THURSDAY, December 3, 1908
(Written for The Register)
From the Atlantic to the Pacific
My wife and I, with our little grandson Victor, left Waterville on Wednesday, the 28th of October, bound for the Pacific Coast. Our tickets, which were nearly a yard long, were right through from Waterville Station to the city of San Diego, which is the most southern point in Southern California, right on the border line between California and old Mexico. A long journey indeed, covering very nearly five thousand miles. We left Yarmouth at five oclock that evening, on board the S.S. Boston; had fine weather and a beautiful sail, arriving in Boston at 9.30 on Thursday morning. We remained in Boston until 12.30 on Friday the 30th, when we boarded our tourist train, leaving Boston by the Boston and Maine Railroad. We were very fortunate in securing sleeping berths right through, with only one change. We had to change cars at Chicago, the only change we were obliged to make in the whole trip across the continent. My advice to those in the East, who are contemplating a trip to the Pacific Coast is to travel as we did, by a tourist train. This affords many advantages over the regular train, and, as a rule, carries a good class of people; not a mixed crowd like the regular trains. There were some fifty passengers in our car, all bound for California, about half for Los Angeles, the rest for Riverside, Pasadena, San Diego, and other points in the state. There were six from Nova Scotia, the rest mostly from the New England States; all apparently first-class people, very pleasant and sociable; so we had the best of company all the way. I would further advise those leaving Nova Scotia to buy their tickets right through from R. U. Parker, Acting General Passenger Agent of the D. A. Railway, at Kentville. They will find him very obliging, ready and willing to give all information needed respecting the best and cheapest route, and full direction as to how to proceed on the whole journey. He will also secure state rooms in steamer and sleeping berths in trains ahead, if requested to do so. This is much the better way, and saves any after trouble.
Now, in regard to our journey; I will not attempt to give anything more than a synopsis of what we saw, and the places that we passed through by daylight, as the places we passed in the nights, are for the most part, a blank. In Massachusetts, we passed through Ayer, Fitchburg, Gardner, Greenfield, North Adams, etc., over the Berkshire Mountains and along side the Connecticut River, and under the Hoosac Mountain, in a tunnel, which I was informed was five miles long. After entering New York State, we passed Rotterdam, Utica, Syracuse, Rochester, and Buffalo. After leaving Buffalo we ran into Ontario, along the north side of Lake Erie, about 100 miles, a beautiful farming district, perfectly smooth and level, no stones to be seen, surpassing the Niagara Valley in some respects; hundreds of acres of corn, pumpkins, vegetables, and other green stuff, still in the fields; large herds of cattle, horses, sheep, and hogs. At the City of Windsor, our train was divided into sections, and transferred on a large ferry boat over the Detroit River, about one and a half miles. Detroit is a large flourishing city. We travelled through Michigan, Indiana, Iowa, Illinois, and Nebraska, all five states noted for the growing of corn, hogs, cattle, and sheep, especially corn. There was apparently no end to the corn fields, and great heaps of husked corn still lay in the fields. Iowa seemed to lead, and excel all the other states in the size of the corn fields, and the number of hogs. The country is level with black, deep, fertile soil, very valuable farming land. Council Bluffs was the last station at which we stopped in Iowa. We arrived at Chicago on Saturday, at 5 p.m. and left at 10 p.m. by the Chicago and Northwestern Railway. We ran a long distance in Illinois, still passing through corn fields. We passed over the Missouri River, at 12.30 Sunday, Nov. 1st. We then passed through the cities of Omaha and Columbus, in Nebraska; then along the great Platte River for miles. We went forward from Omaha to Ogden, by the Union Pacific Railway. Leaving Columbus we passed through one corner of Colorado, here passing Julesburg. We next came to the city of Cheyenne, in Wyoming. I set my watch back one hour at Boston, another at Detroit, and another hour here. We have entered the Rocky Mountains, in Wyoming; lots of snow, ice, and snow drifts. We passed over the highest peak, at Sherman Hill, at 5 oclock on Monday morning; elevation 7921 feet. At 2 p.m. still in the rockies; the elevation now at Granger Station, 6279 feet. After running ten or twelve hours, there is still snow and ice along the track, and in the mountains, as far as we can see. We ran through several tunnels and arrived at Ogden at 6.55 p.m. on Monday. From Ogden to Los Angeles we travelled by the new short line, the Los Angeles and Salt Lake Railway, passing through Salt Lake City, in Utah. Tuesday morning at 7 a.m. we were passing through the Rainbow Canyon, in Nevada, a strange but beautiful sight. We had been travelling through the Nevada mountains, and under them, through tunnels, the elevation in some places nearly as high as the Rockies. We then ran for a long distance through a sandy desert a dreary wilderness white sand as far as we could see. This desert is noted for its sand storms. After leaving this desert, we ran for a long distance through a deep ravine, with mountains on either side. We entered the state of California early on Tuesday afternoon. We had run right on time all the way. We were due at Los Angeles at 8 oclock on Tuesday evening, according to the schedule time; we pulled into the depot, at three minutes past eight. To travel nearly five thousand miles, and only be three minutes behind time, seems very remarkable. Our friends and loved ones were at the depot to meet us. Needless to say, it was a joyful meeting. I have set my watch back another hour, being now four hours behind the Nova Scotia time.
In conclusion, I wish to state that my many friends in and around Waterville (members of the church and Sunday school) presented me with a beautiful leather dress-suit-case and a fine umbrella, on the eve of our departure, accompanied by many good wishes, which I prize very highly. As I did not have time before leaving to acknowledge these gifts, I take the opportunity, at this late date, to thank each and every one who so thoughtfully and generously contributed towards the above-named useful articles.
This is a wonderful country. California has been very properly called the Land of Sunshine. I have been hearing and reading about it for many years, but now, seeing for myself, I have concluded that the half had not been told; but, as my letter is already too long, I will have to refrain from writing anything more about California, at this time, but will endeavor to do so later on.
San Diego, Cal., Nov. 21, 1908.