This important book is a snapshot of a unique time in America, right when the country was converting from the horse-and-buggy to that new-fangled contraption, the automobile. Trails and roads, if there were any at all, were deeply rutted from wagon wheels and littered with nails, screws, and spikes that had fallen off of supply wagons. Manuevering through the countryside and over mountain passes, day or night, proved to be for the hardy of spirit and was a true test of stamina.
In 1919 Kenneth Balcomb worked for the United States Bureau of Public Roads as an engineer to survey, inspect, and construct highways in New Mexico. He was assigned a WWI Army surplus Model T to travel over 63,000 miles between 1919 and 1923, "through good weather and bad, sometimes pleasant and sometimes horrendous." And during it all, his right-rear tire always seemed to find the nail, the spike—anything that would puncture, yet again.
Told in the form of his actual letters to his wife Katharine and brother John, an engineer, these tales chronicle an era in the United States when the country was experiencing the birth and growth of its National Highway System.
[Photo from original glass-plate negative found in old farmhouse in Omak, WA.]