LET'S GO FIRST CLASS across America: Part 6

I think we need to redefine what's first class.

We've been touring around looking at large hotels, all claiming to be first class locations. Now, if you're a hotel kind of person that's great. If you need someone to carry your luggage, order room service at all hours, and maybe have a view of the big city, a hotel is what you're looking for.

Me...not so much. Though hotels can be interesting, I'm just not the sort of person who gets jazzed about them. I like the open road, out-of-the-way motels, and campgrounds. The fewer people the better.

Raise your hand if you ever stayed at a motor court. Not a motel, a motor court. If you have to ask the difference you haven't stayed in one. These days most motor courts are gone. If they're still standing they've been turned into run-down apartments or left to gather amongst the native weeds. It's all pretty sad, because I have fond memories of motor courts as a kid. I loved the fact that it was a little bungalow, sometimes attached to other bungalows by an open front garage. My favorites were the detached bungalows, especially those that looked like log cabins.

As cars got larger the little garages were too small to accommodate what was coming out of Detroit. These days my little car would fit fine and dandy into one of those snug garages.

I recently found this brochure at an estate sale. I've not been able to find anything about Best Camps other than that this brochure is in some archives at UCLA. The brochure was valid until the end of 1933.

Best Camps was an organization extolling the virtues of motor courts and lodges up and down along the Pacific Coast from Canada to Mexico. They provided various listings along various highways; all the courts were individually owned, no chains. There are actually 7 pages of listings.

Click on any image to see it larger.

Click here to see a wonderful article in the November 1936 Modern Mechanix about motor courts.

Click here to see Wikipedia's entry about motels.

And stop in at Vintage Roadside to see some wonderful articles about motor courts and motels, diners and drive-ins, and roadside attractions; all the things that made cross country travel in the US so wonderful.

Give me a two lane road and plenty of time!

Tomorrow: Who knows? We're on the open road and we stop when we stop.


  1. (Raises BOTH hands) ;o) Am I dating myself?

  2. I don't know. Couldn't you find anyone else to take you to the dance?

  3. motor court..you betcha!!!!!!!
    diners and drive-ins...you betcha!!!!
    roadside attractions..you betcha!!!
    those were fabulous times!!!!!

  4. What a great piece! I really like the style of the cover. Thanks for sharing it with us folks!

  5. On our family road trips in the '60s and '70s, our dad would always find one of these motor courts to the frustration of us spoiled brat kids who would be hoping for a pool and a color tv, or any tv.
    Looking back, I'm sure cost was a consideration, what with four kids in tow, as was the prospect of getting a separate cabin for the kids and a little peace and quiet for the folks.
    While he always looked out for a good deal, dad would always give the walls of these places a good heft, probably to make sure they'd stay up overnight.

  6. Felix0912/07/2012

    In my book, staying at off-the-beaten-path motor courts, cabin courts, small motels and campgrounds was and still is the true "first-class" way to travel. I also prefer the small, non-chain eateries -- especially the typical truck stop diners that usually serve no-nonsense food at reasonable prices. If the food wasn't decent, the truckers wouldn't frequent them and the diners would soon go out of business.