Skip to main content

Challenger Coast Range Adventures; Part 1 Getting to Monterey

This past Thursday happened to be a warm spell in an unusually dry California winter.  Circumstance had me headed towards Monterey again so I decided on taking my Challenger R/T Scat Pack for some mountain driving in the Coast Ranges.


Really this road blog series is the normal historical fare that I do (for the most part) but mainly is just wandering around in a cool car.  Given that I was leaving during rush hour on a weekday morning out of Fresno I decided to take CA 180 across San Joaquin Valley to I-5.  I encountered this older CA 145 guide sign in Kerman while trying to find some breakfast.  Lately there has been a series of shootings between Madera and Kerman on CA 145 lately, the sixth occurred on the 15th I believe on Dickenson Avenue.


I turned off of CA 180 at Panoche Road near Mendota which is signed as a route to I-5.  Panoche Road was once signed as part of CA 180 back in the 1930s and was part of a long range planned extension to CA 25 (and once US 101) across the Diablo Range.  Panoche Road was actually a pretty solid connector to I-5 and well maintained by Fresno County.  The only major junction other before I-5 westbound is CA 33, Panoche Road continues west all the way to CA 25.









I took I-5 north 34 miles to CA 152. 


County Route J1 is at Shields Avenue which ironically doesn't have a J1 shield.




I stopped at the Dos Amigos Overlook of the San Luis Canal and a pumping station.  The waters come from the San Luis Reservoir which is to the northwest at Pacheco Pass.





Continuing north I-5 junctions CA 165.




 I turned off for CA 152 westbound which is multiplexed with CA 33 north.




Oddly last week CA 33 north was signed as CA 33 "detour."  CA 33 once swung northwest out of Los Banos towards Santa Nella while the current route was the first CA 207.  Most traffic heading to CA 33 north generally takes I-5, so that being the case the mainline route was signed as a detour due to bridge work.  I missed out on taking a shield picture since it was already covered up.






I continued on CA 152 westbound over Pacheco Pass above the San Luis Reservoir.  I've been trying to get a picture of the "end scenic route" signage at Pacheco Pass for awhile but it was always difficult due to the climbing trucks.











After descending from Pacheco Pass I stopped at Casa de Fruita.  Casa de Fruita Parkway is the original alignment of CA 152 before it was blown out to an expressway.  Oddly if you are traveling from CA 156 east you actually have to go all the way to Casa de Fruita Parkway to head westbound on CA 152.








I took CA 156 westbound to San Juan Bautista.








I wanted to get a picture with the Challenger in front of Mission San Juan Bautista but it wasn't happening with a school trip that was on site.





Rather than taking the modern alignment of US 101/CA 156 I took the San Juan Grade over the Gabilans which was the original alignment of US 101 until the early 1930s.  Surprisingly the concrete is somewhat serviceable shape in San Beninto County.  The first picture is the junction of Old Stage Road and the San Juan Grade, the El Camino Real actually used the former route.








At the Monterey County line the San Juan Grade is actually asphalted.  I stopped at the top of the pass to get a picture of the Challenger in front of Fremont Peak which is the highest in the Gabilan Range at 3,173 feet.






I took the San Juan Grade west to Crazy Horse Canyon Road.   There is some nice vistas of the old road grade descending into Salinas Valley.  Weird to think of the majority of traffic between Los Angeles and the Bay Area using this road.  The last picture shows a truck trying to use the San Juan Grade, suffice to say there wasn't enough room which required me staying on the dirt shoulder.








I jumped back on modern US 101/CA 156 and took CA 156 west towards Monterey Bay.







I took CA 156 all the way west to CA 1 and managed to get a picture of the CA 156 END which I missed on the CA 156 blog.





I pulled off on CA 218 which is pretty much where I ended the first day.  The next day I had way more "scenic" and potentially hazardous drives in mind.







Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Ghost Town Tuesday; Vineland, Florida; the town killed by Disney

Vineland is a small ghost town located in southwest Orange County, Florida near the junction of Florida State Road 535 and Interstate 4.  Vineland is somewhat unique due to it largely being squeezed out of existence by Lake Buena Vista which is the company town where Disney World is located. Vineland was founded in the late 1800s as Englewood.  The town name of Englewood changed to Orange Center in 1911 before finally assuming the name Vineland in 1924.  Much like the rest of Orange County the community of Vineland was centered around Citrus Grove.  In the case of Vineland said orange groves were centered around Ruby Lake. The end of Vineland came as the Disney Corporation began purchasing parcels of citrus grove land to build Lake Buena Vista.  Vineland fell into a sharp decline in the 1960s but the community managed to continue to exist to modern times.  Much of the street grid of Vineland still exists east of FL 535 but most of the original structures are either gone or falle

Old NY 10 and Goodman Mountain in the Adirondacks

  Old highway alignments come in all shapes and sizes, as well as taking some different forms after their lifespan of serving cars and trucks has ended. In the case of an old alignment of what was NY 10 south of Tupper Lake, New York, part of the old road was turned into part of a hiking trail to go up Goodman Mountain. At one time, the road passed by Goodman Mountain to the east, or Litchfield Mountain as it was known at the time. As the years passed, sometime around 1960, the part of NY 10 north of Speculator became part of NY 30, and remains that way today from Speculator, past Indian Lake and Tupper Lake and up to the Canadian Border. At one time, the highway was realigned to pass the Goodman Mountain to the west, leaving this stretch of road to be mostly forgotten and to be reclaimed by nature. During the summer of 2014, a 1.6 mile long hiking trail was approved the Adirondack Park Agency to be constructed to the summit of the 2,176 foot high Goodman Mountain. For the first 0.9 mi

Oregon State Highway 58

  Also known as the Willamette Highway No. 18, the route of Oregon State Highway 58 (OR 58) stretches some 86 miles between US 97 north of Chemult and I-5 just outside of Eugene, Oregon. A main route between the Willamette Valley region of Oregon with Central Oregon and Crater Lake National Park, the highway follows the Middle Fork Willamette River and Salt Creek for much of its route as it makes its way to and across the Cascades, cresting at 5,138 feet above sea level at Willamette Pass. That is a gain of over 4,500 in elevation from where the highway begins at I-5. The upper reaches of OR 58 are dominated by the principal pinnacle that can sometimes be seen from the highway, Diamond Peak, and three nearby lakes, Crescent, Odell and Waldo (Oregon's second largest lake). OR 58 is chock full of rivers, creeks, mountain views, hot springs and waterfalls within a short distance from the highway. OR 58 was numbered as such by the Oregon State Highway Department in 1940. OR 58 is a del