keeping on the eastern side of the Blue Ridge Mountains, which run approximately parallel with the coast. The task which now lay before us was to cross this range of mountains and to reach the Shenandoah Valley. I will not soon forget that sixty-mile journey from Martinsville to Roanoke. It rained continudusly with almost tropical fury. The road, which probably is in fair condition in dry weather, was turned into a slippery mass of wet clay and we could not make any progress without tire chains. At the halfway point of this stage of our trip, Rocky Mount, we were confronted with a nice alternative as regards the choice of road. "One road has one fording place with a quicksand bottom and the other has twenty-seven fording places with gravel bottom s." Without a moment's hesitation, we chose the latter. Fording had no terrors for us but quicksand is an element against which neither flexibility, nor tremendous power nor great torque at low speeds can prevail. So on we dashed through the twenty-seven fords. What did we care if the water washed over our shoes. We were so wet from the rain that a little more water made no difference. Yet well pleased were we when we completed our trip at Roanoke. Our speedometer showed that we had covered 490 miles since leaving Atlanta, or more than one-third of the total distance between New York and Savannah. The following summary of the distances, as measured by me on several trips, may be of interest:
New York to Philadelphia ... 108
Philadelphia to Gettysburg ... 120
Gettysburg to Hagerstown ... 34
Hagerstown to Winchester ... 53
Winchester to Staunton ... 93
Staunton to Roanoke ... 88
Roanoke to Winston-Salem ... 121
Winston-Salem to Charlotte ... 85
Charlotte to Anderson ... 148
Anderson to Atlanta ... 136
Atlanta to Macon ... 102
Macon to Savannah ... 186
In conclusion, I would say that the joysor the sorrowsof touring in the " South depend entirely on the weather man. If the sun shines, the tourist forgets the imperfections of the road and devotes himself entirely to enjoying the many new things to be seen along the way. If it rains, the roads no longer merit the name, and one wonders if the phrase, "The Sunny South," is a delusion. Let me add, the tourist is assured of a cordial welcome provided he is duly sensible of his responsibilities as one of the pioneers of a method of locomotion to which neither man nor beast has as yet become thoroughly accustomed.
EDITOR'S NOTE (2003): John Woodson of the excellent site StanleySteamers.com has identified the vehicle shown in the photographs as a White, and provided modern photographs of a restored 1910 White, and a patent tag (like a builder's plate) from a 1906 model. Steamer guru Nick Howell says this is a "1908 White model K 30 HP, straight-line body." With that clue we realized that it was not random chance that the back cover of this issue of TRAVEL MAGAZINE is an ad for White steamers, in particular the 1908 Model O 20 HP. Click here for the whole ad (two titles are in red; this .jpg is just b/w), or just look at the image of the car by itself, in low-res or high-res versions.
Update to Editor's Note: White may have had a long-term relationship with this magazine. They ran full-page ads in the front section of the July through December, 1904 issues of its predecessor, FOUR-TRACK NEWS. Here are the July 1904 (low-res) and (high-res) and September 1904 (low-res) and (high-res) pictorial ads. [Warning! The high-resolution versions are quite large.]
Author R. H. Johnston wrote more on long-distance travel. Here's a link to “Motoring Routes to the Jamestown Exposition,” from THE INDEPENDENT (June 6, 1907), where Johnston is noted as a “Member of the Touring Committee of the American Automobile Association.”
Click pictures and drawings to download higher-resolution versions.
REMEMBER: Peoples' attitudes toward race, religion, and culture were a lot different when this was written! The opinions expressed in this article are not necessarily those of TravelHistory.org or of Hidden Knowledge, Publishers.