Sunday 2nd May 1915
Effie Hotchkiss and her mother Avis left Brooklyn, New York on the adventure of a lifetime. The mother and daughter duo were bound for San Francisco, California on a new 1915 Harley-Davidson V-twin with sidecar that Effie had recently purchased. By taking the southern route, they crossed into California enduring temperatures in excess of 120 degrees Fahrenheit, came within feet of a rattlesnake (which Effie handily dispatched with her handgun), and came face-to-face with a coyote which met the same fate as the rattlesnake. When they arrived in the City by the Bay in August, the pair became the first women to ride cross-country on a motorcycle. The Hotchkisses also recounted that while in New Mexico, they had run out of spare inner tubes. The ingenious duo took a blanket from their supplies, cut it down to inner tube length, rolled it and stuffed it into the tire. Finally, in August, the team dipped their wheels in the Pacific Ocean at San Francisco and became the first women to cross the United States on a motorcycle. Taking a northern route, their return journey included crossing the deserts of Nevada and Utah. Effie and Avis Hotchkiss finally returned to their home in Brooklyn in October of 1915, having traveled approximately 9,000 miles, covering more than one-third of the United States, over five months. While glad to see the family they had left behind, they were already looking forward to their next trips. In the end it didn’t matter whether they had set out to, they had motorcycled their way into the record books and motorcycling history.