Sunday, June 30, 2013

Tour Day 8 - Grand island, Nebraska

Day 8 saw us cover a lot of ground to get into position for our final "parade lap" into Kearney, Nebraska on the following day. The trip was uneventful and we saw some interesting things. One of my favorites was an old abandoned bridge that was part of the original routing of the Lincoln Highway heading west into Woodbine, Iowa. The concrete bridge remains but the rest of the roadway is long gone.

There was an interesting gas station in Woodbine but I particularly liked the old sign.

Out in the middle of nowhere is a pair of Lincoln monuments erected by J.E. Moss. A bit further is Gregory Corner.

Another one of my favorite spots on this day was a short section of hard-packed dirt road.

We had dinner at the Shady Bend restaurant in Grand Island. This used to be the main building for a motor court dating back to the late 1920s. The same family has owned it since the beginning, now on their third and fourth generations.

Another great spot in Grand Island is this LH seedling mile. The LH Association created several of these "ideal miles" to show communities how to build durable, safe roads. Whether accurate or not, the local historical society claims that this brief stretch is the last original paved section of the Lincoln Highway in existence and is on the National Historical Register.

Another well known landmark on the Lincoln Highway is the Kensinger Service & Supply station.

After dinner Sharon and I wandered downtown to get pictures of a spectacular theater marquee. As we were photographing the sign a man came outside and told us the story of the theater. It had almost closed down several years ago but the owners offered to give it to a non-profit who would be willing to take it over and refurbish it. Several downtown business owners and many other volunteers came forward and wound up with a multi-million dollar renovation. He invited us inside to see the building, and I have to say that this is one of the most spectacular theaters I have ever seen. Movie tickets are $3.50 and popcorn and drinks are $1/$2/$3. The theater had 276 patrons watching Ironman 3 that night, and we were told that was typical of the kind of community support they have been getting. The theater is staffed entirely by volunteers.

Today is the grand finale of the Lincoln Highway segment of our trip. We are going to line up all of the tour cars chronologically and travel west to Kearney, Nebraska. Simultaneously, another group coming from San Francisco will be travelling east. We are going to arrive at the same time and parade through town together. I'll let you know how it turns out. 

Until then,


Saturday, June 29, 2013

Tour Day 7 - Rochelle, IL to Ames, IA

We had a long day traveling from Rochelle to Ames, mostly because there was so much to see. It started in the morning with this great Cadillac sitting in front of a corn field and a classic barn.

We had breakfast at another great cafe, this one in Franklin Grove, Illinois across the street from the Lincoln Highway Association headquarters.

I love old drive-ins and this one is a beauty.

Our morning stop was at this great windmill sitting on the Mississippi River in Fulton, Illinois.

The view from the back of the windmill looking across the Mississippi River toward Clinton, Iowa...

Our lunch stop was in the very cool and historic city of Mt. Vernon.

This 1916 Buick was displayed in downtown Mt. Vernon when we arrived. It has been in the same family for all of its 97 years! Back in the teens and early 1920s it made several trips to California along the Lincoln Highway, to the summit of Pikes Peak, and so on. The trips are all documented with pictures of the car and family. The current owner is the second owner of the car. He has owned it since 1962 and is the grandson of the original owner.

Here's another brick segment of the LH with a closed off bridge in the background.

The Youngville Cafe is a restored cafe that is manned by volunteers a few days a week. It was jammed when we arrived, but we still had pie. 

One of the icons of the Lincoln Highway is the late George Preston's service station, built in 1923. The family still owns the property and they love having visitors. 

This bridge in Tama, iowa was constructed in 1915 and was an early advertisement for the Lincoln Highway.

Our evening stop was the famous Reed-Niland corner. The Lincoln Highway and Jefferson Highway intersect here and share the road to Ames before the Jefferson splits off again. The Jefferson Highway ran from Winnipeg, Manitoba to New Orleans and may have been the first international highway in the U.S.

I was in the right place at the right time and got to ride in this beautiful 1948 Tucker, one of only 51 made I was told. I was also told that this particular car has a value of $2.45 million.


Friday, June 28, 2013

Tour Day 6 - Crossing Famous Highways

We began our day by driving to La Porte, Indiana to have breakfast at B&J's American Cafe. It was like stepping into the past. What a great place! We talked to John, the owner, for awhile as well as one of the customers inside. We got one of their hot home-made cinnamon buns to go. It didn't last long.

We crossed the state line into Illinois and drove through Chicago Heights. This is a crossroads where two great highways again share the road. This time the Lincoln crosses and briefly joins the western alignment of the Dixie Highway. The LH turns onto Chicago Road for about a mile before breaking off again. Chicago Road is the Dixie Highway through here.

We stopped and had lunch at the Joliet Area Historical Museum which is where we crossed Route 66 the first time. From there we drove to Plainfield where the two most famous historical roads in America share three blocks of pavement.

Along the way, Sharon and I stopped to meet an online friend, Cort Stevens, in person. We then met another friend traveling with us on the tour, Denny Gibson, and the three of us parked our cars together for a picture representing the eighties, seventies and sixties. from left to right is Cort's 1989 Impala, my  1972 Monte Carlo, and Denny's 1963 Valiant.

From there we made our final stop in Franklin Grove at the Lincoln Highway Association headquarters. this was followed by a picnic in the park.

We backtracked slightly to our hotel in Rochelle to spend the night. We will be off to Iowa and an intersection with another famous historic highway this morning.


Thursday, June 27, 2013

Tour Day 5 - Wandering to Indiana

We began the day slowly, but in a very pleasant manner. We spotted this great restaurant called the Coney Island Diner in Mansfield, Ohio and decided to eat breakfast there. It was a beautiful place with great diner food; just what we were looking for. We took our time enjoying breakfast, and by the time we left we were the last ones on the road.

Our first stop in the morning was the Wyandot County Museum housed in a beautiful old mansion. The museum had a surprisingly large collection of memorabilia, including a nice display on the Lincoln Highway. They fed us a morning snack in the church across the street. By the time we left we were again at the end of the line.

One of the places I wanted to find was the intersection of the north-south Dixie Highway with the east-west Lincoln Highway. Sharon and I had spotted this place in a previous Dixie Highway trip. It's located in Beaverdam, Ohio. The picture below shows the view of the Lincoln Highway with the Dixie Highway coming in from the right on Church Street. The Dixie turns right and shares the road with the Lincoln Highway for several blocks before continuing left and heading south. Unfortunately the Dixie Highway isn't marked here, so if you don't know where it is you'll drive right by and miss it.

We stopped in Van Wert and were greeted with a great big celebration including a banner welcoming us to the city. We were supposed to have a picnic lunch but rains threatened so we ate in the church across from the park. After leaving we drove across another great section of Lincoln Highway brick in western Ohio.

Then we saw this parked right next to the highway. hard to miss!

We entered Indiana and were greeted by torrential rain followed by lots of construction and detours in and around Elkhart. It turns out that we managed the detours better than most, and we were some of the first people to arrive at our dinner destination at the spectacular Studebaker Museum in South Bend, Indiana. I can't begin to describe how cool this place is. The event was sponsored by the Indiana Lincoln Highway Association, and we had dinner on the museum floor. The museum was closed to everyone but us and we spent the time before and after dinner wandering. Some of the pictures below give an indication of the size and scope of the museum. 


A 1907 electric car. Not such a new idea after all...

Check out the cutie and her ride!

This is a one-of-a-kind woodie prototype wagon. Studebaker never introduced this model.

After dinner we checked into our hotel and spent the night. Today we drive from South bend to Rochelle, Illinois.