THE PLOTTED COURSE: Long after we've all left this planet, thousands of years from now, and taken all of our landmarks and paintings and important artifacts with us, a few modern-day facts shall remain. One? Parking near the grocery store entrance on a rainy day will still be difficult, regardless of the new planet we live on. And two? Travel books will still celebrate the driving loop or trail. Know that of which we speak? The attraction-laden drive has been the go-to of guides since the invention of the automobile. And, truly, even walking loops were written about, in detail, prior to the arrival of cars. That's because we're not made of time but we do love our leisure, so the idea that someone has plotted a course for us, with interesting stops and things to see, is indeed a wonderful thing. So wonderful that we predict, here and now, that the guidebook loop or trail -- that would be the non-closed-end adventure -- will last for thousands of years to come.
BUT WHAT OF THIS YEAR? California boasts some excellent stop-here-then-here drives, but the Fossils to Falls one, near Madera, is a gem. Or should we say we have no bones to pick with it? Admission: We made that corny joke because the Fossil Discovery Center, in Chowchilla, is on the drive. The area happens to boast "the largest Pleistocene era fossil bed in the United States," so bet you'll see some mammoth-magnificent beauties. There shall be other sights in and off Highway 99, though, like Home Grown Cellars -- hello, pomegranates -- Bass Lake and Fish Camp. There are so many places to see on the Fossils to Falls page, we should note, that you could break it down into a few daytrips, with maybe an overnight or two in a Gold Country town or near a Madera winery. So, are you set? You want to see a few things around the low rolly Sierra foothills but you want someone else to pick 'em out for you? They're all right here, on Fossils to Falls.