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Challenger Adventures in the Coast Range Part 4; California State Route 198 between US 101 and I-5

The last leg of the Challenger road trip was along one of the best driving roads in the state; California State Route 198 between US 101 east to I-5.


CA 198 in present configuration is a 141 mile east/west State Highway from US Route 101 in San Lucas of Monterey County east to the Generals Highway or Sequoia National Park in Tulare County.


CA 198 was one of the original Signed State Highways which was announced in a 1934 Department of Public Works Guide on Page 32.  CA 198 was aligned entirely over Legislative Route 10.  Originally CA 198 was the highest number assigned to any Signed State Highway.


Legislative Route 10 ("LRN 10") was first added to the State Highway System in 1909 during the First State Highway Bond act as a route between Goshen and Hanford.  LRN 10 was extended west to San Lucas by the State Legislature in 1915 and east to Sequoia National Park during the 1919 Third State Highway Bond Act.  More details can be found on CAhighway.org on the LRN 10 Page.

CA 198 starts at US 101 in San Lucas which dates back to the mid-1880s as a railroad siding along the Southern Pacific.  US 101 before it was a freeway used to run on Cattleman Road and thus the western terminus of CA 198 was up ahead in the below picture.


Between San Lucas and Coalinga there is no services along CA 198 for 53 miles.  CA 198 passes through the Gabilan Range, Diablo Range, and Kettleman Hills traveling east from US 101 to I-5.


It wasn't windy out but for some reason the king of all tumbleweed was on the road.


CA 198 gradually ascends through the Gabilans to an approximate elevation of about 1,200 feet before reaching a 5% grade descent into Peach Tree Valley.








Peach Tree Valley is where the southern terminus of CA 25 intersects CA 198.  To the south Peach Tree Valley Road continues southward towards San Luis Obispo County and Paso Robles.  Peach Tree Valley is notable in that the San Andreas Fault is located in it.





Peach Tree Valley is the boundary line between the Gabilan Range on the Pacific Plat to the west and the Diablo Range to the east on the North American Plate.  The roadway looking into the Diablos from Peach Tree Valley looks like it goes on forever and has a 7% grade.


On the way up the Diablo Range there is a couple really wide views of the San Andreas Fault in Peach Tree Valley that can be seen above 2,000 feet.  The Gabilan Range, Salinas Valley, Santa Lucia Range, and even on a really clear day sometimes the Pacific can be seen.  I prefer the make-shift overlook on a volcanic rock with an Illuminati symbol tagged on it.







CA 198 tops out at about 2,700 feet above Lewis Creek.  This year picked this segment of CA 198 as part of the Best Driver's car test.  The roadway is sweeping but easily be held at the 55 MPH speed limit in the hands of a good driver.




This gate was once the southern terminus of CA 25 on Lewis Creek Road until the 1950s.  But rather than go through the history of CA 25 I'll refer to the blog on topic where I talked about it in much more detail.




The only community between San Lucas and Coalinga is Priest Valley.  I have no idea when Priest Valley was created but the ranch homes appear to be from the late 1800s.




At the far eastern end of Priest Valley CA 198 leaves Monterey County and enters Fresno County.



After descending through a small canyon in Fresno County CA 198 enters another valley and approaches a junction with Coalinga Mineral Springs Road.


 

East of Coalinga Mineral Springs Road CA 198 begins to lose elevation rapidly approaching the Parkfield Grade.  The Parkfield Grade is a high ridge road which begins a dirt surfaced highway in San Luis Obispo County that reaches the community of Parkfield.  Really the Parkfield Grade a hell of a pretty drive and I have it on my back list of road blogs to put on this site.




East of the Parkfield Grade CA 198 enters a series of Canyons which empty out into the city of Coalinga.  The road here is a lot of fun, especially if you don't have any truckers or cars ahead of you.










CA 33 intersects CA 198 in Coalinga and multiplexes it north out of the city.  Coalinga was established as a Southern Pacific Railroad siding in 1888 when it was called Coaling Station A.  Apparently "Coalinga" comes from combing the "Coaling" and "A" from the previous status a railroad siding.


CA 198/33 climb into the Kettleman Hills where CA 198 continues east towards I-5.  This section of roadway was just repaved this year, I originally was going to continue on CA 33 but there was a flag zone with oil trucks heading towards it.




Really there isn't much point in showing maps from CA 198 between US 101 and I-5 since the road alignments are nearly identical to back to 1934.  All of CA 198 was previously Legislative Route 10 which was adopted in stages starting in 1909.

CAhighways.org on CA 198

Something notable I did encounter on the way home was trying to get around CA 145 near Kerman.  I mentioned this in an earlier blog but there has been random shootings on CA 145 between Kerman and Madera.  The shootings have occurred either in the morning or evening commutes and have been random caliper gun fire.  The sixth shooting occurred the day I was traveling back but I didn't know it was on Dickenson Avenue which just so happened to be the route I took bypass Kerman.  Nothing weird happened on the way home but it was very apparent Fresno County Sheriff was looking for the shooter given how many officers were on the road.


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