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The Automobilist's Grief - On The Road In 1910

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Since the discovery of the 1910 Oregon Tour Book a week ago I have been anxious to put it to use. I plan to launch the North Central Oregon Expedition at the first sign of good weather.

 

I have posted the original maps and directions for the expedition below. They make fun reading, and point the way to several sites that may still be identifiable. One that interests me is the reference to a 32% pitch on Franklin Hill. I don't suppose it was long, but can you imagine driving a 1910 automobile up a 32% grade? :o Franklin Hill shows on my Delorme Topo maps, so I will explore the area via Google Earth, and on the ground.

 

I like the casual character of the directions...."(this grade) has caused many an automobilist grief," or "...hotel accommodations of Heppner nothing to brag of."

 

And I have always enjoyed the term "automobilist." BTW, there was an AAA magazine by that name. I have a few issues. We have pilots, engineers, cowboys, and automobilists. What do you do for recreation..."I'm an automobilist." I see good looking women pointing and saying breathlessly "He's an automobilist!! It has a classy ring to it.

 

Enjoy the maps and directions, and imagine what it was like in 1910.

 

Dave

 

Keep the Show on the Road!

 

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I dream of good-looking women pointing at me. But somehow being a modern-day automobilist doesn't seem to be attracting them!

 

This book is a fabulous look at how automobilism was at the time. But if I were in that time and trying to use this book, I would be cursing its rambling prose. It would be much better in table form by mileage, as the ABBs are! It's much easier to refer to it while on the road in that format.

 

jim

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This has the marks of an excellent adventure; Perhaps one involving the "new" F-150? I, too, really enjoy the guide's casual tone. In addition to the phrases you've mentioned, I liked "Roads continue both roughish and sandy." Apparently at least one of those 32% pitches is in the middle of a hair-pin turn. Best practice for that. You may want to practice for the "inverse blind left fork", too. I'm guessing you're a little rusty on both.

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Since the discovery of the 1910 Oregon Tour Book a week ago I have been anxious to put it to use. I plan to launch the North Central Oregon Expedition at the first sign of good weather.

 

I have posted the original maps and directions for the expedition below. They make fun reading, and point the way to several sites that may still be identifiable. One that interests me is the reference to a 32% pitch on Franklin Hill. I don't suppose it was long, but can you imagine driving a 1910 automobile up a 32% grade? :o Franklin Hill shows on my Delorme Topo maps, so I will explore the area via Google Earth, and on the ground.

 

The 32% grade reminds me of a passage I read some time ago in a reproduction of a similar-vintage New Mexico "auto trails" book: At that time the auto route between Albuquerque and Santa Fe (which would become part of the original 66 alignment a decade or so later, and today is paralleled by I-25) had a steep grade known as "Bajada Hill". The guide book advised motorists with autos that relied on gravity-feed fuel systems (no fuel pump) to turn their vehicle around at the base of the hill and BACK up the hill so as to avoid fuel starvation!

 

Your Tour Book pages are certainly fascination reading! As luck has it, the Oregon travel info that I ordered for my upcoming August trip to the Portland area (Columbia River Historic Highway here I come!) arrived in yesterday's mail, so I compared the route shown in your 1910 book to the present day. McDonald (John Day Ferry) is not even shown at all on the current official Oregon highway map, and the part of the route from Olex to the John Day crossing is even today still a gravel road. Interesting!

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Jim,

 

I agree that the "casual" approach made for slow reading. The 1911 California Tour Book uses the same style. It is packed away so I can't confirm it, but I'm guessing both were by the same fellow. The maps in the 1910 Oregon seem pretty iffy. Those straight stretches did not exist, and I have not been able to confirm mileages easily. I have found some 1914 and 1916 maps, so I am going to use them as well.

 

As for Automobilists, "I are one! " But I think the good looking women would wave more often (or at all) if my automobile was a Porsche. Sheila tells me to forget about the Porsche and the women.

 

Denny,

 

Yah, rusty and maybe a little moldy as well.

 

The directions really do help get the flavor of road travel in 1910. Most contemporary travel accounts I read tend to gloss over what we would consider hardships or inconveniences, I suppose because they were routine, and they didn't have a comparison. Imagine the pot holes if they had to note them!

 

I don't think I will need the vintage F-150, and I want to put a few more miles on it before I take a longish trip in it. It ain't a new Forester....for sure!

 

As a complete aside, I wrote Alex a note about a week ago to see if he was above flood level, but I have not heard back. Do we know if he is high and dry? He hasn't been on the forum for quite a while.

 

Dave

 

Keep the Show on the Road!

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The 32% grade reminds me of a passage I read some time ago in a reproduction of a similar-vintage New Mexico "auto trails" book: At that time the auto route between Albuquerque and Santa Fe (which would become part of the original 66 alignment a decade or so later, and today is paralleled by I-25) had a steep grade known as "Bajada Hill". The guide book advised motorists with autos that relied on gravity-feed fuel systems (no fuel pump) to turn their vehicle around at the base of the hill and BACK up the hill so as to avoid fuel starvation!

 

Your Tour Book pages are certainly fascination reading! As luck has it, the Oregon travel info that I ordered for my upcoming August trip to the Portland area (Columbia River Historic Highway here I come!) arrived in yesterday's mail, so I compared the route shown in your 1910 book to the present day. McDonald (John Day Ferry) is not even shown at all on the current official Oregon highway map, and the part of the route from Olex to the John Day crossing is even today still a gravel road. Interesting!

 

All true! I think, by the way, that the Bajada Hill is now a bike and hiking route. Is that true?

 

Your comment about the route no longer on the Oregon map is right on. I have taken the road between Wasco and the John day, and it is in good graded condition. But there is no possible auto crossing of the John Day except in late Fall, and I'm not sure they will even allow fording it these days. You might run over a rafter! (Now there's a headline in the making!)

 

If you wanted to get from Portland to Pendleton by car in 1910, you went around the Cascades to Klamath Falls, up through Bend, and across on this route. After about 1916, you could take the Columbia River Highway to The Dalles, then down to Wasco and across. It was still the main route in 1919 in the Automobile Blue Book of that year, but I haven't determined when it was superseded.

 

Thanks for the interest!

 

Dave

 

Keep the Show on the Road!

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All true! I think, by the way, that the Bajada Hill is now a bike and hiking route. Is that true?

 

I do not know, but would love to check it out if/when I'm in the ABQ area again.

 

Your comment about the route no longer on the Oregon map is right on. I have taken the road between Wasco and the John day, and it is in good graded condition. But there is no possible auto crossing of the John Day except in late Fall, and I'm not sure they will even allow fording it these days. You might run over a rafter! (Now there's a headline in the making!)

 

The '09-'11 Oregon highway map I just received in my travel info packet does show the road as crossing the river, returning to a paved state as it approaches Wasco, so I assumed that at some point in time a bridge had been built at the former ferry crossing. I guess the map is incorrect?

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And I have always enjoyed the term "automobilist." BTW, there was an AAA magazine by that name. I have a few issues. We have pilots, engineers, cowboys, and automobilists. What do you do for recreation..."I'm an automobilist."

 

I love it ... and I may have to start using that term to describe myself!

 

Thanks for the pics of those pages ... sure are cool.

 

 

I dream of good-looking women pointing at me. But somehow being a modern-day automobilist doesn't seem to be attracting them!

 

Heh ... so true. I have that same dream.

 

 

 

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"Relight the flame when it's cold"__Godsmack__'Serenity'

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