As I left Kearney, NE on the morning of July 4th, the road changed for me yet again. This time the road had a different buzz then before. The big centennial celebrations were over, but because of the holiday nothing had been taken down yet. Town still kept various things open not only for the holiday, but for Lincoln Highway travelers like myself. In one of my previous posts, I remarked about what the route looked like in advance of the car tours. Would everything go back to the way it was, or would it all stay up for the rest of the summer? Would the Lincoln still be prominent in people’s minds, or would it fade away again? I’d have to drive further down the road to see what happened…
It’s about 100 miles as the crow files from Kearney to North Platte, but in these parts it takes a lot longer to get there than one would think thanks to the famous “Stair Steps” along the route. If you drive US 30 in this part, you are NOT driving on the original highway. When the Lincoln was being plotted 100 years ago, it was tricky in those days to get across the South Platte River. They used the existing roads of the time, which followed section lines around farms. These lines formed a stair step pattern when you looked at a map. You can read more about this part of the route here. It winds and curves, dozens of times, but it a beautiful and historic stretch of road. Thanks to the efforts of Muriel Clark with Nebraska Outback (more about her in my next post), this section of the road now has signage directing you along all of these twists and turns. When I was photographing the road they were in process of getting all of the signs up, so it should now (as of today’s date) be fully marked.
Because I had to be in North Platte at a specific time, I had to drive this section on two different days. I followed the original route until Gothenburg on the 4th, and then I came back and drove the original route from Gothenburg to North Platte a few days later. I really loved driving this part of the route, and I’m glad I took the time to see it.
Jennifer Sopko says
Thanks for sharing! I always love seeing your pictures of those original alignments of the highway. It’s wonderful that in many places you can drive along the original 1913 route, but it’s also very fascinating (and a little sad, too) to see those portions that are barely traceable, off the beaten path, not drivable, etc. I am also enjoying learning about the other routes and roads that intersect with the Lincoln through your posts, too!