"A Reliable Car and a Woman Who Knows It": The First Coast-to-Coast Auto Trips by Women, 1899-1916

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McFarland, Sep 1, 2000 - Transportation - 184 pages
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The audacity of driving a horseless carriage from coast to coast in the early years of the 20th century is hard to imagine in an age of superhighways and global positioning systems. Roads might be nothing more than muddy ruts made by wagon wheels; sources of gasoline or replacement parts were few and agonizingly far between; frequent repairs and tire changes were necessary; and the traveler was subject to the whole range of nature's perils and discomforts. For a woman to attempt the trip was, at the time, a jaw-dropping event. Yet in 1909, 22-year-old Alice Ramsey and three female companions piled into a Maxwell in New York City, and 59 days later they triumphantly rolled into San Francisco. A few years later silent film star Anita King would become the first woman to make the transcontinental drive solo. These and other early coast-to-coast drives proved women's growing independence, as well as the automobile's long-distance viability. Detailed accounts of five coast-to-coast drives make up this lively history. Drawing from plentiful contemporary newspaper reports and the women's own words, author Curt McConnell recounts the bold adventurers' experiences day by day and mile by mile.
 

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A reliable car and a woman who knows it: the first coast-to-coast auto trips by women, 1899-1916

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From 1899 to 1916, a time when roads were in bad shape and automobiles fairly unreliable, only five women were brave enough to drive across the United States. This detailed and well-researched work ... Read full review

Contents

Introduction
1
Two A Reliable Car and a Woman Who Knows It
23
Three The Car the Girl and the Wide Wide World
61
Four King Kruises Koast to Koast in a KisselKar
100
Five Just a Matter of Good Driving Coolness and Nerve
132
Trips at a Glance
155
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About the author (2000)

Curt McConnell lives near Lincoln, Nebraska and is the author of numerous articles and another book on automotive history.

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