A Bumpy Ride

I like road trips. Most dogs I know do. I’ve never been on a really long road trip. My longest trip was to the beach on the Gulf Coast of Texas. That drive took FOREVER! The Mom Person says it was really only 5 hours. I don’t know “only 5 hrs.” Trust me, it was FOREVER. But I forgot all about that when we hit that beach!!

I’ve got a book here about a road trip. And this one was a ROAD TRIP! As in BOLD CAPITAL LETTERS ROAD TRIP!

IMG_4920Jackson and Bud’s Bumpy Ride, America’s First Cross-Country Automobile Trip.

Written by Elizabeth Koehler-Pentacoff
Illustrated by Wes Hargis

Published by Millbrook Press in 2009.

This is a fictional story of a true event — The first automobile trip across the United States.

Theme: Historical automobile travel

Suitable for 2nd grade and up

May 19, 1903 – The University Club, San Francisco, California

“I bet fifty dollars no one can ride in a horseless buggy across America.” says a man.

Horatio Jackson sits up straight. Of course it can be done, he thinks. Those new automobiles can do anything.

And Mr. Jackson sets out to do just that! He hires a mechanic named Crocker, and buys a used 1903 Winton automobile. On May 23, the two men set out from San Francisco on their quest to reach the other side of the United States. It turns out to be quite an adventure, with car troubles, weather disasters, and roads not meant for car travel. But they meet some nice, helpful folks along the way. At one point they encounter a man on the side of the road selling a bulldog. They buy the pup and name him Bud. Bud gets to ride up front and wear some cool goggles.

IMG_4921On July 26, after sixty-three days, twelve hours, and thirty minutes they drive into New York City at 4:30 in the morning. They had made history and won that fifty dollar bet!

There is an afterword at the end of the book with real photos from the adventure and more facts. There is also a bibliography and resources for more information.

This is a most excellent book! The only thing that bothered me some, was the fact that the mechanic, Crocker, didn’t get mentioned in the title of the book! The story itself is an incredible one. I now dream about being Bud out on the road. The illustrations are great. Mr Hargis has added a touch of whimsy to this otherwise frightening endeavor. I will be looking for more of his work.

You can visit both Ms Pentacoff and Mr Hargis at their websites by clicking on their names above.

PBS made a film about this cross country adventure. You can find out more about it HERE. It can be found on Netflix. Or on Amazon Prime

For a list of Perfect Picture Books and resources to go along with, visit Susanna Leonard Hill’s Blog. You’ll be glad you did!

And here’s a little taste of that PBS film by Ken Burns

I wish you safe driving, wherever the road may take you!

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