A FOREWORD THAT IS A RETROSPECT. From the Pacific to the Atlantic by the Lincoln Highway, with California and the Virginias and Maryland thrown in for good measure! What a tour it has been!
As we think back over its miles we recall the noble pines and the towering Sequoias of the high Sierras of California; the flashing water-falls of the Yosemite, so green as to be called Vernal, so white as to be called Bridal Veil; the orchards of the prune, the cherry, the walnut, the olive, the almond, the fig, the orange, and the lemon, tilled like a garden, watered by the hoarded and guarded streams from the everlasting hills; and the rich valleys of grain, running up to the hillsides and dotted by live oak trees. We recall miles of vineyard under perfect cultivation. We see again the blue of the Pacific and the green of the forest cedars and cypresses. High Lake Tahoe spreads before us, with its southern fringe of emerald meadows and forest pines, and its encircling guardians, lofty and snow-capped. The high, grey-green deserts of Nevada, Utah, and Wyoming stretch before us once more, and we can smell the clean, pungent sage brush. We are not lonely, for life is all about us. The California quail and blue-jay, the eagle, the ground squirrel, the gopher, the coyote, the antelope, the rattlesnake, the big ring snake, the wild horse of the plains, the jack rabbit, the meadow lark, the killdeer, the red-winged blackbird, the sparrow hawk, the thrush, the redheaded wood-pecker, the grey dove, all have been our friends and companions as we have gone along. We have seen them in their native plains and forests and from the safe vantage point of the front seat of our motor car.
The lofty peaks of the Rockies have towered before us in a long, unbroken chain as we have looked at them from the alfalfa fields of Colorado.
We have seen the bread and the cornbread of a nation growing on the rolling prairies of Nebraska, Iowa, and Illinois. We have crossed the green, pastoral stretches of Indiana and Ohio and Pennsylvania. The red roads of Virginia, winding among her laden orchards of apples and peaches and pears and her lush forests of oak and pine; the yellow roads of Maryland, passing through her fertile fields and winding in and out among the thousand water ways of her coast line, all come before us. These are precious possessions of experience and memory, the choice, intimate knowledge to which the motorist alone can attain.
The Friends of the Open Road are ours; the homesteader in his white canopied prairie schooner, the cattleman on his pony, the passing fellow motorist, the ranchman at his farmhouse door, the country inn-keeper hospitably speeding us on our way.
We have a new conception of our great country; her vastness, her varied scenery, her prosperity, her happiness, her boundless resources, her immense possibilities, her kindness and hopefulness. We are bound to her by a thousand new ties of acquaintance, of association, and of pride.
The Lincoln Highway is already what it is intended to be, a golden road of pleasure and usefulness, fitly dedicated, and destined to inspire a great patriotism and to honour a great patriot.
Gladding E. P., Across the Continent by the Lincoln Highway, New York: Brentano’s, 1915.