The History of the Great American Road Trip

As proud citizens of the United States of America, there are things in life we’ve become accustomed to as “American.” Hot dogs, baseball and apple pie are among these American traditions, but there is one tradition every American should partake in sometime in their life: a road trip across, around or within America. American road trips have continued to be a symbol of values Americans cherish like freedom, adventure, a rite of passage and spending time with loved ones. For over 100 years, Americans have taken advantage of exploring this long and wide country we call home and continue to pave the way for multiple generations to enjoy nationwide traveling to feed our adventurous appetite. From buzzing highways to dusky back roads, there is no right or wrong way to get to your road trip’s end; in fact, that’s half the fun! How did the American road trip come to be what it is today? It all started back in 1903, where there were more hooves hitting the road than wheels and less than 150 miles of pavement existed in the USA.

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90 Days for $50: The Start of Road Trip Evolution

It was May 19, 1903 when Horatio Nelson Jackson and Sewall Crocker were in a debate about horseless carriages at the San Francisco University Club. While many people thought the automobile was just a fad and untrustworthy to last a trip across America, Jackson and Crocker strongly disagreed. It was then that someone had bet these two gentlemen $50 that they couldn’t make it to New Your City by automobile within 90 days. Jackson and Crocker, a former bicyclist and retired doctor, accepted the challenge and departed from San Francisco just 4 days later for the cross-country drive.

They had many stumbles and breakdowns along the way, and even bought a bull terrier named Bud to be their travel companion, but they carried on to win the bet. They spent about $8,000 in repairs to win that $50 bill waiting for them back in San Francisco but managed to complete the 4,000-mile journey in just 63 days. This was remembered as the first nationwide road trip across America and inspired many other people to take advantage of these horseless carriages to explore the country.

Why People Take Road Trips

The USA is one of the most unique countries in the world. Our culture is so diverse, and people live differently in each region. By driving across the country, it allows you to experience what our beautiful country has to offer.

As stated earlier, roads trips are also a symbol of our freedom and when you find yourself lost down the unbeaten path or don’t know which way is south, you find that little spontaneous, carefree self take over which way you go. You have no schedule and are able to fully experience what’s in front of you instead of what lies ahead.

Lastly, it’s great to take road trips to simply reconnect with your travel companions. Along with taking in the breathtaking scenery, you are able to sit in a car and have a conversation with your friends. Whether you reminisce about your crazy memories from the past, help each other through some current troubles or get lost in a heated debate about which Star Wars movie was the best, there are no distractions to keep you from becoming closer through conversation. Although social media was created to stay connected with your friends, it’s never as personal as sitting side-by-side in the same car while traveling to your destination.

Since the USA is your land and my land, we are free to roam wherever we choose. From sea to shining sea, these roads were made for us to explore, get lost on and discover the Land of the Free. So, grab some friends, load up the car and get ready for the adventure of a lifetime.

Looking for some advice on where to go? Stay tuned next week for our recommendations for the best road trips of America.

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