Horatio’s Drive

Time for another random movie recommendation: This time, we watched another fantastic Ken Burns documentary, Horatio’s Drive, about the first road trip across the continental United States.

This is a really entertaining slice of history. This road trip was completed in 1903, a time with almost no paved roads much less highways, and no actual maps for traveling across the United States. Travel across the country was done by train if at all. Cars were novelties owned only by the rich,  and were horrendously unreliable.  Several automobile trips across the US had previously been attempted, but had failed miserably, despite being backed by factory sponsorships supporting professional drivers and mechanics.

Horatio Jackson was a retired medical professional with some wealth to his name, but no experience with cars. He started his trip as the result of a bar bet with some wealthy elites, betting against the common wisdom that cars were not the way of the future, and that no car could drive across the United States. Horatio had no professional sponsor, and did no prior planning. He left four days after making the bet. That took a lot of guts at the time.

Despite the endless frustrating setbacks, this is a really fun documentary to watch, and really illustrates how fast technology can transform what was once considered impossible to a common occurrence in a really short time.

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