Back in 2005 I had the good fortune to meet one of America’s legendary documentary filmmakers, Ken Burns. He was attending a lunch hosted by the Automotive Press Association of Detroit, to promote his latest documentary, about the first man to drive an automobile across America.
Not only is Ken an outstanding and dedicated writer, director and film maker, but he is a man of the highest integrity when it comes to research and accuracy.
The film is called “Horatio’s Drive” and you can watch it on YouTube.
It describes the time that a 31 year-old doctor from Burlington, Vermont, Horatio Nelson Jackson, made a $50 bet that he could drive an automobile across America, from coast to coast in less than three months.
By choosing a northern route, he avoided some of the high mountain ranges, but crossing deserts was a real problem for the 20hp car.
His companion was Sewall Crocker, but somewhere in Idaho, Ken bought a Pit Bull for $15. The dog, named ‘Bud’, became almost as famous as the humans.
Especially when Ken had to make up a pair of goggles for Bud, to keep the sand and grit out of his eyes, because their two-cylinder, Winton ‘horseless carriage’, had no windscreen, and no roof!
I won’t spoil the viewing by telling you more, but it’s a great story.