How Did Cross Country Travel Start?

How Did Cross Country Travel Start?
March 07 09:11 2017 Print This Article

These days, cross country in RV rentals is a popular activity and many people, both young and old, want to do it at least once in their lifetime. Cross country travel is a fantastic way to get to know some of the most unique and interesting destinations and attractions found in our country.

Who Did It First?

You may wonder who first came up with the idea of traveling across the country. It depends on which type of vehicle you may be thinking about. Following are some examples of men who are thought to be the first cross country travelers in the U.S. One ventured out in his automobile, while the others did it by horseback and on foot, and then of course, there were the first cross country trips by train.Image result for How Did Cross Country Travel Start with rv

By Horse and Foot

When you think of traveling across the U.S now, you may be somewhat concerned about your safety and about what mishaps you may encounter along the way, but just imagine making the journey on foot or with, at the most, a horse to carry you at a very slow pace. Lewis and Clark traveled from the north eastern part of the U.S to the western coast, starting in St. Louis, Missouri in May of 1804 and arriving in Oregon, nearly a year and a half later. While the trip didn’t begin on the far east coast of the United States, the Corps of Discovery covered a lot of land and helped to bring back important information on what was then a largely undiscovered part of the American territory.

Cross Country Trips by Train

On May 10th, 1869 the Union Pacific and Central Pacific railroads were completed and united to provide transcontinental travel for the U.S. What was once a long trip that could take up to 6 months, now became a trip that would only take two weeks. The person who came up with the idea of a railroad to cross the U.S and provide Americans with the means of faster cross country travel was a man named Theodore Judah who helped to convince President Lincoln to agree with him and he began seeking investors. Judah didn’t live to see the completion of his dream, but thanks to him putting things in motion, cross country road-tripping by train became possible.

The First Cross Country Trip by Car

What seems so normal today and one of the most common ways of traveling cross country, apart from flying, is travel by car. Most people now look at road tripping across the U.S as a fun and interesting experience where they can get to see a number of historical places and beautiful scenery on the way. The first cross country road trip ever done was by Dr. Horatio Nelson Jackson who decided he wanted to win a bet of fifty dollars and took off in his Winton car. Back then, not all roads were as travel worthy and paved as they are now, but that didn’t stop him.

With his friend and co-driver Sewall K. Crocker and a cute bulldog known as Bud, Horatio made it to New York City from San Francisco in 63 and a ½ days after starting out. It was definitely a road trip full of excitement and surprises, but one that went down in history.  

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Patricia Lee
Patricia Lee

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