You are standing on the route of the first transcontinental highway (the left hand trail in this picture). By 1913 motor travel had grown more popular and a movement for a continuous improved road across the nation culminated in the Lincoln Highway. The Lincoln Highway, the first national commemoration of Abraham Lincoln, was a private effort to establish standards for roads and connect existing segments into one road across the nation. The effort was publicized as a patriotic effort and done by subscription with ordinary people contributing money to the effort.
They came up with the first national road standards which in the best spots would allow automobiles to travel at 35 mph and trucks at 10 mph. To begin with half was graded gravel so imagine what the other half was.
The new road proved popular to "autoists" wanting to test their own and their automobiles' stamina. There were 150 transcontinental travelers per year in 1913 by 1923 there were between 20 and 25, 000 cars/year. The 1914 official guide said it would take 19 days to cross the country traveling 10 hours per ay at 18 mph
Driving was Fun in those days:
"Pull out block and tackle, wade around in the mud, get soaked to the skin and chilled from the effects of the deluge, make fastenings to the fence or telephone post and pull. Pull hard, dig your heels into the mud and exert every effort at command. The machine moves, your feet slip and down in the mud you go full length. Repeat the dose and continue the operation until the machine is free from the ditch and again upon the road."
Albert Shanks, 1901, about the first Sierra crossing by automobile.
Advice for Travelers:
Don’t wait until your gas is almost gone
don’t wear wool next to your skin
don’t allow your water can to be anything but full
don’t carry a loaded firearm
don’t allow the car to be without food
don’t forget colored goggles
don’t attempt to ford water without first wading through
don’t drive more than 15 mph – springs break
don’t carry good clothes – ship them
don’t drink alkali water
don’t wear new shoes
Advice is from the official guide to the Lincoln Highway
Pictures here from the Norm Sayler Collection at the Donner Summit Historical Society The pictures here are all of the Lincoln Highway on Donner Summit near the Pacific Crest Trailhead where your Judah Loop hike starts.