Motoring for Pleasure

An article in the June 8, 1911, Motor Age Magazine shares some century old ideas about motoring for pleasure.

The article states: “When you go after pleasure on a motor tour you can make it a genuine Holiday. The best definition of a holiday is getting your mind off your work; being able to go from morning to night without even thinking that such a place as an office exists; and being able to go from Monday morning until the following Sunday night without once being disturbed with a remembrance of a business transaction, or having a solitary shadow of work flit across your memory. On a pleasure tour of this kind you never hurry.”

The article goes on to talk about taking time to stop along the roadside and spend an hour or so reading the inscriptions and taking snapshots of the many monuments and markers. In some areas you can pause and inquire about the history and industry of a locale.

Winooski River
A typical 1911 road scene along the Winooski River
on the run from Montpelier to Burlington

I believe these are good ideas for today. With all of today’s hustle and bustle we don’t truly enjoy the journey.

One hundred years ago auto tourists faced a different set of challenges on their journey. As you can see in the photographs, outside of urban areas most roads were unimproved in any fashion. Headlights of the day offered poor illumination, and few road signs marked the way. The autos themselves offered rough riding and little protection from the elements. Roadside gas stations and accommodations were only found in major towns and cities.

Care, maintenance, and outfitting the auto were another concern. Before starting on a trip the autoist conducted a thorough inspection of running gear, battery, trunk rack, tires, tire pump, jack, tool box, anti-skid chains, lamps, and adjusted the brakes. Tours of a week or more required six spare inner tubes, two tires, and five-gallons of lube oil.

Ausable River
1911 Along the Ausable River in Wilmington Notch
between Upper Jay and Lake Placid

Packing for the tour was another routine. If more than three adults were on tour it, was best to pack everything in a trunk. It was best to put rain coats, sweaters, or overcoats on the robe rail on the back of the front seat. Spare tools, a coil of wire, and other small items could be stored under the front seat cushion. The fore door pockets were a great location for the Blue Book route directions, spare goggles, and matches.

Whew, with today’s modern autos we don’t have to worry about many of these items because of the longevity therein. We can just check the oil, coolant level, clean the windows, get gas, and set our GPS to begin motoring for pleasure.

For more information on Indiana rides & drives follow this link.

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