Kevin Standlee (kevin_standlee) wrote,
Kevin Standlee

Delayed Drive Home

When we left Placerville yesterday, on a whim we decided to drive up CA-49 rather than the more direct route home to Fernley via South Lake Tahoe. This was mainly because there was perhaps 90 minutes of daylight left and I'd never been over that particular stretch of highway before. Like almost every other bit save parts between Auburn and Nevada City, the Placerville-Auburn portion of the road is a hill-and-dale, twisty little road, not meant for high speed. It's a pretty drive on a clear day, which yesterday was.

About five miles or so south of Auburn, as we descended into the canyon of the American River, Lisa spotted something around the next corner and told me to slow down. As we rounded the corner, we found the road blocked. After a few minutes it became pretty obvious that nobody was going anywhere, as a fire truck pulled up in the other lane, so I put the van in park, set the parking brake, and went up to have a look.

Scene of the Accident
This is what I could see. A motorcyclist had laid it down on this corner and way laying flat in the center of the roadway with first-responders working on him. You can see the remains of his bike as the yellow bits behind and to the left of the emergency workers.

Scene of the Accident
I walked back to the van and told Lisa what was up. She put the telephoto lens on the big camera and took this photo from around the same place I did. You can see another bit of the guy's bike under the guardrail in the distance.

Bad Place for an Accident
This was not a particularly good place to have a road-blocking accident.

Roadside Waterfall on CA-49
About the only good thing about this accident personally was that there was time to photograph this waterfall immediately opposite from where we stopped. There was just enough room here that had we wanted to do so, we could have reversed and gone back up CA-49 — but there wasn't much point to doing so, because we almost certainly would have taken longer getting home than by waiting it out here.

For some reason, they let one pickup truck through, but it pulled out by the waterfall (possibly to give the ambulance and CHP that arrived soon afterwards room), and from what I heard the people in the truck saying that the cyclist passed them going like 90, perhaps fancying himself racing the Isle of Man TT, before he cracked up in front of them.

It was good to see the cyclist moving his arms and hands while they worked on him. Eventually they got him strapped to a gurney and carefully lifted into the ambulance, which continued on to Auburn. Around ten minutes later — I assume to try and clear the crash debris and take photos of the site by the CHP — traffic was once again allowed to go through.

The total delay from the accident was on the order of an hour. We were relatively lucky, having had only three cars ahead of us in the backup. Had we been only a few seconds earlier, the cyclist might have wiped out right into us! Traffic coming south on CA-49 was backed up nearly all the way back to Auburn. I do not know how long the backup extended behind us going north.

We stopped briefly at Colfax for a coffee for me and a smoothie for Lisa, and decided that we really didn't need to stop any more between there and home, not being all that hungry otherwise and not needing groceries for the two days we'll be home before we return to California on Christmas day.
Tags: lisa, travel

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