Franecdotes a column by Fran Crawford full-time RVing

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Franecdotes a column by Fran Crawford full-time RVing


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A column by Fran Crawford
Published in The Territorial Dispatch
March 1, 2000

An Afternoon Ride

There is no place to go, and so we travel! You and I, and what for, just to imagine that we could go somewhere else. -- Edward Dahlberg

Taking a ride on a long summer evening or a weekend afternoon was always a treat when I was a youngster. After my parents finally acquired a car... a '39 Plymouth sedan with suicide back doors ... in the mid forties, we would splurge and go for a tour around our town or the one across the river where my aunt lived or the town a little upriver where my mother was born.

During The War (the BIG one) these rides were pretty infrequent. Gas was rationed. The price was high. I think it was nineteen cents a gallon if you had an A sticker in your window. Everyone had to have a letter sticker in their auto window to purchase gasoline. How much you were allotted depended on your need... job, family situation, etc.

After the war we took longer rides, exploring our surroundings in wider and wider circles. It was a great way to learn the geography of our community as well as the area around it.

I loved going for rides so much that when my sons were growing up I would load them up and take them for rides. That way I got to explore the new areas we lived in and I thought it would be educational for them.

They were not as quite enchanted with travel as I am. I suppose because there were a lot more things for them to do... television, etc. And riding didn't start out for them as a rare treat, as it did for me. By the sixties a vehicle was always available ...and gas, although the price had steadily increased, was easy to get, and plentiful.

Now those guys are on their own and I can get back to riding around exploring the areas where I live.

One day recently Steve and I left home about 1 p.m. When we got to Highway 20 we decided to cross the bridge and head up to Oroville Dam. It's one of our favorite places and we hadn't been there in a while.

The day was a little overcast but you could see some snow on the mountains to the east.

Highway 70 has really been improved over this past year. It is wider and smoother and there is now a traffic control light at Robinson Corners.

We turned west from Hwy 70 onto Pacific Heights Road. It's a neat little 'country road' that parallels 70 but is closer to the river. Eventually it joins up with the main highway again.

After traveling through the commercial area of Oroville the ride out to the dam is a nice one. The hills and trees are beautiful no matter what time of year it is.

The road across the dam is always a treat. The view of the lake from there is wonderful, but the view out over the entire valley is fantastic. The afterbays way across the landscape glisten silver, reflecting the overcast sky and the Sutter Buttes rise majestically in the center of the valley.

You can certainly get a feel for how small people really are in this big old world when you see a tiny auto climbing the hill to the top of the dam.

Sometimes we head home through the foothills into Yuba County, but that day we decided to go on up to Paradise. When we got there we continued on to Magalia, Stirling City and beyond.

I had neglected to read a sign as we climbed the mountain road out of Stirling City so I wasn't sure how far it was to Inskip, the next town. However, before we got there we rounded a bend in the twisting road and suddenly everything was white.


Steve said "I know you hate going back the way we came and you want to see what's around the next bend, but not this time!"

While I hid my eyes to keep from looking over the edge, he turned the truck around on the narrow roadway and we headed back down the mountain. As we entered Stirling City I turned and read the sign I had missed earlier: "Travel at your own risk beyond this point." Swell.

We had dinner in Paradise and took the Skyway to Highway 99 on the south side of Chico, then home to Yuba City.

-- Fran C. Crawford © 2000

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