Mucks the poor slob on the right
That is Edsel Ford on the left. They are on their way to the Pan American Exposition in San Francisco in 1915. The show actually ran from January 1, 1915 - January 1, 1917.
What's that on the cowl that looks like an opened vent?
It is an open vent accessory.
Edsel had a lot of period accessories installed before leaving Dearborn. By the time he reached Denver all the wire wheels were damaged, so they were replaced with stronger and more reliable wood wheels.
Ever wonder why people drove into existing ruts in a muddy dirt road instead of keeping to what was probably a more solid shoulder?
Charlie - I guess they were just "Stuck in the same old rut"
I only bring it up because while watching a recent dinosaur expedition on TV everyone drove truck after truck into a low water filled spot in the road and had to be pulled out. There were clearly dry spots on either side so I guess we haven't learned a darn thing.
Here's another view from the drivers side taken at the same time.
You asked: "Ever wonder why people drove into existing ruts in a muddy dirt road instead of keeping to what was probably a more solid shoulder?"
The important word is PROBABLY.
I used to wonder the same thing. One day I was driving on a muddy, rutted, "squishy" Vermont road and tried the higher shoulder. Well, it was not more solid...in fact, it was higher because all the mud was squished out of the rut and piled alongside the rut...which had a rather solid bottom. The higher shoulders seemed to have no bottom, whereas the ruts did.
Other roads in other areas may have different rut bottoms - much of the New England soil was washed south with the glaciers.
When I was a kid, did the same thing with a tractor and took the “higher, drier shoulder”’. Turned out the same way, sank out of sight in mud with no bottom. Dad yelled at me and said should have gone straight through the mud in the center, as it usually have a bottom. Dad drove the T’s back in his days. Guess it all depends on how deep the bottom is and how low is your axle?
I see that the "existing rut" issue has been pretty well covered, but I think it needed another explanation. Dave and Chuck pretty well covered it, but the main point is there is usually a bottom to the mire, and if you stick to the ruts, you do not have to cut through the mire, some one else has already done that for you. It is logical and even holds true for snow, you seldom see some one try to drive in the un-rutted snow to avoid getting stuck in the ruts. That being said, if you are driving on crusted snow that is too deep to drive through, then you do avoid the ruts. The same goes for mud that is too deep to drive through, then you avoid it altogether.
I am pretty sure that he did not get to that point under his own power, I have had mine stuck a couple of times and have never gotten in that deep before requiring a tow.