January 1, 1970

In the United States, Nelson Jackson and his friend, Sewall Crocker were the first to cross the country in an automobile. The trip in 1903 lasted sixty three days – many of the existing roads weren’t sufficiently well-made for driving cars – but it fuelled interest in the American motor car industry, and in travel.

More than half of all families in America owned a car by the early 1930s. There, where distances between towns and cities are so much greater, a car was a necessity, not just an expensive toy.

Some roads in the United States have developed almost mythic status: Route 66, for example, fully paved by the late 1930s, was travelled by hundreds of thousands of Depression-era Americans moving West to seek jobs and a better life in California. It was given the name the “Mother Road” by John Steinbeck in The Grapes of Wrath.

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