Lisbon just one of the stops for Lincoln Highway fans

LISBON – Their stories and faces are as diverse as their modes of transportation and the terrain they will travel on their cross country journey on the Lincoln Highway.

Tuesday, members of the Lincoln Highway Association (LHA) passed through the county on the historic route, now U.S. Route 30, stopping to eat lunch at the Steel Trolley Diner and tour downtown Lisbon as part of the 100th anniversary.

The East Coast group of travelers departed from Times Square in New York on Saturday and are en route to Kearney, Neb., where they will meet the West Coast group that started from San Francisco.

In all, 170 cars with 340 people are celebrating the 100th anniversary of the interstate highway, completing just part or all of the coast to coast journey.

Arriving in a 1934 Packard – a 12-cylinder Formal Sedan of which there are only six left in existence – were Bob Woolfit of Norfolk, Va., along with his brother John and John’s wife Janet, of Casa Grande, Ariz.

John and Janet Woolfit are celebrating their honeymoon on the tour after being married on Dec. 12, 2012 – to be precise, at 12:12 p.m. on 12-12-12.

Traveling the route in a Packard is very fitting as it was Henry Joy of the Packard Motor Car Co. that envisioned a hard-surface road covering over 3,400 miles across the United States.

Audrey Bronk from Whispering Pines, N.C., said they travel the original route as much as possible, sometimes ending up in people’s back yards. They travel 200-250 miles a day, providing time to take in the sights and sounds of different towns.

Traveling in a teal green Mini Cooper was Brian Gomez of Chester Springs, Pa., who is taking his 81-year-old aunt, Pat Martin of Douglasville, Pa., on the cross country journey as her birthday present.

Pat spent her entire life living on U.S. 30 or a couple of blocks away from the road in different towns in Pennsylvania. As a child she crossed the highway every day to attend school and just wanted to see the entire route first hand while she is physically able to enjoy the leisurely trip.

A few canines are also retracing the national route as they faithfully ride along beside their owners.

Lorrie Fleming and her beagle hail from 70 Mile House, British Columbia. When asked about whether she needed a passport for her pup, she replied, “Oh, yes, there are many things that are needed for the dog but it’s worth it.”

As she stepped inside the Steel Trolley Diner (STD) for lunch, her friend Robert Walker kept an eye on Charlie.

Deputy Barney Fife, played by Todd Beckett of Massillon, decided he would make the trip to Lisbon and give a police escort to some of the drivers as they made their way toward Mansfield, where they would stop for the night.

As LHA members filtered in and out of the STD, they enjoyed becoming a part of a scene from Mayberry RFD as Barney posed for pictures and jokingly wrote a traffic citation or two.

John O’Connor of Morris Plains, N.J., driving a 1967 Red Pontiac GTO, even went as far as offering a doughnut bribe to Deputy Fife.

After checking out the Lisbon Historical Society’s Train Station Museum and Stone House Museum, the LHA tourists quietly but excitedly drove west to their next destinations – the Spread Eagle Tavern, Kishman’s in Minerva and then on to the Car Museum in Canton – leaving behind the laughter and historical tidbits they shared with others at the Trolley and further cementing the friendships that grow from sharing their passion of travel and history with one another.