Keep the Show on the Road! Posted June 22, 2011 Report Share Posted June 22, 2011 I have been doing some road research which has turned out to be fascinating, at least to me. But I am having a real problem organizing the story so that it doesn't bore everyone. The tale deals with three first ever transcontinental auto runs. Actually four records were set, but two were set in one run. I have "rediscovered" a section of the actual routes down to the ruts, where all three traveled, and so far as I can tell, it has not been previously recognized as such. The three events are as follows: 1903 First Transcontinental Auto Trip (You all recognize this one... Horatio N Jackson, Crocker, Bud the dog) 1905 First Transcontinental Auto Race and First East to West Transcontinental Auto Trip 1905 First Transcontinental Round Trip by Automobile. START OF THE FIRST TRANSCONTINENTAL AUTO RACE OLD SCOUT NEAR CRATERS OF THE MOON I started this whole thing thinking I would follow some of Horatio's tracks in Oregon and Idaho. He had been forced northward on his run from San Francisco to New York to avoid winter conditions in the mountains. I know the eastern Oregon, southern Idaho region well enough to have a pretty good idea of the landforms and roads, and I surmised that I could use old maps to make a pretty good estimate of his detailed route. What I didn't know was that two other less known, but significant events had followed shortly on parts of his route, but going the other direction. It soon became apparent that I could identify one section of desert road, still unpaved, and not even graveled, that all three traveled over a hundred years ago. It also became apparent that even those familiar with the area and the road, apparently did not know its historic importance. Of course that makes it very interesting to me....and to some here on the forum. The thought that I could drive a hither to unrecognized historic road is a kick in and of itself. And researching and mapping the road is right down my alley. I want to do a little qualifying. All three runs are documented. Actually, the first, while by far the better known because of the PBS documentary, was the least well documented at the time. The others were reported in the papers, almost day by day, and followed in the auto related publications of the time like it was Christopher Columbus driving. What has not been done to my knowledge is to recognize that all three trips, and all four records were set, in part on one section of road still unpaved, that winds through the desert of the Snake River Plain in Idaho, and through the Craters of the Moon National Monument. Not even the Monument's knowledgeable Resource Manager was aware of the last two events. Now we know! When I say the trips were well documented, that doesn't mean that anyone has ever identified the road they followed in the area. The event maps show Blackfoot and Hailey Idaho, which are 130 miles apart, but no detail in between. So I overlaid turn of the last century plat maps on Google Earth, and bingo, there was a stage and wagon road that pops up on several. And I found old reports that said, for example, that "we stopped at Cottonwood Ranch where Jackson had spent the night." So I could fix specific sites on the actual road and knew that the different parties had gone the same way. I ended up with some old photos from magazines, and one is of a ranch house with Old Scout in the foreground. It may be that the same ranch house still stands. At least there are buildings on the site. It would be a big kick for me if there was a then and now photo op. I don't know where this will go. The site and the ruts themselves are not exactly the story. The "back" stories are fascinating. I am inviting your thoughts, interests, etc. I have already been in contact with Denny G and Eric (Sit Properly) who show at least a passing interest in the tale. Any other takers? Dave Keep the Show on the Road! Quote Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...
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