Ken Burns has a new documentary on PBS. We all remember "The Civil War;" fans of Burns will recall "Baseball" and "Jazz."
This one is called "Horatio's Drive: America's First Road Trip," and is done in the usual Ken Burns style: primary accounts such as photographs, letters given new life by voice actors and historians, music typical of the era, all brilliantly mixed together to make the documentary actually interesting. :)
Obviously I am enchanted with the roads of America..... the arteries and veins by which our nation lives. My fascination, my obsession with road trips, makes this documentary a must-see. Tom Hanks does a significant portion of the narration
In May of 1903, two men left San Francisco in a "horseless carriage" in an attempt to cross the country eastbound. Others had tried and failed; the 1903 expedition was the first successful attempt to traverse the continent in a car. Many of the people they encountered had never seen an automobile before, and their reactions seem funny to us, 100 years later.
Think of it; America in 1903, still largely unknown and unsafe. The motion picture, the light bulb, and recorded sound were still in their infancy, as was the auto itself. The advent of the airplane was still more than six months away. Railroads and telegraph lines still covered the West.
The duo has only made it as far as Oregon and they've already made two wrong turns, had some severe setbacks, and even had to be towed by a cowboy and his horse. :) This is fun to watch.
I only wish the journey had come to Southern California. I have heard stories and seen pictures of the old "Plank Road" through the desert between Yuma and El Centro.... where drivers would drive their cars over a miles-long stretch of LUMBER, stopping to repair the road themselves when necessary. The wooden plank road was the only safe (well... kinda safe!) means of travel over the rugged sand dunes in extreme southeastern California.