Out of the City and under the Bay
Postcard showing Golden Gate and San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridges as
well as Treasure Island, site of 1938 World's Fair
It was with both a great sense of relief and apprehension that we left San Ramon in the late morning of June 9. Relief because the ordeal we experienced is now over. A little apprehension over what might lie ahead if our bad luck should continue.
From San Ramon we traveled south to Interstate 580. There we pointed the car east to Livermore. In Livermore we stopped for pictures of a restored service station
|Duarte Garage, Livermore, Ca.|
We then took the old Altamont Pass Road to Tracy. This is one of my favorite stretches of the trip. The road and the terrain remind me much of what the road must have looked like during the heyday of the Lincoln Highway. We stopped at the Summit Garage for another picture.
|Summit Garage, Altamont, Ca.|
|Me in front of historic building in Banta, Ca.|
Building In Banta, Ca. Historic photo from Tracy Historical Society
|Banta Inn, near Tracey, Ca.|
Western Terminus of Lincoln High. from American Heritage
magazine, Vol. 25, No. 4, June 1974
At Sacramento, we picked up highway 80 and began the climb into the Sierras. Before Interstate 80, the trip from our house in the Bay Area to our cabin at Donner Lake could be long and hot. But hey, I was a kid and what was miserable to my parents was an adventure for me. By the time I was 6 or 7 the freeway had swallowed up most of Highway 40. Dad was excited about the time saved, but I have to admit in my young consciousness I missed the rare stops at the "Giant Orange" in the Valley, getting doughnuts in Sacramento for Saturday morning breakfast or Mom dispensing rations of lemonade from
|Giant Orange Juice stands. The one on the right, although way before my time, is closer to those I remember. Internet photos, (the one on the right was apparently from the Tracey Historical Society)|
|Little Brown Jug|
The heat would finally break around Emigrant Gap and by the time we got to Cisco Grove and Soda Springs the air was cool and pleasant. Even as a youngster I remember looking at the cabins and lodges along the Yuba River and thinking how inviting they looked.
|Cabin along the rushing Yuba River|
|Entry to Rainbow Lodge|
|Forest Gift Shop, Popular before I-80 (On the way to San Francisco)|
|Ranchero in front of Rainbow Lodge, before on the way to San Francisco|
Soda Springs to Donner Lake
|Norm Saylor out side his museum, Soda Springs, Ca.|
At Soda Springs we came upon Lake Van Norden just south of the highway. Sadly, the beautiful Lake is gone, having been drained for some reason or other. With the lake drained, the micro-climate it created also disappeared. Nothing left but a memory of the beautiful scene.
East of Soda Springs came the ski resorts and utilitarian railroad structures. In the late 30's Skiers arrived via "The snowball Express". Later they came by car.
Our son Will sits atop Lincoln Highway
|The China wall|
At the summit is tunnel number 6 of the Central Pacific Railroad.
Vertical shaft drilled into the middle of Tunnel number 6 to allow the
Chinese crews to work 4 faces of the tunnel instead of just 2.
On the left side of this photo, the 1914 underpass can be seen. On the right is
the original crossing which used the Dutch Flat-Donner Lake Wagon Road
and made a dangerous crossing through the timber snow sheds.
An early crossing through the sheds, The car to the right didn't
make it. (Photo from book "Donner Pass" by John Signor) (This
photo is not of the Donner Summit Crossing.)
Donner Summit claimed a lot of trucks and cars on its curvy downgrade. Many of these wrecks are still visible despite the passage of more than 50 years. A couple of years ago my son Will and I came across the carcass of a 1950 Pontiac. Norm Saylor tells a hilarious story of scavengers picking through a refrigerator truck full of frozen turkeys bound for Thanksgiving tables at Stead Air Force Base near Reno. The FBI rounded up the missing turkeys and admonished the scavengers.
|Post Card of Summit Bridge immediately after construction|
Early view of Donner Summit
|Somewhat later, the road is paved|
|Original Bronze Plaque for Summit Bridge|
Lincoln Highway 1913 alignment, Sheds can be seen to the right
Whitney Hotel advertisement on rock along 1913 alignment.
The sign reads: "We invite inspection"
|Reproduction 1928 marker along Donner Pass|