A History Lesson With Booze ®

The Jack Kerouac

This week back in 1940, the first cars rolled onto America's first highway -- The Pennsylvania Turnpike. Without it, Jack Kerouac would've had to name "On The Road"... er, something else

On the Road 50 Years Later
WRAY, COLORADO -JUNE 27: A man drives a vintage automobile down a highway June 27, 2007 in Wray,Colorado. (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

The History Lesson

The Pennsylvania Turnpike is one of America’s spectacular roadbuilding feats! The highway of tomorrow! All 160 miles of the Pennsylvania Turnpike was built in 20 months. Towards the end, workers slapped down three-and-a-half miles of concrete per day.

How’d they do it? The Great Depression helped. FDR thought the project would create jobs. So he threw $70 million bucks of taxpayer money at it. Today, that’d be over a billion. Most highways were built to discourage speeding. But the turnpike aimed to get people places fast. It had banked curves and no steep grades. When a hill near Everett, P.A. got in the way? Engineers just carved a million cubic yards of rock right out of it. That’s called a “highway cut,” and it was the deepest of its day.

The coolest thing about the Turnpike was also the scariest – no speed limit. That lasted a few months. Then World War II broke out, and the government imposed a nationwide speed limit of 35. You can go faster on the Turnpike these days but you still might wanna try an alternate route. This year it was named the fifth worst road in America.

The Booze

The Jack Kerouac

Take a pit stop with this cocktail as created by Caroline Derrig of Sharky’s in Edgartown, MA.

  • 2 oz. rum
  • 1 oz. tequila
  • Orange juice and/or cranberry juice
  • Lime


In a bucket glass over ice, add rum, tequila and juice. Add a twist of lime and like dig it, cat.

Episode: 6