Friday, March 23, 2012

If Mr. Lincoln drove a car...

One more historical note before heading south to Route 66...

On the 200k and 300k we used Pedrick and Sievers, two flat farm roads, to leave Davis and head toward the Putah Creek area. Sievers Road was where I tried to fix a flat tire in the mud on the 300k. On the way back it was also where I ran off the road into the mud. Proud moments!

These roads are part of the Lincoln Highway, the first transcontinental route for automobiles. No, really.
(but he was more of a cyclist)
In fact, until 2 years ago Sievers Road actually had a curved intersection with Currey Road, where the Lincoln Highway heads south. It was recently straightened to increase safety. A few years ago I heard about this ordinary-looking intersection from a fellow cyclist as we passed by. Writing this post has forced me to lift my head, which Mike Madison would approve of!

The Lincoln Highway, completed in 1913, connects New York City to San Francisco. Route 66, completed in 1926, connects Chicago to Los Angeles. Both had the nickname "the Main Street of America" at one time. It was the beginning of the automobile era.

Like Route 66, the Lincoln Highway used existing local roads, linking them together to define a long-distance route for cars. It connected over 700 cities, towns, and villages, feeding their economies through car traffic. Dixon was one of those towns, as was Davis. The appeal of bypassing communities and being able to drive fast came later, with the interstate highways.

Danny and I have inadvertently traveled the Lincoln Highway route on the way to ski at Donner Summit. And it turns out one of our favorite burger joints, Redrum Burger in Davis, began as the Sno-White drive-in. Mmmm. I am pretty sure back then they had not invented the espresso milkshake, but they should have!

More athletically speaking, Davis resident Bill Roe cycled the entire route, coast to coast, and wrote this book about the adventure.

Next year is the Lincoln Highway's 100-year anniversary, and yes, these folks are planning a tour and celebration. A group will be leaving San Francisco on June 23, 2013, using Sievers and Pedrick Roads on their way to Sacramento.

One thing is for sure - they'll be sharing the road with cyclists.


  1. For a brief, giddy moment, I thought it was *bike* tour! Ah well. It's not like there aren't enough options for biking. :)
    Am I the only one having trouble using WordPress to comment?

  2. Sorry about the issues with commenting Rachel - feel free to publish symptoms in another comment and we'll try to help!

    And yes it truly is a bike tour. You are right to ask - what's the connection? For me, it's about being out in the world and aware of where I am. Feeling connected. Very important to a TBI survivor. We can live in our own heads or hibernate at home too easily.

    The other connection is less obvious and had to be explained by someone with more experience than me. Infrastructure is infrastructure; how it's used is another thing. We cyclists benefit from many road infrastructure improvements. When the Lincoln Highway was created many of those roads were actually dirt! (Or mud, as on Saturday.) They were paved over using local funds, as communities wanted to show they were a part of this transcontinental effort. And now, we cycle on them. Also, as alignments changed along the Lincoln Highway and Route 66, the abandoned roads got a new life as good cycling roads. Between Davis and Sacramento the old Lincoln Highway that runs parallel to Route 80 has been repurposed into a bike path. It's a vital link between the two cities because it traverses the Causeway. We'll see this on Route 66, too. PAC Tour seeks out the oldest road alignments possible. Many have no car traffic at all today. It's ironic that they now benefit a set of road users that were never part of the plan.

    1. Nifty! I thought because the routing on the pamphlet mentioned six consecutive 200 mile days, that it had to be in a car. I can believe in biking 100 miles several days in a row, but 200 made me think car.
      I think I read it as This Is The Tour, rather than These People Are Also Doing A Tour But Cyclists Will Also Be On The Road. Sometimes I read too fast.

  3. Oh, got it. Sorry for the long-winded response. And, about difficulties commenting from WordPress, you are not alone.
    This blog is set up to allow Anyone to comment. Can you select Name/URL when commenting (Comment As)? This might solve the issue you're seeing.

  4. I have a picture of my dad and Judith at the terminus of the Lincoln Highway. Do you know where that is, exactly?

    1. Yes, there's a marker.
      It's near the parking lot of the Palace of the Legion of Honor in SF.