Drivers Retrace First Cross-U.S. Trip

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Packard sponsored their drive as a publicity stunt. After a month of preparation, the company learned that a Winton had left for the East before they could ship their car West. But a well-reported, challenging route compensated for their lost time. Instead of telling their driver to avoid the steepest passes of the Sierra Nevada, the sand traps of the Nevada and Utah deserts, and the highest peaks in the Rockies as the Winton did, Packard designed the most difficult route across the country for its Model F—including a 10,000-foot (3,000-meter) dirt track up and over the Continental Divide. The company also sent a reporter on the trip to document and photograph every mile.

Editor's note: New York-based writer Nicole Davis is retracing the 1903 Packard route with photographer Kristen McClarty. The pair are driving a low-emission vehicle loaned by Ford Motor Company. Read the sidebar at left to learn more about their journey.

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