North of I80 the upper Sacramento Valley has a long history of intensive rice cultivation. Gentle slopes of fertile land watered profusely, in most years, by runoff from the Sierras, Mt. Shasta, and the Coast Ranges provide a rice growing environment as productive as any in Egypt, Thailand, or Japan.

Just as old US99, pre-dating I5, forked north from Sacramento into 99E and 99W, so too the railroad main lines run north up the valley roughly parallel both east and west of the Sacramento river. Along those rails, and also the river, grew up rice mills at intervals determined largely by storage and processsing capacity. As mills were modernized, storage grew larger, requiring fewer facilities to serve larger crops.

Today you can see a number of un/under-used rice storage facilities as weathering monuments to earlier agriculture. And what berautiful monuments they are - our own Californian Acropolis or temple of Karnak. Rows of giant concrete cylinders glowing at dawn, looming in near-dark, always artfully painted by light tracing repeated sensuous curves - these simple utilitarian rice elevators have become a collective arts project for all to see.

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