The Sign Battle Saga

Copyright 2009 W. Berg Press


There is a sign in the East in Ocean City, Maryland and there is a sign in the West in Sacramento, California.  Each sign informs the traveler of the final destination for this historic highway.  US 50 will carry you across the continent.  Our journey along US 50 Coast to Coast was a memorable trip.  We came in contact with many folks that enjoy Route 50.  Someday we will make the journey a second time and see all those things we missed the first time and say hello to the many friends we have along the road.

Picture submitted by Edward Loeb from Ocean City

The Kelly Bridge connects Ocean City to the Easter Shore of Maryland.  
Mounted high on the bridge is a huge sign that reads:  
Many dreams have inspired travelers to journey across the country.

This new Ocean City, Maryland mileage sign was erected in 2002.  
It is located at the Business 80/I-80/US 50 separation in West Sacramento.  
The old sign had been stolen in 2002 by some fraternity club.
(The picture was provided by Joel Windmiller (HIGHWAYMAN)

(Al Bennett from Davis, CA provided the picture)

Jack Cropper, engineer for CALTRANS for many years (now retired) lives in Sacramento, CA.  It was at his instigation that the sign in CA was installed.  He is also a cousin of the former Mayor of Ocean City, MD Harry Kelly (now deceased).    Jack was in Ocean City several years ago and saw the sign in Ocean City and when he returned to Sacramento he recommended that CALTRANS put up a similar sign.  After some discussion and no small opposition, the sign went up.   I'm his nephew,  Bob Sweet.

Where are the missing 36 miles.

At Ocean City, Sacramento 3073 miles. ( so states the sign)

At Sacramento, ( old sign 3073 miles ) new sign 3037 miles.

Is the USA getting smaller due to global warming ? 
Or have you gone metric and shortened your miles ?

Tuesday, December 17, 2002

Dear Mr. Graswich 
(SacramentoBee Newspaper)

Thank you for the news that the Highway 50 mileage sign in West Sacramento,
showing how many miles it is to Ocean City, Maryland has been replaced.

However, there seems to be a problem. I haven't been to West Sacramento
myself to check it out, but a picture of the new sign appears on the web at Along with the photo is the question, "Have you
noticed the difference in mileage when traveling from East to West versus
West to East?" Apparently, the sign on "our" end is WRONG.

Do you think that perhaps you and Mr. Berg, (the source you referenced in
Friday's article and the webmaster of the aforementioned website, could investigate the possibility of having the
sign in West Sacramento corrected? Perhaps a simple transposition of
numbers (dyslexia?) has occurred. On the other hand, maybe they're wrong in Maryland...

Dan Lovegren
Elk Grove
Monday, December 23, 2002

Oops!  Somebody goofed.

Extracted from the Sacramento Bee newspaper, 12/30/02:

"...Numbers on Highway 50 sign don't quite add up...Rarely has one road sign
been the source of so much aggravation...First, they made it bigger so that
would-be thieves would have a hard time throwing it in the back of a get-away
vehicle.  They also made it less of a novelty so it wouldn't be as attractive
to drunken scavenger hunters.  Instead of only announcing the distance to
Ocean City,...the replacement sign now also includes the distance to
Placerville (46 miles) and South Lake Tahoe (107 miles)...Everything was going
as planned until a few keen observers this month noticed that...The space
between Ocean City and West Sacramento decreased by 36 miles.  The old sign
and its twin on westbound Highway 50 in Maryland put the distance at 3,073
miles.  According to the new sign, the distance is 3,037 miles...the Los
Angeles-area company that manufactured the sign accidentally reversed the last
two numbers...Caltrans has decided to glue a plate over the part
of the sign that's in error - in essence overlaying the 37 with a 73.

(The Other) Len
Vacaville, CA, USA
Monday, December 30, 2002

US 50 Oakland green-out has fallen off!

Has US 50 reached the Bay Area?

On Monday, 01-06-2003 the East Bay Area was hit by winds of about 50 mph. 
Just enough to completely expose the US 50 Shield on the MacArthur Blvd onramp to the
MacArthur Freeway.

Thanks goes to Josh Smith for taking the photo.

Visit the Sign Forest Park in Germany

go back to US50, Coast to Coast

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My book "US 50, Coast to Coast" guides you on this journey in greater details.
To obtain information on ordering a copy of US 50 COAST to COAST, click here