Life in Our Mountain Town: Confusing street names part of Truckee’s charm | SierraSun.com
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Life in Our Mountain Town: Confusing street names part of Truckee’s charm

Katie Shaffer, Sierra Sun

A friend of my aunt and uncle’s recently came through town from Connecticut, checking out our area as a possible place to relocate. He remarked to me that as he was hanging out down by Mountain Hardware, he noticed that a lot of people seemed to know each other, and he felt that Truckee had a nice, small-town feel to it.

Of course I didn’t explain to him that what he probably witnessed was a bunch of contractors picking up last-minute supplies and lattes and heading out for the day, all the while discussing the tension out in Lahontan as that TRPA deadline for excavation nears. To this guy, life in our town appeared kicked-back and friendly.

Since I still hold onto the belief that the small-town warmth of Truckee absolutely still exists, I found myself recalling a story that says a lot about this very special place that we live in.

Several years ago our family hosted an end-of-season soccer party for one of our children’s soccer teams at our house. For some reason, the head coach was coming to the party separately from his wife and daughter. After the party had been going on quite a while, and the coach still hadn’t showed up, along with the much-anticipated team pictures and trophies, the coach’s wife let me know that he should have arrived by then and she was worried.

Apparently he had told her that he thought he knew where we lived, so she hadn’t made a copy of the map I had drawn. To make matters worse, we have an unlisted phone number, and I guess he didn’t have a copy of his team roster with phone numbers with him.

As it turned out, my map wasn’t exactly correct, and so it may not have helped the coach get to our house anyway.

You see, the coach had headed up past the 7-11 in the right direction, into the Ponderosa Palisades subdivision. But he turned on the first or second Pine Cone (we are off the third). The first two Pine Cones that you pass are both called Pine Cone Road, and they are both in Nevada County within the Town of Truckee limits. The Pine Cone that he was supposed to turn on is called Pine Cone Drive, and is in Placer County. It also probably didn’t help that on my map I didn’t differentiate Pine Cones by adding that important Road or Drive or Court.

I’m not sure if these streets ended up with the same names because the people who named them happened to lack a little imagination, or if it was a result of miscommunication between counties. Perhaps the answer falls somewhere in between.

It’s not like in Tahoe Donner where one street named Davos winds in and out and across other streets. These Pine Cones are separate roads.

I have even considered that maybe these roads might connect if you are viewing them from up above, from an airplane. I’ve decided, however, that either there was no master map maker involved in planning this particular part of town, or there was no master map checker when streets were added.

Since this whole incident occurred, I now know that I should have indicated on my map that you should go past the first two Pine Cone Roads, and turn on Pine Cone Drive, after you turn on the second Palisades Drive. I’m sure I’m not the only one who has been puzzled by multiple Pine Cones and Palisades in this part of town. Maybe our local UPS drivers could shed some light on this for the rest of us, as I would imagine that they have it figured out.

Anyway when my daughter’s soccer coach realized that he couldn’t find the party, he thought of another parent of a player on the team that might be of help – the owner of OB’s. The resourceful coach headed back downtown, went into OB’s, and not finding the owner (he was probably at the party), he asked if anyone knew where the Shaffers lived. Luckily, someone at the bar knew and was able to give directions to our house.

Dessert had been served and the party was wrapping up when he finally along came our daughter’s coach with trophies in hand – all thanks to some guy sitting at a bar downtown who happened to know where we live.

Katie Shaffer has lived in Truckee since 1981.


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