Few things go together better than motorcycles and old roads. It’s like sugar and spice or cake and ice cream or Harley and Davidson, they just go together. So when I found myself with a free afternoon I thought to myself, “I should go and take a ride on the Old Lincoln Highway.”
The Lincoln Hwy is identified as the first transcontinental hard surface road in America. It’s route traveled from New York City, NY to San Francisco, CA crossing the entirety of this great land at an initial length of 3389 miles completed and recorded in 1913. To put things into focus that is merely 10 years after Harley Davidson was founded as a motor company. It also just happens that about 25 miles of that 3389 are still in existence right here in Eastern Summit County, Utah.
Kevin and I jumped on the motor and headed into town to pick up our wing man for this ride. It wasn’t long until two bikes were headed down the Weber on a ride into history. We joined up with the Old Lincoln in the town of Wanship Utah and then we headed North East on that trusty old route. We traveled the towns of Hoytsville and Coalville finally arriving near the small town of Echo.
Although we had been riding the Old Lincoln for some miles this was the starting point of this day’s adventure. I had envisioned the ride up Echo Canyon from the small town of Echo to the Ghost Town of Emory. I stopped in the now nearly deserted roadway and the wingman pulled up alongside me.
I asked one question; “Are you ready?” The Wingman replied yes; let’s do it. Then added a cautionary; “just watch for deep pot holes”. I replied; “Ok, will do,” and we were off. A Harley Davidson Road Glide and a Honda Goldwing traveling East on a roadway first recorded 108 years ago in the year 1913 and has been in use ever since. I think a very good match for this day’s adventure.
The 11 miles of pot hole free patchwork asphalt and crack seal went by quickly even though our traveling speed was slow. Some areas smooth and others rougher but through history we rode and saw places and things of times gone past. An old sedan which once traveled this way but now lays in a ditch bank covered with earth and is far into decay. An ancient bridge railing of concrete and pipe can clearly be seen still on the job protecting travelers from a nasty fall.
There are places where Militia and Army once met in an ill-conceived conflict that didn’t exist. Long before that, Ancient Native American people, Fremont’s and others, used this very same path years before Europe even knew of this land. Once it was discovered; Mountain Men, Explorers, Pioneers and Settlers all passed on the very same route. Following dreams of freedom they sought, or riches in gold and land for the taking. All this before The Old Lincoln even existed.
Today the route winds along and follows the tracks of a railway main line. The modern interstate is off in the distance with vehicles traveling at high rates of speed, drivers giving hardly a glance at the history we ride.
Telegraph lines no longer in use now drooping and fallen in great twisted loop’s. Copper they are made of and a recyclers dream but to take it a crime just might be claimed.
Now there are only trees and bushes that appear out of place along with foundations of homes and buildings long since past. The water stop ghost town of Emory, it’s heyday long past, now a place that nature has reclaimed and nothing remains except the sound of the trains.
Rocky bluffs so close to the roadway that in places the cliffs angle out over most of this road and we ride under.
Rock climbers galore can be found on the cliffs and more than a few challenge themselves here. The traffic we did see when riding the route was mostly from those climbers scrambling for more.
Features with names such as Hanging rock which is really an arch. The Breastworks, Castle, Monument, Death’s, Rolling Rock’s can all be seen here and that names just a few. The pitted and towering red rock routes are more than a climber will power to resist.
Soon our path was complete and we found ourselves sitting on the overpass structure where the historic old road and the modern highway meet. After talking a while of the things we had seen, we decided our path taking us home would be back through the history of The Lincoln Hwy.
Yes, old roads and motorcycles, a definite match!!! Summers going fast, best mount up and ride, the warmth and the sunshine is here at last.