Day 12: June 20, 2011
A Guided Arrival
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When I stopped at the Overland Hotel in 2009, a fellow named Mark and his girlfriend were nominally the owners. I really don't know the details but that didn't work out. There was a short blip in George Machado's management of the place and there may or may not have been a blip in George's ownership. George is back and things are running well. He does have the place for sale, however.

Not only was the Overland my home for the night, it was the gathering place for a pre-conference tour leading to Lake Tahoe. About a half dozen expected participants failed to show so it was a small group that enjoyed chef Linda Johnson's excellent breakfast. I'm sorry I didn't get a better picture; Particularly of that bowl of beautiful and tasty mixed berries.

The first stop on the tour was reached on foot. This is what Dwight Hunter calls his "playground". The building is a former Chevrolet dealership directly across the street from the Overland. There are more gas pumps than anything else but there is a lot of "anything else" and that includes signs, cars, and a buggy. There are at least a hundred pumps in the building and they are from all periods of the twentieth century. Even when gas was much cheaper it was no more affordable and touting free air was good business.

The next couple of stops were also in Fallon. The motel that was originally marked by this tower is gone but a restaurant and casino carries on the name and is committed to maintaining the tower. Not far away, piers that once carried the Lincoln Highway now support a smaller bridge and lighter traffic.

The 1903 Newlands Irrigation Project was the federal government's first such undertaking. Completed in 1914, it shares history with the early Lincoln Highway. Today we got to drive on a bit of the old Lincoln where it ran along one of the canals. The LH also followed the Immigrant Trail as it does here passing through a working farm. Our guide, Geno Oliver, had arranged for us to drive this section. There was a short stop while Geno and the farmer exchanged pleasantries, which included a hello from George back at the Overland, then we were on our way. Some remnants of yellow stripes from when this was a maintained highway are barely visible.

We'd passed some "fee area" signs as we drove to this overlook of the Lahontan Dam and, when a ranger pulled up as we were parking, some of us thought he might be coming to collect. But it was another visit previously arranged by Geno and, not only were we spared any fee, we were invited to follow the ranger down to the dam itself. Once there, Ranger Tony gave us a brief history of the place and readily answered questions as we looked it over. That's our guide Geno looking on as Tony talks.

This long stretch of former Lincoln Highway is near the dam. Its elevation allowed Geno to point out some local features such as Haw's Station, once a trading post and stage station, on the other side of current US 50. It also gave me a chance to grab a shot of our five vehicle caravan.

This bit of old LH once flowed straight through the town of Dayton. Geno thought it wasn't blocked off until the 1970s or possibly even later. The picture of asphalt, taken after we turned around and started back from the dead end, shows that, although it's now mostly gravel, this was once paved two-lane.

I recall that when I first heard of a Lincoln Highway Association conference in Tahoe, I was certain it was out of my reach and I didn't even give it much thought. Then a presentation at last year's conference in Illinois, told of special rates negotiated with Harrah's, the host hotel. $89 a night surprised me and the $59 rate for the connected Harvey's got me to thinking it just might be possible. As I've written, the trip has been on again and off again but when it looked seriously "on" I booked a room at Harvey's and expected something fairly spartan. It may be down level from the rooms in Harrah's but it's definitely up level from my typical accommodations. Here's a "my room" you won't often see on this site.

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