The 100th anniversary auto tour of the Lincoln Highway stopped in Tooele Wednesday night after traveling the historical highway route through Tooele County’s West Desert and Skull Valley.
“We’ve had a great time,” said Alan Bennett, from Calabasis, Calif., who is driving his 1931 Ford Model A on the tour. “It is a lot of fun. At the speed we go, you get to see everything. Even out in the desert, there is plenty to see.”
Bennett prepared for the desert stretches of the Lincoln Highway by spending $1,080 to buy an air conditioner for his Model A. He installed the air conditioner himself.
At 19 miles to the gallon, Bennett said he makes frequent stops to top off his tank and carries a two gallon can of gas with him.
Able to get up to speeds of 50 to 60 mph, Bennett said the trip isn’t too slow.
“It is amazing, every little town we stop in has a Model A club that wants to show us their town and ride with us,” said Bennett.
The auto tour was greeted in Tooele by Mel Meads, a Tooele resident who is a member of the Salt Lake Model A club.
The tour is now four days into a 10-day trip and has had a few setbacks.
One car had problems with its drive train and was left behind in Ely, Nev.
Another car has a serious oil leak and with the help of Meads, the owners are trying to decide what they will do with the car.
Several members of the tour spent Wednesday night at the Holiday Inn Express in Tooele City.
As the motorists pulled into the parking lot of the hotel after their dinner at Miller Motorsports Park, it was obvious which vehicles had traveled the 1913 Lincoln Highway route that enters Tooele County near Ibapah and travels south of Dugway Proving Ground.
Parts of the 1913 route are dirt and gravel and those vehicles were still covered in heavy dust when they reached Tooele.
The 1928 route took drivers north from Ely, Nev. to Wendover and then east on I-80 to Skull Valley.
Bennett said he missed the stops at Orr Ranch and the Fisher Pass Monument because he was following directions from his Garmin Navigator that got him lost.
The Fisher Pass Monument, which is also known as Johnson’s Pass, was dedicated in 2009 to Carl Fisher, the founder of the Lincoln Highway.
Fisher Pass was part of a Lincoln Highway Association plan to shorten the route of the highway across the West Desert. The state of Utah received money from the Fisher family to help build a cutoff road known as the Goodyear Cutoff.
Fisher Pass was finished, but the rest of the cutoff was never completed.
The group left Tooele at 8 a.m. Thursday morning and is headed towards Rock Springs, Wyo.
Meads met part of the group at the hotel this morning and lead them to Ogden and up Weber Canyon so the entourage could avoid the steep climb through Parley’s Canyon.
A westward bound tour group left June 21 from Times Square in New York City. The two groups will meet in Kearney, Neb., on June 30.
The Lincoln Highway, the first trans-continental highway in the United States, was dedicated in 1913.