I’ve been driving back and forth from the Oregon Coast to San Jose, California for 20 years. My late husband and I left “Silicon Valley” in 1996 for a better life in a small town by the beach. It is a better life. But the family is still back in California, so several times a year I hit the road. Unless it’s snowing in the mountains, I take I-5.
When you drive the same route so many times, you notice the little changes. Also, your mind wanders, especially when you’re sick of the CDs you brought and the radio offers nothing but talk shows and evangelical preachers.
Today I’d like to share some of the signs I saw along the road during my September and November trips:
Politics: There used to be a lot of anti-Obama signs. They’re all gone, no point now that his term is about to end. As I traveled through San Joaquin Valley farm country for Thanksgiving, the signs said, “Make America Great Again” or simply “Trump.” Post-election, one sign had an addendum: “Thank you.”
Also in farm country: “Pray for water.” California has gotten some rain lately but not nearly enough.
“Guided goose hunt. Call now.”
Near Delevan: “The gift of God is Jesus Christ our Lord”
“Mt. Shasta: More than a peak experience.”
For Rolling Hills Casino, located in Corning, The Olive City: “Eat! 3 restaurants.” “Tip Top Pit Stop”
Approaching the town of Weed: “Weed like to welcome you.” Not a typo.
Five miles south of Yreka, there’s a metal-sculpture cow, now with a calf. For Christmas, someone usually drapes a garland around the cow’s neck.
The State of Jefferson sign. At one time, folks in southern Oregon and northern California were planning to create their own state. Considering how things have been going lately, they’re considering it again.
In a pasture just south of the Oregon-California border, black-faced sheep gather around a big white cross and a hand-painted sign that says, “Forgive them.” I wonder who and for what?
The road goes up and up, signs marking the altitude in 500-foot increments to the peak of 4,310 at Siskyou Pass. Other signs tell drivers where to chain up or take off snow chains. Hope I never have to. I have chains, but I have no clue how to put them on.
Northbound just before the Oregon border: “Puzzled? God has answers.” And just past it, a giant liquor store sign.
Also approaching the border, a green and yellow billboard: Need Weed? Take Canyonville exit. Ah, we’re back in Oregon.
Honk the horn at the Welcome to Oregon sign and watch the milepost numbers start fresh with Number 1.