The real-life Alice Ramsey was the first woman to drive an automobile coast-to-coast in 1909; her memoir of the 59-day New York-to-San Francisco trip inspired this fictionalized treatment of the trip: a diary by one of her companions, Hermine Jahns, age 16. They negotiated roads that were little more than cattle trails, inclines so steep that the wheels had to be blocked to keep their Maxwell from backsliding, and the Nevada desert. They encountered an armed band of Indians (which proved to be a hunting party) and a mounted sheriff's posse pursuing a murderer. This high-spirited saga of flat tires, broken axles, primitive maps, flash floods, and endless miles of muddy road is an eye-opener for almost everyone, but especially for children accustomed to the speed and comfort of modern interstate highway travel. The breezy, easy-to-read text is liberally sprinkled with b&w photographs from the actual trip and comic, uncredited b&w illustrations. Hyatt provides a helpful afterword, a map, information about cars of the time, and a bibliography.