The Godfrey-Kinkade Expedition, Part 3


My Grandparents sometime around 1970

My third report on my Grandfather’s 1935 Cross Country Expedition. This week, the travelers spent four days in California driving sightseeing in Yosemite and Los Angeles, before arriving in San Diego. When reading this post, Grandpa’s words appear in plain text, while my comments are in italics. 

This week, I’m sharing a picture from much later in Grandpa’s life, but as you can see from the RV trailer in the background, both he and Grandma enjoyed travel and camping throughout their life together. It’s nice to know this report from early in their marriage describes activities they would enjoy for the next fifty years. D/S

August 9th

A short drive into Yosemite, then a relaxing day catching up on chores

We entered the park about the middle of the forenoon and drove up a steep pass through fine large timber and close to the top of the divide we saw some enormous redwoods. We were obliged to wait for an even hour to go down into the canyon as it is a one way road, up traffic odd and down traffic even hours. We waited in a forest camp and drank cool but not very tasty water out of a stream.

Yosemite as captured by Ansel Adams 1937. The mountains remain much the same

I’ve been to Yosemite twice in my life, and recommend everyone find the time to visit at least once. Even in black and white, this Ansel Adams photograph helps capture the magic. It’s widely accepted that Yosemite’s awesome beauty was instrumental in establishing the US National Parks System. Reading Grandpa’s description, I think he agrees. D/S

We drove to the gates shortly before it was time to go down. Most of the cars that came up were boiling and had to stop for water and we decided we had a steep descent ahead of us. At the hour we started down in second gear and held the brakes most of the way down. We descended so rapidly that our ears about popped out. We came down a steep canyon wall and had a sweeping view of the entire Yosemite Valley and a very good view of the Falls. Yosemite Valley is really awe inspiring with its sheer, tremendous cliffs over three thousand feet high. We soon located a camping place and the girls went to work washing our clothes. Here I started this letter but did not find time to finish.

August 10th

A rough, hot drive with more trailer issues

In the morning we drove to the various points of interest. The falls are not as beautiful at this time of year as they are in the spring. Since there is not much water coming over in the summer. This park appealed to me more than any we had seen because everything was so vast, the cliffs dwarf the trees and buildings.

After looking over the park we left through a tunnel of slightly less than a mile, for Fresno Calif. We began to realize that we would not be able to see all that we had originally planned because of lack of time and money so we decided not to go to Sequoia National Park as we had seen Redwoods in Yosemite. We took the wrong road to Fresno and hit a very rough road. About five miles out of Coarsegold an axle and wheel parted company with the trailer. We had nothing to repair it with so we unhooked the trailer and went back to Coarsegold and were fortunate enough to find the parts we wanted.

Coarsegold around the time of Grandpa’s search for trailer repair parts

The girls prepared dinner while Donald and I repaired the trailer and Oh Boy, was it hot out there in the sun.

Just after we left the rough road we had a flat tire on the trailer and ruined the tire. We brought a new one at Fresno and about passed out because of the heat getting it on. We had supper in Fresno at a terrible restaurant where they displayed a sign saying “Truck drivers eat here.” Don said “Truck drivers sure don’t care what they eat.”

Given their location on Highway 99, this could have been the restaurant of note

The heat had been so bad that day that we decided to travel that evening till we hit Los Angeles. We got in Los Angeles about two in the morning and camped in the sage brush.

August 11th

Typical tourist day in LA

We were routed out early in the morning by the sun and drove to a park where we cleaned up, then had breakfast. We then drove around to the business section of town. Before noon we went out to Exposition Park and had dinner.

Gardens at Exposition Park

Nowadays, Exposition Park is the place LA residents go to for the museums or to watch USC play football, but in 1935 it was quite a different place. Built in 1876 and originally named Agricultural Park, the 160-acre site served as an agricultural and horticultural fairground until around 1910, at which point it was re-named Exposition Park. It became the home to a state Exposition Building and the county Museum of History, Science and Art. The seven and a half acre Rose Garden, seen above, was completed in 1928. D/S

At two the museum and Art Gallery opened and we went to a show at Grauman’s Chinese Theater.

On August 11th, these movies were the double feature at Grauman’s

After the show we drove around in Hollywood. Then followed Sunset Boulevard out to Santa Monica and the sea. We next drove along the coast on what is incorrectly known as the speedway to Venice where they have a pleasure pier; a miniature Coney Island. We had supper there and watched the pleasure seekers.

The Boardwalk at Venice Beach, now long gone

August 12th

Since he had served at March Field, Grandpa made a long detour over to Riverside before turning south towards San Diego

We camped that night north of Hollywood and got up against a tree alive with ants. The car, Donald and Marjorie were full of ants in the morning. We cleaned off ants for half an hour and drove back to Hollywood for breakfast.

Long Beach was our next destination. We drove to Long Beach thru Los Angeles and Wilmington and drove south of Long Beach along the coast. We saw a good many people enjoying themselves on the beaches. It was cool on the beach, but we headed inland to Riverside where Zoe received a letter.

The Riverside Post Office- I’m not sure how the system worked, but my Grandfolks checked for mail at several locations during their trip

From Riverside we drove to March Field where I was stationed in 1928. Very little was familiar there as the old buildings were all gone, also the old faces. We didn’t stop long at the Field but started for San Diego.

A line of planes at March Field, sometime in the late thirties

We were in San Diego that evening and thanks to a lady filling station proprietor we found a fine place to camp.

Additional Posts:

Post 1- Kiester to Yellowstone

Post 2- Yellowstone to San Francisco

Post 4- Los Angeles to Home