The town of Auburn is the county seat of Placer County, and we begin our journey from this spot at the County Courthouse. Our goal is to drive to Truckee, on the eastern side of The Sierra using the modern expressway Interstate 80 as little as possible. While that road will get you there quicker, we are in no hurry, other than to make a day of it. Remember what the kids would say, "are we there yet, are we there yet, are we there...". I think our answer was always, "enjoy the trip. The journey is part of the fun". I don't think they bought it, but they are kids, and we know better. The trip is the fun!
Our main route will follow, as close as possible, The Lincoln Highway which traversed the Sierra in two places. The Lincoln Highway was America's first Transcontinental Highway, and it's first named highway. Before it's existence in the early 1920's if you wished to cross the country you had no one route to follow. You were on your own, stitching your trip together road by road. With the advent of The Lincoln Highway, you now had a map to follow on your cross-country trip. In 1927 The Lincoln Highway Association ordered the casting of 3000 concrete markers, like the one pictured here. They feature a gold medallion of Abraham Lincoln and an arrow showing the direction of the route. There are a few of these on our journey!
After leaving the courthouse the next stop is one such marker placed in front of The City of Auburn's Civic Center, or on the map, it's called "Public Works". You can tell it's location by our large orange marker "Adventures in California History" on our map. It looks like this. The map is interactive so you can move it around, zoom in, or get directions to these places. Play around with it, it’s fun.
Click that square and more info will "pop up". No, not this square, the one on the map! After stopping to see the marker, we head back onto the appropriately named "Lincoln Way" headed east to our next stop, Auburn's Transcontinental Railroad Station, built in 1902. If the museum is open it might be worth a visit, but we are headed up-country and our next point of interest, The Machado Apple Barn where there is a small section of the "old highway" we can check out, as well as stock up on fresh fruit or other supplies at the barn. They have one of the most massive windmills we have ever seen!
After visiting Machado's, we head back on the road for some of the best back county driving around, through the rolling foothills climbing higher and higher as we head up the mountains! We pick up the trip on our next blog post.
The Lincoln Highway Association is made up of people interested in preserving and marking the old route. They are responsible for the metal signs indicating the Lincoln Highway's old route. They also publish a digital map that shows the entire Lincoln Highway system. We use this map all the time as we travel and work at building our own "Adventure" map.