Scenic two-lane byways can lead to white knuckles; reflections of California by RVer Jimmy Smith


Hwy49_below_JulianneGCraneWe’ve traveled on 820 ‘scenic byway’ miles the past few days …  in Jimmy’s words, we have “trundled through ancient Redwoods …  pastoral wine-producing country … and climbed Hwy. 49 through the California Sierra Nevada foothills that sparked a rich history based on the quest for gold.

It seems each of those two-lane stretches has been more ‘interesting’ to traverse than the one before. I truly hope we will not soon top the likes of the barrier-less, breath-holding ‘Forty-Niner Highway’ — most notably the section between Coulterville and Mariposa that “is especially twisty with impressive and a bit intimidating steep dropoffs to the river canyons below,” remarks Bargain Travel West.

Named after the ’49ers,’ the waves of immigrants who swept into the area looking for gold, this narrow roadway passes through many historic mining communities of the 1849 California gold rush.

HWY49_summit_JulianneGCrane+I would NOT recommended this road for most recreation vehicles. (We are traveling in a one-ton truck with slide-in camper and averaged about 15-mph up the pass.) It is more suited for motorcycle and car touring.

Jimmy reflects on ‘Another View’ about the two-lane roads we’ve traversed on this, our eighth winter snowbird trip.

While I admit to a fair amount of white knuckle driving the last couple days–there was not a twist, or turn, or precipice I would have traded,” he muses.

Jimmy goes on to pondered his “complicated relationship with California.” Read more by clicking on ‘Jimmy Smith’s Another View.’

–  Julianne G. Crane

Photos: (Top) From the river valley looking up at the steepest and twistiest grade we climbed along Hwy 49.  (Bottom) From the summit looking down.  Double click on images to get more detail.  (Julianne G. Crane)

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  • Tom:
    ‘Winter’s Chill’
    Nice that a fond memory of mine could strum up some of your own.
    I see you made it to the fabled land of California.
    By the time I could pilot my own trajectory, Oregon captured my imagination.
    At the moment Julianne, my sweetheart, is trying to capture one of those stunning sunsets that the Arizona Desert dishes up.
    Ain’t it wonderful.
    I would always be curious about what dreams have born fruit in a fellow traveler’s life.

  • Jimmy:

    I enjoy your articles. I too remember standing over ” the grate that invited warm air up from the coal furnace down below.”
    I was living in eastern Pennsylvania.
    Enjoy your trip

    Windsor CA

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