Tuesday, October 07, 2003

America’s first “road trip”

Last night, Lynne and I watched a fascinating Ken Burns documentary on PBS. It was about the first trans-continental crossing by automobile in 1903. It was about a piece of American history I had never heard about, and yet helped transform transportation and usher in the age of the automobile in the US.

In 1903, Dr. Horatio Nelson Jackson wagered that he could cross the United States, from San Francisco to New York in 90 days or less by automobile. It was an impulsive wager, and within a few days he had purchased an Wilton automobile and hired a mechanic, Sewall Crocker, to accompany him. He left San Francisco with a modest amount of supplies and very little planning.

In 1903 there were no maps, roads were build for horses and carriages, there was no infrastructure to support automotive travel (parts, gasoline, etc.) The challenges were enormous, and the setbacks frequent. Yet, Dr. Jackson’s tremendous optimism persisted.

Along the way, Dr. Jackson acquired “Bud” the bulldog, who became quite famous as a travel companion.

Shortly after Dr. Jackson left San Francisco with his Wilton, the Packard automobile company and the Oldsmobile automobile company launched trans-continental crossing efforts of their own—sponsored and supported by the automobile companies. Now, it was a race!

You can learn more about this adventure and important event in history by visiting this web site. (Although some of the site seems to still be under construction.) Or, you can order a book on the adventure from Amazon.com at this page.

I encourage you to explore these links!

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Posted under: Stuff You Gotta Know! • by Rick on 10/07/2003 at 12:04 PM
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  1. This program will be rebroadcast on KRMA (Channel 6) in Colorado on Saturday, October 11th at 8:00 PM.

    Posted by Rick  on  10/08/2003  at  02:41 PM
  2. Started my own blog today, searched for it, and found yours instead!

    Rick Robinson,....meet Rick Robinson.  wink
    funny old world ain’t it?


    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  11/10/2004  at  01:19 PM
  3. There are a number of us running around!

    Posted by Rick  on  11/10/2004  at  02:26 PM

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