Friday, September 21, 2018

Truckee Waypoint Hosting

We are pleased to announce the Truckee California Information Center in partnership with the Truckee Donner Historical Society, have joined the Project as the hosting authority for the 520.2 Truckee Wyman waypoint.   The California Welcome Center is housed in the historic Truckee Depot.
Truckee California Information & Welcome Center
Ruth Gersey, Director of Operations at the California Welcome Center and Chaun Mortier, Research Historian at the Truckee Donner Historical Society are working together to mount the Wyman memorial plaque, Journey and Waypoint posters inside the Truckee Depot.  Located along the historic Donner Pass road in the center of the Truckee historic district, the Depot is visited by 100,000s of people each year.

Thank you, Dave McQueeney for sponsoring the Wyman memorial plaque at the 520.2 Truckee waypoint.

Here, in Wyman's own words is the account of his journey from the hotel at the Donner Pass summit to Truckee on Wednesday, May 20, 1903.

"The next day, May 20, promised more pleasure, or, rather, I fancied that it did so, l knew that I could go no higher and with dark, damp, dismal snow sheds and the miles of wearying walking behind me, and a long downgrade before me, my fancy had painted a pleasant picture of, if not smooth, then easy sailing. When I sought my motor bicycle in the morning the picture received its first blur. My can of lubricating oil was missing. The magnificent view that the tip top the mountains afforded lost its charms. I had eyes not even for Donner Lake, the "gem of the Sierras," nestling like a great, lost diamond in its setting of fleecy snow and tall, gaunt pines.

Oil such as I required was not to be had on the snowbound summit nor in the untamed country ahead, and oil I must have - or walk, and walk far. I knew that my supply was in its place just after emerging from the snow sheds the night before, and I reckoned therefore that the now prized can had dropped off in the snow, and I was determined to hunt for it. I trudged back a mile and a half. Not an inch of ground or snow escaped search; and when at last a dark object met my gaze I fairly bounded toward it. It was my oil! I think I now know at least a thrill of the joy experienced by the traveler on the desert who discovers an unsuspected pool.

Donner Snow Shed, c.1890
The oil, however was not of immediate aid. It did not help me get through the dark, damp, dismal tunnel, 1,700 feet long, that afforded the only means of egress from Summit. I walked through that, of course, and emerging, continued to walk, or rather, I tried to walk. Where the road should have been was a wide expanse of snow - deep snow. As there was nothing else to do, I plunged into it and floundered, waded, walked, slipped, and slid to the head of Donner Lake. It took me an hour to cover the short distance. At the Lake the road cleared and to Truckee, 10 miles down the canyon, was in excellent condition for this season of the year. The grade drops 2,400 feet in the 10 miles, and but for the intelligent Truckee citizens I would have bidden good-bye to the Golden State long before I finally did so.

Truckee to Boca RR crossing
USGS, c. 1905
The best and shortest road to Reno? The intelligent citizens, several of them agreed on the route, and I followed their directions. The result: Nearly two hours later and after riding 21 miles, I reached Bovo(sic), six miles by rail from Truckee. After that experience I asked no further information, but sought the crossties, and although they shook me up not a little, I made fair time to Verdi, 14 miles. 

Verdi is the first town in Nevada and about 40 miles from the summit of the Sierras. Looking backward the snow-covered peaks are plainly visible, but one is not many miles across the State line before he realizes that California and Nevada, though they adjoin, are as unlike as regards soil, topography, climate, and all else as two countries between which an ocean rolls. Nevada is truly the "Sage Brush State." The scrubby plant marks its approach, and in front, behind, to the right, to the left, on the plains, the hills, everywhere, there is sage brush. It is almost the only evidence of vegetation, and as I left the crossties and traveled the main road, the dull green of the plant had grown monotonous long before I reached Reno, once the throbbing pivot of the gold-seeking hordes attracted by the wealth of the Comstock lodes, located in the mountains in the distance. That most of Reno's glory has departed did not affect my rest that night."

Across America on a Motor Bicycle - "Over the Sierra's and Through the Snow Sheds" by George A. Wyman, The Motorcycle Magazine, June 1903, Vol 1 No 1
San Francisco, CA to Reno, NV
May 16 to May 20, 1903

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