1952 ROAD TRIP - 7676 Miles - in 27 Days - Average speed 41.5 MPH at 14.5 M.P.G.

I was a ride along, back seat Baby, soon to become a Grade-schooler

Chuck Hilton aka Herbert Charles Hilton Jr at the Wheel of a 1950 Pontiac - riding Shotgun or Navigator June Wilson aka Mom's Journal of this Trip

Departure Date   Aug 30, 1952 – Saturday

Point from                  Hermosa Beach, California  

To                               Las Vegas, Nevada

Mileage                     308 mi

Time left                    11:50 P.M. 8/29

Time arrived              9:30 A.M. 8/30

Stops:                         Glendale 12:40 A.M.  (Stayed 10 min)

                                    Victorville 3:15 A.M. Get 4 new tires

Blowout 10 mi before Victorville (stayed 2 hours)

                                    Baker 7:30 A.M. (stayed ½ hour)

                                    Las Vegas 9:30 A.M. (stayed 5 min)

Synopsis:  First exciting event was a blowout on lonely desert road about 3:00 A.M.  Felt squeamish after that so broke down & bought 4 new tires.  Oh well, live dangerously – or should I say safely!

            Stopped at Death Valley Inn in Baker for breakfast. Hot at 7:30 A.M. about 95*.  Feel better.  Went on to Las Vegas ~ too hot to stay.  Stopped at Chevron in Glendale Nevada.  Had a coke, won some dimes in a slot machine.

From               as Vegas ~ 9:30 A.M.  8/30

To                    Glendale, Nevada 11:00 A.M. 8/30

Mileage            52 mi            left 11:30 A.M.

Next stop             Lunch 12:00 to 12:55

Mileage             20 mi

Time                left about 12:55 or 1:00


The Place a little shade under a marsh tree by a red clay stream next to Virgin River.  Nev. Temp in shade about 98*.  I hate this state!


From               Red Clay to Mesquite, Nevada

Time                1:30 P.M.

Mileage          11 mi


Had a drink in Mesquite.  Played slot machines ~ Last chance:


From               Mesquite, Nevada to St George Utah

Time                1:30 P.M. to 3:00             8/30

Mileage          49 mi


            Had to stop 15 minuets near Utah border to buy water, no less for $.50.  Steep grade & our ol’ Chief boiled over.  Temperature in shade 101*.  Touched tip of Arizona ~ about 15 mi of hot hills & strange colored clay & rock formations.


Nearing Santa Clara & St. George, Utah, ground was bright orange with green sage & brush.  Mountains & outlining hills purple & bright clay red ~ square on top like Grand Canyon formations.


To this date Donnie has had approx 5 hours sleep since 8:30 P.M. Friday Night 8/29.  Now we are in the Haven Motel on US 91 ~ St. George, Utah enjoying 10 hours of blissful sleep.


From               St. George                                    Time 4:15 A.M.

To                    Zion National Park                        Time  5:30 A.M.

Mileage          52 mi


Left refreshed. Ate breakfast at Big Hand Café in St. George.  Drove in to Zion.  Walk up trail, saw a deer.  Sun came up.  Beautiful scenery, left Zion National forest on to US 89.  Zion to US 89, mileage 31 mi.


From Zion National Park (US 89) to Panquitch, Utah arrived 4:30 A.M. (8/31) 50 mi.  Stopped to eat again at Bryce Canyon Café.


From               Panquitch, Utah            8/31 10:10 A.M.

To                    Salt Lake City            3:30 P.M.

Mileage            247 mi


Several stops for cokes & gas saw Salt Lake City’s Capitol Bldg.  Gold room worth $600,000.00, saw Temple & Tabernacle, ate at Lapris (Italian).  Had a delicious meal.


Left Salt Lake 7:00 P.M. Heading to Logan Utah arrived 9:30 P.M. (Sunday 8/31) 92 mi.  Stopped at Motel Crystal for Sunday night.  Had to go out of our way 8-10 mi, but made good time.  Ate Breakfast at Mt. Logan Café, Temperature has dropped.


Left Logan Utah 6:20 A.M. To Jackson Hole Wyoming arriving 11:30 A.M. 188 mi.


Went through Idaho ~ about 38 mi of it then right on into Wyoming.  Bear Lake on the Idaho Utah border is beautiful.  View from Cache National Forest summit is breathtaking.  Wyoming roads are bad.  Stopped for a drink in Jackson at a Cowboy Bar.  Done in wood and silver dollar pieces.  Beautiful!  Went on the chair lift to top of mountain, 1600’ straight up.


Sept 1, 1:00 P.M. left Jackson Hole.  Arrived Grand Teton National Forest 2:00 P.M.  Approx. 54 mi.  Saw the lakes ~ ate lunch at Jackson Lake. 


Left Jackson Lake at 2:30 P.M. arrived Old Faithful Lodge Yellowstone National Park @ 4:30 P.M.  Mileage to the lodge 39 mi.


Took colored pictures of bears on the road.  Spent the night at Old Faithful Lodge, saw the geyser & went through the curio shops.  Ate dinner there got up at 5:00 A.M.  It froze during the night.  


Sept 2, Drove through Yellowstone Park 5:45 A.M.  Saw bears all over the highway. Saw the Great Falls at Canyon.  Came into Montana (9:50 A.M.) & out again about230 mi but stopped for lunch.  It snowed in Montana yesterday.


            From:             Old Faithful 9/2/52 @ 5:45 A.M.

            To:                   Red Lodge Montana  @ 12:45 P.M.

            Mileage          162 mi straight


Climbed to 10,940’ was in the snow.  Arrived in Red Lodge for lunch.  What a spectacular trip.  Never saw so much scenery, elk, moose, bears, & coyotes.


From:              Red Lodge 1:30.

To:                   Sheridan Wyoming time 7:15 PM

Mileage            194 mi


Montana is a drinking state, in every town there is a bar every other door.

Utah doesn’t have any, but it isn’t a dry state.  Just religious, in Utah every town has a magnificent Mormon church.


            Stopped at Custers National Battlefield & Cemetery.  Very nice & interesting.  Rode back into Wyoming to Sheridan. WHEE! High motel prices.  Stayed here wed 9/3/1952


            Arrived             Sundance Wyoming 11:15 A.M.

            Mileage          185 mi


Stopped at Devil’s Tower National Monument, Very impressive.  Molten volcanic lava


Stopped at Sundance for lunch.


            Left                Sundance Wyoming 11:45 A.M.

            Arrived          Wall, South Dakota 6:30 P.M.

            Mileage          197 mi


Went by Mt. Rushmore National Monument out of Rapid City, South Dakota.  Saw some Sioux Indians, Donnie was thrilled.  Ate at Wall & stayed there for the night.


            Left                 Wall, South Dakota             9/4/52          @ 5:00 A.M.

            Arrived            Kadoka, South Dakota                                   @ 5:50 A.M.

            Mileage          45 mi


Stopped for breakfast & cleaned out radiator.  Roads along here are straight & flat.  One can see up to 40 mi of road ahead.


            Left                Kadoka, South Dakota               9/4                  @ 7:00 A.M.

            Arrived          Sioux Falls, South Dakota                       @ 1:45 P.M.

            Mileage          266 mi


Had to stop in Murdo about ½ hour for steam cleaning.  Lost 1 hour on Central time. Actually traveled 5 hours 50 min.  Went to Sioux Falls for lunch.


            Left                Sioux Falls, South Dakota                       @ 2:40 P.M.

            Arrived          La Crosse, Wisconsin                               @ 9:00P.M.

            Mileage          308 mi


Rode all afternoon through Minnesota stopping only for coke or gas.  Ate dinner at Victor’s in La Crosse, Wisconsin.  Went to bed late ~ Ate breakfast there.


            Left                La Crosse, Wisconsin       9/5                  @ 9:10 A.M.    

            Arrived             Chicago, Illinois                                @ 4:30 P.M.

            Mileage          281


Drove across Tobacco & cornfields in Wisconsin to Chicago.  Stopped ½ hour for a snack.  Got into Chicago about 3:45, but took us almost an hour through traffic.  Stayed at Hotel Harrison.  Real expensive, and not as nice as Plaza in San Francisco.  Had dinner at Fountain View on Michigan Ave.  Donnie slept in the room.  Had breakfast & got tune up on car. 


Left                Chicago                       9/6                  11:00 A.M.

Arrived            Plymouth, Indiana                             1:30 P.M.

Mileage          112 mi


Changed our route as valves are bad.  Taking US 30 to Fairmont.  West Virginia to see Chuck’s Grandmother instead of going up to Toronto & see Buffalo & Niagara.  Too far, drove through Indiana a good part of the day.  Stopped for lunch in Plymouth Indiana.


Left                Plymouth, Indiana                            2:15 P.M.

Arrived            Marion, Ohio                                      6:30 P.M.

Mileage          185 mi


Went through Ft. Wayne Indiana & part of Ohio.  Will be in Fairmont West Virginia Sunday 9/7.  Stopped in Marion, Ohio for dinner & sleep @ Highway Hotel.


Left                Marion, Ohio              9/7/52          @ 8:00 A.M.

Arrived          Mt. Vernon, Ohio                          8:50 A.M.

Mileage          32 mi


Stop for breakfast. 


Left                Mt Vernon, Ohio                          @ 9:30 A.M.

Arrived             Fairmont, West Virginia                       @ 3:10 P.M.

Mileage          200 mi


Arrived at Chuck’s Grandmother’s house, had dinner there & stayed the night.  Met the ladies she lives with, next AM had the car worked on.  Can’t go on until it is fixed.  Stayed until Tuesday 9/9/52.


            Left                Fairmont West Virginia                         2:00 P.M.

            Arrived             Washington D.C.                               9:00 P.M.

            Mileage          235 mi


            Went to Chuck’s mother’s first, stayed at sisters in W. Falls Church, West Virginia for the night.


            9/10             saw Jefferson’s Memorial, Lincoln Monument, Washington Monument, Smithsonian Institute, Arlington Cemetery & Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.  Ate lunch at O’Donnell’s seafood.


            9/11             Donnie’s Birthday ~ had cake & ice cream for him, also gifts.


            9/12            Left Falls Church               11:15 A.M.

                        Stopped for lunch

Arrived Baltimore, Maryland             1:30 P.M.

Mileage: 43 mi.


Left Baltimore, MD                  Time             2:10 P.M.

Arrived Avalon, N.J.                           5:30 P.M.


Went across N.J. Turnpike @ Newcastle.  Went near where Daddy used to live (Vineland).  Stopped for a drink in Millville, N.J.  Stayed at Aunt Madu’s from Friday evening till Sunday A.M.  Went surf fishing on Saturday, had a nice time.


9/13                Left Avalon, N.J.                Time             10:30 A.M.                

                        Arrived Atlantic City                 11:30 A.M.

                        Mileage: 34

Ate lunch – walked on the famous Boardwalk.  Cloudy weather


9/14                Left Atlantic City N.J.                 1:45 P.M.

                        Arrived New York City                 4:30 P.M.

                        Mileage approx 144


Stayed at Hotel Weylin ~ 54th and Madison near 5th Ave. & all the stores ~ Went to dinner at Automat on Broadway then to a show.  We are near Radio City & Rockerfeller Center.  Monday A.M. went to Empire State Building ~ 102 stories up.  Rainy & cloudy day.  Also walked through Grand Central Terminal.  Took subway (Lexington Ave.) down to Canal St & Bowery.  Walked around P.M. went to Imperial Theater to see musical comedy “Wish You Were Here” Terrific.  Lever Bros. Bldg ½ block down is all glass & stainless steel ~ Beautiful


Saw Bronx Zoo 9/16 & drove on up to Connecticut 

Left N.Y.C. & Bronx             Time              2:45 P.M.   9/16

Mileage 15 mi from Queens to Bronx’s Zoo


____?? Mi to West Haven Arrived West Haven 5:00 P.M.

Visited Aunt Mary & Uncle Joe, had dinner.  Went to Burt’s house & met wife & 2 boys (Wards).  Stayed the night at Aunt Mary’s.


9/17 Wed.  Saw Celia in Waterford ~ Aunt Mary drove up with us. Approx. 110 mi round trip.  Saw street I was born on, Winchester Ave.  Also saw house on Noble St. ~ houses all around it.  Saw Chapel St in New Haven & Castle (on hill) that Mother went to.  Celia has beautiful place on the ocean.  Ate lunch & took pictures.


            9/18 Thurs.  A.M.  Left 11:25 A.M. West Haven, Conn.

 Arrived Baltimore, MD. 6:30 P.M. 

                                    Approx 267 mi


Stopped & saw Chuck’s father & brother Alan & his wife, his 2 boys Dave & Kenny are cute.  I disliked Baltimore very much.  Very middle and low class & too many Negroes.


9/18                Left Baltimore, MD 9:30 P.M.

            Arrived College Park, MD 10:00 P.M.

Approx. 25 mi stayed overnight at Shady Grove Motel ate a bite & went to bed.  Expect to do some good traveling tomorrow through Virginia for sure.


9/19                Left College Park, MD  9:00 A.M

            Arrived Lynchburg, VA 6:45 P.M.

            241 Mi


Drove through D.C. again & on through Virginia.  Rode the Skyline Drive through Shenandoah National Park.  It rained until 2:00 P.M.  Went to Luray Caverns, very beautiful.  Stopped for lunch on the Skyline Drive.


9/20/52              Sat  Rained all day ~ Left Lynchburg, VA 4:00 A.M.

                        Arrived Roanoake, VA                   5:00 A.M. 

51 mi  Ate breakfast in town

                        Left Roanoake, VA                        5:45 A.M.

                        Arrived Kingsport, TN       9:30 A.M.

                        178 mi


Stopped for a bite to eat ~          left Kingsport, TN 10:00 A.M.

                        Arrived Chattanooga, TN       2:50 P.M.

                        211 mi ~ ate lunch again

                        Left Chattanooga, TN                   3:30  

Arrived Birmingham. AL                   8:30 P.M.

Approx 165 mi  (lost 2 hours) because of seeing an accident happen.  Ate something & retired, Best Motel ate breakfast & left.


Left Burmngham, AL             Sunday             9:20 A.M.

Arrived Meridian, Miss                            12:15 P.M.    

148 mi


Stopped for a drink at drive-in ~ Barbecue sandwich


                        Left Merridian, Miss ~            Arrived Estabuchie, Miss

                        79 mi  ~ ½ hour stop


9/21                Left Estabuchie, Miss                2:45 P.M.

                        Arrived New Orleans, LA                6:15 P.M.

                        111 mi


Ate dinner & retired.  Bought some Dago Red wine. Next AM saw the French Quarter in New Orleans.  Had a drink.  Left early because of a parade & convention in town.  Knights of Lemblar.


9/22               left New Orleans, LA                   10:45 A.M.

                        Arrived Baton Rouge                          80 mi

                        Left Baton Rouge                           1:15 P.M.

                        Arrived Marshall Texas 7:15 P.M.    281 mi


Stopped for a coke & gas once in Shreveport but spent the night here. 

It is about 25 mi from the Texas border.  Had dinner at Montgomery’s & stayed the night at Palmer Auto Court.  Crickets all over. 


9/23 Tuesday                      Left Marshall, TX              7:30 AM

                                    Arrived Fort Worth, Tx            11:30  A.M.

                                    185 Mi

Stopped for lunch @ El Chico Mexican Restaurant

                                    Left Fort Worth                12:30 P.M.

                                    Arrived Hobbs N.M.             6:15 P.M.

                                    348 Mi                                                                       

We gained one hour coming in to New Mexico, but will loose it tomorrow in El Paso.  Stopped here for dinner & the night.  Still damp out ~ Donnie got sick. 


9/24 Wednesday            Left Hobbs, N.M.               8:00 A.M.

                                    Arrived Carlsbad Caverns, N.M. 9:30 A.M.

                                    97 mi              


Drank a cup of coffee & bought souvenirs, went through the caverns, very beautiful & awesome.  One can’t imagine the sights we saw.


                                    Left Carlsbad Caverns            2:45 P.M.

                                    Arrived El Paso                     6:00 P.M.

                                    157 mi


Got a motel room outside of EL Paso (north of town) then cleaned up and went over the border to Juarez for dinner & to sightsee.  Nice Motel, front room ~ bought $31.00 worth of stuff.


9/25 Thursday            Left El Paso, TX                     7:50 A.M.

                                    Arrived Casa Grande, AZ            6:00 P.M.                            

                                    415 mi


Stopped for lunch in Benson, HOT.  Had burgers good.  Took a side trip to Tombstone, AZ.  Saw the old cemetery where the old west was buried.  Went on to Casa Grande for the night.


9/26                           Left Casa Grande               5:40 A.M.

                                    Arrived Hermosa                  5:00 P.M.

                                    471 mi            


            Rode through plenty of desert.  8:30 A.M. temperature was 90* in the shade at California border (Yuma).  Stopped for a cold drink & lunch in El Centro.  HOT!  Went through mountains east of San Diego & temp dropped.  We got rain before coming out of mountains.  Felt wonderful.  Got fog a few mi out of Oceanside (naturally). Arrived home 4:45 P.M. Foggy.

                                                Total mi                    7676              

                                                Average speed             41.5 MPH

                                                Average mileage            14.5 M.P.G.


The End