A Sunday Drive on a Country Road
● By Billy Pilgrim
Story and photos by Billy Pilgrim
SOMETIMES we just have to go for a Sunday drive, and one of the most breathtaking in this beautiful land of mountains, rivers and spectacular vistas is Jellys Ferry Road in Tehama County. And the best time to take that drive is right now in mid-spring, while there is still some green in the landscape. In 1857, Andrew Jelly, a Steubenville, Ohio transplant, built and operated a ferry across the Sacramento River at the site of his home, hotel and stage stop. Jellys Ferry shortened the distance from Shingletown to Red Bluff by 26 miles, which was an enormous advantage for travelers and the lumber mills of eastern Shasta County that shipped their lumber to Red Bluff and beyond.
A post office officially named Jelly, Tehama County, was established in 1901 at the site where the Jelly family operated their ferry boat. The Jelly Post Office served the area until 1934. The Jelly family home, once a stagecoach stop on the road to Oregon, still stands on Saron Fruit Colony Road. It has been continuously occupied since 1856.
The Jellys Ferry one-lane bridge, built in 1949, is currently closed for repairs, and the plans are to soon make it safe again for local traffic. Money has been set aside to build a brand-new bridge sometime in the next four years.
The drive down Jellys Ferry Road is magical. There is a sense that not a lot has changed in the last 163 years or so. You will cross Battle Creek and the Sacramento River. You’ll see cattle grazing, abundant wildlife, snow-capped mountains, trees and meadows. The photo opportunities are endless. Breathe in. Breathe out. Unwind. Enjoy your Sunday drive down Jellys Ferry Road.
To get to Jellys Ferry Road from the south, take the Jellys Ferry exit from Interstate 5 and go east. Remember to stop at the River Bend Store and Bend River Park. Take Jellys Ferry Road to the bridge. From the north, take Deschutes Road in Anderson to Balls Ferry Road. Turn left on Ash Creek Road and right on Gover Ranch Road, which will become Jellys Ferry Road. •