If you'd like, look on a map of Northern California about halfway between Red Bluff to the north and Sacramento to the south, along I-5. There’s a small town called Maxwell located between Willows and Williams. I was getting tired of driving and needed a break for lunch, so turned off what I THOUGHT was Highway 45, which parallels I-5 a little east. Well, couldn’t find a shady spot or a spot to turn around and get back on the highway. No cross streets, no nothing. No way I wanted to unhitch the pickup, unless really necessary.
Okay. Trudy knows I’m all for driving adventures, but not so much when I’m driving an RV by myself and towing another vehicle. Anyway, I kept driving on the road, which turned to well-packed gravel quickly. In fact, highway crews were running pilot cars part of the way. I figured the road must eventually go to I-5 so wasn’t too worried. However, then I noticed this sign: Narrow, winding road for 18 miles. Nothing about a dead end or anything like that. I still wasn’t too worried. After all, I’d driven the RFH (road from hell) – Coffee Creek Road many times and it was much, much worse. I kept on going. Reached a crossroads of sorts, with a sign pointing in two directions. I didn’t recognize the town names that were 15-25 miles away to the right, so turned left. First mistake. It was narrow, it was winding. And, it was also very pretty going through the mountains. Figured there were just a number of large ranches on the way to the freeway. Second assumption mistake. Finally had to turn on the air conditioner because it was just to dusty even going 15 MPH.
Just when I figured the freeway would be around the next bend, I ended up at a DEAD END on someone’s ranch area. No where to go, certainly no freeway. A very nice young man asked where I was going and I showed him my map. I had no idea there was a frontage road paralleling I-5 – wasn’t shown on the map—but I’d been on it before turning off. Duh. It wasn’t Hwy 45 at all. The only way to get out of there was to drive all the way back to town. However, the first problem was turning around. Nowhere to do it.
Well, I guess everyone can use practice in unhitching a toad from the towbar. But we first had to figure out how to get the car straight enough to do that – and there was a huge pile of hay bales in the way. Well, somehow I managed to pull just far enough ahead so we could pound out the pins holding the towbar to the pickup. I backed up the pickup and moved it to a better spot, out of the way. Then had to back up the RV to get it somewhere I could re-attach the pickup and get out of there. The guy was very, very helpful and we managed to get it all done. He showed me the best way to get back to the road, and I handed him a $20 dollar bill and gave him my most sincere thank you.
Back to the road and finally back to town. Turned out the entrance to I-5 South was about 6 blocks the other direction. And it had definitely been a frontage road I’d been on since Corning.
I’m now at the Happy Time RV Park in Dunnigan, very reasonable at $19/night. It’s right by the freeway, but has a pool and all hookups. I can stand that for tonight, especially since I pulled in here at 4:30 because I didn’t want to drive in through Sacramento in rush hour traffic.
So, Trudy, wouldn’t you have loved to go on that little adventure with me?
2006 Forest River Lexington, 23 ft