Monday, July 8, 2013

North is South, South is North – We must be going East


Yes, if you head along California Highway 89 or 49 long enough, you will come to this stretch of the road where you are going both North and South at the same time, does not matter which way you are headed.  Most of us know that if a highway ends in an odd number, than it typically goes north or south, depending upon which direction you are going.  Even numbers, of course, go east or west.  But along this stretch…you go both north and south at the same time, although your GPS will tell you that you are really headed east (as we were here) or west (traffic going the other way.)  Now you are probably just as confused as I am…but if you look on the map below you can try to figure it out.  Clicking on the map will take you to directly to google maps so you can try to visualize it better.


Now I really do understand how this happens, but it is something that one does not see every day.  My dad is the one who gave me a heads up about this particular phenomenon.  How Marcia and I came upon it today was because we decided to take a long drive up into the Sierra’s.  We started out heading north along the foot of the foothills, Highway 65 and then Highway 70 from just west of Loomis up past Yuba City.  Along this route one sees the east side of the Sutter Buttes, a small mountain range which rises up in the middle of the Sacramento Valley between the Coastal Mountain Range to the west, and the Sierra Nevada Mountain Range to the east.


Of course, you have to fight the valley smog to see the Buttes….the best time to take any pictures from the valley or lower foothills is right after a good rain.  I heard a legend when I was young that goes something like this.  The Almighty created the Sierra Mountains to the east, and the Coastal Mountains to the West, and was standing about where the Buttes are today looking over his creation.  Happy, he brushed the leftover dirt from his hands, and this dirt landed on the Valley floor creating the Sutter Butte Mountains.  However, extensive research on this could not find any mention of this legend, but it sure sounds good.


Next we traveled by Oroville Lake, which was formed by damming the Feather River back in the 1960’s with the creation of the United State’s tallest earthen dam, at 770 feet high, and nearly 7.000 feet wide.  It was the largest earth filled dam in the world until a larger dam in Egypt surpassed it.  All those little white dots above are boats, and this picture probably only represents a quarter of the lake’s size.


Our target today was to Quincy California, where we wanted to check out the Pioneer RV Park there where we can stay a week for just $10 more than here in Loomis…and although Loomis is ok, Quincy is at an elevation of 3,400 feet, compared to Loomis at 400 feet.  Yes, it still gets hot in Quincy, but as of 10 pm, it is 78 degrees here in Loomis, while it is 71 degrees in Quincy. What we did not know was that today (Sunday) was the last day of their annual High Sierra Music Festival, which draws about 15,000 people to the city of less than 2,000 during the 4th of July weekend.  On top of that, it is held at the Fair Grounds, right next to, you guessed it, the Pioneer RV Park.  We did make our way to the entrance of the park, and we did make reservations for Thursday for a week and perhaps a few days beyond.  But after we purchased our Subway sandwiches, we got the heck out of dodge, so to speak.  There is a rest area about 4 miles to the south-east of Quincy, and we stopped there and enjoyed our meal. 

We then headed toward Truckee, where we could pick up I-80 and have a quick downhill ride back to Loomis.  However, just after Highway 70 split off from Highway 89 shortly after Quincy, we hit the town of Graeagle, and they too where having a festival of some sorts.  Marcia says, “I guess we learned not to travel over the 4th of July weekend.”  Thank goodness we did not have our motorhome, the HHR was nice and small and easy to maneuver.  About 20 miles further down the road, Highway 49 joins Highway 89…and yes, they run in opposite directions of each other….one south the other north going one way, and one north the other south going the other way.  Well, a little research found that this phenomenon does not happen very frequently, but it does happen.  Wikipedia has a nice article dealing with road concurrency, and about halfway down it deals with "wrong-way concurrency", and includes the extreme example below.


Once we got to I-80 it was smooth sailing down to Loomis.  There is a real nice vista point at Emigrant Gap that, if you are going west on I-80 from Reno to Sacramento for the first time, you should stop and see this view.  This is the area where the overland trail was very harsh….just beyond the valley in the picture below the wagons headed west, and had to be taken apart, lowered by rope, and reassembled.  Thousands of wagons passed this way, the first in 1845.  Hard to imagine all they went through.


My early California ancestors came by boat from Nova Scotia and from the New England states.  As stated in a previous blog posting, I did have a family who took the Oregon Trail.  Below is a painting which depicts the California Pioneers and the hardships they encountered.  Just think, today we complain if we have to sleep in a rest area next to a noisy truck….go figure.


Thursday we will head to Quincy, which is about a 3 hour drive from my parents house.  We hope that after 7 to 10 days there, we will be able to move to my sister’s house which is about 3 miles away from mom and dad.  If their remodel project is not done, then we will re-visit Loomis until they are ready for us.  However, we are looking forward to being up in the mountains again later this week, and hope to visit that portion of Lassen National Park which we missed last year due to snow, and some of the areas in and around Quincy.


  1. Whew...thank goodness for GPS...most confusing!
    We do have it easy compared to our ancestors...can't imagine traveling in a wagon!

    Have a great week!

  2. Enjoy Lassen NP! We were able to ride through the park on our final day in the area last summer. There was a fire west of the park closing both entrance routes, as well as, a fire in the park. The day we arrived to drive through because the roads had finally opened, we discovered they were opening the park road at noon that day. We really lucked out.

    Hope your new location is a little cooler.

  3. OK, I'll admit it - I'm grown dependent upon my GPS to get me anywhere.

    I'd never heard of road concurrency before - I guess you learn something new everyday.

    I hope the RV park works out and you enjoy the cooler elevations!


We love to hear comments from our readers. All comments are moderated by Dave before added to the website. Spam, advertisers and rude comments are deleted, and due to high spam attempts, Anonymous Users cannot post, sorry....register for a Google ID, it is free and it is easy. Go to: Get Google ID