Ocean to Ocean in a T

The Centennial of the 1909 Ocean to Ocean Endurance Contest

June 2009 - 55 Model T Fords will rerun a race that changed both automotive history and the world. This site is for participants and fans.


Blog Posts


Posted by Jon Griesenbeck on February 12, 2019 at 8:29pm

Billy McGuire

Posted by Billy McGuire on February 19, 2009 at 1:30am — 65 Comments

Jon Griesenbeck's Blog Page

Posted by Jon Griesenbeck on May 26, 2009 at 11:30am — 12 Comments

Day 2 and 3 video

Posted by Dennis & Martha Fleming on June 16, 2009 at 9:54pm

Day 1 VIDEO!

Posted by Dennis & Martha Fleming on June 15, 2009 at 10:47am

First night in Kansas

Posted by Willard and Barbara Revaz on June 27, 2019 at 12:00am

Mishawaka IN

Posted by Willard and Barbara Revaz on June 23, 2019 at 10:12pm

Bloomington IL

Posted by Willard and Barbara Revaz on June 24, 2019 at 10:45pm

Written by our leader Peter Bernhardt
On June 22, 1909, at precisely 12:55:25pm, a 1909 Model T Ford won the 1909 New York to Seattle Ocean to Ocean Endurance Race. The contest, sponsored by the millionaire Robert Guggenheim, was part of a publicity campaign for, the 1909 Alaska-Yukon-Pacific Exposition held in Seattle that year.

The spidery tough Model T, which weighed less than a thousand pounds, started the Race with four heavy-weight cars; the Stearns, Acme, Shawmut and Itala; each weighing from 3500-4600 pounds. Henry Ford was convinced that a cheap, tough, lightweight, flexible car was what was needed for the impassable roads of 1909 and in that conviction he was right. The Race, to be 4106 miles and lasting 22 days, started from New York City Hall on June 1 when President Taft pressed a golden telegraph key in Washington which both opened the AYP Exposition in Seattle and signaled Mayor McClellan of New York City to fire a gold revolver. They were off for twenty-two days of indescribable driving conditions, requiring the drivers and the mechanics to be entirely self-reliant, highly creative and ingenious in overcoming the many obstacles before them. The summer rains were terrible; the mud ubiquitous and a plague; streams had to be forded; the Fords, (two were entered), were mired in quicksand; often they became lost in deserts and badlands. At Prosser, Washington, an observer, not used to cars, struck a match on the side of the Ford's gas tank and the car caught fire. At Snoqualmie Pass, just east of Seattle, the Ford sank four feet in the snow and a railway gang dug it out.

Arriving at the finish line in Seattle at the Drumheller Fountain, which was the center of the AYP Exhibition of 1909 and now the center of the University of Washington where the fountain still exists, the Ford was declared the winner with a jubilant Henry Ford (caught for posterity by the brilliance of Mr. Kodak) proudly standing by. Although the Shawmut, which crossed the finish line seventeen hours after the Ford, was ultimately declared the winner the following November by the Automobile Club of America, the Shawmut's declared ex-post-facto victory came too late. Pursuant to Rule 3 of the Race Rules, the Ford’s engine had been illegally substituted for part of the distance replacing the engine stamped by the ACA at the beginning of the Race. From June to November Henry Ford put on an advertising and media blitz which implanted in the mind of the world at large that the FORD HAD WON, thereby providing a huge impetus for Ford sales--- the 1909 Model T which won the race was the first year of production which ran until 1927 with 15,007,033 Model T's having been manufactured.

In recognition of the centennial of that long ago feat in automobiling, fifty-five Model T’s, ranging in age from 1909 to 1927, will be following the original route of the 1909 racers, stopping nightly in towns in which the early racers stopped a century ago. Only in a few instances, in which the old roads have disappeared (i.e. in Wyoming, Idaho, Oregon and Washington), will the 2009 racers run on interstate highways, minimizing the amount of deviation from the original route.

Fifty Model T's from the United States will represent each of the fifty States and five additional will come from overseas. The 2009 Centennial Run will start from New.York City Hall on Sunday, June 14 and end on Sunday, July 12 at the Drumheller Fountain; Three days will be spent in Detroit at Dearborn at the Henry Ford Museum and Greenfield Village; and three days at Seattle.
Chris Collins, grandson of one of the organizers of the 1909 AYP Exhibition, is hosting the celebrations for the Centennial of the AYP. He is planning joint activities with the 2009 Run Participants and a parade of the cars will take place through downtown Seattle. We hope that a member of the Ford family will be present at the finish line, hopefully having driven a Model T himself for part or the entire Run.

To repair man and machine, every fourth day will be a free day. Planning started in earnest for the 2009 Run in 2003 and is well advanced. Chairmen of the 2009 Run are Mary and Peter Bernhardt and Judy and John McLaren. In all probability there will be extensive media coverage. Given the ever-increasing danger of modern traffic this will be the last time such an event will be able to be held to recognize the beginning of the Model T era and the birth of the Model T, which put the world on wheels. The 2009 Run will recognize the signal achievements of these early racers, particularly Burt Scott, winner of the 1909 Race and father of Jack Scott, who is planning to be on the 2009 Run.

Latest Activity

Newell Atwood commented on Willard and Barbara Revaz's blog post Bellevue Wa
"Did you get to finish yet.?"
Jul 16
Susan Yaeger is now a member of Ocean to Ocean in a T
Jul 16
Willard and Barbara Revaz posted blog posts
Jul 12
Willard and Barbara Revaz posted a blog post

Twin Falls Idaho

 A beautiful sunny morning this morning but a little chilly. We wore our windbreakers for most of the morning. The roads were good and we made good time. Visited Craters of the Moon National Park for a few hours.   There is a 7 mile loop road that takes you through the park. Along the way you see all of the old lava flows from volcanic eruptions thousands of years ago.   Willard said that the astronauts trained there in preparation for walking on the Moon.   By afternoon the wind picked up and…See More
Jul 8
Willard and Barbara Revaz posted a blog post

Pocatello ID

When we were in Montpelier for the Fourth of July, we got a little rain and the temperatures dropped substantially.  We were freezing in our light jackets.  There were fireworks in the evening about six blocks from our hotel but we were too tired and too cold to go.  The next day it was a short drive to Pocatello, only 88 miles.  There are more mountains as we travel farther west.  And we see a lot more trees and forests out here.  The ride was easy and enjoyable.  We went up a big hill and…See More
Jul 6
Willard and Barbara Revaz posted a blog post

Another Day Off

We had another rest day today.  There was a rain storm last night with lots of thunder and lightning.  Willard got some neat pictures of the lightning.  The morning was spent working on the car.  Brother Ray brought the trailer to us so Willard could do an oil change.  He greased up everything that needed greasing and charged up our dead GPS battery.  A quick wash of the car and some brass polishing ended the car maintenance.  A shower and a nap was part of the driver maintenance.  After that,…See More
Jul 1
Willard and Barbara Revaz posted blog posts
Jun 30


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