No Paraphernalia Required!

The March 1915 issue of Motor magazine contained an article by A. L. Westgard on “Motor Routes to the California Expositions.” The following is an excerpt from that article:

Owing to the recent improvement of the transcontinental routes, it is no longer necessary to load one’s car down with all sorts of paraphernalia to combat the many difficulties which formerly were strewed along the path, nor is it, in this day of dependable motor cars, necessary to carry a multiplicity of parts. Still, it is well to outfit with reasonably limited equipment to provide against mud, possible breakdowns, and climatic changes.

To begin with, limit your personal outfit to a minimum, allowing only a suitcase to each person, and ship your trunk. Use khaki or old loose clothing. Some wraps and a tarpaulin to protect you against cool nights and provide cover in the case of being compelled to sleep outdoors are essential. Amber glasses, not too dark, will protect your eyes against the glare of the desert. You will, of course, want a camera, but remember that the high lights of the far west will require a smaller shutter opening and shorter exposure than the eastern atmosphere.

Carry sixty feet of 5/8-inch Manila rope, a pointed spade, a small ax with the blade protected by a leather sheet, a camp lantern, a collapsible canvas bucket with spout, and a duffle bag for the extra clothing and wraps. Start out with new tires all around, of the same size if possible, and two extra tires also, with four extra inner tubes. Select a tire with tough fabric; this is economical and will save annoyance. Use only the best grade of lubricating oil and carry a couple of one-gallon cans on running-board as extra supply, because you may not always be able to get the good oil you ought to use.

And, mark this well, carry two three-gallon canvas desert water bags, then see that they are filled each morning. Give your car a careful inspection each day for loose bolts or nuts and watch grease cups and oil cups. Carry two sets of chains and two jacks, and add to your usual tool equipment a coil of soft iron wire, a spool of copper wire, and some extra spark plugs.

West of the Missouri carry a small commissary of provisions, consisting of canned meat, sardines, crackers, fresh fruit or canned pineapples, and some milk chocolate for lunches. The lack of humidity in the desert sections, combined with the prevalence of hard water west of the Missouri River is liable to cause the hair to become dry and to cause chaps and blisters on the face and hands as well as cause the fingernails to become brittle and easily broken. To prevent this, carry a jar of outing cream and a good hair cleanser. Use them every night.

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The Hanging of Jake

Cowboy Jake was a drifter with a clouded past. It was said he killed seven men when he was down south in old Mexico. It was only four men, worthless sorts, but Jake reveled in the exaggeration. However, Jake’s real problems were shoplifting and petty thievery.

I’m telling you . . .

Once he stole his barber’s glass eye. He sold it to pay for the bandages to stop the bleeding coming from where his earlobe used to be. Apparently, one-eyed barbers have no depth perception.

Ultimately, Jake got himself hanged. It wasn’t for stealing the glass eye or killing the barber, or even killing those guys down in Mexico. The folks up in the sparse and treeless mesa country must have been pretty angry with old Jake–they hanged him without a damned tree–just left him sort of sprawled across the ground. One end of the rope was tied to a rock and the other end noosed and cinched up around his skinny little neck. It is hard for me to explain exactly what went on, but Jake is dead just the same.

Jake had the ‘cooties.’

Jake probably picked them up when he was in a dusty cantina outside of Alvarez. Just about everybody down there had them. Damn ‘cooties.’The good news is that ‘cooties’ don’t live long up in the mesa country. The bad news is they didn’t have to hang Jake. The good news is the townspeople didn’t really give a damn anyway.

Old Geology

Antelope Valley Physiography

Notes from: WATER RESOURCES OF THE ANTELOPE VALLEY, CALIFORNIA.
By Harry R. Johnson – 1911

The physiographic history of the buttes and heights of land east of the Antelope Valley is obscure. No such striking evidence of the origin of the region as that just presented for the Rosamond Buttes was found, yet erosion seems inadequate to fully explain the topography. It is tentatively suggested that this region of irregular buttes and shallow intervening valleys has been less deformed by depression or elevation than either Antelope Valley or the marginal ranges.

Figure 1 is a purely theoretic representation of what are believed to be the main blocks and faults involved in the production of the larger physiographic features of the Antelope Valley region. The small northwestward-dipping block in front of the Portal Ridge block, represents the Antelope Buttes near Fairmont. As the tuffs on the west side of these buttes dip at angles of 35° to 55° northwestward a direction at right angles to the San Gabriel fault system—it is assumed that the underlying granite has been tilted in accordance with the Tehachapi rather than the San Gabriel faults.


These are the Days

There are those memories of the autumnal winds when seasons turn upside down and the icy drama of the silver winter threads through the hollows between trees stirring last year’s brown leaves into a low ruckus and crackle. Thin and bare sycamore branches, delicate and bony, trace low and lonely moans in their dark choir. Pink sand from the nearby riverbed salted everywhere and anywhere; grit flecked in your hair, in your shoes, in your eyes. These are the days. These were the days. These are the heartfelt and kind memories of these days.

California Southern

The importance of our railroad

The Southern Pacific had a monopoly on Southern California’s Transcontinental Railroads. Nothing came in or went out on any other rails than Southern Pacific rails.


However, the Southern Pacific at Needles needed to connect with the bridge at the Colorado River to the Atlantic and Pacific. In order to do this, they worked out an agreement wherein the Atlantic & Pacific could use their rails to ship to and from San Francisco. Southern California still remained in a monopoly.

San Diego wanted a share in the rapid growth of the state. With the high cost of getting there, most tourists simply stopped in Los Angeles.

The California Southern, backed by investors from Boston, built from San Diego to Colton, but the Southern Pacific delayed their progress further north for over a year in what became known as the ‘Frog War.’ ‘Frog’ is the term for a rail crossing rail assembly so that either track can cross the other.

Formidable, but not impossible, building through the Cajon Pass to the Mojave River, through the upper and lower narrows, and then along in the same direction to Waterman, now known as Barstow. San Diego now had the benefit of a link to a transcontinental railroad and Southern California had a competitive transportation network.

W.feller.