Mar 24, 1908 San Francisco, CA
The Thomas Flyer is shown in front of the San Francisco ferry pier, arriving in the lead. George Schuster had become the first person to ever drive an automobile across the US in winter, in a record 41 days, 8 hours 15 minutes! The 3,836 miles from Times Square took its toll, with many repairs. By this time two French cars dropped out, leaving only the De Dion, Zust , Protos and Flyer still in the competition.
July 5, 2018
After 3563.9 miles and 17 days on the road, we made it. It wasn’t always easy with 90 year old vehicles, but hey… if it was easy anyone could do it! There were moments when we doubted our sanity, had a few restless nights and might have even lost some weight?
You can’t do something like this without learning a lot about the machine you’re driving, and even a few things about yourself. It’s always easier when you’re with good friends.
The spectacular views as we crossed America, and the truly exceptional people we met along the way made it well worth the effort. It’s even harder to believe six international teams started out 110 years ago in the middle of winter, to circumnavigate the globe in automobiles that were considered a passing fad and nothing more than toys for the rich. To think of life today without an automobile would seem impossible.
The Flyer loaded onto the San Francisco Bay Ferry from Oakland to San Francisco on March 24, 1908. To celebrate our arrival, we had dinner at Quinns Historic Lighthouse Restaurant built in 1890 very near the Oakland pier where the Thomas headed for San Francisco. There is only passenger ferry service today, and bridges now serve vehicle traffic across the Bay.
I believe we all came away from the experience with a genuine appreciation for the great country we live in, and for the tremendous efforts and sacrifice of all those who came before us….
PS: We will be following up in the coming days with a collection of additional photos that capture some of the special moments on the road. Stay tuned!