Live Trip Map Day 4: August 18, 2009
Nebraska 1
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The Lincoln statue in Fremont Park and part of the stretch of brick Lincoln Highway that runs through town. That 1928 marker looks pretty good in front the Louis E May Museum.

Near Ames, Nebraska, I crossed over the tracks to check out some nicely maintained unpaved Lincoln Highway. When I crossed back over, I stopped to get a "vanishing point" photo with the LH on the left and US-30, with semis, on the right.

I once knew that Higgins Boats were made in New Orleans and, had I even thought about it, would have guessed that their designer was a Louisianan. But Andrew Jackson Higgins was born in Columbus, Nebraska, where I stumbled on this park named for him. Eisenhower once called Higgins "the man who won the war for us". There's a full sized version of one of the boats Ike so admired in the park. There is also a sculpture made of steel beams from the World Trade Center topped by the "Freedom Eagle".

I also stumbled on the New York couple I had met at the carillon in Jefferson, Iowa. They had made it just as far west as I had and told me of some nearby bell towers they thought worth visiting. I found them and agree. Retired church and school bells fill the two sections of the "Columbus Quincentenary Belltower" which bracket a 1927 DAR Oregon Trail monument. The maintenance truck is, at least I hope, a temporary part of the display.

Yep, the Lincoln Highway once passed through the rows of hackberry trees in Duncan; no semi-trucks, no big motor homes, and a little slower pace.

I didn't drive much of this road but cut over to approach the bridge from its western end. Trains pass fairly frequently around here and looking both ways twice is good advise. One of those trains filled the crossing as I returned to US-30 from the wood decked bridge. Sitting on a dirt road while a train passes through an open crossing is something I haven't done in awhile.

At the intersection, the New Yorkers passed and waved as I waited for an opening. "No place to go and all day to get there" sure sounds good.

Kensinger's gas station surprised me. I had the seedling mile that runs behind it marked in the GPS and in my mind I knew the station was there but it still popped up unexpectedly. I drove past to the western end of the seedling mile and took the first picture. Then I drove the paved over portion on the other side of US-30 before pulling up to the pump. Owner Dick Grudzinski was fueling his own lawn tractor but immediately stopped to pump my gas, clean my windshield, and offer some friendly conversation. I then pulled behind the station to walk the only remaining unwidened and unburied seedling mile remnant.

Although I don't have great success, I sometimes try to imagine a road as it was when Model Ts were rolling over it. I had absolutely no luck in imagining this bit of roadway when it was part of the only paved mile of Lincoln Highway in Nebraska. Brian Butko says the paving occurred in 1915. When the 1924 Complete Official Road Guide was published, the Lincoln Highway was already "paved or graveled" through the entire county. Seedling miles were intentionally placed away from towns and often in muddy or otherwise difficult areas in order to impress on folks the value of hard surfaced roads. It worked. This seedling has indeed sprouted.

Taking another hint from the "Lincoln Highway Companion", I pulled up at the Western Inn South in Kearney. A good rate and a nice room with two doors; one goes outside to your parked-by-the-door car and the other opens to the hallway for the swimming pool or breakfast.

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