I’ve been planning this trip for over three years, and now it’s nearly here. If you consider daydreaming about doing this, then I’ve really been "planning" for about 25 years.
I grew up in Philadelphia and attended college on the Main Line, an area along Route 30 from Malvern stretching into Philadelphia, named for its association with the old Pennsylvania Railroad and the wealthy communities along it. Most of this section runs right along the Lincoln Highway, and some portions are still named that (while others are named after the old Lancaster Turnpike). When going to school, I often took the SEPTA train into the city, which shares the tracks with Amtrak today. I loved that ride and the road it parallels.
I read Brian Butko’s The Lincoln Highway: Pennsylvania Traveler’s Guide back in the late ’90s, and learned that what was Lincoln Highway or Lincoln Ave around my way was not only a route through Pennsylvania, but the whole United States, from Times Square in the east to the Legion of Honor in the west. Fascinated with its history, I dreamed of one day roadtripping the entire length.
When I entered graduate school in 2019, my wife and I discussed what I wanted to do once I’d completed my degree. After pondering it over, I settled on this adventure: finally driving the entirely of the Lincoln Highway! Many spreadsheets were created, including one with the average high and low temperatures in each state along the route. I choose October for its most appealing temps, and riding in fall meant gorgeous autumn leaves along some parts. I’ve lived among a plethora of spreadsheets, documents, wish lists, to-dos, sticky notes, and maps over the past three years.
A session proposal for a tech conference was accepted, and I had to adjust my timing and my route. My journey begins in Arkansas at the conference, then takes me out west, stopping to visit friends along the way. The official Lincoln Highway section of my adventure starts mid-October at the western terminus at the Legion of Honor in San Francisco. I expect to make it to Times Square in New York City in time for my birthday!
I’m excited about this trip, and also looking forward to documenting the travel, the food (so much food!), the weird little things roadside, sweet little local shops, and everything else. One month to go!