Ken Burns is a world-renowned documentary filmmaker. His historical retrospectives are masterpieces, covering a wide range of topics ranging from the Civil War to baseball to jazz music. Many viewers are familiar with his recent works describing the Prohibition era and World War II, but it is easy to overlook one of his lesser known gems: Horatio’s Drive.

Horatio’s Drive tells the story of Horatio Nelson Jackson’s summer in 1903. The story begins at his club in San Francisco, where Horatio is debating with some of his friends. The automobile was still fairly new on the American scene. Horatio’s friends were convinced that it was a passing fad or a rich man’s playful indulgence, and that it would never catch on. Horatio was quite proud of his new Winton automobile, so he agreed to a wager with his friends over whether he could drive the car from California to New York within ninety days.

Spoiler alert: Horatio won the bet, but he spent all of his winnings and more on his expenses during the trip. Accompanied by his friend Sewall Crocker and his pet pit bull Bud, Horatio found that his vehicle was well equipped for the road, but the road was not ready for him. All of the car-related industries that we take for granted, like gas stations and motels and fast food restaurants, had not been invented yet. The United States had few paved roads in 1903, and most of those were in the cities on either coast. A recurring scene of Horatio’s trip involved a breakdown. He would wire a request to the Winton Company, and they would send him the needed part by rail. Horatio would wait in a hotel until the needed part arrived, then he would hire a local blacksmith to install it.

Horatio’s story is a nice reminder of how much easier it is for us to travel nowadays. If you break down during your holiday road trip, you will not have to wait by the train station for several days like Horatio, but no one wants to spend part of their vacation time and budget on car repairs. It is a better idea to get your car checked before you go.

At Cassels Garage in West Melbourne, we will be glad to give your vehicle a checkup before your next road trip. We are a family-owned shop well equipped to provide routine maintenance or do major repairs on your car. We have been serving Brevard County since 1966