From July 4, 1916, to Sept. 8, 1916, sisters Augusta and Adeline Van Buren traveled 5,500 miles from New York to San Diego on motorcycles. Ninety years later, their great-nephew Robert Van Buren and his wife Rhonda are recreating that historic trip—taken to prove that women were fit to serve as motorcycle dispatchers in World War I.
"They figured if they could make a trip across the country, through the mud, the dirt and weather, then the military would see that women could do the job and free men up for duty on the front lines," [Robert] said.
So, Gussie and Addie headed out on a trip where, for the most part, there were no roads and no maps for the country west of the Mississippi River.
The Van Buren sisters were the first women to ride the new auto road to the summit of Pike's Peak. They were also arrested somewhere in the Midwest for wearing pants.Robert and Rhonda's journey is also a fundraiser for the Intrepid Fallen Heroes Fund. You can learn how to support this worthy cause, and find out more about the Van Buren Sisters, at vanburensisters.com.
"Women didn't wear pants back then," Robert said.
Rhonda said, "They weren't just pants, they were red leather." [Link]