The Lincoln Highway can be a great idea for a road trip: its length makes it close to much of the county, you can drive as little/much as you want, and even remote sections are never far from an Interstate for a quick return trip or a family who need modern amenities. I’ve never driven it non-stop from coast-to-coast but have driven most of it in every state. The adventures are still endless — as PBS producer Rick Sebak said on his road trip this summer, “We could do this for the rest of our lives!” That’s his picture of Green River, Wyoming.
Our kids have been along on most of the trips and will be with us again next summer as we head from Pittsburgh west to the Pacific Ocean. There was a time when 5 of us could fit on one bed — not by choice but when a motel’s double rooms were full! Now they’re nearing driving age, and though none are roadside devotees, they’re more excited about the trips than we are. The trick is to keep it fun for them too.
Along with old-fashioned car games, they bring along their favorite electronics. We mix in some familiar restaurants along with lots of cafes and diners (advertising draws them to fast food but they always remark how good diner food tastes). We ask them each to keep small trip diaries to help them (and us!) remember where they’ve been, stayed, and eaten. We visit bookstores and toy stores along with cool old attractions like Fort Cody Trading Post in North Platte, Nebraska. Next trip we may visit a skatepark and snowboarding hill. We also stay in a cool variety of rooms, from tourist cabins to chains (we like Quality Inn) to wacky places like the Wigwam Villages. We see a lot of the country and its people, who have been overwhelmingly friendly.
About that trip next summer — my Lincoln Highway Companion will be published in Spring 2009 and we’ll be using it ourselves to drive the road and do some signings. This book was meant to coincide with Sebak’s A Ride Along the Lincoln Highway but our schedules got out of sync. The publisher is finishing the design now but here’s the first peak at the cover. It will list many cool places to visit, eat, and sleep, but if you want info now, check my Greetings from the Lincoln Highway book, or the Lincoln Highway Association site, or old posts on this blog.