Skip to main content

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 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.




Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Small Towns of Virginia Series - Charlotte Court House

This sleepy little rural town in Central Virginia can easily be overlooked.  Located miles from the Interstate or four lane US and Virginia Highways, Charlotte Court House in many ways is easily forgotten.  However, this tiny town of slightly over 400 residents holds a lot of Virginia and American History.

In 1799, Charlotte Court House saw the passing of the torch from an aging Patrick Henry and a young John Randolph.  The great debate over states' rights was the last for the fiery Henry and the first in public for Randolph.  Randolph would go on to serve in the US House of Representatives and U.S. Minister to Russia.  Henry, who was serving in the Virginia General Assembly representing Charlotte County at the time of the debate, died three months later.

Charlotte Court House is not the original name of the town.  Originally named The Magazine, then Daltonsburgh, followed by Marysville (which was the town's name at the time of the Henry-Randolph debate), Smithfield, and finally…

Legend of the Ridge Route; a history of crossing the mountains between the Los Angeles Basin and San Joaquin Valley from wagon trails to Interstates

Over the past two decades I've crossed the Interstate 5 corridor from Los Angeles north over the Sierra Pelona Mountains and Tehachapi Range to San Joaquin Valley what seems to be an immeasurable number of times.  While Interstate 5 from Castaic Junction to Grapevine via Tejon Pass today is known to most as "The Grapevine" it occupies a corridor traditionally traversed by the Ridge Route.  This article is dedicated to one of the most legendary American Roadways that was ever built.


The Ridge Route is a 44 mile section of highway which was completed in 1915.  The Ridge Route originally stretched from Castaic Junction north over Liebre Summit and Tejon Pass to the tiny community of Grapevine.  In spite of a roadway that once utilized nearly 700 curves the Ridge Route is generally considered far ahead of it's time and one of the first modern highways constructed for automotive use.  The following is a history of transportation along the Ridge Route corridor dating back …

California State Route 99/Old US Route 99 Freeway Part; Interstate 5 north to California State Route 180

Over the past three years I've had the opportunity to drive the entirety of the California State Route 99 Freeway from Interstate 5 north to Sacramento several times but rarely took many photos until this past month.  The saga of US Route 99 in California being dropped to a State Highway no later 1967 is well established at this point.  The point of this blog series is to focus on the actual active CA 99 freeway itself rather than the history of US Route 99.


For reference regarding the broad overall history of US Route 99 I'll defer to CAhighways.org since it is substantial.  CA 99 as an overall route is presently 415 miles with the initial 298 miles being a freeway from I-5 north to US 50/CA 51 in Sacramento. 

CAhighways.org on US 99/CA 99

The route of CA 99 from I-5 north to Sacramento is tied back to Legislative Route Number 4.  A 359 mile section of LRN 4 between Los Angeles and Sacramento was approved by voters in 1910 via the 1909 First State Highway Bond Act.  By the Th…