On the Road with Alice
June 9, 1909 - Today was the day that Alice Huyler Ramsey began her historic cross-country road trip from New York City to San Francisco. She and her three travel companions became the first women to drive across the continent. For the record, Alice did all the driving.
Alice was a 22-year-old housewife from Hackensack, New Jersey. She was selected as the perfect candidate for a publicity stunt by the carmaker Maxwell-Briscoe. The auto company was looking for a way to convince more women to become drivers.
The journey began during a torrential downpour in Manhattan. The 3800-mile odyssey would take the women through an array of adventures including run ins with bedbugs, hostile indians, a broken radiator and 11 flat tires. Through it all, Alice and her companions proved their road worthiness and their moxie.
They arrived amid great fanfare in San Francisco after 59 days on the road. Over the next sixty years, Alice would drive across country 30 more times. She died in 1983 but in 2000 she became the first woman inducted into the Automobile Hall of Fame.