Driving to the desert in the 1950s was always an adventure. We would start out from our house and drive by many dairies. Then we would come to the orange groves in Orange County. We would pass through the small town of Anaheim. Anaheim was a little town with a movie, a grocery store and a few other small stores. It was one of those towns that if you blinked as you passed it, you would miss it. Next we would pass through some hills that are now known as Anaheim Hills. I always looked for wild animals as we passed this area because it was totally undeveloped. We would drive through a long stretch of undeveloped land, with ranches dotting the landscape along the way.
When we finally reached Riverside, there was a home with several buffalo in the yard that we always passed. It was always exciting to reach this area. It was the only time we ever saw buffalo and it was also the halfway point on our journey.
After we got through Riverside, we would travel through the mountain pass. It was only a two lane highway that twisted and turned through the mountain. In those days, if there was bad weather, my parents would try to get behind a truck when driving through the mountain pass, because the truck driver's would signal to them when something was out of the ordinary, and also the truck driver's were known to be such good driver's in those days.
Coming down from the mountain we would pass through the small towns of Beaumont and Banning. We would continue to descend the mountain, until finally we reached the desert floor. As we reached the floor of the desert we would feel the hot weather. In the summer it felt like we were driving into an oven. Most cars would carry extra water in case the car overheated. Sometimes we would have to pull over to the side of the road because of sand storms. The sand would blow so hard that we wouldn't be able to see where we were going. We would pull over and wait for the wind to die down, and then resume our trip. Often the sand would sandblast the paint on our car and the paint would be ruined.
Finally, after about two and a half hours on the road, we would arrive at our destination, my grandparents house. There would be a loving welcome and lots of food.