A New Sign on an Old Trail

Greetings Fellow Travelers,

As I sat along the ol’ Lincoln Highway, Highway 50 nowadays in Nevada, I thought to myself what those pioneers of old must have thought when they encountered their very first automobile. What a sight it must have been when they saw those new machines as they traveled east to west along the newly discovered route of the Lincoln Highway, but was known to the local pioneers then as an old wagon trail.

While the industrial age prevailed on the Eastern seaboard of the States and things changed quickly, the rural Western states, such as Nevada, knew the old life and grew slowly until after the first World War. So I dedicate this drawing of an old sourdough and his donkey to the thoughts and ideals of the past and how it once was and never will be again.


From the Road,

Lincoln Highway Johnny


Thunder Mountain

Greetings from the Open Road,

Hello again, it has been a while since we last had some correspondence. Today I bring you another illustration from the Lincoln Highway in Nevada.

Travelling what is known as Interstate 80 today in Nevada is a long and sightless journey.  So when you are lucky enough to run across an oddity, such as Thunder Mountain, it grabs your eye and your attention. I bring to you today a rough drawing, dedicated to a man’s beliefs and his talents.


Frank Van Zant, an eccentric character from Oklahoma, followed many paths of employment in his lifetime.  From preacher to aspiring sheriff, Mr. Van Zant found his Waterloo when his truck broke down in the middle of Nevada.  He took one look around and fell in love with this barren, wild area.  He was reborn on that day as Chief Rolling Mountain Thunder, which gave him a strong path to his self-declared heritage (in actuality, he was mostly Dutch).


Over the years, Mr. Van Zant constructed a roadside attraction which drew interest among travellers, and with his “heritage” and beliefs, he drew visitors far and wide who were in search of enlightenment and the Chief as a guru.  His fame lasted just over a decade, because times changed, so does public opinion.  Thunder Mountain fell into disrepair, with Mr. Van Zant falling into a deep depression.  Sadly, he was unable to recover from this state of mind and left his world of his own accord in 1989.

When travelling on Interstate 80, aka the Lincoln Highway, take a few minutes while you pass through Nevada and visit Mr. Van Zant’s, or Chief Rolling Mountain Thunder, monument. Maybe there you will also come across some ghosts of the past or gain some enlightenment.

If you would like to learn more about Thunder Mountain, please visit Thunder Mountain Website.

From the Open Road (with a little sand in my eyes),

Lincoln Highway Johnny