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Convoy Reenactment – Retracing the Trip that Changed America

Convoy program cover.
Convoy Commemorative Program
(4.3 MB downloadable PDF file)

The freedom of the open road, as symbolized by our Interstate Highway System, is uniquely American. It is born of a pioneer spirit, and a desire to see what lies beyond the horizon. As the nation celebrates the 50th Anniversary of the roads that shaped our lives and our prosperity, the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials pays tribute to the men and women whose foresight changed our destiny.

In June 2006, a national convoy retraced, in reverse, the route of the 1919 First Transcontinental Motor Train, an arduous journey of 3,250 miles from Washington, D.C. to San Francisco which included then Lieutenant Colonel Dwight David Eisenhower. Traveling the perilous Lincoln Highway, now the route of Interstate 80, the journey forged in Eisenhower's mind the need for an interstate highway system. As President, Eisenhower would sign the legislation making the Interstates a reality on June 29, 1956. Fifty years to the day later, the convoy arrived in Washington, D.C., where a media event took place near the very same Zero Milestone from which the 1919 convoy departed.

Some three million Americans cheered the original convoy on its way. Every state was invited to join in the convoy and along the way RV clubs, antique automobile associations, state and local officials, and others all participated. You can view the daily webcasts from NCNTV or read about one of the 18 stops in 13 states and Washington, D.C. Take a look.

The manual for convoy participants can be downloaded here. (5.5 MB PDF file)


The convoy reenactment was made possible through the donations of the following organizations.

Premiere Partners

Bridgestone Americas Family of Companies

Firestone has been involved with interstate highways since early in the 20th century, when founder Harvey Firestone joined the "Good Roads" movement, supported the efforts of the Lincoln Highway Association to create the first transcontinental highway, and advocated the creation of the first interstate highway system. At the close of World War I, Firestone created the "Ship by Truck" campaign, encouraging manufacturers to use trucks to move their products to markets across the country. In fact, the very first coast-to-coast shipment of goods traveled on Firestone tires. To this day, Firestone tires remain a champion of the road and are moving goods around the country on the nation's highways and interstates.

Firestone was also involved with the First Transcontinental Motor Train. Harvey Firestone hosted the 1919 convoy at the Firestone Homestead and two trucks of Firestone tires traveled with the convoy with replacements for worn equipment. Firestone is proud to be the primary sponsor of the 2006 Celebrate the Interstate Convoy.

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The American Trucking Associations

The American Trucking Associations is honored to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the U.S. Interstate Highway System. We proudly salute President Dwight Eisenhower for his vision of "ribbons across the land," an enduring gift given to generations of Americans.

America's highway system has grown out of a bold concept into, unquestionably, the most important nationwide infrastructure enterprise of the 20th century and one of the great engineering feats of history.

When good roads become better, the trucking industry benefits, and the nearly 50,000 miles of the Interstate Highway System have enabled the trucking industry to become the economic success it is today – the industry that moves the U.S. economy.

When "Ike" signed the 1956 Federal Aid Highway Act and Congress established the Highway Trust Fund, just 120,000 tractor trailers operated on U.S. highways compared with the two million that ply our interstates today. Trucks moved half a billion tons of freight in 1956 year compared with over ten billion tons last year. The fuel tax was only three cents a gallon.

Today, the trucking industry hauls nearly 70 percent of all freight moved across the U.S. Over 80 percent of our communities depend solely on trucking for delivery of their goods and products, communities now reachable because of the Interstate Highway system. In simple terms, if we live under it, wear it, eat it, or enjoy it – it came by truck.

We look forward to the next half-century of the Interstate Highway System and improved highway infrastructure financed by techniques that do not disadvantage truckers and consumers. This will allow trucking to continue to do what we do best: move ever-increasing amounts of freight safely, efficiently, and on time.

Our participation in this coast-to-coast convoy reflects our commitment to ensuring that the next chapter of the American Interstate Highway System continues the economic and social progress of its first fifty years.

We are proud to be on the road for this 50th Anniversary Celebration.

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