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Don't know if anyone caught this the other night-a Ken Burns documentary on the first cross country car race. 1903-San Francisco to New York. In 1903 this was a country where just about no one had ever heard of or seen a car. There were no 'roads'-only trails and sometimes nothing at all. The cars broke down CONSTANTLY and parts were usually fixed/installed by the town BLACKSMITH! If a part had to come from the factory-you waited until the train brought it. If you were really in the boonies-then you waited until the STAGE COACH brought it!!!! I was transfixed throughout the entire show as fortunately tons of photos exist of the event. You really can't grasp the magnitude of change the car brought to this nation/world until you see this show. I was fascinated by just how much we take for granted today with our cars. The car had no roof (no heater, no windshield...) so when it rained you put on a rubber coat. And if you got stuck-often!!!!!-you waited (hours/days) until somebody with a horse came along to pull you out. Most amazing moment occurred in Oklahoma when they approached a caravan of settlers heading west in conestoga wagons (1903!!!!!!!). The settlers thought the car was a train that had somehow jumped the tracks and in total panic they unhitched the horses and hid under the wagons for protection! Amazing stuff-truth is always stranger than fiction. Throughout it all-these guys kept a sense of humor and early on bought a white bulldog-type dog named Bud who sat there with them the rest of the trip wearing driving goggles.

Only three cars were in the race and the winning make was something called a VERMONT, second place a Packard and third/last an Oldsmobile. None of these marques manufactured today-am I right? Isn't Olds done with?

By the way, the winning trip was made in 67 days if I recall. The prize was $50-which the winner never even bothered to claim.

I really wonder if they could imagine me driving the Northstar while my friend sits in the back watching a DVD let alone not thinking twice about a 30 mile commute to work.

AMAZING stuff and if you can catch the show-you'll look at your car in a whole new light.
 

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I enjoyed that show, too.

Dr. Horatio Nelson Jackson was apparently a big man in tiny Burlington, VT. The car was a Winton, I think. He named it the "Vermont" just as a tribute to his home state.

Here's a good background link if anyone's interested.

http://www.letmeshowyouvermont.com/roadtrip.htm

He lived until 1955, which is fitting, because he saw the beginnings of the interstate highway system that was passed by Eisenhower. That one man made a huge impact on American history and we're just now realizing it.
 

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I taped it and will probably watch it this weekend. I imagine that was one helluva adventure in those days.
 
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