Into The Great Wide Open
The first successful North American transcontinental trip by automobile took place in 1903, and was piloted by H. Nelson Jackson and Sewall K. Crocker, accompanied by a canine named Bud. The trip was completed using a 1903 Winton Touring Car, dubbed “Vermont” by Jackson. The trip took a total of 63 days between San Francisco and New York, and cost US$8,000. The total cost included items such as food, gasoline, lodging, tires, parts, other supplies, and the cost of the Winton.
The first woman to cross the American landscape by car was Alice Ramsey with three female passengers in 1909. Ramsey left from Hell’s Gate in Manhattan, New York and traveled 59 days to San Francisco, California. Ramsey was followed in 1910 by Blanche Stuart Scott, who is often mistakenly cited as the first woman to make the cross-country journey by automobile East-to-West (but was a true pioneer in aviation).
…on the lost art of the great American road trip
New highways in the early 1900s helped propel automobile travel in the United States, primarily cross-country travel. Commissioned in 1926, and completely paved near the end of the 1930s, Route 66 is a living icon of early modern road tripping.
Motorists ventured cross-country for holiday as well as migrating to California and other locations. The modern American road trip began to take shape in the late 1930s and into the 1940s, ushering in an era of a nation on the move.
As a result of this new vacation-by-road style, many businesses began to cater to road-weary travelers. More reliable vehicles and services made long distance road trips easier for families, as the length of time required to cross the continent was reduced from months to days. Within one week, the average family can travel to destinations across North America.
The greatest change to the American road trip was the start, and subsequent expansion, of the Interstate Highway System. The higher speeds and controlled access nature of the Interstate allowed for greater distances to be traveled in less time and with improved safety as highways became divided.
So many people connected with our trip in so many ways and we have been an inspiration to many to hit the road or follow their dreams. Some of those we inspired were inspired to beat our record and accomplished just that. The trip was great, the sense of accomplishment was wonderful but knowing we might have made a difference in someone’s day, let alone life, is better than any record.
Travelers from European countries, Australia and elsewhere soon came to the US to take part in the American idea of a road trip.
“To anyone we inspired, thank you!”