Archive for December, 2010

Spirit of season from Lincoln Highway traveler

December 22, 2010

In July, I reported on the motorcycle trip of Chris Hutter, who traveled the Lincoln Highway this past summer to complete his following of the road all the way across the U.S. After reaching San Francisco, he rode to Seattle, then took US 2 westward. Just outside of Montana, he stopped for coffee at a road stop, and that was the start of a brief adventure that I’ll let him tell.

As I was ready to leave the rest area I spotted something on the ground about forty feet away. I rolled my bike over to find a wallet. The wallet had a drivers license, a military ID and some of the basic stuff you would find in a mans wallet. I looked for a phone number but had no luck and besides up in these hills there is little cell service. I figured it was lost or stolen and tossed since there was no money. I threw it in my pack and figured I would send it to back through the U.S. Mail with a nice note telling him where I found it. As I was riding, I kept thinking that this guy is probably going crazy looking for his lost wallet. I pulled over to see where he lived. Turned out he was from Missoula, Montana. The town of Missoula was south of US 2 and was a slight detour for me but I decided to make the delivery. It was the least I could do for a Staff Sergeant in the United States Army. So I set my GPS to the address listed on his drivers license and off I went not knowing what I would eventually find…

I made a turn onto his street which was a typical small town street. As I rolled down the street near his house a middle age woman was standing in the driveway speaking to two younger woman in an SUV. The sound of my Harley caught their attention and they were all staring. When I turned into their driveway, stopped and took off my helmet they almost became slightly alarmed.

I politely introduced my self as Chris from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and that I was there to speak to the Nathan because I had something that belonged to him. Before I could finish my sentence they started screaming and cheering and repeatedly kept asking me where I found it. Within a moment, Nathan appeared and was walking down the sidewalk asking me where I found it. He was in total disbelief. He stated that he searched and searched and was getting ready to call his credit card companies to report the cards as lost. Turns out the wallet popped out of his pocket when he was pulling the leash for his dog that was also tucked in his back pocket. The dog took off and he quickly ran after it losing his wallet in the process.

He then began to ask me what he could give me and my reply was “nothing, it is the least I could do for a member of our armed forces.” It turns out that Nathan had already served four tours in Afghanistan. A few moments later Nate’s father came outside, on his hat it said U.S. Marines, Vietnam 69-74. Again, his father asked what he could do for me and my reply was I owe more to you than you could ever give to me. I explained to them that I truly felt this way and they graciously accepted my reply. They are a family of true patriots and have given more to our country than we could ever realize. We are all indebted to them for their service.

Without a doubt this was the best part of my 18 day trip. I quit blogging after this portion because it just could not get any better.

Fire destroys Lancaster-area restaurant

December 20, 2010

A fire Saturday night destroyed a restaurant in Paradise Township near Lancaster, Pa., that had closed after a  fire in 2008. The Garden Gate Diner at 3105 Lincoln Highway East, formerly the Wagon Wheel Restaurant and the Route 30 Family Restaurant, was the scene of the two-alarm blaze, as seen in the photo from Lancaster Online.

Another article reported that a rooftop cooling unit crashed through the ceiling into the dining room. More than a dozen fire companies responded to the scene. The older section of the building, which includes the kitchen and counter area, is standing but sustained smoke and water damage; the newer section to the west, which includes the main dining room, collapsed in the fire and was cleared by fire crews.

Lincoln Highway Mural Installed In Geneva, Illinois

December 16, 2010

The Illinois Lincoln Highway Coalition has completed the next in a series of Interpretive Murals stretching along its 179-mile corridor. The mural will be on the Geneva Masonic Lodge building at 10 S. Second Street in downtown Geneva, Illinois.

This mural showcases the Lincoln Highway in Geneva’s  downtown, with a streetscape featuring the local motorcycle policeman. The vintage image is hand-painted in shades from a tonal color palette, bringing the images to life. As the designated byway management agency overseeing the 179 mile Byway, the ILHC seeks ways to recognize the significance of the highway and ways to make the stories come alive. After receiving a National Scenic Byway Grant from the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) and an Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity, Office of Tourism, Attraction Development (TAP) Grant, ILHC worked with Jay Allen of ShawCraft Signs to make this project come to life.

For more information on the Illinois Lincoln Highway, places to see and things to do, stories of the highway’s significance and history, or to request ILHC’s 2010 Visitor Guide, visit

Christmas at Cody's 1880s mansion & barn

December 13, 2010

Visitors can again enjoy an old-fashioned Christmas at the Cody ranch with a tour of Buffalo Bill’s home on Friday, December 17 from 5:30 pm-8 pm.

The 1886 mansion, 1887 horse barn, log cabin, and outbuildings are all decorated with lights. The mansion will have 18 lighted and decorated Christmas trees and decorations in the interior. There will be a large lighted and decorated Christmas tree in the barn where visitors can make their own ornament to hang on the tree. Santa Claus will be there for the children, Buffalo Bill will talk to visitors, and music will flow from the old piano in the mansion. Outside there will be roasted chestnuts, hot apple cider, and cookies. Draft horse-drawn hay rack rides will also be available, weather permitting. Admission is $5 per person at the door, children 12 and younger are free. Park entry permit required.

Buffalo Bill Ranch SHP
2921 Scouts Rest Ranch Rd
North Platte NE 69101
(308) 535-8035

Lincoln Highway diner demolished (?) in NJ

December 9, 2010

UPDATE: The local newspaper now reports the diner was moved to Pennsylvania.

A vintage diner along the Lincoln Highway in New Brunswick, NJ, has been demolished, reportedly on December 7, 2010. The 1941 Fodero-brand Mack’s Diner stopped serving food in 1968. It became a grocery, then was bought in 1976 for $7,250 and operated as All Ears’ Records until criminal activity closed that business in 2005.

A 2008 article in noted that owner Tareq Algharaybeh was hoping to find a buyer for the dilapidated diner:

Flanked by a record shop and a mini market on French between Seaman and Suydam streets, the Mack’s turquoise shell glimpsed daylight recently. Last month, the advertising posters that have for years obscured nearly its entire facade were taken down.

For about a week, the words “Mack” and “Diner,” on either side of the brick and aluminum portico tethered to the patina of decades, were again visible.

Inside, what appears to be the diner’s original tile and wood counter teeters against the test of time. But other than the ventilation hoods, stripped of their exhaust fans, little trace remains of the diner’s days and nights as a restaurant.

But Algharaybeh, who bought the diner two years ago, says it is otherwise sturdy…. Algharaybeh, who also owns and runs Sam’s Pizza and Chicken two blocks south on French Street, has little use for this period piece. With three years left on the lease for the pizza establishment, Algharaybeh wants to move that business, which he has operated for 20 years at French and Alexander streets, onto the Mack’s lot.

Route 30 movie sequel filming in PA

December 1, 2010

The Gettysburg Times reports that filming has begun on the second of three movies in John Putch’s Route 30 trilogy.

The first day of filming for a 19-day shoot of “Route 30, Too!” occurred in the Caledonia area, along the famous Lincoln Highway, according to director John Putch.

Other local scenes for the film are scheduled in Chambersburg, Mister Ed’s Elephant Museum in Orrtanna, the historic Round Barn, and the Totem Pole Playhouse.

“It’s three stories intertwined into one,” Putch said regarding the new film, unlike the original movie “Route 30,” which featured “three different stories” in 2008.

Putch, the son of famous actress Jean Stapleton and William H. Putch, an original member of the Totem Pole Playhouse, is an actor, producer, writer and director. He has appeared in an episode of “Seinfeld,” “Jaws 3” and various other roles as well as directed episodes of “Scrubs,” “Grounded for Life,” and “Ugly Betty.” His own film credits include “Mojave Phone Booth” (2006), “Bachelorman” (2003), “Pursuit of Happiness” (2001) and “Valerie Flake” (1999).

Since its release, Putch has travelled the country showing “Route 30” at various film festivals and to date the film has won 14 awards.