“Our battered suitcases were piled on the sidewalk again; we had longer ways to go. But no matter, the road is life.” –Jack Kerouac
With the nearing centennial celebration coming up this weekend in central Nebraska, the highway came to life on a whole other level as soon as I crossed the border. From billboard signs to little Lincoln highway signs taped to telephone poles, the whole state is “Thinkin’ Lincoln” and rightfully so. This past weekend, hundreds of cars of varying ages, makes, and models left both San Francisco and New York City and are heading this way right now. While I’ve certainly longed for this weekend and to see my fellow LHA Members for the conference next week (it will be amazing on so many levels), I have to admit it’s been a little weird to see the metaphorical “wrinkles smoothed over” of the towns I’ve been going through in the last couple days. Don’t get me wrong, it’s nice to see all of the changes and celebrate the highway, but I also wonder what the towns look like when there are no celebrations going on. Are there many Lincoln Highway signs up, or would one get lost trying to find everything? It’s something to think about.
The photos in today’s post are from Scranton, Iowa all the way to Central City, Nebraska. Landscapes start to change from corn fields to rolling hills. The city of Omaha breaks up the highway’s routine of being sleepy and quaint. You drive parallel to a major train route, and you see trains coming and going constantly. Traffic is busier than you would think as it’s still a major thoroughfare for the area. Roads are narrower (with minimal to no shoulder) to keep their historic integrity in some parts, which makes it tricky to drive when it’s super windy as I experienced. You’ll see a TON of brick roads that have been preserved by various communities that I passed through, and it’s interesting to see how different the bricks look in each place. My favorite finds below are the following (and you’ll see pictures of all of this below):
1) The Village of Boys Town – This place is a must stop for you if you take the original route. They do amazing work, and there are several places that visitors can tour. It’s an important part of the highway’s history (as well as US history) that I fear may be overlooked at times.
2) Elkhorn Brick Road Stretch: You’ll find this west of Boys Town. 3.5 miles of a perfectly preserved brick road including signs, markers, and bridges.
3) The “Avenus of Trees” in Duncan: In the heart of Duncan you’ll see two rows of trees which used to flank the original route.
4) Gardiner Station Section: This can be found in between Duncan and Silver Creek, and here you’ll see an iron truss bridge with a wooden plank floor in amazing condition.
The next week will be crazy for me blogging-wise as I have performances in several places over the next 8 days including: Grand Island, Kearney, North Platte, and Sutherland Nebraska. I will post in real time when I can on my Facebook, Twitter and Instagram pages, so if you want to check in to see how things are going until the next blog post you can visit me there. Until then everyone, safe travels wherever you may and have a Happy 4th of July weekend!