The Godfrey-Kinkade Expedition, Part 4

Grandpa, Grandma, and my Cousin Craig around 1975.

The final chapter on Grandpa G’s Cross-Country Expedition. Today they finally arrive at their destination, only to head for home, as that is the way of the world.

In part 3, I showed a picture of my Grandparents later in life spending time in a camp ground. Today, we see them posing with my cousin in front of their Volkswagen camper. They continued to tour the country in this rig well into their seventies. D/S

August 13th

More tourist sightseeing. Based on Grandpa’s comments below, he must have visited Tijuana back in 1928 while serving @ March Field 😉

In the morning we put our glad rags on and went to the American Exposition. We spent practically all day there and saw a great deal. We were finally obliged to leave because of exhaustion.

The California Pacific International Exposition. It was a thing

Our travelers spent a week and a half traveling cross country to attend this exposition, but Grandpa only used three sentences and 34 words to describe their day. As many have said, “Life is a journey, not a destination.” For more information on the Exposition, click on image above- It takes you to a YouTube newsreel of the event. D/S

In the evening we drove to Tia Juana and back. Tia Juana is pretty dead since they closed the gambling places. We spent the night at the same camp as the previous night.

August 14th

This isn’t the fastest route today, but it would have been the most direct route in 1935, and avoids the dreaded Baker Grade

In the morning we drove up the coast to Oceanside. Here we had decided to go in swimming in the Briny. We all enjoyed our swim in the ocean and but for Marjorie our first in the sea. The waves were not tremendous but they were large enough to be interesting and was it ever fun to be carried up over them.

Oceanside in 1938

From Oceanside we started our homeward trek. Boulder Dam was our next stop and we reached Las Vegas that evening, after driving through the Mojave Desert. We expected terrible heat but it had rained the previous night and was cloudy when we drove through and was really comfortably cool. We saw a veritable forest of Joshua trees on this stage of our journey.

Truth be told, there’s Joshua trees all through the Mojave Desert, but we’ll assume they passed by the National Monument

We camped in the desert that night and as the ground was soft we worried about how we’d get out should it rain. About 2 o’clock it started to thunder and Marjorie routed us out. We drove to a wide place in the road and all slept in the car till morning.

August 15th

A brief stop at Boulder Dam and then a grand tour of Utah and Arizona National parks

About daylight we drove on and cooked breakfast in the desert. We then drove on to the dam. The dam was certainly a tremendous undertaking, a person must see it to appreciate it. The dam itself is completed but the powerhouses and spillways are not. The lake behind the dam will have a shoreline over 500 miles in circumference, which gives some idea of the tremendous size of the undertaking. A water supply for Los Angeles will be piped from the dam and electric power for several southern California towns will come from this source.

Boulder Dam (now Hoover) under construction in 1935

We spent the rest of the driving thru rough country to Zion National Park. This park is perhaps the most colorful of any in the United States, save perhaps Grand Canyon Park. This park also has majestic cliffs, tall and inspiring. The colors of the rock formations range from deep reds to light yellows and near whites.

Zion National back before the bumper to bumper traffic

Leaving the park we went through the longest tunnel of our trip. This tunnel is on the road between Zion and Grand Canyon National Parks and is one and six-tenths miles long. Openings have been cut out of the side of the tunnel and parking places provided so that anyone may stop and look out at the grandeur of Zion Park.

Roads were rather poor to the northern entrances of Grand Canyon Park and we had to drive hard to arrive there before dark. En route we saw the largest herd of deer or possibly Elk that we saw. There was some disagreement on the number but there were 17 or 18 in the herd. We climbed rapidly when we neared the wall of the canyon and drove thru miles of fine forest, mostly pine but streaked with beautiful white birch.

This picture showing construction on the North Rim Road is dated 1937- A few years late for Grandpa!

Grand Canyon is almost indescribable to anyone who has not seen it. Being thousands of feet deep and very beautifully colored. The sides are sheer and steep in places and have a more gradual slope in other places. To really see it as it should be seen a person should spend considerable time there and go down into the canyon, either afoot or on horseback. Our time was too limited for us to go into the canyon, much as we wanted to. I believe this park appealed to me the most of any we saw. The main canyon has numerous other side canyons running into it. Each of these is of magnificent proportions.

The North Rim view back before they invented color

August 16th-18th

This route is close, since the text provides several way points, but there may have been some deviations on their run home

We did not stop that night but left the cushions in the rear seat down so that two of us could sleep there while the other two drove. In the afternoon we ran into rain as we had the day before. We also had a shower in the morning. We didn’t care much for the showers as we had another shortcut to make.

Price, Utah in 1939

It looked very much like rain as we started on our second shortcut of the day from Price to Duchesne, in Utah.

Duchesne, Utah. Outside of newer cars, I’m not sure much has changed

It started to rain before we reached the summit. The road remained solid through a little slippery. Down from the summit we ran into several places where mud, rocks and other debris had washed out into the road but had no trouble getting thru. It stopped raining before we got to the bottom and we were complimenting ourselves on our luck when it started to rain again. We drove hard to get out before so much debris washed across the road that we could not. Fast driving almost proved our undoing as we struck a large puddle of water, which got our ignition wet. We waited for it to quite raining before getting out to wipe off the distributor. While we waited, mud washed across the road behind us till it was hub deep in places. Finally the rain let up a little and I removed my shoes and got out and wiped off the distributor. We proceeded on for a ways and struck another place where mud, rocks, and sticks were hub deep on the car. It got wet again and I had to again wipe it off. We had difficulty pulling thru this muck but finally made it only to run into several more places very nearly as bad, but we finally got through when it quit raining.

Loveland Pass- 11,990 feet high, and not even in Colorado’s top twenty

That night saw us over the divide at an altitude of something over 11,000 feet, and on into Denver. East of Denver we hit poor roads and many detours, several bridges being out. After North Platte we had fine paved roads, and made good time. We crossed the Missouri into Iowa at night, arriving home at 6:30 Sunday morning, August 18th.

Grandpa in 1955, reading Motor Trend’s “Buyer’s Guide to Imported Cars”

And that marks the end of Grandpa’s Journey. It saddens me that I never had a chance to travel cross-country with him, but I rode many a back-country road with him growing up, and remember my time spent with him very fondly! D/S

Additional Posts:

Post 1- Kiester to Yellowstone

Post 2- Yellowstone to San Francisco

Post 3- San Francisco to Los Angeles (via Yosemite)