Long story long
We did the math - we had not seen each other in FORTY YEARS! Chatted from 10 till 1, when they had to check out of the hotel and drive to Tahoe. I am always amazed at how well my family clicks that way. This is the fifth time I have met cousins in person whom I had not seen in a long time, or had not known existed, and we always click right away.
Stopped for gas & a car wash, and while waiting in line to pay for some bottled water, overheard the cashier telling the person ahead of me how to get to I-80 without going on Hwy. 50. I asked what that was all about, and he said Hwy. 50 was closed from there to Sacto because someone was threatening to jump off an overpass.
My Plan B for the day was to drive east on 50 (away from Sacto) and take 49 from Placerville to Jackson, with a stop in Drytown to visit a melodrama theater I used to perform at. So Plan B it was.
Stopped at the theater, it is now a store called "Stage Door Antiques". Very sad to see that, because the theater had just been rebuilt about 10 years ago after an Easter Day fire had destroyed the original. What a waste of a theater. They even took out the bar.
Got to Jackson, and decided not to stop for lunch (it was too late anyway) and not to try to find the casino. And tried to remember how to get to 680 from there.
I kept guessing wrong. Did not have an area map (I thought I did, but turns out the N. Cal map AAA gave me stops at Chico). I used to make this trip a couple of times a month, so I thought I could wing it. And if not, it was a nice hot day (95° in Jackson!) and I had filled up in Rancho, so no danger of running out of gas. And any drive out there is scenic.
Followed the signs to Stockton, because I knew 580 went there, and 580 hooks up with 680. But somehow decided to take Hwy 4, and ended up going most of the way back to the Sacramento River before hooking up with a connector freeway which didn't used to be there, and got on 680 way up in north CC County. Got home around 6, so 5 hours to go what should have taken 3.
Nice scenery, though.
EDIT:I built a map of the trip on AAA's web site, and it wasn't as roundabout as it felt. Here's what the overview looked like:
It doesn't show the two U-turns I made on Hwy 88 out of Jackson when I thought I was going east instead of west, then after the first u-turn saw the 88E sign. It also doesn't show the tour of east Stockton I took when I saw I-5 only a few blocks away, but saw no signs pointing me there. And then I decided I didn't want I-5, I wanted scenic Charter Way. (Hwy. 4).