EP. #

#- Trucking Up History - The Evolution of Trucking

This week on the Liquid Trucking Podcast, we’re looking back on all the milestones that shaped trucking.


This week on the Liquid Trucking Podcast, we’re looking back on all the milestones that shaped trucking. On this special episode of Trucking Up History presented by Liquid Trucking, we’ll talk about the trucks, the culture, and the iconic roadways that carved their ways into the history books and molded OTR Trucking’s future.


What’s good out there?

Liquid Trucking?

Welcome into the Liquid Trucking Podcast.

A very special episode of Trucking Up History presented to you by Liquid Trucking.


what are we doing today?

What’s different about this episode?


we’re not gonna have any interviews today.

This is gonna be a little bit more of a history lesson or just a peek behind the curtain of what made trucking in the way that it is possible in 2024 possible.

And today on Trucking up history,

we are going to talk about the evolution of trucking and all of the milestones that led to it.

So strap in,

sit back,

relax and I hope you grabbed your notepad so you can take some notes.

This is Trucking Up History presented by Liquid Trucking.

Welcome to the Gold standard of podcast for the gold standard of Drivers.

This is the Liquid Trucking Podcast with your host,

Marcus Bridges.

We’re gonna hit these kind of quick and hit as many milestones as we possibly can.

So let’s dive in.

We’re gonna start out with the reason why we’re all here.

The truck,

the first truck to be specific invented in 1896.

Gottlieb Daimler created the world’s first truck called the Daimler Motor.

Last wagon with that name.

No wonder it wasn’t an instant success,

but the vehicle really set the stage for trucks to come.

These first trucks were essentially horse drawn carts that Daimler had fitted with a two cylinder engine and reached a top speed of just a little over a whopping seven MPH,

a blazing speed.

All things considered in 1896.

All jokes aside,


this new invention inspired two Brooklyn brothers,

Jack and Gus Mack to start the first ever truck manufacturing corporation in 1900.

And thus Mack trucks were born and with amazing trucks comes great responsibility to make sure your load reaches its destination safely,

which is precisely how our next milestone came about.

Our next milestone.

Chicken lights,

much like truck nuts or excessive chromey chicken lights are used today as a way to amp up your ride and let the world know that you’re the baddest mother trucker on the road.

There a way to stand out from the rest,

advertise your services.

And honestly,

they’re just plain old fun.

But did you know that chicken lights?

The Christmas lights of the trucking industry have a practical origin.

In the early days of trucking drivers,

transporting chickens found themselves in a poultry predicament.

Thieves saw an opportunity and had began stealing chickens in the night.

The lack of lighting on the sides of the truck made drivers none.

The wiser truckers started hanging lanterns on their cargo to deter the thieves.

No more foul play.

Sorry about the poor puns there,


I just had to.



chicken lights are more about individuality than security because who in their right mind is going to nab a chicken,

much less one that’s on a board flying down a highway.

So no matter how you feel about him and they can be divisive for some of you.

Chicken lights are an important part of trucking’s history as is staying safe on the road,

staying safe while on the road,

whether it be from thieves or the sandman is extremely important.

And that’s how we came to the advent of this next,

even more divisive device.

The Eld after years of debating and lobbying,

the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration published its electronic log mandate in 2015,

love them or hate them or don’t care either way about them.

El Ds do prove to help with safety on the road,

keeping track of a potentially fatigued drivers,

hours and rest periods can keep some seriously nasty accidents from happening.

But 2015 was certainly not the first instance of the Eld.

In 1980 the first El Ds were invented and by 1985 they were in use by some carriers to track drivers hours of service.

But because this was the eighties and wireless communications were in their infancy,

the first El Ds weren’t necessarily easy to use,

transmitting data from driver to carrier proved to be difficult,

but the potential was definitely there and people in the industry were taking notice.

1986 rolls around and the Insurance Institute for highway safety starts lobbying for the Department of Transportation to make El Ds mandatory in all carrier fleets,

difficulties introducing new tech and major pushback to put it lightly,

put the brakes on those plans.


what the people were mostly concerned about was the intrusiveness of the ELD as it recorded not only hours of service,

but also downtime the vehicles,


driver data and more.

But in 1988 a compromise was made the automatic onboard recording device which was lower tech and attached to the engine recording,

only driving miles was introduced and required to be used in all trucking companies,

fleets that is until 2019,

rolled around on December 16th.

A decision was made by the FM CS A to do away with antiquated A OBRD devices with more truckers and companies on the road than ever.

There became a heightened need for accountability with independent drivers and fleets alike.

All commercial drivers are now required to use El Ds.

Although many had already made the switch change in our humble trucking industry always causes a stir and the ELD mandate was no exception.

Five years later,

I think most drivers have gotten used to the idea of or at least are minorly comfortable with the Eld and we can all agree that tracking hours on top of miles is a productive way to keep accidents from happening.

And speaking of the FM CS A guys,

where the heck did they come from?


picture this.

It’s just before the new millennium Y2K baby.

We were not following Prince’s instruction to party like it’s 1999.




Everyone is doomsday prepping for the collapse of modern infrastructure.

Like it’s 1999 toilet paper is flying off the shelves.

People are on the verge of trading their laptops for grandfather clocks.

And the dot is creating a sub agency called the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration established on January 1st 2000.

The FM CS A was formed as a part of the Motor Carrier Safety Improvement Act of 1999 to sum up what the FM CS A is responsible for and how it came about.

We need to look further into the past far prior to the FM CS A’s Truck Safety Rules.

The Bureau of Federal Motor Carriers,

a subdivision of the defunct Interstate Commerce Commission released its trucking commandments.

In 1936 the Bureau of Federal Motor Carriers was responsible for safety standards in the trucking industry for three decades.

Even when the IC C relinquished authority over truck safety to the newly formed.in 1966 under the dot The Federal Highway Administration was formed and was made up of three bureaus.

The BF MC being one of them.


that’s a lot of acronyms and I get it and a lot of changing of the Guard as well.

It’s a bit confusing,

but this is all to say that the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has since absorbed the responsibilities of the Bureau of Federal Motor Carriers.

And today promotes safety and works hard to fight commercial vehicle accidents as we covered while talking about the eld,

the commercial driving industry has grown exponentially and with more drivers on the road than ever,

the need for safety regulations has increased.

The rules and regulations of trucking have greatly expanded over the years and include C SS A,

an anti fatigue slash reset program.

And more.

I know we all want to be cowboys and roam the open road untethered by the hand of the law.

But in reality,

we do need rules to keep us safe on the road as much as we may moan about the FM CS A meddling around in our business.

Their say so might just save your bacon someday.

And all this government talk has me wondering who’s got an eye on the little guy who’s taking care of our average Joe driver.

That’s why next.

We’re taking a look at America’s first Union for truckers and the innovation that ensued back in 1903,

2 unions,

the team drivers,

International Union and the Teamsters National Union merged together to form the International Brotherhood of Teamsters.

The aim of this union was and still is to protect the rights of a diverse group of American workers in both the US and Canada.

Before the trucking industry took off,

the Teamsters Union originally represented horse team drivers and stable hands,

but has obviously branched out since these days.

They go so far as to represent both blue and white collar workers across a pretty wide variety of industries.

The history of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters is vast deep and at times entirely confusing and what we’re here to talk about today isn’t necessarily their specific history,

but the feat of trucking history that they accomplished in 1912,

the Teamsters set out to complete the first ever Transcontinental delivery starting in Philadelphia.

91 days later,

the load,

a pallet of olive oil soap reached its destination in Petaluma,

California and that friends was the humble beginnings of over the road trucking as we know it today.

A couple of years later,

another OTR load was sent across the country this time taking off from Seattle and heading towards New York.

This trip was completed in just 31 days.

Proving transcontinental transportation was going to be huge from there.

Technology gave rise to this new way of trucking and modern trucking started to take form gas powered combustion engines,

transmission improvements and more encouraged growth in the ship by truck industry.

Two of the most major developments in trucking around this time were the invention of the semi trailer and the invention of the fifth wheel.

In 1915,

in 1918,

Maine was the first state to impose a weight limit for transportation,

setting the standard for today’s weight limits.

And in 1920 pneumatic air filled tires were invented which meant smoother deliveries and less damaged freight.

All of these technologies we’re still using today.

All thanks to the teamsters.

So the teamsters sent their trucks across America before our highways were fully completed.

No wonder it took 91 days to get from Philly to California these days it takes something around 43 hours,

give or take.

So who or what is responsible for today’s highways?

The answer may surprise you.

During World war two professional truck drivers were an integral asset of the United States military.

Not only were drivers transporting much needed necessities here at home,

but also combat trucking overseas drivers expertly transported troops and supplies in state of the art trucks while other nations forces were forced to haul by horse drawn carriage,


Um These world war two drivers were the epitome of bad ass mother truckers.

These guys would drive through dangerous runs at high speeds.

No governing speed here.

People not to mention they’d complete their missions at night.


headlights to keep from being spotted and attacked.

What I tell you totally badass the efforts of these brave drivers and the broadening reliance on domestic driving did not go unnoticed due to the war efforts.

The trucking industry experienced an exponential boom.

Many regard the 19 forties as the official start of the modernization of trucking.

Notably the trucking boom,

inspired the government to expand America’s roadways and pave the way for 1.19 million more miles of road to be added to our existing roads all to support the trucking industry’s endeavors,

inspired by the necessity of smooth roadways amongst other things,

including but not limited to the threat of a nuclear attack.

Suburban development.

The expansion of people on the road,

Dwight D Eisenhower’s determination to improve America’s highway system and the auto industry.

1956 federal aid Highway Act aimed to expand and refine our nation’s roads.

The government in one of its more effective spending programs allocated $26 billion.

That’s over $264 billion nowadays to construct 41,000 miles of interstate highways throughout the US.

These new interstates allowed for traffic to flow much more easily,

easing congestion.

A little bit of a laugh when you think about it here in 2024.

But at the time,

it was quite the innovation,

overpasses and underpasses were introduced as well as high speed lanes that were inspired by Dwight D Eisenhower’s observation of the Audubon during his time in Germany during World War Two,

all of these innovations would make it easy for civilians to get out of dodge and out of town in case of a nuclear attack.

So where the heck did that 26 billion come from?

You may ask the Feds backed the project 90% but the other 10% came from,

you guessed it,


new taxes were imposed on fuel cars,



and anything involving vehicular transportation.

And these taxes weren’t the only reason as to why the Highway Act led to a revolt of sorts.

Although most Americans were in support of the new highways.

Signs of unrest began to surface after construction started,

people were rightfully upset that these highways were cutting their cities and towns in half,

leaving displacement and mass abandonment in their wake,

anti road forces were taking to protesting and in some instances shutting down construction that threatened to eviscerate their neighborhoods.


this modernization of our country’s highway system is a net positive.

I don’t think many of us would continue hauling for a living if it took us over three months or even two to get across the country.

If you look around though,

we’re still reeling from the effects of this development today.

It’s hard to imagine America without impressive interstates.

But what would it be like now if they were never built back up for a second though?

I mentioned Dwight D Eisenhower a couple of times in the last section.


we know this guy was a major fan of roads and highways,

but didn’t he have a tunnel to buckle in?

Because next up,

we’re heading through the Rockies.

Big Dwight D Man.

This guy loved his roads.

Some people say that some of his passion for the Federal Highway Act was backed by his involvement in the military’s first transcontinental driving mission across the Lincoln Highway.

We’ll get to more on that later.

This happened in 1999.

This isn’t to be confused with the teamsters first transcontinental endeavor in 1912.

As we previously covered.


big D was not a teamster but an army man.

The 1919 convoy which took off from DC and traveled to San Francisco was orchestrated in part to demonstrate that there was a continued need for government sponsored road maintenance and updated highways.

How’s that for foreshadowing folks?

Not only was Dwight D Eisenhower,

the father of the modern highway,

but he was also one of the men who inspired one heck of a tunnel about 60 miles west of Denver,

Colorado on interstate 70 sits one of America’s most beautiful and amazing engineering construction feats.

It is easily one of the highest vehicular tunnels in the world maxing out at a whopping 11,158 ft above sea level and easily one of the world’s most famous tunnels.

So how did we end up with this feat of transportation?

We’re going to have to take it back to BDE and no,

that doesn’t stand for what you think it does.

Weirdo BDE stands for before Dwight Eisenhower.

We all know Colorado is known for its mountainous terrain.

The rocky mountains have posed a problem for many a traveler.

Even prior to the invention and popularization of vehicular transportation.

People have been trying to figure out how to get up and over the mountains without ending up like the Donner party even before the Donner party happened.

But when cars came into the mix,

the pressure to make it to the other side increased.

The earliest road constructed to get people from point A to point B in the rocky mountains was the Fall River Road.

This narrow dirt road built in 1913 was the first actual road to go up and come back down just like your heart rate would while driving it,

the road was built following a trail that native Americans followed to hunt game in Estes Park.

When the road was just a footpath,

it took ages to traverse and even in this day and age,

it will take a long time to travel.

The one way 11 mile road has no guard rails and a whopping max speed of 15 MPH.

You may have never heard of this stretch of road,

but you might have heard of its sibling.

The highest elevation paved road in the US,

the trail ridge road,

but we’re not here to talk historical roadways.

We’re here to talk tunnels.

We’re moving south just a bit to Denver when the city became a transportation hub after the gold dried up,

needing a way to go west.

The Department of Highways took to their first attempt at tunneling through the Rockies in 1943 with the pioneer bore.

This tunnel was a mere seven by 7 ft.

There was no way it could have handled major traffic and big rigs at that.

The project looking a little foolish was brought to a halt in 1945 after our good friend Dwight was settled in office and the Federal Highway Act in front of him,

the good people of Colorado pushed for some connection to Utah as the proposed act did not intend to do so.

And of course,

the president of Rhodes took notice.

The government moved at a snail’s pace to get it together.

But after a while,

they finally got eight different route proposals together and put their plan for a tunnel through the Rockies into action.

Over the next 17 years,

the Eisenhower tunnel was built and completed platinum selling artist Lamb Chop would go on to write a hit song about this period called the song that never ends.

So from 1945 to 1973 those in the western slope community decided that they would become Amish since they had no way to get to Denver,

save for the practically antique Loveland past.

So what have we learned here?

Big Dwight D is the king of highways,

the ultimate connector of east and west coasts.

Without his passion and foresight,

we might have to haul ass over.

Not under the rocky mountains.


Dwight D Eisenhower is the father of America’s highways and byways.

That’s fine.

But who is the king of the roads?


it’s not a person,

it’s actually a road and we’re gonna dive into a little bit of Americana here and talk about route 66.

Just as the Eisenhower tunnel’s aim was to connect to the east and west.

Route 66 aim was the same,

albeit quite some years earlier and it was more like a connecting the Midwest to the west and it was less of a tunnel and more of a bridge.

But you get the picture here.

People just stick with me.

Dreamt up by entrepreneurs,

Cyrus Avery and John Woodruff.

Route 66 was officially established in 1926.

Initially intending on connecting Chicago and Santa Monica running southwest out of Chi Town.

Route 66 passed through Missouri,




New Mexico and Arizona.

Before ending at California’s beautiful western coast.

The route headed southwest out of Chicago and not due west through Minnesota,

the Dakotas Montana and Wyoming because literally no one cared about those states yet.

The people wanted L A la la land and Avery and Woodruff intended to give them what they desired.


66 spiked in popularity during the dust bowl as the dense populations of the eastern seaboard south and Great Lakes region migrated west in search of agricultural jobs and warmer climates.

The project wasn’t completed,


until a couple years after the dust had settled in 1938.

Some truly iconic advertising such as a 1932 bid for travelers to use Route 66 to get to the Olympic Games in L A led to more and more interest in the route.

Truckers wound up loving it because it was mostly flat.

Save for a few areas with nicknames such as bloody 66 business wound up thriving along the route.

Mom and pops,

diners and service stations with motor courts littered the highways,

bringing money into a once desolate area.

During world war two war related industry in California exploded and drove many more out west further utilizing Route 66.

It also saw a spike in usage from the military transporting equipment around at this time,

the highway was even divided in some spots near Fort Leonard Wood in Missouri to better accommodate such usage.

How did Route 66 come to be this kitschy ideal of Americana?


in the early 19 fifties,

the tourism boom was real.


66 was a picture of American culture.

Tourist attractions such as the painted hills,

the New Mexico Crater and even the famed Jesse James hideout,

otherwise known as the Meramec caverns near Saint Louis started to advertise their attractions to Passersby Route.

66 is also credited for giving birth to America’s fast food industry with Red’s Giant Hamburg in Springfield,

Missouri boasting the first ever drive through restaurant.

The first mcdonald’s was also located on 66 down in San Bernardino,


And that’s the last time you’ll hear of the Golden Arches on this particular podcast.

Unless my Uber eats,

order shows up sometime in the next 10 or 15 minutes.

In that case,

you’ll probably hear me eating it effectively.

What killed interest in route 66 was what popularized it.

The gaining interest in vehicular transamerican travel,

the 19 fifties brought on a great interest in the highway,

but it also brought us the Federal Highway Act,

meaning interstates were fixing to be the popular route to take when going cross country lanes were about to get a lot less linear and a lot quicker.

The highway Beautification Act also caused many businesses along route 66 to close up shop as advertisements for businesses along the route were prohibited from the new interstates.

Those businesses became un locatable by travelers.

Many chunks of route 66 were replaced over the years and it was finally decommissioned in 1984 when the very last trace of route 66 was replaced by interstate 40 in Williams,


Though it may only exist by way of National Park,

National Register of Historic places and state and local landmarks.

Route 66 is still very much alive in the heart of America.

Though many of us didn’t have the fortune to traverse this stretch of American history,

we can still relive some of the memories in the wealth of pop culture and media that came about the iconic highway pop culture.

You say,


I can’t get enough of the stuff.

Route 66 wasn’t the only thing media masters in the mid seventies and early eighties were fixated on and it wasn’t the white ponies.


Trucking really had a chokehold over mass media in the seventies.

So let’s take a look.

Trucking culture in the 19 seventies was of great fascination to not only the American public but also the entire world.

Trucking was a mystery and to many truck drivers were a sort of last cowboy,

so to speak.

The open road was their wild west that they’d roam and their rigs were their trusty steeds.

Just as the lives of cowboys had been set into the zeitgeist by pop culture.


So too was the life of a trucker in 1975 CW mccall’s Convoy,

spoken word masterpiece was inescapable on the turntables and the airwaves.

The talk nature of the tune weaved a heartwarming tale of a fictional trucker rebellion over both simulated CB correspondence and narration.

The tale of this song is a real winding road and definitely worth a listen even if you’ve heard it before.

But after you finish this podcast episode,

of course,

the song was such a big deal that it was later adapted into a movie,

Claude Aikens moving on TV,

series about an old school driver and his fresh faced co driver was a smash as well as another Claude Aiken show about team drivers BJ and the bear featuring a truck driver and his trusty pet chimpanzee.

This claw guy really loved playing with trucks.

Most notable from this time period was the ever popular Burt Reynolds sensation,

Smokey and the Bandit.

The movie focused on two bootleggers on an adventure to transport 400 cases of Coors from Texarkana to Atlanta.

I wouldn’t want to get stuck in that traffic these days and I also wouldn’t want to be pursued by the sheriff either as was the case with snowman and the Bandit in the film.

Needless to say this was the biggest smash success that Trucking had ever seen.

Probably even to this day 1977 Smoky and The Bandit gave way to a trilogy of films as well as a series of spin off,

made for TV films.

And not only did this film make way for Trucking super fans,

it also made way for super fans of the Pontiac Trans Am,

which as one of my best friends told me about a Trans Am.

Once you gotta talk sweet to her or she’ll kill you.

This cultural blip in time seems a bit inconsequential now.

But Trucking’s 15 minutes of fame really expanded the industry.

Trucking is much less of a mystery for people.

And while that might mean less allure to this given career,

it means many more people are interested in getting their CD L and hitting the road people were and still are interested in becoming drivers due to the legacy of trucking in pop culture.

Even if this stuff did come out almost 50 years ago.

Crazy to think that a guy on TV,

riding around in a Kenworth with a monkey helped put trucking on the map.

But the seventies were a much different groovier time,

old school tunes,

have nothing on old school trucks.

Now that we’ve been acquainted or reacquainted with some of the groovy tunes from back in the day.

Let’s get into some practically retro trucks,

cab overs to be specific.

Whatever happened to those things.

Buckle up.

The history of the cab over is coming up right now and we’re hauling ass back to the seventies at the same time as the trucking industry was being built up from the outside by increased interest and shows about a driver with a chimp riding shotgun.


I just,

I can’t get over that.

Uh The industry was sending one of its own into extinction picture.

This a land where cab overs not only roamed but also ruled from Peterbilt to Kenworth to Freightliner,

no matter your brand.

There was a cab over for you.

These snub nosed bad boys had a flat face and put the cab over the front axle.

They’re sort of so ugly that they’re cute.

Many were head over wheel for them if you will.

But why were they so beloved?

Where did they go?

The cab over was initially invented in 1907.


the company that invented them,

the Sternberg Company of Wisconsin nixed them by 1914.

It wasn’t until the Great Depression was in full swing that the cab over was reintroduced with an updated design that would allow for easier access to the engine by way of a tilted cab.

Difficulty getting to the engine was a bit of an unfortunate oversight on the original model.

By the time the 19 fifties rolled around cab overs were a plenty on the road.

Fun fact,

the man responsible for the reintroduction of the updated cab over Victor Schreckengost had his hand in the invention and design of mini modern things that we use today.

The dude even lived to be a whopping 101 years old,

maybe by his own design.

So why not put the engine in the front like today’s trucks?

Do the answer lies in a 10 letter word that we all hate any guesses.

That’s right.

The government had laws in place at the time that limited overall truck length to 42 ft on highways.

That’s roughly six twin beds glued together.

Nowhere near as long as today’s trucks.

Obviously laws changed over time yet it took decades until the 75 ft trucks like we see today were allowed on the roads.

But when our buddy Dwight D signed the Federal Highway Act,

the demand for the cab over increased as drivers were staying out on the road for longer than ever.

And cab overs were quite easy to live out of.


considering the other options in the 19 fifties.

And from there,

the golden age of the cab over commenced until its demise in the 19 seventies.

So a change of infrastructure and a change in legislation which allowed trucks to be 65 ft in 1956 ignited this beautiful era of trucks flatter than a Flapjack Peterbilt produced the model 352 in 1958.

That was the first tilt cab over.

If you ever seen a cab look like it dropped its penny and is looking at the ground.

That’s what a tilt cab over looks like.

Other models that were produced around the same time included Ford’s C series Freightliner tilting cab in 1958 that matched Peterbilt and Kenworth famous K 100 in 1964 as we briefly touched on,

drivers could also go across country sleeping sort of comfortably in their cabs.

Emphasis on sort of mini,

rode firmly and getting in and out of them after a long day was a bit of a challenge,

especially for the older driver.

This is because the driver would technically have to back out of their seat and cling to a railing to get out safely.

Not to mention having to watch their footing.


we all know a lot of drivers that can’t even back into a dock.

How would we expect one of them to get out of this cab safely because of this problem.

Some drivers performed what they called the Tarzan exit.

This is where a driver would grab the outer rail and swing out and down the truck.


they were fully clothed,

unlike Tarzan,

I’m sure this being the time period that it was many of them weren’t problems,

definitely existed with the cab over driver discomfort due to limited sleeping space,

an engine that was very disruptive to sleep and the ability to get your rig fixed,

the front tilt became less of a novelty and more of a huge pain in the ass.

The small cab space left little room plush and comforting novelties.

Yet roughly two decades after they changed,

travel across the United States,

all of a sudden it was possible to get from the Atlantic to the Pacific in just a few days using the same driver and same truck without making someone sleep exactly where they drive by the mid 19 sixties.

If you wanted to take a road trip on the new interstate system,

you’d be hard pressed to find a stretch of road without one of these beasts.

They represented a time when truckers ran harder than ever bonded together and were actually respected by those they shared the with.

So what happened to these cab overs that were such an iconic vehicle?

The decline of the cab over was pretty rapid.

It all started in 1975 when legislatures proposed that starting the year after in 1976 trucks could have an extra 10 ft of length.

Whoever says size doesn’t matter,

obviously hasn’t driven a truck before because it does matter greatly.

Although there was some pushback by a few states.

This allowed for weight to be dispersed on the truck better,

ultimately helping with conserving gas in a time when oil prices were stupid high by then,

it was just a matter of time for cab overs to go extinct in America as cab overs were already on their way out the door after 1975.

By the late 19 hundreds,

cab overs were pretty much discontinued from all major trucking manufacturers in the States and became rarer and rarer to see on the road.

The introduction of long nose trucks really made the problems of cab overs even more apparent regardless of the Federal aid Highway Act.

Truckers were going to eventually go away from cab overs since long haul trucking with them proved to be problematic.

Even though America has shed itself of the cab over.

These flat fronted babies are still alive and well across the pond in Europe,

mainly Great Britain,


Poland and Germany.

It makes sense to use cab overs.

Their roads are tighter and their distances to cover are lesser and truck length restrictions still exist.

So if you want to see one of these dinosaurs,

these harbingers of your head over to Europe you’ll see plenty of them.

Forget about Europe though.

This last milestone is all American.

As we’ve covered in this podcast today,

people have been trying to come up with an effective and efficient way to travel trans continentally in present day,

I’d venture to say that we’ve reached our peak so far of efficient highway travel,

but honestly,

sometimes it doesn’t feel like it anyways.

We’re ending here at the first attempt in 1913 at connecting the American coasts before the revolution of highways in America.

The consistency of road quality was a problem that led most people to travel by rail.

The only roads that were paved and maintained were in cities.

As many city folk were some of the few to own cars pre highway.


carss were made more affordable in 1908.

Thanks to the invention of the model,

t those driving them still found it difficult to travel from city to city much less across the country.

This is because at the time,

asphalt nor concrete was heard of for developing long stretches of road.

The nicest roads consisted of expensive brick or gravel.

Usually with most roads being made of dirt,

bumpy all the time,

dusty in dry weather and soggy in wet weather.

If it rained,

you could forget about taking your car out for a ride even better.

These roads led nowhere most of the time spreading out from town to town,

occasionally connecting,

but more often than not ended up being disjointed.


maps didn’t show accurate representation of roads either.

So for example,

you could try to get to Cleveland but end up in Pittsburgh who wants to be in either one of those places.

Yikes bring in the man that changed it all.

Carl Fisher prior to getting to work on the Lincoln highway Fisher was already doing dealings and driving as he was developing the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.


that Indianapolis motor speedway also,

this is the man responsible for turning Miami.


that Miami from a swamp into a bustling beach resort town.

Talk about versatility.

In 1912,

Fisher set out to raise just $10 million worth of funding to build a roadway from New York to San Francisco.

This is an incredibly low amount of money even for the time.

How would he afford to fund a coast to coast roadway for a cool 10 mil?

He offered communities along the route,

free materials and a place along America’s only transcontinental route if they provided the equipment he needed.

Fisher also asked for cash donations from auto manufacturers and accessory companies because his route would increase the demand for their products.

And Americans could become members of the highway organization for just five bucks.

Fisher’s fundraising unfortunately faced problems when Henry Ford decided against funding the project.

Ford believed that the public would never fund good roads if the private industry did it for them while Ford had a stick up his ass at the time.

His reasoning is sound because now the public also known as Uncle Sam funds most of the roads yet Fisher did not give up.

He was like the little engine that could,

fundraising left and right.

The enthusiasm for the Lincoln Highway project was what ultimately kept it afloat.

Despite Henry Ford’s,

nay saying the most notable enthusiasts included Frank Serling,

president of Goodyear and Henry Joy,

president of Packard Motor Company who pledged much of their money and support to the project.

The name Lincoln Highway was also proposed by Serling and Joy pointing out that congress was looking to memorialize Lincoln with a multimillion dollar marble project.

If they were going to name something after one of our nation’s greats,

it might as well be something that’s useful like a coast to coast highway.

This show of patriotism rallied Americans around the project more than ever.

Even convincing Congress to help back the project.

1913 saw the official start of the Lincoln Highway project.

The route was planned and fought over by Fisher and Henry Joy and then planned again and fought over again until they finally decided on a final route proposal.

The route proposed is still pretty much the route you will find today,

which is this.

It starts in literal hell known as Times Square,

New York.

Then it makes its way through the devil’s armpit,

also known as New Jersey.

It hits Pennsylvania,





Nebraska Helen Winter,

also known as Wyoming,


Nevada and ends in Lincoln Park.

San Francisco.

Lincoln Park is at the far west end of San Francisco and was named this due to it being the furthest west point on the route after much hemming and hawing the highway sort of finished up in 1916 with an emphasis on soda.

When it all opened.

You’d have to travel over 3000 miles.

You’d find patches with brick patches with concrete patches with gravel and unfortunately patches with dirt.

The Lincoln Highway Association referred to the trip as something of a sporting proposition like the Hunger Games.

It would take 20 to 30 days based on how many miles you went and how many hours you drove.

But you’ve got to think in terms of old vehicles with people who had never driven long distances in vehicles with no power steering and very bumpy rides.

In the twenties,

the Lincoln Highway was starting to be picked apart by new named highways being constructed rapidly around the country.

Some of these highways tried to steal parts of the Lincoln Highway and name them something different.

By 1925 the United States had a system of confusing highways marked by painted colored bands on telephone poles.

Sometimes if a route was shared by multiple highways,

you’d have an entire pole decorated in a rainbow.

Needless to say the need for identification led the Lincoln Highway Association to be a key player in moving the United States forward with a numbering system instead of a name system,

the system that you see today for highways was built back in 1925 to help this chaotic mess.

Although the system is still wildly confusing here are the basics and most of you already know this major east to west routes were numbered in multiples of 10 major north to south routes would end in either a one or a five.

That way you always knew if you were on a major highway headed towards somewhere.

Rather unfortunately,

the Lincoln highway got five numbers instead of just one as they were hoping for us.

One us 30 us,

530 us 50 us 40 with nearly two thirds of the Lincoln highway being a part of the famous US 30 which for those of you that don’t know,

runs from Newport,

Oregon all the way to Boston,


the death of the Lincoln highway began with this new highway naming system as interest declined steeply.

Eventually the association turned it into more of a historical road dedicated to honest abe than the fastest route to get from point A to point B,

another great route lost to time but not forgotten today.

The Lincoln highway still does exist,

go to Times Square and if you look long enough in the crowd of people,

you can see the marker for the beginning of it.

There are also segments such as part of us 30 that carry the name that are still fully operational.

Beyond that roads that have replaced the highways many times carry the name Lincoln Way.

You’ll also find monuments next to the highways such as a 42 ft tall granite monument dedicated to the president outside of Laramie Wyoming.

What’s even cooler is that there are places where the original brick of the highway still exist such as in Omaha,


while many people take senior pictures next to the road.

Now go back 100 years and that stretch of road was probably booming.

If you’ve got any picks,

make sure to send them our way.

That’s gonna wrap up this episode of Trucking Up History here presented to you by Liquid Trucking.

If there’s anything that you want to hear on our next Trucking Up History episode,

make sure and let us know this has been a very fun dance through history and we worked on this as sort of a stream of consciousness style rather than taking you from point A to point B in history.

We took you from point A to point B to point C along the stream of consciousness.

This route.

What led to what trucks led to chicken lights led to the Lincoln highway led to route 66.

Put it all together and I promise you that the math works out.

Thank you so much for being here and checking out our very special episode.

Once again,

this has been trucking up history presented by Liquid Trucking.

Thanks for tuning in and being the gold standard of drivers on the road.

Be sure to like and subscribe to the channel and tune in next week for another episode of the Liquid Trucking podcast.