Who’s Crossing California’s Borders?

The state attracts a steady stream of college graduates, especially from the East Coast, even as many less-educated residents move to neighboring states — and to Texas — in search of a lower cost of living.

The current occupant of the White House says California is “out of control.” Something called “Hidden Dominion” posted “50 Reasons Why California Sucks” (Since updated to 72 reasons.) including such well-documented and thoughtful reasons as:

  • California has the worst healthcare system in the country.
  • Los Angeles. (Do I really even need to explain?)
  • San Francisco.
  • Oakland.

A San Francisco newspaper posted an on-line photo essay illustrating the reasons people say they hate California. As a native Oregonian, I am familiar with blaming Californians for most everything, especially their moving to the Northwest and driving up home prices and otherwise “Californicating” our pristine dominion.
It’s almost an article of faith that Californians are eager to get out, relocate to the Northwest or Nevada or Texas. Having recently repatriated to Oregon after twenty-plus years in California, I am here to say it’s not so bad in the Golden State.

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Travel Tip: What Your GPS Doesn’t Know

Highway 99 traverses the Pacific Coast from the Canadian border, at Blaine Washington, to Mexico, at Calexico California. Upon completion of Interstate 5 in 1972, 99 lost its designation as a “U.S.” highway. Much of it is now labeled State Route 99 in California, Oregon Route 99 – splits into 99E and 99W from Junction City, near Eugene, to Portland – and SR-99 in Washington. (It continues as Highway 99 in British Columbia.)

With decertification came loss of identifying signage. There never really was any definitive identifier informing a motorist when crossing the unofficial border between northern and southern California. As you travel the highway, keep an eye out for the pine tree and palm tree adjacent to each other in the median between northbound and southbound lanes. It’s a few miles north of Fresno, at about milepost 150. The fir represents the northern sector of the state; the palm tells you are in southern California. Your GPS won’t tell you this.

If you feel the urge to travel historic 99, you’ll want That Ribbon of Highway guidebooks.

Back to the Future?


High-speed rail is coming to California. The $68.4 billion project – most expensive public-works in U.S. history – will transport passengers at speeds up to 220 miles per hour between Los Angeles and San Francisco, making the 500-mile trip in 2 hours and 40 minutes. California voters in 2008 approved a ballot measure authorizing $9.95 billion general obligation bonds. At that time the estimated cost was $40 billion.

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Water Fight

California’s San Joaquin Valley produces 25% of our nation’s table food using 1% of the nation’s land. Grapes – table, raisin and wine – cotton, nuts – especially almonds and pistachios – lettuce, citrus, tomatoes are among the more than 250 crops grown in the area. Pretty impressive for what is basically a desert. But it’s using up what water it has available.

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