Placerville to Placerville

Nov. 20, South Lake Tahoe, Calif. – Last night we left the McDonald’s in Placerville and eased onto U.S. 50 east toward the southern end of Lake Tahoe..
At least I thought it was U.S. 50 east toward the southern end of Lake Tahoe. We soon escaped the boundaries of town and found ourselves on a rising, falling, twisting and fear-eliciting two-lane road. I muttered something about how it’s good every now and then to range beyond the antiseptic safety net provided by Walmarts and McDonald’s and navigate treacherous mountain road at night just to feel that you are alive.
After about five miles I questioned the wisdom of the sentiment. After 10 I knew it was demented. As the road wore on, our hearts plummeted. It was plain we were not on U.S. 50 east toward the southern end of Lake Tahoe. It did, however, seem like we were heading in what might be an easterly direction. And we were gaining altitude.
I figured the road to nowhere had to eventually lead somewhere. Perhaps we would emerge from the darkness and stumble upon an access road to the real U.S. 50 east toward the southern end of Lake Tahoe. Maybe we would come down the hill into some jerkwater town or another and we’d get directions to the real U.S. 50 east toward the southern end of Lake Tahoe.
The road to nowhere kept going. It kept going until it didn’t anymore. It kept going until it reached its terminus in Nowhere, California. Face wtih a T intersection, we headed right, which seemed more likely to take us east. At least that’s how it seemed at the time.
On we plodded, hopes fading until they finally crashed for good when we reached an intersection with a sign pointing right to “Placerville.”
Apparently we had taken a wonderful scenic tour in the black of night. We couldn’t see the majestic pines rising on either side of the road. We could see stars in the sky, which did little to chase the gremlins from our minds. In the end, after a torturous hour dodging phantoms on the road to nowhere, we were happy to renew acquaintances with  Placerville, aka “Hangtown.”
Welcome to Placerville. We are home.
Worn out by the harrowing round-trip, we found our way to the real U.S. 50 eastbound toward the southern end of Lake Tahoe. We logged a good 13 miles before we exited at Pollock Pines, where we still could not see the majestic pines rising from either side of the road.
There was a Safeway, where we bought eggs, cheese and tortillas. Becky fashioned them into a simple but delicious repast. We washed the egg-and-cheese tacos down with Charles Shaw chardonnay. Six tacos and a bottle of wine for less than $10.
Order had been restored. We were so happy, we decided to stay for the night.

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