Today we make our way to the Golden State – California. As most people know California is known for, among other things, their car culture. That culture apparently never translated to CalTrans, who never seem to have published maps.
Instead most Californians have relied on the auto club for their travel tools. The state has two major auto clubs – The Auto Club of Southern California and the California State Automobile Association, which covers Northern California.
The auto club maps rarely featured photos, mostly just graphically interesting maps.
For this posting we will mix together vintage Auto Club maps with photos from various years of the highlights of the state.
The map below dates from the 1950s and covers the entire state.
A view of the map itself shows the famed freeways of the state still a few years away. This view has the area from the coast around San Francisco to the mountains and Yosemite National Park, going south as far as Santa Barbara.
Our tour will start in San Francisco….
The view back toward downtown from Twin Peaks on a cloudy day.
While most of San Francisco streets are in a grid system, the area directly around Twin Peaks have streets with curves resulting in a haphazard look to the houses.
The Golden Gate bridge with the tops of the towers obscured by the low clouds.
The cool, weirdness of Haight Asbury.
Isotope Comic Book Shop and their artistic toilet lids.
San Francisco from Angel Island.
An evening at the Santa Cruz Beach.
San Luis Reservoir as we head towards the central valley.
Yosemite! One of the best National Parks.
The Central Valley is the produce capital of the country.
Sequoia National Park.
Kings Canyon National Park.
Let’s move on to Northeastern California.
Lassen National Park
Hieroglyphs in far northern California
Northwestern California is home to some amazing coastlines and forests.
Our tour of Northwest California starts out with the Francis Ford Coppola Winery in Geysersville.
The Mendocino County coast.
Fort Bragg, California (not to be confused with the actual U.S. Army Fort Bragg in North Carolina).
One of the ultimate tourist traps – the Drive Thru Tree in Leggett, California.
We were lucky enough to be in Arcata, California for one of the coolest festivals we ever saw – the Kinetics Festival.
Shasta Dam and lake with Mount Shasta in the background.
This 1927 map is the Circle Tour of Southern California. Leaving downtown Los Angeles it takes you east past San Bernardino to Palm Springs, before heading south through the desert, finally returning to the coast at San Diego.
We will recreate the highlights of this tour 90 years later…
The Bradbury Building in downtown Los Angeles was there when this map was published.
Driving through the desert to Palm Springs.
Palm Springs from high up on Mount San Jacinto.
San Diego – This late 1940s map shows a San Diego that was just becoming a major city.
By 2012 it was a beautiful city by the bay.
Petco Park – Home of the San Diego Padres (trivia time – the Padres are the only major league sports team whose name is entirely in non English)
And finally back in Los Angeles – although this 1920s map is missing LAX (among other things).