A Remarkable Story

A documentary about the longest motorized military convoy assembled by humankind in 1919 that traveled from the White House to San Francisco.

A journey that changed the life of President Dwight D. Eisenhower and the American people.

Ambassador Michael Owen drives the Lincoln Highway in a journey that retraces Dwight Daved Eisenhower's historic 1919 convoy.

This exploration, reflecting on America's past, present, and future, delves into the transformative impact of Eisenhower's journey on the country's fabric and Owen's personal engagement with American history. 


Documentary Release Date: Early 2025

A Journey that Changed America

Their destination was 3,251 miles away from Washington DC in Golden Gate Park, San Francisco. 

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On a sunny July morning in 1919, 295 military personnel and 81 vehicles assembled on the south side of the White House in Washington DC. The first Army Transcontinental Motor Convoy was the longest motorized convoy ever assembled by humankind.

The documentary tells a story of resilience and ingenuity that characterized the historic Transcontinental Military Convoy, providing a vivid narrative of its challenges and triumphs that laid the foundation for fostering a new era of mobility and connectivity in the United States.

Ambassador Michael Owen // Author and Director After Ike

Animated photo of Dwight Eisenhower (right) during the convoy in Firestone Homestead, Columbiana, Ohio during the 1919 Transcontinental Motor Convoy.

The documentary employs scrolling parallax effect to add depth and motion to historic still photography.

Image credit: https://www.eisenhowerlibrary.gov


An Engaging Story With Historic Players

The convoy was about to embark on a historic trip over the Lincoln Highway. A 28-year-old lieutenant colonel named Dwight Eisenhower was one of 37 officers assigned as observers of the convoy.

Eisenhower signed the Federal Aid Highway Act of 1956 into law, a direct result of his experience traveling 3,251 miles across the United States during the 1919 convoy, and later his exposure as Supreme Commander to the German Autobahns during WWII.

The 1919 Transcontinental Motor Convoy

The convoy left Washington DC on July 7, 1919. With an average of 6.07 mph, they arrived in San Francisco after 62 days of hardship on a journey that would change the United States forever.


The convoy traveled 3,251 miles. Captain William Greany, the official Statistical Officer, reported that the convoy was involved in 230 road accidents, mostly due to "appalling traffic conditions."


Read Captain Greany's report here.

81

Vehicles

295

Enlisted Men and Officers

230

Road Accidents

3,251

Miles Traveled in 62 Days

6.07

Average Miles Per Hour

58.1

Average Miles Per Day

A map of the United States showing the transcontinental route followed by Ike Eisenhower in 1919 following the historic Lincoln Highway

To those who have known only concrete and macadam highways of gentle grades and engineered curves, such a trip might seem humdrum. In those days, we were not sure it could be accomplished at all. Nothing of the sort had ever been attempted

dwight D. eisenhower

About the Team

Michael S. Owen - Director - Author After Ike

Michael S. Owen is a retired US Ambassador. During his 30 years as a Foreign Service Officer he worked in numerous countries across Africa and Asia. Now that he’s back home, he’s delighting in traveling around his own country and has driven over the Lincoln Highway several times. He has published several stories in literary journals.

He lives in Reston, Virginia, with his wife Annerieke.

Ambassador Michael Owen and President Barack Obama.

Ambassador Michael Owen and President Barack Obama.

Gregory e-biked the route of the 1919 convoy in 2022 raising $184,000+ for charity while filming segments for After Ike.

Gregory F. Maassen - Producer & Director

Dr. Gregory F. Maassen is a multimedia, strategic digital marketing, videographer, and (interim) manager with over 23 years of experience, including 18 years of senior management experience with the IFC/World Bank and USAID programs in Armenia, Southern Africa (15 countries), Afghanistan, Russia, Iraq, Macedonia, and Jordan.

He is the founder of Wandel Guides LLC, the production company for the "After Ike" documentary. He is a Fulbright scholar and has a Ph.D. in business administration. 

Brian McCotter - Creative Director

Brian McCotter specializes in strategic communications, brand development, and program management. He has extensive experience leading and managing integrated organizational communications, stakeholder relations, and corporate strategy projects.

He possesses a BA from Duke University and an M.A. from the Elliott School of International Affairs, George Washington University as well as course work at Emmanuel College, Cambridge University, and the University of Cape Town.

Brian's passions include documentary filmmaking, English bulldogs, and Land Rover Defenders.

The Reels

Michael Owen, author of After Ike, provides commentary for a 1919 U.S. Army silent film documenting the transcontinental motor convoy. Click here to watch his apperance on C-SPAN American History TV.

Reel #1

This reel starts with the dedication of the "Zero Milestone" at the Ellipse, official starting point of the journey, in which Secretary of War, Newton D Baker and Congressman Julius Kahn participated. Lt Col McClure receives the wreath to be delivered to Governor William Stevens of California.

https://catalog.archives.gov/id/24694

Reel #2

This reel starts with an artillery tractor towing 3 trucks, a load of approximately 30 tons, through soft mud.


https://catalog.archives.gov/id/24694

Reel #3

This reel starts with the convoy at Granite Point, Utah, August 21, 1919 Entering Great Salt Lake Desert over new Seiberling Cut Off which shortens the Lincoln Highway about 55 miles.


https://catalog.archives.gov/id/24694

Images from the silent film. Click on the arrows to browse through the collection.

Image captions are from the original transcript.

The Top 10 Pop Songs From 1919


The documentary "After Ike" features the Top Pop Songs from 1919, sourced from the Library of Congress' National Jukebox. Thanks to the Music Modernization Act, we have the privilege of using this music since all recordings released before 1923 became public domain on January 1, 2022. While we've digitally enhanced the original recording to eliminate noise and imperfections, we took care not to compromise the authenticity by over-processing the audio.

After you've gone - #1 Billboard 1919


Bourdon, Rosario -- Conductor, Harris, Marion -- Vocalist -- Soprano Vocal, Creamer, Henry -- Lyricist
Layton, Turner -- Composer