The Lincoln Highway is not Route 66. Instead of going from Chicago to L.A., it traverses the country from New York City’s Times Square to San Francisco. The Lincoln is 1,000 miles longer. And it predates the Mother Road by more than a decade.
However, Mother Road aficionados will find a lot to love during the PBS-TV broadcast premiere of “A Ride Along the Lincoln Highway.”
A few days ago, Brian Butko, proprietor of the excellent Lincoln Highway News and the author of several books about the road, was kind enough to mail me a screener DVD of the one-hour program. It is set to air at 8 p.m. EST Wednesday and 10 p.m. EST Friday (check listings for your area).
Having viewed it Monday, I can report that “A Ride Along the Lincoln Highway” is packed with delights. And roadies ought to find much in common with what’s in this program:
- Folks who eschew the interstates and seek adventure on the old two-lane roads, including one who goes across the country and “never spent a time at a national chain restaurant or hotel.” Another says: “I never get tired of driving it. There’s always something new to see.”
- Obscure highway alignments, including the early “seedling miles” that sought to stimulate local investment in paved roads. Then there are alignments that are little more than gravel roads.
- Astounding natural beauty that you’re hard-pressed to see on the overly engineered superslab.
- A brief interview with Michael Wallis, who seems to be always there if a historic highway is involved.
It’s hard to pick out my favorite moment from the program, so here are several: the family that runs the charming Lincoln Motor Court in Manns Choice, Pa., the Haines Shoe House, the rustic General Store of Eureka, Nev., and the owner of a historic gas station and his cat in Nebraska.
I can’t recommend seeing “A Ride Along the Lincoln Highway” enough. WQED of Pittsburgh, which produced it, deserves a truckload of praise. And it wouldn’t surprise me if this sparks a surge in tourism like Wallis’ best-selling book “Route 66: The Mother Road” did.
If you’re going to be away from your TV set the nights it airs, set up your DVR or buy the DVD of the program here.
Here’s a sneak peak: