A Family Tour from Coast to Coast 1908 by Jacob M Murdock
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The first question asked by our friends, when they heard of our transcontinental trip, was : "How did you come to do it?" I never have had a satisfactory answer. The notion, like Topsy, "just grew." Our many railway trips between home in Johnstown, Pa., and our winter bungalow in Pasadena, Cal., often suggested the same trip by automobile. Our previous family touring had been over good roads. My bad road experience had been mainly alone.
During our last trip west, in March of this year, we discussed the feasibility of returning overland in our Packard car and the entire family was unanimous in believing that the hardships would be overbalanced by the pleasure.
I talked with ranchmen and mine owners who knew the western country. They discouraged me. After arriving in Pasadena, I read the story of the recent difficult automobile tour from Pekin to Paris. I learned that almost anything can be done in some way or another. My mind got back on the Transcontinental idea until it became an obsession. I looked up my old acquaintance, L. L. Whitman, of transcontinental fame. I asked: "Is it possible to drive from coast to coast in a big touring car carrying, as passengers, my entire family?"
"Sure," he replied, "if you take time enough." Neither he nor I ever questioned each other or ourselves as to the exact meaning of "time enough." I talked over the project with Mrs. Murdock and the rest of the family. They were optimistic. I wrote to the general manager of the Packard Motor Car Company. He was optimistic-in proposing that I could have more fun in other and easier kinds of touring. The prevailing opinion was that myself and the car were able to stand the racket if my family was. My family was of the opinion that they could stand the racket if the car could. Sporting blood won out. We started, having wired for a few extra parts and engaged a thoroughly competent mechanic to accompany us. Whitman said he would go along as far as Ogden and help us over the really worst part of the road, where his experience would count most.
That was the beginning. We left Los Angeles April 24 and arrived in New York May 26. We laid over for rest five Sundays and two other days. Our elapsed time was 32 days, 5 hours, 25 minutes, breaking the transcontinental record for a single car driven clear through by the same driver and with the same party.
That was the end.
It was gratifying because, while we had started out not caring particularly when we would get to New York, I am human enough to be glad that we were not only the first family party to cross the continent in an automobile, but also that we put a good-sized crimp in the erstwhile record.
Johnstown, Pa. J. M. M.
The book is a very interesting and fascinating read. It reminds you of how brave these early explorers were. Download it free.