Part of our 2016 route includes the historic Lincoln Highway, one of the earliest transcontinental highways across the United States. Formally dedicated in 1913 with an officially recorded length of nearly 3,400 miles, it ran coast-to-coast from New York City west to San Francisco, originally through 13 states: New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Iowa, Nebraska, Colorado, Wyoming, Utah, Nevada and California. The Van Buren sisters’ route joined the Lincoln Highway near Bryan, Ohio, but it was not what we think of as “highway;” instead, it was a series of dirt roads with a fancy name.
Wet weather in the Midwest that summer made for muddy conditions and nearly impassable roads but the sisters forged ahead, leaving the Lincoln Highway at Ames, Iowa, where they joined the Jefferson Highway, then picking up the Lincoln Highway again in Omaha, Nebraska and riding it all the way to Denver. They picked it up once more in Salt Lake City and rode west across the desert to Ely, Nevada in record-setting heat, then on to San Francisco. Read more about the challenges they faced in William M. Murphy’s Grace and Grit!