Updated 2014hrs August 22nd, 2022
Overview – What an outstanding trip – 27 days, 16 camps, 4600 miles of backroad bliss on The Lincoln Highway and immense emersion in the tremendous history of the 19th Century Western Pioneers of the USA.
There is so very much to cover here that I will be making dozens of blog post updates to this one to do justice to the various aspects of the trip that we experienced.
As a guide, here are the Google Maps references in image and link form. Please note, that I broke these up due to the limitations and inflexibility of Google Maps which attempts to force us to stay on the Interstate.
Outbound – Home to Gothenberg, NE –
Return Trip – Gothenberg, NE to Pine Bluffs, WY – https://goo.gl/maps/ff4vZqme26CZRnDc8
Return Trip – Pine Bluffs, WY to Home – https://goo.gl/maps/ZPDqavUMaYdH9tct9
I also urge you to visit and become acquainted with the Lincoln Highway Association website and their splendid, interactive map that allows you to choose and follow the Lincoln Highway and see the various Points of Interest in your trip planning – all while you are driving.
Website Link – https://lincolnhighwayassoc.org/
Interactive Map – https://lincolnhighwayassoc.org/map/
—Home to Goldfield, NV
Passing through Beatty, NV on the way to Goldfield, our first overnight destination, we stopped for an impromptu interview one of the prospective weather burros for KGFN – Radio Goldfield. Like the rest of his brethren, he mostly interested in beer! We did not have any .. yet.
In Goldfield, NV we visited our good friends, Carl and Pattie Brownfield, the mainstay behind Radio Goldfield. We also visited the International Car Forest of the Last Church | Open Air Gallery | Nevada Art (travelnevada.com) as well as some of the other historic sites in town.
See the GOLDFIELD NV GALLERY for High-Resolution photos.
– Overall, the comedy and good vibes of Goldfield can be summed up in this roadside sign. This is real – a good, Goldfield local was actually selling snakes.
‘During my morning walk in Goldfield – this old station is loaded with stuff from the day it closed, many decades ago.
The International Car Forest of The Last Church.
The (reportedly) Haunted Goldfield Hotel.
Links to visit!
Goldfield, Nevada Mining History
See the GOLDFIELD NV GALLERY for High Resolution photos around town as well as the Car Forest.
— In Virginia City, NV
One of the most historic towns in Nevada and very near the original Lincoln Highway, is Virginia City, NV – the home of the Great Comstock Lode, one of the most prosperous mining districts in the history of the United States.
On this trip, we stopped in for 3 days to visit family and to attend the Chili on the Comstock, ICS Chili Cookoff event.
The following links cover more info on this great town and the cookoff.
Chili on the Comstock, ICS Chili Cookoff
Virginia City, Nevada History
Virginia City, Nevada – Wikipedia
Virginia City, Nevada Mining History
See the VIRGINIA CITY, NV GALLERY for High-Resolution photos.
— Virginia City to Austin, NV
The next leg took us very deep into the “Nevada Outback USA”, traversing The Loneliest Highway – US50, the Old Lincoln Highway. Here are a few entries from along the way.
Middlegate Station. Walk right into history by entering this old Pony Express and Overland Stage Station. The bar building itself is built with the remnants from the old Statge building from 1859. The food is great and the super friendly staff make it even better.
Middlegate Station Home Website
Middlegate Station @ Travel Nevada
See the VIRGINIA CITY TO AUSTIN, NV GALLERY for High-Resolution Photos.
Cold Springs Transcontinental Telegraph Repeater Station. The demise of the Pony Express happened quickly as the first Transcontinental Telegraph Line was completed between Omaha, NE and Carson City, NV on October 24th, 1861. This first line followed the original Pony Express route very closely. There were numerous, manned repeater stations complete with accommodations, batteries and repair equipment to keep the traffic going. The ruins of the Cold Springs, NV station is within walking distance of the Pony Express Station and can still be visited to this day. A side note: The “repeater function” was 100% manual, each message was decoded and repeated by human beings.
If you have more interest in old time telecommunications, please visit our Facebook Group at TelecomArchaeology.com
First Transcontinental Telegraph – Wikipedia
Wiring a Continent – by James Gamble
— In Austin, NV
Looking west into town along the Lincoln Highway.
Another important mining town in Nevada history is Austin NV, deep in the outback – 111 miles to the nearest Wal(zombie)mart. There are numerous historic buildings in Austin, starting with Stokes Castle, which was built for some spoiled rich kids back in the day that inhabited it just once.
The spoiled clowns didn’t even like this view.
Another more meaningful experience in history is the Gridley Store.
On our way into Austin, we noticed that the roadway was starting to turn brown and it seemed to be moving… Mormon Crickets – millions of them, everywhere! The darkest colored area of the roadway were the crickets crushed by the vehicles that then became a midday meal for their brethren. Hmmm.. was this where the Donner Reed Party learned their most ominous survival skills? More on them in a future post.
Links to visit:
Austin, Nevada Chamber of Commerce Website
Stokes Castle on Atlas Obscura
Austin, Nevada Mining History
Mormon Crickets – Wikipedia
See the AUSTIN, NV GALLERY for High-Resolution Photos.
— In and around Eureka, NV.
My first of a few “Then and Know” photos of historic settings. The large building is the Eureka County courthouse in the late 19th century and now, in June of 2022.
With a population of 480, Eureka is the largest community in Eureka County. and a long ways from where your trip likely started and will end on any given day so, take a break and check out a few of the attractions.
We visited the Sentinel Museum which covers many aspects of early life in this town.
Also, the restored Eureka Opera House.
Checkout this old bar room of the Owl Club. If the walls could speak!
Onward and down the road to Ely, NV. It is somewhere out there.
Links to visit:
Eureka, Nevada Official Website
Eureka Sentinel Museum
Eureka, Nevada Mining History
The Owl Club
See the EUREKA, NV GALLERY for High-Resolution Photos.
— In Ely, Nevada
Ely is a remote Nevada town where history, art and outdoor adventure thrive. Ely was founded in the 1870s as a stagecoach stop and trading post called Murray Station, but it would become one of the country’s major copper mining regions.
The major attractions are the Nevada Northern Railway Museum, Depot and Machine Shop which I will dedicate a separate post and gallery to and the incredible Art Murals adorning various structures in town. Here are two of my interest to view. Truly excellent! Please CLICK on the images to see the High-resolution gallery.
Links to visit:
Ely, Nevada Mural Tour
Ely, Nevada Mining History
See the ELY, NV GALLERY for High-Resolution Photos.
— Nevada Northern Railway Museum
This place is a MUST VISIT! I have toured many railroad-railway museums and nothing compares to the access you have at the Nevada Northern Railway Museum. There is a lot to see, a lot to do and there is a great gift shop. My favorite was the Walking Tour of the Main Yard (nnry.com). I chose to lag behind and tour more of the incredible old machine shop and forge area in the Engine House. I even crossed paths with DIRT the Nevada Railway Cat. Please check out the High-Resolution NEVADA NORTHERN RAILWAY GALLERY.
Links to visit:
Nevada Northern Railway Museum Official Website
DIRT The Cat @ The Nevada Northern Railway
High-Resolution NEVADA NORTHERN RAILWAY GALLERY
–The Donner-Reed Museum in Grantsville, Utah
Just about everyone has heard of the tragedy of the Donner Party. What most do not know are the details of this fateful trip and the numerous mistakes from day one that created such sad history. One of those fateful steps was taking too much too late and being delayed further when their unnecessarily oversized wagons were mired on the Great Salt Lake Mud Flats.
The Donner-Reed Museum in Grantsville, Utah covers this episode well. The museum is small, available by appointment and is rich in artifacts and details about the Donner-Reed failures.
Links to Visit:
Donner-Reed Museum (donner-reed-museum.org)
The Tragedy of the Donner Party Began in Utah
High-Resolution Donner-Reed Museum Photo Gallery
–ON THE TRAIL!
Our first day to experience immense history! We are right in the middle of the diversity of the Pioneer trails at Parting Of The Ways.
I stood on the trail. It is still here. I felt history under my feet.
So much happened here. The first overland route to the west, the Pony Express, the first Telegraph route and so much more.
BTW, here is how we roll. A 15 year old, LBZ Duramax truck and 2019 Airstream. Easy-peasy, inexpensive to drive and super reliable.
Links to Visit:
Wyoming History – Parting of the Ways
High-Resolution Photo Gallery
— Check out Part 2 and Part 3 of this Wonderful Trip!