Some of you may not be familiar with the Lincoln Highway, I know I wasn’t until just a few weeks ago. Indeed, of the nation’s historic highways, the Lincoln Highway is quite possibly one of the least well-known. This is an unfortunate fact, especially considering the exciting stops, interesting people and wealth of history the follows America’s first trans-continental road. Having just returned from a 4 day scouting trip of the Lincoln Highway, I wanted to take a moment and give you all a brief update on Sports Leisure’s upcoming Chicago-Cheyenne trip on the old road as well as some things I learned along the way.
As part of my preparation for the trip, I spent the two weeks prior reading up on some of the road’s history, most famous stops and best bathrooms (an important aspect of any adventure!). What I learned was that this road was truly a labor of love for all those that helped make it possible. Private donations kicked off the highway’s conception and its supporters spent months preparing the best route to take through the country using mostly already existing local dirt roads. Far from what we’re used to seeing today, the Lincoln Highway meandered through town after town of small-time diners, farm land and local neighborhoods. Even after the highway was finished, traveling it was no small feat. The trip took a minimum of 30 days to finish and the first Lincoln Highway guide even suggested that you bring full camping gear for some stretches and to light signal fires in the event of an emergency so local townspeople could come to your aid!
Above all else, however, I learned that when you’re traveling America’s oldest roads, some things never change. Traveling the old highway today is just as exciting as it ever was – though arguably in a different way – and maintaining it is still a labor of love. Most of the small towns were bypassed long ago and largely left abandoned, but you can still see the highlights if you know where you’re going. For example, you’ll absolutely love the Egyptian theater in Dekalb and the old Creston murals. Exploring the corn fields in Nebraska for trail markers is an adventure, but be careful! Our trip left us stranded in a foot of mud while we searched the plains for evidence of a wagon trail long since deserted. You’ll have to see if you have better luck than us come June if you’re joining us as we explore the Lincoln Highway. One more thing, if you happen to locate the mysterious footsteps in Ogden, I want to hear about it!