A Blog Along The Lincoln Highway

All of this is about a public TV project about one of America’s great roads, and we’re hoping you might enjoy reading about some of our behind-the-scenes work. I’m Rick Sebak, and I write most of the tales. Bob Lubomski is our cameraman. And Glenn Syska has been traveling with us recently. He made the video blog entries in 2008. Back in 2007, Jarrett Buba did all that. A RIDE ALONG THE LINCOLN HIGHWAY first aired on PBS on October 29, 2008 at 8 PM. Check with your local PBS station to find out about repeat broadcasts. Or go for the DVD at www.shopwqed.org.

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Route 30 is not always the Lincoln Highway.

June 11th, 2008 ·

dsc09939.jpgAfter lunch, I take my first real shift as driver. Bob is a great co-pilot but his plans today get zonked by road repairs, accidents and detours of several sorts. We drive by the enchanted castle of Joliet Prison. We ride the short blocks in Plainfield, IL, where the Lincoln Highway and Route 66 overlap on the same stretch of road. HISTORIC ROADWAY ALLIANCE is what the signs say, I think.

We don’t follow the Lincoln Highway signs at one point and stay with Route 30. I remember the Historic Roadway signs being extremely well done here in Illinois, but Bob said they got us lost, and we’re starting to worry about time, as usual, so I acquiesce. dsc09956.jpgWe take the straight two-lane across the state, but Route 30 in most of Illinois is not the Lincoln Highway. The old routes mostly went north of US 30 on what’s now IL Rt 38 and other roads. It helps to have your copy of Brian Butko’s Greetings From the Lincoln Highway handy at all times.

We stop for gas in the tiny town of Shabbona which Bob has been singing about for the last twenty or so miles, always to the tune of “My Sharona.” The young guy in the gas station tells us it’s really pronounced SHAW-bawn-uh.

At the western end of Shabbona, a cop in the middle of the road is waving all traffic to turn left. We can’t see what’s wrong, so we go a block south, turn west, ride 3 or 4 blocks parallel to Route 30, then turn back out there. dsc09955.jpgThe road is empty for a half mile or so till we see flashing lights and a line of cars. There’s been a bad accident. A woman standing outside her car at the end of the line gives us some of the scoop: ambulances and life-flight helicopters have come and gone. “See the big 18-wheeler in the field over there? That was one of the vehicles.”

Bob and Glenn get out the camera and tripod and get some shots. The afternoon is gorgeous with green green fields all around us. When the traffic starts to move we can see how smashed and burnt and destroyed the other vehicle was. A car. Blackened and accordion-crunched. Bob says it’s the big reminder: stay alert.

Tags: Road Diary

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