Maude has 'acquired' a pickup truck to take the wilting tree to a new home. In a sequence of sketch-like scenes she encounters a motorcycle cop, confounding, bamboozling and just plain embarrassing him as he tries his inadequate best to uphold the law. If it weren't so hilarious we'd feel sorry for the poor guy.
Then ... The fun begins when she zooms through a toll plaza without stopping, triggering an alarm. This was filmed on Highway 84, on the east side of San Francisco Bay, leading to the Dumbarton Bridge. The barren hill beyond the plaza is the Dumbarton Gravel Quarry.
... and Now, Highway 84 was rerouted in 1982; there's now a new toll plaza located several hundred yards away. This section of the original highway, its old toll plaza gone, is now part of the Don Edwards San Francisco National Wildlife Refuge in Fremont (map). The quarry is now a huge, yawning gravel pit, its site slated to become a new 100 acre hiking and camping regional park.
This recent aerial shows the relative locations of the old and new toll plazas.
Then ... A motorcycle cop (Tom Skerritt, in a great cameo) chases after her from the toll plaza, eventually pulling her over. Maude cheerfully admits to not having a license... "I don't believe in them", nor owning the truck. As for the tree... "It's not mine really, but we would like to get it into soil as soon as possible". With that she roars off, leaving him agape.
... and Now, this spot alongside Highway 84 is about a third of the way across the bay (map).
Then ... As she drives away the gobsmacked cop is frantically mounting his bike to give chase. The brief glimpse of the structure at far left was all that was needed to pinpoint this exact spot.
... and Now, it's the KGO transmitter facility, serving both sides of the bay from this location since 1947.
Then ... When Maude is pulled over a second time she decides to have some fun...
... and Now, this section of the old road is alongside an elevated section of the new (map).
She lets loose with a tire-squealing series of tight 360's with the hapless cop in tow; he ends up stalling his bike.
Then ... For good measure she circles him one more time before continuing westwards, leaving him stranded there, fuming. Ahead of them at far right is the vertical-lift span of the Dumbarton Bridge that enabled water-borne traffic to get by.
... and Now, the old and new causeways are side-by-side in this recent image taken from the bike lane of the elevated highway. Left of center to the south is the Dumbarton rail bridge, not quite visible in the movie view above, unused since 1982.
Then ... As they approach the vertical-lift span Maude has already forgotten about the cop... "Is the little tree all right?", she asks.
... a vintage photo ... The lift span was built in 1927. Here it was, alongside the new road that obsoleted it, in this north-facing photo in 1984 shortly before it was demolished by controlled explosion (watch that here). At the moment of the above capture they were just to the right of the span, traveling from right to left, westwards.
Maude finally finds the right spot to replant the little tree, giving it a new lease on life. CitySleuth has no idea where this was filmed.