American History, Antique Cars, Automobile, Blog, Cars, driving, Inventor, Road Books, The Yankee Road

Billy Durant, Flint Michigan and General Motors

In the late summer of 1886, 25-year old William Crapo Durant was an up-and coming businessman in Flint, Michigan. He was born in Boston, but came with his mother to her family in Flint when a baby. Billy, as he was called when grown, was the grandson of Henry Howland Crapo of New Bedford MA,… Continue reading Billy Durant, Flint Michigan and General Motors

American History, Blog, Canada, History, Road Books, The Yankee Road, Travel, War of 1812, Writing, yankee


You might want to follow this explanation on a map. How US 20 (America's longest highway and the subject of my book trilogy The Yankee Road) ended in Newport, or even at Yellowstone, is a complex story. First and foremost, it begins with boundaries. After the American Revolution, the British kept control over the eastern seaboard… Continue reading Boundaries

Blog, civil war, development, driving, History, overland, railway, Road Books, stagecoach, The Yankee Road, Travel, Writing, yankee

Some Rough Travel Comparisons

Something that seems to be left out of most accounts of travelling overland across the continent is how long it took, especially for those going west from the Mississippi River valley, and what the introduction of the railroad and then the automobile meant to the traveller. For the wagon going to Oregon, or the Mormon… Continue reading Some Rough Travel Comparisons

Blog, History, Road Books, The Yankee Road, Travel, Writing, yankee

The Creation of US20 – The Yankee Road

With the publication of Volume 3 of The Yankee Road launching August 2020 (here's a bit of the story behind US 20, America's longest highway. US 20 stretches across the United States nearly 3400 miles, from Boston to Newport, Oregon. It is a designation connecting a number of largely pre-existing roads rather than a singular… Continue reading The Creation of US20 – The Yankee Road

Blog, Book Review, Reviews, Road Books, The Yankee Road, Travel, Writing

Lowell, Jack and Me: An Excerpt from The Yankee Road – Volume 1

Whither goest thou, America, in thy shiny car in the night?Jack Kerouac, On the Road What a long, strange trip it’s been…The Grateful Dead, Truckin’ Lowell is a former mill town to the north of Boston. It is named after Francis Cabot Lowell, who developed the first American textile mill in 1814. It is located… Continue reading Lowell, Jack and Me: An Excerpt from The Yankee Road – Volume 1

activist, development, Economics, environmentalism, health, Road Books, The Yankee Road, Writing

On “Cactus Ed”

Perhaps the most notable character to inhabit the 1900s desert West was “Cactus Ed” Abbey, who died a few years before we took the first of our many trips to the Southwest. We loved what he saw and worried about its sustainability as well, but we were, sort of, part of the problem. Abbey worried… Continue reading On “Cactus Ed”

Blog, civil war, commerce, development, Economics, History, labor, labour, Road Books, selling, The Yankee Road, Writing, yankee

Retailing “Yankee Notions”

Every inhabited part of the United States is visited by these men. I have seen them on the peninsula of Cape Cod and in the Neighborhood of Lake Erie, distant from each other more than six hundred miles. They make their way to Detroit, four hundred miles farther, to Canada, to Kentucky, and, if I… Continue reading Retailing “Yankee Notions”

Blog, cattle, ranchers, steel, The Yankee Road, western, Writing, yankee

Don’t Fence Me In

As the frontier pushed west past Chicago in the 1840s, a problem appeared with the change from forest to prairie: the need for fencing. Farther east, wood for fencing was easy to come by, but the prairie was nearly treeless. The most common kind of fencing on the Illinois frontier was a large bush called… Continue reading Don’t Fence Me In

Blog, Cuba, development, Economics, labor, politics, Public Administration

Havana Dreamin’

I wrote this 6 years ago, before President Trump more or less established the Status Quo Ante in US Cuba relations. This is a lightly revised  piece from then. I knew Cuba in the old days before President Obama unleashed the second American invasion of that Caribbean island. This one was not a military one,… Continue reading Havana Dreamin’

Blog, butterfield, civil war, Gold Rush, History, kansas city, overland, railway, Road Books, stagecoach, The Yankee Road, yankee

The Second Butterfield Stage (Sort Of)

When I was writing a chapter for the second volume of my book, The Yankee Road, I told the story of John Butterfield and his Overland Mail Company, which operated a stagecoach line between St. Louis and San Francisco between 1858 and 1861; its existence cut short by the outbreak of the Civil War. The… Continue reading The Second Butterfield Stage (Sort Of)