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Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Day Nineteen of Our Lincoln Highway Road Trip

Today was our last day of our Lincoln Highway adventure. So far we have traveled 7,219 miles and with our trip home from Sacramento tomorrow we should end up with a total distance traveled of 7,700 miles in nineteen days.

This morning we were up at 6:00 am again and we decided not to partake in the lousy continental breakfast offered by the Days Inn we were staying at. Instead we loaded the car and went around the corner to Carrows for a real American breakfast of bacon, eggs, hash browns and toast. This was the first time we did not eat the breakfast offered by the hotel. The breakfast offered by the hotels we stayed at ranked with Comfort Inn as number 1, Super-8 at number 2, and Days Inn as last.

Our first stop was at Idlewild Park, in Reno, where there was supposed to be a monument to the Lincoln Highway and the transcontinental railroad. We did not find the monument, but the scenery in the park was great, especially the reflections of the trees in the calm water.

We then traveled west on I-80 to the little hamlet of Verdi to search for theDSCN3202 iron monument marking the boundary of California and Nevada. We had to do some exploring to locate the monument and we found it surrounded by a chain link fence to protect it from vandals and souvenir hunters. The drive up to the state line passed through some very scenic countryside and the old iron bridge over the Truckee River was a terrific photo spot.

After spending time at the Truckee River and state line we made our way to Truckee, California to look for some markers for the Lincoln Highway which now was designated as US 40 in California. The railroad station, where the marker was located, was having its parking area renovated and there was no evidence of any marker. We stopped in the California Information Center and asked the girl behind the counter where the marker was. She told us it was in storage until the construction was completed. There was, however, a restored Flying A service station.

Truckee is a quaint little town with boutique shops and cafes. As were not hungry we took our pictures and got back on Historic US 40 heading for Donner Summit.

As we drove west on US 40 (Donner Summit Road) we stopped at the site of the infamous Donner Party and the tragedy that befell them in 1846 as they traveled to California. Only 48 of the 87 member party survived the snow and cold where they became stranded in the Sierra Nevada Mountains on their way to Sacramento. There were numerous reports of cannibalisms among those who survived the ordeal.

Once again we encountered construction as the park’s entrance and parking area was being renovated. The museum was opened and the exhibits told the story of the Donner Party and other pioneers braving the hardships of the Emigrant Trail to California.

We hiked some of the trails around the museum and once again the scenery was great especially around the river.

Our final stop before we headed for Sacramento was at Donner SummitFXP_9841 where we stopped at the Rainbow Bridge and saw evidence of where the original Lincoln Highway passed over the summit and through the Sierra Nevada Mountains. It must have been some task for those cars in the 1920s and 30s to traverse this highway on their way to San Francisco. There was even the remnant of a wrecked car that could not negotiate the curves and tumbled down the mountain. The scenery on this portion of US 40 was magnificent.

After we climbed to the summit and began our downward passage we rejoined I-80 and headed for Sacramento. Our Lincoln Highway adventure had come to an end and we would be going home on Interstate 5.

You can see all of my pictures by clicking here. Don’t forget to click the “Slideshow” button at the upper right to view the largest image.

In the coming weeks watch for my newsletter articles about the Lincoln Highway. I will discuss its history and significance to the United States

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