As evidenced by this morning’s music, we watched the Ken Burns documentary “Horatio’s Drive: America’s First Road Trip,” detailing the trip taken by Horatio Nelson Jackson in 1903. Using photos taken by Jackson along the way, and the (very eloquent and humorous) letters he wrote to his wife, the show takes you through the trials and tribulations he took to get from San Francisco to New York at a time when most Americans never traveled more than 50 miles from home. It is a very well done program–Mr. Burns hardly had to do anything to spruce it up for television, as the letters and photos are quite entertaining on their own. Jackson had quite an optimistic and witty outlook on life, which you would have had to have had to undertake such an adventure, basically on a whim and a $50 dollar bet.
The most amazing thing of all, that you almost can’t wrap your mind around, is that the program points out that about 40 years earlier settlers were dying of dysentery on the Oregon Trail, and about 60 years later astronauts were walking on the moon. 100 years are nothing in human history, but what a leap we made. Almost makes me look past the politics of Now to want to see the Gene Roddenberry future of Tomorrow.
Oh, and Jackson’s dog, a goggle-wearing pit bull named Bud, survives the journey just fine, so you know it’s a happy ending. You should watch it if you get the chance.