A Good Roads Advocate Begins a Record-Setting Trip Across the Western U.S.

March 4, 1911

Anton L. Westgard departed from Denver, Colorado, for what would be a journey of nearly 10 weeks to the west coast. The vehicle that he used for this trip was a 3-ton (2.7-metric ton) motor truck built by the Sauer Motor Car Company of New York and known as the Pioneer Freighter.

After Westgard left Denver, he made his way across the southwestern region of the United States. He ended up logging in a total of 53 days of travel time during the 66-day trek. The Pioneer Freighter, which was loaded with lumber for use in facilitating the movement of the vehicle over creeks and on soft stretches of roadway en route, averaged 3.3 miles (5.3 kilometers) per hour.  

Westgard completed the trip on May 9 in Los Angeles. The New Mexico-based Albuquerque Morning Journal reported, “Mr. Westgard arrived in triumph at Los Angeles with his big machine on Tuesday after a series of hardships and automobile achievements over the roads of the southwest, which are probably unparalleled.” 

The Albuquerque Morning Journal characterized Westgard’s completion of his 1,450-mile (2,333.5-kilometer) journey on often rough roads as “one of the most remarkable automobile transcontinental stunts in the history of motoring,” and this trip did set a new record for the distance covered by a truck. Westgard noted, “It was at the same time the most arduous and the pleasantest automobile trip of my career.” 

Westgard performed a dual role throughout his record-setting journey. As founder and president of the Touring Club of America, he represented that organization; in addition, he had been commissioned a special agent of the U.S. Office of Public Roads by that agency’s director Logan Waller Page to assess the conditions of the routes between Denver and Los Angeles. After reaching Los Angeles, Westgard proclaimed that he “secured some invaluable data on the road question” that would “have far reaching results.” 

For more information on Anton L. Westgard, please check out A. L. Westgard – Wikipedia

Additional information on his 1911 trip between Denver and Los Angeles is available at “Pioneer Freighter” Half Way Across New Mexico

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