand, depending on the
fruit-raising and farming country that surrounds it. It is a cozy
place, its wide avenues shaded by long rows of peppers and sycamores
and its homes embowered by palms and flowers. Almost adjoining it to
the northeast is the beautiful village of Orange—rightly named, for
it is nearly surrounded by a solid mass of orange and lemon groves. In
the center of its business section is a park, gorgeous with palms and
flowers. The country about must be somewhat sheltered, for it escaped
the freeze of 1913 and was reveling in prosperity with a great orange
and lemon crop that year.

Just beyond the mountain range to the east is Orange County Park,
which we visited on another occasion. It is a fine example of the civic
progress of these California communities in providing pleasure grounds
where all classes of people may have inexpensive and delightful country
outings. It is a virgin valley, shaded by great oaks and sycamores and
watered by a clear little river, the only departure from nature being
the winding roads and picnic conveniences. There are many beautiful
camping sites, which are always occupied during the summer. Beyond
the park the road runs up Silverado Canyon, following the course of
the stream, which we forded many times. It proved rough and stony
but this was atoned for many times over by the sylvan beauty of the
scenes through which we passed. The road winds through the trees, which
overarch it at times, and often comes out into open glades which afford
views of the rugged hills on either hand. We had little difficulty
in finding our way, for at frequent intervals we noted signs, "To
Modjeska's Ranch," for the great Polish actress once had a country
home deep in the hills and owned a thousand-acre ranch at the head
of Silverado Canyon. Here about thirty years ago she used to come for
rest and recreation, but shortly before her death sold the ranch to the
present owners, the "Modjeska Country Club." It is being exploited as
a summer resort and is open to the public generally. A private drive
leads some three or four miles from the public road to the house, which
is sheltered under a clifflike hill and surrounded by a park ornamented
with a great variety of trees and shrubs. This was one of Modjeska's
fads and her friends sent her trees and plants from every part of
the world, one of the most interesting being a Jerusalem thorn, which
appears to thrive in its new habitat. The house was designed by Stanford
White—an East-Indian bungalow, we were told, but it impresses one as a
crotchety and not very comfortable domicile. The actress entertained
many distinguished people at the Forest of Arden, as she styled her
home, among them the author of "Quo Vadis," who, it is said, wrote most
of that famous story here. The place is worth visiting for the beauty
of its surroundings as well as its associations. A great many summer
cottages are being built in the vicinity and in time it will no doubt
become a popular resort, and, with a little improvement in the canyon
road, a favorite run for motorists.

Leaving "Arden," we crossed the hills to the east, coming into the coast
highway at El Toro, a rather strenuous climb that was well rewarded
by the magnificent scenes that greeted us from the summit. The wooded
canyon lay far beneath us, diversified by a few widely separated
ranch-houses and cultivated fields, with the soft silver-gray blur of
a great olive grove in the center. It was shut in on either side by
the rugged hill ranges, which gradually faded into the purple haze of
distance. The descent was an easy glide over a moderate grade, the road
having been recently improved. At the foot of the grade we noticed a
road winding away among the hills, and a sign, "To the silver mines,"
where we were told silver is still mined on a considerable scale.

I have departed quite a little from the story of our run to Newport
Beach, but I hope the digression was worth while. From Santa Ana a
poor road—it is splendid concrete now—running nearly south took us
to our destination. It was deserted save for a few shopkeepers and
boarding-house people who stick to their posts the year round. There was
a cheap-looking hotel with a number of single-room cottages near by. We
preferred the latter and found them clean and comfortable, though very
simply furnished. The meals served at the hotel, however, were hardly
such as to create an intense desire to stay indefinitely and after
our second experience we were happy to think that we had a well-filled
lunch-basket with us. The beach at Newport is one of the finest to be
found anywhere—a stretch of smooth, hard sand miles long and quite free
from the debris which disfigures the more frequented places. We were
greeted by a wide sweep of quiet ocean, with the dim blue outlines of
Santa Catalina just visible in the distance. To the rear of the beach
lies the lagoon-like bay, extending some miles inland and surrounding
one or two small islands covered with summer cottages. Eastward is
Balboa Beach and above this rise the rugged heights of Corona Del Mar.
A motor boat runs between this point and Newport, some five or six miles
over the green, shallow waters of the bay. We proved the sole passengers
for the day and after a stiff climb to the heights found ourselves on a
rugged and picturesque bit of coast. Here and there were great detached
masses of rock, surrounded by smooth sand when the tide was out, and
pierced in places by caves. We scrambled down to the sand and found a
quiet, sheltered nook for our picnic dinner—which was doubly enjoyable
after the climb over the rocks and our partial fast at the hotel. Late
in the afternoon we found our boat waiting at the wharf at Corona and
returned to Newport in time to drive to Los Angeles before nightfall.

Newport is only typical of several retired seaside resorts—Huntington
Beach, Bay City, Court Royal, Clifton, Hermosa, Playa del Rey, and
others, nearly all of which may be easily reached by motor and which
will afford many pleasant week-end trips similar to the little jaunt to
Newport which I have sketched.

And one must not forget Avalon—in some respects the most unique and
charming of all, though its position on Santa Catalina, beyond twenty
miles of blue billows, might logically exclude it from a motor-travel
book. There are only twenty-five miles of road in the island—hardly
enough to warrant the transport of a motor, though I believe it has been
done. But no book professing to deal with Southern California could
omit Avalon and Catalina—and the motor played some part, after all,
for we drove from Los Angeles to San Pedro and left the car in a garage
while we boarded the Cabrillo for the enchanted isle. We were well in
advance of the "season," which invariably fills Avalon to overflowing,
and were established in comfortable quarters soon after our arrival. The
town is made up largely of cottages and lodging-houses, with a mammoth
hotel on the sea front. It is situated on the crescent-shaped shore of
a beautiful little bay and climbs the sharply rising hill to the rear
in flower-covered terraces.

There is not much to detain the casual visitor in the village itself,
especially in the dull season; no doubt there is more going on in
the summer, when vacationists from Los Angeles throng the place. The
deserted "tent city"—minus the tents—the empty pavilion, the silent
dance hall and skating-rink, all mutely testify of livelier things than
we are witnessing as we saunter about the place.

But there is one diversion for which Catalina is famous and which is not
limited to the tourist season—here is the greatest game fishing-"ground"
in the world, where even the novice, under favorable conditions, is sure
of a catch of which he can boast all the rest of his life. Our friend
who accompanied us was experienced in the gentle art of Ike Walton as
practiced about the Isle of Summer, and before long had engaged a launch
from one of the numerous "skippers" who were lounging about the pier.
We were away early in the morning for Ship Island, near the isthmus,
where the great kelp beds form a habitat for yellowtail and bass, which
our skipper assured us were being caught daily in considerable numbers.
Tuna, he said, were not running—and he really made few promises for a
fisherman. Our boat was a trim, well-kept little craft, freshly painted
and scoured and quite free from the numerous smells that so often cling
about such craft and assist in bringing on the dreaded mal de mer.
Fortunately, we escaped this distressing malady; by hugging the shore
we had comparatively still water and when we reached our destination we
found the sea quiet and glassy—a glorious day—and our skipper declared
the conditions ideal for a big catch. Our hooks were baited with silvery
sardines—not the tiny creatures such as we get in tins, but some six
or eight inches in length—and we began to circle slowly above the kelp
beds near Ship Rock. Before long one of the party excitedly cried, "A
strike!" and the boat headed for the open water, since a fish would
speedily become entangled in the kelp and lost.

There are few more exciting sports than bringing a big yellowtail to
gaff, for he is one of the gamest of sea fighters, considering his size.
At first he is seized with a wild desire to run away and it means barked
knuckles and scorched fingers to the unwary fisherman who lets his
reel get out of control. Then begin a long struggle—a sort of see-saw
play—in which you gain a few yards on your catch only to lose it again
and again. Suddenly your quarry seems "all in," and he lets you haul
him up until you get a glimpse of his shining sides like a great opal
in the pale green water. The skipper seizes his gaff and you consider
the victory won at last—you are even formulating the tale you are going
to tell your eastern friends, when—presto, he is away like a flash.
Your reel fairly buzzes while three hundred yards of line is paid out
and you have it all to do over again. But patience and perseverance at
last win—if your tackle does not break—and the fish, too exhausted to
struggle longer, is gaffed and brought aboard by the skipper, who takes
great delight in every catch, since a goodly showing at the pier is an
excellent advertisement for himself and his boat.

By noon we had three fine yellowtails and a number of rock bass to our
credit and were quite ready for the contents of our lunch-baskets. We
landed on the isthmus—the narrow neck of land a few hundred feet in
width about the center of the island—and found a pleasant spot for our
luncheon. In the afternoon we had three more successful battles with
the gamey yellowtails—and, of course, the usual number "got away."
Homeward bound, we had a panorama of fifteen miles of the rugged island
coast—bold, barren cliffs overhanging deep blue waters and brown and
green hills stretching along dark little canyons running up from the
sea. In rare cases we saw a cottage or two in these canyons and in
places the hillsides were dotted with wild flowers, which bloom in great
variety on the island. At sunset we came into the clear waters of Avalon
Harbor and our skipper soon proudly displayed our catch on the pier.

After dinner we saw a curious spectacle down at the beach—thousands of
flying fish attracted and dazzled by the electric lights were darting
wildly over the waters and in some instances falling high and dry on the
sands. On the pier were dozens of men and boys with fish spears attached
to ropes and they were surprisingly successful in taking the fish with
these implements. They threw the barbed spear at the fish as they darted
about and drew it back with the rope, often bringing the quarry with it.
The fish average about a foot in length and, we were told, are excellent
eating. They presented a beautiful sight as thousands of them darted
over the dark waters of the bay, their filmy, winglike fins gleaming in
the electric lights.

Besides fishing, the sportsman can enjoy a hunt if he chooses, for
wild goats are found in the interior, though one unacquainted with the
topography of the island will need a guide and a horse. The country
is exceedingly rugged and wild, there are few trails, and cases
are recorded of people becoming hopelessly lost. We had no time for
exploring the wilds of the interior and perhaps little inclination. On
the morning before our homeward voyage we went out to the golf links
lying on the hillsides above the town, not so much for the game—on my
part, at least, for I had become quite rusty in this royal sport and
Avalon links would be the last place in the world for a novice—as for
the delightful view of the town and ocean which the site affords. Below
us lay the village, bending around the crescent-shaped bay which gleamed
through the gap in the hills, so deeply, intensely blue that I could
think of nothing so like it as lapis lazuli—a solid, still blue that
hardly seemed like water. After a few strokes, which sent the balls into
inaccessible ravines and cactus thickets, I gave it up and contented
myself with watching my friend struggle with the hazards—and such
hazards! Only one who has actually tried the Avalon links can understand
what it means to play a round or two of the nine holes; but, after all,
the glorious weather, the entrancing view, and the lovely, smooth-shaven
greens will atone for a good many lost balls and no devotee of golf who
visits the island should omit a game on the Avalon links.

Many changes have been wrought in the state of things in Catalina
since the foregoing paragraphs were first written. Formerly the island
belonged to the Bannings—an old Los Angeles family—who declined to
sell any part or parcel of the soil until 1918, when they disposed of
their entire interests to a Chicago capitalist. The new owner began a
campaign of development and freely sold homesites in the island to all
comers. A fine new hotel, the St. Catherine, was built to replace the
old Metropolitan, which burned down, and many other notable improvements
have been made. Great efforts have been made to attract tourists to the
island and to sell sites to any who might wish a resort home in Avalon.
A new million-dollar steamer, the "Avalon," makes a quicker and more
comfortable trip than formerly and we may predict that the popularity
of Catalina will wax rather than wane.



III

ROUND ABOUT LOS ANGELES


Our rambles described in the preceding chapter were confined mainly to
the coast side of the city, but there is quite as much to attract and
delight the motorist over toward the mountains. Nor are the mountains
themselves closed to his explorations, for there are a number of trips
which he may essay in these giant hills, ranging from an easy upward jog
to really nerve-racking and thrilling ascents. Remember I am dealing
with the motor car, which will account for no reference to famous
mountain trips by trolley or mule-back trail, familiar to nearly every
tourist in California. Of our mountain jaunts in the immediate vicinity
of Los Angeles we may refer to two as being the most memorable and as
representing the two extremes referred to.

Lookout Mountain, one of the high hills of the Santa Monica Range
near Hollywood, has a smooth, beautifully engineered road winding in
graceful loops to the summit. It passes many wooded canyons and affords
frequent glimpses of charming scenery as one ascends. Nowhere is the
grade heavy—a high-gear proposition for a well-powered car—and there
are no narrow, shelf-like places to disturb one's nerves. The ascent
begins through lovely Laurel Canyon out of flower-bedecked Hollywood,
and along the wayside are many attractive spots for picnic dinners. At
one of these, fitted with tables and chairs, and sheltered by a huge
sycamore, we paused for luncheon, with thanks to the enterprising real
estate dealer who maintained the place for public use.

From Lookout Point one has a far-reaching view over the wide plain
surrounding the city and can get a good idea of the relative location
of the suburban towns. The day we chose for the ascent was not the most
favorable, the atmosphere being anything but clear. The orange groves
of Pasadena and San Gabriel were half hidden in a soft blue haze and
the seaside view was cut off by a low-hanging fog. To the north the
Sierras gleamed dim and ghostly through the smoky air, and the green
foothills lent a touch of subdued color to the foreground. At our feet
lay the wide plain between the city and the sea, studded with hundreds
of unsightly oil derricks, the one eye-sore of an otherwise enchanting
landscape. Descending, we followed a separate road down the mountain
the greater part of the distance, thus avoiding the necessity of passing
other cars on the steeper grades near the summit.

Near the close of our second tour we were seized with the desire to
add the ascent of Mount Wilson to our experiences. We had by this time
climbed dozens of mountain roads and passes and had begun to consider
ourselves experienced motor mountaineers. We had often noted from
Foothill Boulevard the brown line of road running in sharp angles up the
side of the mountain and little anticipated that this ascent would be
more nerve-racking than Arrowhead or St. Helena. We deferred the trip
for a long time in hopes of a perfectly clear day, but perfectly clear
days are rare in California during the summer time. Dust, fog, and other
conditions combine to shroud the distance in a soft haze often pleasing
to the artistic sense but fatal to far-away views. The Mount Wilson road
had been opened to motor cars only a short time previous to our ascent.
It had been in existence some time as a rough wagon trail, constructed
to convey the materials and instruments for the Carnegie Observatory
to the summit. A private company rebuilt the trail and opened a resort
hotel on the summit. The entrance is through a tollgate just north of
Pasadena and the distance from that point to the hotel is about nine and
one-half miles. As the mountain is about six thousand feet in height,
the grade averages ten per cent, though in places it is much steeper.
The roadway is not wide enough for vehicles to pass, but there are
several turn-outs to each mile and when cars meet between these, the
one going up must back to the nearest passing-place.

Entering through the tollgate, we ran down a sharp declivity to a high
bridge across the canyon, where the ascent begins; and from that point
to the summit there is scarcely a downward dip. A narrow shelf, with
barely a foot or two between your wheels and the precipice—pitching
upward at a twenty per cent angle—greets you at the very outstart. The
road runs along the edge of the bald, bare cliffs which fling their
jagged points hundreds of feet above and fall sheer—not infrequently—a
thousand or more beneath. Every few rods it makes a sharp turn, so sharp
that sometimes we had to back at these corners to keep the outer wheels
from the edge—a difficulty greatly increased by our long wheel base.
Our motor, which usually runs quite cool, began to boil and kept it up
steadily until we stopped at the summit. A water supply is found every
two or three miles, without which few cars could make the ascent. It
will be low-gear work generally, even for powerful motors—not so much on
account of the grade as the frequent "hairpin" turns. And we were more
impressed that no one should undertake the climb without first being
assured that his car is in first-class condition throughout—particularly
the tires, since a change would be a pretty difficult job on many of
the grades.

As we continued our ascent we became dimly aware of the increasing
grandeur of the view far below us. I say dimly aware, for the driver
could cast only furtive glances from the road, and the nervous people
in the rear seat refused even to look downward from our dizzy perch.
So we stopped momentarily at a few of the wider turns, but we found—as
on Lookout—the blue haze circumscribed the distant view. Just beneath
us, a half mile or more downward, stretched a tangle of wooded canyons
and beyond these the low green foothills. Pasadena and the surrounding
orange-grove country lay below us like a map, the bronze-green trees
glistening in the subdued sunlight. Los Angeles seemed a silver-gray
blur, and the seacoast and Catalina, which can be seen on the rare clear
days, were entirely obliterated. Not all of the road was such as I have
described. About midway for a mile or two it wound through forest trees
and shrubbery, the slopes glowing with the purple bloom of the mountain
lilac.

There was little at the summit to interest us after we completed our
strenuous climb. Visitors were not admitted to the Carnegie Solar
Observatory, as to the Lick institution on Mount Hamilton; and the
hotel, having recently burned, had been replaced temporarily with a
wood-and-canvas structure. Plans were completed for a new concrete
building and we were told that practically all the material would be
brought up the trail on burros. The view from the summit was largely
obscured by the hazy condition of the atmosphere, but near at hand to
the north and east a wild and impressive panorama of mountain peaks and
wooded canyons greeted our vision. The night view of the plain between
the mountains and sea, we were told, is the most wonderful sight from
Mount Wilson. Fifty cities and towns can be seen, each as a glow of
light varying in size and intensity, from the vast glare of Los Angeles
to the mere dot of the country village.

We did not care to remain for the night and as we ate our luncheon on
the veranda of the makeshift hotel, we were anxiously thinking of the
descent. We had been fortunate in meeting no one during our climb;
would we be equally lucky in going down? Only one other car had come
up during the day, a big six-cylinder, steaming like a locomotive; the
driver removed the radiator cap and a boiling geyser shot twenty feet
into the air. A telephone message told us the road was clear at the time
of starting and we were happy that it remained so during the hour and a
quarter consumed in the nine-mile downward crawl. It proved as strenuous
as the climb and the occupants of the rear seat were on the verge of
hysterics most of the time. Brakes were of little use—the first few
hundred yards would have burned them up—and we depended on "compression"
to hold back the car, the low gear engaged and power cut off. All went
well enough until we came to sharp turns where we must reverse and back
up to get around the corner. It was a trying experience—not necessarily
dangerous (as the road company's folder declares) if one exercises
extreme caution, keeps the car in perfect control, and has no bad luck
such as a broken part or bursting tire. Down we crept, anxiously noting
the mileposts, which seemed an interminable distance apart, or furtively
glancing at the ten-inch strip between our outer wheels and "a thousand
feet in depth below," until at last the welcome tollgate hove in sight
with the smooth stretches of the Altadena Boulevard beyond.

"I hope you enjoyed your trip," cheerily said the woman who opened the
gate.

"No, indeed," came from the rear seat. "It was simply horrid—I don't
ever want to come near Mount Wilson again as long as I live!" and relief
from the three-hours' tension came in a burst of tears.

But she felt better about it after a little as we glided along the fine
road leading through Altadena into the orange groves and strawberry
beds around Glendale, and purchased a supply of the freshly gathered
fruit. But even to this day I have never been able to arouse a spark of
enthusiasm when I speak of a second jaunt up Mount Wilson, for which I
confess a secret hankering.

The road has been vastly improved since the time of our trip, which was
only two months after it was opened to the public. The turns have been
widened, more passing points provided, and no one need be deterred from
essaying the climb by the harrowing experiences of our pioneer venture.

While not a mountain trip in the sense of the ascent of Mount Wilson,
the road through Topango Canyon will furnish plenty of thrills for
the nervously inclined—at least such was the case at the time we
undertook the sixty-eight mile round by the way of Santa Monica and
Calabasas, returning by the San Fernando Boulevard. At Santa Monica we
glided down to the beach and for some miles followed the Malibu Road,
which closely skirts the ocean beneath the cliff-like hills. It was a
magnificent run, even though the road was dusty, rough, and narrow in
places, with occasional sandy stretches. It was a glorious day and the
placid, deep-blue Pacific shimmered like an inland lake. The monotone
of color was relieved by great patches of gleaming purple a little way
out from the shore, due to beds of floating kelp, and by long white
breakers which, despite the unwonted quiet of the sea, came rolling in
on the long sandy beaches or dashed into silvery spray on the frequent
rocks. We passed a queer little Chinese fisher village—which has since
disappeared—nestling under the sandy cliffs; most of the inhabitants
were cleaning and drying fish on the beach, the product, we were told,
being shipped to their native land. We were also astonished to meet
people in fantastic costumes—girls with theatrical make-up, in powder
and paint; men in strange, wild-west toggery; and groups of Indians,
resplendent in feathers and war-paint. All of which puzzled us a good
deal until we recalled that here is the favorite field of operation
of one of the numerous moving-picture companies which make Los Angeles
their headquarters.

They have since constructed several sham villages along this beach
road and in the near-by hills. One of these make-believe hamlets we
can testify bears a very passable likeness to many we passed through in
rural England.

We followed the road to the entrance of Malibu Rancho, a bare tract
stretching many miles along the sea and controlled by a company which
vigorously disputes the right of way through the property. There is a
private club house on the ranch and no doubt the members do not care to
be jostled by the curious motorists who wander this way in great numbers
on Sundays. Threatening placards forbade trespassing on the ranch, but
a far stronger deterrent to the motorist was a quarter-of-a-mile stretch
of bottomless sand just at the entrance. Two or three cars just ahead of
us attempted to cross, but gave it up after a deal of noisy floundering.
Malibu Rancho had little attraction for us, in any event, and our only
temptation to enter its forbidden confines was doubtless due to the
provoking placards, but it was not strong enough to entice us into the
treacherous sand. So we turned about, retracing our way three or four
miles to the Topango Canyon road.

I might add here in passing that the county has since secured the right
to build a public highway through Malibu Rancho after a long legal
warfare following condemnation proceedings. It is to constitute a link
in the proposed ocean highway between Los Angeles and Ventura.

It was Sunday and hundreds of cars thronged the beach, raising clouds
of dust, and we frequently had close work in passing those we met. We
agreed that Sunday was a poor day for Malibu Beach road, as contrasted
with the quiet of a former week-day run. The Canyon road branches
abruptly to the right, ascending a sharp hill, and then dropping to
the bed of a clear little creek, which it follows for a considerable
distance. Some twenty times we forded the stream winding in and out
among a tangle of shrubbery and trees. There were many grassy little
glades—ideal spots for picnic dinners—some of which were occupied by
motor parties.

Leaving the creek, the road ascends the Santa Monica Mountains, crossing
three ranges in steep, winding grades. Much of the way it is a narrow,
shelf-like trail with occasional turn-outs for passing. At the steepest,
narrowest part of the road over the western range, we met a car; the
panicky passengers were walking down the hill, while the driver was
yelling like a madman for us to get out of his way. We cautiously backed
down the grade to the nearest turn-out and let him crawl past, with his
passengers following on foot—a sample of sights we saw more than once on
California mountain roads. Such people, it would seem, would do well to
stick to the boulevards. Crossing the wooded valley between the ranges,
we came to the eastern grade, which proved the steeper of the two. How
our panicky friends ever got over it puzzled us. In the valley we saw
a few lonely little ranches and the ubiquitous summer-resort camp.

The ascent of the second grade was not so steep as the descent, which
was terrific, portions of it being not less than twenty-five per cent.
The sharpest pitch is just at the summit, and we were told that dozens
of cars stalled here—many for lack of gasoline. Here we met another
car, passengers on foot and the driver trying to coax his engine up
the hill. After several futile attempts he got it going, scraping our
car with his fender as he passed—we had turned out as far as possible
and were waiting for him. One of the ladies declared that they had been
touring California mountains for two months and this was the first grade
to give trouble. Later we came over this grade from the east, finding
it an exceedingly heavy, low-gear grind, but our motor was on its best
behavior and carried us across without a hitch.

But if the climb is a strenuous and, to some people, a nerve-racking
one, the view from the summit is well worth the trouble. To the east
stretches the beautiful San Fernando Valley, lying between the Santa
Monica and San Gabriel Ranges. It is a vast, level plain, rapidly
being brought under cultivation; the head of the valley just beneath is
studded with ranch houses and here and there in the great grainfields
stand magnificent oaks, the monarchs of California trees. Summer
clouds have gathered while we were crossing the hills and there is a
wonderful play of light and color over the valley before us. Yonder is
a bright belt of sunshine on the waving grain and just beyond a light
shower is falling from the feathery, blue-gray clouds. Still farther,
dimly defined, rise the rugged peaks of the Sierras, gleaming with an
occasional fleck of snow. On our long glide down the winding grade the
wild flowers tempt us to pause—dainty Mariposa lilies, blue larkspur,
and others which we can not name, gleam by the roadside or lend to the
thickets and grainfields a dash of color.

The new road, since completed, roughly follows the course of the old,
but its wide, smooth curves and easy grades bear no resemblance to the
sharp angles and desperate pitches of the ancient trail, now nearly
vanished. The driver as well as the passengers may enjoy the wide views
over the fertile San Fernando Valley and the endless mountain vistas
that greet one at every turn. There is some really impressive scenery
as the road drops down the canyon toward the ocean. The beach road has
also been greatly improved and now gives little hint of the narrow dusty
trail we followed along the sea when bound on our first Topango venture.

The little wayside village of Calabasas marked our turning-point
southward into the valley. Here a rude country inn sheltered by a mighty
oak offers refreshment to the dusty wayfarer, and several cars were
standing in front of it. California, indeed, is becoming like England
in the number and excellence of the country inns—thanks largely to
the roving motor car, which brings patronage to these out-of-the-way
places. Southward, we pursued our way through the vast improvement
schemes of the San Fernando Land Co. The coming of the great Owens
River Aqueduct—which ends near San Fernando, about ten miles from
Calabasas, carrying unlimited water—is changing the great plain of
San Fernando Valley from a waste of cactus and yucca into a veritable
garden. Already much land has been cleared and planted in orchards
or grain, and broad, level, macadam boulevards have been built by the
enterprising improvement companies. And there are roads—bordered with
pines and palms and endless rows of red and pink roses, in full bloom at
this time—destined some day to become as glorious as the famous drives
about Redlands and Riverside. Bungalows and more pretentious residences
are springing up on all hands, many of them being already occupied. The
clean, well-built towns of Lankershim and Van Nuys, situated in this
lovely region and connected by the boulevard, make strong claims for
their future greatness, and whoever studies the possibilities of this
fertile vale will be slow to deny them. Even as I write I feel a sense
of inadequacy in my descriptions, knowing that almost daily changes are
wrought. But no change will ever lessen the beauty of the green valley,
guarded on either side by serried ranks of mighty hills and dotted with
villages and farmhouses surrounded by groves of peach, apricot, and
olive trees. On this trip we returned to the city by Cahuenga Pass, a
road which winds in easy grades through the range of hills between the
valleys and Hollywood.

Another hill trip just off the San Fernando Valley is worth while,
though the road at the time we traversed it was rough, stony, and very
heavy in places. We left the San Fernando Boulevard at Roscoe Station
on the Southern Pacific Railroad, about four miles beyond the village
of Burbank, and passing around the hills through groves of lemon,
peach, and apricots, came to the lonely little village of Sunland
nestling beneath its giant oaks. Beyond this the narrow road clings
to the edges of the barren and stony hills, with occasional cultivated
spots on either hand, while here and there wild flowers lend color to
an otherwise dreary monotone. The sweet-scented yucca, the pink cactus
blooms, and many other varieties of delicate blossoms crowded up to
the roadside at the time of our trip through the pleasant wilderness—a
wilderness, despite the proximity of a great city.

A few miles brought us to the projected town of La Crescenta, which
then had little to indicate its existence except numerous signs marking
imaginary streets. Its main boulevard was a stony trail inches deep in
sand and bordered by cactus and bayonet plants—but it may be different
now, things change so rapidly in California. Beyond this we ran into
some miles of highway in process of construction and had much more rough
going, dodging through fields, fording streams and arroyos, and nearly
losing our way in the falling twilight. Now a broad, smooth highway
leads down Verdugo Canyon from La Canada to the pleasant little town
of Glendale—a clean, quiet place with broad, palm-bordered streets—into
which we came about dusk.

To-day the tourist may make the journey I have just described over
excellent concrete roads, though he must make a short detour from the
main route if he wishes to pass through Sunland. He may continue onward
from Sunland following the foothills, crossing the wide wash of the
Tujunga River and passing through orange and lemon groves, interspersed
with fields of roses and other flowers grown by Los Angeles florists,
until he again comes into the main highway at San Fernando town. Though
the virgin wilderness that so charmed us when we first made the trip is
no longer so marked, this little run is still one of the most delightful
jaunts in Los Angeles County.

Los Feliz Avenue, by which we returned to the city, skirts Griffith
Park, the greatest pleasure ground of Los Angeles. Here are more than
thirty-five hundred acres of oak-covered hills, donated some years ago
by a public-spirited citizen and still in the process of conversion
into a great, unspoiled, natural playground for people of every class.
A splendid road enters the park from Los Feliz Avenue and for several
miles skirts the edge of the hills hundreds of feet above the river,
affording a magnificent view of the valley, with its fruit groves and
villages, and beyond this the serried peaks of the Verdugo Range; still
farther rise the rugged ranks of the Sierras, cloud-swept or white with
snow at times. Then the road plunges into a tangle of overarching trees
and crosses and recrosses a bright, swift stream until it emerges into
a byway leading out into San Fernando Boulevard.

This road has now been extended until it crosses Hollywood Mountain,
coming into the city at the extreme end of Western Avenue. It is
a beautifully engineered road, though of necessity there are some
"hairpin" turns and moderately steep grades. Still, a lively car can
make the ascent either way on "high" and there is everywhere plenty
of room to pass. No description of the wonderful series of views that
unfold as one reaches the vantage points afforded by the road can be
adequate. These cover the San Fernando Valley and mountain ranges
beyond, practically all of the city of Los Angeles and the plain
stretching away to the ocean—but why attempt even to enumerate, since no
motorist who visits Los Angeles will be likely to forget the Hollywood
Mountain trip.

The crowning beauty of Griffith Park is its unmolested state of nature;
barring the roads, it must have been much the same a half century ago.
No formal flower beds or artificial ponds are to be seen, but there are
wild flowers in profusion and clear rivers and creeks. There are many
spreading oak trees, underneath which rustic tables have been placed,
and near at hand a stone oven serves the needs of picnic parties, which
throng to Griffith Park in great numbers. One day we met numerous
auto-loads of people in quaint old-time costumes, which puzzled us
somewhat until we learned that the park is a favorite resort for the
motion-picture companies, who were that day rehearsing a colonial scene.

While Griffith Park is the largest and wildest of Los Angeles pleasure
grounds, there are others which will appeal to the motorist. Elysian,
lying between the city and Pasadena, is second largest and affords some
splendid views of the city and surrounding country. A motor camp ground
for tourists has recently been located in one of the groves of this
splendid park. Lincoln—until recently Eastlake—Park, with its zoological
garden, lies along El Monte Road as it enters the city, while Westlake
is a little gem in the old-time swell residence section now rapidly
giving way to hotels, apartments and business houses. A little farther
westward is the old-time Sunset Park, unhappily rechristened "Lafayette"
during the war, a pretty bit of gardening surrounded by wide boulevards.
Sycamore Park, lying along Pasadena Avenue between Los Angeles and
Pasadena, is another well-kept pleasure ground and Echo Park, with a
charming lake surrounded by palms and trees, is but a block off Sunset
Boulevard on Lake Shore Drive. Hollenbeck Park on Boyle Heights in the
older residence section east of the river, is very beautiful but perhaps
the least frequented of Los Angeles playgrounds. A small tree-bordered
lake set in a depression on the hill is crossed by a high arched bridge
from which one has charming vistas on either hand.

Exposition Park on Figueroa Street, contains the city museum and
picture galleries and offers to the public opportunity for many
kinds of open-air recreation. The greatest interest here, however, is
the wonderful collection of bones and complete skeletons of mighty
prehistoric animals that once roamed the tropic plains of Southern
California. These were discovered in the asphalt pits of Rancho La Brea,
which lies near the oil fields along Wilshire Boulevard just west of
the city. Remains of the woolly mammoth, the imperial elephant, larger
than any now living, the giant ground sloth, the saber-toothed tiger,
and many other strange extinct animals were found intermingled in the
heavy black liquid which acted at once as a trap and a preservative.
Great skill has been shown in reconstruction of the skeletons, which are
realistically mounted to give an idea of the size and characteristics
of the animals. After the visitor has made a round of the museum and
read the interesting booklet which may be had from the curator, he may
wish to drive out West Wilshire Boulevard and inspect the asphalt pits,
which may be seen from this highway.

Nor should one forget the famous Busch Gardens in Pasadena, thrown
open to all comers by the public-spirited brewer. If you can not drive
your car into them, you can at least leave it at the entrance and
stroll among the marvels of this carefully groomed private park. And
if a newcomer, you will want to drive about the town itself before you
go—truly an enchanted city, whose homes revel in never-ending summer.
Is there the equal of Orange Grove Avenue in the world? I doubt it. A
clean, wide, slate-smooth street, bordered by magnificent residences
embowered in flowers and palms and surrounded by velvety green lawns,
extends for more than two miles. In the past two decades the city
has grown from a village of nine thousand people to some five times
that number and its growth still proceeds by leaps and bounds. It has
four famous resort hotels, whose capacity is constantly taxed during
the winter season, and there are many magnificent churches and public
buildings. Its beauty and culture, together with the advantages of the
metropolis which elbows it on the west, and the unrivaled climate of
California, give Pasadena first rank among the residence towns of the
country.

And if one follows the long stretch of Colorado Street to the eastward,
it will lead him into Foothill Boulevard, and I doubt if in all
California—which is to say in all the world—there is a more beautiful
roadway than the half dozen miles between Pasadena and Monrovia. Here
the Baldwin Oaks skirt the highway on either side—great century-old
Spanish and live oaks, some gnarled and twisted into a thousand
fantastic shapes and others the very acme of arboreal symmetry—hundreds
of them, hale and green despite their age.

I met an enthusiastic Californian who was building a fine house in the
tract and who told me that he came to the state thirty years ago on his
honeymoon and was so enamored with the country that he never returned
east; being a man of independent means, he was fortunately able to
gratify his predilection in this particular. With the advent of the
motor car he became an enthusiastic devotee and had toured in every
county in the state, but had seen, he declared, no spot that appealed
to him so strongly as an ideal home site. Straight as an arrow through
the beautiful tract runs the wide, level Foothill Boulevard, bordered
by oak, pepper, locust, and walnut trees until it reaches the outskirts
of Monrovia, where orange groves are seen once more.

About midway a road branches off to Sierra Madre, a quiet little village
nestling in the foothills beneath the rugged bulk of Mount Wilson.
It is famous for its flowers, and every spring it holds a flower show
where a great variety of beautiful blooms are exhibited. Just above the
town is a wooded canyon, a favorite resort for picnic parties, where
nature still revels in her pristine glory. Mighty oaks and sycamores
predominate, with a tangle of smaller trees and shrubbery beneath, while
down the dell trickles a clear mountain stream. It is a delightful spot,
seemingly infinitely remote from cities and boulevards—and it is only
typical of many such retreats in the foothills along the mountain range
which offer respite to the motorist weary of sea sands and city streets.



IV

ROUND ABOUT LOS ANGELES


It seems anomalous that our Far West—the section most removed from the
point of discovery of this continent—should have a history antedating
much of the East and all of the Middle West of our country. When we
reflect that Santa Fe was founded within a half century after Columbus
landed, and contests with St. Augustine, Florida, for the honor of being
the oldest settlement within the present limits of the United States,
the fact becomes the more impressive.

About the same date—June 27, 1542, to be exact—the Spanish explorer,
Juan Cabrillo, sailed from the port of Navidad on the western coast of
Mexico with two small vessels and made the first landing of white men
within the limits of California at San Diego, in the month of September.
A few days later he sailed northward to the Bay of San Pedro, and landed
within the present boundaries of Los Angeles to obtain water. Indeed,
if he climbed the hills overlooking the harbor, he may have viewed
the plain where the main part of the city now stands. But he did not
linger here; by slow stages he followed the coast northward as far as
the present site of San Francisco, but did not enter the magnificent
bay. On the homeward voyage he died near Santa Barbara in 1543, and the
expedition returned to Mexico.

Thirty years later Sir Francis Drake sailed along the coast, but there
is no record of his landing anywhere in the south. In 1602 Philip of
Spain despatched a second expedition under Viscaino, who covered much
the same ground as Cabrillo, though there is nothing to show that he
visited the vicinity of Los Angeles. In his account of his voyage to the
king he declared that the country was rich and fertile, and urged that
he be made the head of a colonization expedition, but his death in 1606
brought his plans to naught.

For one hundred and sixty years afterwards no white man visited the
present limits of California, though it was still counted a possession
of the king of Spain. Not until the revival of Spanish colonization
activities under Philip II did California engage the attention of
Europe, and being—nominally at least—a Spanish possession, the king,
with the co-operation of the pope, undertook to establish a series of
Catholic missions along the coast. The enterprise was put in charge
of Junipero Serra, a Franciscan monk of great piety and strength of
character, and after long delay and much hardship, he arrived at San
Diego in July, 1769. Missions had already been founded in the lower
peninsula and upon these Father Serra planned to draw for priests and
ecclesiastical equipment necessary in the establishments which he should
locate in his new field of work. He did not proceed northward in regular
order, for the second mission was founded at Monterey and the third at
San Antonio.

This brings us to the point to which the foregoing is but the barest
outline—the founding of the Mission of San Gabriel Archangel near the
city of Los Angeles on September 8, 1771. Twenty-six years later to a
day the second mission within easy reach of the city was established—San
Fernando Rey de Espana, being the seventeenth of the twenty-one
Franciscan religious houses on the California coast. The two missions
near the city—San Gabriel, six miles to the east, and San Fernando,
twenty miles northwest—will be among the first attractions to the
motorist in roving about Los Angeles, and we visited both several times
before undertaking our tour of the King's Highway. Each has much of
interest and may well serve to create a desire for an acquaintance with
the remainder of these romantic memorials of early days in the Golden
State.

San Gabriel is a little, dust-browned hamlet nestling under giant pepper
and eucalyptus trees, lying a half mile off the splendid boulevard
that bears the same name. It has but a few hundred people and is quite
unimportant in a business way. It is a quiet place, surrounded by the
wide sweep of orange groves, and would attract little notice were it not
for the plain, almost rude, structure that rears its heavy buttressed
walls directly by the roadside. It is a long and narrow building of
large square bricks, covered with stucco which has taken the hue of
old ivory from the long procession of years that have passed over it.
Along the top of the front wall is a row of moss-green bells, each in
its arched stone niche, which still chime melodious notes at vesper time
and which lend a peculiarly picturesque appearance to the unique facade.
True, the mission has been much restored since the adobe walls of the
original structure were reared in 1771. The winter rains, earthquakes,
and hostile Indians, all wrought havoc on the building; the arched roof
was thrown down by the quake of 1812 and was replaced by one of beams
and tiles, which was later superseded by the present shingle covering.
The elaborate ceiling was erected in 1886, but seems somewhat out of
keeping with the severe simplicity of the original design.

  [Illustration: SAN GABRIEL MISSION
   From Photograph by Putnam & Valentine]

It has been a parish church since the American conquest in 1846, though
its old-time glory vanished and for a period it was almost forgotten.
But the troops of tourists who came yearly to California rescued it
from oblivion. The coming of the electric car, which clangs past its
door, brought crowds daily; and when the motor arrived on the scene,
old San Gabriel became a shrine of pilgrimage such as it never was in
its palmiest days. Now a brown-robed priest welcomes you at the door,
collects a modest fee—to be devoted to maintenance and restoration—and
conducts you about every part of the ancient building. He leads you
to the roof and shows you the bells at close range, and you may as a
special favor be allowed to test their musical qualities. They are
Spanish bells, older than the mission, and are looked upon by the
fathers with a pride that verges on reverence. Then you will be shown
the curios, the relics, paintings, vestments, old manuscripts, and
books, some of doubtful value and authenticity and others of real
antiquity and importance. You will be given a glimpse into the quiet
burying ground, where many of the fathers are at rest and beyond which
is the sheen of orange groves and the blue peaks of the Sierras. The
monster grapevine that supplied the cellars of the old padres will not
be overlooked and many rude utensils of early days may be seen scattered
about the place. It is all very quaint and interesting, this bit of
old-world mediaevalism transplanted to the new world by the western sea
and about which has grown up one of the most enlightened and prosperous
communities in the whole country.

You will be told as much of its story as you may wish to hear; how one
time this fertile plain about the mission was tilled by the Indians whom
the padres had instructed and partially civilized—at one time as many
as five thousand of them. They raised vast herds of cattle, estimated
from eighty to one hundred and twenty thousand, and twenty thousand
horses and forty thousand sheep were numbered in their possessions at
the height of their prosperity. Allowing for probable exaggeration,
the wealth of the mission was undoubtedly great, reaching two million
dollars in 1842. Shortly after, this was confiscated by the Mexican
Government and the ensuing war with the United States marked the end of
San Gabriel's prosperity.

When the town of Los Angeles was founded during the palmy days of the
mission, a chapel was built there by the fathers and it stands to-day,
time-stained and demurely unpretentious, in the midst of the bustling
metropolis that has grown up around it.

But San Gabriel to-day has an added interest—the result of one of
the happy inspirations which come periodically to Frank Miller of
Riverside—in the Mission Play first given in the winter of 1910.
It occurred to this loyal Californian that the romantic zeal and
self-sacrifice that led to the foundation of the missions and the
wealth of historic incident connected with their active career would
furnish splendid material for a play—or, more properly, a pageant. The
idea was presented to Mr. John S. McGroarty of Los Angeles, editor of
the Pacific Coast Magazine, who combined the necessary qualities of
historian and poet. He entered zealously into the plan and in due time
the libretto was written. A playhouse was built—somewhat crude and
cheaply constructed, it is true—directly opposite the old mission. It
was not, however, inharmonious with the idea and spirit of the play
and was surrounded by an open-air corridor or ambulatory containing
small models of the twenty-one missions as they appeared in their most
prosperous days. The actors were mostly local people who, during the
performance, lived in the cottages of the village or near-by towns.

The play—or pageant—has but little plot, depending on scenic effect,
rich in life and color, and on a wealth of interesting incident. We saw
it during the first week of its performance and our only disappointment
was the clearly inappropriate ending—but evidently the writer recognized
this defect, for when we visited the play next season, the last act had
been rewritten more in harmony with the spirit of the subject.

Before the play begins you are at liberty to saunter about the
ambulatory to gain some idea of the subject with which it is to deal;
the clang of a mission bell hanging over the stage will call you to your
seat when the performance commences. Three figures pass like shadows
in front of the darkened curtain before it rises—a crouching, fearful
Indian, a fully accoutered and gaudily dressed soldier, representing the
Spanish conquistador, and, lastly, the brown-robed priest bearing his
crucifix—symbols of the three human elements with which the play is to
deal. It proves more of an historical pageant than a miracle play—but,
after all, what is Oberammergau but an historical pageant?—though it
seldom occurs to us in that light.

The curtain rises on False Bay, San Diego—a piece of scene-staging
that would do credit to any metropolitan playhouse. A little group of
monks and soldiers sit disconsolately in their camp in the foreground;
they are awaiting the arrival of Portola, their leader, who has gone
northward to explore the coast and whose return they momentarily hope
for. They have suffered from disease and hunger; hostile Indians have
continually harried them and shown no signs of being converted to
Christianity, despite the efforts of the monks. The soldiers are quite
ready to re-embark in the crippled little San Carlos, lying temptingly
in the harbor, and to return to Mexico for good. Here enters the hero
of the play, Father Serra, and his influence is at once apparent, for
complaint ceases and the rough soldiers become respectful. He addresses
cheerful words to the dejected men—speaking like a hero and prophet—and
to some extent rouses their depressed spirits. But the gloom is doubly
deep when Portola staggers on the scene with the wretched remnant of
his band of explorers—unkempt, footsore, starving, many of them sick and
wounded—and declares that the port of Monterey has not been found—that
all is lost. They must return to Mexico and when Father Serra insists
that if all go he will remain here alone, Portola tells him he will not
be allowed to do so. They will compel him to board the ship. The priest
pleads for one more day of grace; he is to baptize his first native—an
Indian child—and this may be the turning point of their fortunes. In
the midst of the ceremony the savage parents become terror-stricken,
snatch the babe from Serra's arms and flee to their retreat in the
mountains. The sad outcome of the ceremony only confirms Portola in his
determination to sail on the following morning; the San Antonio, which
was despatched months ago for relief supplies, has never been heard
of—she must have been lost at sea—there is no hope! The sooner they sail
the greater the chance of reaching home—all are ordered to prepare for
embarking. Serra raises his hands to heaven in deep contrition; it was
his pride and vain glory, he laments, over his promise of success that
has been punished—it is just; but he pleads in desperation with the
soldier not to turn his back on God's work—to wait one more day; God
may yet work a miracle to prevent the overthrow of the plans to save
the heathen. His words fall on deaf ears, but while he pleads the watch
sets up a joyful cry—a light is seen rounding Point Loma—the good ship
San Antonio comes—the spirits of all revive—the mission is saved! It is
indeed a thrilling and dramatic climax; the ship glides into the harbor
in a truly realistic manner and the denouement is creditable alike to
author and stage director.

The second act pictures the court of San Carlos at Monterey fourteen
years later. It is rich with the semi-tropical splendor of that
favored spot; green trees, waving palms, and flowers lend color and
cheeriness to the gray cloisters through which the brown-robed figures
march with solemn decorum. It is the great day when all the mission
fathers—nine in number at that time—have assembled at Monterey to make
report of progress of their respective stations to the president, the
beloved Junipero. He has aged since we saw him last; hardships and
wounds have left their furrows on his face, but it still glows with
the old-time zeal. His strength of character comes out in one of the
opening incidents—the military captain of the presidio comes to carry
off a beautiful half-breed girl to whom he has taken a fancy, but the
soldier's arrogance speedily fades before the stern rebuke of Father
Serra, his sword is wrested from him by the athletic young "fighting
parson" of San Luis Obispo, and he is ignominiously ejected from the
mission.

In the second act it seems to me that the influence of Oberammergau
can be seen in opulence of color and picturesque effects. The fathers
gather about a long table and Serra listens with pious approbation to
the optimistic reports of his subordinates. As an example of the fervent
and self-sacrificing spirit of the aged president, as illustrated by
the play, we may quote from Serra's address on this memorable occasion:

"Francisco, my beloved brother, and you, my brethren, all bear me
witness that I have never sought for world honor; I have asked only to
serve God in the wilderness, laboring to bring the light of Christ to
the heathen. I would gladly be forgotten when I lie down with death in
this poor robe of our Franciscan brotherhood, my hands empty, and rich
only in the love of God and my fellow-man. But oh, California is dear
to me! It is the country of my heart. It were sweet to be remembered
here by the peoples which shall some day crowd these golden shores and
possess these sweet valleys and shining hills that I have loved so well.
My feet have wandered every mile of the way between the great harbor
of St. Francis and San Diego's Harbor of the Sun so many, many times!
and on this, my last journey which I have just taken, I stopped often
amid the oaks and cypress, kissing the ground in loving farewell. I
have looked down from the hilltops and embraced in my soul every vale
carpeted with poppies and aflame with wild flowers as the mocking bird
and the linnet sang to me on the way. To be remembered in California—ah,
God grant that I shall not be forgotten in this dear and lovely land."

After this the pageantry begins—there is a church procession and the
fathers with approving interest inspect the examples of handiwork
proudly exhibited by the Indian pupils of San Carlos. The festivities
begin; the spectators and performers, some scores in all, are
artistically grouped on the stage. There are Indian and Spanish dances
and the dark, gaudily dressed senoritas who perform the latter never
fail of an encore—the rather high-stepping hilarity affording a pleasing
relief from the more serious and even somber parts of the play. The
young women have become adepts in these roles; in many cases they are
of Spanish descent and take with natural aptitude to the fandango and
castanets. The Indians, as well, have their dances and ceremonies—all
carefully studied—and I doubt not that the second act of the play
gives a fair idea of the peaceful, industrious, and yet joyous life
that prevailed at many of these missions in their halcyon days. The
entertainment wanes, the crowd breaks up and melts away, just as in
real life, and finally Father Junipero alone remains on the scene, his
features fairly beaming with satisfaction and devotion in the waning
light. Finally, overcome by the labors and excitement of the day, he
falls asleep at the foot of the cross in the mission court, after having
offered the following beautiful and touching prayer:

"Hear, oh Lord, Thy servant Junipero, whose days upon the earth are
about to close, even as the day has now closed upon this scene. Bring
to the foot of Thy cross these wild gentiles of the plains and hills.
Bless this dear and lovely land of California, its white peaks of glory
and its sunlit valleys, where the wild flowers are ever blooming. Bless
California now and in the centuries to come when newer peoples shall
crowd her golden shores. This is the prayer, O Lord, of Junipero, Thy
servant, who is old and worn and who soon must say farewell. Amen."

  [Illustration: CLOISTERS, SAN JUAN CAPISTRANO
   From Photograph by Father St. John O'Sullivan]

The third scene, as I have already intimated, was rewritten for the
second year and much improved, though the staging remained practically
unchanged. In the first draft the heroine falls a victim to the bullets
of American soldiers, who fire upon the helpless Indians coming to bury
their dead priest in the ruined cloisters of San Juan Capistrano. She
had spurned the love advances of the captain, who rushes into the ruin
only to find her breathing her last. All of which seemed incongruous
and left a painful recollection with the audience; but on our second
visit to San Gabriel playhouse we were delighted by a happy change in
the ending of the play.

The new version shows the ivy-covered ruins of Capistrano seventy
years later than the time of the second act. Confiscation by the
Mexican Government has ruined the property of the missions and American
occupation still further hastened their dissolution and decay. An old
Indian shepherd is telling his story to a youth and declares that he was
the first Indian child baptized by the sainted Serra. He is interrupted
by the entrance of Senora Yorba, a lovely, devout Spanish lady who
grieves over the destruction of the old regime and comes at times to
muse and pray at the deserted altar, and in a graceful monologue she
laments the downfall of the mission and the cessation of its beneficent
work. While she is at her devotions a small company of wretched Indians
enter the ruin, bearing the dead body of the padre, who ministered
to them in their retreats in the hills; they would bury him in the
consecrated ground of the old mission. Senora Yorba mourns with the
Indians and joins them in laying the body to rest. In the folds of the
dead priest's robe she discovers the golden chalice, richly bejeweled,
which he had rescued from the ruined church and which the loyal
natives—though they knew its value—would have interred with him. In
the closing scene of the play the Senora, with a look of rapt devotion,
raises the golden cup aloft and solemnly promises that she will lay it
on the altar of Santa Barbara, the nearest mission still unforsaken.

The curtain falls on the melancholy scene; we pass out into the May-day
sunlight and gaze reverently on the gray old mission across the way.
The play has given to it new meaning, just as Oberammergau on another
May day gave us a new conception of the old story that has never lost
its interest to humanity. I am very sure that there are few people who
witness either the famous and very ancient play of the Bavarian peasants
or the very recent and less pretentious production of the artists of
San Gabriel, who are not spiritually elevated and benefited thereby.

Within easy reach of the city, either by trolley or motor, is San
Fernando, the next link in the mission chain to the north of San
Gabriel. We made our first journey thither on a showery April day,
following a steady downpour for nearly twenty-four hours. The country
was at its best, as it always is in California after a spring rain. We
edged our way out of the city, along the wide sweep of Sunset Boulevard
to Los Feliz Avenue, which soon brought us into the San Fernando
road at Glendale. From here a straight-away dash of twenty miles to
the northwest takes one to the mission—one of the easiest and most
delightful runs in the vicinity of Los Angeles.

  [Illustration: CORRIDOR, SAN FERNANDO MISSION
   From Photograph by Pillsbury]

It was a brilliant day, despite a dark cloud-curtain whose fringes
hovered over the peaks of the rugged mountains in the north toward
which we were rapidly coursing. We swept along the narrow valley—then
a desert, cactus-studded plain—reaching on our left to low, green hills
which stood in sharp outline against the deep azure of the sky. On the
right, closer at hand, were low foothills, dominated by the distant
mountains—their summits white with snow and touched in places by clouds
of dazzling brilliance. Directly in front of us we saw the glistening
phalanx of a summer shower, which rapidly advanced to meet us, giving
us barely time to raise our cape top before it was upon us. Such a rain
in our home state would have meant liquid roads and constant danger,
but on this perfect highway it only heightened our enjoyment as our
steadily purring engine carried us along the smooth wet surface. The
green hills to the left and the cloudless sky above them seemed doubly
glorious through the crystal curtain of the falling raindrops.

By the time we reached the village of San Fernando, the rain had ceased
and we paused to inquire the whereabouts of the mission. We saw about
us at the time a straggling, unsubstantial-looking hamlet which bore
little resemblance to the smart, well-improved town that greeted us a
year later—but so it often is in California. Then a new double boulevard
with a parked center stretched away to the southeast—the work of an
enterprising land company—with the inviting sign, "Speed limit one
hundred miles per hour," but we were content with a fraction of this
generous figure. The mission is about a mile out of the town and is
best approached by the new boulevard, since this gives the advantage of
a little distance for the front view, which the public road, directly
passing, does not allow. Before you see the building itself you will
note the two giant palms, over a century old, and perhaps a hundred feet
high—all that remain of the many planted by the monks.

The structure is long, low, solid-looking—utterly devoid of artistic
touches save the graceful, rounded arches of the long "portello" and
the simple grille-work of wrought iron that still covers a few of the
windows—work of the rude artisans of a hundred years ago. The old tile
roof is the glory of San Fernando; the huge, semicircular tiles are
time-stained to a color combination to delight the eye of an artist.
Moss greens, silver grays, dull reds, and soft browns predominate,
blending together in a most pleasing manner. Back from the mission
extends a row of old-time living apartments, now little more than
shapeless heaps of adobe, while the huge church, a little farther to the
rear, seems approaching the final stages of dissolution. It was once a
massive structure, built as well as loving care and endless industry
could do—walls five or six feet in thickness, bound together at the
top by heavy beams perhaps fifteen inches square. Traces of the ancient
decorations appear, though they are nearly effaced by the weather, to
which they have been long exposed. Apparently the earthquake began the
work of ruin and long neglect has done the rest.

One enters the church with some trepidation, for it seems as if the
cracked and crazy structure may stagger to shapeless ruin at any moment.
What a pity that the material of California's missions was not enduring
stone, like the English abbeys, rather than the quickly disintegrating
adobe! Back of the church is a pathetic little burying ground
where wooden crosses and simple memorials indicate that the present
parishioners of San Fernando are the poorest of the poor,—probably a
few wretched Mexican families such as the one we found in charge of the
mission.

I have anticipated, perhaps, in describing the church before the
mission itself, but, after all, the church is a part of the exterior
with which I have been dealing. On our first visit we found a Mexican
family living in two or three of the damp, cavernous rooms of the old
building. They could speak but little English, but it was easy to see
that visitors were welcome, and gratuities no doubt afforded their
means of livelihood. When we returned a year later, another family
was in possession and had reduced sightseeing to a business basis. We
were required to pay "two bits" entrance fee and an extra charge was
assessed for a peep into the ruinous church, all doors and rents in the
wall having been religiously boarded up. Each member of our party was
given a lighted lantern—a wise precaution, it proved, for there were
dilapidated and broken stairways and unsound floors in the dimly lighted
building. There was little enough to see; only a series of prison-like
cells with tiny windows piercing the massive walls, with earthen floors,
and rude beamed ceilings—surely life at best was hard and comfortless
at San Fernando, and the fathers had little advantage over their Indian
charges. There was one large room, apparently for assembly purposes, on
the second floor. Our Mexican guide grinned gleefully as he pointed out
a little conduit in the wall through which wine flowed from the presses
to vats in the ample cellars; evidently the fathers made a plentiful
supply of the genial liquor to counteract the hardships they must have
endured.

One need explore but a corner of the mission; he will find it typical of
the whole huge structure, perhaps two hundred feet in length. There is
a pathetic little chapel—the altar covered with tinsel and gewgaws—where
services are held at long intervals. As a whole, the building is in fair
condition and a little intelligent repair and restoration would insure
its preservation for many years to come. It is, in some respects, one
of the most typical of the missions; except for decay, which has not
impaired the structure or interior arrangement to any great extent,
it stands to-day much as it did one hundred years ago and gives an
excellent idea of the domestic life of the padres and their converts.
A narrow stairway led to a platform on the roof and coming out of
the dimly lighted interior into the broad sunlight—for the rain had
ceased—we were struck with the remarkable beauty of the situation.

The mission stands in the center of the wide plain at the head of the
valley, around which sweeps a circle of green hills and mountains,
their rounded tops and rugged peaks lending infinite variety to the
skyline. On one hand blue vapors softened the snowy summits; on the
other, the sky bent down, crystal clear, to the gently undulating
contour of the hills. The fertile plain was being rapidly brought under
cultivation—dotted with fruit-tree groves and ranch-houses, with here
and there a village—and this was before the coming of the waters of
the great Owens River Aqueduct. It would take a bold flight of the
imagination to picture the future of the San Fernando Valley—anything
I might write would be ancient history before my book could get to the
press. The whole plain will become a garden of wondrous beauty; only
the mountains and hills will abide unchanged.

The history of the old mission which has been engaging our attention was
not important as compared with many of its contemporaries. And, speaking
of history, I have been wondering whether I should burden my pages with
dates and incidents concerning these ancient memorials, but perhaps a
short sketch, given in as few words as may tell the bare outlines of
each mission as we visit it, will be of service to pilgrims who follow
us.

San Fernando was seventeenth of the California missions in order of
founding, and was considered a necessity by the padres to fill in the
gap between San Gabriel and Ventura, being about thirty miles from
either. Padre Lasuen performed the dedicatory ceremonies on September
8, 1797, and by the end of the year, fifty-five neophytes had been
enlisted. These, in three years, had increased to three hundred, and the
record reads that they possessed five hundred horses and about as many
sheep, and harvested a crop of one thousand bushels of grain. The first
church, built in 1802, was almost destroyed by the great quake of 1812,
which left its impress on nearly every mission of the entire chain. The
church was repaired and its shattered remnants are what we see to-day.

San Fernando never prospered greatly, though at one time there were
nearly a thousand Indians on its rolls. It was cramped for want of
productive land and its decline began many years before the act of
confiscation by the Mexicans. This occurred in 1834, when the Government
agent computed the wealth of the mission at around one hundred and fifty
thousand dollars, of which the "liquors" represented more than seven
thousand. In January, 1847, General John C. Fremont took possession
of the scanty remains of the property and the active history of San
Fernando was ended. Mr. George Wharton James, to whose interesting
book, "The Old Missions of California," I am indebted for much of the
foregoing information, tells of an important incident in San Fernando's
history as follows:

"Connected with the mission of San Fernando is the first discovery of
California gold. Eight years before the great days of '49, Francisco
Lopez, the major-domo of the mission, was in the canyon of San
Feliciano, which is about eight miles westerly from the present town of
Newhall, and, according to Don Abul Stearns, 'with a companion while
in search of some stray horses about midday stopped under some trees
and tied their horses to feed. While visiting in the shade, Lopez with
a sheath knife dug up some wild onions, and in the dirt discovered a
piece of gold. Searching further he found more. On his return to town
he showed these pieces to his friends, who at once declared there must
be a placer of gold there.'

"Then the rush began. As soon as the people in Los Angeles and Santa
Barbara heard of it they flocked to the new 'gold fields' in hundreds.
And the first California gold dust ever coined at the government at
Philadelphia came from these mines. It was taken around Cape Horn on a
sailing vessel by Alfred Robinson, the translator of Boscana's 'Indians
of California,' and consisted of 18.34 ounces, and made $344.75, or over
nineteen dollars to the ounce.

"Davis says that in the first two years after the discovery not less
than from $80,000 to $100,000 was gathered. Don Antonio Coronel, with
three Indian laborers, in 1842 took out $600 worth of dust in two
months."

No doubt this discovery and others which followed had a far-reaching
effect on the destinies of California. The influx of Americans who were
attracted by the love of gold was beyond question a strong factor in
bringing about the annexation of the state to the American Union by the
treaty of 1849.



V

THE INLAND ROUTE TO SAN DIEGO


There may be a more delightful drive in the world than the sixty
miles between Los Angeles and the Riverside country following Foothill
Boulevard on an ideal California April day, but it would take an ocular
demonstration to make us believe it! On such a day we made our first
run over this road and perhaps the peculiarly favorable conditions for
first impressions may have unduly prejudiced us, though many subsequent
trips never dispelled the charm.

Leaving the city by the Broadway Tunnel and pursuing the broad curves
of Pasadena Avenue to Orange Grove—which we could never traverse too
often—we turned into the long stretch of Colorado Street, which leads
directly into the broad oak-bordered Foothill Boulevard. Here we came
into the first open country, some dozen miles from the center of Los
Angeles, and until we reached the outposts of Monrovia, we ran between
the sylvan glades of the Baldwin Oaks. To the left rose the rugged
bulk of Mount Wilson, and peak after peak stretched away before us
to the white summit of Old Baldy—as Mount San Antonio is popularly
known—which rises to an altitude of more than ten thousand feet. It
was a mottled spring day, rich in gorgeous cloud effects such as are
not common in California; blue-gray cumulus clouds rolled above the
mountains, occasionally obscuring Old Baldy's white pate and showing
many entrancing phases of light and color. Beneath, a blue haze stole
softly down the slopes to the tender green of the foothills. The sky
above was peculiarly beautiful—pearl gray, deep blue and snowy white,
all shading into each other, with lucent patches of pale blue breaking
through here and there.

We paused at the Seven Oaks Inn in Monrovia and were delighted with its
artistic "atmosphere" and cleanly, appetizing service. It is modeled
on the higher-class English country inn—just a hint of the Lygon Arms
at Broadway or the Red Horse at Stratford. Its main room had an immense
fireplace with many cozy chairs, a most inviting place to spend a dull
evening, and its windows looked out on pleasant gardens whose shady
nooks had an equally strong lure for the daytime. We only regretted that
our plans did not admit of a longer acquaintance with the attractive
Seven Oaks.

We glided slowly through the broad, shady streets of the trim little
town and just as we left it we turned a corner at an ivy-covered stone
church that awakened recollections of England. Then we were away again
on the long stretches of the boulevard, which here for a few miles runs
through desert country—desert indeed, but no doubt quite the same as
that now covered by the orange groves about Azusa must have been a few
years ago. Out of Azusa for miles and miles the orange and lemon groves
crowded up to the roadside, their golden globes glowing through the
green sheen of the leaves. The air was heavy with the perfume of the
blossoms, which lent an added charm to the sensuous beauty of the day
and scene.

At Claremont we left Los Angeles County and at the time of our first
trip the road was rough and inferior from that point, though plans for
its improvement were already made and may be completed by this time. But
the orange groves continued, alternating with huge vineyards which were
just beginning to send forth green shoots. Near Upland we passed one of
more than four thousand acres, said to be the largest single vineyard in
the world, and near it was a huge concrete winery. A vineyard in this
country in springtime presents a strange sight to a newcomer—a stretch
of sand studded with rows of scraggly stumps two or three feet high—for
the vines are cut back to the stump after the bearing season. Few of
the vineyards are irrigated and one marvels that nature can produce the
luscious clusters from the arid sands.

And here I may pause to remark upon the peculiar and unexpected result
of national prohibition upon the California grape growers. For years the
threat of state prohibition had been their bugbear and it was uniformly
defeated in their interests whenever the issue came before the people
of the state. When they were finally overwhelmed in the tide of National
Prohibition originating in the war, they resigned themselves as lost and
a few vineyards were pulled up to replant the ground in fruit trees.
But, strange to say, while the wails of distress were still sounding,
there came a sudden and unexpected demand for dried grapes of any kind
or quality—even those which, before the war, would have been thrown
away as spoiled sold for more than the top quality did in old times.
Unprecedented prosperity settled down upon the vineyard men and I am
told that at this time (1921) grapes are selling for from two to three
times as much per ton as they brought from the wineries in pre-war days.
New vineyards are now being planted in many sections of the state.

Just before we came to San Bernardino we passed the Fontana Orchards, a
tract of seventeen thousand acres of young citrus trees recently planted
by an improvement company. Rows of newly planted rose bushes and palm
trees on either hand will, in a few years, add still further to the
charm of the boulevard—another instance of the determination everywhere
present in California to beautify as well as improve.

On our first trip to San Bernardino we stopped, for personal reasons,
at the comfortable Stuart Hotel, though the majority of motorists will
probably wend their way to Riverside's Mission Inn. San Bernardino
is a lively town of nearly twenty thousand people and has gained fame
as a prosperous railroad and jobbing center. Its name is pretty much
of a mouthful and the traveling fraternity generally has abbreviated
it to San Berdoo—a liberty which gives offense to every loyal San
Bernardinian, and I saw a card posted in public places with the legend,
"Please call it San Bernardino; it won't hurt you and it pleases us."

No matter what you call it, San Bernardino is a lively place and has a
good deal to interest the wayfarer if he can find some kindly disposed
native to point it out. The town is well-built, with numerous handsome
public buildings. It has a remarkable number of hotels for its size—but
I might add here that one never knows the size of a California town;
before the census figures can be compiled they are often ancient
history. The water supply of the town comes from artesian wells and
is practically unlimited. There are many fine drives in the vicinity,
though the county had as yet done little in the way of permanent
roads. Since our first visit, however, a bond issue of two million
dollars has made possible an excellent county road system. I recall
my record "coast" over the fine stretch leading down from Mill Creek
Canyon towards Redlands, where, with engine dead, our odometer showed
a distance of seven and one-half miles before we came to a standstill.

One of our drives took us to the oldest orange grove in the section.
The trees are fifty years old and a foot in diameter; they are hale and
strong, bearing profusely. No one, as yet, can say how long a California
orange tree may live. Near this grove a few shapeless heaps of adobe may
be seen, remains of the branch founded here by padres from San Gabriel
shortly after the establishment of that mission. The country about
the town is beautiful and productive—a wide, level plain encircled by
mountains, some of which are usually snow-capped except in midsummer.
Near the town is Arrowhead Mountain—so called because of the strange
outline of a great arrowhead upon the side next the valley. Formerly it
was quite plain, though a recent forest fire to some extent obliterated
the sharp definition of the outlines. Just beneath the point of the
arrow is the famous spring, the hottest known, with a temperature of one
hundred and ninety-six degrees, and a large, well-appointed resort hotel
formerly offered comfortable quarters to visitors throughout the year.
Since the war, however, the Government has leased the Arrowhead Hotel as
a sanitarium for disabled war veterans, especially those who suffer from
nervous disorders, and from our knowledge gained by a month's sojourn
at this pleasant inn, we would declare it ideal for this worthy purpose.

Arrowhead Mountain is about four thousand feet high and it is said
that the temperature at the summit averages twenty degrees cooler than
in the valley. It is not strange that it is a popular resort, and a
well-engineered road leads up its slopes. The grades are fairly heavy—up
to fifteen per cent; there are many "hairpin" curves and the road often
runs along precipitous declivities. It is, however, nearly everywhere
wide enough for vehicles to pass and presents no difficulties to a
careful driver.

For some distance after leaving the hot springs we followed a clear
mountain stream through a wooded canyon. From this we emerged into
the open, ascending the mountain slopes in sharp upward zig-zags. We
had many magnificent views of the wide plain beneath, with its orange
groves, ranch-houses, towns and villages, intersected by the sinuous
white line of the river washes. Frequently there was scarce a shrub
between the road and a sheer precipice—a downward glance gave some
of our passengers a squeamish feeling, which, after all, was purely a
psychological phenomenon, for with ordinary care the ascent is as safe
as a drive on a boulevard. The day was warm and the engine sizzled a
good deal, but, fortunately, there are means of replenishing the water
at frequent intervals. Near the summit there was much fine forest,
though some of it was badly injured by the big fire of 1910.

A winding drive along the crest for a mile or two brought us to Squirrel
Inn—a rustic lodge named from Frank Stockton's story—the property of a
San Bernardino club. Through the courtesy of a friend we had luncheon
here and admired the fine situation at our leisure. The lodge, built
of logs and stones, is surrounded by pines and firs, and near it are
vantage points for wide views over the valley. Among the mementos
of the inn is an autograph letter from Mr. Stockton, expressing his
appreciation of the compliment offered in the name. In the vicinity are
a number of cottages which are in great demand by local people during
the heated season, for the summer is hot in the valley, sometimes
reaching one hundred or even one hundred and ten degrees in the daytime,
though invariably cool nights greatly relieve the situation.

The Arrowhead Road, which Californians are fond of designating as "The
Rim of the World Drive" continues from Squirrel Inn to Big Bear Lake,
a distance of about twenty miles. It winds through magnificent pines,
which fortunately escaped the conflagration, and just beyond Strawberry
Flats a detour of a few miles takes us to Arrowhead Lake, an artificial
reservoir about a mile in diameter, surrounded by pines which crowd
almost to the water's edge. The road winds through these around the
pretty little lake, which gives slight hint of its artificiality. It is
famous for its trout and being some twelve hundred feet lower than Big
Bear, is usually accessible much earlier in the season. Returning to the
main road, we pursue our way along the mountain crests, soon crossing
Strawberry Peak, the hoary patriarch of the range. We pass out of the
pine forest into a denuded section where the ravages of the axe are
sadly apparent, with every evidence of the wanton waste that destroys
with no thought of the future. At Green Valley the road begins to rise
rapidly and passes some of the finest scenery of the trip. There are
points where one's vision reaches over the orange-grove studded plain
to the ocean, a hundred miles away, or turning eastward sweeps over the
dun stretches of the Mohave Desert.

Coming in sight of the lake, we realize that though in common parlance
it is only a dam, it is none the less a beautiful and very respectable
body of water. In contemplating its rugged natural surroundings and
the splendid groves of pines that line its shores, we quite forget
that it is man-made; it seems almost as much a child of the ages
as Klamath or Tahoe. It is six or seven miles long, with an average
width of almost a mile and in places it attains considerable depth.
It is usually snowbound from December to May, though of course this
varies considerably. The road executes a sharp turn around the eastern
extremity of the lake and just beyond the bend are located the various
camps and cabins that furnish quarters for the tourists, vacationists
and fishermen who visit Bear Lake in great force during the summer
season. There are also numerous privately owned summer cottages,
belonging principally to Los Angeles business men. The lake is well
stocked with fish and record catches are often reported early in the
season.

The return trip of the "Rim of the World Drive" is made by the way of
Santa Ana and Mill Creek Canyons over a road which has been greatly
improved in the last few years but which still furnishes plenty of
thrills for any but the most seasoned mountain driver. The highest point
attained, 7950 feet, is opposite the western extremity of the lake and
an inspiring panorama spreads out beneath Lookout Point, near the summit
of the range. The road descends rapidly from this point in a series of
"switch-backs" which require extreme vigilance on part of the driver.
From Clark's Ranch the descent is easier, ending in the long smooth
stretches of Mill Creek Canyon road. It was on this road, as mentioned
elsewhere, that we made our record "coast" of seven and one-half miles.
Big Bear Valley may also be reached from Victorville, crossing the range
over the El Cajon Pass. This road is open practically the year round and
affords access to the lake when the Arrowhead route is closed by snow.
Stages make the "Rim of the World" trip regularly during the summer and
if one does not care to pilot his own car he can still make the journey
easily and comfortably as a passenger in one of these vehicles.

Riverside is one of the Meccas of California which every tourist must
visit, and if he does not care to pay the price at the Glenwood Mission
Inn, he is bound to find some excuse for dropping into this unique and
delightful hotel, just to say he has been there. One visit will not
suffice for many people; in the course of our three springtime sojourns
in California we gravitated to Riverside a dozen times or more, often
going out of our way to pass the night at the Glenwood. On our first
trip we followed the Crest road from Redlands and enjoyed another fine
view of the valley with its towns and encircling mountains from the
grade which crosses the hills northeast of Highgrove.

Riverside we found a clean, handsome town with wide, well-paved streets
bordered with trees, and lawns and gardens bright with flowers and
palms. Within its limits are one hundred and sixty miles of graded
streets, a large part of which is paved or macadamized, while out
of the town are two of the most famous drives in California—Magnolia
and Victoria Avenues. The former, bordered with double rows of pepper
trees—there are a few magnolias among them—under which were mammoth rose
bushes in full bloom, was lovely beyond description. It passes Sherman
Institute, a government Indian school, where the rising generation of
red men—and ladies, for that matter—are being trained in the ways of
civilization. Surely, the location and surroundings are nearly ideal,
and the whole institution seemed like a far echo of mission days, for
the buildings are mainly of mission type and the students—neophytes?—are
educated in arts and crafts; but the padres are supplanted by Uncle
Sam's trained teachers.

There are many other drives about the town, which is almost completely
surrounded by orange groves, and one may see all phases of the
orange-producing industry if he has the time and inclination. The first
naval oranges were developed here and the parent tree still flourishes,
hale and green, in the court of the Mission Inn.

But whatever the visiting motorist at Riverside may elect to do, he will
probably place first on his program the ascent of Rubidoux Mountain.
This is a rugged hill to the west of the town which commands a wide
view of the surrounding valley and whose summit may be reached by one
of the easiest mountain roads in California. It ascends in long loops,
following the edge of the hill, and a separate road provides for the
descent, thus avoiding the annoyance and danger of passing on the
grades. So easy is the ascent that a powerful car can jog upward most
of the way on "high," though care must be taken in rounding the frequent
loops.

From the boulder-strewn summit the view of the semi-tropical valley
beneath will hardly be surpassed, even in California. The dominant note
is the shimmering bronze-green of the orange groves, which surround the
mountain on every hand. It is broken here and there by emerald-green
alfalfa fields and by frequent towns and villages. Around the valley
sweeps a wide circle of snow-capped peaks whose rugged outlines are
softened by the blue haze of distance. Just below lies Riverside, half
hidden in palms and pepper trees, with here and there a dash of color
from the masses of flowers; San Bernardino is plain in the distance,
while a little to the right, Redlands nestles at the foot of the
mountains. Through the center of the valley runs the wide sandy bed of
the Santa Ana River, with a gleaming thread of water coursing through
it.

It was the conservation of this river and other mountain streams that
has had everything to do with the beautiful and prosperous scene beneath
us. It is indeed difficult to conceive that fifty years ago this green,
thriving plain was an arid desert, but such has been the history of
more than one prosperous locality in California, and in the future many
other seeming deserts will burst into bloom under the magical touch of
water. Much of the water in the valley comes from artesian wells and
when these began to fail from increasing demands, it occurred to some
resourceful mind to divert water from the river during the flood time to
the vicinity of the wells. Sinking into the earth, it greatly augmented
the subterranean supply and it is hoped in the future to conserve the
surplus water in this way.

On the highest point of the mountain stands a tall cross with a tablet
to the memory of Father Serra, and a huge bell has been erected on one
of the boulders as a memento of California mission days. On Easter
morning a large part of the population of Riverside repairs to the
summit of the mountain to join in an open-air song-service as the sun
rises. On this occasion the winding drive, as well as the parking-place,
is lined with hundreds of cars, showing how completely the automobile
has become the accepted means of transportation in Sunset-land.

More recently, however, the crowds have so increased—fifteen to
twenty thousand people attending the services—that parking on the
road or mountaintop is prohibited. The cars must quickly discharge
their passengers at the summit and immediately descend. Many people,
therefore, make the ascent on foot.

The time has slipped away rapidly while we have been admiring the
prospect from Mount Rubidoux or clambering over the huge boulders to
get vantage points for our camera. Luncheon hour is at hand and with
pleasant anticipations we glide down the winding descent and through the
broad streets to Frank Miller's Mission Inn, of which we have heard so
much and—I may say—expect so much. After this and many subsequent visits
to this unique hotel we can frankly say that our expectations have been
more than fulfilled; it would be hard from any description that one
might read or hear to get any true conception of this charming retreat
for the discriminating tourist. Standing as it does in the business part
of the city and being confined to a single block, one can not conceive
of the air of quiet and restfulness with which Mr. Miller has invested
his delightful inn. Once past its arched portals it seems as if we have
entered some secluded retreat miles and miles away from the turmoil of
the workaday world. Our car is left in the court with a dozen others
and we are welcomed as though we were expected guests.

Our rooms are on the second floor, for the Glenwood is no sky-scraper.
Everything is plain but substantial and homelike, a basket of California
fruit stands invitingly on the table. The lattice windows open upon
a little balcony above the court, with its flowers, climbing vines,
palms and orange trees; in the center is the quaint adobe tea-house,
and around it run corridors reminiscent of mission cloisters. It
is a cool, pleasant retreat, quite atoning for the absence of large
grounds surrounding the hotel. Luncheon is served by young women in
spotless attire; I like the girl waiters of the California resort
hotels—Coronado, Del Mar, Del Monte, Santa Barbara, and Riverside—they
are more attentive, prompter, and pleasanter to look upon than their
brothers of the greasy tuxedo in evidence in so many hotel dining-rooms.

One does not find the time hanging heavily upon his hands at the Mission
Inn. It will be long ere he has explored the interior of the great
rambling building to his satisfaction, from the curious collection
of bells on the roof to the dim mysteries of the cloistered chapel.
A building so redolent of the ancient missions would of course be
incomplete and unsatisfying without its chapel, and most fittingly
has Frank Miller supplied this need. A large, dimly lighted apartment
with heavily beamed ceiling, high oaken pews, and antique chairs; with
stained-glass windows and figures of saints and prophets and supplied
with a magnificent organ, is certainly an ideal chapel for the Mission
Inn. Its principal window, "St. Cecilia," is a Tiffany masterpiece, but
even more appropriate seem the huge sepia-brown photo-graven negatives
of western wonders of forest, mountain and stream. Here we delighted
to linger, listening to the musical recitals which occupy a good part
of the afternoon and inspecting the costly furniture, rugs and curios
which form a part of a collection from all over the world. Some of these
were "For Sale," at figures well beyond the reach of common persons
like ourselves; but there is a little shop just off the chapel with a
stock of books, pictures, and Indian work, in basketry, and trinkets
of silver and bronze, where a modest purse has a fair show. From this
one can wander away into subterranean apartments furnished like a dream
of old Spain and lighted with the subdued glow of many-colored lamps.
Altogether, it is strangely romantic and effective; it has an oriental
savor as well as the atmosphere of mission days.

The collection of bells in a nook on the roof always interests the
guests and you can hear the mellow notes at all times of the day.
There are bells from California missions, bells from old England, bells
from Spain, bells from China and Japan—and Heaven only knows from what
other corners of the earth. There are antique bells, hundreds of years
old, and bells with queer histories. Altogether, it is a remarkable
collection and in keeping with the characteristics of the inn.

If one grows weary of indoors, the court invites him to muse amidst its
semi-tropical trees and flowers, to lounge in the vine-laden pergolas,
or to wander through the long vistas of arched arcades, listening to
the murmuring of fountains and warbling of the birds. He will catch
glimpses of Moorish towers against the blue sky and with the chiming of
the vesper bells one might indeed imagine himself in one of the old-time
missions—Santa Barbara, San Juan Bautista, San Antonio—a hundred years
ago.

A notable new addition was completed in 1915, containing many de luxe
suites and a remarkable picture gallery, a replica of a hall from a
grand old Spanish palace. The ceiling is unique, being formed by loosely
hung folds of cloth of gold. The walls are decorated with notable
paintings, ancient and modern, and many interesting objects of art are
scattered about. It is a notable apartment in which one might spend
hours and yet wish to come again. This addition is constructed of steel
and concrete, making it absolutely fire-proof.

On one of our later visits I had the pleasure of making the acquaintance
of Mr. Frank Miller, the Master of the famous Inn, and to learn from
him personally something of the founding and progress of this unique
institution. His father came to Riverside when the surrounding country
was a cactus-studded desert and was a pioneer in shaping the marvelous
development which we see to-day. The Millers, among other enterprises,
kept a small tavern, the Glenwood Inn, which was the precursor of the
great establishment of to-day. No one who knows Frank Miller will wonder
that he has achieved such great success; he is a perfect dynamo—full
of energy, keen, alert, with a remarkable quickness of decision which
enables him to rapidly dispose of the multitude of details that come
to his attention daily and he seldom makes an error in such cases. He
has been most fortunate in choice of his aides, it is true, but that
only exhibits another side of his genius. Elbert Hubbard's dictum that
"every great institution is the lengthened shadow of some man" is surely
exemplified in the instance of Frank Miller and his Riverside Mission
Inn.

We find enough to detain us for several days in the vicinity of
Riverside. One should not miss the charming town of Redlands, over
towards the mountains, and it may be viewed from Smiley Heights,
overlooking the low foothills on which the town stands. These gardens
are ornamented with all manner of flowers and semi-tropical trees
and intersected by a splendid drive which wends its sinuous course
along the hill-crest on which they are situated. They are lovingly and
scrupulously cared for by the owners, and thrown open to visitors as
freely as a public park. Not only the gardens are worth a visit, but
the view from the heights is an inspiring one. Just below lies the
beautiful town with green foothills beyond, dotted here and there with
cultivated fields. Above these, seemingly very near, the mightiest of
the southern Sierras fling their gleaming summits into the deep azure
of the heavens. Indeed, it seems as if I may have already wearied my
reader with mountain-top views—though my book is only begun. But, after
all, the best part of a motor tour of California is the series of wide
visions from hills and mountains, glorious and inspiring beyond any
description; if my random notes shall induce others, even though but
few, to a like pilgrimage, it is enough!

Redlands is the home of many wealthy people and there are several
pretentious residences near the entrance to Smiley Heights. In this
regard it easily surpasses the better-known Riverside—and Riverside may
thank the Mission Inn for its wider fame. On a hill near the Heights
is an unfinished residence—begun on an immense scale by a copper
magnate—which was to surpass in size and glory everything else in the
whole section. The ambitious builder failed in business when the work
was about half done. It stands in pathetic ruin and neglect and no one
else has cared to undertake the completion of the pretentious structure.

Near Redlands is the village of Highlands, where a famous brand of
oranges is packed, and through the courtesy of a mutual friend we were
admitted to the establishment, which handles several carloads of fruit
daily. Here we saw the operations of grading and sorting the oranges,
which is done mainly by automatic machinery. The baskets are emptied
into hoppers and the oranges forced along a channel with holes of
different size through which the fruit falls according to bulk. In this
way boxes are filled with nearly uniform sizes. The boxes are made by
a wonderful machine which assembles the boards and drives the nails at
a single operation. We found the highest grade of oranges remarkably
cheap at the packing house—less than half the price we paid at home for
a poorer quality.

The most direct inland route from Los Angeles to San Diego is by the way
of Pomona, Corona and Elsinore, but those who do not care to drive the
two hundred or more miles in a day will break the journey at Riverside,
and it was from Riverside that we started on this glorious mountain
trip. A few miles southeast of the town—following Eighth Street—the
smooth white road swings over the easy stretches of Box Springs grade
through undulating hills to Perris, and from thence through the wide
valley to Elsinore, in all, a distance of about thirty miles. This
is the route of the state highway and by now the road is doubtless
near perfection—though much of it was rough and stony when we first
traversed it. But what an inspiring jaunt we found it on that bright
May day! Far away rose the silvery summits—among them San Gorgonio and
San Jacinto, the highest peaks in Southern California—and nearer at
hand the undulating outlines of the green foothills. Green is only the
prevailing tone, however, for the hills and valley are splotched and
spangled with every color of the rainbow. In yonder low-lying meadow
are lakes of living blue and white; on yonder hillside flame acres of
the burning gold of the California poppies and beneath them a wide belt
of primrose yellow. What an entrancing view there was from some of the
hill-crests!—wonderful vistas that will linger with us so long as life
shall last. Out beyond the vivid belts of color that dash the green
hills lies an indefinite ocean of mountain ranges, fading gradually
away into a deep purple haze. Here and there some glittering peak rises
like a fairy island in this ill-defined sea, crowning and dominating
everything. Not less entrancing is the scene near at hand. Along the
road gleam many strange blooms which I wish I were botanist enough to
name. We knew the brilliant red Indian paint-brush and the orange-gold
poppy, but that was about all. A hundred other varieties of blossoms
smiled on us from the roadside, but though the impression of their
beauty still lingers, they must remain unnamed. In all this country
there is but little cultivated land and habitations are few and far
between. Probably the short water supply and the fact that it is often
quite cold in winter will preclude profitable farming to any extent.

Elsinore is a quiet little town deep in the hills, situated on
Lake Elsinore—the only natural lake of any consequence in Southern
California. This is an exceedingly variable body of water, a difference
of sixteen feet being recorded in its levels, and at the time of our
visit a prolonged drouth had reduced it to the minimum. There are
numerous hot springs in the vicinity and these are doubtless responsible
for the several hotels—the Elsinore, Bundy and Lakeview—which advertise
the advantages of the locality as a health resort. Duck shooting on the
lake also brings wayfarers during the hunting season.

On our first visit to the town we stopped there for luncheon and have
no very pleasant recollections of our repast; the next time we ran
through Elsinore we brought our lunch from Riverside and ate it in a
shady nook by the roadside, making comparisons to the disadvantage of
hotels in general. In fact, we became more and more partial to such
open-air luncheons while knocking about the highroads of California. It
saved time and money and had such a delightful flavor from the great
glorious out-of-doors in this favored clime. We never failed to find
a pleasant spot—by a clear stream or under a great oak or sycamore—and
we can heartily commend the practice of carrying a lunch basket and a
couple of thermos bottles filled with hot coffee while touring.

On another occasion we followed the road which leads around the lake
and found the side opposite the town by far the most beautiful. Here
is a fine tract of farm land with many olive groves and peach orchards,
some of which run down to the rippling water which gleamed through the
serried trunks as we coursed along. A large olive-oil mill indicated
one of the chief industries of the community. The road is level and
well improved and the run will delight anyone who has the opportunity
of making it.

Out of Elsinore the San Diego road strikes straight away to the
southeast for a good many miles. Here we are reminded that we are in the
Ramona country, for the little village of Temecula figures in the book.
Here is supposed to have been the home of the Indian hero, Alessandro,
who returns after his elopement with Ramona to find his people driven
out and his own humble cottage occupied by a drunken American and his
family.

There is little now in Temecula but a general store, whose proprietor is
an expert on Indian baskets, of which he had a really fine collection.
We especially admired some examples of the work of the Pala Indians,
but the prices asked by the shopkeeper were not so much to our liking.
We would go to Pala and perchance get baskets at first hand at figures
more in keeping with our purse.

Beyond Temecula the road enters the hills and winds through a maze of
trees and shrubbery. We passed under mighty oaks and here and there
around huge granite boulders, which at some time had plunged down from
the heights. In the shadow of one of these—a huge block of red granite
fifty feet in diameter—we paused for our luncheon, a very simple repast
with the plebeian sandwich as the principal course, but the delightful
surroundings and a sharp appetite made it seem a banquet fit for a king!
A famished dog and two hungry-looking children stole out of a cabin a
few rods distant to investigate and there was plenty left to make them
happy, too.

From this point we began the ascent of Red Mountain grade over a new
county road which flings itself around the giant hills in graceful
curves and easy gradients. There were wonderful views as we ascended,
of deep yawning canyons and wooded hill ranges tinged with the pale
violet of the mountain lilac, and fading away into the purple shadows
of the distance. At the crest of the hills we passed through the great
olive groves of Red Mountain Ranch. There are several thousand fine
trees which crowd closely to the roadside for perhaps a mile. A real
estate placard declared this region to be "frostless," and it seems
to have vindicated this claim very well, for it showed no trace of the
disastrous freeze of 1913, which sadly blighted much of the surrounding
country.

Gliding down the long smooth descent for several miles, we came to
Bonsal—the existence of which we should never have discovered had it not
been for the signboard—where we left the main road for Pala. For a dozen
miles we followed a sinuous road along the San Luis Rey River, bordered
by trees and shrubbery in endless variety, until we found ourselves
in the streets of the queer little Indian town. Before us rose the
whitewashed walls and quaint bell-tower of the much-restored mission,
surrounded by the wooden huts, each very much like every other. Each had
its tiny garden patch, showing in most cases infinite care, and, as we
learned, requiring infinite labor, for all the water had to be pumped
or carried from the river for irrigation. We were told, however, that
the government was building a pipe line and that on its completion in
a few months Pala would speedily spring into verdure.

While we were getting our bearings the ladies of our party made a
hurried round of several of the cottages, fully expecting to find
Pala baskets in unlimited quantities at bargain prices. It was with
considerable chagrin that they reported not a basket to be found in the
town; an old Indian declared that no baskets were now made—the women
and girls of the village were learning lace-making, which they hoped
would be easier and more remunerative. Indeed, from all we could learn,
basket-making is becoming a lost art among the California Indians.
Contact with civilization seems to have killed the infinite care and
patience necessary to produce the finer examples of this work, which is
now done in a very small way by the older women.

A year later we came to Pala again and hardly recognized the place,
so great was the improvement wrought by the completion of the water
supply work. The cottages were surrounded by flowers and the little
garden patches looked green and thriving. The government schoolhouse
had been completed and we saw a score or more of well-mannered and
intelligent-looking children at their studies. The lace-making school
was also in this building and the authority of our party declared the
work really fine and the prices very low. We felt the more willing to
make a small purchase of the laces when the matron assured us that every
sale was of material help to the poor people of the community. The women
and girls are willing to work diligently if they can earn only a few
cents a day, but they have the greatest difficulty in disposing of their
product.

We found the mission in charge of Father Doyle, a kindly and courteous
gentleman and a fellow-motorist, since he visits his few charges by
means of his trusty Ford. He lives in the old mission building in very
plain—even primitive—quarters; clearly, his work is a labor of love and
faith, since what else could induce a young and vigorous man to lead
such a comfortless and exacting life? He told us the history of the
mission—how Pala was founded about a hundred years ago by Padre Peyri as
an "assistancia" to San Luis Rey, about twenty miles away. It prospered
at the start, its conversions numbering over a thousand in two years.
The chapel was built shortly after—a long, narrow adobe twenty-seven
by one hundred and forty-four feet, with roof of characteristic mission
tiles. As a result of the secularization by the Mexican government, Pala
rapidly declined and when it came into the possession of the Americans,
it was already falling into ruin. It was finally deeded to the Landmarks
Club, which agreed that it should revert to its proper ownership,
meaning, doubtless, the Catholic Church. When Father Doyle came here,
it was in a sad state of decay, but with untiring zeal and energy he
has restored the chapel and rebuilt the quaint campanile or bell-tower.
Father Doyle pointed out his work on the chapel—the restoration of
the walls and old tile roof—but little has been done to the interior,
which still has its original floor of square tiles and rude, unhewn
beams supporting the roof. The priest who preceded him for a short time
evidently had little sentiment, for he had ruthlessly covered up the
ancient Indian decorations with a coat of whitewash. Father Doyle had
removed it carefully in places, exposing the old frescoes, and hoped it
might be possible to complete this work some time. In the chapel are two
odd wooden statues from Spain, gaudily colored and gilded, of the Virgin
and San Luis Rey, which the father declared were highly venerated by his
Indian parishioners. He also showed us with much pride a few vestments
used by the early padres, and a fine collection of baskets—mostly given
him by the makers—of the different tribes among which he had worked.

  [Illustration: CAMPANILE, PALA MISSION
   From Photograph by Putnam & Valentine]

The most distinctive and picturesque feature of Pala Mission is the
quaint campanile, of which our picture will be far more descriptive
than any words. The present structure is largely a restoration by Father
Doyle, who also rescued and hung the two large bronze bells now in the
niches of the tower. The dormitory building is quite ruinous—with the
exception of the priest's quarters and a portion occupied by a small
general store, it has almost vanished.

The Indians now living in Pala are not the descendants of the original
inhabitants of the village when the mission was founded. These were
ousted after the American occupation and scattered in the surrounding
hills, having now practically disappeared. The present population is
made up of the Palatingwa tribe, which was evicted from Warner's Ranch
some twenty miles away and given a home here by the Government. An
effort is now being made to improve their condition and it is to be
hoped that tardy justice will make some amends for all that the red men
about Pala have suffered at the hands of their white brothers.

We inquire the road to Escondido and Father Doyle tells us that the
shortest route is to cross the river and strike over the hills to Lilac
and Valley Center. It may be the shortest route, but a rougher, steeper,
stonier byroad is not common, even in California. It winds along the
hill-crests with sharp little pitches and short turns that will compel
any driver to attend carefully to business. It would have been better to
follow the river to the junction with the main road, though the distance
is a few miles farther. At Valley Center—which is only a ranch-house—we
came into a fairly good highway which steadily improved as we approached
Escondido. It was on this fine road that we spied a huge rattlesnake
basking in the afternoon sun, too lazy or too defiant to make much
effort to get out of the way of our wheels, which passed over him. A
blow from a rock finished him, and his twelve-jointed rattle was added
to our trophies. It seemed a pity to leave his beautifully marked
sepia-brown skin, but we had no facilities for removing and caring for
it.

Escondido means "hidden," a name probably suggested by the location of
the little town deep in the mammoth hills. It is, however, the best
town on the inland route between Riverside and San Diego, and though
small, it is apparently an energetic community. The main street was
being macadamized and improved for some distance out of the town, and
a large hotel and handsome schoolhouse testified to its enterprise.
For some miles to the south of the town the road is straight and level;
then we re-enter the hills and begin the ascent of the finely engineered
Poway grade. The road swings up the giant hills in long, easy loops and
as we near the summit the whole grade lies before our eyes as we look
backward down the canyon. From the crest there is another wonderful view
of hills touched with the declining sun and wooded canyons shrouded in
the amethystine haze of evening. To the right a road cuts across the
hills to La Jolla by the sea and we followed this on one occasion. It
is a narrow, little-used road running along the hill-crests or clinging
precariously to their sides, but it proved smoother and easier than we
anticipated. It passes through Miramar—the great country estate of a
millionaire newspaper man—comprising many thousands of acres. Some of
the land was cultivated, but the great bulk of it is in cattle ranges.
For miles we saw no human habitation and had some difficulty in keeping
the right road. We came into the main coast road a few miles north of
La Jolla and hastened to Del Mar—of which more anon—where we preferred
to pass the night rather than at San Diego.

On our first trip, however, we continued on our way to the city and
gliding down Poway grade we came to a fork in the road with a sign
informing us that one branch led to San Diego by Murphy Canyon and the
other by Murray Canyon. We chose the former, believing, for obvious
reasons, that it must be the best, and soon came into the new-old
town on the quiet, land-locked harbor, where the white man's work in
California had its beginnings.



VI

ROUND ABOUT SAN DIEGO


If one wishes to stop within the city of San Diego, he will find the
U. S. Grant Hotel equal to the best metropolitan hostelries and when
he comes to settle his bill, will also learn that the best metropolitan
establishments "have nothing on" the Grant in the way of stiff charges.
It is a huge, concrete structure—"absolutely fire-proof," of course—and
its interior appointments and furnishings are in keeping with its
imposing exterior. It is justly the pride of San Diego and, despite the
marvelous growth of the town, it will be long before it outgrows this
magnificent hotel.

There is much for the tourist stranger to see about San Diego—the
oldest settlement of the white man in California. The motor car affords
ideal means for covering the surrounding country in the shortest time
and with the assistance of the excellent maps of the Auto Club of
Southern California, one can easily locate the points of interest in
the immediate vicinity outside the limits of the city.

  [Illustration: SAN DIEGO MISSION
   From Photograph by Harold Taylor]

The old mission will usually be the first objective, and more especially
it appeals to ourselves, who have already determined to traverse
the entire length of the King's Highway to visit all the decaying
monuments to the work of the zealous Franciscan padres. It has a special
significance as the earliest Spanish settlement in California and as
the beginning of a movement that has widely influenced the history and
architecture of the state. The story of its founding I have already told
in brief; its history in a general way was much the same as that of San
Gabriel. Our outline of the mission play in a preceding chapter gives
a true conception of its earliest days; owing to the distrust of the
natives it was long before converts were made in considerable numbers.
The region about was well peopled, but only seventy-one converts had
been secured by 1774, six years after Serra's landing. A year later the
mission was attacked by a horde of savages, variously estimated at from
five to eight hundred, who burned the rude brush-roofed building to the
ground and murdered Father Jayme, one of the priests. When news of the
disaster reached Father Serra, who had gone northward to Monterey, he
rejoiced in the martyrdom of his friend. "God be praised!" he cried.
"The soil is now watered," thus accepting the calamity as a presage of
victory to come. The troubles with the natives continued until 1779,
when they were pacified by some of their number being made officials
in the society, Alcades and Regidores, as they were styled. These
dignitaries administered justice to their own people under the direction
of the padres and from this time the progress of the mission was
rapid. In 1800 it was the most populous of the missions, its neophytes
numbering fifteen hundred and twenty-three. More substantial buildings
had been erected and an extensive scheme of irrigation had been begun,
remains of which astonish the beholder to-day. The great dam is in a
gorge about three miles above the mission. It was built of gray granite
twelve feet thick and stands as firm and solid as ever, though it is
now nearly filled with sand.

The mission's prosperity continued, with occasional interruptions on
account of differences with the natives, until the secularization in
1833. After this the Indians were gradually scattered and were decimated
in frequent clashes with the Spanish soldiers. Eleven years later
an official report showed but one hundred natives connected with the
mission as against more than fifteen hundred in its palmy days—a fact
which needs no elucidation to show the results of Mexican confiscation.
The buildings were reported by a United States officer to be "in good
preservation" in 1852, and were then occupied by American troops.

To-day only the "fachada" of the old church remains. It stands on
a hillside about five miles northeast of the city and overlooks the
beautiful valley of the San Diego River. The avenue leading to it from
the main road passes between long rows of eucalyptus trees and the
ruin itself presents a picturesque effect in its setting of palms and
black and silver-gray olives. A large dormitory near by houses several
priests, who courteously receive the visitor and tell him the story of
the mission. There is little to show, but one who is interested in the
romantic history of the Golden State will find himself loath to leave
the time-mellowed fragment of, perhaps, her most historic building.
And his reveries will be saddened by the thought that the precious old
structure is rapidly falling into decay, which will mean its ultimate
extinction unless energetic measures are adopted to restore and protect
it. Surely the earliest relic of the beginning of civilization on our
great Pacific Coast is deserving of loving and conscientious care.

On our return to the city we left the main highway a short distance
from the mission and pursued a mountain road to Lakeside Inn, then
a much-advertised resort. This road—a mere shelf cut in the side of
the hills—closely follows the course of the San Diego River, usually
far above it, with a cliff-like declivity at the side. It is quite
narrow in places and there are many sharp turns around abrupt corners—a
road not altogether conducive to peace of mind in nervous people. The
scenery, however, makes the trip worth while—the river boiling over its
boulder-strewn bed and the wooded hills on every hand combining to make
a wild but inspiring picture.

The inn was an immense wooden structure, since destroyed by fire.
Handsome grounds did much to make up for the rather shabby appearance
of the building. The lake was an artificial pond—about the only kind of
lake to be found in the vicinity of San Diego. The excellent dinner was
the strong point in the Lakeside's favor, and this was doubtless the
attraction which brought several cars besides our own, as nearly all
left shortly after the meal. We lounged about the grounds for awhile
and then followed suit, taking a different road—by the way of El Cajon
and La Mesa—an easier though less spectacular route than that by which
we came.

This passes Grosmont, a great conical hill some twelve hundred feet
high, and a well-engineered roadway leads to the summit. Of course we
must make the ascent, though the steep appearance of the grades caused
the occupants of the rear seat some uneasiness. The ascent did not prove
so difficult as we anticipated at first glance, though the pitch just
before one comes to the summit is enough to worry any careful driver a
little. The view from the hill is advertised as "the grandest panorama
in the world; one that simply beggars description," and "Fighting Bob"
Evans is quoted as having said, "Of all the beautiful views in the
world, give me Grosmont; nothing that I have ever seen can beat it." It
may have been that the bluff admiral climbed Grosmont after an extended
voyage at sea and any land was bound to look good to him. Lillian
Russell, the actress, is quoted by the guide-book in a similar strain,
but while Lillian is an accepted authority on personal pulchritude,
I do not know that she can claim the same distinction with reference
to scenic beauty. In any event, while the view from Grosmont is truly
grand and inspiring, I am very sure that we saw many nobler ones from
California mountain peaks. Indeed, we saw one still more glorious the
next day—of which more anon. The view, however, is well worth the climb
to anyone fond of panoramas and free from nervous qualms on mountain
roads.

Of course everyone who comes to San Diego must see the Coronado, whose
pointed red towers have become familiar everywhere through extensive
advertising and whose claim as the "largest resort hotel in the world"
has not been disputed, so far as I know. It is situated on the northern
point of the long strip of sand that shuts in the waters of San Diego
Bay and which widens to several hundred yards, affording extensive
grounds for the hotel as well as sites for numerous private residences
and a small village. It may be reached by ferry from the city or one
may drive around the bay—a distance of twenty-one miles, and when we
undertook it a very rough road for the greater part of the way. The
drive is not very interesting; the shore is flat, and there is little
opportunity to get a view of the bay. It is the kind of trip that one
cares to make but once, and on subsequent visits to Coronado we crossed
by the ferry, which carried our car cheaply and satisfactorily.

The "season" having passed, we experienced no difficulty in getting
accommodations at the Coronado, not always easy to do "off hand" in the
winter months. The rates glibly quoted by the genial clerk jarred us a
little but we consoled ourselves with the reflection that we wouldn't
pay them for a very lengthy period. That was before the war, however,
and in retrospect the figures do not loom so large by any means!

Our rooms were worth the money, however; they were large and airy;
the big casement windows opened on one side upon the sunset sweep of
the Pacific, and on the other we came into a corridor overlooking the
tropic beauty of the great court. The Coronado is on such a vast scale
that it takes one some time to get his bearings, and though the hotel
can accommodate upwards of a thousand guests at a time, the public
rooms and grounds never seem crowded. Its most distinctive interior
feature is the great circular ball-room, perhaps two hundred feet in
diameter, and covered by an open-beamed pavilion roof. But the interior
is of less consequence to the average Eastern guest than the outside
surroundings—the climate of eternal unchanging summer, the tropical
foliage and flowers, and the never-ending roll of the blue ocean on the
long sandy beach. Here is the most equable temperature in the United
States, if not in the world, the winter mean being fifty-six degrees
and the summer sixty-eight. Frost has never been known on the little
peninsula; even the freeze of 1913 did not touch it. It is not strange,
then, that it glows with the brilliant color of numberless flower-beds
and that almost every variety of these is shown in the collection
of many hundreds in the Coronado court. Here, too, is one of those
delightful features of Southern California, an open-air aviary, where
hundreds of songsters and birds of brilliant plumage are given practical
freedom in a great cage. There are several miles of fine driveways about
the hotel and village, and one can explore the place in a short time by
motor. He will learn a fact that many people do not know—that the hotel
is not all of Coronado, by any means. Here is a good-sized village with
many handsome residences. There are also several cheaper lodging-houses
and one can live as economically as he chooses in the "tent city" during
the season.

Coronado would never appeal to such nomads as ourselves as a place
to stay for any length of time—even forgetting the "freight," if we
were able to be so happily oblivious to a matter of such moment to
us. After a saunter about the grounds, indescribably glorious in the
tempered sunlight, and a drive about the village, we were ready for the
road again. Like nearly every stranger who comes to San Diego, we were
hankering for an excursion into Old Mexico—just to be able to declare
we had been there—and the short jaunt to Tia Juana served this very
useful purpose. The trip was doubly sensational since Tia Juana had
recently been the seat of genuine war, and you could see bullet holes
in the wretched little hovels. It was even guarded by a "fort," which
chanced to be deserted at the time of our incursion. The village lies
only two or three miles across the border-line, beyond which the road
was simply execrable. It meandered in an aimless fashion across the
wide plain and was deep with dust and full of chuck-holes that wrenched
the car unmercifully. And after we arrived we found nothing but a
scattered hamlet made up of souvenir stores, saloons, and a few poor
little cottages. Evidently the place depends for its existence on the
troops of tourists from across the border, and Tia Juana—which, being
interpreted, means "Aunt Jane"—welcomes them as cordially as her limited
means permit.

While the ladies ransacked the counters of the souvenir store for
bargains—principally, no doubt, for the satisfaction of carrying a
little "contraband" over the border—we endeavored to interview some of
the native loafers on the status of the revolution, but got only a "No
sabe" for our pains. A few minutes of Tia Juana will generally satisfy
the most ardent tourist and we were not long in turning the "Forty" U.
S.-ward. The customs official waved us a nonchalant salute—he did not
even give us the courtesy of a cursory glance into the car; evidently
he knew that one would find nothing in Tia Juana worth smuggling into
the country. We bade farewell to the land of the greaser with a feeling
of double satisfaction; we had been in Mexico—quite as far as we cared
to go under conditions then existing—and we were glad to get off the
abominable road.

A vast change has come over the once stupid and harmless Tia Juana since
the advent of the prohibition laws. As might be expected, it affords an
easily reached and very welcome oasis for bibulously inclined tourists
from the United States, hundreds of whom daily cross the border to
enjoy their "personal freedom" in the now lively town. Not only does
liquor flow freely there, but gambling, race-track betting and other
still worse vices flourish unchecked. A vigorous agitation is being
made in San Diego—which is used as a rendezvous by a host of undesirable
individuals connected with the Tia Juana resorts—to restrict greatly the
issuing of passports, without which one can not cross the border. The
new Mexican government has also promised to make an effort to suppress
the rampant vice in the town, but little in this direction has been
accomplished at the present writing.

No one will wish to leave San Diego without a visit to the Old Town,
for here is the identical spot where Father Serra first landed and
began his work of converting and civilizing the natives. Here was
really the first mission, though afterwards it was removed to the site
which we had already visited. Here General Fremont hoisted the stars
and stripes in 1846—less than a century after Serra's coming. Here is
the old church with its mission bells brought from Spain in 1802; the
earliest palm trees in the state; the old graveyard, with its pathetic
wooden headboards; the first brick house in California (another may
also be seen in Monterey); the foundation of the huge Catholic church,
projected many years ago but never completed; and the old jail "built by
the original California grafter," as the prospectus of the enterprising
proprietor of "Ramona's Wedding Place" declares.

The Old Town adjoins the city just where the Los Angeles road leaves
the bay for the north. Perhaps this is not strictly correct, for the
limits of San Diego extend northward nearly to Del Mar, taking in a
vast scope of thinly populated country which no doubt the enthusiastic
San Diegans expect to be converted into solid city blocks before long.
There are many ancient adobe houses in the Old Town, the most notable
of which is the Estudillo Mansion, popularly known as Ramona's Wedding
Place. It was doubtless the house that Mrs. Jackson had in mind when
she brought her Indian hero and his bride to old San Diego after their
flight from Temecula, where they had expected to be married. This is,
of course, purely fictional, but the house is an excellent type of the
ancient Spanish residence of the better class. It was burned in 1872,
but the solid adobe walls still stood and a few years ago the house
was restored. It is now a museum and curio store, and the proprietor
is an enthusiastic antiquarian and an authority on mission history. The
house covers nearly a city block; it is built in the shape of a hollow
square, open on one side, and around the interior runs a wide veranda
surrounding a court. This is beautiful with flowers and shrubbery and
to one side is a cactus garden containing nearly every known species
of this strange plant. The collection of paintings, antique furniture,
and other relics relating to early days in California is worth seeing
and one can learn something of the history and romance of the missions
from the hourly lecture delivered by the proprietor. He will also
take pleasure in telling you about the Old Town and his experience
with the Indians, from whom he purchases a large part of his baskets,
silver trinkets, and other articles in his shop. One can easily put
in an hour here, and if time does not press, the garden is a pleasant
lounging-place for a longer period.

A motor tour of San Diego must surely include the drive over the
splendid new boulevard that follows the sinuous length of Point Loma
to the old lighthouse standing on the bold headland which rises at the
northern entrance of the harbor. It is a dilapidated stone structure,
only twenty or thirty feet high, but from the little tower we saw one
of the most glorious views of all those we witnessed during our thirty
thousand miles of motoring in California. The scene from Grosmont is a
magnificent one, but it lacks the variety and color of the Point Loma
panorama. Here ocean, bay, green hills with lemon and olive groves,
and distant snow-clad mountains combine to form a scene of beauty and
grandeur that it is not easy to match elsewhere. Almost at our feet
swell the inrolling waves of the violet-blue Pacific, which stretches
away like a symbol of infinity to the pale sapphire sky that meets it
to-day with a sharply defined line. The harbor is a strange patchwork
of color; gleaming blues—from sapphire to indigo—and emerald-greens
nearer the shores, flecked here and there with spots of purple, and the
whole diversified with craft of every description. Across the strait
is a wide, barren sand flat and a little farther the red towers of
Coronado in its groves of palm trees. Beyond the harbor the city spreads
out, wonderfully distinct in the clear sunlight that pours down upon
it. Still farther lie the green hills and beyond these the mountains,
growing dimmer and dimmer with each successive range. Here and there in
the distance, perhaps a hundred miles away, a white peak gleams through
the soft blue haze. Nearer at hand you see the rugged contour of Point
Loma itself; the tall slender shaft that marks the graves of the victims
of the explosion on the Cruiser Bennington a few years ago; the oriental
towers of the Theosophical Institute, and down along the water line the
guns and defenses of Fort Rosecrans. It is a scene that we contemplate
long and rapturously and which on a later trip to San Diego we go to
view again.

As we returned to the city some evil genius directed our attention
to a sign-board pointing to a little byroad down the cliff but a
short distance from the lighthouse and bearing the legend, "To Fort
Rosecrans." We wished to see Fort Rosecrans and decided to avail
ourselves of the handy short cut so opportunely discovered, and soon
found ourselves descending the roughest, steepest grade we found in
California. A mere shelf scarce six inches wider than our car ran along
the edge of the cliff, which seemingly dropped sheer to the ocean far
beneath. The grade must have been at least twenty-five per cent and
the road zigzagged downward around the corners that brought our front
wheels to the verge of the precipice at the turns. Both brakes and
the engine were brought into service and as a matter of precaution the
ladies dismounted from the car. We should have been only too glad to
retreat, but could do nothing but keep on, creeping downward, hoping
fervently that we might not meet a vehicle on the way. At last the road
came out on the beach and we drove into the main street of the village
near the fort, where people stared at us in a fashion indicating that
few automobiles came by the route we had followed.

There was little to see at Fort Rosecrans and our nerves were too badly
shaken to leave room for curiosity, anyway. We went on into the main
highway, resolving to be more cautious about short cuts in the future.
When we came again to Point Loma some months later, the sign that led
us down the cliff had been replaced with a mandate of "Closed to autos,"
and we wondered if we were responsible for the change!

On this latter trip we paused before the Roman gateway of the
Theosophical Institute and asked permission to enter, which was readily
given for a small consideration. Autos are not admitted to the grounds
and we left our car by the roadside, making the ascent on foot. As we
came near the mysterious, glass-domed building, we met a studious young
man in a light tan uniform and broad-brimmed felt hat, apparently deeply
absorbed in a book as he paced to and fro. To our inquiries for a guide
he responded courteously, "I will serve you with pleasure myself," and
conducted us about the magnificent grounds. In the meanwhile he took
occasion to enlighten us on the aims and tenets of his cult.

"Many people," he said, "think that there is something occult or
mysterious about the Institute, but the fact is that it is a school open
to everyone under twenty-one who will comply with our regulations. We
prefer to take young children and train them from the very beginning,
which our experienced teachers and nurses can do better than their
mothers," but noticing the looks of indignant protest which came to the
faces of the ladies of our party, he quickly qualified his statement
with—"perhaps."

"The tuition," he went on, "is a thousand dollars per year, which
includes everything—and the pupils never leave these grounds until they
have completed our course. Thorough education is our first object;
doctrine is secondary—we do not even ask them to accept our tenets
unless they wish to do so. There is nothing secret or occult about
our institution; we do not keep the public from our buildings because
of anything mysterious there, but because sightseers would interfere
with the work. We have more than three hundred children in the schools
at present and in some cases their parents live in the houses on our
grounds. No, it is not a 'community' in any sense of the word, and the
statement often made that people who join with us must give us their
property and surrender themselves to our control, is absolutely false.
There is no time to tell you of our peculiar teachings, but you will
receive booklets at the gate-house that will enlighten you on them.
Reincarnation, as you would style it, is one of our fundamentals and
Katherine Tingley, who founded the Institute, is from our point of
view the spiritual successor of the famous Russian teacher, Madame
Blavatsky." I was surprised to learn later that the foundress of the
cult, despite her obviously Russian name, was an English woman by birth.
She was a famous world traveler and on one of her journeys married a
Russian nobleman. One must admit, I am bound to say, that her published
works show an astounding amount of research and curious knowledge,
whatever we may think of her doctrines.

Regardless of our attitude on Mrs. Tingley's teachings and beliefs, one
can not question her soundness and success in a business and aesthetic
way. Everything about the establishment speaks of prosperity and it
would be hard to imagine more beautiful and pleasing surroundings.
The buildings are mainly of oriental design, solidly built and fitting
well into the general plan of the grounds. Among them is a beautiful
Greek theatre where plays open to the public are sometimes given. The
grounds evince the skill of the landscape-gardener and scrupulous care
on part of those who have them in charge. Flowers bloom in profusion
and a double row of palms runs along the seaward edge of the hill.
Through these gleams the calm deep blue of the ocean, which seldom
changes, for there are but few stormy or gloomy days on Point Loma.
The outlook to the landward is much the same as we beheld from the old
lighthouse—a panorama of green hills and mountain ranges, stretching
away to the snow-capped peaks of San Bernardino, nearly one hundred and
fifty miles distant. It is a glorious spot, well calculated to lend
glamour to the—to our notion—fantastical doctrines of the cult which
makes its headquarters here. Indeed, my friend—whose religious ideas
are in a somewhat fluid state—was deeply impressed and after reading the
pamphlets which we received on leaving, intimated that the doctrines of
Theosophy looked mighty good to him—though I believe this is as far as
he ever got in the faith.



VII

THE IMPERIAL VALLEY AND THE SAN DIEGO BACK COUNTRY


The infinite variety of California will be more and more impressed upon
the tourist as his travels take him farther from the beaten track. It
is, truly, a land of contrasts; and only one who goes from the green
valley of the Sacramento to the arid sands of the Imperial Desert will
know how sharply marked the contrasts may be. The former will remind
him not a little of the green and prosperous farm lands of the Middle
West and the agricultural methods pursued are not widely dissimilar, but
where else in the world can a parallel be found for the strange valley
that lies beyond the rugged mountain ranges eastward from San Diego?

Twenty-five years ago this weird, sun-blistered desert seemed the
most unlikely spot on earth to become a place of incredibly productive
farms and thriving towns. The arid bed of a long-vanished inland sea,
lying from a few inches to three hundred feet below sea level, with a
temperature varying up to one hundred and thirty degrees in summer and
less than an inch of annual rainfall, surely gave little promise of ever
becoming an agricultural bonanza. It was even more typically a desert,
says one authority, than any part of the Sahara of which we have record.
To the ordinary layman passing through on the Southern Pacific, nothing
would have seemed farther from the range of possibility than that this
counterpart of Death Valley should ever become a green and fertile land.

There were, however, a few thoughtful pioneers who knew of the
possibilities of the desert when water could be brought to it and who
were aware that within a comparatively short distance the great Colorado
River coursed through its channel at an altitude higher than the floor
of the Valley. Here was water, practically unlimited, which needed
only direction into an irrigating system to change the desert's sandy
wastes into fertile fields. Dr. Wozencroft of San Bernardino was the
first to take practical steps towards this great work, about fifty years
ago. He endeavored to obtain from Congress a grant of land upon which
he might carry out his project, but the idea was not taken seriously
by the lawmakers, who dismissed it with a few jocular flings at the
promoter's expense. The experts declared the plan not impractical,
but the politicians could not be induced to take favorable action upon
it. The immediate outcome was that the enthusiastic promoter lost his
fortune in his fruitless efforts and died a disappointed man, but he had
directed public attention to the possibility of reclaiming the Valley
and various attempts were made by others to carry out his plans.

No considerable headway was made until the organization of the
California Development Company in 1896 for the purpose of reclaiming
what was then first styled the Imperial Valley. This was a water
corporation whose purpose was to construct an irrigating system to
serve some five hundred thousand acres of desert land then open to
occupation by settlers under the national homestead acts. The profits
of the company were to come from the sale of water service, since it
did not own or control the land. The contour of the country made it
necessary to bring the main supply canal through Mexican territory for
a distance of forty or fifty miles, and the canal now serves some two
hundred thousand acres in Mexico. An old river bed which resulted from
an overflow many years ago carried the water a considerable part of
the distance and greatly minimized the labor necessary to complete the
canal. Still, it was a stupendous task, requiring several years' time
and a large expenditure of money. The seepage and overflow from the
irrigating system was to be conveyed to the lowest part of the Valley,
the Salton Basin, now occupied by the Salton Sea, a shallow lake two or
three hundred square miles in extent.

This lake originated in a sensational manner, which engaged the
attention of the country for many months. During the summer of 1904 the
development company undertook to increase the supply of water from the
Colorado by cutting a new outlet which was to be controlled by flood
gates. Before the work was completed an unprecedented rise washed away
the controlling works and threatened to turn the whole volume of the
river into the Valley. A tremendous channel was soon torn in the sands
by the raging flood—which was known as New River—and the waters coursed
through the Valley to Salton Basin, which filled rapidly. Efforts made
by the company to check the torrent were without avail; its means and
facilities were too limited to cope with the serious situation.

In the meanwhile the existence of the Valley, with its farms and towns,
was threatened; if unchecked, the flood would eventually restore the
inland sea that filled the basin in prehistoric times. The settlers
were greatly alarmed and appealed to the Government for assistance.
Congress was not in session and President Roosevelt, with characteristic
resourcefulness, called upon the Southern Pacific Railroad Company to
undertake the task of curbing the river, assuring the officials of the
road that he would recommend an appropriation by Congress to reimburse
them for money expended in the work. The railroad company consented and
after several months of almost superhuman effort and an expenditure of
two million dollars, the flood was curbed and the vast empty chasm of
New River left to tell the story of its wild fury.

But Congress refused to make the appropriation and the Southern Pacific
"held the sack" for the enormous sum spent in protecting the Valley.
The people likewise declined to issue bonds to reimburse the railroad
company, which considered itself the victim of bad faith on part of
both the Government and the citizens of the Valley. We heard an echo of
the controversy when we visited El Centro—another break was imminent on
account of high water in the Colorado and the railroad was called upon
for assistance. The officials notified the owners of the threatened
lands that when a sufficient sum of money to guarantee the cost of the
work was deposited in a Los Angeles bank, they would hurry a force to
the scene of the trouble—and the cash was forthcoming without delay.

The story of the flood forms the framework of Harold Bell Wright's
recent novel, "The Winning of Barbara Worth," and while the narrative
does not by any means adhere to historic fact, it has served to bring
the Imperial Valley to the attention of many a reader who had scarcely
heard of it before.

Prosperity has usually prevailed in the Valley; money has been made
so easily and surely that the disadvantage of the climate was readily
overlooked by the inhabitants, many of whom actually profess to enjoy
it. But a climate that is hot in winter and superheated in summer,
rainless, and with almost incessant high winds that stir up clouds
of dust and occasional sand storms, has its drawbacks, we must admit.
Rainfall, however, is neither needed nor wanted. The farmer turns the
water on at the proper time and there need be no excessive moisture or
protracted drought.

Under such conditions the productiveness of the land is almost
incredible. Six or eight heavy crops of alfalfa are harvested from a
single field during the year. Barley, oats, and other small grains
flourish and at present are cut mostly for forage. Cotton, under
normal conditions, is the most valuable crop, about one hundred and
forty thousand acres being planted in 1920, with an estimated value of
$25,000,000. The quality rivals the sea-island product and the yield is
large, averaging more than a bale to the acre. Vegetables and berries
flourish in endless variety and truck-gardening for the Los Angeles and
San Diego markets is profitable because the season for everything is
ahead of the rest of California. Citrus fruits of finest quality thrive
wonderfully, but as yet little has been done in orchard-planting. Figs
are readily grown and it is said that the date palm will flourish and
produce an excellent quality of fruit in the Imperial though it has not
been a success elsewhere in California. Cattle-raising and dairying are
leading industries—the butter product alone is worth several million
dollars yearly. Taking the country over, however, the Imperial Valley
is probably more famous for its cantaloupes than for any other single
product. Each year it produces several thousand cars of this succulent
melon and they are on the market from Boston to San Francisco before
the Rocky Fords are in blossom.

Until quite recently the Valley could be reached only by the main line
and branches of the Southern Pacific Railroad and by one or two inferior
wagon trails which meandered through the great hills and over the sands.
The desirability of a motor highway led the business men of San Diego
to raise by subscription sufficient funds to complete the road through
the mountains from Mountain Spring on the San Diego County line to the
floor of the Valley, where it continues for a dozen miles through sands
not quite heavy enough to stop progress if one keeps on the beaten
trail. Beyond Coyote Wells an attempt had been made to improve the
road by freely oiling the sand. The older portion was broken and rough,
though for some distance out of Dixieland there is as fine a boulevard
as one could wish. In San Diego County the stage road is part of the
magnificent new highway system, of which I shall have more to say later.

Another highway to the Valley comes down from San Bernardino through
Beaumont, Banning, Palm Springs and Indio, continuing along the northern
side of the Salton Sea to Brawley. Pavement of this road is now so
well advanced that it will very likely be completed by the time this
book comes from the press. In any event, it will be so nearly finished
that this run, once the terror of motorists, can be made easily and
comfortably, and, revealing as it does so many interesting phases of
California, it is sure to be immensely popular. The new route misses by
a few miles the towns of Coachella and Mecca, but these may be reached
by a detour over the old road if any one's interest is strong enough to
lead him from the comforts of the new pavement. Palm Springs, however,
will surely claim a pause for lunch at the well-ordered Desert Inn and
a visit to Palm Canyon, a few miles away. Here we may see the palm in
its native state and some authorities assert that these palms are the
progenitors of this particular species in California. The larger ones
are several centuries old, and there is an Indian tradition that they
provided seed for the palms planted by the Mission fathers.

  [Illustration: PALM CANYON
   From Original Painting by H. H. Bagg]

The canyon itself would be worth visiting, even without the added
interest of the palms. It is a rugged ravine several hundred feet deep,
with a clear stream rippling among boulders or losing itself beneath
the tangled undergrowth. It is about sixteen miles in length, and the
palms extend the entire distance, ranging from scattered sentinels to
jungle-like thickets. Some of them are perhaps one hundred feet high.
The trunks of the larger ones are blackened by fire, due to the practice
of the Indians in building fires around them to cause the fall of the
seeds, which they consider a great delicacy. Strange to say, the palms
seemed none the worse for this severe treatment. They did not endure
so well the onslaught of a moving-picture outfit which, to make a
sensational scene, blew up some of the rocks and palms with dynamite.
There was an insistent demand for punishing these vandals, which we
hope attained its end. One can drive to the edge of the canyon and from
an elevated point get a very good general view, but most visitors will
wish to make the descent and proceed a greater or less distance up the
gorge on foot.

From Palm Springs to El Centro is an easy day's run, allowing time for
a visit to the date plantations of the Coachella Valley, where Arabian
date palms have been imported and successfully cultivated, producing
fruit superior and more valuable than the imported article. For some
miles this road runs in sight of the Salton Sea, a remarkable body of
water about twenty-five miles long by ten in width, lying more than two
hundred feet below the sea level.

The standard motor route from San Diego to El Centro—the capital of the
Valley—runs by the way of the Potrero grade through the tiny villages
of Jamul and Dulzura. One does not have to own a car—or even to hire
one—to motor in state over this wonderful highway, for a half dozen
automobile stages make the trip each way daily, the fare averaging about
five dollars for the one hundred and twenty miles.

An alternate road as far as Campo, about forty miles from San Diego,
goes by the way of Lakeside and Descanso and takes one through some of
the most picturesque hills and vales of the "Back Country." It is nearly
twenty miles longer than the stage road, but it has no serious grades
and has been designated as the route of the new state highway. We found
it well improved as far as Lakeside, but beyond it became a winding
trail, meandering through canyons heavily wooded with oak and sycamore.

On the recommendation of a fellow-motorist just returned from the
Imperial we chose this route on our outward trip. We left San Diego
about ten o'clock, advertising our destination to the public generally
by the five-gallon canvas water-bag that dangled from our car. Most
cars for the desert carry this useful adjunct and there are conceivable
predicaments where it might be very serviceable. Beyond Lakeside
we entered the hills and saw much delightfully picturesque scenery,
though the country seemed likely never to be of great value to mankind
except for scenic beauty. There were one or two villages and occasional
ranch-houses in the cultivated spots in the valleys, but the rugged
hills rising on every hand gave little promise of future productiveness.
This section is already famous as a vacation resort and several of the
ranchers are prepared for campers and summer boarders. Many of these
ranches are ideally located in grassy, tree-fringed vales watered by
clear mountain streams. The coming of the state highway will bring
prosperity to these villagers and resorts and greatly assist in the
development of the scanty resources of the country. The Viejas grade
near Descanso is the only considerable ascent and this is easy and
well-improved.

  [Illustration: A BACK COUNTRY OAK
   From Photograph by Harold Taylor]

At Campo we came into the stage road and pursued our way for some
miles through rolling, oak-studded hills. A band of gypsies camped by
the roadside stopped us with many gesticulations and were immensely
disgusted when we declined to wait for fortune-telling. They presented
a picturesque sight in their brightly colored, oriental-looking costumes
and at a distance some of the women looked pretty—though as they crowded
up to the car a near view quickly dispelled this illusion.

Warren's Ranch, a few miles beyond Campo, is the regular stopping-place
in both directions for luncheon, and a substantial farm dinner is served
at a moderate price. There were perhaps fifty guests on the day of our
visit and the proprietor said that it was a "little slack" as compared
with the usual run of travel; that on the previous Sunday one hundred
and twenty cars had passed and most of them halted at the ranch for
refreshments.

A few miles beyond Warren's we entered the great hill range that cuts
the Valley from the coast and jogged up the splendidly engineered road
with little effort. We saw some wild, rough scenery during the climb,
but nothing to prepare us for the stupendous spectacle that burst on
our vision as we reached the summit. It would be no exaggeration to say
that we fairly gasped with astonishment as we brought the car sharply
to a stand-still, for beneath us lay a vast abysm that reminded us more
of the Grand Canyon than anything else we had seen. It seemed as if the
red granite mountains had been rent in twain by some terrific cataclysm,
leaving a titanic chasm stretching away until lost in the purple haze
of the distance. Its walls were bare—save for an occasional cactus—and
the reddish tinge of the granite was intensified in the declining
sun. The great boulders tumbled discordantly about, the isolated peaks
springing from the floor of the canyon, and the endless array of mighty
cliffs and precipices all combined to give a rare effect of wild and
rugged grandeur. As we descended the winding road we saw the majestic
spectacle from many viewpoints, each one accentuating some new phase of
its impressive beauty.

At Mountain Spring, a supply station just beyond the summit, we
crossed into Imperial County. From this point the road was built by
popular subscription and a wonderful road it is. It winds around the
great precipices, which rise far above or drop hundreds of feet below,
and crosses yawning canyons, yet it maintains easy grades and avoids
difficult turns to an extent seldom seen under such conditions. The
smooth wide surface offers temptations to careless drivers and despite
the perfect engineering several accidents have happened on the road.
A car went off the grade shortly before our passing and a collision
occurred near the summit on the following day.

At the foot of the grade we encountered the sandy wash leading down into
the valley. For several miles we fairly wallowed through heavy sand, the
car pitching and rolling like a boat on a rough sea. Had the sand been
an inch deeper—so it seemed—we should have been hopelessly stalled—a
fate which often overtakes a car departing from the beaten track. We
scrambled along with steaming engine and growling gears and were glad
indeed when a forlorn little ranch-house hove in sight. A windmill tower
indicated water and we took occasion to replenish our supply.

Coyote Wells shows on the map as a post office, but our conception of
a village was dashed as we approached the spot by the tiny clapboard
shack which greeted our sand-bleared vision. A rudely painted sign,
"General Store, Gasoline and Oil," apprised us of the chief excuse for
the existence of Coyote Wells. The wells are there, too; eleven feet
under the burning sands is an unlimited supply of water. We paused a
few minutes and looked around us—which we had scarcely done before, the
plunging car and the clouds of sand driven by a forty-mile wind being
quite enough to distract our attention. In every direction stretched the
yellow sands, dotted with sage brush and cacti. Some of the latter were
in bloom, their delicate blossoms, yellow, carmine, and pink, lending
a pleasing bit of color to the drab monotone of the landscape. And yet
we were told that this sandy waste needs only water to metamorphose it
into green fields such as we should see a little later.

A few miles beyond Coyote Wells the road had been oiled, but it had
broken into chuck-holes and become unmercifully rough. It was not until
we entered the confines of the cultivated lands a short distance from
Dixieland that we found a fine boulevard, which continued for several
miles. Dixieland is the western outpost of the Valley, situated in the
edge of the present irrigation district. It is a substantially built
village, most of the business houses being of brick and cement. The
coming of the new railroad, already within a few miles, will probably
bring a great boom for Dixieland.

A paragraph may be fitly introduced here concerning the present status
(1921) of the roads we traversed on our tour to the Imperial some six
years earlier. The most trying sections have been improved; the heavy
sand where we wallowed about so helplessly and the broken, oiled road
between Dixieland and Coyote Wells—in fact, the whole stretch between
the foot of the mountain grade and El Centro—is a first-class boulevard
now. There is also pavement from Campo to the summit of the range, and
the descent, while not paved, is in good condition. Only a fraction
of the two routes we pursued in San Diego County—the northern, via
Descanso, and the southern over the Potrero grade—has been paved, but
the funds for this work have been provided and it is to proceed as
rapidly as possible. Taken altogether, the roads to-day average good
and the run between San Diego and El Centro may be easily made by the
shorter of the routes (122 miles) in five or six hours.

While bowling along just beyond Dixieland one of our party cried, "Look
at the sunset!" and we brought the car to a sudden stop. I have seen
gorgeous sunsets in many parts of the world, but nothing that could
remotely approach the splendor of the scene that greeted our admiring
vision. The sky was partly clouded—rather unusual, we learned—and this
accounted for much of the glorious spectacle. The whole dome of the
heavens showed a marvelous display of light and color—lucent silver
slowly changing through many variations to deep orange-gold, and fading
slowly to burnished copper as the sun declined. The clouds lent endless
variety to the color tones. Their fantastic shapes glowed with burning
crimson or were edged with silvery light. The sky eastward was of a deep
indigo-blue; westward, above the sun, it burned with ethereal fire. The
summits of the dimly defined mountains in the distance were touched with
a fringe of golden light and their feet were shrouded in a pale lavender
haze—the effect of the sun on the drifting sand. The weird and ghostly
appearance of the Superstition Range, a dozen miles to the north, seemed
suggestive of the name. Surely the desert gnomes and demons might find
a haunt in the rocky caverns of these giant hills set down in the wide
arid plain surrounding them on every side. The more distant mountains
faded to dim and unsubstantial shadows and were finally obscured by the
falling twilight.

When we were able to take our gaze from the heavens we became conscious
of the marvelous greenness of the grain and alfalfa fields about us,
then accentuated by the weird light of the sunset, and we learned later
the scientific cause of the gorgeous Imperial sunsets. Evaporation
from the irrigation system and Salton Sea, together with the fine
dust constantly in suspension in the dry desert air, are the elements
responsible for spectacular effects such as I have tried to describe.

A half dozen miles from Dixieland we crossed New River, a great gulch
twenty-five feet deep and several hundred yards wide. This was the
channel cut by the terrible flood of 1904-6 and gives some conception of
the danger that threatened the Valley when practically the whole volume
of the Colorado tore through the yielding sands. There is now no running
water in the river, the road crossing on its dry bed.

The roads throughout the Valley are generally unimproved and a clever
plan has been adopted to keep down the dust, which would become almost
unbearable in this rainless region. The wide roadways are divided in
the center by a ridge of earth; and the sides are alternately flooded
with water from the irrigating ditches, a plan which keeps the dust
pretty well in control. But woe to the motorist who attempts to drive
across a "wet spot" before the road has thoroughly dried—the soil
usually partakes of the nature of quicksand; the car speedily settles
to the running boards and a stout team is about the only remedy for the
predicament.

We reached El Centro after dusk and repaired to the Oregon Hotel, a
fairly comfortable inn, though not good enough to satisfy the ambitions
of this live town, for the Barbara Worth, a hundred-thousand-dollar
steel-and-concrete structure, was building. El Centro has a population
of about six thousand and is a live place commercially, being the
capital and banking center of the Valley. It is substantially built
and we noted there has been developed a type of architecture designated
to mitigate the intense heat. The business buildings have arcades with
balconies along the streets and some of the houses and public buildings
have double roofs. Every sign pointed to the prosperity of the town and
it doubtless offers numerous opportunities to enterprising business men.

A favorite trip out of El Centro is to Calexico, eight miles distant
on the Mexican frontier, and the streets were thronged with Ford
cars bearing the legend, "Auto Stage to Calexico." At the time of our
visit, California state troops occupied this border town to forestall a
possible attack by the Mexican army in Mexicali, just across the line.
There was considerable uneasiness in the Imperial country in view of
the fact that the canal carrying the water supply passes through Mexican
territory.

This situation necessarily creates an element of uncertainty as to
the future of the Valley and a strong agitation is being made for
the construction of an all-American canal. So far little has been
accomplished in this direction, owing to the difficult terrain to be
crossed and the vast cost of such an enterprise. There is a feeling,
however, that such a canal must and will come in time.

The country about El Centro is typical of the whole Valley. As a
resident of the town said, "When you've seen one corner of the Imperial
Valley you've seen all of it—a flat, sandy plain cut up by irrigation
canals and covered in the cultivated parts with rank vegetation a
good part of the year." In the northern part of the Valley new lands
were being opened to the public and Nilands, a boom town, had sprung
up almost overnight. The "opening day" saw hundreds of people on hand
eager to purchase lots and many of them came to stay, for they brought
their household goods, which were piled promiscuously on the sand, often
without even the protection of a tent. The first move of the promoters
was to found a bank and a newspaper and to begin the erection of a
fifty-thousand-dollar hotel and a commodious schoolhouse. And so Nilands
took its place on the map and when the arid sands about it begin to
produce it will no doubt repeat the history of Holtville, Brawley, and
other thriving Imperial towns.

Motorists who come only on a sightseeing excursion will not care to
spend much time in the Valley. A round of twenty-five miles will take
in Imperial and Calexico and give a general idea of the thousand or
more square miles of reclaimed desert land. Touring conditions are far
from pleasant—rough roads, intense heat, and high winds with blinding
clouds of dust, being the rule. One can easily imagine what a commotion
a fifty-mile wind stirs up in this dry, sandy region, where it is
frequently necessary to stop until the dust blows away in order to see
the road. There is little to vary the monotony of the country, and it
is not strange that the average motorist is soon satisfied and longs
for the shady hills of the San Diego "Back Country." And so, after a
hasty survey, we retraced our way through the sands—and narrowly missed
"stalling" while incautiously passing a car laid up for repairs—to the
mountain wall which shuts in the Valley on the west.

I do not remember of ever having been in a fiercer wind than that which
swept down to meet us as we ascended Mountain Spring grade and at the
summit it almost seemed as if the wild gusts would sweep the car from
the road.

"It is sure some wind," said a native at the little supply shack. "Very
unusual, too. I've been in the Valley seven years and never saw it blow
like this before."

"Very unusual" is the stock phrase of every loyal Californian for any
unpleasant phenomenon of nature—excessive rain, heat, cold, fog, or wind
are all "very unusual" when so marked as to call forth comment from the
Eastern visitor.

Beyond Campo we followed the stage route to San Diego—mostly a down-hill
coast; it was scarcely necessary to use the engine on the eight miles of
the Potrero grade. This is part of the new San Diego County system and
a wonderful piece of road engineering it is. Though it skirts the edge
of the mountain from summit to foot, there are no steep pitches and but
few sharp corners; even the driver of the car could enjoy the wonderful
panoramas visible during the descent. The forty miles between Campo and
San Diego presents a series of wooded hills and sylvan glades which
more than once invited us to stop and rest in the shade of the great
oaks overarching the road. Such scenes made us anxious to see more of
the famous "Back Country," and when we once entered on this delightful
tour we were not satisfied until we had covered all the main roads of
the county.

From Del Mar on the following day we glided through winding byroads to
Escondido, which we had visited several times previously in course of
our rambles. It is a pretty little town of two thousand people, in the
center of a fertile valley exploited as the "Garden Spot of Southern
California"—a claim which might be quite correct if limited to San Diego
County. The valley is seven hundred feet above the sea, surrounded by
a circle of rugged hills with huge granite boulders jutting from the
dense green chaparral that clothes their sides. It produces small grain,
alfalfa, citrus fruits, apples, grapes, and berries of all kinds. There
is much truck-farming for the San Diego markets, and cattle and sheep
raising are carried on to a limited extent.

Out of this pleasant valley we followed the course of San Pasqual River
toward Ramona, and recalled that in this canyon a fight took place in
1846 between the Mexicans and Americans during the wild dash of Kit
Carson's rangers to summon aid from San Diego. The road was a quiet
one, winding among splendid trees and passing an occasional ranch-house
surrounded by fruit orchards in full bloom. Along the clear little
river were grassy glades carpeted with myriads of wild flowers—poppies,
Mariposa lilies, primroses, delicate bluebells, and others nameless
to us. Crossing the magnificent San Pasqual grade to Ramona we had a
glorious retrospect down the valley. It was typical of a large number of
valleys in the Back Country which constitute the agricultural resources
of San Diego County, and we could not help being impressed with the
small proportion that the tillable land bears to the rugged hills. The
city of San Diego can hardly base its hope of greatness on the country
lying behind it—always excepting the Imperial Valley.

Beyond Ramona to Santa Ysabel and Warner's Hot Springs the
characteristics of the country were quite the same. We pursued our way
through pleasant valleys between great oak-studded hills clothed with
lawnlike verdure to the very summit. Nowhere did we see larger or more
symmetrical oaks and in places our road ran under their overarching
branches. Every mile between Ramona and Warner's presented some phase
of scenic beauty; the road winds through virgin forests, courses through
wide, flower-spangled meadows and follows a clear stream for many miles.
A lonely ranch-house occasionally reminded us that we were still in the
confines of civilization. The only village, Santa Ysabel, is a little
supply station for the Indian reservation of the same name. The natives
here seemed prosperous and happy and we noticed a little vine-covered
church surmounted by the Catholic emblem, which told of their religious
preferences.

Warner's Hot Springs proved to be only a country store and post
office with a dozen or two adobe cottages which serve as guest-rooms.
Substantial meals were served in country style in a large central
dining-hall and if accommodations were primitive, charges were
correspondingly low. The springs have a good flow of mineral-impregnated
water at a temperature of one hundred forty-eight degrees and strong
claims are made for their medical properties. It is a very quiet, rural
spot and from our cottage veranda we had a fine view of the sunset
mountains beyond the wide plain of Mesa Grande. The air was vocal with
the song of birds—the trees about our cabin were alive with hundreds of
strawberry finches.

They told us that the country about the springs was once a famous
hunting-ground and though there is still sport in season, it does not
compare with that of a few years since. The beautiful California quail
are still numerous, but they have become so shy that it is difficult
to bag them. Water fowl are plentiful on the lakes of Warner's Ranch
and deer and antelope may be found in the mountains. Fishing is good in
the neighboring streams and these attractions bring many sportsmen to
Warner's during the season.

  [Illustration: ROAD TO WARNER'S HOT SPRINGS
   From Photograph by Harold Taylor]

For the average motorist, whose chief mission is to "see the country,"
the attractions of the resort will be quite exhausted in a night's
sojourn; indeed, were there a first-class hotel within easy reach he
might be satisfied with even a shorter pause. There is nothing nearer
northward than Hemet, fifty miles distant, and Riverside is eighty-five
miles away. There is a direct road leading through the rugged hills
to these points, a third "San Diego route," little used and unknown to
motorists generally. It goes by the way of Oak Grove and Aguanga—and the
traveler is quite likely to pass these points in blissful ignorance of
their existence if he does not keep a sharp lookout. The road is a mere
trail winding through sandy river washes, fording streams and finally
taking to rugged hills with many steep, rough grades. The signs of
the Southern California Auto Club will see you safely through; though
there are many places where one would be in a sad quandary were it not
for their friendly counsel. The wild beauty of the country, the wide
panoramas from the hill crests, the infinite variety and color of the
flowers along the way, the giant oaks in the canyons, the stretches of
the desert with cactus and scrub cedar, the variegated meadows, and
other interesting natural phenomena, will atone for the rough roads
and heavy grades, though it is a trip that we would hardly care to
make a second time. Beyond Hemet a perfect boulevard to Riverside gave
opportunity to make up for time lost in the hills.

Hemet and San Jacinto, two clean little towns about four miles apart,
are situated in a lovely valley beneath the snow-crowned peak that gives
its name to the latter village. Alfalfa meadows, grain fields and fruit
orchards surround them and give an air of peace and prosperity to the
pleasant vale. But when we visited the towns a few years later, most
of the brick buildings had been leveled to the ground by an earthquake
shock—an experience the same places had undergone about twenty years
before. It was a sad scene of desolation and destruction, but as the
shock occurred on a Sunday, when the brick buildings which suffered most
were unoccupied, there was no loss of life. It was noted that concrete
and frame structures were little injured and the towns have been rebuilt
in such a manner as to be nearly proof, it is believed, against future
quakes.

But we were not yet through with the Back Country. They told us at
Warner's that there was no more beautiful road in the county than the
one following the San Luis Rey River between Pala and Santa Ysabel. It
was closed by the landslide at the time, but a few days later we again
found ourselves in the quiet streets of Pala, intent on making the trip.
We had come direct from Temecula over the "big grade," a little-used
road across the great hill range between the Santa Margarita and San
Luis Rey Valleys. In all our wanderings I doubt if we found a dozen
miles of harder going than our climb over the Pala grade. A rough,
narrow trail, badly washed by recent rains, twisted around boulders and
among giant trees and pitched up and down frightful grades, often along
precipitous slopes. There were several stony fords to be crossed and
a wide stretch of heavy sand on the western side of the range. It is a
route to be avoided by people inclined to nervous qualms or who dislike
strenuous mountain work. No wonder the regular route to Pala runs by
way of Fall Brook and Bonsal, though the distance is greater by thirty
or forty miles.

  [Illustration: A BACK COUNTRY VALLEY
   From Photograph by Harold Taylor]

The San Luis Rey river road presented a repetition of much scenery such
as we saw on our Warner's Hot Springs trip. It does not leave the stream
for any considerable distance, often pursuing its course through a
tangle of forest trees. At times it comes out into the open and affords
picturesque views of the mountains that guard the valley on either hand.
A few miles from Pala a road branches off to Mount Palomar, from whose
summit, about four thousand feet high, may be seen on clear days one
of the famous panoramas of San Diego County. We were deterred from the
ascent by the lowering day, which shrouded the peak in heavy clouds.
There is a long though easy climb over the hill range on the edge of
"Valle de San Jose," from which we had a glorious outlook over a long
succession of ranges stretching away to the red glow of the sunset. For
the sun had struggled through the mists which obscured it most of the
day and was flooding the breaking clouds with deep crimson. Far below us
lay the valley with its patchwork of cultivated fields and red-roofed
ranch-houses at wide intervals. Beyond the crest of the grade the road
again descends to the river, which we followed to Santa Ysabel. From
here we pursued our way over familiar roads to San Diego, experiencing
no little satisfaction in having covered all the main highways—and many
of the byways—of the county.



VIII

THE SAN DIEGO COAST ROUTE


Like many a pious pilgrim of old, we set out on the King's Highway—the
storied Camino Real of the Golden State. We shall follow in the
footsteps of the brown-robed brothers of St. Francis to the northernmost
of the chain of missions which they founded in their efforts to convert
and civilize the red men of California. Not with sandals and staff, nor
yet with horse or patient burro shall we undertake the journey, but our
servant shall be the twentieth century's latest gift to the traveler—the
wind-shod motor car. And we shall not expect a night's lodging with a
benediction and Godspeed such as was given the wayfarer at each link
in the mission chain as he fared forth in days of old. We shall behold
loneliness and decay at these ancient seats of hospitality and good
cheer. But we are sure that we shall find in the crumbling, vine-covered
ruins a glamour of romance and an historic significance that would make
our journey worth while even if it did not take us through some of the
loveliest and most impressive scenery in the world.

When to beauty of country and perfection of clime are added the touch
of human antiquity and romantic association, the combination should
prove attractive to even the most prosaic. The memory of human sacrifice
and devotion, and the wealth of historic incident that lends such a
charm to England's abbeys, is not wanting in these cruder remnants
of the pious zeal and tireless industry of the Spanish padres to be
found in so many delightful nooks of the Sunset State. The story of
the Franciscan missions is a fascinating one, despite its chapters
of strife, heavy toil, and ultimate failure. From their inception in
weakness and poverty and their rise to affluence, to the time of their
decadence and final abandonment, these offshoots of the old religious
system of Europe, transplanted to the alien soil of the New World,
afford a colorful chapter of American history. The monk, always in the
vanguard of Spanish exploration and civilization, came hither, as we
have already seen, a little after the middle of the eighteenth century.
The Franciscan order had received from the Castilian throne a grant of
certain properties in California. Junipero Serra, a monk of true piety
and energetic character, gladly accepted the hard and laborious task of
founding missions in this new field. How he finally succeeded we have
already told. Others followed him and between the years of 1769 and
1823 twenty-one missions were established within the present limits of
California, extending along the Pacific Coast from San Diego to Sonoma,
about seventy-five miles north of San Francisco.

Like the English monks, the Spanish padres when locating their
establishments always selected sites with pleasant surroundings and
commanding views of beautiful scenery, always in the most fertile
valleys and adjacent to lake or river. Many of the California missions
are within a short distance of the Pacific, whose blue waters are often
visible through the arcades, lending a crowning touch of beauty to
the loveliness of the semi-tropical surroundings. And in sight of many
of them snow-capped mountains rear their majestic forms against a sky
matched only by that of Italy itself. Surrounding the buildings were
fertile fields, with flowers, fruit trees, and palms, usually watered
by irrigation as well as by winter rains, and, indeed, the Arcadia of
the poets was well-nigh made a reality under the sway of the California
padres. The missions were located, presumably, a day's journey apart,
so that the traveler might find entertainment at the close of each day,
for the hospitality of the Franciscan fathers never waned.

I shall give a short sketch of each of the missions as we reach them
in course of our pilgrimage, and will therefore omit further historic
details here. The building, as a rule, was done solidly and well; adobe,
hard-burned brick, hewn stone, heavy timbers, and roof tiles being so
skillfully combined that many of the structures are still in fair state
of preservation in spite of winter rains, earthquake, and long neglect.

No doubt the equable climate has been a factor in retarding their decay.
Adobe structures have naturally suffered most, but even these were so
massively built that had it not been for earthquakes nearly all would
still stand almost intact. This agency more than any other contributed
to the ruined condition of the mission buildings. Several have been more
or less restored and are in daily use, and it is to be hoped that all
which are not past rehabilitation will finally be rescued from the fate
which threatens them.

The old notion that the red man will not perform hard manual labor is
contradicted in the history of mission building. The work was done by
the natives under the direction of the padres—and hard work it was,
for the stone had to be quarried and dressed, brick and tiles moulded
and burned or dried in the sun, and heavy timbers brought many miles,
often on the men's shoulders. Just how heavy some of these oaken beams
were is shown by several in the San Fernando chapel, fifteen inches
square and thirty or forty feet long. Some of the churches were roofed
with arched stone vaults which must have required great labor and not a
little architectural skill, though the latter was no doubt supplied by
the monks.

The Indians were generally reduced to a mild state of peonage, but it
seems that the padres' policy was one of kindness and very seldom was
there rebellion against their rule on the part of converted Indians.
The missions suffered, of course, from attacks by savages who refused
to come under their sway, but the priests had few difficulties with the
neophytes who worked under them. Taken altogether, there are few other
instances where white men had so little trouble with Indians with whom
they came in daily contact for a considerable period.

The priests not only looked after the religious instruction of their
charges, but taught them to engage in agriculture and such arts and
manufactures as were possible under the conditions that then existed.
The chief occupation was farming and, considering the crude implements
at their disposal, the mission Indians did remarkably well. The plough
was composed of two wooden beams—one of them shod with iron; the soil
was merely scratched and it was necessary to go over a field many
times. A large bough, dragged over the soil to cover the seed, served
as a harrow. The carts were primitive in the extreme—the heavy wheels
were cut from a single block of solid oak and the axle and frame were
of the same clumsy construction. Grain was harvested by hand-sickles
and threshed on hard earth by driving oxen over the sheaves. Flour was
ground by the women with pestles in stone mortars, though in a few cases
rude water-wheels were used to turn grinding-stones.

Live stock constituted the greater part of the mission's wealth. Horses,
cattle, and sheep were raised in large numbers, though these were
probably not so numerous as some of the ancient chroniclers would have
us believe. The Indians were exceedingly skillful in training horses and
very adept in the use of the "riata," or lariat. They became efficient
in caring for and herding cattle and sheep, a vocation which many of
their descendants follow to-day. The mild climate made this task an easy
one and the herds increased rapidly from year to year.

Vineyards were planted at most of the missions and the inventories
at the time of secularization showed that the fathers kept a goodly
stock of wines, though this was probably for their own consumption, the
natives being regaled with sweetened vinegar-and-water, which was not
intoxicating. The mission grape first developed by the padres is to-day
one of the most esteemed varieties in California vineyards.

The missions were necessarily largely dependent on their own activities
for such manufactured products as they required and, considering
their limited facilities, they accomplished some wonderful results
in this direction. Brick, tile, pottery, clothing, saddles, candles,
blankets, furniture, and many other articles of daily necessity were
made under the padres' tutelage and such trades as masonry, carpentry,
blacksmithing, tanning, spinning, and weaving were readily acquired by
the once ignorant and indolent Indians.

Under such industry and businesslike management, the mission properties
in time became immensely valuable, at their zenith yielding a total
revenue estimated at not less than two million dollars yearly. This
prosperity was greedily watched by the Mexican government, which in
its straits for funds conceived the idea of "secularization" of the
missions, a plan which ultimately led to confiscation and dissolution.
Shortly after this came the American conquest and the conditions were
wholly unfavorable to the rehabilitation of the old regime, which
speedily faded to a romantic memory. The once happy and industrious
natives were driven back to the hills and their final extinction seems
to be near at hand. The story of their hardship and desolation and the
wrongs they suffered at the hands of the American conqueror forms the
burden of Mrs. Jackson's pathetic story of "Ramona."

Justice may never be done to these bitterly wronged people—indeed, most
of them have passed beyond reach of human justice; but of later years
there has come a deeper realization of the importance of the work of the
California missionary and a greater interest in the crumbling relics
of his pious activities. It has awakened a little late, you may say,
but the old adage, "Better late than never," is doubly applicable here.
We who have traversed the length and breadth of Britain have seen how
lovingly nearly every ancient abbey and castle is now guarded—though
in many cases it was painfully apparent that the spirit was too long in
coming. Many a noble pile had nearly vanished from neglect and vandalism
ere an enlightened public sentiment was created to guard and preserve
its scanty remnants. And I fear that this sentiment was more the result
of selfish interest than of any high conception of altruistic duty—the
strangers who came to see these ancient monuments and left money behind
them probably did more to awaken Britons to the value and importance
of their storied ruins than any strong sense of appreciation on their
own part. California should be moved by a higher motive than mere gain
to properly care for and preserve her historic shrines. They represent
the beginning of her present civilization and enlightenment, which has
placed her in the forefront of the states. Her history, literature, and
architecture have been profoundly affected by the Franciscan missions
and their great influence in this direction is yet to come. They should
be restored and preserved at public cost, even though they continue
in charge of the Catholic Church. Their claims as historic monuments
far outweigh any prejudice that may exist against contributing to any
secular institutions and if the Catholic Church is willing to occupy and
guard them, so much the better. It insures that they will be kept open
to the public at all times and that visitors will be gladly received
and hospitably treated. In all our journey along the King's Highway
we experienced nothing but the utmost courtesy and kindness from the
Catholic priests who may now be found at many of the missions. The
padre acts as custodian and guide and can always tell you the story of
the mission in his charge. These men have already done much to restore
several of the missions and to reclaim them from complete destruction.
The church is struggling to carry this work still farther, but she
has not the means at her disposal to accomplish it before some of the
landmarks will have entirely vanished. And I may say here that although
not a Catholic myself, I believe that the Catholics deserve commendation
and assistance in this great work.

And if California is not influenced by the higher consideration we
have enumerated, selfish reasons are strong for the preservation of
the missions. Already they are proving an attraction to a great number
of discerning tourists and with the increasing prevalence of the motor
car, El Camino Real will become one of the most popular routes in the
world. People will bring their cars from the Eastern States—instead of
taking them to Europe—and will pass their vacations in California. They
will spend money freely and many will become enamored of the country
to the extent of becoming permanent residents. The missions are one of
the greatest attractions to bring the tourist class to California—she
can not afford to allow them to disappear. They form a valuable asset
in more ways than one and now is the time to awaken to the fact.

Perhaps I have lingered too long on this subject, but it seems to me
like a necessary preface to a trip over the King's Highway. We left
San Diego in the late afternoon and reached the beautiful suburb of La
Jolla just as the declining sun was flooding the broad expanse of the
ocean with golden glory. The town is situated on a promontory beneath
which there is a lovely little park and one can enter several caves from
the ocean which, under favorable conditions, are almost as beautiful
as the Blue Grotto of Capri. Here is a favorite resort of artists
and a permanent colony has been established, the vicinity affording
never-ending themes for their skill. One of these is to be seen a
few miles farther on the road—the group of Torrey pines on a headland
overlooking the sea. Here is the only spot on this continent where these
weird but beautiful trees are to be found, and our illustration gives
some idea of their picturesque outlines against the sky. They were named
for one of our earliest naturalists, John Torrey, who was the first
to describe them in a scientific way. The few wind-swept patriarchs of
this rare tribe straggle over the bold headland or crouch on its edges
in fantastic attitudes. At this point the road leaves the cliff which
it has traversed for several miles and descends by a long winding grade
to the seashore. There is a fairly steep pitch just at the top, but for
most of the descent the gradient is easy, though sharp turns and blind
corners make careful driving necessary.

  [Illustration: TORREY PINES, NEAR LA JOLLA
   From Photograph by Harold Taylor]

Twilight had fallen when we reached Del Mar—our objective for the
night. Previous experience had taught us that the Stratford Inn was one
of the most comfortable and satisfactory in California—with the added
attraction of moderate rates. It is a modern building, in Elizabethan
style, situated on the hillside fronting the wide sweep of the Pacific.
It is surrounded by lawns with flowers and shrubbery in profusion and
there is a wide terrace in front with rustic chairs, a capital place
to lounge at one's ease and view the sunset ocean. Inside everything
is plain and homelike—in fact, "homelike" best describes the greatest
charm of Stratford Inn.

After dinner—which was more like a meal in a well-ordered private
home than the usual hotel concoction—I inquired about the roads of the
vicinity of a young man whose conversation showed him familiar with the
country. He readily gave the desired information and, learning that we
were tourists from the East, he put the universal first question of a
Californian,

"And how do you like the country?"

"Very much, indeed," I rejoined. "In fact, it seems to me that anyone
who isn't satisfied with California isn't likely to be thoroughly
satisfied any place short of the New Jerusalem."

"And that's too—uncertain," he replied. "California is good enough
without taking any chances. In the ten years I've been here I've never
had any hankering to return to the East, where I came from."

"But honestly, now," I said, "aren't there some people from the East
who get sick of California and are anxious to get back home?"

"Yes," he admitted. "I know of several who said it was too monotonous
here—that they were going back to God's country and stay there; but
in the course of a year I saw them here again; after one good dose of
Eastern winter they came back to California and forever after held their
peace. Have you been about Del Mar and up to the top of the hill?" he
went on. "No? Then I want you to drive about with me a short time in
the morning and let me show you the prettiest seaside town and one of
the grandest views in California." He was so sincere that we acquiesced
and he said he would be on hand with his car at the appointed hour.

Returning to our rooms, which fronted on the sea, we were soon lulled
to sleep by the long, rhythmic wash of the waves on the beach. It
would be hard to imagine a lovelier or more inspiring scene than that
which greeted us through our open windows on the following morning. An
opalescent fog—shot through by the warm rays of the rising sun—hovered
over the deep violet ocean; but even as we looked it began to break and
scatter, the azure heavens gleamed through, and the sea in the distance
took on a deep steely blue, shading into lighter tones nearer the shore,
and finally breaking into a long line of snow-white spray. A light
rain had fallen in the night and everything was indescribably fresh and
invigorating—and the irresistible lure of the out-of-doors, always so
strong in California, seemed doubly potent this glorious morning.

We hastened down to breakfast—which proved quite as different from
the ordinary hotel meal as the dinner of the evening before—and at
the appointed hour our friend appeared with his car. This chance
acquaintance proved fortunate—for us, at least—since our guide knew
all about the place and most of the people who lived there. Some of
these are well known in business, literature, and art circles and,
drawn by the charm of Del Mar, spend a good part of their time there.
The contour of the site afforded remarkable opportunities for the
landscape-gardener, and very successfully has he seized upon them.
The hill is cut through the center by a deep erosion; along its edges
are numerous shelf-like places which make unique building sites, some
of which have already been occupied. Straight lines have been tabooed
in laying out the streets, which circle hither and thither among the
Torrey pines and eucalyptus trees. The houses and gardens conform to
the artistic irregularity of the streets and, altogether, Del Mar, both
in charm of natural situation and good judgment in public and private
improvements, is quite unique even in California.

But the marvel of Del Mar is the view from the summit of the great
hill which towers above the village and which may be reached by a
comparatively easy road. I find a description given in a small booklet
issued by the Stratford Inn that is genuine literature—in fact, the
literary style of the booklet so impressed me that I spoke of it to a
Los Angeles friend. "Not strange," said he. "It was written by John S.
McGroarty, who is interested in Del Mar." In any event, it is worthy of
Mr. McGroarty's facile pen, as is proven by the following description
of the scene from Del Mar hill:

"From its pinnacles you can hear the ocean crooning in long, rolling
breakers against gleaming shore lines, or see it leap into geysers of
spray against majestic headlands for an eye-encompassed distance of
forty miles, swelling in from the magic isles of Santa Catalina and
San Clemente, and the curtain of the sky far beyond them all. But from
the same pinnacles, landward, you shall look down from your very feet
into the dream-kissed vale of San Dieguito, serpentined with natural
canoe-ways that have crept in from the great waters. And from the
San Dieguito meadows there are trails that lead into the valleys of
Escondido and San Luis Rey and many other valleys. Eastward are the
peaks of the lake-sheltering Cuyamacas and Mt. Palomar. Lift up your
vision yet again and you shall behold, all crowned with snow, the hoary
heads of old San Antonio, Mount San Bernardino and San Jacinto—the
kingly outposts of the royal Sierras. Back of those white serranos
is the desert, only fifty miles from where you stand. And it is these
two—the desert and the sea—that make Del Mar what it is.

"The Del Mar which the traveler beholds from the car window as the
railroad train glides along the beach on that wonderful journey south
from San Juan Capistrano, is a vast hill rising from between two
estuaries of the ocean, with Encinitas headland to the north and Torrey
Pine Point to the south. But one gets no idea at all of what the hill or
Del Mar really is by looking up to it from the railway. Its appearance
from such a fleeting view would be much the same as the view of many
another coast hill; and it would perhaps pass without special notice
from the railway traveler were it not for the fact that it is heavily
wooded and that a strikingly beautiful and large building in the
Elizabethan style of architecture instantly attracts an admiring eye.

"That Del Mar hill is wooded is owing both to the generosity of nature
and to the poetic enterprise of the 'boomers' who, in those still
remembered days of empire-building, planted the bare spaces to gum,
acacia, and other trees. The trees that are indigenous to Del Mar
and that have been there for hundreds and perhaps thousands of years
are the cypress and the Torrey pine, both of which are favorites with
artists and all nature lovers. And they are both rare, the cypress being
found hardly anywhere else on the California coast except at Monterey,
while the Torrey pine is absolutely unknown on the face of the earth
except at Del Mar and La Jolla, a few miles farther south. But there
is, besides the scattered Torreys at Del Mar, a whole grove of these
five-needled pines—a grove famed among tree-lovers the world over. As
to the Elizabethan building, which fastens the traveler's curiosity
from his flying window, he is informed that it is an inn called 'The
Stratford,' and well named at that. It was designed by the English
architect, Austin, who must have put a good deal of heart into his work,
for his inn is a thing of beauty. Nor is it just a thing of outward
show. You will think of what rare Ben Jonson said as you sit at its
plenteous board and slip away into dreamland from its cool, clean beds,
with the deep melody of the sea in your ears: 'There is nothing which
has yet been contrived by man by which so much happiness is produced as
by a good tavern or inn.'"

I would beg pardon of my reader for having quoted so much at length from
an advertising booklet were it not that the quotations themselves render
it unnecessary. Doubly fortunate is Del Mar, not only in the charms
which she possesses, but in having an admirer who can herald them to
the world in such pleasing language and imagery.

We are late in leaving Del Mar—we always were on each of our several
visits. But the lure of the road on such a glorious day is too strong
for even the attractions of Del Mar and its pleasant inn. The purr of
the motor and the long white road winding down to the seashore and
disappearing in the distant hills is a combination to rouse all the
wanderlust in our natures and waving adieu to our kindly hosts we are on
the King's Highway again. Occasionally snowy clouds float lazily through
the deep azure sky, serving to give variation to the scene; they darken
the sun at intervals and the lapis-lazuli blue of the ocean changes
to dull silver for a moment. Sunshine and shadow chase each other over
the low green hills to the landward and brighten or obscure the distant
mountain ranges. Beyond Encinitas, about ten miles from Del Mar, the
road follows a magnificent beach. Here the waves have piled up a long
ridge of rounded stones, from which a wide stretch of hard sand slopes
down to the sea. It is sprinkled with millions of golden particles,
giving a peculiarly brilliant effect in the sunlight which may have
roused the hopes of more than one early adventurer in his search for
El Dorado. The smooth, shining sand tempts us to leave the car by the
road to wander up and down the beach, gathering shells and seaweed
or watching the long white line of waves creep landward and recede in
glittering ripples. Each comes nearer and nearer until one flings its
white spray over us and drives us toward the great cobblestone dike
stretching along the shore. Near this are myriads of yellow and pink
sand-flowers with queer waxen leaves and delicate silken petals. Some
day, no doubt, as California's millions increase, this beautiful beach
will become a popular resort.

  [Illustration: RUINS OF CHAPEL, SAN LUIS REY
   (Before Restoration)
   From Photograph by Pillsbury]

A few miles beyond this we pause in a sheltered canyon and spread our
noonday lunch under a vast sprawling sycamore—if I should make a guess
at its dimensions I might lay myself open to the charge of exaggeration,
which some insinuate is the universal California failing. Out of
Oceanside the road soon takes to the highlands again and runs through
fields of yellow mustard and purple-pink wild radish blossoms—sad pests,
they tell us, for all their glorious color.

Oceanside is a quiet little place with a large hotel down towards the
beach, and her El Camino Real has departed from its olden course, for
the mission of San Luis lies some four miles inland. Just out of the
village we descend a winding grade into a wide green valley, and far
to one side under a sheltering hill we catch the gleam of whitewashed
walls surmounted by the characteristic mission tower. We soon draw up
in front of the building, which has lately been restored—much to its
artistic detriment, we are told. This is an almost inevitable result of
restoration, it is true, but without restoration it would be impossible
to preserve the crumbling fragments of these old adobe structures. San
Luis Rey is considered by many good authorities to have been the finest
of all the missions in its palmy days—a claim well borne out by the
description of Dahant Cilly, a French traveler who visited it in 1827,
when it was in the height of its glory. He wrote:

"At last we turned inland and after a jaunt of an hour and a half we
found before us, on a piece of rising ground, the superb buildings of
Mission San Luis Rey, whose glittering whiteness was flashed back to
us by the first rays of the day. At that distance and in the still
uncertain light of dawn, this edifice, of a very beautiful model,
supported upon its numerous pillars, had the aspect of a palace. The
architectural faults can not be grasped at this distance, and the eye
is attracted only to the elegant mass of this beautiful structure....
Instinctively I stopped my horse to gaze alone, for a few minutes, on
the beauty of the sight.

  [Illustration: ENTRANCE TO SAN LUIS REY CEMETERY
   (Before Restoration)
   From Photograph by Dassonville]

"This building forms a large square of five hundred feet on each side.
The main facade is a long peristyle borne on thirty-two square pillars
supporting round arches. The edifice is composed, indeed, of only a
ground-floor, but its elevation, of fine proportions, gives it as much
grace as nobleness. It is covered with a tile roof, flattened, around
which reaches, as much without as within the square, a terrace with an
elegant balustrade which stimulates still more the height. Within is
seen a large court, neat and levelled, around which pillars and arches
similar to those of the peristyle support a long cloister, by which one
communicates with all the dependencies of the mission."

We see before us now a huge, dormitory-like building adjoining the
ancient church, which is also undergoing repair and restoration—an
adobe structure with a beautiful tower which is about the only exterior
remnant of the mission's ancient glory. A brown-robed, bare-footed
Mexican priest responds to the bell and offers to guide us about the
building. He conducts us to the church—a long, narrow apartment with
high beamed ceiling, resplendent in the bright colors of the ancient
decorations recently restored. The beautiful mortuary chapel—the
finest in the whole chain of missions—was still in ruins when we first
visited San Luis Rey, but two years later we found it restored in solid
concrete. Its artistic beauty was sadly impaired by the improvement,
but the preservation of the chapel is assured. We are glad, though,
that we saw it when the crumbling remnants were covered with grasses and
wall-flowers, and it was still redolent of memories of mission days. The
quaint old cross in the cemetery has undergone like treatment, its rough
brick foundation having been smoothly coated with cement and decorated
with bright red stripes at the corners. About the only part of San Luis
still in its original state, save for the destructive effect of time
and weather, are the arches of the ancient cloisters, which stand in
the enclosure to the rear of the dormitory and keep alive the sentiment
always awakened by such memorials.

Our guide told us something of life at the present time in the mission,
which is now a training school for monks of the Franciscan order. There
are eight brothers in residence who do all the work, each one having
some particular trade, our guide being the tailor. They did much of the
work of restoration, though, of course, some assistants had to be hired,
mainly from the sixty parishioners of the church, most of whom are
Indians. For his courtesy we offered him a gratuity, but he declined.

"The brothers must not receive gifts," he said. "I will take you to
Father O'Keefe if you wish to give anything to the work."

And so we met the kindly old Irishman who has done so much for the
restoration of the California missions. He was of portly stature,
unshaven for several days and clad in the brown robes of his order. He
came to San Luis Rey in 1902 from Santa Barbara and all the restoration
had been done since then. He had raised and expended more than twenty
thousand dollars in the work, besides the labor of the monks themselves,
who receive no pay.

  [Illustration: FATHER O'KEEFE AT SAN LUIS REY
   From Photograph by Putnam & Valentine]

"I will accept your contribution," said Father O'Keefe, "for this work;
the Franciscan fathers take nothing for themselves; and will you write
your name in our visitors' book?" I did as requested and Father O'Keefe
declared, "That name looks good anywhere—it has a genuine flavor of the
Ould Sod about it."

And we fell to talking of the Emerald Isle, which the kindly old priest
never expected to see again. He was greatly interested when he learned
that we had made a recent motor tour through the hills and vales of the
Ould Countrie, which he still loves as a loyal son. He bade us adieu and
before departing we paused on the cloistered porch to admire the beauty
of the scene before us. The mission overlooks a pleasant green vale
shut in on every hand by low hills, through which we caught a fleeting
glimpse of the sea. It was a prosperous scene—as it no doubt was in the
days of old—with ranch-houses, cattle, and cultivated fields—another
instance of the unerring eye of the early monk in choosing a site for
his mission home.

San Luis Rey was one of the later foundations, dating from June 13,
1798. From the very start the mission was prosperous. In 1800 there were
three hundred and thirty-seven neophytes, and twenty-six years later
it had reached its zenith with twenty-eight hundred and sixty-nine.
It had then great holdings of live stock and harvested a crop of over
twelve thousand bushels of grain. From this time it began to decline and
at its secularization in 1834 its net worth was but a fraction of its
former wealth. So indignant were the Indians over the decree that, it
is recorded, they slaughtered twenty thousand head of cattle to prevent
them from falling into the hands of the Mexicans. In 1843 the property
was restored to the church, but its spoilation had been accomplished and
barely four hundred poverty-stricken Indians remained. In 1847 General
Fremont took possession and later the building and site were returned
to the church.

Beyond Oceanside there was much fine scenery along the road and
everything was at its best on this glorious May afternoon. It was a
clear, lucent day, with only a slight purplish haze in the far distance.
The sea was as transcendently beautiful as this warm soft southern sea
can be in its loveliest mood—a deep, dark, solid blue flecked with
purple seaweed and shading to pale green near the shore, upon which
the long white line of the breakers swept incessantly. At times we
ran at the foot of desert hills covered with cacti and scrub cedars,
but relieved from monotony by the orange flame of the poppies. Again
we passed through wide meadows starred with wild flowers—the delicate
daturas, dahlias, poppies, and a hundred others spangled the hillsides
everywhere. Along the beaches gleamed the pink verbenas and yellow
sand-flowers. Birds were numerous; the clear, melodious note of the
meadow lark and the warble of the mocking bird were heard on every hand.
In places we ran along the shore on a headland high above the sea and
again we dropped down to a sandy beach. Much of the road was dusty,
rough, and poor—sand and adobe that must have been well-nigh impassable
in wet weather. Need I say that it has been improved since the new state
highway follows the course of El Camino Real south of Los Angeles?

  [Illustration: A CORNER OF CAPISTRANO
   From Photograph by Dassonville]

After closely following the beach for many miles the road rounds a
huge cliff and turns sharply inland—we saw no more of the ocean. Dana
mentions the coast just above the point in "Two Years Before the Mast,"
as a spot where the ship's people landed to trade with the natives,
whose merchandise consisted chiefly of skins and furs. Climbing to the
summit of a pass through the hills, we caught a distant glimpse of the
crumbling walls and red tiles of another of the old-time retreats of
the fathers of St. Francis.

I find in my "Log-Book of a Motor Car," set down on the spot,
"Capistrano is really the most picturesque of all the missions we have
seen"—a judgment which I am still willing to let stand after having
visited every link in the ancient chain. Perhaps this impression is
partly due to the fact that the restorer's hand has so far dealt lightly
with San Juan Mission and partly because the town of Capistrano itself
is so redolent of ancient California. Indeed, this scattered hamlet must
have looked very much the same fifty years ago as it does to-day, and
as yet it shows little sign of waking from its somnolence and catching
step with the rapid march of California's progress. The population is
mostly Mexican and half-breed—a dreaming, easy-going community that
seems quite content with its humdrum life and obvious poverty. There
is a good-sized wooden hotel which in numerous roadside signs makes an
earnest bid for the patronage of motorists, and looks as if it might be
fairly comfortable for a brief sojourn.

To see Capistrano, the motor which takes you away when you are ready
to go, is the means par excellence. The charm of the place is the
mission, which you can see to your satisfaction in an hour or two,
though you will doubtless desire to come again. It stands at the edge
of the village in the luxuriant green valley, guarded by the encircling
hills so omnipresent in California. Someone has styled it the Melrose
Abbey of the west, but it is quite as different from Melrose Abbey as
California is unlike Scotland. We enter the grounds and look about some
time for a guide, but find no one save a dark-eyed slip of a girl in a
broad sombrero, placing flowers on the altar of the diminutive chapel.
She leads us to the quarters of the padre and we hear him chanting a
Latin prayer as we approach. He is a tall, dark, ascetic-looking young
fellow, who greets us warmly and asks us to step into his study until
he is ready to go with us. It is a bare, uncomfortable-looking room,
which from the outside we would never have suspected to be occupied. He
is Father St. John O'Sullivan, a young Kentuckian of Irish descent and
one can soon see that he is at San Juan Capistrano because his heart
is in his work. He tells us little of the story of the mission, for
he has written a booklet covering that—which we gladly purchase, and
also a number of the beautiful photographs which he himself has taken.
Like every other mission priest whom we met, his heart is set on the
restoration and preservation of his charge and every dollar that he gets
by contribution or the sale of his pictures or souvenirs is hoarded for
that purpose.

  [Illustration: ARCHES, CAPISTRANO
   From Photograph by Dassonville]

And who can look about the beautiful ruin and not be impressed that
his purpose is a worthy one? For here, beyond question, was one of
the largest establishments and the finest church of all the twenty-one
missions of California. Our pictures must be the best description of
the ruin—but they can give little idea of the impressive ensemble. The
inner court was surrounded by arched cloisters, part of which still
remain, though time-stained to a mellow brown and covered with vines
and roses. A tiny garden now relieves the wide waste of the ancient
enclosure, fragments of whose walls are still to be seen. The original
tiles still cover the roof, giving that rich color combination of dull
reds, silver-grays, and moss-greens which one seldom sees elsewhere.
The ruins of the great church are the most impressive and melancholy
portion—doubly so when one learns that the earthquake of 1812 tumbled
the seven stone domes of the roof upon the congregation while at mass,
crushing out forty lives. Traces of the carvings and decorations still
remain which show that in rude artistic touches Capistrano church
surpassed all its compeers. A little nondescript campanile with four
bells remains, whose inscriptions and history are given in Father
O'Sullivan's "Little Chapters." Here, also, he gives one or two pleasing
traditions of the bells, which are worth repeating here:

"Of the mission bells there are many traditions known to all the older
people of San Juan. One of these relates to the good old padre, Fray
Jose Zalvidea. Of all the mission padres, he more than the others, still
survives in the living memory of the people and his name is the 'open
sesame' to the treasure caves of local tradition.

"Adhering to the ancient custom of his brethren, he always traveled
afoot on his journeys to other missions, or on calls to the sick. Once
while returning from a visit to a rancheria in the north, the story
runs, he was overtaken near El Toro, some twelve miles away, by the
other padre of the mission, who rode in a carreta drawn by oxen. On
being invited to get in and ride, he refused and answered pleasantly.

"'Never mind, my brother, I shall arrive at the mission before you to
ring the Angelus.'

"The other father, respecting Padre Jose's desire to proceed afoot, did
not urge him further, but continued on his way in the carreta.

"Now in those days El Camino Real came into San Juan from the north,
not as it does now, along the level side of the Trabuco Valley, but
some rods to the east, over the rolling breasts of the lomas. From
the mission patio one may still see the depression in the hill-top to
the northwest of the mission, where the roadway came over the swelling
ground there, and gave the weary traveler from the north a first full
view of the mission. When the father in the carreta reached this
point on the King's Highway, it was just the hour for the Angelus,
and promptly on the moment the bells rang out the three-fold call to
prayer. Wondering who could have rung the Angelus in the absence of both
fathers, he hastened forward and found that Father Zalvidea, true to his
word, had reached the mission before him; but how he did so to this day
remains a mystery.

  [Illustration: RUINED CLOISTERS, CAPISTRANO
   From Photograph by Pillsbury]

"Another of the traditions is as follows: There lived with her parents
near the mission an Indian maid named Matilda, who was very gentle and
devout and who loved to care for the sanctuary and to keep fresh flowers
upon the altars. She took sick, however, and died just at the break of
day. Immediately, in order to announce her departure, the four bells
all began of their own accord, or rather, by the hands of angels, to
ring together—not merely the solemn tolling of the larger ones for an
adult nor the joyful jingling of the two smaller ones for a child, but
a mingling of the two, to proclaim both the years of her age and the
innocence of her life. Some say it was not the sound of the mission
bells at all that was heard ringing down the little valley at dawn, but
the bells in heaven which rang out a welcome to her pure soul upon its
entrance into the company of the angels."

This church was built of hewn stone and lime mortar, though most of the
other buildings are of adobe.

Capistrano has many interesting relics. There are several statues,
including one of San Juan Capistrano in military-religious habit, and of
the Blessed Virgin. In the library are numerous illuminated books done
by the old-time monks, who always ended their work with a flamboyant
"Laus Deo." There are numerous old paintings of doubtful value and
several beautiful silver candlesticks.

The story of the mission is soon told, for it was very much like that
of every other. It was founded in November, 1776, Father Serra himself
taking part in the ceremonies. Ten years later there were five hundred
and forty-four Indians under the padres, who had made good progress in
the cruder arts and manufactures as well as agriculture. The beautiful
church was consecrated with great ceremony in 1806 and was destroyed
just six years later. It was the first of all to be "secularized." "The
administration of the mission," writes Father O'Sullivan, "passed from
the fathers into the hands of salaried state officials and it was only
a short time until the lands and even the buildings themselves were
sold off and the Indians sent adrift. Some years later, 1862, smallpox
appeared among them and almost entirely wiped them out of existence,
so that to-day not half a dozen San Juaneros remain in the vicinity
of the mission." Even this pitiful remnant has disappeared since the
foregoing words were written. On our last visit, Father O'Sullivan told
us that on that very day he had buried the last descendant of the once
numerous San Juan Mission Indians. "Surely," said he, "the day marks the
end of an era in the history of San Juan Capistrano Mission, since it
witnesses the utter extinction of the race of people for whose welfare
this mission came into existence."

It was a lowering evening as we left after our first visit. The sky had
become overcast by a dark cloud rolling in from the sea and raindrops
began to patter on the ruin about us. "I am sorry to have the weather
interfere with your pleasure trip," said Father O'Sullivan, "but I know
that you yourselves would welcome the rain if you understood how badly
it is needed here." And so we cheerfully splashed over the sixty miles
of wet roads, reaching Los Angeles by lamplight.

  [Illustration: RUINS OF CAPISTRANO CHURCH BY MOONLIGHT
   From Photograph by Putnam & Valentine]

We made other pilgrimages to San Juan Capistrano under more favorable
weather conditions, for the road is a lovely one. I have already told
of a trip through the charming country to Santa Ana through the orange,
lemon, and walnut groves that crowd up to the road much of the way.
Beyond Santa Ana there are fewer fruit trees; here grain fields and huge
tracts of lima beans predominate. The latter are a Southern California
staple, and it was some time before we learned what they were planting
with wheeled seeders the latter part of May. The beans usually mature
without rain or irrigation—a crop that seldom fails. The country in the
main is flat and uninteresting between Santa Ana and Capistrano, but
there is always the joy and inspiration of the distant mountains. On
one shimmering forenoon we saw a remarkable mirage in this vicinity—the
semblance of a huge lake with trees and green rushes appearing in
the distance. It receded as we advanced and finally faded away. Its
startling distinctness forcibly recalled the stories we had read of
travelers being deceived and tormented by this strange apparition in
waterless deserts.



IX

SANTA BARBARA


San Gabriel and San Fernando we had already visited in our rambles out
of Los Angeles. The next link in the chain is Ventura, seventy-two
miles to the north. From there we planned to follow El Camino Real
beyond the Golden Gate to Sonoma, where San Francisco de Asis, the last
and remotest of all, passed its short existence—and it proved in all a
journey of nearly two thousand miles before we returned to the City of
the Angels. A day or two was spent in preparation, studying our maps,
packing our trunks, and tuning up the car for the rough roads and stiff
grades that it must soon encounter. We were in high anticipation of a
glorious trip, for had we not already felt the lure of the open road in
California?—and when an old-time friend and his charming wife accepted
our invitation to accompany us, our cup of happiness was full.

It is not necessary to say that it was a beautiful day when we finally
set out; all California days are beautiful after the first of May and
call for no special remark. Leaving Hollywood, with its gorgeous banks
of bloom, we crossed over Cahuenga Pass into San Fernando Valley. Of
this I have written elsewhere, but it looked even better than when
we visited it last; the barley fields were maturing and the olive and
apricot groves promised a generous crop. Along the road the roses were
in bloom and here and there new houses were going up. Lankershim and
Van Nuys are clean, modern towns joined by the splendid new boulevard
and show many signs of making good the numerous sweeping claims which
they advertise on billboards near at hand. Beyond Calabasas we entered
the hills and pursued a winding course through a maze of wooded canyons.
On either hand were magnificent oaks, which often overarched the road.
Under one of the noblest of these—four or five feet in diameter, with a
spread of perhaps one hundred and fifty feet—we paused for our noonday
lunch, while the birds among the branches furnished a concert for our
benefit. This hill country was but thinly populated and the little
ranches which we occasionally passed had anything but a prosperous look.
It has shown a marked improvement in many ways since the completion of
the new state highway, work on which began shortly after the time of
which I write.

The long easy loops of the Canejo Pass led us from the hills to the
beautiful Santa Clara Valley, affording an unrivalled view as we
descended. This grade is four miles long and, while not very steep
at any point, is dangerous because of its many turns and precipitous
sides, which in places drop almost sheer for hundreds of feet. A notice
at the top restricts speed to four miles per hour, which, if obeyed,
would require just an hour for the descent—an example of the ridiculous
extremes of many of the "speed limits." A Ventura garage man told me
that a few years ago a driver made a wager that he could "do the Canejo"
at thirty miles an hour—a piece of folly that resulted in his death as
well as that of a companion who was riding with him. We ourselves had
ocular demonstration that the descent might be dangerous, for we saw
parts of a wrecked car near the middle of the grade and also the tackle
used for hauling it up the steep bank down which it had tumbled. The
Canejo has since been paved and the grades and sharp turns so greatly
reduced that one may do twenty-five miles per hour with far less risk
than twelve under the old conditions.

In the valley the road was straight and level for many miles and
bordered much of the way by giant eucalyptus trees. The eucalyptus, so
common in Southern California, is a wonderfully quick grower and serves
some very useful purposes, especially for piles in sea water, since
the teredo will not attack it. On either side of the road were vast
fields of lima beans; one tract, we were told, comprising more than
four thousand acres. Here again we saw a distant mirage—waves of the
sea apparently sweeping over the low, level ground before us. We soon
came in sight of the ocean and caught a glimpse of Oxnard—the beet-sugar
town—a few miles off the main road.

There are two alternate routes which every tourist should take should
he make subsequent trips between Ventura and Los Angeles. One of these
follows the San Fernando Boulevard to San Fernando town. Here one takes
the road past the old mission—about a mile from the town—and leaves the
valley a few miles farther through the Santa Susana Pass over a moderate
grade—practically the only unimproved section of this road. The highway
continues through the wayside hamlets of Simi, Moorpark and Saticoy,
running through a well-improved and fertile valley and joining the state
road a few miles south of Ventura.

The other route follows the San Fernando Boulevard through Newhall
Tunnel past Saugus to Castaic, where it branches to the left. It takes
us through the fine fruit-growing and farming country of the Santa
Clara Valley and the well-improved towns of Fillmore and Santa Paula.
Near Camulos Station on the S. P. R. R. is the famous old Spanish ranch
house of the same name which served Helen Hunt Jackson as the prototype
of the early home of Ramona. It is said to be the best example extant
in Southern California of the hospitable home of the old-time Spanish
grandee and one may read a very accurate description of it in Mrs.
Jackson's novel. It was formerly freely shown to tourists, but frequent
acts of vandalism led the owner to close the house to practically all
comers.

The Santa Clara Valley road is now all improved and is bordered
with some of the finest fruit ranches in Southern California. It has
been very interesting to the writer to note how the improvement of
the highways to which I have just referred has been followed by the
improvement of the country and villages through which they pass. We
made our first runs through these valleys when there was little but
sandy trails to guide us and our impression of the towns and ranches
was far from favorable. No stronger argument could be made in favor of
highway improvement than to cite the rapid strides made in these valleys
immediately following the coming of better roads.

Our first impression of Ventura, with its broad streets and
flower-girded cottages, was wholly favorable, nor have we any occasion
to alter it after several visits. It is a quiet, prosperous town of
over four thousand people according to the census—which rapidly becomes
inaccurate in California—and depends mostly on the productive country
about it, though it is gaining some fame as a resort. The new county
courthouse, a white stone palace fronting the sea from the hillside
above the town, is of classic design and cost, we were told, a quarter
of a million dollars. It would be an ornament to a city ten times the
size of Ventura and is a fine illustration of the civic pride of these
California communities. The situation of the town is charming indeed—on
a slight rise overlooking the shimmering summer sea and just below a
range of picturesque hills.

The chief historic attraction is the old mission of San Buenaventura,
which gives its name to the town and which was founded by Father
Serra himself in 1782. It reached the zenith of prosperity in 1816,
when the neophytes numbered thirteen hundred and thirty. The result
of secularization here was the same as elsewhere: the property was
confiscated and the Indians scattered. In 1843 it was restored to the
padres, who eked out a moderate living until the American occupation.

All the buildings of the mission have disappeared except the church,
which lately was restored and renovated quite out of its ancient self.
The interior is now that of a rather gaudy Catholic chapel and most of
the relics of early days have been lost. It is situated in the midst of
the town and the priest's house and garden adjoin it. In the latter is
a fig tree which has survived since the mission days. Taken altogether,
San Buenaventura is one of the most modernized and least interesting
of the entire chain. Its redeeming feature is the beautiful bell-tower,
though the old-time bells are gone. The church is now in daily use and
had a great display of wooden figures and lighted candles when we saw
it.

Leaving the town we took the new Rincon "cut off" road following
the coast to Santa Barbara and avoiding the Casitas Pass—long a
terror to motorists. We took the Casitas route on another occasion
and while the road was narrow, rough and steep in places, with many
sharp turns, we have done so many worse mountain trails since that
the recollection is not very disquieting. Just across the river we
passed through a beautiful wooded park, the gift of a public-spirited
citizen now deceased. Beyond this we began the ascent of the first hill
range—East Casitas—which is rather the steeper of the two. But all the
disadvantages of the road are atoned for by the shady nooks, the wild
flowers and the magnificent outlooks from frequent vantage points,
especially from the eastern summit. Here one looks for miles over wooded
hills abloom with the pale lavender of the wild lilac and fading away,
range after range, into the blue and purple haze of the distance. West
Casitas is practically a repetition of East so far as the climb and
descent are concerned; in all there were about seven miles of moderately
heavy grades before we came into the level roads through the walnut
and lemon groves on the western side. We agreed that Casitas Pass was
well worth doing once or twice, but generally the Rincon road is to be
preferred.

The coast road was opened in the summer of 1912, and was made possible
by the construction of more than a mile of plank causeway around cliffs
jutting into the sea and over inlets too deep to fill. The county of
Ventura contributed fifty thousand dollars to the work and an equal
amount was raised by subscription. It closely follows the shore for the
whole distance and is about nine miles shorter than the mountain route.
It was quite unimproved at the time we first traversed it, and really
rougher than the Casitas road.

The Rincon Route, as it is called, has since been paved and now carries
practically all traffic between Ventura and Santa Barbara. It affords
a glorious drive along a sea of marvelous light and color and the long
shelving boulder-strewn beach is a popular camping and play ground.
This route may lack the thrills and rugged scenery of the Casitas Pass
road, but its smooth level stretches appeal to the average motorist and
the usually bad condition of the Casitas is another deterrent to its
frequent use.

  [Illustration: GIANT GRAPEVINE NEAR CARPINTERIA
   From Photograph]

Both routes converge at Carpinteria, about twelve miles south of Santa
Barbara. This little village has two distinct settlements. The site of
the old Spanish settlement was visited by the Monterey expedition as
early as 1769 and was named "Carpinteria"—carpenter's shop—because some
Indians were building a canoe at the spot. The newer American community
is more thriving and up-to-date.

A little to the northwest of the village is a monster grapevine famed
throughout the section as the Titan of its class. It is near a farmhouse
just off the main road and we turned in to view it. The enormous trunk
is ten feet in girth and the vines cover a trellis one hundred feet
square. Its maximum crop, said the farmer, was fourteen tons a few years
ago—enough to make a big carload. One single cluster, of which he showed
us a photograph, weighed no less than twelve pounds. The average yearly
crop is ten to fifteen tons. Legend has it that it was first planted
in 1809, in which case it would be a little more than a centenarian. It
is of the mission variety and shows no signs of decay. A comparison of
the trunk with the old man shown in our picture should substantiate at
least one "tall California story."

A year or two later we paused to view it again, only to find the dead
trunk remaining as a sad witness of its former glory. The immense crop
of fruit that it had borne the previous year had so sapped its vitality
that it withered and died.

At Summerland, a few miles farther, is the curious phenomenon of large
oil derricks standing in the ocean. Here are prolific oil wells beneath
the water and the oil gives the surface an opalescent appearance for
some distance from the shore. The place was originally founded as a
spiritualist colony, but for lack of the promotive genius of a Madame
Tingley, it never throve. Possibly the creaking oil pumps and pungent
odors of the vicinity had something to do with the disappearance of
mediums and their ghostly visitants.

On reaching Santa Barbara we decided on the new Arlington Hotel, an
imposing structure of solid concrete and dark red brick, the design
following mission lines generally. The towers are beautiful copies of
those of the Santa Barbara Mission and the roof is of dark red tiling
modeled after the antique pattern of the padres. The plainness of the
mission, while carried throughout, is everywhere combined with elegance
and comfort. The interior of the public rooms is decidedly unique,
the finish being dark brown brick and cement, without wood trimming of
any kind. Our rooms were furnished plainly but comfortably; the doors
were of undressed lumber stained dark brown and furnished with heavy
wrought-iron hinges, latches and locks. In such a land of plenty and
variety of food products as California, it is not strange that the
better hotels are famous for their "cuisine," as the handbooks style it.
The Arlington is no exception to the rule, and the quiet and attentive
young waitresses add to the attractiveness of the dining-room.

The first query of the stranger in Santa Barbara is for the mission and
no sooner had we removed the stains of travel—and they are plentiful
when you motor over the dusty roads of California—and arrayed ourselves
in fresh raiment than we, too, sought the famous shrine. An electric
car leads almost to its door; or, one will find the walk of a mile a
pleasant variation after several hours on the roads.

  [Illustration: ARCADE, SANTA BARBARA
   From Photograph by Dassonville]

You have the impression of being familiar with Santa Barbara Mission
even before you have seen it, for I doubt if there is any other object
in California that has been photographed and illustrated in greater
variety. Its position is a superb one, on a hillside looking down on the
town and fronting the glorious channel. From its tower balconies you may
have one of the finest views to be seen in a land of magnificent views
and you can not but admire the wisdom of the old padres in selecting the
site when Santa Barbara was nothing but a collection of Indian hovels.
Directly in front of the mission is the ancient fountain and below it a
huge tank in which the natives washed their clothes—a practice to which
they were little addicted before the padres came.

Entering the heavy oaken doors, we found system here for handling the
troops of tourists who come almost daily; the guide had just gone with
a party and we must wait his return. In the meanwhile we found plenty
to interest us, for there were many old paintings, books, and other
objects on exhibit. Our guide soon arrived—a spare-looking old priest
who spoke with a German accent; he was very courteous and kindly, but
not so communicative as we might wish a guide to be in such a place. He
led us first to the church, a huge apartment forty by one hundred and
sixty-five feet, gaudily painted in Indian designs. It is built of stone
with enormously heavy walls—six feet thick—supported by buttresses nine
feet square. Its predecessor was destroyed by an earthquake and it would
seem that in the new structure the fathers strove to guard against a
second disaster of the kind. The interior had been modernized and the
decorations reproduce as nearly as possible the original Indian designs.
There are numerous carved figures and paintings brought from Spain and
Mexico in an early day. One of the paintings is a remarkable antique,
representing the Trinity by three figures, each the exact counterpart
of the other. A stairway leads to one of the towers and as we ascended
we noted the solidity of the construction, concrete and stone being the
only materials employed. We were shown the mission bells, two of which
are one hundred years old, suspended by rawhide thongs from the beams on
the roof. There is a magnificent view from the tower, covering the town
and a wide scope of country and extending seaward to the islands beyond
the channel. Descending, we were conducted into the cemetery garden
where, the guide told us, were buried no less than four thousand Indians
during mission days. It is a peaceful spot now, beautiful with flowers
and shrubbery and affording a quiet retreat for the monks. There are
many rare trees and shrubs and we were especially interested in a giant
datura as old, perhaps, as the cemetery. In one corner is a mausoleum
where the fathers have been buried since the founding of the mission.
Some thirty have been laid to rest here and only five crypts remained
unoccupied at the time of our visit.

  [Illustration: THE OLD CEMETERY, SANTA BARBARA
   From Photograph by Putnam & Valentine]

In the court on the opposite side of the church is the garden which,
according to an ancient rule, no woman may enter save the "reigning
queen," though after the American conquest this was extended to include
the wife of the President, and the priest told us with pride that Mrs.
Benjamin Harrison availed herself of the privilege. By a somewhat wide
interpretation of the "reigning queen" rule, Princess Louise, wife of
the Governor-General of Canada, was also admitted once upon a time. We
recall a similar rule in Durham Cathedral and it seems that the monks of
the Old World and New did not always feel proof against feminine charms.
One of the old Franciscan fathers, however, took quite a different view
of the matter.

"It seems," he said, "that since our Mother Eve, through her fatal
curiosity brought upon her daughters the curse of expulsion from
Eden, the Franciscan order does not subject any other woman to similar
temptation."

While not permitted to enter the garden ourselves, we were able to get
a very satisfactory "bird's-eye" view of it from the tower balcony.

The mission now is a Franciscan college for monks and at the time of our
visit there were forty-nine brothers in all. It is a center of Catholic
learning in California, having a valuable library which contains
most of the sources of mission history. Among these Father Zephyrin
Engelhardt labors daily upon his great work on "The Franciscan Missions
of California." Of this he has already published three large volumes
which are recognized as a valuable contribution to American history,
and a fourth is soon to follow. There are also illuminated missals from
Spain and Old Mexico and other rare volumes of considerable value.

The fathers and their students do all the work necessary to keep up
their establishment and its gardens. Each one learns some particular
trade or work and does not shrink from the hardest physical labor. The
buildings and grounds are being improved and beautified each year and
Santa Barbara seems to be the one mission where ideal conditions prevail
for the care of the property and the preservation of the traditions
of early days. Very appropriately it still remains in charge of the
Franciscans, a rather uncommon distinction shared with San Luis Rey
alone.

Santa Barbara was founded in 1786, four years after Father Serra's
death. The present church was completed in 1820 and is described
by Father Engelhardt as "probably the most solid structure of its
kind in California." The Indian population of the mission was at its
maximum in 1803, numbering seventeen hundred and ninety-two souls. The
secularization decree took place in 1834, at which time the property was
valued at a little in excess of one hundred thousand dollars. So notably
was the Mexican program a failure at Santa Barbara that ten years later
the property was restored to the padres; but the Indians were scattered,
the wealth dissipated, and the building in a sad state of disrepair.
Less than three hundred natives remained and these gained a living with
difficulty. Three years afterwards the governor sold the property to a
private party for seventy-five hundred dollars; but after the American
occupation it was returned to the church.

  [Illustration: THE FORBIDDEN GARDEN, SANTA BARBARA
   From Photograph by Pillsbury]

The arcade fronting the sea, the cloisters partly surrounding the
garden, and a few other portions of the original buildings remain, but
the present dormitory is modern. The decree authorizing the college
was issued by Rome more than fifty years ago and the restoration work
proceeded but slowly, being done largely by the fathers and their
students. Father O'Keefe, the kindly old priest whom we met at San
Luis Rey, directed much of the work and pushed it to completion. His
excellent record here resulted in his transfer to the southern mission
where, as we have seen, he was also singularly successful.

Before we departed we purchased a copy of Father Engelhardt's history
and left our modest contribution as well, for the Franciscan fathers,
who have so faithfully labored to restore and protect this beautiful
old mission and who show such courtesy to the visiting stranger, have
no source of income except voluntary gifts.

Coming out, we paused awhile to admire the sunset bay from the arcade
and then wended our way along flower-bordered walks to our hotel.

There is no other town of the size in California—or scarcely of any
size, for that matter—that has about it such a wonderful series of
drives and walks as Santa Barbara.

At the time of our first visit some of these were closed to motors and
as a guide seemed almost a necessity, we decided to abandon the car
for the novelty of a horse-drawn vehicle. We had no trouble at all in
finding one for there were a host of Jehus on the street who recognized
us as tourists at sight and eagerly hailed us as possible customers.
We chose the oldest fellow of all, partly out of sympathy and partly
because we liked his face, and it proved a more fortunate selection
than we suspected at the time. He was an old-time Californian, having
crossed the plains with his parents in 1854, when a child of six. He
had an adventurous career, beginning with that time, for he was stolen
from the camp by a band of Indians and recovered two days later by the
pioneers after a sharp fight. He had been in the midst of the mining
maelstrom and was rich and poor half a dozen times—poor the last time,
he declared, and now the condition had become chronic. He had lived in
Santa Barbara thirty years and not only knew every nook and corner of
the town and vicinity, but could tell who lived in the houses and many
bits of interesting history and gossip as well.

In the forenoon he took us among the fine homes of the millionaire
residents, some of which reminded us not a little—though of course on
a smaller scale—of great English estates we had visited. But in Santa
Barbara they have the advantage of shrubs and trees which flourish the
year round and from nearly all there is a perennial view of summer sea,
always beautiful and inspiring. The grounds of many of these places
are open to visitors and some are marvelously beautiful; the climate
admits of great possibilities in landscape-gardening in the free use of
semi-tropical shrubs, palms, flowers, and fruit trees.

Our guide then took us through the grounds of the Miramar Hotel Colony,
if I may so describe it. Here a wooded hill on the shore is covered with
a group of cottages, which are rented by guests who get their meals at
a central building—a plan that affords the advantages of privacy and
outdoor life without the cares of housekeeping.

Of course we visited the Gillespie house and gardens—"El Furiedes,"
which may be roughly translated as "pleasure garden"—which, after the
mission, is probably the most distinctive attraction of Santa Barbara.
The gardens cover about forty acres and contain a great variety of
rare flowers, shrubs, and trees from all parts of the world. In places
these form tangled thickets where one might easily lose himself if not
familiar with the winding paths. Quiet pools play an important part
in the decorative scheme, and these were beautified with rare water
plants, among them the Egyptian lotus. In the center of the grounds is
the house, built along the lines of a Roman villa. It is not open to
visitors, but our guide declared that it contains a costly collection
of antiques of all kinds. The main doors are remarkable examples of
carving, dating from about 1450, and were taken from a Moorish temple
in Spain. The owner of this beautiful place, a New York millionaire,
said our guide, spends only a small part of his time in Santa Barbara.
In the meanwhile the gardens are maintained at his expense, and are as
easy of access to visitors as a public park.

Before returning to our hotel we made the round of the city and our
driver pointed out some of the older and more historic buildings.
Of these the de la Guerre mansion is the most notable aside from the
mission itself. Here took place the marriage of Donna Anita to Senor
Noriega y Carillo, so vivaciously described by Dana in "Two Years Before
the Mast." It is a typical old-time Spanish residence, low, solid,
and surrounding the inevitable court. We were also shown the homes of
several people of more or less celebrity who live in Santa Barbara,
among them Stewart Edward White, and Robert Cameron Rogers, the poet
and author of "The Rosary," whose death California so sincerely mourned
a little later.

There are many famous "Little Journeys" out of Santa Barbara which
it would be superfluous to describe in detail. There are several good
local guidebooks with maps to be had and the services of the Southern
California Auto Club branch are always available. You can do most of
these excursions in two or three days, including a round trip via the
San Marcos Pass, to the Santa Ynez Mission, returning via Los Olivos and
the Gaviota Pass. I shall describe the drive which we made on our first
visit—and we made it in an old-fashioned surrey, for the road was then
closed to motors. I am glad that we were forced to adopt that good old
method of locomotion, as it gave us leisure to contemplate the beauties
of the scenery that we should scarce have had in our car.

"Take the sixteen-mile drive," says the old driver. "It's one of the
best; it is closed to autos and you can do all the rest in your car."

  [Illustration: WILD MUSTARD, MIRAMAR
   From Original Painting by J. M. Gamble]

So it's the "sixteen-mile drive" for us, and a wonderful panorama of
green hills, wooded canyons and calm, shining sea it proves to be. The
road has many steep pitches and follows the edges of the hills like a
narrow shelf; vehicles can pass in but few places and all are required
to go in the same direction. From the summits we have many far-reaching
views of hill and valley, whose brilliant greens are tempered by the
pale violet bloom of the mountain lilac. It is a view very much like
some we have seen and many more we are to see, but we shall never weary
of it. We have gained something of the spirit of the good old John Muir.
"Climb the mountains," he urges, "and get their good tidings. Nature's
peace will flow into you as sunshine flows into the trees. The winds
will blow their own freshness into you, while cares will drop off like
autumn leaves." And so, as we slowly wind about this green-bordered
mountain trail, we pause at every vantage point to contemplate the
view and finally the most glorious scene of all breaks on our vision, a
panorama of wooded hills sloping down to the summer sea—wonderfully calm
to-day, with a curious effect of light and color. Across its mirrorlike
surface bars of steely blue light run to the channel islands, Santa
Cruz and Santa Rosa, whose mountainous bulk looms in the amethystine
haze of sunset some twenty miles away. Of the channel before us Mr. John
McGroarty writes in his delightful "History and Romance of California":

"Nor is this all that makes the charm, the beauty, the climatic peace
and calm and the fascination of Santa Barbara. Twenty-five miles
out to sea a marine mountain range, twin sister of the Santa Ynez on
shore, rears its glowing peaks from the tumbling billows in a series
of islands. So it is that Santa Barbara faces not the open sea, but
a channel or a strait of the sea. Up into this channel flows the warm
ocean current from the south and so adds its beneficence to complete
the climatic combination that keeps the spot snug and warm and free
from all violence in winter, the selfsame combination leaving it cool
and refreshing through the long, sunny summers. So, also, do the twin
mountain ranges—the one on land, the other out at sea—give Santa Barbara
a marine playground as safe and as placid as Lake Tahoe. The channel is
a yachtsman's paradise. To its long sweep of blue waters—a stretch of
seventy miles—come the Pacific-Coast-built ships of the American navy
to be tried out and tested for speed and endurance."

Returning to the city, we followed Sycamore Canyon—rightly named,
indeed, for throughout its length is a multitude of giant sycamores,
gnarled and twisted into a thousand fantastic shapes like trees of
Dante's Inferno. Scattered among them were a few majestic live-oaks,
which gradually increased in numbers as we came into the beautiful
suburb of Montecito, with its handsome residences and flower-spangled
lawns. Our driver enlightened us on the value of some of the places
offered for sale, also of numerous vacant lots just on the edge of
the town. Three to five thousand per acre seemed to be the average sum
that a millionaire was asked to invest should he desire to establish
an "estate" here—prices quite as high as was then demanded for similar
property in the neighborhood of Los Angeles. And it is not likely that
values will cease to advance.

The completion of the new highway has put Santa Barbara into easy
touch with the metropolis by motor car, adding still farther to its
desirability as a residence town for people with leisure and money.
The distance, just one hundred miles, is an easy three-hours' drive
and a very popular Sunday jaunt from Los Angeles and frequent motor
busses make the trip daily. All of which serve to make Santa Barbara a
long-distance suburb of the Queen City to a far greater extent than it
was in the days of rough roads and the "dreadful Casitas Pass," as I
heard it styled more than once.

But here I am going on as if the automobile were the prime factor in
making a town prosperous—and, truly, it is hard for one who has never
visited California to understand what a tremendous utility the motor
car has become in the life of the people. And, besides, this is a
motor-travel book by an admitted automobile crank and perhaps a little
exaggeration of the importance of the wind-shod steed is permissible
under such circumstances.

But, all levity aside, Santa Barbara, with her unrivaled attractions,
her sheltered sea, her delightful environment of mountain and forest,
her matchless climate, her palms, her roses, her historic associations
and—not least in our estimation—the rapidly increasing mileage of fine
roads about her, is bound to receive continual additions from the ranks
of the discriminating to her cultured and prosperous citizenship.



X

SANTA BARBARA TO MONTEREY


Leaving Santa Barbara for the north, we turned aside a little way out
of the town into the entrance of Hope Ranch, a beautiful park which was
then being exploited as a residence section. Here are several hundred
acres of rolling hills studded with some of the finest oaks we had
seen and commanding glorious views of the ocean and distant mountains.
Splendid boulevards wind through every part of the tract. A fine road
runs around a little blue lake and leads up to the country club house
which stands on a hill overlooking the valley. Passing through the
tract, we soon came to the ocean and, following Cliff Drive, which leads
along the shore for a few miles, we found ourselves in the grounds of
the Potter Hotel. The drive is an enchanting one, with views of rugged
coast and still, shining sea stretching away to the dim outlines of the
channel islands.

  [Illustration: POPPIES AND LUPINES
   From Original Painting by Percy Gray]

On our first trip we chose the coast road and followed a fine new
boulevard for a dozen miles out of Santa Barbara—but beyond this it was
a different story. Not so bad as the Los Olivos garage man declared—"the
worst in California"—but a choppy trail with short, steep hills and
stretches of adobe about as rough as could be from recent rains. At the
little village of Gaviota this road swings inland over Gaviota Pass,
though there is a shorter and more direct route to Santa Ynez, the next
mission. This branches from the main road about four miles north of
Santa Barbara and cuts directly across the mountains through San Marcos
Pass. Probably this was the original Camino Real, since it is several
miles shorter than the coast road and would present little difficulty
to the man on foot or horseback, as people traveled in the brave old
mission days.

On one occasion we varied matters by taking this route despite the
dubious language of the road-book and the rather forbidding appearance
of the mountain range that blocked our way. We found the road quite
as steep and rough as represented—very heavy going over grades up to
twenty-five per cent, with a multitude of dangerous corners—but we felt
ourselves more than repaid for our trouble by the magnificence of the
scenery and the glorious, far-reaching panoramas that greeted us during
the ascent. It was something of an effort to turn from a broad, smooth
boulevard into a dusty trail which was lost to view in the giant hills,
though we solaced ourselves with the reflection that the boulevard
continued but a few miles farther. Fording a little river—the great
flood a few weeks before had swept away every vestige of the bridge—we
ran for a short distance over a tree-fringed road through the valley and
then began the six-mile climb to the summit of the range. Much of the
way trees and shrubbery bordered the road, but at frequent intervals
we came into open spaces on the mountain side which afforded some of
the finest views we saw in California. The day was unusually clear and
the landscape beneath us was wonderfully distinct in the morning sun. A
long reach of wooded hills, dotted here and there with cultivated fields
and orchards surrounding red-roofed ranch-houses, stretched down to
the narrow plain along the sea. Upon this to the southward lay the town
of Santa Barbara as an indistinct blur and beyond it the still shining
waters of the channel running out to the island chain which cuts off the
great waste of the Pacific. During our ascent we paused many times to
cool our steaming motor and saw the same glorious scene from different
viewpoints, each showing some new and delightful variation.

Strenuous as was the climb, it was almost with regret that we crossed
the hills which finally shut the panorama of mountain and sea from
our sight. The descent was even steeper than the climb, but there were
frequent grassy dales starred with wild flowers which broke the sharp
pitches, and many views of magnificently wild scenery down the Santa
Ynez Canyon. At the foot of the grade we came to the river—a clear,
shallow stream dashing over a wide boulder-strewn "wash." We followed
the river valley for some miles through velvety, oak-studded meadows
whose green luxuriance was dashed here and there with blue lupines or
golden poppies. Coming out of the valley and winding for some distance
among low, rolling hills we reached the lonely town of Santa Ynez, which
we missed when going by the Gaviota Pass road. It is an ancient-looking
little place, innocent of railroad trains and some four miles distant
from the mission which gives it the name.

We shall never regret our trip through San Marcos Pass, but if the
traveler is to make but one journey between Santa Barbara and Los
Olivos, he will probably choose the coast road—the route of the state
highway—and if he does not find the scenery so spectacular as that of
San Marcos, he will find it as beautiful and perhaps more varied. For
many miles this route closely follows the Pacific and we quite forgot
the rough road in our enthusiasm for the lovely country through which
we passed—on one hand the still, deep blue of the sea and on the other
green foothills stretching away to the rugged ranges of the Santa Ynez
Mountains.

Near the village of Naples we were surprised to see a lonely country
church, solidly built of yellowish stone, standing on a hilltop. Its
Norman style, with low, square tower and quaint gargoyles, seemed
reminiscent of Britain rather than California. And, indeed, we learned
that it was built years ago by an English resident of the locality, who
doubtless drew his inspiration from the Mother Country. But, alas for
his ambitions, his costly structure is now quite abandoned and serves
the humble purpose of a hay-barn, though it is, and may be for ages, a
picturesque feature of the landscape.

We supposed that Naples, like its southern namesake, would prove
a modern seaside resort, but we found only a group of whitewashed
buildings surrounding an unpretentious inn. It seemed a quiet, cleanly
little hamlet and its harsh outlines were relieved by the bright colors
of tangled flower-beds. A little farther we paused for our noonday
lunch under a great sycamore by a clear little stream. Here some bridge
timbers served opportunely for both table and seats; the air was vocal
with the song of birds and redolent with the pungent odor of bay trees
growing near by. It is not strange that such experiences prejudiced us
more strongly than ever in favor of our open-air noonday meals.

Beyond this we passed through a quiet, dreamy country. Houses were few
and the only sound was the low wash of the sea upon the rock-strewn
shore. The sea was lonely, too, for not a sail or boat or even a
sea-bird was to be seen. Only the endless shimmer of the quiet water
stretched away in the afternoon sun to the golden haze of the distant
horizon.

At Gaviota the foothills creep out to the water's edge and the road
takes a sharp swing northward across the mountain range, beyond which is
Santa Ynez Mission. The ascent of Gaviota Pass is rather strenuous, the
road winding upwards under the overarching branches of oak and sycamore,
but many vantage-points afford magnificent views. At the summit we were
delighted by a wide outlook over the foothills, studded with giant
oaks, stretching away to the dim blue outlines of the High Sierras,
and long vistas up and down the quiet valley, whose pastoral beauty was
heightened by occasional droves of sheep—a panorama not easily surpassed
even in California.

The long, winding descent to the vale of the Santa Ynez was a rough
one, thanks to a recent heavy rain which worked the adobe into ruts
and gutters. The road was heavily shaded much of the way and was still
wet in spots, which, with the sharp hidden turns, made extreme care
necessary—if there is any particular road I should wish to avoid it
is a wet mountain grade. (I may interject that all of the foregoing is
obsolete now; a broad cement highway crosses the Gaviota.)

Just beyond the river we caught a gleam of white-washed walls standing
in a grassy plain—the lately restored mission of Santa Ynez. The
white-haired padre greeted us warmly, for every visitor, be he Catholic,
Protestant, Jew, or Gentile, is welcome.

"We are glad, indeed, to see you," he said. "Santa Ynez is a lonely
place and our visitors do much to break the monotony of our lives."

To him it was a labor of love to tell the history of the mission and
of his own connection with it, nor did he attempt to conceal his pride
over the work he had accomplished. He first directed our attention to
the beauty of the site—the fertile plain with luxuriant green fields
and fruit-tree groves, surrounded by a wide arc of mountain peaks
with rounded green foothills nearer at hand. Through the center of the
valley, but a few hundred yards from the mission, flows the tree-fringed
Santa Ynez River, a stream of goodly volume in the springtime and well
stocked with mountain trout.

"Oh, they were shrewd, far-sighted men, those old Franciscan padres,"
said Father Buckler, "when it came to choosing a site for a mission.
Do you know that old Governor Borica, who declared California 'the most
peaceful and quiet country on earth,' was the man who located Santa Ynez
in this spot, which he styled 'beautiful for situation' in making his
report? Surely he knew, for he himself had made long explorations in
the mountainous regions by the coast and five missions in 1796-7 were
established by Padre Lasuen under the Governor's orders. Santa Ynez
was founded in 1804; it was not one of the great missions, since its
greatest population was only seven hundred and sixty-eight in 1816, but
it was one of the most prosperous in proportion to its size. Its first
church was destroyed by the earthquake of 1812, but five years later the
chapel which you now see was completed. The arrangement and style of the
buildings here in 1830 were much like Santa Barbara, though everything
was on a smaller scale. The secularization took place five years later,
at which time the property was considered worth almost fifty thousand
dollars—which meant a good deal more than it would now. The Mexican
Government had such poor success with the Indians that they gave the
mission back to the padres in 1843, but the evil work had been done and
prosperous days never returned. In 1850 it was abandoned and gradually
fell into ruin.

  [Illustration: BELL TOWER, SANTA YNEZ
   From Photograph by Dassonville]

"I was sent here with instructions to report on the feasibility of
restoring the mission. I expected to remain but two months at most,
and now eleven years have passed since I came. My work was well under
way when the earthquake of 1906 compelled me to start over again and it
was but two years ago that the bell-tower and several buttresses of the
church suddenly crumbled and fell in a heap in the cemetery. We were
only too thankful when we found the four ancient bells unharmed—the
rest I was sure we could rebuild, and we did it in enduring concrete.
Last Easter we held a special service to celebrate the restoration, and
chimes were rung on the old bells from their place in the new tower.

"Our congregation is a small one and very poor. It includes about sixty
Indians, most of whom live in and about Santa Ynez. They are all very
religious and have great reverence for old paintings and figures. Many
valuable relics have been looted from Santa Ynez Mission, but never by
an Indian—the educated white man is usually the thief. Indeed, it was
a college professor who stole a beautiful hand-wrought plate from the
old door. Come with me, my friends, and see what we have done."

He led the way first to the chapel, a long, narrow, heavily buttressed
structure built of adobe. The "fachada" is the restoration spoken of
and the father hopes gradually to reproduce the ancient building in the
same enduring material. In the chapel is a large collection of pictures,
statues and candlesticks, some of them ancient and others of little
value. Traces of the old decorations remain, mostly sadly defaced,
except in the chancel, where the original design and coloring are still
fairly perfect.

The padre then led us to his curio room, containing relics of ancient
days. He is a true antiquarian and few if any of the missions had as
good a collection. The most curious was a mechanical organ player, an
extremely ingenious contrivance for enabling one with little musical
ability to play the instrument, and an old horse fiddle, still capable
of producing a hideous noise. Besides these there were rusty little
cannons, antique flintlock muskets and pistols and swords of various
kinds; candlesticks in silver and brass; ponderous locks and keys;
church music done on parchment; great tomes of church records, bound in
rawhide, and a great variety of vessels for ecclesiastical and domestic
use. There was a huge yellow silk umbrella which was carried by the
padres in days of old on their pedestrian trips from mission to mission,
for the rules of the order forbade riding. So strict were they on this
score that at one of the missions where the monks had been guilty of
riding in carts the president ordered that these vehicles should all be
burned.

The pride of the father's heart was the collection of ancient vestments,
which we consider the finest we saw at any of the missions. In addition
to those belonging to Santa Ynez, the vestments of La Purisima are
treasured here. Most of them were made in Spain over a hundred years ago
and they are still in a surprisingly perfect condition. Rare silks and
satins of purest white or of rich and still unfaded color were heavily
broidered with sacred emblems in gold and silver and there was something
appropriate to every festival and ceremony of the church. "Many of them
are worth a thousand dollars each," said Father Buckler, "but no money
could buy them, for that matter. Yes, I wear them on state occasions
and they are greatly admired and even reverenced by my parishioners."

A more gruesome collection—a queer whim of the father's—was a case of
glass bottles and jars containing all manner of reptiles and vermin
discovered in or about the old building during the restoration work.
There were snakes of all sizes and species, lizards, scorpions,
tarantulas, and other venomous creatures, all safely preserved in
alcohol.

"They are not very common now," said the father, "but my collection
shows some of the inhabitants of the mission when I first came here."

When we came out again into the pleasant arcade, Father Buckler called
our attention to another of his diversions more agreeable to think
upon—his collection of cacti and flowering shrubs. Several of the former
were in bloom and we were especially delighted with the delicate, pink,
lily-shaped flower of the barrel cactus which, the father assured us,
is very rare indeed.

We thanked the kindly old priest for his courtesy, not forgetting a
slight offering to assist in his good work of rescuing Santa Ynez from
decay, and bade him farewell.

"We are always glad to get acquainted with the mission priests. They
have proved good fellows, without exception," we declared, "and we hope
we may find Father Buckler here on our next visit."

"I was not asked to come here—I was sent," said the father, "and I hope
they may not send me elsewhere on account of my years; but if the order
comes I must go."

He laughingly declined to be photographed in his "working clothes"
and waved us a cordial farewell as we betook ourselves to our steed of
steel, which always patiently awaited our return. We were glad as we
swept over the fine road through the beautiful vale that we were not of
the Franciscan order—we would rather not walk, thank you!

The five-mile run from the mission to Los Olivos was a beautiful one,
through oak-studded meadows stretching to the foot of mighty mountains,
about whose summits the purple evening shadows were gathering. Just
at twilight we came into the poor-looking little town of a dozen or so
frame "shacks" and cottages.

It had been a strenuous day, despite the fact that we had covered only
fifty-four miles—the distance via Gaviota Pass. The San Marcos route
is fifteen miles shorter, but our trip that way took no less than four
hours, three of which were spent on the heavy grades of the pass. The
Gaviota road much of the way was adobe, which, being translated into
Middle West parlance, would be "black gumbo," and a recent heavy rain
had made it dreadfully rutty and rough. We were weary enough to wish
for a comfortable inn, but Los Olivos did not look very promising.
It chanced, however, that we were agreeably disappointed in our
expectations—at the edge of the village was a low, rambling building
which they told us was the hotel. Here we found one of the old-time
country inns to which the coming motor had given a new lease of life
and renewed prosperity. Mattei's Tavern evidently gets its chief
patronage from the motor, for no fewer than seven cars brought five or
more passengers each on the evening of our arrival. Some were fishing
parties—the Santa Ynez River is famous for trout—and not all the guests
remained over night, though many of them did. Our rooms, while on the
country hotel order, were clean and comfortable. But the dinner—I have
eaten meals in pretentious city hotels not so good as that served to
us by the bewhiskered old waiter at Mattei's Tavern. We had made a
guess as to the nationality of the proprietor—Swiss—and the waiter
confirmed it. We had stopped at hotels with Swiss managers before, in
many countries besides Switzerland, and always found in evidence the
same knack of doing things right. Mattei himself was on the job looking
after the details to insure the maximum of comfort to his guests, and,
like the manager of the Kaiserhof at Lucerne, he was at the door to bid
us good-bye and Godspeed.

After dinner we walked about the little village and the silence
and loneliness seemed almost oppressive. Overhead bent the clear,
star-spangled heavens, while around the wide floor of the valley ran a
circle of ill-defined mountains, still touched to the westward with the
faint glow of the vanished sun. Certainly, if one were seeking rest and
retirement away from the noise and bustle of the busy world, he might
find it in Los Olivos!

The new highway misses the village by a mile or two, but the knowing
ones will never regret that its quiet and seclusion are still unbroken.
They will enjoy the pleasant rural inn even more on that account.

Our car was before the Tavern's vine-covered veranda early in the
morning. There was nothing to detain us in Los Olivos and after a
breakfast quite as satisfactory as the dinner of the evening before—we
had trout from the Santa Ynez—we bade good-bye to our host, who gave us
careful directions about the road. These were beginning to be needed,
for sign-boards were less frequent and El Camino Real in some places
was little better than it must have been in the days of the padres—often
scarcely distinguishable from the byroads. All this will be improved in
the near future, for everywhere along the roadside we saw stakes marking
the state highway survey, which, when carried to completion, will make
El Camino Real a highway fit for a king, indeed!

For the greater part of the day we ran through hills studded with
immense oaks—the omnipresent glory of this section of California. In
places we caught glimpses of green carpeted dales stretching beneath
these forest giants, and noticed that these trees usually stand at
spacious distances from each other, which no doubt accounts for their
perfect symmetry. The road in the main is level, though somewhat rough
and winding as far as Santa Maria, the first town of consequence. It
is a modern, prosperous-looking place which the last census set down
as possessing four thousand souls; it now claims a thousand more and,
indeed, its appearance seems to substantiate its claim, though one is
likely to be fooled in this particular by some of the newer California
towns. Their wide streets and spacious lots often give the impression
of a larger population than they really have.

Out of Santa Maria we followed a bumpy road to Arroyo Grande through
a brown, barren-looking country—for the season had been almost without
rain. The wind was blowing a gale, driving the sand with stinging force
into our faces; and two weeks later when we passed over the same road
on our return the same sirocco was sweeping the country. We asked a
garage man of Santa Maria if this had been going on all the time, but
he promptly declared that it had begun only that morning and that it
was "very unusual."

From Arroyo Grande there were two main roads to San Luis Obispo, but we
chose the one which swings out to the ocean at El Pizmo beach, a popular
resort in season, though when we saw it a forlorn-looking, belittered
hamlet, seemingly almost deserted. The attraction of the place is the
wide, white beach, some twenty miles long, so hard and smooth that some
record-breaking motor races have been made upon it. We could see but
little, for a gray fog half hid the restless ocean and swept in ghostly
curtains between us and the hills. The road ascended a long grade,
affording some glorious sea views, for the fog had broken into fleecy
clouds and the sunlight had turned the gray sea into a dense expanse
of lapis lazuli. But we had not long to admire it, for the road turned
sharply inland and a half dozen miles brought us into San Luis Obispo.
The town takes its name from the mission founded by Serra himself in
1775—San Luis, Bishop of Tolusa, being commemorated by Padre Lasuen,
who selected the site. Near at hand may be seen a series of strange
pyramidal mountains, almost as regular in contour as the pyramids of
Egypt, and one of them, curiously cleft through the center, suggested a
bishop's mitre to the ancient Franciscan; hence the name of the "City
of the Bishop." The town, though ancient, has little of interest save
the mission and this, through unsympathetic restoration, has lost nearly
all touch of the picturesque.

We hesitated a moment in front of the chapel and a Mexican at work on
the lawn offered to conduct us about the place, and a very efficient
guide he proved to be. He led us into the long, narrow chapel, now in
daily use and which has a number of old paintings and queer images
besides the regular paraphernalia one finds in Catholic churches.
While we walked about, several Mexican women came in and kneeled at
their devotions. They were clearly of the poorer class; our guide said
that the people of the congregation were poor and that the padre had
difficulty in raising money to keep up the mission. Around the neat
garden at the rear of the new dormitory—a frame building contrasting
queerly with the thick, solid walls of the chapel—were scattered bits
of adobe walls of the buildings which had fallen into decay. One low,
solid old structure, used as a storeroom and stable, remained to show
the sturdy construction of the buildings.

"Here at San Luis," said our guide, "tile roofs were first used; the
Indians burned the buildings twice by setting fire to the reed roofs
with burning arrows; then the fathers made tile which would not burn
and all the missions learned this from San Luis."

He showed us with great pride the treasures of San Luis, in the relic
room at the rear of the chapel. Chief among these was the richly
broidered vestment worn by Junipero Serra at the dedication services
more than a century ago. There were many other vestments and rare old
Spanish altar cloths with splendidly wrought gold and silver embroidery
which elicited exclamations of delight from the ladies of our party. The
guide must have thought he noted a covetous look when he showed us some
of the old hand-wrought silver vessels, candlesticks, and utensils, for
he said, "The fathers must die for want of money rather than sell any
of it." On leaving we asked if he had not a booklet about San Luis such
as we had obtained at several of the missions and he gave us a thick
pamphlet which proved to be an exposition of the faith by a well-known
Catholic bishop.

While it is desirable that any mission be restored rather than to fall
into complete ruin, it certainly is to be regretted when the work is
done so injudiciously as at San Luis Obispo. Here original lines have
been quite neglected and so far as giving any idea of the architecture
and daily life of the padres and their charges, the work had better
been left undone. The state, we believe, should assist in restoration,
but it should be done under intelligent supervision, with the view
of reproducing the mission as it stood at its best period under the
Franciscan monks. Old material should be employed as far as possible,
but this does not seem so important as to have the original designs
faithfully adhered to.

Two or three years later a disastrous fire wiped out much of San Luis
Obispo Mission. Restoration is proposed and we may hope that it will
succeed and that it will be more in the spirit of the original structure
than much of the work we saw when we visited the mission. The project
should receive the encouragement and support of everyone interested in
preserving the historic landmarks of our country.

A few miles out of San Luis on the Paso Robles road we crossed the
Cuesta grade. It was a steady pull of a mile and a half over a ten per
cent rise and from the beautifully engineered road we had many vistas
of oak-covered hills and green valleys. Some of the lawnlike stretches
by the roadside, with the Titanic oaks, reminded us of the great country
"estates" we had seen in England, only there was no turret or battlement
peeping from the trees on the hilltop. The western slope is steeper,
some pitches exceeding fifteen per cent, and several sharp turns with
precipitous declivities close beside the road made careful driving
imperative.

  [Illustration: OAKS NEAR PASO ROBLES
   From Original Painting by Gordon Coutts]

Twenty miles farther over a fair road brought us to El Paso de
Robles—the pass of the oaks—a name which it seemed to us might have
been applied to almost any number of places along our route for the
past day or two. The place is famous for its hot springs, which exist
in great variety and whose curative properties were known to the
Indians. The largest spring has a daily flow of two million gallons
of sulphur-impregnated water at a temperature of one hundred and
seven degrees. There is a little spring which reaches one hundred and
twenty-four degrees, besides numerous others of varying composition.
These springs are responsible for the palatial hotel which stands in the
midst of beautiful grounds at the edge of the town. It was built several
years ago of brick and stone in Swiss villa style, with wide verandas
along the front. It was hardly up to date in some appointments, but
the manager told us that plans were already complete for modernizing it
throughout at a cost of a couple of hundred thousand dollars—though I
fear the war wrecked this project as it did thousands of similar ones.
We had no cause to complain, however, at the time of our visit, as the
service was excellent and rates were moderate.

Out of Paso Robles the road still winds among the oaks, following the
course of the Salinas River. At San Miguel, nine miles northward, is
the mission of the same name, one of the most interesting of the entire
chain. It has more of genuine antiquity about it, for it stands to-day
in almost its original state. We not only particularly remember San
Miguel, but have a vivid recollection of Father Nevin, the priest in
charge, since he was the only one of those we met who seemed to have
a strain of pessimism in his make-up and who showed occasional flashes
of misanthropy. He led us first of all into the old chapel, the pride
of San Miguel, and pointed out that the original roof and floor tiles
were still in place and that the walls bore the original decorations.
These were done in strongly contrasting colors, which have faded but
little in the hundred years of their existence. As Indian motifs seemed
to prevail, one of the ladies of our party asked if the work had been
done by the Indians. Father Nevin looked really hurt at the query.

"My dear woman," he said, "do you know what you ask? Could those
wretched barbarians have done the beautiful frescoes you see on these
walls? The California Indians were the most degraded beings on earth.
No, the work was done by the good padres themselves."

We were silenced, of course, but could not help thinking that Indians
who designed such marvelous basketry might well have done this
decoration with a little instruction. And such, indeed, seems to have
been the case. George Wharton James, who is known as an authority on
such matters, says that the work was done by the natives under the
direction of a Spaniard named Murros and that the padres probably
did none of it themselves. It is extremely interesting, as showing a
church interior practically as it was when the Franciscans held sway in
California.

  [Illustration: INTERIOR CHURCH, SAN MIGUEL
   From Photograph by Dassonville]

On the walls are ten oil paintings brought from Spain which are
considerably older than the church; the painter is unknown and the
artistic merit is evidently very small. There are also some fine
examples of genuine "mission furniture" in two solid old confessional
chairs, supposed to have been made by the Indians. The first bell-tower
was built of wood, but gave way some years ago and the bells are now
mounted on an incongruous steel tower, something like those used to
support windmills. The large bell, weighing over a ton, was recast
twenty-five years ago from the metal of the ancient bells. The residence
quarters have been restored and the beautiful arcade is still in good
preservation. At the rear are remains of cloisters, which were built of
burnt brick and now are in a sad state of decay. A few fragments of the
wall which once surrounded the mission may still be seen, but, like the
cloisters, these are rapidly disintegrating.

I said something to Father Nevin about the obligation which it seemed
to me is upon the state to preserve these ancient monuments and added
that France and England had wakened up in this regard and were taking
steps—but I again unwittingly irritated the good father, for he
interrupted me.

"France is a robber nation—she robbed the church just as the Mexicans
robbed the missions in California!"

I expressed my regret for bringing up an unpleasant subject, and in
taking leave proffered Father Nevin the little offering which we always
felt due the good priests who were so courteous and patient with their
visitors, but he insistently declined.

"No, no," he said. "I never take anything from a visitor. The question
might be asked me, 'What have you done with all that money?' and the
answer is easy if I never take any."

He then gave us careful directions about the road and we could not but
feel that a kindly nature hid behind his somewhat gruff manner.

San Miguel, it is said, furnished more ideas to Frank Miller for his
Riverside Inn reproductions than any other mission, for many of its odd
little artistic touches have fortunately escaped the ravages of time. We
noted a queer chimney rising above the comb of the roof of the monastic
building. It is surmounted by six tiles—three on one side, sloping
towards the three on the opposite side—and these are capped with a tile
laid flatwise over the ends.

The mission was founded in 1797 by Padre Lasuen. The abundance of water
near at hand was given as a reason for choosing the site, for it is
scarcely as picturesque as many others. The irrigating ditches which
conveyed the waters of Santa Ysabel springs over the mission lands, may
still be seen. The first church was destroyed by a disastrous fire in
1806 and the present structure was completed in 1817—just a little more
than a century ago. The greatest population numbered a thousand and
ninety-six in 1814, but ten years later it was much reduced and at the
secularization in 1836 only half the number were on the rolls. The total
valuation was then estimated at about eighty thousand dollars. After
the American occupation the mission fell into decay, but fortunately,
the substantial construction of the church saved it from ruin. To-day
the community is very poor and if outside help is not received from some
source the deterioration of the buildings will be rapid.

  [Illustration: ARCADE, SAN MIGUEL
   From Photograph by Dassonville]

A few miles south of San Miguel we forded the Salinas River, a broad but
shallow stream winding through a wide, sandy bed. Two men with a stout
team of horses were waiting on the opposite side to give a lift to the
cars which stalled in the heavy sand—for a consideration, of course—and
their faces showed plain evidence of disgust when we scrambled up the
bank under our own power. In the wet season the Salinas often becomes a
raging torrent and a detour of several miles by the way of Indian Valley
to Bradley becomes necessary. At Bradley we again crossed over a long
bridge and the road then swings away from the river and runs through the
wide level wheatfields of the Salinas Valley. And for the rest of the
day, except when crossing an occasional hill range, we passed through
endless wheatfields, stretching away to the distant hills. On our
first trip the fields did not look very promising, owing to protracted
drouth, but a year later we saw the same country in the full glory of
a magnificent crop. In these vast tracts harvesting and threshing are
done at one operation by huge machines drawn by steam engines. A farmer
told us he had seen the valley covered with grain that was above his
head when he walked in it, and he was a sizable fellow, too.

There is nothing at Jolon except a country store and two or three
saloons—typical western drinking-resorts with a few lazy greasers
loafing about. There is a good-looking hotel here, but we preferred
our usual open-air luncheon under a mammoth oak—there are hundreds of
them above Jolon. Just beyond we crossed the Jolon grade, which had
some of the steepest pitches we had yet found. The road took us through
beautiful oak-covered hills and at the foot of the grade we came back
to the Salinas River. We had been using a map issued by a prominent
automobile manufacturer, which showed San Antonio Mission just across
the river at King City. Of course we should have to visit this, even if
we were late in reaching Monterey. A farmer of whom we inquired for the
old mission at King City looked at us blankly.

"Old mission," he echoed, "I don't know of any in these parts."

"But our map shows San Antonio Mission at King City."

"Well, your map is wrong, then—San Antonio is back over the grade six
miles from Jolon." And one of the ladies declared that Father Nevin at
San Miguel had said something of that sort—why didn't we pay attention
at the time? We recognized the futility of any attempt at argument under
such circumstances and prudently held our peace. But it was clear enough
that San Antonio was not at King City.

"Oh, well," we finally decided, "we shall have to come back this way,
in any event, for we have missed La Purisima near Lompoc and we have
determined to see them all."

Soledad is a dozen miles farther on the road and near there "Our Lady
of the Solitude" was founded in 1791. Crossing the Salinas again over a
ram-shackle bridge—the flood swept it away a year later—we came into the
street of the little village, which consisted of a few cottages, several
stores, and a blacksmith shop—we remember the latter particularly
because we hailed the worthy smith and inquired for the mission. He met
us with a counter query:

"Are you just on a sightseeing trip?" We admitted this to be our prime
object and he quickly rejoined,

"Then there ain't no use in your goin' to see the mission, for there
ain't nothin' to see. Besides, the road is mighty bad—all cut up just
now"—but seeing we were not satisfied, he added,

"It's just across the river yonder; you'll have to go back to the bridge
and turn to the right."

We thanked him and acted on his directions, and we soon found he was
right enough—about the road, at least. It had recently been ploughed,
leaving a long stretch of powdery dust, axle-deep. We plunged into it,
rolling from one side to the other and making exceedingly slow progress.
At no time on our tour did it seem more likely that a team of horses
would have to be "commandeered," but by keeping at it—had we stopped
a single instant we could never have started on our own power—we came
through at last, and seeing nothing of the ruins inquired of some men
at a pumping station.

"Just over the hill," they replied; but we stopped to see one of the
California irrigation wells, and it was something of a spectacle to
behold a huge centrifugal pump pouring out six thousand gallons of
crystal-clear water every minute.

"She will keep up that gait for four months at a time," said one of the
workmen, "and there are several bigger wells in the neighborhood; there
surely must be something of a lake under our feet."

The effect of these wells was shown in the green fields, which
contrasted with the brown, withered country through which we had been
passing.

Our friend the blacksmith was right again when he said that the mission
"wasn't worth seein'"—just as a spectacle removed from any sentiment it
would never repay for the strenuous plunge through the sandy stretch.
But "Our Lady of the Solitude" means something more than a few crumbling
bits of adobe wall; here is the same human interest and romance that
clusters around beautiful Capistrano or delightful Santa Barbara. There
is not enough left to give any idea of the architectural or general plan
of the buildings; there is even doubt if some of the buildings were
not erected after the American occupation. The material was adobe and
this does not appear to have been protected by stucco or cement; as a
consequence the ruin is complete and in a few years more only heaps of
yellow clay will mark the site of the mission. The principal ruins are
of the church, which the Sobranes family of Soledad claim was erected by
their grandfather in 1850. He was baptized and married in the original
church and when this fell to ruin he built the structure whose remains
we see to-day. If this claim be true, there is indeed little left of
the original mission.

The site is a superb one. The mission stood on one of the foothills
which overlook the wide vale of the Salinas, stretching away to the
rugged blue ranges of the Sierras. The river may be seen as a gleaming
silver thread in the wide ribbon of yellow sand through which it
courses, fringed now and then by green shrubs and trees. Across the
river is the village of Soledad and the wheatfields beyond are dotted
with ranch-houses at wide intervals. It was a fine, invigorating day;
the wind, which whiffed sand into our faces all the afternoon, had
subsided; a soft, somnolent haze had settled over the landscape; and
the low, declining sun reminded us that we must be moving if we were to
reach Monterey before dark.

There is not much of history connected with the pitiful relics we were
leaving behind. The records belonging to Our Lady of the Solitude
have perished with her earthen walls and we could learn only the
general details of her story. Founded in 1791 by Father Lasuen, the
mission reached its zenith in 1805, when there were seven hundred and
twenty-seven neophytes under its control. They possessed large numbers
of live stock and had built an extensive irrigating system, traces
of which may still be seen. Soledad faded away even more rapidly than
its contemporaries following the Mexican confiscation. Six years after
this event, which occurred in 1835, only seventy Indians remained, and
ten years later the property was sold for eight hundred dollars to the
Sobranes, who claim to have built the church. Our Lady of the Solitude
is quite past any restoration and it is not likely that a new building
will ever be erected on the spot. It will soon take its place with Santa
Cruz and San Rafael, which have totally disappeared.

But while we were moralizing about the fate of the mission we were
running into some dreadful road. We decided on the advice of a farmer
not to retrace our way to Soledad village, but to follow the road
on the west side of the river to the crossing at Gonzales, some ten
miles distant. It proved a rough, narrow, winding road and we managed
to lose it once or twice and came very near stalling in some of the
sandy stretches. But the series of views across the valley from the
low foothills along which we coursed atoned for the drawbacks, and
the bridge at Gonzales brought us back to the main Salinas highway.
This proved an excellent macadam road and its long, smooth stretches
enabled us to make up for the numerous delays of the day. Salinas,
a modern, prosperous-looking town of some four thousand people, is
the commercial center of the vast wheatfields surrounding it. Here is
located the largest beet-sugar factory in the world and fruit-raising is
also a considerable industry. Our run had been a long one and we were
quite weary enough to stop for the night, but visions of Del Monte and
Monterey still lured us on. We quickly covered the twenty miles to the
old capital, the road winding between the glorious hills on either side.
These were clothed with a mantle of velvety grass variegated with pale
blue lupines and golden poppies and studded with sprawling old oaks—a
scene of rare charm in color and contour. We reached the Del Monte just
at dusk and were glad that darkness partly hid our somewhat unkempt and
travel-stained appearance.

  [Illustration: CYPRESS POINT, MONTEREY
   From Original Painting by Thos. Moran]



XI

THE CHARM OF OLD MONTEREY


     "I say God's kingdom is at hand
       Right here, if we but lift our eyes;
     I say there is no line nor land
       Between this land and Paradise."

So sang Joaquin Miller, the Good Gray Poet of the Sierras. What
particular place in California he had in mind I do not know, but if
I were making application of his verse to any one spot, it would be
Monterey and the immediate vicinity. Perhaps I am unduly prepossessed
in favor of Del Monte, for here I came on my wedding tour many years
ago, and I often wondered whether, if I should ever come again, it
would seem the same fairyland and haven of rest that it did on that
memorable occasion. I say "haven of rest," for such indeed it seemed
in the fullest sense after an all-day trip on a little coast steamer
from San Francisco. It was my first voyage and the sea was as rough
as I have ever seen it; great waves tossed the little tub of a boat
until one could stand on deck only with difficulty. Perhaps I am not
competent to give an opinion about standing on deck when during most of
the trip I perforce occupied a berth in the ill-smelling little cabin.
When the Captain called us to dinner we made a bold effort to respond
and I still recall the long, boxlike trench around the table to keep the
dishes from sliding about. One whiff of the menu of the "Los Angeles"
satisfied us and we retired precipitately to the cabin. The boat was
twelve mortal hours in making the trip. When we landed the earth itself
seemed unstable and it was not until the following morning that "Richard
was himself again."

I do not know that such a digression as this is in place in a
motor-travel book. However that may be, I shall never forget the
first impressions of Del Monte and its delightful surroundings on the
following morning; nor can anything eradicate the roseate memory of the
scenes of the seventeen-mile drive, although we made it in so plebeian
a vehicle as a horse-drawn buggy.

But Del Monte was not less satisfying or its surroundings less beautiful
on the lovely morning—an almost unnecessary qualification, for lovely
summer mornings are the rule at Del Monte—following our second arrival
at this famous inn. Its praises have been so widely sounded by so much
better authorities than myself that any lengthy description here would
surely be superfluous. I shall content myself with introducing a page
from "America, the Land of Contrasts," by that experienced traveler, Dr.
Muirhead, author of Baedeker's guides for Great Britain and the United
States, who unqualifiedly pronounces Del Monte the "best hotel on the
American continent" and while such a statement must be largely a matter
of personal opinion, all, we think, will concede that the famous hotel
is most delightfully situated. Dr. Muirhead writes:

"The Hotel Del Monte lies amid blue-grass lawns and exquisite grounds,
in some ways recalling the parks of England's gentry, though including
among its noble trees such un-English specimens as the sprawling and
moss-draped live-oaks and the curious Monterey pines and cypresses.
Its gardens offer a continual feast of color, with their solid acres
of roses, violets, calla lilies, heliotrope, narcissus, tulips,
and crocuses; and one part of them, known as 'Arizona,' contains a
wonderful collection of cacti. The hotel is very large, enclosing a
spacious garden-court, and makes a pleasant enough impression, with its
turrets, balconies, and verandas, its many sharp gables, dormers, and
window-hoods. The economy of the interior reminded me more strongly of
the amenities and decencies of the house of a refined, well-to-do, and
yet not extravagantly wealthy family than of the usual hotel atmosphere.
There were none of the blue satin hangings, ormolu vases, and other
entirely superfluous luxuries for which we have to pay in the bills of
certain hotels at Paris and elsewhere; but on the other hand nothing
was lacking that a fastidious but reasonable taste could demand. The
rooms and corridors are spacious and airy; everything was as clean and
fresh as white paint and floor polish could make them; the beds were
comfortable and fragrant; the linen was spotless; there was lots of
'hanging room;' each pair of bedrooms shared a bathroom; the cuisine was
good and sufficiently varied; the waiters were attentive; flowers were
abundant without and within. The price of all this real luxury was $3.00
to $3.50 a day. Possibly the absolute perfection of the bright and soft
California spring when I visited Monterey, and the exquisite beauty of
its environment, may have lulled my critical faculties into a state of
unusual somnolence; but when I quitted the Del Monte Hotel I felt that
I was leaving one of the most charming homes I had ever had the good
fortune to live in."

All of which is quite as true to-day as it was more than twenty years
ago, when it was first written, excepting that the good doctor would
not linger very long at Del Monte on $3.50 per day. And it should be
remembered that since the time of Dr. Muirhead's visit many new hotels,
which rival Del Monte in location and excellence, have been built in
California. The variety and extent of the grounds, the golf links and
other amusements, are attractions that might well detain one for some
time, even if the surrounding country were not the most beautiful and
historic in California. The miles of shady, flower-bordered walks,
the lake with its friendly swans, the tennis and croquet grounds, the
world-famous golf course, the curious evergreen maze—a duplicate of
the one at Hampton Court Palace—the bath-house and the fine beach a
few hundred yards to the rear of the hotel, and many other means of
diversion always open to the guests, combine to make Del Monte a place
where one may spend days without leaving the grounds of the hotel.

  [Illustration: DRIVE THROUGH GROUNDS, DEL MONTE HOTEL
   From Photograph by Putnam & Valentine]

Before one begins the exploration of the peninsula he should gain some
idea of the historic wealth of Monterey. No other town on the Pacific
Coast can vie with this quiet little seaport in this particular.
Discovered by Spaniards under Viscaino in 1602—before the Pilgrim
Fathers landed—it was named in honor of the Count of Monterey, ninth
viceroy of Mexico. It was the record of this explorer and his testimony
to the beauty of the spot that led good Father Serra to select Monterey
as the site of his second mission, as related elsewhere in this book.
This was in 1770, one year after the founding of San Diego. It will be
recalled that the first expedition sent out from San Diego returned
without reaching Monterey, but it did discover the great harbor of
San Francisco. The second expedition, accompanied by Serra himself,
resulted successfully and the good Franciscan had the joy of dedicating
San Carlos Borromeo in this beautiful spot. The presidio, or military
establishment of the soldiers who came with Serra, was located on the
present site of the town and later Monterey was made the provincial
capital, a distinction which it retained after the Mexican revolt
in 1822 until the American occupation in 1846. It was the center of
brilliant social life and gallant adventure during the old Spanish
days—some hint of which may be gleaned from our description of the
second act of the mission play, which is represented to have taken
place at San Carlos. There were battles with pirates who more than once
attempted to sack the town and who caused the wreck of many ships by
erecting false lights on the shore. But all this came to an end and a
new era no less picturesque was opened when the two small vessels, the
Cyane and the United States, entered the harbor in July 1846. A landing
party under the commander, Commodore Sloat, came ashore and hoisted the
stars and stripes over the old custom-house, which is standing to-day,
still surmounted by the staff which bore the historic flag. We saw this
when we began our round of the town—a long, low building guarded by a
lone cypress and consisting of two square pavilions with balconies, with
a lower edifice between in which dances and social events were held.

It is now used as a lodge room for the Monterey Chapter of the Native
Sons of the Golden West and is usually closed to visitors. We had the
good fortune to find it open and in charge of a very interesting Native
Son, an old-time resident of the town, whose personal experience dated
back to the time of the American occupation. He showed us the various
relics collected by the organization, among them the base of the old
flag-pole, the trunk of a tree blazed by Kit Carson, and two chairs made
from the oak under which Viscaino and Serra are said to have landed. He
also told us many incidents in the early history of Monterey and I shall
never forget his comment on the result of the work of the missions.

"Ah, they were grand old fellows, those Spanish priests; they ridded
California of the Indians and a good job it was—if you don't think so,
look at Mexico, where they still exist. Civilization and the white man's
diseases were the Spaniard's gifts to the Indian and they finally wiped
him out of existence."

Certainly an unique if not very cheerful or appreciative view of the
work of the Franciscan fathers.

There is a broad plaza before the custom-house and from this the
principal streets of the town begin and each seems distinctive of
a particular phase of Monterey. Modern improvements have followed
Alvarado, while Main is bordered with adobes—some old and tumble-down
but nevertheless very picturesque with their tile roofs, white walls,
and little gardens bright with roses and geraniums. On this street is
the house occupied by Thomas Larkin, the last American consul, who was
much involved in the intrigue preceding the American conquest. To the
rear of this house is a little rose-embowered, one-room cottage which
was occupied by two young lieutenants, Sherman and Halleck, whose names
were afterwards to become so famous in the Civil War.

And this is not the only romantic memory of Sherman still existing in
Monterey. Over an arched gateway a sign, "The Sherman Rose," attracted
our attention. We made bold to enter and knocked at the door of
the solid old stone house inside the enclosure. A little old woman,
good-looking in spite of her years, answered our call, but soon made it
clear that she spoke no English. She pointed to the ancient rose-vine,
several inches in diameter, which scattered its huge fragrant yellow
blooms in reckless profusion over the trellis above our heads and we
understood that this was the rose which legend declares Sherman and a
lovely young senorita of Old Monterey planted as a pledge of mutual
affection. But we did not know at the time that the old lady who so
kindly showed us about the house and gardens and gave us little bouquets
of geraniums and rosebuds is reputed in Monterey to be the identical
senorita of the story. I think there must be some mythical elements in
this supposition, for the lady hardly looked the years made necessary
by the fact that Sherman was in Monterey nearly seventy years ago. The
legend is that Sherman, when stationed in Monterey, was enamored of
Senorita Bonifacio, the most beautiful young woman of the town. In the
midst of his romance the young lieutenant was ordered to the east and
when he called on his inamorata to acquaint her with the mournful news
he wore a Cloth-of-Gold rose in his coat. His sweetheart took the rose,
saying,

"Together we will plant this rose and if it lives and flourishes I shall
know that your love is true."

He replied, "When it blooms I will come back and claim you."

But whether the story is true or not, it had not the usual ending, for
the young officer never returned to redeem his pledge.

Not far from the Larkin house is the long, low, colonnaded home of
Alvarado, the last Spanish governor, and near it stands Colton Hall,
famous as the meeting-place of the constitutional convention which
assembled within its walls on the day that California was admitted to
the Union. Its handsome Grecian facade, with a portico supported by two
tall white columns, reminds one of some of the stately Colonial homes
of the Southern States. It now serves the very useful though somewhat
plebeian purpose of the tax collector's office. Some day we hope it may
be converted into a museum to house the historic relics of Monterey.
It took its name from Walter Colton, the chaplain of the convention and
first American alcade or mayor of the town. A diary which he kept during
the three years of his office records many stirring incidents of Old
California.

Another structure nearing the century mark, built in 1832, is the
Washington Hotel, though that was not its original name, and near
it is the ramshackle old adobe known by common consent as the Robert
Louis Stevenson house. For the well-beloved author was for four months
of 1879 a resident of the town at a time when his health and fortunes
seemed at their lowest ebb. Even then he was the leading spirit of a
little coterie of Bohemians—artists and litterateurs—among them Charles
Warner Stoddard, Jules Tavernier, and William Keith, who often met for
dinner in the restaurant kept by Jules Simonneau. To the last named,
Stevenson gives credit for saving his life by careful nursing during
a severe illness which he suffered shortly after coming to Monterey.
Simonneau was a rough, full-bearded old frontiersman, but he conceived
an attachment for Stevenson which lasted to the day of his death, and
never, even under stress of direst need, would he part with the letters
or autographed books which the author had sent him. Neither would he
permit the publication of any portion of the correspondence—"letters
from one gentleman to another," as it was his whim to refer to them.
After his death, which occurred a few years ago, his daughter sold the
collection to a San Francisco gentleman and it is to be hoped that the
letters will ultimately find their way into print, revealing as they do
a very intimate and lovable side of Stevenson's character.

The house was in a sad state of disrepair, the first floor being
occupied by a sign-painter's shop at the time of our visit. An erect
old fellow, who looked as if his chief failing might be a too free
indulgence in one of California's chief products, came out to greet us
as we paused before the house, and pointed out the room the great writer
occupied during his stay in Monterey. It must have been hard indeed for
this prince of optimists to "travel hopefully" under the conditions that
surrounded him those few months of his life—exiled, penniless, and ill,
domiciled in such rude and comfortless quarters, he must have been as
near despair as at any time in his career, yet out of it all came some
of his best work.

Our informant refused a fee in a lordly manner.

"I'm a retired officer of the United States Navy, a classmate of Bob
Evans, and I was on the Minnesota during the fight with the Merrimac,"
he declared, and left us with a formal military salute.

Our picture, the work of a Monterey artist, shows the harsh outlines and
bare surroundings of the old house accentuated by a flood of California
sunshine.

  [Illustration: ROBERT LOUIS STEVENSON HOUSE
   From Original Painting by Clark Hobart]

There are many other interesting and picturesque old buildings about
the town, among them several that claim the distinction of being the
first—or last—of their kind in the state. A tumble-down frame structure
is declared to have been the first wooden house in California, built
in 1849 of lumber brought from Australia. Talk of "carrying coals to
Newcastle," what is that to bringing lumber ten thousand miles to the
home of the redwood! The first brick house and the first adobe are also
to be seen in the town and the first theatre—where Jenny Lind sang in
1861—still stands.

As one views the historic buildings of Monterey, the painful thought
is forced upon him that nearly all are in a deplorable state of
dilapidation and that many will have disappeared in a few years unless
steps are taken to restore and preserve them. Neither Monterey nor the
State of California can afford to lose these memorials of the romantic
days of old and it is to be hoped that an enlightened movement to
protect them, as well as the missions, may soon be inaugurated by the
state.

The one ancient building in Monterey which bears its years very lightly
is the fine old church of San Carlos. This is often confused with the
mission, but the fact is that it was the parish, or presidio church,
as it was called in Spanish days, and was really built as a place of
worship for the soldiers, who were at considerable distance from the
mission proper at Carmel. There were often bickerings between the
Indians and soldiers and the monks judged it best to give the latter
a separate chapel. The church was built some time later than the
mission—the exact date is not clear—and was enlarged and restored about
sixty years ago. The material is light brown stone quarried in the
vicinity and the roof is of modern tiles. The pavement in front of the
church is made of curious octagonal blocks which we took for artificial
stone, but which are really the vertebrae of a whale—reminding us that
at one time whale-fishing expeditions often went out from Monterey.

The interior is that of a modern Catholic church, but there are numerous
relics in the vestry which the priest in charge exhibits to visitors for
a small fee; candlesticks and vessels in silver and brass, and richly
broidered vestments and altar cloths. Most interesting are many relics
of Father Serra, including several books inscribed by his own hand.
These were brought from Carmel Mission when it was finally abandoned.

Another object that aroused our curiosity was the trunk of a huge oak
set in cement and carefully preserved. This, the priest told us, was the
Serra Oak, under which Viscaino landed in 1602 and which sheltered Serra
himself in 1770, when he took possession of Monterey for the king of
Spain. It grew near the present entrance of the presidio, but withered
and died shortly after Father Serra passed away. The trunk was thrown
into the sea to dispose of it, but two pious Mexicans dragged it ashore
and it was finally placed where we saw it, in the garden of San Carlos
Church.

The church stands on the hill which overlooks the town and of old must
have been the first object reared by human hands to greet the incoming
mariners. At one time it commanded a fine view of the bay, but this is
now obstructed by the buildings of St. Joseph School.

  [Illustration: CARMEL MISSION
   From Photograph by Dassonville]

Monterey was one of the points visited by Dana in 1835, towards the end
of the Spanish domination, and the picture he gives is a charming one:

"The pretty lawn on which the village stands, as green as sun and rain
could make it; the low adobe houses with red tiles; the pine wood on the
south; the small soiled tri-color flag flying and the discordant din
of drums and trumpets for the noon parade," were the salient features
of the town that he sets down. Of these, the low adobe houses with the
red tiles and the pine wood still remain, but the green lawn and the
tri-color flag of Spain are to be seen no more.

After the town the mission will be the next goal of the tourist—if,
indeed, it has not been the first object to engage his attention.
It is on the other side of the peninsula, some five miles from the
Del Monte and a short distance beyond the lovely little village of
Carmel-by-the-Sea. The road for half the distance climbs a steady grade
and then drops down through the village to the shore of the bay. Here,
within a stone's throw of the rippling water, sheltered by the hills
on the land side, stands the restored mission church which probably
outranks all its contemporaries in historic significance. For it was
in a sense the home of the pious old monk whose zeal and energy were
responsible for the long chain of Christian missions; and in its solemn
confines he was laid to rest. We saw in it a striking resemblance to
the presidio church which we had just left, a square, simple bell-tower
with a domed roof to the left of the fachada, which is of the prevailing
Spanish type. This is broken by a star window of simple yet pleasing
design—the only attempt at artistic effect about the severely plain
old structure. As it stands, it is the result of a restoration, thirty
years ago, from an almost complete ruin—just how complete one may judge
from a drawing made by Henry Sandham for Mrs. Jackson's "Glimpses of
California," which appeared in 1882. Only two slender arches of the
roof were standing then and the space between the walls was filled with
unsightly piles of debris. Underneath this was the grave of the reverend
founder, Father Serra, the exact location of which was lost. No doubt
the earnest appeal of the author of "Ramona" had much to do with the
rescue of Carmel Mission Church from the fate which threatened it. She
wrote:

"It is a disgrace to both the Catholic Church and the State of
California that the grand old ruin, with its sacred sepulchres, should
be left to crumble away. If nothing is done to protect and save it, one
short hundred years more will see it a shapeless, wind-swept mound of
sand. It is not in our power to confer honor or bring dishonor on the
illustrious dead. We ourselves, alone, are dishonored when we fail in
reverence to them. The grave of Junipero Serra may be buried centuries
deep, and its very place forgotten; yet his name will not perish, nor
his fame suffer. But for the men of the country whose civilization he
founded and of the church whose faith he so glorified, to permit his
burial-place to sink into oblivion is a shame indeed."

Such an appeal could hardly pass unheeded; the old church rose from its
ruins and the grave of Serra was discovered near the altar. Above it
on the wall is a marble tablet with a Latin inscription which may be
translated as follows:

             "Here lie the remains
         of the Administrator Rev. Father
                 Junipero Serra
             Order of Saint Francis
       Founder of the California Missions
                 And President
               Buried in peace.
     Died 28th day of August A. D. 1784
             And his companions
                   Rev. Fathers
                   John Crespi
                   Julian Lopez
                     and
               Francis Lasuen
           May they rest in peace."

Surely it is a pleasant resting-place for the weary old priest and no
doubt the spot above all others which he himself would have chosen.
Could he look back on his field of work to-day perhaps his sorrow for
the wreck and ruin of his cherished dream might be mitigated by the
tributes of an alien people to his sincerity of purpose and beauty of
character.

Beautiful as was the situation of nearly all the missions, we were
inclined to give to Carmel preeminence in this regard. Around it glows
the gold of the California poppy; a bright, peaceful river glides
quietly past; rugged, pine-crested hills rise on either side and a short
distance down the valley is the blue gleam of Carmel Bay, edged by a
wide crescent of yellow sand. Beyond this is the rugged, cypress-crowned
headland, Point Lobos—why called the Point of Wolves I do not know
unless it be that the insatiable waves that gnaw ceaselessly at the
granite rocks suggested to some poetic soul the idea of ravenous beasts.

The mission is the sole object in this magnificent setting. The tiny cot
of the keeper and a quiet farm-house are almost the only indications of
human life in the pleasant vale. The monastery has vanished and only a
bank of adobe shows where the cloisters stood. The roof of the church
has been renewed, but the walls are still covered with the ancient
plaster, which has weather-stained to mottled pink and old ivory. It is
now guarded with loving care and with the reviving interest in things
ancient and romantic in California is sure to be preserved to tell
to future ages the story of the brave and true Little Brother of St.
Francis, who sleeps his long sleep in its hallowed precincts.

Carmel's story may be told in few words. Founded by Serra himself in
1770, it did not reach its zenith of prosperity until after his death,
which occurred in 1784. The story of his last illness and demise—a
pathetic yet inspiring one—is beautifully told in Mrs. Jackson's
"California Sketches." It was on August 28th that he finally passed
away, so quietly and peacefully that all thought him sleeping. The
distress and sorrow of his Indian charges on learning of his death is
one of the strongest tributes to his lovable character. A year after his
death his successor as president was chosen—Padre Lasuen, who himself
founded several missions, as we have seen.

  [Illustration: CYPRESSES, POINT LOBOS
   From Photograph by Putnam & Valentine]

The hospitality of the fathers is shown by the recorded incident of the
English navigator, Vancouver, who reached Monterey in 1787. Lasuen gave
a grand dinner and even a display of fireworks in honor of his guest,
although he belonged to a nation very unfriendly to Spain. The good
priest, however, was rebuked by the governor, who was away at the time,
for allowing the Englishman to discover the weakness of the Spanish
defenses in California.

Carmel Mission declined earlier and more rapidly than many of its
contemporaries, for in 1833, the year prior to secularization, there
were only one hundred and fifty Indians remaining and in a decade these
had dwindled to less than fifty. In 1845 the property was completely
abandoned and sold at auction for a mere trifle. No one cared for the
building and seven years later the tile roof fell in. Of the restoration
we have already told.

One will hardly return from the mission without a glance about Carmel
village. Indeed, if he be fond of quiet retirement, and his time
permits, he may even be tempted to a sojourn of a day or more. It is
a delightfully rural place, its cottages scattered through fragrant
pines which cover most of its site, and running down to a clean, white
beach along the bay, from which one has a splendid view of the opposite
shore, including Point Lobos. Carmel is a favorite resort for college
professors and there are numerous artists who find much material for
their skill in the immediate vicinity. Our frontispiece, "The Gate
of Val Paiso Canyon," is the work of a talented member of the Carmel
Colony and a fine example of some of the striking and virile things they
produce—though we must concede them a great advantage in the wealth of
striking and virile subjects so readily at hand. Carmel claims that its
climate is even more genial and equable than that of the other side of
the peninsula—but I believe I stated at the outset that climate is not
to be discussed in this book.

No road in the whole country is more famous than Monterey's
seventeen-mile drive; one could never become weary of its glorious bits
of coast—wide vistas of summer seas and gnarled old cypresses, found
nowhere else in the New World. It is still called the seventeen-mile
drive, though it has been added to until there are forty miles of
macadam boulevard on the peninsula. Leaving Monterey we passed the
presidio, where a regiment of United States regulars is permanently
stationed—being mostly troops enroute to, or returning from, the
Philippines. Near the entrance is a marble statue of the patron saint of
Monterey, Father Serra, commemorating his landing in 1770. It shows the
good priest stepping from the boat, Bible in hand, to begin work in the
new field. This monument was the gift of Mrs. Leland Stanford, to whose
munificence California is so greatly indebted. A cross just outside the
entrance, standing in the place of the ancient oak whose dead trunk we
saw at San Carlos Church, is supposed to mark the exact landing-spot
of both Serra and Viscaino. There is also the Sloat monument, reared of
stones from every county in the state, which commemorates the raising of
the American flag by the admiral in 1846. The roads in the presidio are
open to motors and one may witness the daily military exercises from a
comfortable seat in his car.

  [Illustration: EVENING NEAR MONTEREY
   From Original Painting by Sydney J. Yard]

Beyond the presidio is Pacific Grove, a resort town nearly as large as
Monterey—just why "Pacific Grove" is not clear, for there are not many
trees in the town. It was founded in 1869 as a camp-meeting ground and
is still famous as a headquarters for religious societies. From here
one may take a glass-bottomed boat to view the "marine gardens," which
are said to surpass those at Avalon.

Beyond Pacific Grove we passed through a dense pine forest—this is the
Pacific Grove, perhaps—and coming into the open, we followed white sand
dunes for some distance along the sea. A sign, "Moss Beach," called for
an immediate halt and the ladies found treasures untold in the strange,
brilliantly colored bits of moss and sea-weed washed ashore here in
unlimited quantities. It is a wild, boulder-strewn bit of beach, damp
with spray and resonant with the swish of the waves among the rocks.
Beyond here the road continues through dunes, brilliant in places with
pink and yellow sand-flowers. We passed Point Joe, Restless Sea—where
two opposing currents wrestle in an eternal maelstrom—Bird Rocks, and
Seal Rocks—the latter the home of the largest sea-lion colony on the
coast. The sea was glorious beyond description; perhaps the same is
true of any sunny day at Monterey, and nearly all days at Monterey are
sunny. It showed all tones of blue, from solid indigo to pale sapphire,
with a strip of light emerald near the shore, edged by the long, white
breakers chafing on the beach. Here and there, at some distance from the
shore, the deep-blue expanse was broken by patches of royal purple—an
effect produced by the floating kelp. A clear azure sky bent down to
the wide circle of the horizon, with an occasional white sail or steamer
to break the sweep of one's vision over the waste of shining water. It
is not strange that Stevenson, who had seen and written so much of the
sea, should say of such a scene, "No other coast have I enjoyed so much
in all weather—such a spectacle of ocean's greatness, such beauty of
changing color, and so much thunder in the sound—as at Monterey."

The climax of the seventeen-mile drive is Cypress Point, with its weird
old trees. Description and picture are weak to give any true conception
of these fantastic, wind-blown monsters. It is, indeed, as Stevenson
wrote—and who was able to judge of such things better than he?—"No
words can give any idea of the contortions of their growth; they might
figure without a change in the nether hell as Dante pictured it." And
yet, with all their suggestion of the infernal regions, there is much of
beauty and charm in their very deformity. There is about them a certain
strength and ruggedness, born of their age-long defiance to the wild
northwestern winds, that is alike an admonition and an inspiration to
the beholder. If you would get my idea, select one of these strange
trees standing by itself in solemn majesty on some rocky headland—as
shown in Mr. Moran's splendid picture—and note how its very form and
attitude breathe defiance to the forces that would beat it down and
destroy it. Or take another which lies almost prone on the brown earth,
its monstrous arms writhing in a thousand contortions, yet its expanse
of moss-green foliage rising but little higher than your head, and note
how it has stooped to conquer these same adverse elements.

  [Illustration: OLD CYPRESSES ON THE SEVENTEEN-MILE DRIVE, MONTEREY
   From Photograph by Pillsbury]

Among the most familiar objects of the Point is the "Ostrich," two
cypresses growing together so as to give from certain viewpoints a
striking resemblance to a giant bird of that species. It is not the
forced resemblance of so many natural objects to fancied likenesses,
but is apparent to everyone at once. The traveler of to-day, however,
will look in vain for this curious natural freak; it was swept away with
hundreds of other ancient pines and cypresses in the violent hurricane
of April 1917.

At the extremity of the Point, the road turns and enters a second grove
of cypresses which, being farther removed from the storm and stress of
the sea, are more symmetrical, though all of them have, to some extent,
the same wind-swept appearance. Their branches overarched the fine road
and through their trunks on our right flashed the bright expanse of
Carmel Bay. Our motor was throttled to its slowest pace as we passed
through the marvelous scenes and there were many stops for photographs
of picturesque bits that struck our fancy.

The cypresses were superseded by pines when we came into the projected
town of Pebble Beach, which is being vigorously exploited by a promotion
company—a rival, we suppose, to Pacific Grove, which lies directly
opposite on the peninsula. In the center of the tract is Pebble Beach
Lodge, a huge rustic structure of pine logs from the surrounding forest,
which serves as an assembly hall and club house for the guests of the
Del Monte. A short distance beyond Pebble Beach the drive swings across
the peninsula and returns to the Hotel Del Monte.

In addition to the route following the coast—the seventeen-mile drive
proper, which I have just described—there is a network of boulevards in
the interior swinging around the low hills in easy curves and grades.
A moderate-powered car can cover the entire system on high gear, even
to Corona Del Monte, the highest point of the peninsula, which takes
one nearly nine hundred feet above the sea and affords a far-reaching
outlook in all directions. The dark blue bay of Monterey, the white
crescent of the beach, the drives, the pine and cypress groves, the
red roofs of the town, and the Hotel Del Monte near by, half hidden
in the dense green of the forest surrounding it, make a lovely and
never-to-be-forgotten picture. The mountain to the east is Fremont Peak,
forty miles away—a name that reminds us how much the Pathfinder figured
in the old California of which Monterey is so typical.

  [Illustration: A FOREST GLADE
   From Original Painting by Percy Gray]

They told us that Point Lobos, the rocky, cypress-crowned headland which
we saw across Carmel Bay, is the equal of anything on the peninsula in
scenic beauty, and there we wended our way on the last day of our stay
at Del Monte. Crossing to Carmel, we glided down the hill past the old
mission and over the river bridge at the head of the bay. From there a
road following the shore took us to the entrance of Point Lobos Park,
which is private property, and a small fee is charged for each vehicle.
A rough trail led to the cypress grove on the headland, where we found
many delightful nooks among the sprawling old trees—grassy little glades
surrounded by the velvety foliage—ideal spots for picnic dinners. In one
of these is the complete mounted skeleton of a ninety-foot whale, which
might serve as an argument against the learned critics who discredit
the story of Jonah and his piscatorial experience. Like the pavement of
San Carlos Church, it is another reminder of one of Monterey's vanished
industries.

A good authority testifies that there are few more strikingly
picturesque bits of coast on the whole of the Pacific than Point Lobos.
The high, rugged promontory falls almost sheer to the ocean, which raves
ceaselessly among the huge moss-grown boulders that have yielded to the
stress of storm and tumbled down on to the beach. The play of color is
marvelous; scarped cliffs of red-brown granite, flecked with gray and
green lichens; black boulders with patches of yellowish-green moss;
and hardy, somber trees which have found a footing on the precipices,
here and there, almost down to the water's edge. Out beyond we saw
a steely-blue ocean, with frequent whitecaps, for it was a fresh,
bright day with a stiff breeze blowing from the sea. I believe there
may be finer individual trees on Point Lobos than on the Monterey
peninsula—some of them in their kingly mien and grim solemnity reminding
us of famous yews we had seen in English churchyards such as Twyford,
Selborne and Stoke Pogis. A great variety of wild flowers still farther
enhanced the charm of the place. It is a spot, it seemed to us, where
anyone who admires the sublime and beautiful in nature might spend many
hours if he had them at his disposal.

Returning, we noticed a good-sized building on the bay with the sign,
"Abalone Cannery," and our curiosity prompted us to drive down to it.
It was not in operation, a solitary Jap in charge telling us that the
season was now closed. He was an obliging, intelligent fellow, and
showed us the machines and appliances of the plant, explaining as best
he could in his scanty English. The abalones are taken by Japanese
divers, who find them clinging to rocks under the water. The mussels are
removed from the shells, cooked in steam drums, and tinned, the product
being mainly shipped to Japan. In this connection it may be remarked
that the fishing industry about Monterey produces a considerable annual
total, several canneries being in operation in the vicinity. Many kinds
of fish are taken—and as a field for the sportsman with rod and line
the bay is quite equal to Catalina Island waters.

A narrow, little-used road runs down the coast from Point Lobos for
a distance of about thirty miles. Some day this will be improved and
carried through to Lucia, ten miles farther, forming a link in the real
"Coast Highway"—a road actually following the ocean—which Californians
have in mind; nor will there be a more magnificent drive in the world.
An artist acquaintance of ours—his name is familiar as one of our
greatest landscapists—had established his studio on this road three
or four miles below Point Lobos and his realistic paintings of this
marvelous coast were creating a furor in the artistic world. We drove
down to visit him one glorious evening when the sea was full of light
and color and the air resonant with the turmoil of the waves among
the rocks. We were just a little concerned as our heavy car crossed a
high, frail-looking bridge on the way, but maybe it was stronger than
it appeared. Our friend had built a studio on a headland commanding
a wide sweep of the rugged coast and here we found him busy at his
easel. He had made an enviable reputation painting old-world scenes,
but before the World War had abandoned this field of work for the lure
of California, to which a brother artist had called his attention. His
enthusiasm for his new field of art knew no bounds. "I have seen much
of the most impressive coast scenery of the world," he declared, "but
nothing that approaches the beauty of the Pacific about Monterey. The
coast of Greece is its nearest rival, so far as I know, but even the
coast of Greece did not appeal so strongly to my artistic sense." His
judgment would seem to be borne out by the instant popularity of his
Point Lobos marines, which have found an eager demand at record prices.

On our return from the studio to the hotel we had such an enchanting
series of views as the sunset faded into twilight that we could
understand our friend's enthusiasm and only wished that the state of
our finances permitted us to carry away a permanent reminder of this
wonderful coast in the shape of one of his paintings—an indulgence which
we had to reluctantly forego.

We gave our last afternoon to the gardens about the hotel. In these
are nearly all the trees and flora of the Pacific Coast. There are
over fourteen hundred varieties of plant life, among them seventy-eight
species of coniferous trees, two hundred and ten evergreens, two hundred
and eighty-five of herbaceous plants and more than ninety kinds of
roses. In the Arizona Garden are nearly three hundred species of cacti,
comprising almost everything found in the United States. Most of the
plants and trees are labeled with scientific or common name, but we
gained much information from a chance meeting with the head gardener.
He confessed to being a native Englishman, which we might have guessed
from the perfect order of the grounds and gardens.

We spent the evening in the gallery, a spacious apartment which also
serves as a ballroom. Frequent concerts are held here in which a
splendid pipe-organ plays a principal part. Several hundred paintings
form a permanent exhibition, exclusively the work of California artists.
We were surprised at the uniformly high artistic merit of the pictures.
The collection is quite the equal of many of the best exhibits of the
East. The uniform excellence of these pictures is due to the fact that
every one accepted has been passed on by a committee of distinguished
California artists. California subjects predominate, as might be
expected, and land-and seascapes are probably in the majority. The
pictures are for sale, a fact which enabled the writer to secure several
of the fine examples reproduced for this book.



XII

MEANDERINGS FROM MONTEREY TO SAN FRANCISCO


Usually we were only too willing to leave a hotel for the open road,
but we must confess to a lingering regret as we glided away from the
fairyland of Del Monte and its romantic environs. Our first words after
leaving were something about coming back again—a resolution fulfilled
but a year later. The road to Salinas was rebuilding and pretty rough
part of the way, but we found a fine boulevard when we returned after
the lapse of several months. During our tours we had bad going in
many places where state highway work was in progress and this is an
inconvenience that the California motorist will have to suffer for some
time to come—though I fancy that few obstacles to his smooth progress
will be more cheerfully endured.

  [Illustration: CHURCH AND CEMETERY, SAN JUAN BAUTISTA
   From Photograph by Dassonville]

Our objective was San Juan Bautista, the next mission of the ancient
chain. Like the pious pilgrim of old, we would visit them all—though
their shrines be fallen into decay and their once hospitable doors no
longer open to the wayfarer. San Juan lies beyond the San Benito Hills,
the blue range rising to the north of Salinas. We began the ascent with
some misgivings, for at Monterey they declared the San Juan grade the
steepest and most difficult on El Camino Real. They did not tell us
that a longer road by the way of Dumbarton entirely missed the grade or
we probably should have gone that way. We are glad we did not know any
better, for most mountain climbs in California well repay the effort
and this was no exception. The ascent was a steady grind for more than
a mile over grades ranging up to twenty per cent and deep with dust.
There was a glorious view of the mountain-girdled valley and the ancient
village from the hill; we paused to contemplate it—and to allow our
steaming motor to cool. The descent was a little over two miles and
steeper than the climb; we had a distinct feeling of relief when we
rounded the last corner and glided into the grass-grown streets of the
village.

I hardly need say that to-day a broad, easy, paved road swings around
the mountain instead of attempting the arduous route of the old trail.
The little run between Salinas and Bautista is only a joy ride for
driver as well as passengers. But we are none the less secretly pleased
that we "did" the nerve-racking old grade—now almost abandoned—for such
things are usually done only of ignorance when an easier and safer route
is the alternative.

San Juan Bautista's excuse for existence was the mission and now that
the mission is a shattered ruin the village still lives on without any
apparent reason for doing so. It is one of the least altered towns of
the old regime in California—not unlike San Juan Capistrano, which,
according to the 1910 census had exactly the same population as its
northern counterpart, some three hundred and twenty-six souls. But San
Juan Bautista is more somnolent and retired than Capistrano, which lies
on the San Diego highway. Sheltered behind the mighty hills, with their
formidable grades, it is missed by a large proportion of motorists who
go by the more direct route between Salinas and Santa Cruz. Its very
loneliness and atmosphere of early days constitute its greatest charm;
in it we saw a village of mission times, little altered save that the
Indians here, as everywhere, have nearly disappeared. There are many old
adobe houses—just how old it would be hard to say, but doubtless with
a history antedating the American occupation.

The village surrounds a wide, grass-grown plaza upon which fronts the
long, solid-looking arcade of the mission. Through this we entered
the restored dormitory and a portly Mexican woman left her wash-tub to
greet us. The padre, she said, was old and blind and seldom received
visitors. We were disappointed, but soon found this apparently ignorant
housekeeper fully equal to the task she had assumed. She led us to
the church, which was unique in that the auditorium had three aisles
separated by arches—something after the style of many English churches
we had seen. It was in use until the great earthquake of 1906, which
had cracked the arches, shattered the walls, and left it in such a
precarious state that one could scarcely stand within it without a
feeling of uneasiness. The walls still showed the original decorations,
though sadly discolored—these were done in paint made by the Indians
from ground rock of different colors. The original tiles covered the
roof, though they were rent and displaced, allowing the winter rains to
pour through in places. Early repairs and restoration would preserve
this remarkable church, but if allowed to remain in its present state
its complete ruin is inevitable. The bell-tower had already disappeared
and was replaced by a ridiculous wooden cupola totally out of harmony
with the spirit of the mission builders. And yet we can hardly censure
the fathers in charge for such structures as this and the angle-iron
tower at San Miguel, when we consider the scanty means at their
disposal—public funds should be available to maintain these historic
monuments.

It was a relief to step from the dismal ruin of the church to the
well-kept cemetery, with its carefully trimmed evergreens and flower
beds. Here in the old days the Indians were buried, though it is not
in use now. Our guide showed us, with a good deal of pride, her flower
garden on the other side of the church; most of the flowers and plants,
she said, had been collected from the other missions—she had visited all
of them except one. Then she led us into the plain—almost rude—quarters
of the old priest and showed us the relics of which San Juan Bautista
has its share. There was a curious organ which worked with a crank and
was sometimes used to call the Indians; there were old books, pictures,
and furniture; articles in wrought-iron, the work of the natives under
the tutelage of the padres; images from Spain and many rare embroidered
vestments. All of these were shown, with evident reverence for the—to
her—sacred relics of the olden days. It was a labor of love and we could
but respect her simple faith and evident loyalty to the aged priest,
who manifestly endured many hardships in his humble field of work.

San Juan Bautista Mission was founded in 1797 by the indefatigable
Lasuen, who, next to Serra himself, was the most active force in
promoting the work in California. The site was a favorable one and the
enterprise was successful from the start, its converts exceeding five
hundred in less than three years' time. Attacks from hostile Indians
and several severe earthquakes disturbed its earlier progress, but its
population went on steadily increasing. Twenty-five years after its
establishment there were twelve hundred and forty-eight neophytes and
it ranked as one of the most successful of all the chain. The beautiful
valley surrounding the town responded luxuriantly to tillage and San
Juan was able to assist its sister missions from its surplus.

The present church was completed in 1818 and a curious bit of the record
is that the decoration was done by a Yankee—assisted by Indians—who
assumed a Spanish name for the occasion. In 1835, the date of
secularization, the mission had already begun to decline, the population
having fallen to less than half its greatest number. This state of
affairs was true of so many of the missions that there is reason to
believe that even if the Mexican Government had never molested them,
their ultimate extinction would only have been delayed. Semicivilization
did not breed a hardy race and the white man's diseases more than offset
his improved methods of making a living. The records state that there
were only sixty-three Indians remaining at the mission in 1835, when
the decree went into effect. At this time the property was valued at
about one hundred and fifty thousand dollars. The Mexican governor,
Alvarado, declared that secularization was a success here and at San
Antonio, though nowhere else, but it was a queer kind of success at San
Juan Bautista, for all traces of the community disappeared a year or
two later.

The village was occupied by Fremont in 1846 and the stars and stripes
were hoisted over the mission at his command. Here he organized his
forces for the conquest of the south and marched as far as San Diego,
as we have already seen.

Out of San Juan the road was rough and dusty, though we came into a fine
macadam boulevard some distance out of Watsonville. Here we entered one
of the great fruit-producing districts of California; vast orchards of
apples, prunes, and cherries surrounded us on every hand. The blossoming
season was just past, and we missed the great ocean of odorous blooms
for which this section is famous.

Watsonville is a modern city of perhaps five thousand people, the
capital of this prosperous fruit and farming district. It is only a
few miles from the ocean and the summer heat is nearly always tempered
by sea breezes. Its broad, well-paved main street led us into a fine
macadam road which continued nearly all the way to Santa Cruz.

Santa Cruz lies on the north bend of the bay, directly opposite
Monterey, and is known as one of the principal resort towns of the
California coast. Its population, according to the last census,
was nearly eleven thousand and I ran across some "boom" literature
which claimed only twelve thousand—an unusual degree of modesty and
conservatism for a live California town. There was also a mission here,
though it has practically disappeared.

Santa Cruz was associated in our minds with neither seaside resort nor
mission, but with the grove of giant redwoods second only to the mighty
trees of Mariposa. Our first inquiries were for the road to this famous
forest, and we learned it was a few miles north of the town. We followed
the river canyon almost due north over a shelflike road cut in the
hillsides some distance above the stream. It commands a beautiful view
of the wooded valley, which we might have enjoyed more had we not met
numerous logging-wagons on the narrow way. The drivers—stolid-looking
Portuguese—frequently crowded us dangerously near the precipice along
the road; in one instance, according to the nervous ladies in the rear
seat, we escaped disaster by a hair's breadth. According to the law
in California, a motorist meeting a horse-drawn vehicle on a mountain
road must take the outside, even though contrary to the regular rule.
The theory is that the people in the car are safer than those behind a
skittish horse, though in instances such as I have just mentioned the
motorist faces decidedly the greater danger. We climbed a gradual though
easy grade for six or seven miles and turned sharply to the right down
a steep, winding trail to the river bank.

We left the car here and crossed a high, frail-looking suspension
foot-bridge which swayed and quivered in a most alarming manner, though
it probably was safe enough. The trees are at the bottom of the canyon
in a deep dell shut in by towering hills on either side. They are known
as Sequoia Sempervirens (a slightly different species from the Sequoia
Gigantea of the Mariposa Grove) a variety never found far from the
sea. The grove is private property and the guardian nonchalantly said,
"Two bits each, please," when we expressed our desire to go among the
trees. He then conducted us around a trail, reciting some interesting
particulars about the tawny Titans.

"There are eight hundred trees in the grove," he said, "and of these
one hundred and fifty are over eleven feet in diameter and two hundred
and twenty-five feet high. This is the only group so near the coast and
generally they grow much higher above the sea level. I saw two of them
fall in a terrific storm that swept up the valley a few years ago, and
the shock was like an earthquake. You can see from the one lying yonder
that their roots are shallow and they are more easily overthrown than
one would think from their gigantic proportions. This old fire-hollowed
fellow here could tell a story if he could speak, for General Fremont
made it his house when he camped in this valley in '48. Yes, it is a
good deal of a picnic ground here in season—the grove is so accessible
that it is visited by more people than any of the others."

All of which we counted worth knowing, even though recited in the
perfunctory manner of the professional guide. One needs, however, to
forget the curio shops, the pavilions and picnic debris and to imagine
himself in the forest primeval to appreciate in its fullest force the
solemn majesty of these hoary monarchs. They are indeed wonderful and
stately, their tall, tapering shafts rising in symmetrical beauty and
grace like the vast columns of some mighty edifice. Millenniums have
passed over some of them and all our standards of comparison with other
living things fail us. The words of William Watson on an ancient yew
recur to us as we gaze on these Titans of the western world:

     "What years are thine not mine to guess;
     The stars look youthful, thou being by,"

—but our musings were cut short when we noted that the shadows were
deepening in the vale. We had some miles of mountain road to traverse
if we were to spend the night at San Jose and we retraced our way to
Santa Cruz as fast as seemed prudent over such a road.

We could not think of leaving the town without a visit to the mission,
even though they told us that little but the old-time site could be
seen. We climbed the hill overlooking the sea to a group of buildings
now occupied by a Catholic convent; among these was a long, low,
whitewashed structure, now used as quarters for the nuns. This, they
told us, was the ancient monastery. Or, more properly, the ancient
monastery stood here and the present building was reared on its
foundations.

The church-tower fell in 1840 as the result of an earthquake and ten
years later a second shock demolished the walls of the building. Being
within the limits of the town, the debris was not allowed to remain, as
in lonely Soledad or La Purisima, and the site was cleared for other
purposes. And this reminds us that we owe the existence of many of
the mission ruins to their isolation; wherever they stood within the
limits of a town of any size they either have been restored or have
disappeared. Of the former we may cite Santa Barbara and San Luis Obispo
and of the latter, Santa Cruz and San Rafael.

The mission at Santa Cruz was another of Padre Lasuen's projects—founded
under his direction in 1790. It never prospered greatly, its highest
population being five hundred and twenty-three in 1796. From that time
it declined rapidly and at the secularization in 1835 the Indians had
almost disappeared. The property at that time was valued at less than
fifty thousand dollars and, as we have seen, the church was destroyed
five years later. Santa Cruz would doubtless rejoice to have her
historic mission among her widely heralded attractions to-day, but it
is gone past any rehabilitation.

As a seaside resort, Santa Cruz is one of the most popular in
California; during the season no fewer than thirty thousand visitors
flock to its hotels and beaches. It is the nearest considerable resort
to San Francisco and a large proportion of its guests come from that
city. The climate, according to the literature issued by the Board of
Trade, compares favorably the year round with Santa Barbara or Long
Beach. It claims a great variety of "amusement features, including a
palatial casino and a three-hundred-room, fire-proof hotel." It seems
a pleasant place, more substantial and homelike than the average resort
town.

Retracing our way for four or five miles over the road by which we
entered the town, we left it at the little wayside village of Soquel,
taking an abrupt turn northward and following a wooded canyon. The road
ascends the western slope of the Santa Cruz Mountains, winding through
a forest of stately redwoods intermingled with many other varieties of
trees. These crowd up to the road, overarching it in places—as beautiful
a scene of virgin wildwood as we had yet come upon; through occasional
openings we had far-reaching views down wooded canyons already haunted
by the thin blue shadows of the declining day. The grade is moderately
stiff, ranging up to twelve per cent, and the road was deep with dust,
making an exceedingly heavy pull, and more than once we paused to cool
the steaming motor. An almost continuous climb of a dozen miles brought
us to the summit of the range, and coming to a break in the forest a
glorious view greeted our vision—a vista of green hills sloping away
to the sunset waters of Monterey Bay, with dim outlines of mountain
ranges beyond. A faint blue haze hung over the nearer hills, changing to
lucent amethyst above the bay and deepening to violet upon the distant
mountains. An occasional fruit farm or ranch-house reminded us that
we were within the bounds of civilization; and the Summit School, near
by, that there must be youngsters to educate, even in this wild region,
though there was little to indicate where they came from.

The descent presented even more picturesque scenes than the climb.
The grade was steeper and the distance less; and the road followed
the mountain sides, which sloped away in places hundreds of feet to
wooded canyons now dim with mysterious shadows. Majestic redwoods,
oaks, birches, pines, sycamores, with here and there the red gleam of
the madrona, pressed up to the very roadside and their fragrance loaded
the air. At the foot of the grade, some nine miles from the summit,
we glided into the well-kept streets of Los Gatos, the "City of the
Foothills," one of the cleanest and most sightly towns that the wayfarer
will come across, even in California. It has few pretentious homes, but
the average cottage or bungalow is so happily situated and surrounded by
green lawns dotted with flower beds and palms, that the effect is more
pleasing than rows of costly houses could be. In the public buildings
such as the library and schools, the Spanish mission type is followed
with generally fortunate results. In the foothills near by are several
villas of San Francisco people which are steadily increasing in number,
for Los Gatos is only an hour by train from the metropolis and has hopes
of becoming a residence town of wealthy San Franciscans.

Out of Los Gatos we pursued a level, well-improved road to San Jose,
running through the great prune and cherry orchards for which the Santa
Clara Valley is famous and which gave promise of a bounteous yield.
A little after sunset we came into the city of San Jose, closing an
unusually strenuous run over steep and dusty mountain roads. We found
the new Montgomery Hotel a comfortable haven and its modern bathrooms
an unspeakable boon. Our first move was to segregate ourselves from
the California real estate which we had accumulated during the day
and to don fresh raiment, after which we did full justice to a late
dinner, despite very slack service and not altogether unexceptionable
cuisine—excusable, perhaps, by the lateness of the hour.

San Jose is a modern city of forty or fifty thousand people, the
commercial capital of the Santa Clara Valley. There is not much within
the town itself to detain one on such a pilgrimage as our own. The
mission first occurred to us and we learned that it was at Mission San
Jose, twelve miles from the city to which it gives its name; our next
inquiry was concerning the Lick Observatory, which they told us might
be reached by a twenty-five mile jog up the slopes of Mount Hamilton,
overlooking the town from the east. It was clear that we should have to
take a day for these excursions and early the next morning we were off
for the Mount Hamilton climb.

Out of the city we ran straight away on Santa Clara Street for a
distance of five or six miles to Junction House, where the mountain
road begins. It was built nearly forty years ago by Santa Clara County
at a cost of eighty thousand dollars, the work being authorized to
secure the location of the Lick Observatory on the mountain. It is a
smooth, well-engineered road, with grades not exceeding ten per cent
excepting a few steep pitches near the summit. It swings upwards in wide
arcs or narrow loops as the topography of the mountain demands. It is
broad enough for vehicles to pass easily, presenting no difficulty to
a moderate-powered motor, though in places a sheer precipice falls away
from its side and there are abrupt turns around blind corners which call
for extreme care.

The winding course of the road up the mountainside affords vantage
for endless panoramas of the surrounding country. Indeed, were there
no observatory on Mount Hamilton the views alone would well repay the
ascent and we paused frequently to contemplate the scene that spread out
beneath us. The day was not perfectly clear, yet through the shimmering
air we could see the hazy waters of San Francisco Bay some twenty miles
to the northwest, and beyond the valley to the southwest, the blue
Santa Cruz Range which we crossed the previous day. Just beneath us
lay the wide vale of the Santa Clara—surely one of the most beautiful
and prosperous of the famous valleys of the Golden State—diversified
by orchards and endless wheatfields, with here and there an isolated
ranch-house or village. The foothills nearer at hand were studded with
oaks and sycamores, with an occasional small farm or fruit orchard set
down among them. It was a beautiful day—the partial cloudiness being
atoned for by many striking cloud effects and the play of light and
color over the landscape.

Midway of the ascent is a little settlement in a pleasant grassy dell,
where a plain though comfortable-looking hotel—the Halfway House—offers
the wayfarer an opportunity for refreshments, which can not be obtained
at the summit. Here we arranged for a lunch on our return, but we had no
idea of eating it in the hotel with the delightful nooks we had passed
still fresh in mind. The last three or four miles of the climb are by
far the most difficult, reminding us not a little of the Mount Wilson
ascent; but we experienced no trouble and soon came to the open summit
with the vast dome of the observatory crowning it. Around this clusters
a village of about fifty people who live here permanently—the families
and assistants of the men who devote their lives to the study of the
stars. One of the ladies whom we met in the observatory office said,
when we asked her of life on the mountain,

"We get used to it, though it is cold and lonely at times and we feel a
kind of desperation to get back to the world. But we do not complain;
the views from the mountain under varying conditions of night and day
are enough to atone for our isolation. You can not even imagine the
glories of the sunrise and sunset; the weird effects of the sea of
clouds that lie beneath us at times, glowing in the sun or ghostly
white in the moonlight; the vast wilderness of mountain peaks losing
themselves in the haze of distance or mantled in the glaring whiteness
of the winter snows. All these and many other strange moods of the
weather bring infinite variety, even to this lonely spot." And yet, for
all this, she confessed to an intense longing to make a trip to "the
earth" whenever occasion presented itself.

The obliging janitor shows visitors about the observatory, telling of
its work and explaining the instruments with an intelligence and detail
that might lead you to think him one of the astronomers—if he had not
confessed at the outset to being an Englishman in the humble position of
caretaker. And we might have known that he was an Englishman, even if
he had not told us so, by his thoroughness and pride in his job. Among
the instruments which interested us most was the seismograph, which
records earthquakes from the faintest tremor hundreds of miles away to
the most violent shock—or perhaps this is not strictly correct, for the
great quake of 1906 threw the needle from the recording disk and left
the record incomplete.

"There is seldom a day," said our guide, "that a quake is not registered
and so long as they occur regularly we have little to fear, but an
entire absence of tremors for several days is likely to precede a
violent shock."

The great refracting telescope is the prime "object of interest" to
the visitor and we were shown in minute detail how this is operated.
It stands on a granite pedestal—underneath which rests the body of
the donor, James Lick—in the center of the great dome which one sees
for many miles from the valley and which revolves bodily on a huge
platform to bring the opening to the proper point. This, at the time
of its construction, was the largest telescope in the world, the great
lens, the masterpiece of Alvan Clark & Sons, being thirty-six inches in
diameter. It is equipped with the latest apparatus for photographing
the heavens and some of the most remarkable astronomical photographs
in existence have been taken by the observatory. The telescope and
dome are operated by electric motors and our guide gave exhibitions
of the perfect control by the operator. Besides this there is a large
reflecting telescope housed in a separate building and several smaller
instruments. Visitors are allowed to look through the great telescope
on Saturday night only, but are shown about the observatory on any
afternoon of the week. No other great observatory is so accommodating
to the public in this regard; and the annual number of visitors exceeds
five thousand. The official handbook states that "while the observatory
has no financial gain in the coming of visitors, no pains are spared to
make the time spent here interesting and profitable to them." The same
book gives a list of the important achievements of the Lick Observatory,
with other information concerning the institution and may be had upon
application to the managing director.

James Lick, who devoted three quarters of a million dollars to found
the observatory, was a California pioneer who left his whole fortune
of more than three millions to public benefactions. He was born in
Fredericksburg, Pa., in 1796 and died in San Francisco in 1876. He
came to California in 1847 and engaged in his trade of piano-making,
but his great wealth came from real estate investment. He was a silent
and somewhat eccentric man—a pronounced freethinker in religious
matters. The observatory is now under the control of the University
of California, which supplies the greater part of the finances for its
maintenance.

Returning to the city, we found there was still time to visit the
mission, about fifteen miles due north on the Oakland road. This is
a macadam boulevard through a level and prosperous-looking country
skirting San Francisco Bay and the run was a delightful one. Mission
San Jose is a tiny village of a dozen houses and a few shops, bearing
little resemblance to its bustling namesake to the southward. The
dilapidated monastery is all that is left of the old-time buildings
and the rude timber arcade stands directly by the roadside. We found a
young fellow working on the place who gladly undertook to act as guide.
He proved an ardent Catholic and an enthusiast for the restoration of
the mission. This work, he said, had been undertaken by the Native Sons
of California and they were organizing a carnival to raise funds. The
building through which he led us is a series of dungeonlike adobe cells,
with earthen floors and cracked and crumbling walls; it is roofed with
willows tied to the roughly hewn rafters with rawhide. The tiles from
the ruined church are carefully piled away to be used in the restoration
and our guide declared that a wealthy Spanish family of the vicinity
had a quantity of these which they would gladly return when needed. The
church was destroyed by the earthquake of 1868 and has been replaced
by a modern structure. This suffered but little in the great quake
of 1906, but we were shown the curious spectacle in the cemetery of
several marble shafts broken squarely in two by the shock. To the rear
of the church and leading up to the orphanage conducted by the Dominican
sisters, is a beautiful avenue bordered by olive trees planted by the
padres in mission days. This is crossed by a second avenue running at
right angles and no doubt these served as a passageway for many a solemn
procession in days of old.

The location is charming indeed; one can stand in the rude portico of
the dilapidated building and look over as pleasant a rural scene as can
be found in California. The green meadows slope toward the bay, which
gleams like molten silver in the late afternoon sun. Beyond it is a dark
line of forest trees, the rounded contour of the green foothills, and,
last of all, the rugged outlines of the Santa Cruz Mountains shrouded
in the amethyst haze of evening. To the rear, rolling hills rise above
the little hamlet and southward stands the sturdy bulk of Mission Peak.

No wonder, with such beautiful, fertile surroundings, San Jose Mission
prospered in its palmy days. Founded in 1797—the fruitful year of
Padre Lasuen's activity—it reached its zenith in 1820, when its Indian
population numbered seventeen hundred and fifty-four. Its property at
secularization exceeded one hundred and fifty thousand dollars in value
and it even seemed to prosper for a while under the Mexican regime.
Its decline began in 1840 and five years later less than two hundred
and fifty natives were to be found in its precincts. Of the wreck and
rebuilding of the church we have already told; in the new structure may
be seen two of the original bells, nearly a century old. The baptismal
font of hammered copper is still in use. It is about three feet in
diameter and is surmounted by a small iron cross.

A few miles out of San Jose on the San Francisco road, at the pretty
town of Santa Clara, was formerly the mission of that name. It has
totally disappeared and on its site stands the new church and the
buildings of Santa Clara College, the principal Catholic university of
California. We drove into the large plaza in front of the church and
walked in at the open door. The interior is that of a modern Catholic
church, with an unusual number of paintings and images, among the
latter a gorgeously painted Santa Clara with her bare foot on a writhing
snake. The paintings are of little artistic merit and the effect of the
interior is rather tawdry. The slightly unfavorable impression speedily
fades from mind when through an open side door one gets a glimpse into
the garden around which run the college cloisters. It is a beautiful
green spot, with olives planted in mission days, palms, and masses of
flowers. About it are slight remains of the old cloisters; hewn beams
still form the roof, and portions of the walls some three feet thick
still stand.

Santa Clara College, the oldest on the coast, was founded in 1855, and
is now the largest Catholic school west of the Rockies. The buildings
are quite extensive and the mission style of architecture appropriately
prevails. In its museum is a good collection of relics once belonging
to the ancient mission; furniture, candlesticks in silver and brass,
vessels in gold and silver, crucifixes, bells, the mighty key to the
oaken door, embroidered vestments, and a very remarkable book. This is
an old choral on heavy vellum, hand-written in brilliant red and black;
the covers are heavy leather over solid wood, and the corners and back
are protected with ornamental bronze. It originally came from Spain and
is supposed to be five hundred years old.

Santa Clara Mission, the tenth in order, was founded in 1777, twenty
years earlier than its neighbor, San Jose, and the close proximity
caused heart-burnings among the padres of Santa Clara when its rival
was first projected. They declared that there was no necessity for it;
that it was not on the beaten route of El Camino Real, and that it
encroached on Santa Clara's lands and revenues. The dispute assumed
such proportions that a special survey was made in 1801 to prevent
further controversy. Despite the contention of Santa Clara that there
was no room for its rival, it did not lack for prosperity, since in
1827 its population numbered fourteen hundred and twenty-four—about the
same as San Jose, so there seems to have been ample room for both. At
secularization, in 1835, there were less than half as many and after
that the decline was rapid. This is only another instance showing that
the regime of the padres had begun to decay before the interference of
the Mexican Government. The mission fell into ruin after the American
conquest and the debris was gradually removed to make way for the
college buildings.

Santa Clara is a quiet, beautiful town of about five thousand—really a
suburb of San Jose, since they are separated by only a mile or two. Its
streets are broad and bordered with trees and its residences have the
trim neatness and beautiful semi-tropical surroundings so characteristic
of the better California towns.

Northward out of Santa Clara a fine macadam road follows the shore
of the bay at a distance of a mile or two. In the days of the padres
this country was a vast swamp, but it is now a prosperous fruit and
gardening section which supplies the San Francisco markets. At Palo Alto
we turned aside into the grounds of Leland Stanford Jr. University,
which sprang into existence like Minerva of old—full armed and ready
for business—with nearly thirty millions of endowment behind it. It
immediately took high rank among American universities, but as its
attendance is limited by its charter to about two thousand, it can not
equal its rivals in this regard.

Everyone knows its pathetic story—how Senator Stanford, the man of many
millions, lost his only son, a boy of sixteen, and determined to leave
the fortune to "the boys and girls of California" as a memorial to the
idolized youth. A little strain of selfishness in the project, one may
think, since if Leland Stanford Jr. had lived it is unlikely that his
father would have remembered the boys and girls of his state, but you
forget all about this when you enter the precincts of this magnificent
institution. It is free from the antiquated buildings and equipment
of the schools of slow growth, and full scope was given to architects
to produce a group of buildings harmonious in design and perfectly
adapted to the purposes which they serve. The mission design properly
prevails, carried out in brown stone and red tiles. The main buildings
are ranged round a quadrangle 586 x 246 feet, upon which the arches of
the cloisters open and in the center of this was a bronze group of the
donor, his wife, and son, since removed to the University Museum.

The earthquake of 1906 dealt severely with Stanford University,
destroying the library building, the great memorial arch, and wrecking
the memorial chapel, said to be the finest in America. The latter
was being restored at the time of our visit, a timber roof replacing
the former stone-vaulted ceiling. The structure both inside and out
bears many richly colored mosaics representing historic and scriptural
subjects; in this particular it is more like St. Mark's of Venice than
any other church that I know of. It is said that a large part of the
destruction done by the earthquake was due to flimsy work on the part
of the builders. Fortunately, the low, solid structures around the
quadrangle were practically unharmed, and the damage done is being
repaired as rapidly as possible. The grounds occupied by the University
were formerly Senator Stanford's Palo Alto estate and comprised about
nine thousand acres. From the campus there are views of the bay, of the
Coast Range, including Mount Hamilton with the Lick Observatory, and
of the rolling foothills and magnificent redwood forests toward Santa
Cruz. The university is open to students from everywhere and owing to
its vast endowment, instruction is absolutely free.

Palo Alto is a handsome town of about six thousand people. Its climate
is said to be much pleasanter the year round than that of San Francisco.
A local advertising prospectus gives this pleasing description of the
climatic conditions:

"There is no extreme cold, and there are no severe storms. Even the
rainy season, between December and March, averages about fifteen bright
warm days in each month; and flowers blossoming on every hand make the
winter season a delightful part of the year. The acacia trees begin
blooming in January, the almonds in February, and the prunes, peaches,
and cherries are all in bloom by the last of March or the first of
April, when the blossom festival for the whole valley is held in the
foothills at Saratoga, a few miles by electric line from Palo Alto."

From Palo Alto we followed the main highway—El Camino Real—to San
Francisco. It is a broad macadam road, but at the time in sad disrepair,
unmercifully rough and full of chuck-holes. It was being rebuilt in
places, compelling us to take a roundabout route, which, with much
tire trouble, delayed our arrival in San Francisco until late in the
afternoon, though the distance is but fifty-two miles from San Jose.

It looked as if our troubles were going to have a still more painful
climax when, as we entered the city, a policeman dashed at us, bawling,

"What on earth do you mean by driving at that crazy rate? Do you want
to kill all these children?"

As we were not exceeding twenty miles and were quite free from any
homicidal designs against the children—of whom not a single one was
in sight on the street—we mildly disclaimed any such cruel intention
as the guardian of the law imputed to us. We had learned the futility
of any altercation with a policeman and by exceeding humility we
gained permission to proceed. A little back-talk in self-defense would
doubtless have resulted in a trip to the station house, where we should
have been at every disadvantage. I attribute in some degree our lucky
escape from arrest to the fact that we always adopted an exceedingly
conciliatory attitude towards any policeman who approached us, even if
we sometimes thought him over-officious or even impudent. A soft answer
we found more efficient in turning away his wrath and gaining our point
than any attempt at self-justification could possibly have been—even
though we knew we were right.

  [Illustration: THE PACIFIC NEAR GOLDEN GATE
   From Original Painting by N. Hagerup]



XIII

TO BEAUTIFUL CLEAR LAKE VALLEY


A splendid view of the Golden Gate, through which, between opposing
headlands, the tides of the Pacific pour into the waters of San
Francisco's great inland bay, may be had from the ferry between the
city and Sausalito. The facilities for carrying motor cars were good and
charges reasonable. We were speedily set down on the northern side and,
without entering the little town, took to the road forthwith, closely
following the shores of the bay.

A dozen miles of rough going brought us to San Rafael, where in 1817
the padres from Mission Dolores in San Francisco founded the twentieth,
and last but one, of the California missions. George Wharton James
declares that this mission was really intended as a health resort for
neophytes from San Francisco who had fallen ill of consumption, which
had become a terrible scourge among the Indians around the bay. During
the first three years after the founding of San Rafael, nearly six
hundred neophytes were transferred to the new establishment, and in
1828 its population had reached eleven hundred and forty. Its buildings
were never very substantial and the total value of all property at
secularization was reckoned at only fifteen thousand dollars. Fremont
took possession of the town in 1846 without opposition. After his
departure the mission buildings were unoccupied and speedily fell into
ruin.

In response to our inquiries, a citizen directed us to the Catholic
parsonage. The priest greeted us courteously and told us that not a
trace of the mission now remained. In his garden he pointed out some
old pear trees planted by the padres of San Rafael Mission in early
days—almost the sole existing relics. The church near by is modern and
of no especial interest. The site was an ideal one and the sheltered
valley, with the green wooded hills that encircle it, was a fit place of
rest for the invalid neophytes. San Rafael is now a substantially built,
prosperous-looking town of about six thousand people and a favorite
suburban residence place for San Francisco business men.

A well-improved highway leads through rolling hills from San Rafael to
Petaluma, whence a detour of a dozen miles eastward takes us to historic
Sonoma—the farthest outpost of Spanish civilization in California.
Here the twenty-first and last mission of the chain was founded in
1823, with a view of checking the influence of the Russians, who were
filling the country to the north. It never attained great importance,
though during the short period of its existence its population reached
about seven hundred. In 1834 the presidio or military establishment of
San Francisco was transferred here to counteract Russian and American
encroachments. The governor, Vallejo, took command of the post in person
and, it is recorded, supported the enterprise at his own expense. He
appears to have been a fine type of the old-time Spanish grandee, and
his hacienda or residence still stands, though now deserted, about five
miles northwest of the town. This is of the usual Spanish type, but
on a much grander scale than any other of the early California homes
still standing. Its facade is three hundred feet in length and two
wings extend to the rear, enclosing a spacious patio which overlooks
the valley from its open side. Double balconies supported by heavy
timbers run around the entire outside. The house is solidly built; its
walls, no less than six feet in thickness, are constructed of adobe.
Its hewn beams are bound together with rawhide thongs and the lighter
timbers are fastened with wooden pegs, not a nail being used. Stout iron
grilles and heavy wooden shutters protect the windows and the doors are
provided with wickets so that the house could easily be converted into
a defensive fortress.

Vallejo also had a town house in Sonoma, but this has nearly
disappeared. There are still many old adobes surrounding the spacious
plaza—for the village was laid out on regal scale; many date from
mission days, though none of them has any especial historic importance.

The mission church stands at the northeast angle of the plaza; it was
in use until about twenty-five years ago, when it was wrecked by an
earthquake, and since then neglect and winter rains nearly completed the
work of ruin. The property was acquired by the Landmarks Club, which,
having no funds for restoration, offered it to the state as an historic
monument. It was accepted by a special act of the legislature and a
small fund provided to restore and maintain the buildings. At the time
of our visit work was in progress and was being carried out on original
lines as nearly as possible. The old tiles had been restored to the roof
and the rents in the walls repaired with sun-dried adobes. But there
was no one to show us about or to preserve the relics and traditions of
the mission. In this regard there will always be an advantage in having
the original owner—the Catholic church—in charge, for it means that
"open house" to visitors will be kept at all times. We were gratified
to learn, however, that historic Sonoma will not be allowed to fall into
ruin, as we had been led to expect from descriptions by recent visitors.

In the plaza just opposite the mission is the pole upon which the
American insurgents hoisted the California bear flag in 1846. This
party, under Ezekiel Merritt, started from Captain Fremont's camp near
Sutter's Fort (Sacramento) and halted some distance from the town until
midnight. At daybreak they marched hurriedly down the valley and took
General Vallejo and his scanty garrison prisoners of war.

"A man named Todd," according to an eye-witness, "proceeded to make
a flag for the occasion by painting a red star on a piece of cotton
cloth, when he was reminded that Texas had already adopted this emblem.
The grizzly bear was then substituted and the words, 'Republic of
California,' added in common writing ink. The flag was hoisted amidst
cheers from the entire company and remained afloat for several weeks
until Lieutenant Revere of the Portsmouth came to raise the stars and
stripes over it after the capture of Monterey."

This event is commemorated by a huge granite boulder near the flagstaff
in the plaza of Sonoma. It bears a reproduction of the original flag in
bronze and a tablet of the same metal with the inscription, "Bear flag,
raised June 14, 1846—erected July 4, 1907. S. O. W. C." It serves to
impress on the infrequent visitor that the modest little village has an
historic past that its more pretentious neighbors well might envy.

The homestead which General Vallejo occupied after these events and
until the time of his death still stands but a short distance from the
town, and is approached through a beautiful avenue of ancient palms.

It is quite as he left it, in a garden overgrown with roses and
geraniums and shaded by lemon and orange trees intermingled with
magnolias and palms. This house is now occupied by General Vallejo's
youngest daughter, who still treasures many mementos of her father and
of mission days.

A well-improved road leads from Sonoma to Santa Rosa. The latter is
a thriving town of ten thousand people and to all appearances has
completely recovered from the severe damage inflicted upon it by the
earthquake of 1906. It is the home of a man whose fame is wider than
that of the town, for no doubt thousands have heard of Luther Burbank
who do not know that he lives in Santa Rosa. We passed his experiment
station at Sevastopol, seven miles from his home town. We wished we
might see the wizard and his work, but he is too busy to be troubled
by tourists and can be seen only by special introduction. Santa Rosa
is the county seat of Sonoma County—succeeding the village of Sonoma in
1856—and a new court house, just completed, would do credit to any city
in size and architectural design—another example of the far-sightedness
of California communities. The Baptist Church is pointed out as an
unique curiosity, for it was built of a single redwood tree—and it is
a good-sized church, too.

Out of Santa Rosa we came into the Russian River Valley,—which, with
many other names in this vicinity, reminded us that at one time Russia
had designs upon our Golden West—certainly one of the loveliest and most
fertile of California vales. Here and in Napa Valley just over the range
to the east are the Italian colonies, which produce vast quantities of
wine. The well-improved road follows the center of the narrow green
valley, shut in by blue hill ranges on either hand and covered with
great vineyards. In places these ascend the steep hillsides—recalling
the valley of the Rhine—and they show everywhere the perfect care and
cultivation characteristic of old-world vineyards.

A little beyond Healdsburg, state highway construction barred the main
road west of the river and we were forced to cross a rickety bridge into
a rather forbidding-looking byroad on the eastern side. At the moment
this seemed a small calamity, for we were already late and the road
appeared favorable for anything but speed. But we had not gone far until
the entrancing beauty of the scenery made us rejoice that chance had led
us into this route, which my notes declare "one of the most picturesque
on our entire tour." The sinuous, undulating road closely follows the
course of the stream, which lay quietly in deep emerald-green pools,
or dashed in incredibly swift foaming cascades over its rocky bed. The
fine trees—oaks, sycamores, madronas, pines, redwoods, and many other
varieties—crowd closely up to the narrow road and climb to the very top
of the rugged slopes on either hand. In places there are bold cliffs
overhanging the river, one great rock, a vast expanse of tawny brown,
spangled with moss and lichens, rising to a height of several hundred
feet. Just off this road is Geyserville, in the vicinity of which are
geysers and hot springs similar to those of the Yellowstone Park.

At Cloverdale we came into the main highway, which here begins a steady
climb up the mountains at the head of the valley, the grades ranging
six to ten per cent. The road follows the river canyon and there were
many picturesque glimpses of the dashing stream through the trees on
our left. At Pieta Station—the railroad runs on the western side of
the river—we made a sharp turn to the right, following Pieta grade,
which cuts squarely across the mountain range. The road is exceedingly
tortuous, climbing the giant hills in long loops and, though none of
the grades are heavy, caution was very necessary. Here we ran through
the "forest primeval;" nature was in its pristine beauty, unspoiled by
the hand of man. No human habitation was in sight for miles and wild
life abounded. Rabbits, snakes, and quails scurried across the road and
birds flitted through the trees. Wild flowers bloomed in profusion in
the glades and flowering shrubs such as the wild lilac and dogwood gave
a delightful variation from the prevailing green of the trees. This is
a toll road and at the summit of the grade, eight miles from Pieta, a
gate barred our way and we were required to pay a dollar to proceed. We
found ourselves in no hurry, however, despite the fact that the sun was
just setting, for from this spot we had our first view of Clear Lake
Valley. Beyond a long vista of wooded hills, set like a great gem in
the green plain, the lake shimmered in the subdued light. In the far
distance other mountain ranges faded away into the violet haze of the
gathering twilight.

The descending road is steeper and rougher than the climb to the
summit, though the distance is not so great. At the foot of the grade
is Highland Springs, with a summer resort hotel not yet open, and after
this a straight, level road runs directly northward to Lakeport. It
is a little, isolated town of a thousand people—there is no railroad
in Clear Lake Valley—and its hotel is a typical country-town inn.
There is another hotel which keeps open only during the summer season,
for a small number of discerning people come to Clear Lake for their
summer vacation. At the Garrett, however, we were made as comfortable
as circumstances permitted, the greatest desideratum being private
bathrooms. While rambling about the town after supper I fell into
conversation with a druggist and I unwittingly touched a sore spot—which
we learned was common to every citizen of Lakeport—when I remarked that
it was strange that a town of its size, so favorably situated, should
be without a railroad.

  [Illustration: A LAKE COUNTY BYWAY
   From Photograph by Pillsbury]

"It's a burning shame," he exclaimed, "and we have the Southern Pacific
to thank for it. We have made every effort to secure a railway here
and in this fertile valley it would surely pay. Besides, the lake,
with its fine fishing and beautiful surroundings, would soon become
one of the most noted resorts in California—if people could only get
here. But for some reason the Southern Pacific has not only refused to
build, but has throttled any effort on part of the people to finance a
road into the valley. I guess the railroad people figure that as it is
they get all the traffic and the people have to bear the heavy expense
of transportation by wagon to the main line. If this is so, it's a
short-sighted policy, for the development of the country would be so
rapid that the branch would be a paying proposition from the start." And
he added much more in the same strain, all of it highly uncomplimentary
to the "Sunset Route."

I was not familiar enough with the situation to dispute any of his
assertions, even had I been so inclined, and let him assume that
I assented to all his animadversions against the Southern Pacific.
The question whether or not Lakeport and Clear Lake Valley would be
benefited by a railroad—the nearest station is Pieta, twenty miles
away—was clearly too one-sided to admit of discussion. Besides,
railroads interest us only in an academic way. Who would want a railroad
to visit Clear Lake Valley if he were free to come by motor car?

From our window in the third story of the hotel we could see the lake
and the mountains beyond and I remarked that sunrise would surely be a
spectacle worth seeing. Though some doubt was expressed as to my ability
to rise early enough, I managed to do it and a scene of surpassing
beauty rewarded the effort—it really was an effort after the strenuous
run of the preceding day. A rosy sky brought out the rugged contour of
the hills and tinged the dense blue shadows with amethyst and gold.
As the sky brightened, the lake glowed with the changeful fires of
an opal, which merged into a sheet of flame when the sun climbed the
mountains and flung his rays directly across the still surface. There
was an indescribable glory of color and light, passing through endless
mutations ere the scene came out distinctly in the daylight.

We were away early in the morning with a long run over many mountain
grades confronting us. As we left the valley we had a better opportunity
of noting its singular beauty than on the preceding evening. It is
a wide green plain of several hundred square miles, surrounded by
mountain ranges. These presented a peculiar contrast in the low morning
sun, standing sharp and clear against the sky on the eastern side and
half hidden in a soft blue haze on the west. In the center of the
plain lay Clear Lake—rightly named, for it is a crystal clear body
of water about thirty miles long and eight miles in extreme width.
It is fed by mountain streams and empties its waters into the Russian
River. For boating and fishing it is unsurpassed, a catch of bass or
cat being assured under almost any conditions. The valley was studded
with hundreds of oaks, the finest and most symmetrical we had seen
in a country famous for magnificent oaks, and one of these, near the
Lakeport road, is declared to be the largest and most perfect oak
tree in California. Whether it is so or not, a few figures will give
some idea of its mammoth proportions. The circumference of its trunk
is twenty-four feet and six inches, its height one hundred and twenty
feet, and the spread of its branches one hundred and fifty-six feet.
And this is only one of hundreds of majestic trees which dotted the
plain. Underneath them—for they stand usually far apart—lay the wide
green meadows and wheatfields, spangled with multi-colored wild flowers.
It would be hard to imagine a more beautiful vista than the one which
stretched away beneath these giant trees to the still waters of the
lake. Here and there the orange flame of poppies prevailed and again a
field of buttercups or daisies, or a blue belt of lupine. The sky above
was clear save for a few silvery clouds which floated lazily over the
mountains, and, altogether, it was a scene of quiet beauty that made
us wonder if there was another spot in all the world like this mountain
vale. What a place it would be for a resort like Del Monte or Coronado!
If in Southern California it would be one of the most noted beauty spots
on earth. A railroad would, of course, do much to make it known to the
world in general, though the thought of a railroad in that scene of
quiet, out-of-the-world loveliness seemed almost like sacrilege. The
climate is mild—orange trees and palms being common—and the rainfall,
averaging about thirty inches, is twice as great as in the southern part
of the state. This accounts for the unusual greenness of the country
and might be an unpleasant feature in winter.

Lakeport marked the northern end of our tour and we resolved to cross
the mountains and return by the Napa Valley. At Kelseyville, a few miles
south of Lakeport, we inquired of a garage man as to the best road out
of the valley and he carefully directed us to take the left-hand fork
two or three miles south of the town.

"It takes you over Bottle Glass Mountain," he said, "but it's the
shortest road to Middletown."

When we came to the fork we saw that the main traveled road continued
to the right and a narrow, forbidding-looking lane started up the big
hill to our left. We took it with some misgiving; the directions had
been explicit, but we did not like its looks. When we had proceeded
a few miles on the increasingly heavy grade we began to realize the
significance of the name, "Bottle Glass Mountain," for the road had been
blasted through masses of obsidian or volcanic glass and was strewn with
numberless razor-sharp fragments which speedily cut our tires to shreds.
There was absolutely no place to turn about and so we laboriously toiled
up the heavy grades—some of them surely as much as twenty-five per
cent—the engine steaming like a tea-kettle until at last we reached the
summit. Here we paused to cool the engine and investigate the sorry work
of the glass which had strewn the road for some miles. The usefulness
of a new set of tires was clearly at its end—no one of them lasted more
than a few hundred miles after this experience. We carried away a bit
of the glass as a memento and found it identical with that of Obsidian
Cliff in the Yellowstone, a material used by the Indians for arrow
heads.

The descent was quite free from glass and led us down some pretty steep
grades into a beautifully wooded canyon. Here we met a mail carrier who
gave us the cheerful information that two or three miles farther over
a good road would have avoided the horrors of Bottle Glass Mountain.
For several miles we followed the course of a clear stream, the road
dropping continuously down grade and winding between splendid trees,
until we came to the little village of Middletown.

Beyond this we began the ascent of Mount St. Helena, famed in
Stevenson's stories of the "Silverado Squatters." Of it he wrote,

"There was something satisfactory in the sight of the great mountain
enclosing us on the north; whether it stood robed in sunshine, quaking
to its topmost pinnacle in the heat and lightness of the day or whether
it set itself to weaving vapors, wisp after wisp, growing, trembling,
fleeting, and fading in the blue."

It overtops everything else in the vicinity; its great bold summit,
rising to a height of forty-five hundred feet, is a cairn of quartz and
cinnabar. Its slopes, now so quiet and sylvan, were alive in an early
day with mining camps and villages. But the mines failed long ago and
the army of miners departed, leaving deserted towns and empty houses
behind them. These fell into decay and their debris has been hidden by
the rank growth of young trees. On St. Helena, Stevenson and his wife
spent some time in a deserted mining camp in the summer of 1880 in hopes
of benefiting his health and while here he planned and partly completed
the story of Silverado. There are many descriptions of the scenery and
his step-daughter declares that the passage describing the morning fog
rolling into the valley as seen from his camp is one of the very finest
in all of Stevenson's writings.

Out of Middletown the road begins a steady ascent over rolling grades
ranging up to fifteen per cent and winding through the splendid forests
which so charmed the Scotch writer. Redwoods, oaks, firs, cedars and
magnificent sugar pines crowd up to the roadside. Star-white dogwood
blossoms stand against the foliage, the pale lavender spikes of the
mountain lilac, the giant thistle with its carmine blooms, the crimson
gleam of the redbud, the brilliant azalea, and, above all, the madrona,
a great tree loaded with clusters of odorous pale pink blossoms. Its red
trunk, gleaming beneath its glistening green foliage and gay flowers,
inspired the oft-quoted fancy of Bret Harte:

     "Captain of the western wood,
     Thou that apest Robin Hood,
     Green above thy scarlet hose
     How thy velvet mantle shows.
     Never tree like thee arrayed,
     Oh, thou gallant of the glade."

  [Illustration: ON THE SLOPES OF MT. ST. HELENA
   From Photograph by Harold Taylor]

From the highest point of the road—it does not cross the summit of the
mountain—was a glorious prospect of wooded hills and a long vista down
the canyon which we followed to the valley. The descent was a strenuous
one—winding downward in long loops, turning sharply around blind
corners, and running underneath mighty cliffs, with precipices falling
away beneath. It presented a series of magnificent views—a new one at
almost every turn—and finally we came out into the open where we had
full sweep down the vine-clad valley. At its head, just at the end of
the mountain grade, was Calistoga, a quiet village of a thousand people,
where Stevenson stopped while outfitting for his Silverado expedition.
It was entirely surrounded by vineyards, which skirted the road for
the eight miles to St. Helena and spread out over the narrow valley to
the green hills on either hand. At intervals wheatfields studded with
great solitary oaks varied the monotony of the scene and here and there
a vineyard dotted the steep slopes of the hills.

Here, as well as in the valley just west of the St. Helena Range, are
the properties of the Swiss-Italian and Asti Colonies, and the principal
winery, a vast stone structure that reminds one of a Rheinish castle, is
situated on this road. Its capacity is three million gallons annually
and besides its storage vats there is one great cement cistern which
holds a half million gallons. In this capacious cavern a merrymaking
party of a hundred couples is said to have held a dance on one occasion.
But Italian methods have been abandoned in these big wineries—it would
be something of a job to crush grapes for three million gallons of wine
with the bare feet, the implements mostly in use in Italy. Instead,
there is a mammoth crusher in a tower of the structure and the grapes
are dumped upon an endless chain that hoists them to this machine, which
grinds and stems them at a single operation. The pulp is then conducted
through pipes to the fermenting vats below. The founder of the Asti
Colony has a beautiful home in the hills, modeled after a Pompeian villa
and surrounded by elaborate gardens and groves, an altogether artistic
and charming place, it is said. He is now reckoned as a very wealthy
man, though he came here about thirty years ago with little or nothing.

The colony has its own general store, its smithy, its bakery, its dairy,
its cooperage, its schools and post office, and a quaint little wooden
church—La Madonna del Carmine—where Italian services are conducted
on Sundays. While the Asti Colony is the largest and most distinctly
Italian, there are several other similar communities in this section
and also in the San Joaquin Valley. The greatest danger threatening
them is, no doubt, the growing prohibition sentiment in California. We
found prohibition already in force in Lake County, though there are many
vineyards within its borders. To our request for a bottle of Lake County
wine at one of the small inns, our landlord declared that he could not
sell, but obligingly made up the deficiency by a donation.

All of the foregoing—interesting as it may be—has been relegated
to the realm of ancient history by the enactment of the prohibition
amendment. The results so far as the grape growers are concerned, and as
I have previously noted in this book, were quite the opposite of those
expected. Never was the industry so prosperous and never before did the
"fruit of the vine" bring rich returns with so little labor. It is only
necessary to dry the grapes in the sun or in specially constructed kilns
to realize twice what they would have brought in the palmiest days of
the abandoned wineries.

We were surprised to find a splendid boulevard extending for many miles
on either side of St. Helena; it emphasized on our minds a fact not
generally known, that in the vicinity of San Francisco there is almost
as much improved road as about Los Angeles. Its condition, however,
does not average nearly so good, and a large part of it is in great need
of repairs. The work has been done mainly by the counties, San Joaquin
County having just completed a two-million-dollar system of boulevards.

From St. Helena we continued southward to Napa, a town of seven thousand
people with many fine residences and a substantial business center.
From Napa the road runs through a less interesting country to Vallejo,
a distance of fourteen miles, where we thought to cross by ferry to
Port Costa. We found, however, to our disgust, that these boats would
not carry cars and we were directed to proceed to Benicia, seven miles
farther up the coast. Here we ran on to a large railroad ferry-boat,
which, after a tedious delay, carried us to the desired point on the
western shore of the Sacramento River, which here is really an arm of
the bay.

Port Costa is a poor-looking hamlet, principally inhabited by Mexicans,
several of whom gathered about us to watch our struggles with a
refractory tire. Our objective for the night was Stockton, nearly
a hundred miles away by the roundabout route which we must pursue.
The long wait at the ferry and the puncture—sure to occur under such
conditions—put us behind at least two hours and the sun was already
declining. We recognized that we should have to speed up a little and
probably finish after dark. Our road out of Port Costa, however, was
favorable to anything but speed; after climbing a long grade we came
out on the edge of the hills overlooking the river. The road runs
along the side of the hills, which fall away for several hundred feet
almost sheer to the water beneath, and it twists and turns around the
cliffs in a manner anything but soothing to nervous people. It affords,
however, some magnificent views of the broad estuary, with green hills
and distant mountains beyond.

From Martinez, another decadent little town six miles from Port Costa,
we proceeded over fairly good roads to Concord and Antioch, where we
turned southward into the wide plain of the San Joaquin River. It was
necessary to make a long detour around the San Joaquin Delta, which
has no roads. The highway angles towards Byron Hot Springs in long
straight stretches. It was improved as a general thing, though we met
with rough spots and sandy places occasionally. We struck one of the
latter unexpectedly while bowling along at a forty-mile gait and gave a
farmer who was coming towards us in a cart the scare of his life, for
the car became unmanageable in the sand and started straight for him.
Visions of impending disaster flashed through our minds as well, when
the obstreperous machine took a tack in the opposite direction. We did
not stop to discuss the occurrence with him, seeing plainly that he was
in no mood for a calm consideration of the matter—but we had learned
something.

A little beyond Byron Hot Springs we entered San Joaquin County and from
this point we followed a splendid new boulevard as smooth and level as
a floor—part of the county's new two-million road system. We coursed
through the center of a wide plain, shut in by ill-defined mountains,
and one of these, standing in solitary majesty against the evening sky,
seemed to dominate the valley. It is Mount Diabolus, which no doubt
received its appellation from some ancient padre who thought it safest
to give his Satanic Majesty a habitation on this lonely peak, then so
remote from the haunts of the white men.



XIV

THE NETHERLANDS OF CALIFORNIA


Stockton has a population of over forty thousand according to the 1920
census—a gain of nearly one hundred per cent in ten years. You would
be likely to guess even a larger figure when you note the metropolitan
appearance of the town—the broad, well-paved streets, the handsome
stores, and the imposing public buildings—or when you enter Hotel
Stockton, a huge, modern, concrete structure that it would be hard to
match in most eastern cities of a hundred thousand. The town is situated
at the gateway of a vast, fertile plain, rich in grainfields, orchards,
vineyards, and garden and dairy products. It is a sightly city, with
eleven public parks and numerous fine homes and churches; many streets
are bordered with shade trees, the elm, maple, acacia, and umbrella tree
being most common. Orange trees and palms are also plentiful, reminding
one that a mild winter climate prevails in the valley.

The town was incorporated in 1850 and was named in honor of Commodore
Stockton of the United States Navy, who raised the first American flag
in California. It had previously existed as a mining supply camp and
the site belonged to Captain Weber, who received it as a grant from
the Mexican Government in 1843. It has been a quiet, steadily growing
commercial center and its history has never been greatly varied by
sensational incidents. Its first railroad came in 1869, its commerce
having been carried previously on the San Joaquin River. To-day a canal
connects the river with the heart of the city and good-sized steamers
arrive and depart daily. It is also served by main lines of three great
transcontinental railways, an advantage not enjoyed by many California
towns.

Stockton is seldom the goal of the tourist and most travelers get their
impressions of the town from a car window while enroute to or from San
Francisco. Not one in a thousand of these, nor one in ten thousand who
only hear of the town, knows that in its immediate vicinity, almost
adjoining its borders, is the greatest and most remarkable enterprise of
the kind in America. I refer to the land reclamation projects of the San
Joaquin Delta, comprising the marvelously fertile tracts already under
cultivation, and the efficient methods employed to ultimately reclaim
a million acres of peat swamps still untilled. Thirty years ago this
land was supposed to be absolutely worthless—a vast tract of upwards
of a million and a half acres, covered with scrub willows and "tule"—a
species of rank reed—and overflowed at times to a depth of several feet
by flood and ocean tides. The soil in the main is black peat, made up
of decomposed tule and sand washed in by the floods—a composition of
untold fertility if properly drained and farmed.

I was especially interested in this enterprise since a pioneer in
reclamation work and president of one of the largest concerns operating
in the delta was an old-time college-mate who came to California some
twenty-five years ago. He had little then save indomitable energy
and unusual business aptitude, and with characteristic foresight
he recognized the possibilities of the San Joaquin swamps when once
reclaimed and properly tilled. He succeeded in interesting capitalists
in the project, which has steadily grown until it has merged into the
California Delta Farms Association, a ten-million-dollar corporation
which owns and controls more than forty thousand acres, mostly under
cultivation. The company also owns a fleet of a dozen great steam
dredging plants, principally engaged in reclaiming new tracts on their
own properties, though occasionally doing work for other concerns.

Besides the Delta Farms Association, there are several other large
companies and individual owners operating in the delta, which now has
upwards of three hundred thousand reclaimed acres, and it is said that
a million more will be brought under cultivation within five or six
years. The aggregate value of the land at that time will not be less
than two hundred millions, figures which speak most eloquently of the
almost inconceivable possibilities of the Netherlands of California,
and any tourist whose convenience will permit will find himself well
repaid should he stop at Stockton for the especial purpose of seeing
this unique wonder of America.

We found no difficulty in arranging for a good-sized motor-boat capable
of twelve to fifteen miles per hour, in charge of a man familiar with
every part of the delta and well posted upon the details of farming
and reclamation work. The harbor is at the foot of Washington Street,
well within the confines of the city and a canal about two miles long
connects with the main channel of the San Joaquin. There are no roads
in the delta, the river and canals serving as highways; each tract in
cultivation is surrounded by water held back by a substantial levee
usually about twenty-five feet high and one hundred and fifty feet thick
at the base. The tracts range from one thousand to thirteen thousand
acres in size and are usually spoken of as islands. It is hard for a
novice to get a clear idea of the lay of the land—the waterways twist
and turn and interweave in such a baffling manner. Nor can one see over
the high levees from an ordinary launch; the top of the pilot house on
our boat, however, afforded views of most of the tracts. The main stream
is several hundred feet wide and the canals average about twenty-four
feet, with a depth of ten to fifteen feet.

The first step towards reclaiming a tract of land is to surround it by
a large levee or bank of soil scooped from the swamp by great floating
dredges, the resulting depression serving as a canal. When the levee
is completed, the island is cleared of tule and brush and the water
pumped out. It is then ready for cultivation, but breaking up the tough,
fibrous peat is laborious and tedious work, which the average white
man seems unwilling to do, and Oriental labor has played a big part in
reclaiming the delta.

Should the peat become too dry, it is liable to take fire and smoulder
indefinitely, though this can be controlled by flooding from the river.
Its fibrous composition makes it an excellent material for levees; when
thoroughly packed it is quite impervious to water and little affected
by floods.

Our guide informed us that the actual cost of reclaiming the land
averages about one hundred and sixteen dollars per acre and that
its value when in cultivation is from two to three hundred dollars.
Irrigation, when necessary, is accomplished by elevating water from
river or canal at high tide over the levee by means of huge siphons.
The tide rises three or four feet, though salt water does not come in
so far. Thus the water supply is never failing and a crop is always
assured. Disastrous floods are now so guarded against as to be of rare
occurrence, though in earlier times they frequently wrought great havoc;
even then they were not an unmixed evil, a layer of rich fertilizer
being deposited in their wake.

It is not strange that the owners of the San Joaquin Delta lands are
opposed to the anti-Japanese legislation now the fashion in California.
The work of reclamation has been done mostly by Orientals—Japanese,
Chinese, and a few Hindus—and farming operations are largely carried
on by laborers of these nationalities. In the earlier days white men
suffered severely from ague and malaria, though conditions in this
regard are better now. The Jap seems perfectly at home in the San
Joaquin swamps; hot sun and drudgery have no serious effect on him and
he has the industry and infinite patience necessary to succeed under
such conditions. He requires less supervision than the white laborer and
in this regard the Chinaman is still better. Altogether, the Oriental
is the ideal laborer for the delta; and he is at his best when employed
by a fellow-countryman.

This fact partially accounts for the phenomenal success of George Shima,
who is probably the most extensive farmer in the whole region. He not
only owns considerable land, but leases great tracts which he farms
in a thorough and scientific manner. His problem is not to secure a
big yield—he is sure of that—but to get a favorable market. The flood
danger, which wiped out his possessions in 1907, is said to be well
guarded against now, but the danger of a glutted market remains. On
the other hand, there is the gamble of a shortage of potatoes in the
rest of the world—a thing which happened in 1910, when Shima is said
to have cleared over half a million dollars on this crop alone. The
wily Jap held his crop until the demand was keenest and let it go at
two or three dollars per hundredweight. He has learned to depend on
other products besides potatoes, both to avoid danger of a glut and to
provide for proper rotation of crops. Rich as is the delta soil, several
successive crops of potatoes will impoverish it. Alternating with
barley, beans, asparagus, alfalfa, or onions, all of which thrive in an
incredible manner, serves to stave off the evil day of soil exhaustion.
It is Shima's boast that he farms scientifically and employs experts on
soil chemistry, and the results he gets seem to bear out his claim. He
lives on a fashionable street in Berkeley and has done much to overcome
prejudice against his nationality by intelligent and liberal donations
to public and charitable causes.

Besides Shima there are several smaller Japanese operators and two or
three Chinamen who lease land on a large scale. Shima markets as well
as raises his product, but the others sell mainly through brokers and
commission men. There are several white ranchers who farm their own land
and who have demonstrated that success can be achieved in this way.
The millennium of the delta is expected to be attained by wholesale
subdivision into farms of one hundred acres or more, operated by the
owners. Indeed, the Delta Farms Company is already planning to dispose
of a part of its holdings in this manner and there is certain prosperity
for the farmer who buys a small tract and tills it himself. A good yield
is always sure and by proper rotation and division of crops a market for
the majority of products is equally certain. It has also been proved
that hog-raising and dairying can be profitably engaged in. The time
will come, say many, when this Holland of America will support a large
population of thrifty American farmers and the bugaboo of Oriental labor
will have faded away. Schools, roads, and bridges will come, and there
is already a daily mail delivery by water and an elaborate telephone
system in the delta. The splendid system of water highways upon which
every farm will front, will afford quick and cheap access to markets.
Every farmer will have his motor-boat instead of automobile, and this
will put him in easy touch with towns, cities, and schools. This ideal
state is still in the indefinite future; most of the land is held by
absentee landlords who are more than satisfied with the returns from
the present system and whose holdings are not for sale. The reclamation
of new tracts and the increasing scarcity of Japanese and Chinese labor
may, however, change conditions more rapidly than now seems probable.

Our skipper landed us at several of the islands and it gave us a queer
sensation to walk over ground that quaked and quivered to our step as
though it rested on a subterranean lake. The improvements were generally
of the flimsiest type—clapboard houses resting on piles afforded
quarters for the laborers. Near the superintendent's home on one of the
tracts was a field of carmine sweet peas in full bloom—a pleasing patch
of color upon the general drab monotone of the landscape, suggesting
the possibility of flower-farming on a large scale. The quarters for
the help make it clear why Chinamen and Japanese can be so profitably
employed—they demand little in the way of comforts and are satisfied
with the cheapest and plainest fare. Wages, even of this class of labor,
are not low, the average Oriental earning forty to sixty dollars per
month besides his keep. Chinese and Japanese do not readily affiliate
and men in adjoining camps may scarcely speak to each other during
the entire working season. A good many Chinese live in house boats
on the river and we saw the curious sight of a house-boat saloon, for
the difficulty in getting in a supply of opium has driven the Chinaman
to the white man's tipples and he has learned to carry a comfortable
load of gin without losing his head. There were also camps of Chinese
fishermen who take quantities of bass, shad, and catfish, which we
were told were shipped to China. The smells from these camps frequently
announced their proximity before we came in sight of them.

Asparagus is one of the large and profitable crops and on our return
trip we saw a thousand-acre tract of this staple and a big factory which
turns out many hundreds of carloads of the canned article. The Delta
brand is famous as the largest, tenderest, and best-flavored variety
known. Celery is also raised in large quantities and here is the only
spot in the west where chicory thrives.

During our round, which covered eighty miles of river and canal, we had
the opportunity of observing reclamation in progress, as well as many
phases of farming. The huge steel dredges were slowly eating their way
through the waste of reeds and willows, their long black arms delving
deep into the muck and piling levees alongside the canal, which served
as a pathway for the monster's advance. A little farther we saw a tract
around which the levee had been completed and which was being cleared
of tule and brushwood, fire being freely used, as the peat was still too
wet to burn. Beyond this a field was being brought under the plough and
desperately hard, heavy work it was, breaking up the matted fibrous soil
that had been forming for ages. In another place a break in the levee
had permitted an inflow of water and this was being thrown out with a
mighty floating pump capable of handling some seventy thousand gallons
per minute. Farming operations require a fleet of barges, for horses and
heavy farm machinery must be carried and the products transported from
the markets.

Altogether, the San Joaquin Delta was very interesting and surprising;
well worth seeing aside from the personal element, which was the prime
motive in our case. It is only because this wonderful region is so
little known that visitors are comparatively few, but the tourist tide
will surely come before long and many will find profitable investments
in the lands. Of course the ordinary tourist will be able to see only a
small section of this vast tract until the age of airship touring comes,
but that small section will be so typical as to afford a fair idea of
the whole. The story of the delta makes a unique chapter in American
agriculture and it is bound to prove a fertile field for research and
experiment, which will result in still greater production and a wider
variety of crops. Its vast extent and endless resources make it a
notable asset, even in a state so famed for big things as California,
and some day it may be comparable in population and thrift to the Dutch
Netherlands.

It was late when our skipper turned the launch homeward and there was
something exhilarating and inspiring in swirling through the long sunset
stretches of still water between the high green banks. We agreed that
the boat ride alone as a variation from weeks of dusty motor travel
would have been worth while, even if we had not seen and learned so much
of the wonderland of the San Joaquin Delta.

On our second visit to Stockton a year later we passed through without
delay on our way to the state capital. We came from Oakland—where we
passed the night at the magnificent new Hotel Oakland, unsurpassed
by any of California's famous hotels—by the way of Haywards, Niles,
Pleasanton, and Altamont. The direct road by way of Dublin was closed
and we were saved a useless twenty-mile jaunt by an obliging garage
man at Haywards, who hailed us as he saw us turning into the obstructed
route.

"You'll have to take a round-about road," he declared on learning of our
destination. "A car which tried the Dublin road just returned, having
found it completely closed. The county board is cutting down the big
hill near Dublin—commenced a year ago and was held up by a lawsuit. They
had to condemn a piece of land—so steep a goat couldn't stand on it—for
which an Eastern owner wanted seven thousand dollars. The jury awarded
the owner seventeen dollars, and now the work can go on."

"Our Eastern friend must have thought he saw a chance to get rich
quick," we ventured.

"No, the funny part of it was that he wanted just what he paid for the
land, which he had never seen. Some real estate agent had sold it to him
for seven thousand dollars and he only wanted his money back. I reckon
that any man who buys land in California on someone's representations
is a sucker,"—a proposition that we did not feel called upon to dispute.

We had no reason to regret our enforced change of route, for we
passed through some beautiful country—quite different from what we had
previously seen in this vicinity. Following the railroad southward to
Niles, we turned sharply to the left, entering the low green hills
along which we had been coursing. Crossing a moderate grade, we
came into a narrow valley lying between rounded hills, which showed
evidence of having been in cultivation for many years. The roads,
bridges, farm houses, and other improvements indicated a prosperous and
well-established community and the towns of Pleasanton, Livermore, and
Altamont must have sprung into existence as far back as the "days of
gold." These were quiet, pretty villages connected by a fine macadam
road, evidently a temptation to the "scorcher," for placards in the
garages warned motorists against the despised motorcycle "cop."

It was a glorious day and the well-groomed valley showed a wonderful
display of color, the prevailing green being dashed with the brilliant
hues of wild flowers. The low hills on either hand were covered with
lawnlike verdure and dotted with ancient oaks, while an occasional
cultivated field redeemed them from monotony. Beyond Livermore we
came into the San Joaquin Valley, which at this time was reveling in
the promise of an unprecedented harvest. The wide level plain was an
expanse of waving green varied with an occasional fringe of trees, and
a low-lying, dark-blue haze quite obscured the distant mountains.

Beyond Stockton the characteristics of the country were much the same,
though it seemed to us as if the valley of the Sacramento were even
greener and more prosperous. The vast wheatfields were showing the
slightest tinge of yellow and the great vineyards were in bloom. Some
of the latter covered hundreds of acres and must have been planted many
years ago. The luxuriant, flower-spangled meadows were dotted with
herds of sleek cattle and it would be hard to imagine a more ideal
agricultural paradise than the Sacramento Valley at this particular
time. On either hand the rich plain stretched away to blue mountains,
so distant that only their dim outlines were discernible, and at times
they were entirely obscured by low-hung clouds or sudden summer showers.

The road between the two cities is a recently completed link of the
state highway and the smooth asphalted surface offers unlimited speed
possibilities if one cares to take the chances. In the spring and early
summer Sacramento is surrounded by vast swamps and we crossed over a
long stretch of wooden bridges before entering the city. Our original
plan was to come from Napa, but we learned that the roads north and
west of the city were usually impassable until late in the summer. The
entire city lies below high-water level of the Sacramento and American
Rivers and in its early days suffered from disastrous floods. It is
now protected by an extensive system of dikes, which have successfully
withstood the freshets for half a century.

A handsome city greeted us as we coursed down the wide shady street
leading past the capitol to the Hotel Sacramento. Palms and flowers were
much in evidence in the outskirts and many imposing modern buildings
ornamented the business section. There were, however, many indications
of the city's age, for Sacramento is the oldest settlement of white men
in the interior of California and was a town of ten thousand people in
1849, though probably there were many transient gold-seekers among them.
It was the objective of the early "Argonauts" who crossed the plains
long before the discovery of gold. Here in 1839 Colonel John H. Sutter
established a colony of Swiss settlers which he called New Helvetia, and
the old adobe fort which he built still stands, having being converted
into a museum of pioneer relics. Sutter employed Marshall, who was sent
into the mountains to build a mill at Coloma, and who picked up in the
mill race the original nugget that turned the tide towards California
in the forties. The first railroad in the state ran from Sacramento to
Folsom, and the experimental section of the state highway system was
built between these two towns.

There were many productive gold mines about the town in an early day,
and though these are largely worked out, Sacramento has to-day a greater
and more permanent source of wealth in the rich country surrounding it.
It was made the capital of the state in 1854 and the handsome capitol
building was erected a few years later. This is of pure classic design
in white stone and though small as compared with most other state
capitols, it is surpassed architecturally by none of them. It stands in
a forty-acre park intersected by winding drives and beautified with the
semi-tropical trees and plants which flourish in this almost frostless
climate. Among these is the Memorial Grove, composed of trees collected
from the battlefields of the Civil War. The state insectary, which
breeds and distributes millions of fruit-protecting insects every year,
may also be seen on the capitol grounds.

Our hotel, the Sacramento, a modern concrete structure, proved fairly
satisfactory, but so far as we could judge, the hotels of Sacramento
were hardly up to the California standard for a city of sixty thousand.
The city is visited by comparatively few tourists at present, though
the motor car and the new state highway are likely to change things in
this regard. The fine old town has much of real interest and the run
through the prosperous valley is an experience worth while to any one
who wishes to know the beauties and resources of the Golden State.

  [Illustration: A DISTANT VIEW OF MT. TAMALPAIS
   From Original Painting by Thad Welch]



XV

A CHAPTER OF ODDS AND ENDS


Before beginning our homeward trek to Los Angeles, we decided to return
to San Francisco and once there it occurred to us that we must visit
old Fort Ross to familiarize ourselves with another colorful chapter
of Golden State history. This tiny hamlet is on the sea coast about one
hundred miles (by wagon road) north of the metropolis and may be reached
by either of two routes, so we determined to go by one and return by
the other. The briefest possible outlines of the story of Fort Ross
may serve to illustrate the motives of our "little journey" into the
northern hills:

The settlement was founded in 1812 by Russian traders. The fact that
it was a military post whose crude fortifications were defended by
forty cannons lends color to the supposition that the Czar may have
entertained dreams of conquest in the weakly defended Spanish territory
on the Pacific Coast. The Spaniards themselves thought so, for in 1818
the Governor at Monterey received orders to organize an expedition to
capture Fort Ross—a mandate which he declared he was unable to carry
out "for lack of men, transport and equipment." The Russians spread
from Fort Ross into the surrounding territory and many names such as
Sebastopol, Bodega, Mt. St. Helena and Russian River persist to-day as
reminders of the Muscovite occupation.

Their traders came from time to time and carried on more or less traffic
with the Spaniards despite their deep distrust of the Czar's intentions.
There were many romantic incidents with this intercourse. The pathetic
story of Rezanov, the noble commander of the Russian fleet, and Donna
Concepcion, daughter of the Spanish governor, will always survive as
one of the famous romances of early California. It was made the subject
of Gertrude Atherton's novel of "Rezanov"—a colorful picture of the
times, a story really savoring more of history than fiction. The Russian
colonies never prospered sufficiently to become a menace even to the
weak dominion of Spain, and when Mexico threw off the yoke of the mother
country, Russia formally pledged herself against the acquisition of
any territory in California. Seventeen years later the settlement had
so declined that the Russians were glad to sell their property to Col.
John A. Sutter, founder of Sacramento, and to retire permanently from
California.

It seemed to us that a memorial of events that might have changed the
course of history on our Pacific Coast was worthy of a pilgrimage, and
our knowledge of the beauty of the hills of Marin and Sonoma was an
additional lure. And so we crossed by the Sausalito Ferry and were soon
away on the fine highway to Santa Rosa—now familiar ground to us. It
was late in May and by all the weather man's rules the rainy season was
past, but the unusual (as usual in California) happened; a sharp little
shower caught us as we left Sausalito and fitfully followed us as we
coursed swiftly over the fine road. It had its compensations, however,
in the wonderful effects of cloud and mist on the Marin hills—a perfect
symphony of blues, grays and purples. At Petaluma we recalled that the
town was the prototype of Rosewater in Mrs. Atherton's "Ancestors"—the
home of her very unconventional heroine who, naturally enough, owned a
poultry ranch, the poultry industry being the outstanding occupation of
the inhabitants.

The rain had ceased by the time we reached Santa Rosa, where we paused
for lunch. Here we branched from the main highway, coursing through a
lovely green valley to Forestville, where we entered the wooded hill
range. We covered several miles of easy mountain road before reaching
Guerneville, winding through groves of redwood and many other varieties
of conifers and deciduous trees. At Guerneville we dropped down into the
Russian River Valley, famous as a summer playground for San Francisco.
We crossed the river over a high, spider-web bridge which afforded a
vantage point for extensive views up and down the wooded valley. The
emerald-green river lay far beneath us in deep, still reaches, for there
is little fall to the valley here. Beyond the river we began the ascent
of a long, winding grade over the second range. The road climbed through
a dense forest and there were many sharp turns and steep pitches,
somewhat the worse for the lately fallen showers, but the magnificent
panoramas that occasionally burst on our vision as we continued the
ascent made the effort well worth while. The valley was diversified with
well-groomed fruit ranches and scattered grain fields; groups of oaks
with velvety glades beneath, straggled over the rounded foothills, all
combining to make a scene of wonderful sylvan charm. As we approached
Cazadero we had an enchanting view of the deep valley and the village
far below. But distance lent enchantment to the view of Cazadero, for
we found it a rather mean-looking little place—a station for the motor
busses that run over this road, its principal sign of life being the
huge repair shops.

Beyond Cazadero there was still more climbing through the "forest
primeval," whose increasing greenness and luxuriance called forth more
than one exclamation of delight. The madrona, horse-chestnut, dogwood
and locust were in full bloom and huge ferns grew riotously everywhere
underneath the trees. The road was wet and dangerous in places, making
our progress slow, but at last we came out on the clifflike headland
above Fort Ross and the ocean, silver-white in the declining sun,
flashed into view. Far beneath, directly on the shore, we could see the
little hamlet, the object of our pilgrimage, nestling among the green
hillocks. A very steep, narrow road, wet from the recent rain, plunged
down the almost precipitous bank and we narrowly escaped disastrous
collision with a tree from a vicious "skid" in the descent, which has
several pitches of twenty-five per cent.

We found only a scene of desolation at our goal; there were two or three
families living in the place, but most of the houses were abandoned. The
huge, windowless hotel covered with creepers, testified mutely to the
one-time importance of the town. Relics of the old fort or blockhouse
were in evidence, but only two fragments of the walls, built of huge
squared logs, were still standing. The quaint little church had just
been restored—a tiny whitewashed structure perhaps twelve by fifteen
feet, with an odd domelike cupola and square tower in front. It had been
rebuilt at public expense and the fort was also to be restored from the
same legislative appropriation.

There was nothing to detain us in the lonely village and after a mad
scramble up the wet slope, slipping backward dangerously at one point,
we paused again on the headland to contemplate the glorious panorama of
rugged coast and shining sea. Rain was still threatening, however, and
it seemed best not to stop, as we had planned, at Sea View Inn, near
by, but to return to Guerneville for the night. The vistas seemed even
more wonderful in the gathering twilight than on our outward trip—the
great hills with their fringe of forest loomed against the rich sunset
sky and purple shadows filled the vast canyons with mysterious gloom.

The hotel at Guerneville was primitive in the extreme, but the
landlord was very considerate and we were too cold and hungry to be
over-critical. Leaving the town on the following morning, we pursued the
northward road along the Russian River, passing Bohemian Grove, famous
for the antics of a San Francisco club, to Monte Rio, a much frequented
summer resort town. The road climbed a forest-fringed grade with endless
vistas of river and valley as well as vast stretches of wooded hills.
Wild flowers bloomed in profusion and the air was redolent with the
invigorating fragrance of the balsam pines. At the summit we paused to
admire the endless panorama of hills, merging from green into deep solid
blue in the far distance. Leaving Monte Rio we followed a tortuous,
undulating road along a clear little river. The trees and undergrowth
crowded up to the edge of the road and overarched it most of the dozen
or so miles—a perfect wall of greenery on either hand.

Beyond Freestone we came again into the open hills, green and rolling
and sloping to the sea a little to our right. Here our admiration
was again excited by the marvel of the wild flowers, which bloomed in
richest profusion; vast dashes of yellow, blue and white spangled the
meadows and hills through which the fine road courses. At Tomales,
an antique-looking little town, we came to the head of Tomales Bay,
a "shoestring" of water some twenty miles long but nowhere more than
two miles wide. The road runs alongside, up and down the low hills,
affording fugitive glimpses of the bay, as inconstant in coloring as
an opal. From Olema we pursued the coast road—or shall I say trail?—to
Bolinas and thence to the Sausalito Ferry.

Despite the rough and difficult going, we had reason to congratulate
ourselves upon our choice of route, for we saw much wild and picturesque
coast and had many clear-cut views—not common in the land of frequent
cloud and fog—of the coastward side of San Francisco. We climbed
the winding ascent to Forts Baker and Barry, where one of the most
comprehensive views of the whole district, the bay, the cities and
the hills, may be had. So clear was the air that the Farralones,
fifteen miles distant, stood out distinctly against the evening sky;
and in the city the long green strip of Golden Gate Park and even the
outlines of the streets and notable buildings were plainly observable.
It was a wonderful scene and we had the day of a thousand to view it.
Good fortune still attended us when we crossed the ferry, for we saw
a perfect sunset directly through the Golden Gate. No language could
exaggerate the splendor of the scene; no picture could do justice to its
ethereal beauty of coloring. Fully as enchanting was the afterglow with
its reflections of the crimson and gold cloud banks in the still waters.
Behind us the windows and lights of Oakland and Berkeley flashed like
a million gems set in the dark background of the hills, and eastward
the lavender-tinted sky bent down to the still blue waters of the bay.
We are quite ready for the spacious comfort of the Fairmont; it has
not been an easy jaunt by any means. But we all agree that it would be
hard to find even in California a more delightful tour than the little
journey to old Fort Ross, granted weather as propitious as that which
favored us.

It was always a difficult matter for us to shake off the lure of Del
Monte whenever we made the run between Los Angeles and San Francisco and
even though considerably out of our way, we nearly always put the old
capital on our itinerary. What were a hundred or so miles additional as
weighed against the delights of the famous inn?—and, besides, there was
one road from San Francisco to Del Monte which we had not yet traversed.
We have a decided fondness for trails directly along the ocean, though
usually they are of the worst, and the little-used road along the coast
running southward from Golden Gate Park to Half Moon Bay and Santa Cruz
proved no exception to the rule. In fact, if it was an exception in any
way it was in the degree of badness—but there is no need anticipating
an unpleasant subject. I may say right here, however, that I think that
nearly all of this wonderful run is now over paved roads and deserves
to be far more popular than it is.

Following Ocean Drive southward from the Cliff House in Golden Gate
Park, a few miles down the coast the highway swings landward to Sloat
Avenue, which we pursued to Colma. Here the road turns to the left and
closely follows the ocean through a number of small fisher villages and
beach resorts. There are some long and rather heavy grades in places,
but they are atoned for by inspiring views of rugged coast and shining
sea, particularly at San Pedro Point, just below Salada, where we
enjoyed a far-reaching vista from an elevation of several hundred feet
above the sea. Beyond Montara grade the road drops down into the fertile
plains about Half Moon Bay. Here is the famous artichoke section of
California and we saw hundreds upon hundreds of acres of the succulent
vegetable in the vicinity of the village. There is also a delightful
alternate route to Half Moon Bay which we took on another occasion,
following the main highway to San Mateo, where a well-improved macadam
road swings to the left and plunges into the hill range between the bay
and the ocean. It winds in graceful curves and easy grades among the
giant hills, passing several of the huge fresh-water lakes of the San
Francisco water supply system. This route is the easier one, but hardly
the equal of the coast in scenic grandeur.

Half Moon Bay is a forlorn-looking little town with a decidedly
un-American appearance—which is not so strange since the inhabitants,
who engage in fishing or in cultivating the endless artichoke fields
about the place, are mostly Portuguese and Italians. Thinking that
Half Moon Bay, notwithstanding its unprepossessing looks, was about our
only chance for luncheon before we should reach Santa Cruz, we inquired
of the bank cashier, who responded rather dubiously, it seemed to us,
that the French Hotel was the "best to be had in town." We found it a
second-class country inn whose main business was evidently done in the
bar-room, which occupied the most prominent place in the building. The
lunch hour was past but the proprietor went to considerable trouble to
prepare a hot meal, which, we agreed in Yorkshire parlance, "might have
been worse." Outside there was a little garden with some wonderful roses
and, altogether, the inn was neater and cleaner than appearances had
led us to expect.

Our real troubles began when we left the town, for a rougher, meaner and
more uncomfortable fifty miles we hardly found in all our wanderings
in the Golden State. A new macadam road was being built to Pescadero,
twenty miles south, and was just at the stage calculated to most
distress the motorist. We wallowed through miles of loose, sharp stones,
made long detours through the rough, steep hills, crept over shaky
bridges, plunged down and out of huge gulches and crawled through miles
of rough, stony trails, deep with dust. Pescadero, which marks the end
of the railroad, is as lonely and wretched a little hamlet as one will
find in California; in fact, it took quite a mental effort to assure
ourselves that we really were in California—it reminded us so strongly
of some of the old-world villages we had seen. We took on "gas" at a
dilapidated smithy recently decorated with a huge "garage" sign, though
I doubt if a sizable car could have gotten inside. Beyond Pescadero
the road was still rough, dusty and steep in places, but it was free
from construction work and we made better time. Beyond Swanton the road
steadily improved. When we came into Santa Cruz the sun was still high
and by grace of the long evening we were able to reach Del Monte by
way of Watsonville and Salinas shortly after dark. It is superfluous to
remark on the satisfaction we experienced in reaching such a haven of
rest after an unusually strenuous and uncomfortable run.

We lingered in the pleasant surroundings until afternoon of the
following day, making an easy and eventless run to Stockton for
the night. We had seen enough of forced schedules and long hours to
determine us to make the run to Los Angeles by easier stages. Leaving
Stockton in the late forenoon, we soon reached the little city of
Modesto, which hopes some day to be the official gateway of Yosemite.
Perhaps it was in anticipation of this distinction that two immense
hotels, the Modesto and the Hughson, seemingly out of all proportion
to any possible need, were being built. The former was practically
completed, a seven-story concrete structure with all modern hotel
improvements and conveniences, including ballroom, roof garden, and
swimming pool. The Hughson was even larger and we could not help
wondering if the hotel business in Modesto were not in danger of being
slightly overdone.

At Merced we found another handsome new hotel, the Capitan, which would
be a credit to a city with several times Merced's four or five thousand
people, but perhaps the Yosemite traffic justifies the enterprise of
the builders. We paused here for lunch and I was greatly amused at a
conversation which I overheard in the lobby, illustrating the effect
of the California microbe upon so many visiting Easterners. A gentleman
wearing a light summer suit, a white hat and white shoes, and carrying
a camera and golf bag—the very personification of a man who was enjoying
life to the limit—was just leaving for the train.

"Well," queried a friend who met him, "are you about ready to go back
to Peoria?"

"Go back to Peoria!—go back to Peoria!! I'm never going back to Peoria
if I live a hundred years. Say, do you know that I wouldn't take all the
Eastern States as a gift if I had to live in 'em, after having lived in
California?"

A straight, level road runs from Merced to Fresno on the south, one
of the finest links of the inland route of the new state highway. We
found much of it under construction at the time and in passing around
through the wheatfields we struck some of the deepest dust and roughest
running that we found anywhere. We made up for it when we came back
into the finished portion, which extended for several miles north of
Fresno. It is a perfect road—concrete with a "carpet" of crushed stone
and asphaltum rolled as smooth and hard as polished slate. It runs for
miles through wheatfields, whose magnitude may be judged from the fact
that we saw a dozen ten-mule teams ploughing one tract. Near Fresno we
ran into the endless vineyards which surround the raisin town and which
looked green and prosperous, despite the drouth which had nearly ruined
the wheat. The raisin crop is one of Fresno County's greatest sources
of wealth, netting the growers over five million dollars yearly. The
abundant sunshine makes the grapes too sweet for light wines, though
there were several wineries producing the heavier quality, which was
mostly shipped to Europe, where it was blended with lighter wine and
sent back strictly an "imported product." This practice, of course,
became obsolete with the advent of prohibition, but the Fresno growers,
as is the case everywhere, are now reaping the greatest profits in their
history.

Fresno, with a population of nearly fifty thousand, has quadrupled
in size in the last twenty years. It is thoroughly metropolitan in
appearance and in public and private improvements. The Hotel Fresno is
an immense fireproof structure of marble and concrete that will compare
favorably with the best hotels in many cities ten times as large as
Fresno, and here on our first visit we proposed to stop for the night,
but changed our plan when we found that a road out of the town crosses
the mountain ranges to the sea. We had not forgotten our failure to see
San Antonio and La Purisima on our upward trek—and determined to seize
the opportunity to get back to the coast. Paso Robles seemed the only
satisfactory stopping place for the following night, but if we stayed
in Fresno we could hardly hope to reach the "Pass of the Oaks" the
next day. The road cuts squarely across the desert to Coalinga and we
found ourselves wondering what kind of accommodations we should find
at Coalinga. A garage man said he had been there once—a place of five
hundred people, he guessed, and there was a pretty good boarding-house
down by the depot. Not a very attractive prospect, to be sure, but
Coalinga was the only town between Fresno and the mountains. It was some
sixty miles distant, and by hitting a lively pace we could reach it by
dark—if we had no ill luck.

For ten miles out of Fresno we followed Palm Drive—a splendid boulevard
between rows of stately palms, the largest we had seen in California.
At the end of the drive we turned sharply to the left following an
unimproved road into the desert. This road is as level as a floor—a
perfect boulevard in dry weather—though abandoned ruts indicated pretty
heavy work after the infrequent rains. For the entire distance there
was little variation; about midway we came to a green belt of pastures
and trees along Kings River, and a new railroad was being built through
this section. A native at a little wayside store—the only station on
the way—told us that this desert land, counted worthless a few years
ago, was now worth as much as twenty-five dollars per acre and that
it was all capable of being farmed. It certainly did not look so; a
white, alkali-frosted plain tufted with greasewood and teeming with
jack-rabbits stretched away to distant hills on either side. The road
meandered onward at its own sweet will and when it became too rough or
dusty in spots it was only necessary to take another tack to have an
entirely new boulevard. We did some lively going over the hard, smooth
surface, which made forty miles seem a fairly moderate pace, but we
were at a sore loss when we came to a branch road in the middle of the
plain, with nothing to indicate which led to our destination. We had
just decided to take the wrong one when an auto hove into sight and we
paused to inquire.

"Straight ahead on the road, my brother; you can't miss it now and when
you get to Coalinga go to Smith's garage, and God bless you."

We concluded that we must have run across a peripatetic evangelist, but
when we went to Smith's garage—only it wasn't Smith's—after dinner to
get an article from the car, we found our pious friend manager of the
place.

As we came near the range of brown hills beneath which the town lies,
we saw a row of oil-derricks running for miles along the side of the
valley, for here is the greatest oil-producing section of California.
The oil fields have made Coalinga, which we were surprised and
pleased to find a live-looking town of several thousand people, with
an excellent modern hotel quite the equal of the best country town
hostelries.

Coalinga is full of California "boost;" our friend at the garage
endeavored to enlist our sympathy in a movement to put the town on the
state highway map—though I failed to see how we could be of much use to
the enterprise.

"O, a word from tourists always helps, my brother. You can write a
letter to the commissioners and tell them that we need the road and
I reckon you'll know that we need it if you cross the hills to King
City, as you propose. You'll find it something fierce, I can promise
you; crooked, rough, stony, steep—lucky if you get through without a
breakdown. There are one hundred and fifty fords in the sixty miles—no,
I don't mean Ford automobiles, but creeks and rivers. It's shoot down
a steep bank and jump out, and the sharp stones won't help your tires
any, either. There are some grades, too, I want to tell you, but your
rig looks as if they wouldn't worry her much. But when you get across,
write a line to the Highway Commission and tell them something about
it. So long! God bless you all."

When we waved our pious monitor adios and resumed our journey, it was
still early morning. Of course we took the one hundred and fifty fords
as a pleasant bit of exaggeration—we couldn't use a stronger term in
view of our friend's evident piety; but we found, in slang parlance,
that his statement was literally "no joke." We kept count of the times
we crossed streams of running water and there were just one hundred and
eighteen, and enough had dried up to make full measure for Mr. Smith's
estimate, with a few to spare. And fearfully rough going it was—sharp
plunges down steep banks, splashing through shallow streams, over
stones and sand, and wild scrambles up the opposite side, an experience
repeated every few minutes. At times the trail followed the bed of a
stream or meandered closely along the shores, never getting very far
away for the first dozen miles. Then we entered a hill range, barren
at first, but gradually becoming wooded and overlooking long valleys
studded with groups of oak and sycamore, with green vistas underneath.
There was some strenuous work over the main mountain range, where the
road was a narrow shelf cut in solid rock, with a precipice above and
below. It had many heavy grades and sharp, dangerous turns; we all
breathed a sigh of relief when we found ourselves in the valley on the
western side of the range. Here were more streams to be forded—one of
them a sizable river, which we crossed several times.

At last we came out into the King City highway and paused a moment
to look ourselves over. The car was plastered with sand and mire from
stem to stern; tires had suffered sadly from the rocky bottoms of the
streams, and a front spring was broken. We agreed that crossing from
Coalinga to King City was an experience one would hardly care to repeat
except under stringent necessity.

The run to King City, after we had left the hills, was easy, enabling us
to make up somewhat for the time consumed in crossing the range. A flock
of more than two thousand sheep, driven along the highway, impeded our
progress for half an hour and served to remind us of one of the great
industries of the Salinas Valley.

A little foraging about King City provided a passable luncheon, which
we ate under one of the mighty oaks at the foot of Jolon grade. In
repassing this road, we were more than ever impressed with the beauty
of the trees; thousands of ancient oaks dotted the landscape on
either hand, some standing in solitary majesty and others clustered
in picturesque groups. Dutton's Hotel at Jolon is nearly a century
old, portions of it dating from mission days, and the proprietor is an
enthusiast on historic California, having collected a goodly number of
old-time relics in a little museum just across the road from the inn.
Most of these came from San Antonio and the inn-keeper is anxiously
looking forward to the day when he can return these treasures to the
restored mission—though this, alas, does not appear to be in the near
future.

It was to visit this ruin, which we missed on our northward trip, that
we crossed the desert and mountains from Fresno to King City. It is one
of the remotest and loneliest of the chain, the nearest railway station
being King City, forty miles away. It stands six miles west of Jolon
and we followed a rutty trail, deep with fine, yellow dust which rolled
in strangling clouds from our wheels. But a lovely country on either
hand glimmered through the dust haze, and in the pleasantest spot at
the head of the wide valley stood the brown old ruin of San Antonio
Mission. Behind it towered the high blue peaks of the Santa Lucias,
the only barrier remaining between the valley and the sea, while the
windowless, burnt-brick fachada fronted upon a wide meadowland, dotted
with glorious oaks and gnarled old willows, stretching away to the dim
outlines of the distant hills.

It was one of the most delightful sites we had yet seen, and the ruin
had a certain melancholy picturesqueness peculiar to it alone. Like so
many of its contemporaries, it suffered severely from earthquakes; about
twenty-five years ago the roof fell and the shattered walls would soon
have followed had not an enthusiastic lover of the old order of things—a
gentleman of Spanish descent residing near Jolon—undertaken at his own
time and expense to clear away the debris and protect the ruin against
farther onslaught of the weather. A shingle roof was built covering the
entire church and the original tiles were piled inside. The fachada,
built of burnt brick, with three entrances and three belfries, is one
of the most charming bits of mission architecture still remaining and
is happily almost intact. Portions of the long cloisters are still
standing—enough to furnish the motif for a complete restoration, and
with adequate funds it would not be a difficult matter to restore San
Antonio Mission Church to its former state.

  [Illustration: SAN ANTONIO DE PADUA
   From Photograph by Dassonville]

Inside, the church was quite denuded; birds and squirrels had found a
convenient home and flitted or scampered about as we entered. A huge
gray owl flapped heavily out of an empty window and everything combined
to impress upon us the loneliness and isolation of this once rich
and prosperous mission. In one corner we descried the huge cast-iron
community pot which might hold a hundred or two gallons and which once
contained food for the unmarried folk among the Indians—the married had
to do their own cooking. Inside the dismantled chancel were the graves
of the first four missionaries of San Antonio, still the objects of
reverent remembrance by the only Indian family of the vicinity.

Out of the church we came into the ancient patio, marked by crumbling
arches and shapeless piles of adobe. Here a few scraggly rose
bushes—descendants of those which once ornamented the garden of the
padres—bloomed in neglected corners, and two old olives still defied
time and weather. It was a quiet spot; its silence and loneliness were
almost oppressive; but we soon heard sounds from beyond the wall and
found two Mexicans digging a grave, for burials are still made in the
old cemetery. A little way to the rear San Antonio Creek—now a trickling
thread of water—winds through a fringe of ancient willows, and cattle
were pasturing quietly in the shade. One can not escape the spell of
the ruin and its surroundings. It is no wonder that an appreciative
historian of the California missions declares that San Antonio appeals
to him as do none of its rivals, that—"There is a pathetic dignity about
the ruin, an unexpressed claim for sympathy in the perfect solitude
of the place that is almost overpowering. It stands out in the fields
alone, deserted, forgotten." True, he wrote before the coming of the
motor, which is doing something to rescue San Antonio Mission from
complete oblivion; but the Mexican grave-digger said that even motor
visitors were not frequent. Evidently many of the wayfarers on El Camino
Real do not consider the twelve-mile detour worth while; but we would
count ourselves well repaid had it consumed an entire day instead of
an hour or two. If San Gabriel and Dolores may be compared as tourist
shrines to Melrose and Dryburgh, surely San Antonio may vie in sentiment
and charm with some of the out-of-the-way and lesser-known abbeys of
Britain such as Glenluce or Calder. In this quiet and isolated spot
there is hardly field for it as a church institution and restoration
will have to be done by individuals or by the state. It would be a pity
to allow this delightful example of early mission architecture to fall
into the hopeless ruin of Soledad or La Purisima.

San Antonio has the added charm of being one of the oldest of the
California missions. It was the third of the series, its foundation
closely following that of Monterey. Serra himself, assisted by Pieras
and Sitjar, conducted the ceremonies of consecration which took place
July 14, 1771. One lone Indian was present on the occasion, but others
were brought in before the day closed and the relations of priest and
natives were harmonious from the start. San Antonio throughout its
career was remarkably free from strife and trouble; the natives were
industrious and peaceful and gladly joined in the work of building, and
tilling the soil. The first church was completed two years after the
foundation, and as late as 1787 was regarded as the best in California.
The present church was begun in 1810 and dedicated a few years later.
It is of adobe excepting the fachada of burnt brick, whose perfect
condition makes us regret that the whole mission could not have been
built of the same enduring material. The greatest Indian population was
thirteen hundred and nine in 1805, which had declined to two hundred and
seventy in 1834, the year of secularization. In 1843 the mission was
restored to the church and nominally occupied until about forty years
ago. At that time the buildings were in a fair state and the present
ruin was wrought chiefly by earthquake.

Pausing a moment for one more survey of the lovely valley and with
a lingering look at the romantic old ruin over which the shadows of
evening were beginning to lower, we were away for Paso Robles, which we
reached before nightfall.

We retraced our way over El Camino Real the following morning as far
as Santa Margarita, from whence we diverged to the coast road. For on
our outward journey we had missed another of the missions—La Purisima,
situated a few miles from Lompoc. The road which we followed out of
Santa Margarita was unmercifully rough, and a fierce wind from the sea
blinded us with clouds of dust and sand. We were glad when we reached
the shelter of the giant hills, just beyond which lay the object of
our pilgrimage. The ascent seemed almost interminable; the yellow road
swept along the hillsides, rising steadily in long loops which we could
see winding downward as we looked back from the summit. The grade was
not heavy, but continuous; the descent was shorter and steeper and we
dropped quickly into the pleasant valley of the Santa Ynez, where stands
the isolated village of Lompoc.

A few miles out of the town we beheld the object of our search—the
lonely ruin of La Purisima Concepcion, standing at some distance from
the highroad, surrounded by a wide wheatfield. A narrow lane, deep
with dust and sand, almost impassable in places, led to the melancholy
old pile, which we found even more dilapidated than San Antonio. It is
little more than a heap of adobe, and the rent and sundered walls show
plainly the agency of the earthquake—the deadly foe of the California
missions. The winter rains have wrought havoc with the unroofed
walls; only one or two window openings remain and the outlines of a
single doorway may still be seen. The most striking feature is the
row of twenty square filleted pillars gleaming with white plaster, the
corners striped with still brilliant red. These formed a long arcade
from which there must have been a glorious view of wooded valley and
rugged hills when the good old padres conned their prayers in its shady
seclusion. There is hardly enough to give an adequate idea of the plan
of the structure when at its best—little is left of the church except
its foundation, but it seems to have been quite unique in design.
The old tiles that once formed the roof are piled near by—but there
is little hope that they will ever be used in the restoration of La
Purisima Concepcion. About thirty years ago Helen Hunt Jackson visited
the mission and found the dormitory building standing and used as a
sheep-fold. The church then showed traces of its ancient decorations and
the pulpit and altar rail were still in place, though in sad disrepair.
The condition of the ruin to-day shows how rapid has been its decay
since that time and it is safe to say that unless something is done to
protect it, all traces will have vanished in another quarter century.

  [Illustration: RUINS OF LA PURISIMA
   From Photograph by Dassonville]

The mission which we visited was not the original La Purisima; of
this only a few earthen heaps remain. The date of its foundation was
December 8, 1787, and the ceremonies were conducted by Padre Lasuen,
who has so many missions to his credit. The success of the new venture
was phenomenal—in less than twenty years the population numbered
over fifteen hundred and the mission was rich in live stock and other
property. This prosperity received a sad check from the great earthquake
of 1812, which totally destroyed the buildings, leaving the people
homeless at the beginning of an unusually wet and cold winter. Then
it was that the original site was abandoned and the erection begun of
the buildings which I have described. The Indians were intelligent and
industrious and worked hard to rebuild the mission and their homes,
which had also been destroyed. An extensive irrigation scheme was
devised and carried out, but a series of misfortunes prevented the
return of former prosperity. Plague decimated the cattle and sheep,
and fire destroyed the neophytes' quarters in 1818. In 1823 the revolt
at Santa Barbara spread to Purisima, and several Indians and Spanish
soldiers were killed before quiet was restored. Under such depressing
influence the population steadily declined and numbered but four hundred
at secularization in 1835. After the looting was completed the property
was turned back to the church in 1843, but a year later an epidemic
of smallpox practically wiped out the scanty remnants of the Indian
population. From that time the mission was abandoned and uncared for,
gradually falling into ruin, and its melancholy condition to-day is the
result of seventy years of decay and neglect.

Leaving Lompoc, we followed the Santa Ynez River for several miles.
The road winds among the splendid oaks which overarch it much of the
way and finally joins the main highway at the top of Gaviota Pass. It
seldom took us out of sight of the river, though in places it rose to a
considerable distance above the stream which dashed in shallow rapids
over its stony bed. The last few miles were a steady climb, but there
was much sylvan beauty along the way—wooded slopes dropped far beneath
on one hand and rose high above us on the other. Through occasional
openings in the trees we caught long vistas of hills and valleys, now
touched with soft blue shadows heralding the approach of evening. From
the summit of Gaviota the long winding descent brought us to the broad
sweep of the sunset sea, which we followed in the teeth of a high wind
to Santa Barbara, where the Arlington afforded a welcome pause to a
strenuous day.

Just across the bridge a few miles out of Ventura we noted a sign, "To
Nordhoff," and determined to return to Los Angeles by this route. It
proved a fortunate choice, the rare beauty of the first twenty miles
atoning for some rough running later. For the entire distance we closely
followed the Ventura River, a clear, dashing mountain stream bordered
by hundreds of splendid oaks whose branches frequently met over our
heads. We crossed the stream many times, fording it in a few places, and
passed many lovely sylvan glades—ideal spots for picnic or camp. Along
the road were water tanks to supply the sprinklers, which kept down
the dust during the rainless season, giving added freshness to the cool
retreats along this pleasant road. Nordhoff is a lonely little town of
two or three hundred people, set down in the giant hills surrounding it
on every hand. Four or five miles up the mountainside is Matilija Hot
Springs, with a well-appointed resort hotel, a favorite with motorists,
who frequently come from Los Angeles to spend the week-end.

Out of Nordhoff we climbed a stiff mountain grade on the road to Santa
Paula, which we found another isolated little town at the edge of the
hills. From here we pursued a fairly level but rough and sandy road to
Saugus, a few miles beyond which we came into the new boulevard leading
through Newhall Tunnel to San Fernando. An hour's run took us into the
city, just two weeks after our departure, and our odometer indicated
that we had covered two thousand miles during that time.

A year later, on our return from the north, we pursued the "Inland
Route" by way of Bakersfield and the Tejon Pass. This route has been
finally adopted by the State Highway Commission, but at the time of our
trip little had been done to improve the road north of Saugus, thirty
miles from Los Angeles. It certainly was in need of improvement, as
the notes set down in my "log book" testify. Concerning our run between
Fresno and Bakersfield I find the following comment:

"A day on rotten roads—hardly a decent mile between the two towns. We
followed the line of the Southern Pacific for the entire day over a
neglected, sandy trail, with occasional broken-up oiled stretches. Towns
on the way were little, lonely, sandy places, unattractive and poorly
improved. No state highway completed, though some work was in progress
in Kern and Fresno Counties, making several detours necessary—not a mile
free from unmerciful jolting."

And here I might remark that had we taken the longer route from Goshen
to Delano by the way of Visalia and Portersville, we might have avoided
forty miles of the roughest road. The highway is to make this detour;
but there was no immediate prospect of building it at the time of our
trip, as Tulare County felt too poor to buy the bonds.

For several miles out of Fresno we ran through vineyards and orchards,
passing two or three large wineries not far from the road. A narrow belt
of grainfields and meadows succeeded, but the country gradually became
poorer until we found ourselves in a sandy desert whose only vegetation
was a short red grass with barbed needles which stick to one's clothing
in an annoying manner.

Maps of California usually show Lake Tulare as a considerable body of
water, twenty to thirty miles in diameter, lying a few miles west of the
town. They told us at Tulare that the lake had practically disappeared,
a good part of its bed now being occupied by wheatfields. Dry weather
and the diversion of water for irrigation have been the chief factors
in wiping out the lake, which was never much more than a shallow morass.

Beyond Tulare we again came into a sandy, desert-looking country and
were astonished to see billboards in one of the little towns offering
"bargains in land at one hundred and thirty-five dollars per acre"—to
all appearances the country was as barren and unpromising as the Sahara,
but no doubt the price included irrigation rights. Along this road
we noticed occasional groves of stunted eucalyptus trees, neglected
and dying in many instances. It occurred to us that these groves were
planted by the concerns which sold stock to Eastern "investors" on
representation that the eucalyptus combined all the merits to be found
in all the trees of the forest. The fact is that it is not fit for much
and the "fly-by-night" concerns disappeared as soon as they had pocketed
the cash, leaving their victims to bemoan "another California swindle."

While the country was mostly flat and uninteresting, the scene
was varied by the dim ranks of the Sierras far to our left all day
long—always dominated by one lone, snow-capped summit rising in solemn
majesty above the blue shadows that shrouded the lower ranges. It was
Mount Whitney, the highest peak within the limits of the United States,
with an altitude of fifteen thousand feet above sea level. A road leads
well up the slopes of the mountain and from its termination one may
ascend in three hours by an easy trail to the summit, which affords one
of the grandest views on the American continent.

In this same vicinity, about twenty-five miles east of Visalia, are
Sequoia and General Grant National Parks, each of which has a grove of
redwoods, and the former is said to be the most extensive in the state.
It has one tree, the General Sherman, which contests with the Grizzly
Giant of Mariposa for the honor of being the largest living tree in the
world, being eighty feet in circumference one hundred feet from its
base. In all there are over three thousand trees in this grove which
measure forty-five feet or more in circumference. Both of these parks
are easily reached by motor from Visalia.

We reached Bakersfield weary enough to wish for the comforts of Del
Monte, but found the New Southern far from the realization of our
desires. It was "new" in name only—apparently an old building with
furnishings and service far below the California standard for towns like
Bakersfield, a live-looking place of nineteen thousand people. It is the
center of an oil-producing section and has considerable wholesale trade.

  [Illustration: A ROAD THROUGH THE REDWOODS
   From Photograph by Pillsbury]

A few miles out of town, on the Tejon route, we found ourselves again
in the desert and ploughed through several miles of heavy sand before
reaching the hill range to the south. There were no houses or people for
many miles, the only sign of civilization being an oil-pumping station
near the foothills. We beheld a wide stretch of sandy country, dashed
with red and purple grasses and occasional wild flowers. To the south
and east lay the mottled hill ranges, half hidden by dun and purple
hazes and cloud-swept in places. Before us rose a single snow-capped
peak and as we ascended the rough, winding grades of Tejon Pass, we were
met by a chilly wind which increased in frigidity and intensity until
we found need for all the discarded wraps in the car. Some distance from
the foot of the grade we came to Neenach Post Office, which proved only
a small country store, and beyond this were long stretches of sandy
desert dotted with cacti and scrub cedars and swarming with lizards
and horned toads. The cactus blooms lent a pleasing bit of color to the
brown monotone of the landscape—myriads of delicate yellow, pink, red,
and white flowers guarded by millions of needle-like spines.

The desert road continued for fifty miles—deep sand and rough, broken
trails alternating with occasional stretches of easy going over smooth
sand packed as hard as cement. As we came to Palmdale, a lonely little
town marking the terminus of the railroad, we noted frequent cultivated
fields which showed the fertility of this barren desert when irrigated.
From Palmdale we proceeded to Saugus through Mint Canyon, since the San
Francisquito and Bosquet routes—both shorter—were closed by washouts.
We found the state highway completed to Saugus; the village showed
many improvements and had a decidedly smarter appearance than two years
previously—a result that will no doubt follow in all the little towns
when the highway reaches them. Near Saugus we passed over the great
Owens River Aqueduct, a near view giving us a better conception of the
giant dimensions of the iron and cement tubes carrying the water supply
to Los Angeles. From Saugus it is an easy jaunt of thirty miles to Los
Angeles over one of the finest boulevards leading into the city.

We agreed that while the trip over the "Inland Route" from Fresno was
interesting and well worth doing once, we would not care to repeat it
under such conditions except upon actual necessity. When we are ready to
go again we hope to find that the new highway has replaced the terrible
old trails which served for roads the greater part of the five hundred
miles of the run.

In the foregoing paragraphs I have endeavored to give some idea of our
earliest run over the Inland Route in the good old days when California
roads were in their virgin state. My revised edition would hardly
deserve the name if I were to omit reference to the present condition of
this now very popular route between Los Angeles and San Francisco, since
nearly all of it has been improved and much of it entirely re-routed.
To-day (1921) practically a solid paved boulevard extends between the
two cities and the run of about five hundred miles may be made in two
days with greater ease than in twice the time under old conditions.

For more than three-fourths of the distance the road runs in level,
straight stretches, permitting all the speed that any car may be
capable of—if the driver is willing to risk his neck and take chances
of falling into the clutches of the frequent "speed cop" along the way.
In the main it is not a "scenic route"—though one is never out of sight
of the mountains. The country is mostly flat and uninteresting—for
California—but if it grows too monotonous, Sherman and Grant National
Parks and Yosemite are only a few miles off this highway. There are
excellent hotels at Bakersfield, Fresno, Merced, Modesto, and Stockton,
and very good ones in several smaller places. A modern hotel, the
Durant, has also been built recently at Lebec, just beyond the summit
near the northern extremity of the ridge. Lake Castaic, near by, is a
good-sized body of water, affording opportunity for boating and fishing
and there is much wooded country in the vicinity—attractions which will
doubtless make the Durant a popular stopping-place for motorists.

The road is redeemed from monotony, however, by the section known as the
"Ridge Route" between Saugus and Bakersfield—thirty miles of the most
spectacular highway in California. This superlative feat of engineering
supersedes the old-time Tejon Pass trail, long the "bete noir" of the
Inland Route. It cost the state of California nearly a million dollars
to fling this splendid road along the crest of the great hill range that
must needs be crossed, to pave it with solid concrete, and to adequately
guard its many abrupt turns. It rises from an elevation of about 1000
feet above Saugus to 5300 feet at the highest point, near the northern
terminus of the grade, but so admirably have the engineers done their
work that nowhere is the rise more than six per cent.

No description or picture can give any idea of the stupendous grandeur
of the panorama that unrolls before one as he traverses this marvelous
road. Vast stretches of gigantic hills interspersed with titanic
canyons—mostly barren, with reds and browns predominating—outrun the
limits of one's vision. Nearer Saugus greenery prevails in summer
and at the northern end there is some fine forest. In winter snow not
infrequently falls throughout the entire length of the ridge and affords
the variation of a dazzling winter spectacle to anyone hardy enough to
make the run, which is rather dangerous under such conditions.

Any extended tour of California must surely include the Ridge Route.
If one is minus a car of his own he still can make the trip quickly
and comfortably in one of the motor stages which ply daily between Los
Angeles and Bakersfield. At the San Francisco end of the Inland Route
there is some pretty hill scenery between Stockton and Oakland, which
has been referred to elsewhere in this book. If one were making the trip
between San Francisco and Los Angles only one way, there would need
be no hesitancy in selecting the Coast road, on the score of greater
scenic beauty and historic interest. If he should be seeking the easier
run and quicker time he would choose the Inland Route. If, as in the
case of the average tourist, he is out to see as much of California as
possible and expects to make the round trip between north and south, he
will naturally go by one route and return by the other.



XVI

OUR RUN TO YOSEMITE


No extended motor tour of California could lay claim to thoroughness if
Yosemite Valley and Lake Tahoe were omitted from its itinerary, and I
therefore avail myself of the opportunity to add chapters giving briefly
the experience of our runs to these popular national playgrounds.

Yosemite was closed to automobiles prior to 1915 and it was only through
the strenuous exertions of the Automobile Club of Southern California
that the authorities finally consented to remove the ban. The decree was
issued apparently with fear and hesitation and the motorist was hedged
about with restrictions and hampered with endless red tape regulations.

The dire results so freely predicted did not materialize in any great
degree. There were few serious accidents and the motors, as a rule,
met little difficulty in negotiating the roads to and within the park.
As a consequence the rules have been relaxed with each succeeding year
and many of the most annoying regulations abandoned or reduced to mere
formalities. We made our trip in September of the Panama-Pacific year,
and during the previous months of the season nearly two thousand cars
had preceded us into the park. We did not have to demonstrate that
"either set of brakes would lock the wheels to a skid;" in fact, I am
very dubious on this point. We did not have to get up at an unearthly
hour to enter or leave the park and the time schedule imposed on us was
so reasonable that none but the speed maniac would care to exceed it,
even had no severe penalty been attached.

There are several routes by which one may enter and leave the park
pending the happy days longed for by the Auto Club when a broad,
smooth road—"no grades exceeding five per cent"—shall convey the joyful
motorist to this Earthly Paradise of the Sierras. You can go from Fresno
via Coarse Gold, from Merced via Coulterville, from Stockton via Chinese
Camp, or from Madera via Raymond. You can now even reach the park from
the east by the new Tioga road, branching off the Sierra Highway at Mono
Lake, should you be seeking the wildest and most difficult route of all.

We decided, after an extended canvas of the pros and cons of the
matter, to make our initial venture via the Madera route, returning by
the way of Big Oak Flat and Stockton. We passed the night at Fresno
and left Madera late in the afternoon of the following day with the
intention of stopping for the night at Raymond, some twenty-five miles
distant. However, we found the prospect for comfortable quarters in
that forlorn-looking little hamlet so unpromising that we decided, in
accordance with a genial garage man's advice, to go on to Miami Lodge.

"It's only thirty miles," he said; "and a mighty comfortable place; you
ought to reach there before it gets dark. Shall I telephone them to hold
dinner for you?"

All of which sounded good to us as we contemplated prospective
accommodations in Raymond, and with a speedy acquiescence we were away
for Miami Lodge. Ten miles per hour, said the garage man, would be
a good average "for a greenhorn" over the road we were to traverse—a
ridiculously low estimate, we thought, but we had not proceeded far
before we agreed with his conservatism. A narrow and exceedingly
tortuous trail plunged into the hills, threading its way among giant
pines or creeping precariously along steep hillsides and around abrupt
corners deep with dust and at times laboriously steep. Now and then
it emerged into pleasant little glades and on entering one of these
we saw a young mountain lion trotting leisurely toward the thicket. Of
course our small rifle was under a pile of baggage, unloaded, and the
cartridges in a grip, but we consoled ourselves with remarks about the
extreme improbability of hitting him even if we had the gun.

It was sunset by the time we had covered little more than half the
distance and while we regarded the approaching darkness with some
apprehension, for the road showed no signs of improvement, we forgot
it all in our admiration for the enchanting scene. Many were the
magnificent vistas opening through the pines skirting our road along the
mountainside. Purple hills topped with dark forests stretched away to
a crimson sky; shadowy canyons sloped far beneath us, their mysterious
deeps shrouded in a soft blue haze. It was a constantly changing yet
always entrancing picture until the color faded from the skies and the
canyons were blotted out by the gathering blackness. Then the road
demanded our undivided attention, for we covered the last ten miles
in pitch darkness and our neglected headlights proved in very poor
condition.

The Lodge is a comfortable rustic inn set in the pines on a hillside
which slopes down to a clear creek dammed at one point into a small
lake. The little valley forms a natural amphitheater surrounded by the
forest-clad hills and is altogether a pleasant and restful spot well
away from noise and disturbance of any kind. The creek is stocked with
rainbow trout and big game is fairly common—attractions which bring many
sportsmen to the Lodge. It is easy of access by auto stages which run
daily during the season.

Beyond Miami Lodge we found the road even more trying than it was
southward. Heavy grades and sharp turns continued, and deep dust and
rough stretches caused much discomfort. We met many motor trucks and
several heavy wagons drawn by six or eight horses, which made ticklish
work in passing on the narrow grades and which stirred up clouds of
yellow dust. As the sun mounted, the day became intolerably hot, making
it necessary to elevate our cape top, which combined with the dust to
interfere with our view of the scenery.

We reached Wawona, at the park entrance, in time for the noonday
luncheon at the pleasant old inn which has been the haven of sightseers
for nearly half a century. It is delightfully situated in a little vale
amidst a group of towering pines and all about it green meadows stretch
away to the forest-clad hills that surround it on every hand. Through
the valley runs the South Merced, famous for its mountain trout, a
delicacy which guests at the inn sometimes enjoy. About the main hotel
building are scattered several isolated cottages for the accommodation
of guests who may be particular about privacy and plenty of light and
air. There are numerous beautiful drives in the vicinity aside from the
Mariposa Grove trip. One of these follows the river for some distance
and another makes a circuit of the valley.

We had no time for these, as we were intent upon reaching Yosemite
for the night and the regulation is that you check in at the final
station by six o'clock. About a mile from Wawona we found the cabin of
the ranger who issued tickets for the south entrance to the park. The
formalities detained us but a few moments, since, with the great influx
of motor tourists during the exposition year, much of the original
red tape was dispensed with. A copy of the rules and regulations was
given us and the time of our entrance was stamped upon the ticket to
be delivered to the superintendent at Yosemite village. The action of
our small rifle was sealed and, with a friendly caution that it would
be unwise to exceed the limit, we were ordered to proceed. Knowing
something of the trip from previous experience we felt no uneasiness
about exceeding the two hours and twenty-seven minutes, minimum time
allowed for covering the twenty-eight and nine-tenths miles between
the station and Yosemite garage. No one but a confirmed speed maniac
would care to exceed this very reasonable limit and anyone wise enough
to admire the scenery along the road as it deserves to be admired might
well consume twice the minimum time.

For some miles after entering the park we climbed the long, steady grade
following the South Merced Canyon, always at a considerable distance
above the stream, which we could see at intervals through the pines,
flashing over its rock-strewn bed. There was scarcely a downward dip in
the road for the first half-dozen miles, and we could not but recall the
distressing efforts of the horses as they toiled painfully upward on our
former trip while we sat disconsolately enveloped in smothering clouds
of dust. What a contrast we found in the steady, cheerful hum of our
engine as it drove our car onward at not less than the permitted speed
of fifteen miles, leaving the dust behind us and affording unhindered
views of the endless panoramas of canyons and hills. Not often, even in
California, will one come across finer individual cedars, sugar pines
and yellow pines than he will see here—splendid, arrow-straight shafts
several feet in circumference, often rising to a height of two or even
three hundred feet. It is pleasant to think that they are immune from
the lumberman's ax and guarded carefully against devastating fires. We
paused at times in the shade of these forest Titans and contemplated
the wide range of hills and valleys beyond the canyon—particularly at
Lookout Point, some seven or eight miles from Wawona. Here we beheld a
seemingly endless panorama of forest-clad hills stretching away until
lost in the infinite distance of the lucent afternoon. Once before we
had beheld the same scene—at sunset, the hills shrouded in an amethyst
haze, the valleys dim with purple shadows, and the sky resplendent
with crimson and gold. Nothing could have shown more impressively the
wonderful variations of the same landscape at different hours of the
day or proved more completely that one must come many times to see the
beauty of Yosemite.

Continuing a few miles farther we came to the top of the grade leading
down into the valley. We recalled it as a stiff, strenuous road, winding
around sharp curves and often along the edge of sheer precipices which
gave us many thrills from our high perch beside the driver of our
four-in-hand. We had traversed mountain roads so much worse in the
meanwhile that Wawona grade really seemed quite tame from a motor car
and even the ladies took only languid interest in its twists and turns.
We paused for the third time at Inspiration Point and we can not help
envying those who are so fortunate as to come into Yosemite by this road
and thus get their first glimpse of the valley from Inspiration Point.
Perhaps the view from Glacier Point is as glorious but one is not likely
to come upon it so suddenly and is somehow expecting stupendous things,
but Inspiration Point bursts on the wayfarer from the Wawona all unaware
and he sees unfold before him almost in an instant all the marvelous
sights that have made Yosemite a world's wonder.

It is the third time we have viewed this wonderful scene and we
have been fortunate in coming each time at a different period of
the day—morning and evening and early afternoon. Each has shown us a
different phase of the beauty of Yosemite, for the variation of light
and consequent changes of coloring have everything to do with the view
from Inspiration Point.

We proceeded slowly and cautiously down the steep switchbacks leading
to the floor of the Valley, a long, low-gear grind, for regulations
forbid disengaging gears on roads in the park. The descent did not
seem nearly so precarious as when we first made it in the regulation
coach-and-four—the road appeared to have been widened at the turns;
maybe this was only in our imagination, due to greater familiarity
with mountain roads. We were enough at our ease to enjoy the splendid
vistas of the valley and mountains which were presented from a hundred
viewpoints as we slowly descended, something that we hardly did the
first time. Nor did the time seem so long, though I really doubt if we
went down so quickly as our dashing driver piloted his coach-and-four
over this three-mile grade on our first trip. We soon found ourselves on
the floor of the valley with Bridal Veil Falls waving like a gossamer
thread above us—it was in September and the waterfalls were all at
lowest ebb. The four miles along the floor to Yosemite was a joy ride
indeed and we felt no desire to infringe the low speed limit imposed on
motor cars. What though we had seen this wondrous array of stupendous
cliffs, domes, pinnacles and towers many times before, familiarity does
not detract from their overpowering majesty and changeful beauty.

  [Illustration: VERNAL FALLS, YOSEMITE
   From Original Painting by Chris. Jorgenson]

Our excuse for a third visit to Yosemite was chiefly that we wanted to
go by motor car; we had seen most of the sights and made most of the
trail trips and drives, so there was little to do but lounge about in
the hotel and vicinity for the rest of the afternoon. I visited the
garage, which was merely a huge tent with open sides where the cars
were parked in care of an attendant. There was apparently a very good
machine shop which seemed to have plenty of work, for break-downs are
not uncommon. The manager asked us if we would favor him by carrying a
new axle to a motorist who was laid up at Crane Flat, near the entrance
to the park on the road by which we expected to leave the next morning.

The regulations require that motor cars leave by the Big Oak Flat
road between 6:00 A. M. and 4:00 P. M., and the first-named hour found
us ready for departure, as we had been warned that a strenuous day's
work lay before us. It is only one hundred and twenty-three miles to
Stockton; hence we concluded that the strenuousness must be due to
something besides long distance—a surmise which we did not have to
wait long to verify. About two miles from the hotel, following the main
valley road, we came to a sign, "Big Oak Flat Route," and turned sharply
to the right, crossing the Merced River. Immediately we began a sharp
ascent over a dusty trail through thickly standing pines.

Coming out of the trees we find ourselves on a narrow road cut in the
side of the almost perpendicular cliff. It is fair at first, screened
from the precipitous drop alongside by a row of massive boulders which
have the psychological effect of making us feel much more at ease,
though I doubt if they would be of much use in stopping a runaway car.
Nevertheless, they are a decided factor in enabling us to enjoy the
wonderful views of mountain and valley that present themselves to our
eager eyes as we slowly climb the steep ascent. We are sure that we see
many vistas quite equal to the view from the much-vaunted Inspiration
Point, but they are not so famous because far less accessible.

The road grows rougher and dustier as we climb slowly upward; the
boulder balustrade disappears and we find ourselves on a narrow shelf,
with infrequent passing places, running along the edge of a cliff that
falls almost sheer beneath us. We pause occasionally to contemplate the
marvelous scene beneath. The whole floor of the valley is now visible;
its giant trees seem mere shrubs and the Merced dwindles to a silver
thread; across the narrow chasm we now look down on the Cathedral
Spires, the Three Sisters, and Sentinel Rock; we see Bridal Veil Fall
swaying like a gossamer against the mighty cliff, and beyond we have an
endless vista of forest-clad mountains. Three thousand feet above the
valley we enter a forest of mighty pines; the road winds among them in
sharp turns and the grades are very steep and deep with dust. We are not
very familiar with our car, which we leased from a Los Angeles dealer,
and as we near the summit the motor loses power and can not be cajoled
into propelling the car over the last steep, dusty pitch. After an hour
of fruitless effort we appealed to the foreman of a road gang which,
fortunately for us, was at work close by, and he helped the balky engine
out with a stout team of horses.

  [Illustration: NEVADA FALL, YOSEMITE
   From Original Painting by H. H. Bagg]

"What's the damage?" we gratefully asked of our rescuer.

"Just a bottle of whiskey, stranger, if you happen to have one along."

We expressed regret at our inability to meet the very modest request and
our friend had to be content with coin of the realm instead. Later on
an auto expert told us that the carburetor on this particular car will
not work satisfactorily at an elevation of seven thousand feet.

Crane Flat is nothing more than the ranger station on the road and
the official took up our "time card"—we came by a safe margin of
two or three hours—and removed the seals from our "game-getter." We
delivered the axle entrusted to our care, but found that the owner
of the broken-down car had accepted the situation philosophically and
gone fishing—his third day of this pleasant pastime, while waiting for
repairs.

Two or three miles from Crane Flat we came to the Tuolumne Grove of Big
Trees, where there are numerous giant redwoods, though not so many or so
huge as those of Mariposa. A short detour from the main route took us to
the Dead Giant, the most remarkable tree of this grove. It is tunneled
like the Wawona tree in Mariposa and we had the sensation a second
time of driving through a redwood. The remains of the Dead Giant are
one hundred feet high and one hundred and five feet in circumference;
scientists estimate that the tree must have been at least forty feet in
diameter and perhaps four hundred feet high—larger and higher than any
redwood now living. It was destroyed perhaps three hundred years ago
by fire or lightning. The General Lawton of this grove is one of the
most beautiful redwoods in existence and there is also a Fallen Giant
still growing greenly although lying prone, its roots not being entirely
severed.

It was lunch time when we reached Sequoia, though we were only
twenty-nine miles from Yosemite—a pretty insignificant showing for a
half-day's run, from a mileage point of view, but it had been strenuous
enough to make us tired and ravenously hungry. And hunger proved a very
good sauce for the meal which we got at Crocker's Hotel, which is about
all there is of Sequoia. And I am not complaining of Crocker's Hotel,
either. I think they did very well when one considers that all their
supplies must be hauled eighty miles by wagon road—naturally, canned
stuff and condensed milk prevailed.

Beyond Crocker's the characteristics of the country were about the same.
A rough, dusty trail, winding through pine-clad hills with occasional
heavy grades, carried us along for a good many miles. We occasionally
passed a remote little station with a general store and "garage" bearing
evidence of its origin in an old-time blacksmith shop. Colfax Gate,
Smith's, Garrett, and Big Oak Flat—which showed little reason for the
distinction of giving its name to the road—were all the same type, with
nothing to invite even a casual glance from the tourist unless he needed
gasoline or oil.

At Priest's there is a country hotel, a haunt of hunters and ranchmen;
but we recall Priest's chiefly because it gives its name to one of the
most beautiful bits of road engineering in California. It follows the
very crest of a giant hill range overlooking a beautiful valley some two
or three thousand feet below. Alongside there is nothing to break the
full sweep of one's vision—not a tree or even a shrub intervenes between
the roadbed and the precipitous slope beneath. Although the road is wide
enough for easy passing at any point, the very baldness of its outer
edge is enough to give a decided thrill to nervously inclined people
and our driver received more advice and caution from the rear seat than
had been offered him on far more dangerous roads with occasional rocks
or trees alongside.

At Jacksonville the road comes down almost to the level of the Tuolumne
River and we found ourselves on the border of the old gold-mining
region made famous by the tales of Bret Harte. There are still several
placer mines in operation along the river—the road passes a very large
one at the foot of Chinese Camp grade, and the river is sullied for
miles by the muddy washings from the mill. Chinese Camp grade is one
of the worst encountered on our entire trip; it is steep and terribly
rough, and dust a foot deep hides the ruts and chuck holes, so we were
compelled to "go it blind." It was a four-mile plunge and scramble
around sharp curves,—half smothered and blinded by dense dust clouds
which rose before we could get away from them, we made slow progress
over the dreadful road. At the hilltop, however, we were rewarded for
our strenuous scramble by a magnificent view of the river canyon and
a wide panorama of forest-clad hills with the emerald thread of the
Tuolumne winding through them.

A short distance over a stony trail brought us into the main street of
Chinese Camp, if we may so designate the wide, dusty section of road
lined with wooden shacks of which every other one seemed a saloon. The
appearance of the buildings warranted the guess on our part that there
has been little change in this primitive hamlet since Bret Harte visited
it, nearly a half century ago. Not far from here are many other camps
and villages which found enduring fame in the stories of this most
representative of all earlier California writers. Sonora, Angel's Camp,
Tuttletown, San Andreas, Mokelumne, and other places familiar in Harte's
pages may all be reached in a detour of fifty miles or so from the Big
Oak Flat road. Most of these towns, like Chinese Camp, have made little
progress since they were mirrored in the tales which appeared in the
old Overland and Argonaut of San Francisco.

Beyond Chinese Camp we encountered the worst stretch of road of the
entire day—a mere trail winding through a rough, boulder-strewn country
seemingly having no end or object in view except to avoid the rocks too
large to run over. No effort had been made to remove the smaller stones
from the way and we had an unmerciful jolting, although we crawled along
at a dozen miles per hour. Fortunately, there are no steep grades, and
occasionally smoother stretches afforded a little respite. It would be
hard to use language, however, that would exaggerate the relief which
we felt when, on ascending a sharp little rise, we came upon a splendid
paved highway which the road-book declared would continue all the way
to Stockton. I think that the last forty miles into the city consumed
less time than any ten miles we had covered since leaving Yosemite that
morning.

We certainly presented a somewhat disreputable appearance when we
came into the town. The car and everything about it, including the
occupants, was dirty gray with dust, which I noted was two inches deep
on the running boards and perhaps a little less on our faces, while
it saturated our clothing and covered our baggage. California hotels,
however, are used to such arrivals and we were well taken care of at the
Stockton, despite our unprepossessing appearance. A thorough cleaning
up, a change of raiment and a good dinner put us at peace with the world
and we were soon exchanging felicitations over the fact that we had done
Yosemite by motor car.



XVII

LAKE TAHOE


There are two routes out of Sacramento to Lake Tahoe which carry
fully nine-tenths of the motor travel to that interesting region. Both
traverse a picturesque mountain country with a spice of historic and
romantic interest and most motor visitors, naturally enough, go by one
route and return by the other. Our first visit to the lake was made over
the northern fork of the "wishbone" (as they usually style the forked
road) via Colfax and Emigrant Gap. For personal reasons we did not
complete the round trip at the time of our first visit, but a year later
found us again enroute to the gem of mountain lakes over the southern
fork by way of Placerville. I shall describe the two trips in order of
their chronology. In each instance we passed the night in Sacramento—the
best starting point for the day's run to Tahoe, the distance being about
one hundred and twenty miles by either route. It is well to get an early
start, whichever route is taken, for the road will not admit of speed
and there are many points where a pause is well worth while. And so we
were away bright and early on the Auburn road to the lake.

Out of the city for several miles through a fertile orchard and farm
country, we pursued a level, well-improved road which led us toward the
great hill range that marks the western confines of the valley. Entering
the rounded brown foothills, we kept a steady ascent through scattering
groves of oak and pine, with here and there along the way a well-ordered
stock farm or fruit ranch. It was in the height of the peach season
and a sign at a ranch house gate tempted us to purchase. A silver dime
brought us such a quantity of big, luscious, rosy-cheeked fruit that we
scarcely knew where to bestow it about the car. It was just off the tree
and ripe to perfection, and by comparison with the very best one could
buy in a fruit market, it seemed a new and unheard-of variety—ambrosia
fit only for the gods. And they told us that so immense was the crop of
peaches and pears in this locality that some of this unequalled fruit
was being fed to the pigs.

Following a winding but fair road through the hills, we soon came, as
we supposed, into the main part of Auburn, for we had taken no pains to
learn anything about the town. At the foot of a sharp hill we paused in
a crooked street with a row of ramshackle buildings on either side and
it was apparent at a glance that the population of the ancient-looking
town was chiefly Chinese. A few saloons and one or two huge wooden
boarding houses were the most salient features and a small blacksmith
shop near the end of the street was labeled "Garage." We mentally
classed "Sweet Auburn" with Chinese Camp and following the road leading
out of the place began the ascent of an exceedingly steep hill. At the
summit of the hill, however, we found quite a different Auburn—a fine
modern town with a handsome courthouse, an imposing high school and a
new bank building that would not seem out of place on any city street.
All this in a town of less than three thousand population. Nor should
I omit to mention the comfortable up-to-date hotel where we had a very
satisfactory luncheon.

Beyond Auburn the road climbs steadily to Colfax, a few short pitches
ranging from fifteen to twenty per cent. The surface was good and we
were delighted by many fine vistas from the hilltops as we hastened
along. At Applegate was a deserted hotel and "tent city" said to be very
popular resorts earlier in the summer. Colfax was the Illinois Town
of mining times and still has many buildings dating back to the "days
of gold." The town was given its present name when the steam road came
and it is now a center of considerable activity in railroading. There
is much beautiful scenery about Colfax. From the nearby summits across
long reaches of forest-clad hills, one may see on one hand the mighty
ranks of the snow crested Sierras and on the other the dim outlines of
the Coast Range. On exceptionally clear days, they told us, the shining
cone of Shasta may be seen, though it is more than one hundred and fifty
miles away.

Out of Colfax we continue to climb steadily and soon come upon reminders
of the days when this was one of the greatest gold-producing sections
of California. The hillsides everywhere show the scars of old-time
placer mining. Millions of the precious metal were produced here in the
few years following '49, but operations have long since ceased and the
deserted villages are fast falling into ruin. Dutch Flat and Gold Run,
now stations on the Southern Pacific, could no doubt have furnished Bret
Harte with characters and incidents quite as varied and picturesque
as Angel's Camp or Sonora had his wanderings brought him hither. For
the disappearance of the good old golden days, the natives console
themselves in this fashion, quoting advertising literature issued by
Placer County: "In days gone by the gold mining industry made this
section famous. To-day the golden fruit brings it wealth and renown."
And it also holds forth the hope that scientific mining methods may yet
find "much gold in the old river beds and seams of gold-bearing rock."

From Dutch Flat to Emigrant Gap, perhaps a dozen miles, the road climbs
continually, winding through pine forests that crowd closely on either
hand. Here is one of the wildest sections of the Sierras accessible to
motor cars, and the weird beauty culminates at Emigrant Gap, a great
natural gash in the Sierras which in early days gave its name to the
road by which the majority of overland emigrants entered California.
Near this point, a little distance to the right of the road and some two
thousand feet beneath, lies Bear Valley, one of the loveliest vales of
the Sierras—in early summer an emerald-green meadow—lying between Yuba
River and Bear Creek, shut in on every hand by tree-clad slopes. From
Emigrant Gap to the summit of the divide, a distance of twenty-seven
miles, the road mounts steadily through the pines, winding around
abrupt turns and climbing heavy grades—the last pitch rising to thirty
per cent, according to our road book, though we doubt if it is really
so steep. Crystal Lake and Lake Van Orten are passed on the way, two
blue mountain tarns lying far below on the right-hand side of the road.
From the summit, at an elevation of a little over seven thousand feet,
we have a wonderful view both eastward and westward. Behind us the
rugged hills through which we have wended our way slope gently to the
Sacramento Valley—so gently that in the one hundred miles since leaving
the plain we have risen only a mile and a half. Before us is the sharper
fall of the eastern slope and far beneath, in a setting of green sward
and stately pines, the placid blue waters of Donner Lake, beautiful
despite the tragic associations which come unbidden to our minds.

The descent from the summit of the divide to Truckee is gradual, some
twelve hundred feet in nine miles, though there are a few short, steep
grades of from fifteen to twenty per cent, according to our authority.
It was dark when we reached Truckee, but as there was no chance of going
astray on the road to Tahoe Tavern, we determined to proceed. The road
for the entire distance of fifteen miles closely follows the Truckee
River, a swift, shallow stream fed from the limpid waters of Lake Tahoe.
It was a glorious moonlight night and the gleaming river, the jagged
hills on either hand, and the dark pine forests, all combined to make
a wild but entrancingly beautiful effect. As we later saw the Truckee
Canyon by daylight, we have every reason to be glad that we traversed
it by moonlight as well.

Tahoe Tavern, with its myriad lights, was a welcome sight, none the
less, after an exceedingly strenuous trip, the personal details of
which I have forborne to inflict upon the reader. We were given rooms
in the new annex, a frame-and-shingle building, and were delighted to
find that our windows opened upon the moonlit lake. The mountain tops
on the opposite shore were shrouded in heavy clouds through which the
moon struggled at intervals, transmuting the clear, still surface of the
lake from a dark, dull mirror to a softly lighted sheet of water with
a path of gleaming silver running across it. Directly a thunder storm
broke over the eastern shore—very uncommon in summer, we were told—and
we had the spectacle of clouds and lake lighted weirdly by flashes of
lightning. The thunder rolling among the peaks and across the water
brought vividly to our minds Byron's description of a thunder storm
on Lake Geneva in the Alps. For a short time it seemed as if "every
mountain peak had found a tongue," but the storm died away without
crossing the lake.

Tahoe Tavern, a huge, brown, rambling building in a fine grove of
pines, fronts directly on a little bay and commands a glorious outlook
of lake and distant mountains. It is a delightfully retired and quiet
place, ideal for rest and recuperation, while the surrounding country
is unmatched in scenic attractions for those inclined to exploration,
whether by steamer, motor, horseback, or afoot. We found the service
and the cuisine equal to the best resort hotels in California—and that
is saying a great deal, since California in this particular leads the
world. Here we found a quiet yet exhilarating spot, the toil and tumult
of the busy world shut out by impregnable mountain barriers, where one
may repose and commune with nature in her grandest and most enchanting
aspects.

Our car, which we had hired from a Los Angeles dealer, had proved so
unsatisfactory that we decided to defer the various drives about the
lake until a subsequent visit. We therefore contented ourselves with
a series of walks around the tavern and the boat excursions about
the lake. It was only a little more than a year later that we found
ourselves again in Sacramento bound to Tahoe over the Placerville route.
We had discarded our trouble-making hired car for our own trusty Pierce
forty-eight, which in thousands of miles of mountain touring caused us
never a moment's trouble or delay.

Out of Sacramento we followed the new state highway, then almost
completed to Placerville. On the way to Folsom we saw much of gold
mining under modern conditions. Monstrous floating steam dredges were
eating their way through the fields and for miles had thrown up great
ridges of stones and gravel from which the gold had been extracted by
a process of washing. Something less than two million dollars annually
is produced in Sacramento County, mainly by this process, and the
cobblestones, after being crushed by powerful machinery, serve the very
useful purpose of road-building. Beyond Folsom the highway winds through
uninteresting hills covered with short brown grass and diversified with
occasional oak trees. We kept a pretty steady upward trend as we sped
toward the blue hill ranges, but there were no grades worth mentioning
west of Placerville. Before we reached the town we entered the splendid
pine forest, which continues all the way to Tahoe.

Placerville has little to recall its old-time sobriquet of Hangtown,
by which it figures in Bret Harte's stories. Here, indeed, was the
very storm center of the early gold furor—but five miles to the north
is Coloma, where Marshall picked up the nugget that turned the eyes of
the world to California in '49. Over the very road which we were to
pursue out of the town poured the living tide of gold seekers which
spread out through all the surrounding country. To-day, however,
Placerville depends little on mining; its narrow, crooked main street
and a few ancient buildings are the only reminders of its old-time
rough-and-tumble existence. It is a prosperous town of three thousand
people, and handsome homes with well-kept lawns are not uncommon. We
also noted a splendid new courthouse of Spanish colonial design wrought
in white marble, a fine example of the public spirit that prevails in
even the more retired California communities. The site of the town is
its greatest drawback. Wedged as it is in the bottom of a vast canyon,
there is little possibility of regularity in streets and much work
has been necessary to prepare sites for home and public buildings.
A certain picturesqueness and delightful informality compensates for
all this and the visitor is sure to be pleased with the Placerville of
to-day aside from its romantic history. Two fairly comfortable hotels
invite the traveler to stop and make more intimate acquaintance with the
town, which a recent writer declares is noted for its charming women—an
attraction which it lacked in its romantic mining days.

Beyond Placerville the road climbs steadily, winding through the giant
hills and finally crossing the American River, which we followed for
many miles—now far above with the green stream gleaming through the
pines and again coursing along its very banks. There are many deciduous
trees among the evergreens on these hills and the autumn coloring lent
a striking variation to the somber green of the pines. We had never
before realized that there were so many species besides conifers on the
California mountains. Maples and aspens were turning yellow and crimson
and many species of vines and creepers lent brilliant color dashes to
the scene. There was much indeed to compensate for the absence of the
flowers which bloom in profusion earlier in the season.

Georgetown, some forty miles above Placerville, is the only town worthy
of the name between the latter place and Tahoe. Beyond here we began
the final ascent to the summit of the divide over a road that winds
upward in long loops with grades as high as twenty-five per cent. There
were many fine vistas of hill and valley, rich in autumn colorings that
brightened the green of the pines and blended into the pale lavender
haze that shrouded the distant hills. From the summit, at an altitude
of seventy-four hundred feet, we had a vast panorama of lake, forest,
and mountain—but I might be accused of monotonous repetition were I to
endeavor to describe even a few of the scenes that enchanted us. Every
hilltop, every bend in the road, and every opening through the forests
that lined our way presented views which, taken alone, might well
delight the beholder for hours—only their frequent recurrence tended to
make them almost commonplace to us.

For a dozen miles after leaving Myers, our road ran alternately through
forests and green meadows—the meadows about Tahoe remain green the
summer through—finally coming to the lake shore, which we followed
closely for the twenty miles to Glenbrook. Most of the way the road
runs only a few feet above the water level and we had many glorious
vistas differing from anything we had yet seen. In the low afternoon
sun the color had largely vanished and we saw only a sheet of gleaming
silver edged with clearest crystal, which made the pebbly bottom plainly
visible for some distance from the shore. Here an emerald meadow with
sleek-looking cattle—there are many cattle in the Tahoe region—lay
between us and the shining water; again it gleamed through the trunks of
stately pines. For a little while it was lost to view as we turned into
the forest which crowded closely to the roadside, only to come back in
a moment to a new view—each one different and seemingly more entrancing
than the last, culminating in the wonderful spectacle from Cave Rock.
This is a bold promontory, pierced beneath by the caves that give its
name, rising perhaps one hundred feet above the water and affording
a view of almost the entire lake and the encircling mountains. On the
western side the mountains throw their serrated peaks against the sky,
while to the far north they showed dimly through a thin blue haze. The
lake seemed like a great sapphire shot with gold from the declining
sun—altogether a different aspect in color, light and shadow from
anything we had witnessed before. We paused awhile to admire the scene
along with several other wayfarers—pedestrians, cyclists, and motorists
who were alike attracted by the glorious spectacle.

Two or three miles farther brought us to Glenbrook, a quiet nook at
the foot of mighty hills, pine-clad to the very summits. The hotel is a
large but unpretentious structure directly by the roadside and fronting
on the lake. In connection with the inn is a group of rustic cottages,
one of which was assigned to us. It had a new bathroom adjoining and
there was a little sheet-iron stove with fuel all laid for a fire—which
almost proved a "life-saver" in the sharp, frosty air of the following
morning. The cottage stood directly on the lake shore and afforded a
magnificent view of the sunset, which I wish I were able to adequately
describe. A sea of fire glowed before us as the sun went down behind
the mountains, which were dimmed by the twilight shadows. Soon the
shadows gave place to a thin amethyst haze which brought out sharply
against the western sky the contour of every peak and pinnacle. The
amethyst deepened to purple, followed by a crimson afterglow which, with
momentary color variations, continued for nearly an hour; then the light
gradually faded from the sky and the lake took on an almost ebony hue—a
dark, splendid mirror for the starlit heavens.

The excellent dinner at the inn was a surprise; we hardly expected it
in such a remote place. They told us that the inn maintains its own
gardens and dairy, and the steamer brings supplies daily. The inn keeps
open only during the season, which usually extends from May to October,
but there is some one in charge the year round and no one who comes
seeking accommodations is ever turned away. Though the inn is completely
isolated by deep snows from all land communication, the steamer never
fails, since the lake does not freeze, even in the periods of below-zero
weather. We found the big lounging room, with its huge chimney and
crackling log fire, a very comfortable and cheery place to pass the
evening and could easily see how anyone seeking rest and quiet might
elect to sojourn many days at Glenbrook. But Glenbrook was not always
so delightfully quiet and rural! Years ago, back in the early eighties,
it was a good-sized town with a huge saw mill that converted much of
the forest about the lake into lumber. There are still hundreds of old
piles that once supported the wharves, projecting out of the water of
the little bay in front of the hotel—detracting much from the beauty of
the scene.

We were early astir in the morning, wondering what the aspect of our
changeful lake might be in the dawning light; and, sure enough, the
change was there—a cold, steel-blue sheet of water, rippling into silver
in places. Near the shore all was quiet, not a wave lapping the beach as
on the previous night. The mountains beyond the lake were silhouetted
with startling distinctness against a silvery sky, and on many of the
summits were flecks of snow that had outlasted the summer.

We had thought to go on to Reno by the way of Carson City, but we could
not bring ourselves to leave the lake and so we decided to go by the
way of Truckee, even though we had previously covered much of the road.
It proved a fortunate decision, for we saw another shifting of the
wonderful Tahoe scenery—the morning coloring was different from that
of the afternoon and evening. We had the good fortune to pick up an
old inhabitant of Tahoe City whose car had broken down on one of the
heavy grades and who told us much about the lake and the country around
it. He had lived near Tahoe for more than thirty-five years and could
remember the days of the prospectors and sawmills. Nearly all the timber
about the lake is of new growth since the lumbering days. This accounts
for the absence of large trees except in a few spots which escaped the
lumberman's ax. Yellow pines, firs, and cedars prevail, with occasional
sugar pines and some deciduous varieties. It is, indeed, a pity that
Tahoe and the surrounding hills were not set aside as a national park
before so much of the land passed into private hands.

The day was perfect, crystal clear except for a few white clouds
drifting lazily across the sky or resting on the summits of the
mountains beyond the lake. For a few miles out of Tallac we ran through
a pine forest, catching fugitive glimpses of the blue water through
the stately trunks. As we ascended the ridge overlooking Emerald
Bay, exclamations of delight were frequent and enthusiastic as the
magnificent panorama unfolded to our view. The climax was reached when
we paused at the summit of the ridge, where the whole of Tahoe spread
out before us. Just beneath on one hand lay Emerald Bay; on the other
gleamed Cascade Lake—a perfect gem in glorious setting of rock and
tree. And the glory of color that greeted our eyes! Exaggerated in
description? No mortal language ever conveyed a tithe of its iridescent
beauty and never will. One of the ladies exclaimed, "It is like a great
black opal!" and knowing her passion for that gem, we recognized the
sincerity of her tribute. And, indeed, the comparison was not inapt.
There were the elusive, changeful greens and blues, the dark purples,
and the strange, uncertain play of light and color that characterizes
that mysterious gem. Near the shore line the greens predominated,
reaching the deepest intensity in Emerald Bay, just below. Passing
through many variations of color, the greens merged into the deep blues
and farther out in the lake purple hues prevailed. Along the opposite
shore ran the rugged mountain range, the summits touched by cloud-masses
which held forth the threat of a summer shower—and it came just before
we reached the tavern. Overhead the sky was of the deepest azure and
clear save for a few tiny white clouds mirrored in the gloriously tinted
water. Altogether, the scene was a combination of transcendent color
with a setting of rugged yet beautiful country that we have never seen
equaled elsewhere and which we have no words to fittingly describe.
Even the master artist fails here, since he can but express one mood of
the lake—while it has a thousand every day. We have seen the Scotch,
Italian and English lakes; we followed the shores of Constance and
Geneva; we sailed the length of George and Champlain; we admired the
mountain glories of Yellowstone Lake; we viewed Klamath and Crater Lakes
from mountain heights, but none of them matched the wonderful color
variations of Tahoe.

But we are on our way again, descending and climbing long grades
which pass through pine forests and come out on headlands from which
we gain new and entrancing views of lake and mountains. The road was
completed only recently, but it is good in the main, though there are
steep pitches and some rough and dusty stretches. At times it takes
us out of sight of the lake, but we are compensated by wild and rugged
scenery—towering crags and massive walls of gray stone—rising above us
on every hand. The road must have presented considerable engineering
difficulties; our driver points out a place where a mighty rock of a
thousand tons or more was blasted to fragments to clear the way. Far
above us on the mountain crests we see gleaming patches of snow which
the late summer sun has not been able to dispel. We cross clear mountain
streams and wind through groves of pine and spruce. Often as we climb
or descend the long grades we come upon new vistas of the lake and
mountains and occasionally we ask for a moment's delay to admire some
especially beautiful scene. Then we descend almost to the level of the
water, which we see flashing through stately trunks or rippling upon
clear, pebbly beaches. We pass various resorts, each surrounded by pines
and commanding a beautiful view of the lake. As we approach the Tavern
the summer shower that has been threatening begins and to the color
glories of sky and lake are added the diamond-like brilliance of the
big drops, for the sun is unobscured by the clouds. Beyond a stretch
of smooth water, dimmed to dull silver by the blue-gray vapor hanging
over it, a rainbow hovers in front of the faint outlines of the distant
hills. It is a fitting climax to the most inspiring drive in the many
thousands of miles covered by our wanderings.

  [Illustration: ON THE SHORE OF LAKE TAHOE
   From Original Painting by H. H. Bagg]

A fairly good road has been constructed for nearly three-quarters of
the distance around the lake and a very indifferent wagon road from
Tahoe City to Glenbrook completes the circuit. The latter we did not
cover, being assured that it was very difficult if not impassable for
motors. Plans are under way for a new road around the northern end of
the lake which will enable the motorist to encircle this wonderful body
of water—a trip of about eighty miles—and will afford endless viewpoints
covering scenes of unparalleled beauty. The whole of the road about
the lake ought to be improved—widened and surfaced and some of the
steeper grades and more dangerous turns eliminated. It might then be
the "boulevard" that one enthusiastic writer characterizes it, even in
its present condition, but in our own humble opinion it has a long way
to go before it deserves such a title.

  [Illustration:

     MAP OF
     CALIFORNIA
     SHOWING
     STEAM AND ELECTRIC RAILROAD LINES
     COUNTY SEATS
     PRINCIPAL CITIES AND TOWNS]



INDEX


     A

     Alvarado, Gov., 232, 257.
     American River, 366.
     Angel's Camp, 356, 361.
     Applegate, 360.
     Arlington Hotel, 186.
     Arrowhead Mountains, 44, 87.
     Arroyo Grande, 211.
     Auburn, 359-360.
     Automobile Club of Southern California, 6-11, 110, 147, 343.
     Avalon, 37-42.
     Azusa, 83.


     B

     Bakersfield, 335, 338, 341.
     Balboa Beach, 37.
     Bear Lake, 90.
     Benicia, 293.
     Beverly Hills, 24.
     Big Oak Flat, 344, 351.
     Bodega, 311.
     Bonsal, 104.
     Bottle Glass Mountain, 288-289.
     Buckler, Father, 203-207, 208.
     Burbank, Luther, 281-282.
     Busch Gardens, 59.


     C

     Cabrillo, Juan, 62, 63.
     Calabasas, 53-54, 179.
     Calexico, 141, 142.
     Calistoga, 291.
     Campo, 135.
     Canejo Pass, 179-180.
     Carmel-by-the-Sea, 237.
     Carmel Mission, 235, 237-241.
     Carnegie Solar Observatory, 47.
     Carpinteria, 184-185.
     Carson, Kit, 144, 230.
     Casitas Pass, 183-184, 197.
     Castaic, Lake, 341.
     Catalina Island, 37-42.
     Cazadero, 314.
     Chinese Camp, 344, 355, 356, 359.
     Claremont, 84.
     Clear Lake Valley, 284-286.
     Coalinga, 323-325.
     Coachella, 133.
     Colfax, 358-360.
     Coloma, 365.
     Colorado River, 127-129, 140.
     Colton Hall, 232.
     Colton, Walter, 232-233.
     Corona Del Mar, 37.
     Corona Del Monte, 246.
     Coronado Hotel, 114-117, 121.
     Coyote Wells, 137-138.
     Crane Flat, 353.
     Crystal Lake, 362.
     Cypress Point, 244-245.


     D

     Dana, Richard Henry, 171, 194, 236-237.
     Del Mar, 95, 109, 119, 144, 159-165.
     Del Monte Hotel, 1, 95, 225-228, 246, 317-318.
     Diabolus, Mount, 295.
     Dixieland, 138.
     Dolores Mission, 277, 330.
     Donner Lake, 362.
     Drake, Sir Francis, 63.
     Dublin, 306.
     Dutch Flat, 361.


     E

     El Cajon Pass, 90.
     El Camino Real, 110, 150, 157, 158, 171, 174, 199, 210, 252,
       272, 275, 330.
     El Centro, 129, 133, 140-141.
     El Pizmo, 211.
     Elsinore, 99-102.
     Elsinore Lake, 101.
     El Toro, 35, 174.
     Emigrant Gap, 358, 361.
     Encinitas, 165.
     Escondido, 107-108.
     Estudillo Mansion, 119-120.


     F

     Folsom, 364.
     Fontana Orchards, 85.
     Fort Baker, 317.
     Fort Barry, 317.
     Fort McArthur, 28.
     Fort Rosecrans, 122.
     Fort Ross, 317.
     "Franciscan Missions of California," 189.
     Fremont, Gen. John C., 80, 118, 170, 246, 257, 259, 277, 280.
     Fremont Peak, 246.
     Fresno, 322-323, 341, 344.


     G

     Gaviota Pass, 198, 200, 202, 334.
     Geyserville, 281.
     Glenbrook, 367-369, 373.
     Glendale, 48, 56.
     Glenwood Mission Inn, 85, 91, 92, 94-98.
     Gold Run, 361.
     Gonzales, 223.
     Grant Hotel, U. S., 110.
     Grant National Park, Gen., 338, 341.
     Griffith Park, 56-57.
     Grosmont, 114, 120.


     H

     Half Moon Bay, 318-319.
     Hamilton, Mount, 265-266, 274.
     Harte, Bret, 290, 355, 361, 365.
     Healdsburg, 282.
     Highlands, 99.
     Highland Springs, 284.
     Hollywood, 24-25, 43.
     Hollywood Mountain, 57.


     I

     Imperial Valley, 126-143, 376.


     J

     Jackson, Helen Hunt, 119, 181, 238, 240, 333.
     Jacksonville, 355.
     James, George Wharton, 80, 216, 277.
     Jolon, 219, 327.


     K

     King City, 220, 325-327.
     Kings River, 324.


     L

     La Crescenta, 55.
     La Jolla, 108, 109, 158.
     Lakeport, 284.
     Lankershim, 54, 179.
     La Purisima Concepcion Mission, 206, 220, 261, 323, 332.
     Larkin, Thos., 231.
     Lasuen, Father Francis, 80, 204, 211, 218, 223, 239, 256, 261,
       270, 333.
     Laurel Canyon, 43.
     Lebec, 341.
     Lick Observatory, 264-268, 274.
     Lobos Point, 239-240, 247-249.
     Loma, Point, 69, 120-125.
     Lompoc, 220, 332.
     Long Beach, 25-27, 261.
     Longpre, Paul de, 24-25.
     Lookout Mountain, 43-44.
     Lopez, Francisco, 80-81.
     Los Angeles, 1, 2, 11-15, 19, 82.
     Los Gatos, 263.
     Los Olivos, 201, 208.


     M

     McGroarty, John S., 67, 162, 195.
     Madera, 344.
     Malibu Rancho, 50.
     Mariposa Grove, 258, 347.
     Matilija Hot Springs, 335.
     Mattei's Tavern, 209-210.
     Merced, 321.
     Mesa Grande, 146.
     Mexicali, 141.
     Miami Lodge, 344, 346.
     Miller, Frank, 67, 97-98, 217.
     Miller, Joaquin, 225.
     Miramar, 108.
     Miramar Hotel Colony, 193.
     Mission San Jose, 264, 269-270.
     Modesto, 321, 341.
     Mohave Desert, 89.
     Mokelumne, 356.
     Monrovia, 82, 83.
     Montecito, 196.
     Monterey, 70, 79, 119, 163, 225-252, 281.
     Monte Rio, 315.
     Moran, Thos., 224.
     Mountain Spring, 136.
     Muir, John, 195.


     N

     Napa, 293.
     Napa Valley, 282, 288.
     Naples, (Los Angeles Co.), 27.
     Naples (Santa Barbara Co.), 201.
     National Soldiers' Home, 22-23.
     Native Sons of the Golden West, 220, 230.
     Newport Beach, 30, 31, 36-37.
     New River, 128, 140.
     Nilands, 142.
     Nordhoff, 335.


     O

     Oakland, 305, 317.
     Ocean Park, 20-21.
     Oceanside, 165, 170.
     O'Keefe, Father, 168-169, 191.
     "Old Baldy," 82-83.
     "Old Missions of California, The," 80-81.
     Olema, 316.
     Orange, 34.
     O'Sullivan, Father St. John, 172-173, 176-177.
     "Our Lady of the Solitude" Mission, 220-223, 261.
     Owens River Aqueduct, 54, 79, 340.
     Oxnard, 180.


     P

     Pala, 104-105, 148.
     Pacific Grove, 243, 245.
     Pala Mission, 105-107.
     Palatingwa Indians, 107.
     Palm Springs, 132-133.
     Palo Alto, 273-275.
     Palomar, Mount, 149, 162.
     Pasadena, 59, 60.
     Paso Robles, 214-215, 323, 331.
     Pebble Beach, 245.
     Petaluma, 278.
     Pieta Station, 283.
     Placerville, 358, 364-366.
     Port Costa, 293.
     Portola, 69.
     Priest's, 355.


     Q

     "Quo Vadis," 35.


     R

     Ramona, 144-145.
     "Ramona," 102, 119, 156, 181.
     Rancho La Brae, 59.
     Raymond, 344.
     Redlands, 86, 91, 93, 99.
     Red Mountain, 103.
     Redondo, 30.
     Riverside, 85, 91-98, 100, 146.
     Roosevelt, Theodore, 129.
     Rubidoux Mountain, 92-94.
     Russian River, 282, 313, 315.


     S

     Sacramento, 126, 280, 308, 308, 358.
     Saint Helena, Mt., 44, 290-293, 311.
     Salinas, 224, 252.
     Salinas River, 215, 218, 223.
     Salton Sea, 128, 133, 140.
     San Andreas, 356.
     San Antonio Mission, 63, 97, 219-220, 257, 323, 329-331.
     San Antonio, Mt., 82.
     San Bernardino, 85, 86, 93, 132.
     San Bernardino Mtns., 125, 162.
     San Buenaventura Mission, 178, 180, 182.
     San Carlos Borromeo, 68, 229.
     San Carlos Church, 235-236, 242.
     San Clemente, 162.
     San Diego, 110-125, 150.
     San Diego Back Country, 134, 142-149.
     San Diego Mission, 110-113.
     San Fernando, 64, 79-81, 180, 335.
     San Fernando Mission, 74-80, 140, 178.
     San Fernando Valley, 54-55, 178.
     San Francisco, 1, 7, 62, 275-277, 293, 317.
     San Francisco de Asis Mission, 178.
     San Gabriel Archangel Mission, 64-74, 79, 86, 111, 330.
     San Gabriel Mountains, 52.
     San Gorgonio, Mt., 100.
     San Jacinto, Mt., 100, 162.
     San Joaquin Delta, 294, 297-305.
     San Juan Bautista Mission, 97, 252-257.
     San Juan Capistrano Mission, 73, 171-177, 222, 253-254.
     San Jose, 260, 263-264.
     San Jose, Mission, 264, 269-270.
     San Luis Obispo Mission, 70, 211-214, 261.
     San Luis Rey Mission, 105, 166-170, 190.
     San Luis Rey River, 104, 148.
     San Marcos Pass, 194, 199.
     San Miguel Mission, 215-218, 255.
     San Pasqual River, 144.
     San Pedro, 27-28, 38, 62.
     San Rafael Mission, 223, 261, 277-278.
     Santa Ana, 33, 177.
     Santa Ana River, 93.
     Santa Barbara, 74, 178-198.
     Santa Barbara Mission, 178-198, 261.
     Santa Catalina Island, 27, 36, 37, 162.
     Santa Clara, 271-273.
     Santa Clara College, 271-272.
     Santa Clara Mission, 271-272.
     Santa Clara Valley, 179, 265.
     Santa Cruz, 254, 257-258, 320.
     Santa Cruz (Island), 195.
     Santa Cruz Mission, 223, 260-261.
     Santa Cruz Mountains, 262, 270.
     Santa Lucias Mountains, 328.
     Santa Maria, 210.
     Santa Monica, 20-21.
     Santa Monica Mountains, 21, 43, 51-52.
     Santa Paula, 335.
     Santa Rosa, 281-282.
     Santa Rosa (Island) 195.
     Santa Ynez, 200.
     Santa Ynez Mission, 199, 202-208.
     Santa Ynez Mountains, 196, 201.
     Santa Ysabel, 145, 148.
     Saugus, 181, 335, 339, 342.
     Sausalito, 282, 286, 277, 312, 316.
     Sebastopol, 311.
     Sequoia Nat. Park, 338.
     Serra, Father Junipero, 63, 70-74, 93, 111, 118, 119, 151, 176,
       182, 190, 211, 229, 230, 236, 238-240, 256, 330.
     Sevastopol, 281.
     Shasta, Mt., 360.
     Sherman, Gen., 231-232.
     Sherman Institute, 91.
     Ship Island, 39.
     Sierra Madre, 61.
     Silverado Canyon, 34.
     Simonneau, Jules, 233.
     Sloat, Commodore, 229, 242.
     Smiley Heights, 98, 99.
     Soledad, 220-223, 261.
     Sonoma, 151, 178, 278-281.
     Sonora, 356.
     Southern Pacific R. R., 129, 131, 285.
     Squirrel Inn, 88.
     Stanford Jr. University, Leland, 273-274.
     Stevenson, Robert Louis, 233-234, 244, 289, 290.
     Stockton, 296-307, 341, 344, 357.
     Stockton, Frank, 88.
     Stratford Inn, 159.
     Summerland, 185.
     Superstition Mountains, 139.
     Sutter, Gen. John H., 309, 312.
     Sycamore Canyon, 196.


     T

     Tahoe City, 373.
     Tahoe, Lake, 196, 343, 358-373.
     Tejon Pass, 335, 338.
     Temecula, 102, 103, 148.
     Theosophical Institute, 121-125.
     Tia Juana, 18, 117-118.
     Tingley, Katherine, 124, 186.
     Topango Canyon, 49.
     Torrey, John, 158.
     Torrey Pines, 158, 163.
     Truckee, 362, 370.
     Tujunga River, 56.
     Tulare Lake, 336-337.
     Tuolumne Grove, 353.
     Tuttletown, 356.


     U

     Upland, 84.


     V

     Vallejo, Gen., 278-279, 280.
     Vancouver, George, 241.
     Van Nuys, 54, 179.
     Van Orten, Lake, 362.
     Venice, 19-20, 30, 31.
     Ventura, 51, 178, 180, 181, 334.
     Verdugo Mountains, 55, 56.
     Viscaino, 63, 228, 230, 236.


     W

     Warner's Hot Springs, 145, 148.
     Warren's Ranch, 135.
     Watsonville, 257.
     Wawona, 346-347.
     White, Stewart Edward, 194.
     Whitney, Mount, 337.
     Whittier, 32.
     Wilson, Mount, 44-48, 61, 82, 266.
     Wright, Harold Bell, 130.


     Y

     Yosemite Valley, 343-352.
     Yuba River, 361.


     Z

     Zalvidea, Fray Jose, 174-175.





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