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IN MY MIND, a good “potty stop” is one where Doritos and soda may not be readily available, but great distractions are. If this is the definition, then the James Marshall Gold Discovery site at Coloma more than offers a fine experience off the saddle. Eight miles north of Placerville and 17 miles south of Auburn on state route 49, the Day Use rate for this locale is $8.00. It is eight bucks well spent. There is much to do after visiting one of the many well-maintained “comfort stations.”
The park’s museum nicely represents the pre- and post-gold rush history with displays recounting Maidu life prior to the discovery as well as the incremental industrialization of the Mother Lode that followed.
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ON THE OPEN ROAD, whether travelling alone or cooped up in the car, it is all-too-easy to find a potty, pull over, conduct business and get back on the road. Frequently, it is a missed opportunity to do much more. Even as it faces bankruptcy, the California is doing yeoman service in maintaining sites that, if lost, would leave an historic, cultural and educational void that cannot be recaptured by browsing through a book or looking something up on Wiki-pedia.
NOTES: The Church of the Open Road makes a habit of paying the day-use fee in California State Parks even if only pausing to “refresh oneself.” It is the least we can do to preserve the rich, bawdy, pristine and delicate heritage of the Golden State. Readers are asked to consider similar “donations.”
The Church of the Open Road seeks reader input for this series on Great Potty Stops of the Open Road. Submit your recommendation through the “comment section” below, and we’ll check ‘em out and write ‘em up.
Church of the Open Road Press