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1949 De Anza Cavalcade – Life Magazine Tags Along

• CATEGORIES: Features, Magazine, Old Images, Trips, Women & Jeeps • TAGS: , This site contains affiliate links for which I may be compensated.

UPDATE: This was published back in 2010. This seems appropriate, since the post below this one may feature the dozer blade shown in the photos below.

I believe these images are from the 1st annual De Anza Cavalcade, which occurred in 1949.  You can read a little about these events from the Hemet Jeep Club’s Website. Here’s an brief synopsis from Harry Buschert’s memorial:

In 1948 (Harry) Buschert joined the first Hemet Jeep Cavalcade and jumped in a jeep with Harvey Gibel at the Hemet Farmer’s Fairgrounds. The first Cavalcade, sponsored by the Anza- Borrego Trails Association and the Hemet Valley Chamber of Commerce, began as a way to show the public the need to pave the road between Hemet and Borero Springs. Over 400 Jeeps and 800 passengers came out for the first event. They took two days to travel down Coyote Canyon. Buschert would participate and assist in running the events for years to come. The event ran continuously until 1973. By 1973 the movement pave the road had become obsolete, the high prices of gasoline made the event too costly, and the perceived impact of the event affecting public perception all led to the its ending. The event took a fifteen year hiatus and began again in 1988, Buschert took part in the anniversary run.

The Life Magazine Photographer was Peter Stackpole, whom the New York Times described as a chronicler of California Trends.  Peter was part of the first group of photographers hired by Life Magazine.

You can view all the photographs of this two day ‘Jeep Ride’ in 1949 here. I have included small versions of a few of my favorite images.  Click on the images to see blown up views.

1) Here we are at the beginning:

Note the Department of Agriculture painted on the side.  That looks like a nice wool jacket, too:

Here the ‘wagon’ train is on the move.  Note the little boy peeking out the window:

You can see the line of Jeeps stretches for a ways:

Here the jeeps stop for a rest; I probably lightened this up a little too much, but I wanted to be able to see the details of the jeeps better.  Note that one of the jeeps near the bottom of the pic has an extended back — a woman is sitting in back of it:

One of the stranger arrangements was this CJ-2A that sported 3 or four passengers plus luggage, plus a plow! I have 3 images of that below:

And finally, when’s the last time you saw a Ford GP out Jeeping?

Again, you can see MANY more pics of this 1949 Hemet Jeep Club Calvacade at the Life Magazine Image Archives.


21 Comments on “1949 De Anza Cavalcade – Life Magazine Tags Along

  1. Glennstin

    This is a sharp eyed Colin Peabody at work. We need more commets here:
    Hi, Leave it to my Willys Buddies to find stuff others miss. This is from a Willys site we cherish and an old post I’d missed. Though I doubt these images are of a MAHL product, the design sure is similar using the rear drawbar as support for the plow lift arms. The lift mechanism uses a vertical ram along with a fulcrum, similar but different, from the MAHL design. Since these are ’49 images and the MAHL work seemed to be in the ’47-’48 time frame,( SEE Willys Special Equipment Book- Loaders) I’d bet some copying by a competing design team is what we are seeing. I love these situations where Willys was actively seeking companies to expend resources to expand their own market, accepting the work of some while rejecting the work of others. This is the tip of the iceberg- Stay Tuned. Glenn Byron We need to know more about HEMET JEEP CAVALCADE, Scroll down to March 10

  2. Jim Johnson

    As a kid, my Dad and I participated in this run for many years, as well as many others in our local Jeep club, Hill-N-Gully Riders, Riverside CA.

  3. David Eilers

    Hi Jim,

    I hope these pics brought back some memories. Do you have any photos from these runs? This is the first I’ve heard of the “Hill-N-Gully Riders” jeep club. Did you have a club sticker/logo?

    – Dave

  4. Jim Johnson

    Oh yea, we had club plaques, jackets everything.
    Photos somewhere, archived either my Dad’s house or older sisters.

  5. David Eilers


    Great design! Some of the older vintage club designs are just wonderful! I’ll have to share that one with readers.

    If you ever digitize some of the photos, I’d love to share them. I really enjoy those old vintage pics.

    – Dave

  6. Cody Peterson

    You know, I think I know someone who participated (alongside his dad) in this group, even maybe that year! I’m going to see him this weekend and he still has his dad’s 40something Jeep that was purchased after the war in his garage (although his dad put a Mustang 289 in it in the 60s). I’ll show him these pictures and see what he has to say about them.

  7. Cody Peterson

    Just spoke with him briefly, he’s currently “on the road” I think cruising for a few days somewhere in probably his ’66 Vette or ’48 Town and Country he restored so he’s away from computers but it is going to check it out once he’s back. He did say his father was a founding member of “Sareea Al Jamel” (Fast Camel) Jeep Club in Indio back in the ’40s though.

  8. Michael Ledbetter

    I’m a 35+yr member of the Hemet Jeep Club and I did know Harry Buschert so I can shed a little light on this. 1949 was the first De Anza Cavalcade – I still can’t figure out where 1948 comes from, I’ve looked though records and newspapers I still come up with 1949. I’ve scoured Southern California papers from 1948-49 can only find a reference in 1948 about planning the trip The original intent to have a paved road was to make it easier to get produce from Borrego Springs to Hemet where there were packing houses and a railhead. The first Club formed in Hemet as the Hemet Cavacaders and the goat smoking the cigar and was designed as a caricature of Berg Ashley by his wife. When the club became the Hemet Jeep Club in about 1953 (records are hazy on that date as well) the Goat was retained. So the gist is that these photos from 1949 are of the first Cavacade. But I still can’t find which issue of Life these were published in – if anyone knows please let me know.

  9. David Eilers

    Hi Michael,

    Thanks for your interest and info. What you read above was pieced together from the internet by me, so it’s always good to hear back from an actual person!

    The 1948 date came from Harry’s memorial, which was posted on the HJC site at some point. It seems to be gone now.

    I hadn’t run across “Hemet Cavacaders”, so that’s a nice bit of info!

    I will keep searching for the correct Life Magazine. I’ve only seen these photos online.

    While searching for the Life Magazine issue, I found a book about the history of Hemet that includes this text:

    “In 1948, Ruth Peters, manager of the Hemet Chamber of Commerce, organized the Hemet Jeep Club and the first Jeep Cavalcade.” (see text and pics in the link below:

    This history as stated may be incorrect as the picture that accompanies the text is from at least 1950, as there’s a 1950+ wagon in it. The second picture claims to show 1948 trail bosses getting lost, but the pic contains CJ-3As.

    So, more research to do for me!

    – Dave (feel free to email me directly at

  10. Cody Peterson

    Talked to my friend and he’s confirmed that his dad’s Jeep (and him!) are in one of the pictures (see below – he is the one in the rolled down sailor’s cap). It’s a hard top Jeep and he still has it / runs great! It still even sees dirt to this day and has remained in the Hemet area since it was purchased new.

  11. David Eilers

    Cody, that’s fantastic! Does that have an extended rear cargo area? And the top, is that a Willys Overland branded half top, a Worman top, or something else?

  12. Cody Peterson

    I’ll have to ask him what type of top it is next time I see him. It seems that it is factory or at least from the 40’s. It has full steel doors, just covers the driver/passenger seat and doesn’t seem to be all that removable. I can’t seem to find anything similar to it on Google as most hard tops from that area seem to cover the cargo area as well. Unlike the 40’s picture, the spare tire is no longer on the side but is kept in the cargo area.

  13. Steve Bovee

    You mentioned a friend of yours that’s in Hemet that still has that Jeep that’s in the picture.
    Well I also live in Hemet (45 yrs) and I have my Dads ‘46 CJ with a factory half cab! So, obviously I’d be VERY interested in finding out more about your friend and his Jeep. Please let me know any information you can about your friend.

    Thanks Cody for whatever you can do.
    And Thanks Dave for a great website!
    Steve Bovee
    Feel free to contact me anytime:
    Mobile: 951-357-8108

  14. Barbara Rainey

    What a wonderful post! Harry Buschert is an inductee in the Off-Road Motorsports Hall of Fame (ORMHOF). In addition to Buschert, the Hemet area has many ties to ORMHOF, including founder/inductee Rod Hall, and inductee Brian Chuchua. I am always on the lookout for historical off-road information. Thank you! Barbara Rainey, ORMHOF

  15. David Eilers

    Hi Barbara,

    I’m glad you enjoyed the info. I’m always hunting for old jeep-related jeeping/racing/posse/customizations/military/mundane photos, documents, and information. If can help you in anyway feel free to email me at

    – Dave


    We had a 47 jeep I put a aluminum 330 cubic engine blue metallic it was crazy I did tours for people who wanted to see outback I miss throes days. David Richter

  17. John Grasson

    LOVE LOVE the history and offroading!!! Thankx for sharing!!! Tom McGiffin and I are friends, his family was the first to settle the area and they also started the Bergman museum. I was wondering if you might be able to help me out. I am part of a TV production crew that will be bringing some of the old treasures stories to life and it was be an honor to include some of the oldtimers and the early clubs. These clubs would be the ones that roamed the Chocolate mountains, Cargo Muchacho mountains, the ABDSP area, Yuha desert, and the Fishcreek mountain areas. We are hoping to talk to some of the early offroad explorers in order to get a better understanding of what it was like in the early days…

    Thank you for allowing me to interupt your day, I’ll be looking forward to your replies


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