Posts Tagged ‘Nevada’

New SF travel column boosts Lincoln Highway

September 1, 2009

A new travel column at San Fransico’s features the Lincoln Highway‘s Western Terminus marker and maps out a trip across California and Nevada.

CA_SF_Examiner travel

Lincoln Highway used Kings Canyon Road

August 28, 2009

As Denny Gibson climbed the Sierra Nevadas a couple days ago he wondered if he should or could access Kings Canyon Road, a sometimes steep climb between Carson City, Nevada, and Lake Tahoe to the west. Once suburban King Street ends, there are 9 miles of westbound climbing. The total gain is 1,800 feet, but the worst of it is the first two miles. Here’s my view of the eastern start:


An 1860s toll road, it became part of the LH in 1913 (improvements led it to be called called Ostermann’s Grade for LHA’s Henry Ostermann). It was bypassed by US 50  and the old road deteriorated; it was in rough shape when people began rediscovering the LH. It’s obviously been improved in recent years as hikers and bikers take to it. ATVs and jeeps share the road but it’s not recommended for regular-clearance vehicles. This article describes the condition: We couldn’t go too far up the mountain though; the road is no longer maintained, and at one point higher in the mountains, the road has washed away. An old truck lays in the valley below as if it had fallen off the cliff.”

As this article says,   “Almost all freight, clothing, pots, pans, food stuffs and lumber came to Carson City by way of this road. If you wanted to visit family in California or spend a vacation at the Lake, this was how you went.”

Here’s a site that makes KCR look stunning but, they’re on bikes.

This site says “Climbing from 5400ft above Carson City to 7000ft at Spooner Summit, Kings Canyon is no slouch for elevation gain. Most of the gain takes place in the first 3 miles of the climb, so expect to get the worst over quickly.”

The road is hard-packed dirt and rock, with very few sandy spots along the first 3 miles. During this time, the grade is fairly steep, giving the rider a good aerobic workout. After a couple switchbacks, the road contours along the hillside and makes for a small saddle, which marks the end of the steep climb and the beginning of the longer, easier gradient. The road stays pretty much on contour for the next 5 miles, with very minor dips. A few hundred feet below through the pine trees is Highway 50 to Spooner summit, but traffic noise is almost non-existent. Depending on the season, there are a few sandy spots along this section, but nothing serious. The final mile includes a quick steep climb, and then you pop out just above the NDOT highway maintenance station on Spooner. Note: this road is drivable with a 4WD and high clearance, so don’t be surprised if you run across motorcycles, ATVs, and Jeeps.

Finally, here’s a link to a topo map that can be enlarged even more once yo’re there by clicking a magnifier.


Small towns like Austin NV offer calming trip

May 18, 2009

I asked Jan Morrison, owners of the Lincoln Motel in Austin, Nevada, how travel and business are this spring along the Lincoln Highway — here aka US 50 and “the Loneliest Road in America.”


Yes, things are slow, but the Lincoln Motel is open and will stay open. We are taking advantage of the slower times to paint each room and do repairs.

Actually, things are beginning to look up in Austin. It seems we slid into the recession early, and are ready to climb out of it sooner. Traffic on the highway has definitely increased.

I think people are returning to the country and driving. The price of gas certainly helps. But with these difficult times, I think people need to re-connect with the basics in life, and small towns along Highway 50 offer them a calming trip to “Mayberry.” Whether they actually grew up in a small town, or did so through TV, rural America is comfort food for the recession-weary!

For more info on the motel and town, see

Walk, Don't Run — on the Lincoln Highway

February 9, 2009

Suddenly everyone is on foot along the Lincoln Highway. Following up on my last post about running the LH (with a quick reference to the 1960 song by the Ventures), Dennis Crowley has announced his plans to again walk part of the route this fall. (I reported on his first leg last October 6 and 8.) Walking America the Lincoln Way will take him from Sacramento, California, on September 14 to Eureka, Nevada, by October 29.


He’ll depart from the Shell Service Station, 4900 W. Capitol Ave  in West Sacramento, and make 6 miles that day, reaching the intersection of Capitol and 26th St. He’ll soon be making it twice as far daily. Dennis says:

The preparations to get things ready to deal with the desolation of Nevada have been more than I realized so I backed things off.  AAA didn’t name U.S. 50 “The Lonliest Road in America” for no reason.  Walking this stretch and on to Salt Lake City next year will make my walk across the Mojave on old Route 66 in California seem like a picnic.  Thanks to technology, however, I should be able to make this walk safe and comfortable.  I am doing a lot of research into satellite personal locator beacons, satellite phones, gps, and other such things such as portable lightweight solar panels to keep batteries charged and allow me to run my portable DVD player.  Afterall, I need something to do on my days off right?


Middlegate and Shoe Tree seen on street views

January 30, 2009

I was fishing around the Google street views for Middlegate and the Shoe Tree east of Fallon, Nevada, while double-checking my Lincoln Highway Companion draft, and captured a couple interesting views. Here’s the Shoe Tree – where visitors hang their shoes:


Below is a wide-angle view of Middleage – the stage station, bar, and motel are to the left (South-West); the old Lincoln Highway to the right of center heading into the distance (West); and at right, the side road (NV 361) that heads NorthWest to the intersection with US 50. CLICK THE IMAGE to see the large-sized panorama:


New and old Reno arches spotted in street views

January 14, 2009

I’m proofreading the final design draft of my Lincoln Highway Companion book and had to zoom in on Reno. The Truckee River is so narrow through the city that it was missed by the mapmaker. While there I checked on the new and old Reno arches in Street View:


The new arch (built 1987) spans Virginia Street at Commercial Row; the Lincoln Highway passes underneath it.


The old arch was built in 1926 and spanned Virginia Street till 1963; it was rebuilt across S. Lake Street at the edge of the Truckee River and adjacent to the National Automobile Museum.

Fallon Nevada celebrates centennial today

December 18, 2008

Fallon, along the Lincolon Highway in western Nevada, is today celebrating its centennial of becoming an incorporated city. According to the Lahontan Valley News, there was no town at the turn of the century until rancher Mike Fallon sold his land to Warren Williams in 1903, who then began selling lots on what is now the west end of town. The eastern part was established on land owned by John Oats.


“Initially, Fallon was a mining town, and in 1919 the city experienced an oil boom. Growing alfalfa has been and is still one of the most stable income for local farmers. Currently, the valley’s 30,000 farming acres produces an average of 5 tons per acre — 70 percent is shipped out of state.” Mert Domonoske, past mayor of Fallon for 16 years, said when he moved to Fallon in 1948,  there were about 2,300 residents, and the only road leading out of town was a two-lane highway. Now “The Oasis of Nevada” has 8,000 citizens.

Smiley Kent moved to Fallon in 1950 after marrying Bob Kent in Elko. Her husband grew up in Fallon and has spent his entire life here. The couple first lived in a home in downtown Fallon, and Maine Street was the place in town where people shopped, Kent said there was not much traffic in the 1950s, and businesses were scattered throughout the city. What she first noticed about Fallon was its peacefulness and all the trees on Williams Avenue. She said Center Street also served as the Lincoln Highway and was the road on which people traveled when leaving town. She said the town always pulled together during tough times, and remembers Mom’s Place at Allen Road and Williams Avenue as the last business on the west side of town. “The town keeps going west,” she said. “The town has expanded so much.”

Events run this evening from 6-8 pm starting when the current mayor and council members arrive at Oats Park by horse-drawn Wells Fargo stagecoach. Festivities will include a bonfire, food, drinks, church bells ringing, musical performances, and singing “Happy Birthday” with a big birthday cake. Just bundle up – freezing temps are predicted all day and week.

Proofing pages of Lincoln Highway Companion

November 3, 2008

My next book, Lincoln Highway Companion, lists places to eat, stay, and visit from coast-to-coast. It also features maps and must-see lists for every state. The guide was intended to coincide with Rick Sebak’s PBS program A Ride Along the Lincoln Highway but with a house move and some family passings, I delayed the book till 2009.

The design proofs just arrived a few days ago. Above are pages from Nevada, Iowa, and the “feeder route” or branch through Washington DC. As you can see, they feature a mix of maps, photos, and brief place descriptions. Some knowledgable LH friends are helping to check the pages, and I’ve contacted many of the places listed for updates. We’re already working on improvements to the maps so there’s LOTS to do this week.

Lincoln HIghway Companion is listed on Amazon but won’t be available till Spring 2009. For now, you can find statewide maps and route descriptions in my Greetings from the Lincoln Highway book, also on Amazon.

Videos trace Loneliest Road across Nevada

July 31, 2008

YouTube offers many views of US 50 in Nevada, dubbed The Loneliest Road in America, much of which follows the Lincoln Highway. Here are some time-lapse videos, heading west, that show that, if the road is not exactly deserted, it can be lonely.

Ely (look for the Hotel Nevada on the left at 0:42) westward almost to Eureka:

Then westward to Austin (arriving about 2/3 in):

Want those two trips all at once (but kinda fast)?

Since Eureka was lost in the editing of the above, maybe this will make up for it – all I’ll say is “Rawhide” gets sung at the town’s wacky Keyhole bar, right on the Lincoln Highway:

PBS's Sebak: "We could do this forever"

June 19, 2008

PBS producer Rick Sebak has called the past few days reporting that like any good road trip, there’s just too many places to explore when you’re trying to keep to a schedule: “There’s so much to see, we could do this forever.”

They’re on their second cross-country trip fiming for A Look Along the Lincoln Highway, premiering this October. Amazingly, this afternoon Rick and Bob and Glenn are driving east and will be pulling into the Lincoln Highway conference in Evanston, Wyoming. Amazing because they passed by just a few days ago heading west into Utah where they interviewed former LHA president Jess Peterson, headed down Johnson Pass (above, though Gatofeo wrote to say this is actually Dugway Pass), crossed the Great Salt Desert, got a flat tire, interviewed Jay Banta and toured with him, crossed Nevada, filmed in the Sierras and Placerville, reached the terminus, and are blazing back eastward. Amazing too are the photos and videos they’re capturing for their blog. Here are some extra beauties from Rick – CLICK on them for larger views. Makes you want to hit the road, doesn’t it?

• Horses along Pony Express Road, a LH bypass around Dugway, Utah.

• Pony Express Road meets the LH east of Fish Springs, Utah.

• Jay Banta shows the crew around Kearney Ranch, Callao, Utah.

• Crossing Nevada.

• Bob and Glenn set up a late-day shot at Berkeley Pier on the San Francisco Bay.

• Sebak reaches the Western Terminus in San Francisco for time #2.

Remember to CLICK on them for larger views – and you’ll soon be planning your own trip.