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  1. #1

    Default Lincoln Highway, Western Third

    I had just posted a commentary on the eastern third of the Lincoln and said that I had previously done the western third also. A reader let me know that I had not posted a commentary of that and requested that I do so. So here it is! Before warned that I would not make this trip in the dead of the winter....possibility of snow is very real in many spots.

    It should be said that there are choices to be made along the way and all are important parts of the Lincoln Highway. The Western Terminus is at the Lincoln Park in San Francisco and there is a concrete post so stating. After leaving the park, the first place that needs to be visited is Mel's Diner (remember American Graffiti and Happy Days). A real good way to start any jaunt across country. and the milk shakes are very good! We took a short detour off the highway to drive through Haight/Asbury streets mainly because the wife and I are just old hippies at heart.
    Now comes the first decision-how to cross the bay and where...the original was by ferry and can see be done or by bridge....we chose the bridge because the ferry was very crowded and very expensive.
    The second decision comes immediately after crossing the bay. How to get to Sacamento? interstate 80 is the newer way (post 1913) while California 99 is the older reality there is not much difference because both are four or more lanes all the way and not much to see besides concrete and heavy traffic.

    The third decision is just after Sacromento. How to get to Reno, Nevada. The northern route follows follows old US 40 and Interstate 80. The only major thing along this stretch is Donner Pass (and it is by interstate). We chose to follow US 50 going into the Lake Tahoe area and then to Reno. We went this way because we dislike interstates and wanted to see Lake Tahoe. This way gave a glimpse of the desert landscape as well as now (in June) when crossing the mountains. We were not disappointed on either count and love every minute of it. For us, it was the right choice.

    After leaving Reno, one takes US 50 (the loneliest road in America) to Schellbourne, Nevada where another decision has to be made-How to get to Salt Lake City. Dugway Proving Grounds covers the old road as was first used. One can go north and take I-80 east bound or go south and stay on US 50/Utah 36 until it runs into I-80. This is the way we went and enjoyed it.

    We did make a detour off the Lincoln Highway at Ogen, Utah to visit Promontory Point, where the cross country railroads met. This is a well worth it detour. Just be sure to arrive there before 10 am because they do a re-enactment of the meeting of the two trains. This is probably the most educational part of the whole trip!

    Back on the Lincoln Highway, over 1/2 the way to Cheyenne, Wyoming is on interstate 80. Various guide books show where to get off and back on the interstate. It should be noted that from west Rock Springs, Wy. you will be on and off US 30 all the way to Philadelpha...when possible take US 30.

    Just east of Laramie was the Summit Rest Area on US 30 which was the highest point on the Lincoln...and had a statue of Abe. both had since been moved to the interstate because of vandelism...went to both places. Just east of the old rest area is one of the oddities of the trip. The smallest town in the USA that has a zip code (see picture)-population 1

    For us when we left this "this town", the rain clouds started to gather, by the time we got to Cheyenne it was decided to end this section and head back to North Carolina. We had already seen the devestation of the spring floods along the Missouri/Mississippi plus the weather was supposed to be better if we headed south and then east.

    This was our first section of the Lincoln Highway and was completed in June 2011. In late September/early October we did the eastern third. If all goes well, our plans are to to the middle section from Cheyenne to Joliet the first part of November of this years.

    If you have any questions, i will try to answer them but just remember each person has their own personal likes/dislikes so it will be strictly our opinions.

    Bob Abernethy
    Hickory, North Carolina
    Attached Images Attached Images

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Melbourne, Australia

    Default Thank You.

    Exactly my sentiments. You have whetted my appetite.


  3. Default

    Thanks, some great tips in your post. Really want to visit Promontory Summit when I drive the LH. Would probably not have heard about it if you wouldnt have posted it here.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Southern California


    When we did the Promontory Point visit, some 10+ years ago, we also took the dirt road that takes you out to see some of the old railroad bed. Frankly, we didn't think it was worthwhile, and ended up turning around and returning to the Visitors Center.

    Also out that way was Morton-Thiokol, makers of rockets. They have an interesting display outside ... or they did, back then.

    Last edited by Mark Sedenquist; 01-24-2012 at 11:51 PM. Reason: minor typo

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2009
    SF Bay Area


    There are some bits and pieces of old US40 along the I80 route through Solano and Yolo County that I've been on recently, in places like Davis and Winters and Cordelia. They have signage pointing it out.

    I can dimly remember the days when there was no I5, no I80., no I anything... you went north or south from SF on 101 or 99 (esp if you were in a hurry), you went east on 40 or 50. You crawled through Sacramento on city streets.

    (And yes, we had bridges then, I'm not THAT old).

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