California, here I come!

The last push west brought some interesting scenery and some personal revelations. I’d particularly wanted to make some time to travel US 50, the Nevada portion dubbed by Life magazine, “The Loneliest Road in America.”  They’re not kidding. More on this in a subsequent post.

Part of a story I wrote a few years ago is set on this road, as a group of survivors travel to St. Louis from the West Coast. I wanted to update my words to correspond with the current reality. The trip down memory lane with that group of characters was like visiting family members.

There was Austin, Nevada, where my characters crash a drug store:

downtown Austin

downtown Austin

Who knew the air was so thin at 8,200 feet? I was glad to head down as soon as possible.

US 50 is indeed lonely. We might go for five or more miles without seeing a soul. But finally we all stopped together when some trucker apparently decided to make a U-turn on the two-lane highway with its steep drop-offs. So the truck is completely across the road, and all the other truckers on this side and that side all get out of their trucks and mosey down the road to take a gander. How many of you ladies reading this haven’t seen something like this?

Yup, Ferd, it's a truck in the ditch, all right...

Yup, Ferd, it's a truck in the ditch, all right...

After about a half hour, some trucker got the bright idea to pull him out. Hurrah. Life was safe to travel again. And we’d met a whole passel of trucker folk we’d never have had the chance to meet.

The landscape there is what’s called high desert– scrubby bits of green dotting a tan/brown mountainside.

high desert

high desert

Miles and miles of this replaced the beautiful green, snow covered mountains of the northern states. Maybe it’s a landscape that has to grow on you; B certainly has become attached to it in the Sierra Nevadas. I’ll pass.

We passed by the otherwordly Craters of the Moon crossed over into California, made one mini-wrong turn and ended up taking a rollercoaster ride road down the west side of Lake Tahoe on Route 89 that was white-knuckled as well as beautiful, what I could see while driving with great concentration. By the time we arrived in Placerville, the children were pleased to get out of the van and play at the motel.

free at last!

free at last!

Then we met up with my best friend Kellie for a few days of investigation of the local area, including a visit to the sequoias at Calaveras Big Trees, which I’ll include on a separate page above, as we have great pictures.

Other agenda items include a visit to Tofanelli’s, and panning for gold at Coloma Valley. I don’t suppose we’ll get rich…but you never know!

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