Sunday, May 28, 2017

(14) Every Great Highway Needs a Great Destination

1915 Panama Pacific Exposition

San Francisco is always ready for a party, but by 1914 the City was really ready for a party. The 7.8 magnitude earthquake in 1906 and the resulting fire destroyed 80% of the city. Residents were living in a tent city near the waterfront. Temporary kitchens were set up to feed the thousands of homeless. What was salvageable from the collapsed structures was often sold to Bay Area residents to raise money for the rebuilding of the city. The San Francisco disaster devastated the city, California and shocked the nation.
Jewel Tower
Standing 435 feet above the fair

Every great Highway needs a great destination. For Route 66 it was Hollywood, Southern California and the Santa Monica pier. For the Yellowstone Trail it was, initially, Yellowstone National Park. For the Lincoln Highway the great destination was the 1915 Panama-Pacific International Exposition. The destination was a Duesy. The fair provided San Francisco with a place to strut its stuff. California and America got in on the act. The fair opened less than a year after the completion of the Panama Canal. (In fact, the fair featured a working model of the canal.) The nation was feeling its oats.

The years leading up to World War I were an incredibly optimistic time. That optimism is reflected in the Lincoln Highway and the Panama Pacific International Exposition. The fair occupied 635 acres just east of the Presidio. Much of the fairgrounds was built on fill land. Many of the razed buildings from the earthquake and fire made up the fill.

It is certainly not an unrelated coincidence that plans for the Lincoln Highway were announced as San Francisco was getting ready to host the world. Great visionaries, like Carl Fisher, knew how to exploit events in order to accomplish goals. When Carl Fisher announced: "Let's build it while were still young enough to enjoy it!" he had in mind driving to the fair. At the September 1912 organizational meeting, Fisher proposed that the Highway be ready for travel by May 1, 1915 in order to accommodate "a corps of 2,500 automobiles that can be taken over this road to the opening of the Exposition in either May or June, 1915." Indeed, Henry Joy, president of the Packard motor Company and later president of the Lincoln Highway Association made the trip from Detroit on the Lincoln Highway and arrived at the fair to show off the mud and road grime on his Packard.

The fair was magnificent! All the more remarkable is the fact that the fair opened less than 10 years after the City's total destruction. I doubt that the United States of today would even have completed the application, planning or the permit process for the rebuilding of the city. Let alone deal with the protests or lawsuits.

 Of course attractions at the fair included a carnival midway. But also included were some of the wonders of the world and the wonders of this confident new age of 1915. The horrors of World War I had not yet reached America, while other nations participated in the fair perhaps as an antidote to that war.

Model T Assembly Line at the fair
Amongst the plethora of exhibits, the Ford Motor Company set up an assembly line for Model Ts and fairgoers could watch the Model Ts being assembled. Fairgoers could also obtain a birds eye view of the fair in the magnificent Aero-Scope. The Aero-Scope featured a 370 ton counterweight to help it lift the many visitors who stood in the car to obtain an aerial view of the magnificent fair below.

The fair featured the worlds 7th largest pipe organ, submarines and it appears from photographs that part of America's fleet was anchored offshore in the bay. No doubt some of the ships used the newly completed Panama Canal to get to the fair. And in case sailors were below deck when transiting the canal or had forgotten what the canal looked like, the fair featured a scale model complete with working locks. The model of the Panama Canal was located between what is now Webster and Buchanan streets and Chestnut and Bay streets. The Moscone Recreation Center and Park now appear to occupy that site.

Scale  Working Model of  Panama Canal

The buildings and structures at the fair were constructed of a lumber framework and then covered with a material called staff. Staff is made of burlap covered with plaster. It is temporary at best and consequently practically nothing remains of the fair. The most famous remaining structure is the Palace of fine arts. As a child I remember driving by the Palace of Fine Arts and seeing it surrounded with a chain-link fence looking like it was ready to fall over. It was.
Palace of Fine Arts, 1915
In the 1960s San Francisco rebuilt the Palace of Fine Arts and the structure that can be seen today is a replica of the temporary structure built for the fair. Another replica of a fair structure is The Palace of the Legion of Honor located at the western terminus of the Lincoln Highway in Lincoln Park. Yet another structure from the 1915 world's fair can be found south of San Francisco, Van's restaurant in the city of Belmont. In1915, it was a Japanese Tea House, part of the Japanese pavilion. After the fair, it was hauled to the bay, placed on a barge and towed to Belmont. Further south, part of the fair's miniature railroad survives near the town of Los Gatos.
Japanese Pavilion

The 1915 Panama Pacific International Exposition served as a sort of coming-out party for San Francisco. San Francisco would no longer be seen as a rough-and-tumble frontier town. Instead it would take its place as one of America's and indeed the world's great cities.

Souvenirs and memorabilia from the fair, including an exhibitor's
badge for the first day, a Voltamp model PFE car made for the Southern
Pacific Railroad exhibit, a letter opener and a paperweight. These
items once belonged to Elbridge Russell who, attended the fair and
ran the trains at the Southern Pacific Exhibit. At his death, Elbridge
left the items to my brother, Fritz


More Family Souvenirs from the 1915 fair. The spoon and
 paperweight are from my family. Linda's Great Aunt Jesse
bought the ceramic sailboat on her visit to the fair.
San Francisco and California scored a home run with the 1915 Panama Pacific International Exposition. Even before the fair, California was seen as a land of hope and a Garden of Eden for the nation. Both Emily Post and Effie Price Gladding wrote glowingly of their journeys through the golden state.

San Francisco was one of the truly great World's Fairs. I regret not being born 60 years earlier.

The Fair  at night

Monday, May 22, 2017

13) Final Adjustments - California Here We Come

Abe looks towards California
(Downtown Boise, Idaho)

A Final Tune-up
We are now just a week away from beginning our expedition. The past few weeks were spent making some final adjustments to satisfy my worries and to assure that this trip will be as trouble-free as possible. A couple of features have also been added to the Ranchero.

New Tonneau
A tonneau cover, which makes the Ranchero look a little more sporty was added to protect the luggage from the elements. I've always been reluctant to add such a cover because it meant changing the stock appearance of the car. The new cover gets a lot of complements. We've seen heavy rains and we anticipate experiencing some of them in the Midwest and on the East Coast. The Cover Shop in Meridian, Idaho made the tonneau. This is the same company which made the tent and the cover for the tent trailer. Their work is first rate and entirely satisfactory.

Mud flap and trailer hitch

A full-length mud-flap was added to the back of the Ranchero. It looks pretty hokey, but it will protect the trailer. I purchased it on eBay. Apparently, it had been sitting in a box since the late 1960s or early 1970s. It comes complete with peace symbols. Oh well!

                                                      Storage space for tools and repair parts
Beneath the bed of the '59 Ranchero is the same floor pan as the '59 Ranchwagon. I have modified the Ranchero so as to allow the utilization of this space for storage of tools and repair parts. Things I don't really want to get into, but if they are really needed, they will be really needed!

By making a couple of adjustments I have also been able to address the issue of the Ranchero running hot. The addition of a manual override switch on the electric fan allows me to turn it on before the thermostat switch does that automatically allowing the fans to come on at a lower temperature, should I think it necessary. I have also moved the setting on the thermostat switch down so that the fans come on earlier on their own. This has helped greatly. Once we're on the road I may make some additional adjustments to the thermostat setting to keep the fan from running too much.

Final Tune
I performed a final tune-up on the Ranchero and set the timing for a setting that I hope will optimize fuel economy. The air fuel ratio was adjusted to a setting to maximize fuel economy yet avoid overheating.

At this point there were some jobs I could not perform. In addition I wanted somebody to review my work. Off I went to the downtown Boise Big O Tire Store for an alignment, brake bleed, a check of my work and a general safety check. In examining the car the mechanics discovered that the driveshaft was an inch and a quarter too short. This apparently happened before my acquisition of the car and when the transmission had been changed. Along with the new transmission a new driveshaft was put in. This driveshaft was too short and out of balance. I had to have a new driveshaft made and installed. I'm glad I did this because I would hate to have discovered the problem in the middle of the Nevada desert. In addition the car drives much better.

Discovering the drive shaft is too short
The only thing that remains to be done is to change the oil, gas up the car and to check the air in the tires of both the vehicle and the trailer. California here we come!

Lincoln contemplates the Ford
(Julia Davis Park, Boise, Idaho)

Saturday, May 13, 2017

(12) Preparations, Sea Trials Part  III



3 Island Crossing S.P., Glenn's Ferry, Idaho
Late October 2016

Let's Go Camping
Fall 2016
Even though Linda and I have been camping for over 40 years, we haven't been camping for a while and it's been even longer since we were in our primitive tent trailer.

The Ranchero and the trailer make a great camping outfit. I have to say that this overnight campout to Three Island Crossing State Park Idaho went smoothly. Three Island Crossing was one of the points where the Oregon Trail crossed the Snake River. There is an annual reenactment of the crossing held every summer. The crossing is still treacherous and there have been horses lost during these reenactments.

Image result for 3 island crossing reenactment
Reenactment of Oregon Trail Snake River Crossing
(Internet photo)
We made the decision to be simple in our approach to camping. No need to unnecessarily complicate things here. We have a tent to provide shelter over our heads which has 2 beds in it. When we were first married in 1977 we shared a bed. Now those beds look a little bit smaller. We've decided to each take a side. There is no room for the kids to come along this time.

A Cozy Bed
While we've simplified our approach we decided that the Ranchero gives us the opportunity to carry a little more luggage. We purchased a pair of folding bicycles and they easily fit into the Ranchero.

Unfortunately we were not able to go camping before mid October 2016. We only got in one outing, although we will plan to go again in the spring. The weather was pleasant, although it took me a while to recognize the sound of the leaves falling on the roof of the tent. We feel like are set.

Camp Backyard- April 30 2017

We had hoped to get out of town to a campground. Unfortunately the spring weather would not cooperate. Weather limited us to the backyard, but we thought camping again was worthwhile to assure ourselves that we were taking everything we needed, but no more. The weather was chilly, in the mid-30's, although we stayed warm in the tent trailer. This was reassuring as I'm anticipating some cold nights in Nevada, Utah and Wyoming.

The camp was well equipped and comfortable. We were even able to have a fire, and the price was definitely right! 

Camp Backyard, April 30, 2017

One of the well equipped fire pits at Camp Backyard
Things went smooth and we were able to identify some supplies we need to take along for the trip which is now just weeks away.