We love the service road but eventually get on the interstate again.
We figure Lyman might be worth a visit because there’s a picture in Butko’s book of an old concrete Lincoln marker in a field outside of town, and Bob says “I’d love to shoot that.” He’s sitting in the back seat now, reading the Butko book,. and he says, “This little bar in Lyman sounds interesting too.” It’s a local bar that used to be a Lincoln Highway garage among other things.
We get off the interstate and turn right into town. We see John’s Bar with its vintage neon sign on the right. Its windows are in the shape of diamonds and clubs. I offer to buy a beer if we want to check the place out, and the guys agree. This is unusual. We’ve never stopped for a drink at 4 in the afternoon before. There’s no one in the place but the owner, and we order beers and chat with the owner.
“Are you John?” I ask.
“No,” he says. “I’m Ted. John was my grandfather who started this place in the early 1950s. He named it John’s Diamond Club. We used to have gambling here.”
I explain what we’re doing (although all the equipment is still in the van) and we find that he knows quite a bit about the old Lincoln Highway, and since there’s no one else in the place, I ask if he’d mind if we did an interview for our show.
He’s a bit nervous (which is totally understandable — we must be unusual customers to say the least) but he makes several nice points about the old road, and he tells us how to find the concrete marker out in the field east of town.
“I used to think that was a tombstone,” he said. “It’s just beyond the high school where the road makes a turn.”
Jarrett agrees to be a customer in a shot so we’re not shooting an empty bar.
We thank Ted (whose real name we find out is Raymond but everybody’s called him “Ted” since an aunt gave him that name as a baby) and he says we’ve made it a memorable afternoon for him.
East of town, just beyond the high school, we find the marker just as he said. And Bob is thrilled by the backlit horses who are mulling around nearby. We take pictures.
Spotting Lincoln Highway markers is part of the game of riding along the old highway. There aren’t many left, and some places I’ve read that there are only twelve remaining in the whole country, but I think we’ve seen many more than that. These concrrete markers were put up in 1928 by Boy Scouts across the country working with the Lincoln Highway Association. It was a final marking of the Lincoln Highgway route because it was obvious then that the numbered routes were going to be standard. Named-highways became old fashioned and oudated. Outnumbered. And now they’re charming and fascinating in ways that bland old superhighways can never be.
But bless those interstates for taking all the traffic.