CleanMPG members reenact the Centennial of the 1908 NY to San Francisco Race

Discussion in 'Articles' started by xcel, Mar 19, 2008.

  1. xcel

    xcel PZEV, there's nothing like it :) Staff Member

    Two Honda Civic Hybrids take on the continent in an around the clock hypermiling-adventure with members in tow.

    [xfloat=left][/xfloat]Wayne Gerdes - CleanMPG - February 12, 2008

    The Thomas Flyer - 1908 Automobile Race Champion driven by Montague Roberts and George Schuster.

    An ever changing world brings with it new modes of transport. Starting with mastery of bipedal motion and ranging to beyond the time man walked on the moon, the destination has always been the same -- somewhere beyond the horizon …

    During the dawn of the 20th century, America itself was in the midst of great change. Enter the automobile. At first cars were fragile luxury items but thanks to those tireless few who drove them around the world in 1908, the contraption once thought to be less reliable than a horse was now carrying the dreams of our forefathers not just over the horizon but much much further.

    The 1908 Automobile Race was not so much a race as an endurance challenge conducted to determine whether or not it was actually possible to drive a motor vehicle across the United States (which in the winter had never been done before), and then completely around the world to Paris. In 1908 roads were nearly non-existent and much of the route was across horse and buggy paths or worse yet, nothing but unplowed snow or muddy fields. Anywhere from tens to hundreds of miles of back breaking work separated unscheduled way points and uncertain lodgings.

    Building upon the illustrious history of the automobile, a team of CleanMPG members gathered to commemorate the dawn of the automobile age. Rather than looking back at the past, we drove cars that are the future of transportation in a bold reenactment of the Greatest Automobile Race ever held. Though very different from the Thomas Flyer, the same pioneering spirit was with us as two Honda Civic Hybrids traversed the country in a 24/7 marathon -- won not by speed, but by best conservation of fuel.

    February's temperatures and our tight schedule were both less than ideal for a fuel economy challenge but in 1908, winter timing was crucial for the race. Back then, it was believed the entrants would be able to drive across the frozen Bering Strait... but they would need to do so before the ice broke up. Little did they know such a crossing was completely impossible due to inaccessibility and ice structure. We would not cross the Bering Strait either. Neither did we drive into and through Japan, China, Siberia or Europe, but we did retrace nearly the entire route for the US segment of the original challenge.

    Launch on the morning of February 12, 2008: New York City, NY, Times Square

    [xfloat=left][/xfloat]New York: New York City, Hudson, Fonda, Canastota, Geneva and Buffalo

    Pennsylvania: Erie

    Ohio: Toledo

    Indiana: Kendallville, Wawaka, Goshen, South Bend, New Carlisle, Rolling Prairie, Chesterton and Burdick

    Illinois: Chicago and Rochelle

    Iowa: Clarence, Belle Plaine, Ogden and Logan

    Nebraska: Omaha, Columbus, Lexington, and Sidney

    Wyoming : Cheyenne, Laramie, Walcott, Rawlins, Granger, and Evanston

    Utah: Morgan, Ogden and Promontory Point

    Nevada: Cobre, Ely and Tonopah

    California: Ballarat, Bakersfield, Los Banos and San Francisco

    Destination - San Francisco, CA

    Enter the 2008 North American Centennial Reenactment Automobiles

    ------Laurie’s 2005 Honda Civic Hybrid 5-speed---------------------------Honda supplied 2008 HCH-II w/ NAVI Press Vehicle

    2008 - North American Centennial Reenactment Automobile Drivers
    • Bailout - Known for his escapades driving up one side and down the other of those almost always snow covered Sierra Nevada’s -- all while maintaining an expert rating in his Toyota Yaris!
    • Billy - Anyone who has seen the most beautiful Insight on the planet has seen Billy behind the wheel. He is usually found in the upper reaches of Washington State but when out to hypermile, watch records fall!
    • Tarabell - If you own an HCH-II and do not know who this young lady is, you have missed out on a gold mine for far too long ;) She is author of the most famous Honda Civic Hybrid-II driving document of all, Adapting Basic Hypermiling-Techniques to the HCH-II.
    • Right Lane Cruiser - Coming out of nowhere with a 30 mpg Hyundai Elantra, he figured out a way to pull 60 mpg in the middle of a MN winter before transitioning to the ultimate fuel saver of them all -- the 5-speed Honda Insight. Managing 100 + mpg segments in 30 degree temps is among his latest accomplishments.
    • Slow Hands - Driving an ancient by today’s standards '96 Ford Ranger, he has accomplished lmpg numbers beyond anyone’s wildest imagination while running deep inside some of the worst that Chicago has to offer.
    • Xcel - Ringleader of the band -- or is it the asylum? :)
    1908 New York to Paris – Thomas Flyer Automobile Driver and Passengers
    • Montague Roberts - 25, Race Car driver and demonstrator for the Thomas New York Dealer.
    • George Schuster – 35, E. R. Thomas Motor Company Chief Mechanic
    • T. Walter Williams - NY Times Reporter
    Pre-launch …​
    Brian and Wayne installing Bob's HCH-II WA Kit.---------------------------Bob’s WAI in its final form in downtown NY City.

    HCH-I and II setup just before driving off to Times Square.


    Montague Roberts (driver), T. Williams (passenger) and George Schuster
    (in the back seat) of the Flyer awaiting the gun signaling the start of the grandest
    racing adventure in automotive history. Over 250,000 New Yorkers were standing
    by to watch the launch out of Times Square on Lincoln’s Birthday, 1908.

    Xcel and Tarabell at Times Square with HCH-II.--------------------HCH-II leaving Times Square 7th Ave and 43rd Street.

    Sean FAS'ing the HCH-I in Times Square in an impossible attempt to save precious ounces of fuel in the traffic maelstrom.​
    First fuel stop in Hudson, NY.​
    Our two steeds in Geneva, NY during a lull in the blizzard.​
    Erie, PA waypoint -- Snowing and cold :)------------------------Billy handing off in Erie during the snowstorm.​
    Brian cleaning the headlights and windshield in Toledo, Ohio.----------------Bestmapman and his Red Prius-II following in Toledo, OH.

    Toledo waypoint behind with over 3,000 miles to go.---------------------------HCH-I at Josh’s Bar– Lunch in Kendallville, IN.​
    Buried above the axles and thousands of miles to go …

    Wawaka, IN and I think enough said about that :rolleyes:----------Goshen, IN – DiamondLarry’s stomping ground ;)

    Coming up on South Bend, IN.-----------------------------------------Tarabell, Ken, Brian and Sean before Chicago.​
    Wayne and the HCH-I in his (its) element ;)------------------------------Attempting to leave Chicago at Rush hour - Typical.

    Chicago at Rush hour again :D or :( depending.------------------------------------Proctologist on I-88 West of Chicago at dusk.

    Fuel Stop in Belle Plaine, IA.-------------------------------------------------Dickie Doodles – Columbus, NE.

    Dickie Doodle’s Gas station Chili – None of us took them up on the offer for Tarabell’s sake :D
    Cornhusker Honda in Grand Island, NE. - oil change.-----------------------------Stunning museum overpass in Kearney, NE.

    HCH-II RR in Western Nebraska.--------------------------------------------The Nebraska Cows kept coming and coming.​
    The Thomas Flyer mired in the mud between Ogallala and Sidney, NE. Locals helped as we pulled the Thomas back out of this axle-deep bog. Just one of hundreds we faced crossing the country.​
    Brian in the HCH-II approaching Sidney, NE laughing at the cows or something :) If he wasn’t driving or a passenger laughing aloud, he was out cold!​
    Sean smirking at the Shell Fuel Stretch sign in Sidney, NE.

    HCH-I from fumes to a top off yielded a whopping 16.352 gallon fill with a 13.2 gallon capacity tank :rolleyes:

    Somebody was pushing a hybrid out of a mis-parked face-in spot (you know who ;)) and
    said pusher forgot that a certain other someone wasn’t in the car yet. A short time later, an expletive
    was loosed into the wild from the last person we would have expected :D :D :D
    Fuel stop in Wamsutter, WY. HCH-II showing an 58.5 mpg segment in - 3 degrees F temp. After a fresh oil change and decent fuel, even the colder temps could not keep the HCH-II from waking up.​
    Dawn on the WY Ice-Road (I-80).-----------------------------WY Ice-Road (I-80) – just ice and snow!

    Only a patch of real pavement every so often while climbing and descending up to 5% grades! The 18-wheeler’s were blowing by at upwards of 40 mph :angel:​
    The ever elusive Jackalope spotted in Central WY. Who would have thought ;)

    Evanston, WY waypoint.------------After the WY I-80 Ice-road.------------Utah was beautiful!​
    After the WY I-80 Ice-road #2!----------------------------------------------Driving by the Great Salt Lake.

    Gorgeous while driving towards Salt Lake City, UT!----------------------------Utah Salt Flats before driving into NV.​
    Tree of Utah – An interesting marker on the Salt Flat’s along the route to San Francisco.

    Utah Salt Flats with a little water on top.-----------------------------------Middle of Nowhere, Nevada ;)
    Since there were no roads, there were no railroad crossings!

    Welcome to Ely, Nevada!​
    Ely to Tonopah on Rt. 6 – Vista #1.------------------------------------------Ely to Tonopah on Rt. 6 – Vista #2.

    Ely to Tonopah – Tens of miles of ruler straight roads. Rt. 6 was a hoot!

    Ely to Tonopah – More miles of ruler straight roads.-------------------------Ely to Tonopah - 10 + mile long FAS anyone :D
    Nearing Tonopah - Fun with cameras while in a long FAS :D-----------------------Entering the infamous and historic Tonopah, NV.​
    Ballarat, CA Ghost town - Jail-Morgue.---------------------------------------Interior of the Ballarat Jail-Morgue.

    Ballarat, CA. Ghost Town – Post Office closed in 1917.-----------------------------Ballarat, CA. – Ken, Wayne, Brian and Tarabell.​
    Bakersfield, California.---------------------------------------------------Los Banos, California.

    Final Destination of the 1908 - 2008 US Centennial - NY to San Francisco Race Reenactment
    CleanMPG members and the Hybrid vehicles near Fisherman's Wharf – San Francisco, CA.
    Left to Right: Tarabell, Ken, Sean, Bill, Wayne, and Brian.​
    2005 Honda Civic Hybrid – FE data and Driver Swap Locations

    Town/CityDriverTemp(F)Trip A MPGTrip A OdoTrip B MPGTrip B OdoOdometerFuel consumed (gal)Actual MPGNotes
    Times SquareSean34--------69,040----
    Hudson, NYSean3664.7131.161.4131.169,1722.1361.1First fill – 131.1 miles/2.13 gal.
    Fonda, NYBill1866.0078.066.0078.069,250----Dinner.
    Geneva, NYWayne2565.1152.965.8230.969,403----
    Erie, PA.Brian2556.7206.061.3436.969,609----
    Toledo, OHKen1563.2225.261.6662.269,834----Snow part way than wet roads.
    Gary, INRani1965.8214.662.8876.970,649----Light head winds.
    Chicago, ILWayne2373.8044.963.2921.870,09315.05261.24Second Fill – 921.8 miles/15.052 gal.
    Clinton, IAWayne1666.9155.066.9155.070,249----
    Clarence, IASean1465.1064.966.6220.070,313----
    US 30 & I-35Bill1164.3124.065.8344.070,437----
    Grand Island, NEKen1961.6292.163.9636.370,730----Some snow and 40 + mph cross winds.
    North Platte, NEBill2158.6155.262.8791.570,855----40 + mph cross winds.
    Sidney, NESean2162.8105.362.8896.970,99016.35254.85Third Fill – 896.9 miles/16.352 gal.
    Laramie, WYWayne464.3151.864.3151.871,142----Climbed from 4,200’ to 8,800’ and down to 7,200’ – WOW!
    Wamsutter, WYRani-371.5139.067.3290.971,281----
    Little America, WYBrian-357.7104.167.7395.171,386----
    Salt Lake City, UTWayne2870.4167.768.5562.971,553----Fell out of the Rockies – 7,200’ to 4,235’.
    Ely, NVSean3353.7218.563.5781.471,772----High speed runs making up time.
    Tonopah, NVBrian4059.8170.162.8951.571,94214.98463.5High speed. Fourth Fill – 951.5 miles/14.984 gal.
    Ballarat, CABrian5170.0252.370.0252.372,194----High speed through Sierra’s and Death Valley.
    Bakersfield, CASean5154.5154.963.2407.272,349----High speed and climbing most of the segment.
    McDonald’s (84 miles from Los Banos)Sean3968.8077.063.9484.372,426----20 miles of slow roads from 40 – 55 mph.
    San Francisco, CAKen4660.5204.963.2689.272,63111.44760.21High speeds. Fifth Fill – 689.2 miles/11.447 gal.
    San Francisco, CA (Fisherman’s Wharf)Ken5055.2019.555.2019.572,651----Finish – 19.5 miles/.353 gal.

    Total Miles and Fuel consumed from NY City - Times Square to San Francisco - Fisherman’s Wharf
    3,611 miles/60.32 gal. = 59.86 mpg. -- 3,611 miles/94 hours = 38.4 mph.

    2008 Honda Civic Hybrid – FE data and Driver Swap Locations

    Town/CityDriverTemp(F)Trip A MPGTrip A OdoTrip B MPGTrip B OdoOdometerFuel consumed (gal)Actual MPGNotes
    Times SquareRani34--------5,630----
    Hudson, NYRani3651.6129.551.6129.55,7592.50951.6First fill – 129.5 miles/2.509 gal.
    Fonda, NYBrian1852.1077.552.1077.55,836----
    Geneva, NYKen2552.4150.353.1229.35,988----Heavy sleet and snow.
    Erie, PA.Bill2548.4202.350.8431.66,190----
    Near Cleveland, OHWayne1754.5133.051.6564.76,323----
    Toledo, OHSean1253.7090.051.9654.76,41412.08554.17Second Fill – 654.7 miles/12.085 gal.
    LaPorte, INBrian2452.7179.052.7179.06,593----Strong head winds.
    Davenport, IAKen1553.4232.253.1411.36,825----
    Clarence, IARani1457.7077.453.8488.76,902----
    Ogden, IABrian3053.7157.553.7646.37,060----
    Logan, IAWayne2857.8095.254.2741.67,15513.56654.67Third Fill – 741.6 miles/13.566 gal.
    Grand Island, NEWayne2152.7159.552.7159.57,315----Some snow and 40 + mph cross winds.
    Outside Grand IslandRani1952.5035.252.5194.87,350----Test run after oil change.
    Sidney, NEBrian2052.4222.752.4417.67,573----
    Laramie, WYKen453.6150.552.7568.17,723----Climbed from 4,200’ to 8,800’ and down to 7,200’.
    Wamsutter, WYSean-358.5137.853.7705.97,86112.55456.23Fourth Fill – 705.9 miles/12.554 gal.
    Little America, WYBrian-358.8100.058.8100.07,962----
    Ely, NVKen3349.9386.151.5487.08,348----Mountains, desert and sunny.
    Tonopah, NVBill4056.7167.052.7654.08,51512.40952.70High speed. Fifth Fill – 654.0 miles/12.409 gal.
    Ballarat, CARani5161.7248.061.7248.08,767----High speed through Sierra’s and Death Valley.
    Glidden, CA.Wayne3957.0228.459.4476.48,995----20 miles of slow roads from 40 – 55 mph.
    Burlingame, CABill4652.4202.757.1679.29,19811.28455.83High speeds. Sixth Fill – 689.2 miles/11.447 gal.
    San Francisco, CA (Fisherman’s Wharf)Bill5054.2019.554.2019.59,218----Finish! – 19.3 miles/.353 gal.

    Total Miles and Fuel consumed from NY City - Times Square to San Francisco - Fisherman’s Wharf
    3,588 miles/64.76 gal. = 55.40 mpg. -- 3,588 miles/94 hours = 38.2 mph.​

    All said, the 1908 race generated much needed press about the poor condition of America’s roads and upgrade work began almost immediately following. With the race as its impetus, the first transcontinental road, the Lincoln Highway was initiated in 1912. That highway laid the ground work for an even larger project, that being the current Interstate highway system.

    About the Fuel Economy of the Honda Hybrid vehicles. Given the winter conditions, full loads (3 people + 250 #’s of gear), huge climbs (from sea level on both coasts to over 8,000 feet a number of times) and high speeds from Salt Lake City to San Francisco (averaging over 70 mph in some areas), the Honda Civic Hybrids achieving 59.9 mpg in the HCH-I and 55.40 mpg in the HCH-II proved that the current EPA estimates of just 41 for the 2005 and 42 for the 2008 are labeled far below what can be achieved in the worst of conditions. In more temperate conditions, you could easily tack on another 10 mpg for each vehicle given both have seen over 80 mpg’s over a tank with single drivers in summer like conditions. With a little work, you should see the same.

    We have to give Honda credit for the older 2005 HCH-I with its leanburn technology proving itself the most fuel efficient highway hybrid sedan through the worst that America has to offer in terms of weather and terrain.

    A huge thank you goes out to our friend Laurieaw who could not participate due to a scheduling conflict but was willing to lend out her vehicle in exchange for an Insight for a week. I want to also thank Chuck Schifsky, Chris Naughton and Chris Martin of the Honda Motor Company for the use of a 2008 HCH-II for the reenactment with a unique delivery and drop off location. Additionally, I want to thank Meghan Lynch of Specialty Transport for transferring the HCH-II to Tarabell at the Long Island NY Airport. Finally, I want to thank Bradlee Fons of the MiHG who donated enough $’s to cover the cost of the HCH-II’s fuel. Without any of the above, this event would not have been possible in the manner completed.
  2. xcel

    xcel PZEV, there's nothing like it :) Staff Member

    Hi All:

    ___And a few more thanks solely to Tarabell.

    Ken and Brian in front of the HCH-II in Times Square.------------------Wayne standing around waiting to get on the road.

    Times Square in NY City. The HCH-I and II waiting to launch on the upcoming Grand Adventure.

    Toledo, OH. Jud and Wayne cleaning the windows, headlights and even the wipers.

    Ken and Sean pushing the HCH-II to the gas pump.----------------Sean, Wayne, Jud and Bill talking cars before heading out.

    Columbus, NE. Ken standing in front of the HCH-I.----------------------HCH-II parked in front of Dickie Doodles rest stop.

    Grand Island, NE. HCH-II oil change.--------------------------------------Beautiful sunset approaching Sidney, NE.

    Sidney, NE. We did not push the cars all the way to San Francisco if that is what you are thinking :)

    WY snow fence paralleling I-80 for hundreds of miles.---------------------------Wind Farm in the windy upper elevations of WY.

    Best pic of the trip showing more Wyoming mountain landscape ahead!-------View of a train we passed through our frosted windows in WY ;)

    Utah’s Salt Flat’s from one mountain range to the next!---------------Great Salt Lake surrounded by beautiful mountain ranges.

    Ballarat, CA. Plaque read in part "It was never a very large town" … What an understatement. Inspecting the Jail/Morgue.

    Ballarat, CA. Ghost town welcomes us: "You learn nothing by sitting in the car" :)

    San Francisco, CA. Gang on Hoff Street and later, signing Atlas’ just 30 yards from the Pacific at the Wharf.​

    ___Good Luck

  3. xcel

    xcel PZEV, there's nothing like it :) Staff Member

    Hi All:

    ___It is 3 degrees F outside just north of Chicago and heading for negative numbers. Which brought back memories of the Greatest "ordeal" Race ever driven. Thinking back, we were fortunate to have the opportunity to be there 100-years after the fact to the minute.

    ___I hope some of our newer members enjoy the read as much as we enjoyed the experience. You can read the “live” accounts and commentary in the following:

    The announcement: CleanMPG Hypermilers reenact centennial of the 1908 NY to San Francisco Race

    Pre and Post launch plus on the road details: Hypermilers Re-enact the 1908 centennial of NY to San Francisco Race

    ___God Speed to Mr. Schuster and the Team of the American entrant, Thomas Flyer.

    ___Good Luck

  4. Right Lane Cruiser

    Right Lane Cruiser Penguin of Notagascar

    -15F and still dropping here -- memories indeed!
  5. mcmurphy

    mcmurphy Active Member

    So no stops made in Buffalo, NY huh (My stomping grounds)? It's a shame, it would have been a great place to stop for some eats! How was the weather through Buffalo?
  6. xcel

    xcel PZEV, there's nothing like it :) Staff Member

    Hi All:

    Today is the 105th anniversary and who remembers this all-hands drive?

  7. herm

    herm Well-Known Member

    You guys had some fun..

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