After spending about three hours trying to match city tile borders building some mountains, I gave up and selected a map I like:
-- based on Redding, CA. I have fond memories of this city not only because their local philharmonic has provided me with the occasional cello gig, but also because an hour to the northeast is one of my favorite places in the world, MacArthur-Burney Falls State Park. Sadly, that isn't on this map. But the large expanse of flat land should make it fairly easy to develop, and if I run out of ideas I can always refer to reality.
I quickly ran out of original ideas and so I turned to Google Maps to help me lay things out. I decided to start with the major intersection near the old downtown, I-5 and the local 44 which, on the other side of the river, ends and becomes a one-way road system.
It only took me three complete bulldozed attempts and about seven cumulative hours of tinkering. (Well, what would you do if you were proctoring a four-hour practice college entrance exam?)
I'm pretty proud of it. I know that my Hilltop Ave (road on the far right) is too far from the freeway, and that my curves are square rather than, well, curvy, but it's a pretty good imitation. And it works. Sims use it! So, all-in-all, huzzah. Time for a beer.