H.D. Miller has a hell of an anecdote from the old-time Real America:
If you want a single dramatic example of how much America has changed in the last century or so, stop talking about trips to the moon and super computers and start talking about this: in 1910, two brothers, Temple and Louis Abernathy, saddled up a pair of ponies and rode alone from their home in Frederick, Oklahoma, to New York City, almost 2000 miles away, to see Teddy Roosevelt give a speech. At the time, Louis, called “Bud”, was 10 years old, Temp was 6.
Louis rode his father’s horse, Sam Bass, and Temple rode a pony named Geronimo. Temple was so small that he had to climb on a stump to mount, and often slid down the pony’s leg rather than drop to the ground. They rode without maps, watching the sun and asking directions as they went. Behind their saddles they carried bedrolls and bacon, and oats for their horses, and they paid food and hotel bills by check. They wore broad-brimmed hats, long pants and spurs, and stayed in touch with their father through telegrams and occasional phone calls.
Difficulties did occur. The boys faced a blizzard. Geronimo foundered and had to be replaced with a horse that was named Wylie Haines after an Oklahoma deputy. Temple came down with a fever, and he was once almost swept away crossing a river.
After two months on the road, alone, they arrived safely in Washington, D.C., where they were greeted by the Speaker of the House and met President Taft, whom they felt a fine man, but inferior to their hero Teddy Roosevelt. Two weeks later, they were in New York City riding behind Teddy in a ticker-tape parade in Roosevelt’s honor. He had just returned from a grand hunting trip to Africa.
HT: Ed Driscoll.