Ike's historic trek revisited
Jun 1, 2006 12:00 PM
It was called “an epic journey for man and machine” when the First Transcontinental Motor Train traveled 3,230 miles from Washington DC to San Francisco CA in 1919. This June, the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO) will retrace the route to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the United States Interstate System.
Bridgestone Firestone North American Tire LLC (BFNT) is participating in every mile of the historic trip because Harvey Firestone and his pneumatic tires played an important role.
On July 7, 1919, Lieutenant Col Dwight D Eisenhower began a coast-to-coast trip to learn whether troops and supplies could successfully cross America by truck.
Firestone's trucks had his pneumatic tires; Eisenhower's were mostly solid rubber. The convoy reached San Francisco 55 days later, achieving an average speed of 6 miles per hour. By then, Eisenhower was sold on Firestone's pneumatic tires, and on Firestone's idea for an Interstate highway system.
A year before the historic convoy, Firestone created the “Ship by Truck” movement, encouraging manufacturers to move products to markets by truck. In 1956, then-President Eisenhower signed the bill creating the Interstate system.
AASHTO plans to begin the journey June 15, 2006, in San Francisco. The convoy, including two Firestone tractor-trailers, will roll into the nation's capital June 29.
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