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April 2024 Bakersfield Road Meet

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Max Rockatansky:
Updating the original post for the official itinerary.  Closer to the meet I will post Google Map links to make all of these easy to follow like we did in Fresno last year. 

Meet Start

Location:  9 AM at the McDonald's off I-5 Exit 257
Address:  20700 Tracy Avenue, Buttonwillow, CA
-  There are numerous other food options at Exit 257 such as Carl's Junior, Starbucks, El Taco Loco and a couple off brand or gas station options.  We will meet for an hour as group before heading out on the road.  There might be an opportunity for some to group up beforehand and leave their cars at the TA Travel Center but I wouldn't count on that. 

Leg 1:  the new alignment of California State Route 58 along I-5, Stockdale Highway, West Side Parkway and the Centennial Corridor
-  The directions here are pretty straight forward.  We will depart Buttonwillow on I-5 south which multiplexes eastbound CA 58 to Exit 253 at Stockdale Highway.  Upon departing Stockdale Highway, we will follow CA 58 east through West Side Parkway and the Centennial Corridor interchange to CA 99.

Leg 2:  CA 204 and former US Route 99
-  From the Centennial Corridor the meet tour will continue on eastbound CA 58 to Exit 112 onto CA 204/Union Avenue.  CA 204 continues north onto Golden State Avenue which was part of a 1930s era realignment of US Route 99 out of downtown Bakersfield.  Union Avenue also carried US Route 399 to a terminus at US Route 466 Sumner Avenue.  US Route 99 and US Route 466 multiplexed Golden State Avenue towards Famoso where the latter split towards Cholame.  The tour will briefly detour off CA 204 to Graces Circle which was part of the 1930s at Chester Avenue.  Graces Circle is one of the earliest traffic circles in California and was an improvement to the early US Route 99 corridor along Chester Avenue.  The tour will continue on CA 204 and use Exit 6 to onto southbound Airport Drive. 

Leg 3:  The Bakersfield Sign
-  From Exit 6 at CA 204 the tour will follow Airport Drive, Buck Owens Boulevard and Sillect Avenue to the Bakersfield Sign located at Buck Owens Crystal Palace (2800 Buck Owens Boulevard).  The Bakersfield Sign (we will have the meet photo here) was one located on US Route 99/US Route 399 along Union Avenue and was somewhat recently restored.  Buck Owens Boulevard was also part of Legislative Route Number 141 which functionally was the precursor corridor to the freeway now occupied by CA 99.

Leg 4:  Downtown Bakersfield to Hart Park via Alfred Harrell Highway.
-  From the Bakersfield Sign the tour will head towards Hart Park.  The tour will follow southbound Buck Owens Boulevard, eastbound 24th Street (former CA 178), eastbound 23rd Street (former CA 178), the CA 178 Freeway to Exit 5 at Mt. Vernon Avenue, Mount Vernon Avenue north to the start of Alfred Harrell Highway at China Grade and eastbound Alfred Harrell Highway to Hart Park.  24th and 23rd in downtown were part of CA 178 until it was truncated to M Street in 2011.  The China Grade portion of Alfred Harrell Highway was part of the Stockton-Los Angeles Road which the major north/south wagon route bypassing the Central Valley during the 1850s.  Alfred Harrell Highway is a Kern County maintained freeway which was completed in the late 1950s and is one of the strangest I've found.  The freeway portion of Alfred Harrell Highway ends at Hart Park (the park sign is another good group photo opportunity).

Leg 5:  Hart Park to Lake Isabella
-  From Hart Park the tour will continue east on the expressway portion of Alfred Harrell Highway to CA 178.  The tour will continue east on CA 178 along the Kern Canyon Highway to the community of Lake Isabella.  The Kern Canyon Highway was completed in the late 1920s as a State Highway replacement for Caliente-Bodfish Road and is highly scenic.  The tour will use CA 178 Exit 43 to Kernville Road (the same exit for CA 155).

Leg 6:  Caliente-Bodfish Road
-  From Lake Isabella the tour will follow Lake Isabella Boulevard (former CA 178) to Caliente-Bodfish Road (County Road 483).  Caliente-Bodfish Road is among the more scenic mountain roads in the southern Sierra Nevada Mountains and passes through the original Kern Seat of Havilah.  Caliente-Bodfish Road ends at the community of Caliente which is surrounded on three sides by the Union Pacific Railroad (formerly Southern Pacific).  Tentative sit down lunch at 178 Bar & Grill.

Leg 7:  The Tehachapi Loop
-  From Caliente the tour will follow Bealville Road south to CA 58 and turn east.  The tour will follow CA 58 east to Tehachapi-Woodford Road at Exit 139.  Tehachapi-Woodford Road is the original alignment of CA 58 and ascends to the Tehachapi Loop.  The Tehachapi Loop has numerous train coil overs which happen in short intervals given the volume of freight traffic.

The meet will officially end at the Tehachapi Loop.  The location will provide many additional options for the group to disperse such as:

-  Continuing east on former US 466 to Tehachapi and possibly clinching CA 202.
-  Stopping at Cesar Chavez National Monument on Tehachapi-Woodford Road. 
-  Backtracking west on CA 58 or CA 223. 
-  Returning to Caliente and drive Caliente Creek Road which was part of the Havilah Stage Road (which is probably what I will do). 

That sounds rather interesting, and I'll definitely put it on my calendar.  My parents lived in Bakersfield from 2010 to 2012 while my dad worked for the City of Taft, so I know a little bit about it already.  Could be fun to see what's changed.

A.J. Bertin:
I would be very interested, but I will likely be hosting my 2024 "city meet" (location to be announced) around the same general timeframe as this.  I rather like the late-April/early-May timeframe for hosting my meets, but I will try to avoid the same date as your meet.


--- Quote from: A.J. Bertin on May 15, 2023, 06:10:47 PM ---I would be very interested, but I will likely be hosting my 2024 "city meet" (location to be announced) around the same general timeframe as this.  I rather like the late-April/early-May timeframe for hosting my meets, but I will try to avoid the same date as your meet.

--- End quote ---
your city can be Bakersfield!

Put me as interested!

If I plan ahead a little more, should be able to come this time. Was bummed to miss out on Fresno.


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