A lot of us Californians like to hit the open road, explore miles of highway and venture off onto some back roads. Sometimes, we come across towns with some pretty bizarre and surprising names. For this installment in our series “A Place Called What?!” we head to Rough and Ready, California. Know an unusual place name in California? Tell us about it in the comments below, or send a note to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Jayna Ashcraft and her husband have lived in Rough and Ready for 17 years. But when she tells people where she lives, sometimes they don't believe her.
"They go, 'Are you kidding me?' " Ashcraft says. "When I've ordered stuff from different companies, they call back to double-check, making sure that is in fact Rough and Ready."
To add to the disbelief, the Ashcrafts also live on To Hell and Back Lane. "I think that kind of makes people shocked," she tells me. "Or they laugh. Usually it's a good laugh."
Rough and Ready is a Nevada County town about 5 miles west of Grass Valley, but don't let its size fool you. This tiny place has a big, presidential history.
Rough and Ready got its name from Captain A.A. Townsend, who served under President Zachary Taylor, whose nickname was "Old Rough and Ready." When Townsend arrived in 1849 and found some mineable gold, he reported back to his president and named the town after him.