MONDAY, AUGUST 1, 2022
Our adventure for 2022 starts off leaving our home in Reno Nevada on Sunday, July 31. Heading west on I-80 we soon climb the eastern slope of the Sierra Nevada Range. We chose to leave the interstate as soon as practical and take country roads as much as possible. After cresting Donner Summit, elevation 7239′ we drop down on the western slope of these majestic mountains. We exit at CA 20 and head towards Nevada City and Grass Valley, CA.
Nevada City (3140 souls) and Grass Valley (12,000 souls) are old gold mining towns, established during the 1849 gold rush days. Nevada City was California’s most important mining town. Grass Valley had three long lasting mines spanning the years 1868 until WWII. The Empire and the North Star Mines were two of California’s richest. Both towns retain the flavor of their rich past.
We have been to both towns several times so we continue on CA 20. Our first day’s destination is Yuba Sutter Fairground in Yuba City, a drive of 120 miles. We continue down to lower elevations where pine forests transition to oak and grass country. As we reach the Sacramento Valley floor we are greeted by vast farmland, with farmers growing rice and row crops. We reach Marysville (12,000 souls) and the seat of Yuba County, then cross the Yuba River and immediately enter Yuba City (70,117 souls), the seat of Sutter County. Yuba, by the way, is a variant spelling of the Spanish word uva (grape) as wild grapes were known to grow by the river.
Our first evening is spent at the Sutter Yuba Fairground campground. As luck would have it we are the only paying campers with about a half dozen host trailers set a few hundred yards away. The campground only offers power at each site. We park on grass under a large tree which offer us some shade. The day is overcast which takes a lot of the heat of summer out of the air. The fairgrounds are lovely and we have them all to ourselves.
The only problem we ran into was how to enter the fairgrounds. Being a Sunday there was no one in the office, no one we could call, so we took a sophisticated guess and found our way. As we are settling in a campground host drove up and asked if we had reservations. Of course! Our stay at the fairgrounds was lovely and we’d do it again!
Monday morning we depart fairly late for us figuring our travel distance of 163 miles won’t hardly take any time at all. Packing up took no time at all and we depart at approximately 0915 hours again joining CA 20 for our trip to the coast.
We transverse the Sacramento valley where at the very western edge we stop at a fruit stand to purchase very fresh cherries, plumes and even a bag of pistachios. The road then takes us into the Inner Coast Range that runs north/south..
The road is fairly narrow winding through canyons, then over a summit into the next canyon, then onto the shoulder of a mountain. We pass the very large Clear Lake, a natural fresh water lake in Lake County, again following the winding 35 mph CA 20. It is the largest natural fresh water lake wholly within California with a surface area of 68 square miles and measures 8 by 19 miles. At 2.5 million years it is the oldest lake in North America. Being a warm water lake large populations of bass, crappie, bluegill, carp and catfish flourish.
We finally pass the lake along with its 35 mph speed limit only to come upon a Native American Rancheria- speed limit 40 mph. Gads, we’ll never get to Fort Bragg at this rate! We finally arrive where US 101 and CA 20 converge and have a four lane highway with posted speed limit of 65 mph. We cruise at the Kali-Fornia max for vehicle towing- 55 mph, a whole 14 miles to Willits (5000 souls) where again we head west on a two lane, winding CA20 towards Fort Bragg.
Willits is known as the Gateway to the Redwoods. An arch stands at the center of town which features the slogan “Gateway to the Redwoods”. The arch is the repurposed version of the Reno Arch. The town has an interesting past. A feud between the Frost family (Confederacy supporters) and the Coates family (Union supporters) during the Civil War developed into a brawl, then a shootout leaving 3 members of the Coates family dead and 1 member of the Frost family dead. An interesting side is the racehorse Seabiscuit trained, lived out his retirement and is buried a few miles south of the city. And then there was the Triple Masonic Lynching of 1879. More recently heavy metal pollution created by a metal plating plant and resulting lawsuit and cleanup was spearheaded by none other than Erin Brokovich. Water wells were treated and damages paid to those affected.
CA 20 west of Willits takes us into the coastal redwood forest. It’s a beautiful drive but taxing for all of us. The road snakes along the shoulders of mountains and hills and is never straight until near the ocean. I’m tired of cranking the steering wheel and Jil is tired from just watching me! Speed limit is 55 mph but I very seldom approach 35 mph in the motorhome as a 25 mph bend in the road is just a few hundred yards ahead. But I tell you, the drive is very beautiful!
We finally reach the ocean, drive a mile or two along the coast to Pomo RV Park and Campground. We’ll be here for a few days of R&R and exploration. Until next time!
One thought on “Our Extended Travel Adventure for 2022”
Hi! Looks like that Willits road made Buster car sick! Glad to hear that you love my home town of Nevada City. Its interesting to follow your drive as we have taken this ride to Fort Bragg many times over the years usually staying at MacKerricher State Park. While in Fort Bragg try D’Arelios restaraunt for great pizza and pasta. A great local haunt. Ill be looking forward to where you are heading next. Happy Trails!