In the late 1940s to early 1950s, winter enthusiasts in California’s Sierra Nevada believed truckers and skiers were the only people who knew how to drive in snow. They were also the only people courageous or foolish enough to drive in blizzard conditions.

Late one night in a snowstorm when I arrived where I remembered the lodge to be perched up the hill, I parked as far off U.S. Highway 40 as possible next to a four-foot snow bank on one side leaving room for two-lane traffic on the other. In the morning, I found a traffic citation speared on my antenna. A foot of snow covered my car. A peaked roof rose above the other side of the now seven-foot snow bank. I thought I was cited for parking in front of a driveway, but it was for illegal parking obstructing snow removal.

Car in front of driveway

Car parked off US Highway 40

My protest, which included two pictures in support of my defense of parking as far off the roadway as practicable, leaving an unobstructed width of the highway free for passage of other vehicles, and a clear view of a stopped vehicle from a distance of 200 feet left open, was in vain.

The Truckee Justice Court judge replied, in part, “Illegal parking in this area is one of our bigger problems . . . parking areas in the Summit area are much too small for the number of cars needing space. This causes a traffic hazard and has often resulted in closing the highway to all traffic.

Until more room is created the only hope of control is in placing a rather high price on the numerous parking violations . . . around 100 come into this court in one day.

“I hope this will help you to realize the problem . . . and to understand why the bail is set at $10.00.”




About Lynne Schaefer

Lynne Schaefer has written two newspaper columns ("The Schussboomer" about skiing in California, and "Notes from Lynne's Journal" about Oregon wildlife); travel and garden articles for regional magazines copy for DVD tours of the High Desert Museum and the Newberry National Volcanic Monument, both in Bend, Oregon. She has published three non-fiction books, A Traveler's Guide to Historic California, Christmas Trivia Quiz, and His Daughter's Remembrance.
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