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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.

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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.

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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.

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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?

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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.

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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.