There can be no questioning that the current times aren't for the faint of heart. While there appears to be no immediate fix or letup in the near future, all of us in our own way must keep moving forward. (When I was a little kid I remember reading about an ant that wouldn't quit and a little train that always was thinking it could. And you do remember the Henry Ford saying, "If you think you can do a thing or think you can't do a thing, you're right.")
For starters, we should always believe-even in hard times-that we can enjoy our hobby. Some might say it is more important now then ever before to have a release, a way to vent, somewhere to go to have positive feedback, and I cannot think of a better way then driving my roadster
I have always been a fan of driving across the country to various events, especially the Nationals; round trip approaches 4,200 miles. Now, wouldn't it be cool to drive from home to Louisville to Bonneville (the Salt Flats are located approximately 88 miles west of Salt Lake City, Utah, on I-80) for Speed Week (August 7-14, 2009)? I could catch the last three days of racing and by the time I get home log a whopping 4,417 miles, adding approximately 200 miles to the return trip by sightseeing completely different locales and visiting what's often referred to as the Mecca of hot rodding. Sounds pretty good to me, just might have to try that. (If you are up for it, drop me a line maybe we can link up at some point during the drive.) And it's the drive along I-80 that brings me to my new best drive ever. I have never taken in its entirety but have been on long stretches of it repeatedly.
You have figured out I am not speaking of Route 66; done that, and to be sure it is fun and worth doing again. But alas, no, that isn't what I had in mind. I was thinking of skipping the Mother Road and trying The Main Street Across America. (The beginning and end cities of Route 66 are no longer connected by a single highway, yet the beginning and end of The Main Street Across America are-Interstate 80.)
Shame on you if you don't know this highway; it runs from New York to San Francisco, California; the eastern start/finish point is 42nd and Times Square in New York and runs through 13 states until it hits Lincoln Park in San Francisco, California, for a drive of 3,400 miles. It is the oldest of highways, having begun in 1913 and depending upon which of the multiple realignments you consider can actually account for 5,900 miles.
The idea for the Lincoln Highway was the brainchild of Carl Fisher, the same Fisher responsible for the Indianapolis Motor Speedway and Miami Beach. Clearly this man was a big thinker! Enlisting the talents of fellow industrialists Frank Seiberling and Henry Joy, the trio began implementing their plan. The idea was to build a road from an improved hard surface (cement) and to encourage the use of the automobile. It was from this enthusiastic idea that the public took a liking to driving those new-fangled cars. Shortly thereafter the federal government became involved and the creation of numbered U.S. routes was brought about in the 1920s. (The outcrop was the Federal Highway Administration and the Interstate Highway System. Did you know that even-numbered highways run effectively east and west, while odd-numbered roads run north and south? Pretty clever, huh?)
In 1912, good roads just didn't exist and there were only a few miles of improved roads. By definition, an "improved" road was graded dirt as asphalt and concrete hadn't come upon the scene. Amazing since there were 2,500,000 million miles of roads and these roads were all dirt!
Fisher's idea, the Coast-to-Coast Rock Highway, would cost local communities the use of equipment while Fisher provided free materials. The $10,000,000 graveled road would be finished in time for the 1915 Panama-Pacific Exposition and be labeled America's first transcontinental highway, and each community would be a stop along the way
The $10 million was gathered from auto manufacturers (wow, try that today) and companies (tire, brake, etc.,) while the public could become members of the highway organization for $5. Missing was Henry Ford, who wouldn't support the idea. (Go figure?) However, Fisher did receive funding from Frank Seiberling, president of Goodyear, and Henry Joy, president of the Packard Motor Car Company. It was Joy's idea to name the highway after Abraham Lincoln.
Along the route, generally at each town or city which participated in the project, there would be a Seedling Mile, where cement companies would pour a mile of road to illustrate what a cement road would look like compared to the then current dirt road. (The term "Seedling Mile" came about as the idea was that it would "grow.")
Well, how does that sound? Sounds like a pretty good drive to me and during the summer in a roadster about the worst weather I would have to put up with would be thunder storms, lots of rain, some hail, humidity, and blistering hot sun. Sounds pretty much like every other roadster drive I have taken, so why worry? See you on the road, or should I say, "See you on The Main Street Across America."