Wednesday, December 8, 2010

De Soto e de Anza

Both were Spanish explorers in America, but over 200 years apart. Hernando De Soto was the first European to cross the Mississippi and got a car named after him, and Juan Bautista de Anza successfully colonized a big chunk of the southwest…but no car namesake. The difficulties of the 1500’s guys like de Soto and de Alarcon can be traced to having to wear those hot and heavy tin hats, while de Anza (1770’s) wore outlandish fashion hats of the day with feathers hanging down, looking like Stevie Ray Vaughn with a dead-head following of 600 making every stop from Sonora to San Francisco.

April 15, 1993
Riverside County CA notes say it was a rough road though the local landmark isn’t far off of hwy 371.
Landmark inscription:
On March 16, 1774, Juan Bautista de Anza, explorer and colonizer, led the first non-Indian explorers to cross the mountains into California through this pass (named by him San Carlos) on their way from Tubac, Arizona to Monterey.  On December 27, 1775, on a second expedition into California, Anza led through this pass the party of Spaniards from Sonora who became the founders of San Francisco.
Location:  On Cary Ranch
60901 Coyote Canyon Rd.
7mi. SW of Anza.
USGS Quadrangle Sheet Name: IDYLLWILD

All fluid drive, floating power, full-floating ride….that’s the ’48 De Soto. This 106 horsepower, 3200 pound mush bucket would fully insulate passengers from the harsh experience of the depression and WWII….heater optional. Chrysler Corp. didn’t have an automatic then but figured out a system where you put in the clutch, put the column shift in low, and then took off. You shift up automatically by letting up a bit on the gas. Air conditioning is 4 X 60…four windows down and sixty miles an hour, but the wind buffets so loud in Chrysler cars you can lose an eardrum, soa Car Cooler was handier on a hot day. Oh yeah, and a ‘Desert’ water bag to hang off the front bumper for a cool swig while admiring de Anza’s path.

Not all landmarks visited get a song, but de Anza is addressed in ‘Yuha Well’, a story for a later dispatch on the Imperial Valley.

Blog timeline: Though the baseline for these stories will be chronological from 1993, it’ll skip around from 1952 to present periodically for absolutely no just cause or reason.

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