Yellow Van Travels

The Lincoln Monument on the Lincoln Memorial Highway

I-80 through Wyoming is one of the roads that I have traveled the most in my life. Traveling to Utah from Colorado as a boy and vice versa as a college student has made me well familiar with this stretch of asphalt crossing the Equality State, and I can tell you there isn’t a whole lot to see.

If you happen to be traveling on one of the ten clear days a year seeing Elk Mountain standing against the American prairie can be a cool sight, but due to the weather patterns you rarely do and it becomes one of the most dangerous parts of the trip. Little America has also proved a favorite stops because as kids we were into cheap ice cream and polished rocks with a little bit of penguin history thrown in.

But for roadside attractions your basically looking at nil. Except for one piece of history rising above the plane. The Lincoln Monument, like a tiny Mount Rushmore, towers over I-80 at exit 323, the Summit Rest Area and Visitor Center.

So why is it here? I mean it’s a little odd in all honesty to have a giant Abraham Lincoln head chilling on the side of the Wyoming road. If it were Illinois I’m sure no one would bat an eye at it. Well it all has to do with the Lincoln Memorial Highway and the great man’s 150th birthday. The highway ran coast to coast across America and was named in honor of the great president. So in addition to a highway they decided to make a monument and place it at the highest point on that highway. This was, I am told by the internet, Sherman Summit not too far from where it now stands. The head was there for about a decade before I-80 was completed and it was moved to that lower but more frequented point where it now stands.

As far as Wyoming rest stops go it is a pretty good one. We were there in the winter so we just looked at the monument from the observation deck in building. Its a pretty good view and for us it provided a nice place to look out on not only the monument but also the snow encrusted trees. If its warmer when you visit you can go down to the monument and there is space to walk and run around.

So in sum up, its probably worth a stop if you need to stretch your legs, see something cool, and use the restroom. If you haven’t got the time it’s at least worth a gander as you drive past.