Favorite Rides & Destinations

Fall 2017

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Top: U.S. 30 used to be one of the main east/west roads in Iowa, but when Interstate 80 opened up some 40 years ago, traffic dropped drastically and gas stations had to close. Bottom, left: We've just crossed the Missouri River on the Abe Lincoln bridge on U.S. 30, and here in Blair, Nebraska, they are piling sandbags to try to keep the flooding river away. Bottom, right: The house on the hill was built in 1885 by successful businessman W.A. McHenry, and is now the museum for the town of Denison. www.FavoriteRidesAndDestinations.com | ridermagazine.com PAGE 82 FALL 2017 ISSUE 02 / VOL. 02 Up early and away, and in less than an hour I was crossing over the Skunk River in Ames, and then on to the open farmland, white barns and houses scattered alongside the road. U.S. 30 gently rises and falls, and I seemed to cross a new river every 20 miles or so. Off to my right was Beaver, whose moment of distinction came in 1914, a year after the Lincoln Highway was officially designated, by being the first town to be bypassed by a major highway. Local authorities felt that straightening the road and avoiding a couple of railroad crossings (now Union Pacific RR) would be a good idea, so they moved the road north of town and built the Marsh Bridge over Beaver Creek in 1915. The bridge, called a rainbow because of its curved design, is still there, though extensively renovated in 1999. Present-day U.S. 30 does not pretend to follow the original route of the Lincoln Highway, which originally was not much more than a one-lane dirt track. Today it runs south of Beaver, the little town still being home to some 20 families. Signs along U.S. 30 point to many of the original portions of the highway, mostly still unpaved but easily negotiable with a street bike. Coming to the town of Glidden, a large memorial stands on the north side of the road to commemorate the life and death of Private Merle D. Haye, one of the first two American soldiers to be killed in World War I, serving with the First Infantry Division, or Big Red One. Since two soldiers were killed in the same attack, nobody is quite sure who had the dubious honor of being first. Going by Arcadia, the road descends to cross and parallel the East Boyer River, and a dozen miles later Harley and I were entering Denison and the confluence with the main Boyer River, which we would follow for the next 50 miles to Missouri Valley. But first a look at Denison. On a hill in the middle of town is the W. A. McHenry House, built by a successful businessman in 1885 and now a museum with fine displays of late 19th-century furnishings. But the town is more famous as the birthplace of Academy Award-winner Donna Reed, who every classic-movie buff knows was famous for her roles in "From Here To Eternity," "It's A Wonderful Life" and other movies and TV shows. That was all happenstance as Reed never intended to be an actress, but after high school went to Los Angeles to live with an aunt and go to college. And the rest is in her biography. After her death her husband set up a performing arts center in the town, which is acclaimed to this day.

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