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Author Topic: CA 198 from I-5 to US 101, Old CA 25, G15/Metz Road, CA 146, and West Pinnacles  (Read 4486 times)

Max Rockatansky

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I figure that given some recent feed back it's probably best that I make these posts into individual threads along with 10 photos per post.  That way everything should be easier for everyone to view and opine on in small sections rather than having to sort through a 60 photo slog.  That being the case, if you've read the Max's Pacific Southwest Roads you'll know that it's been a couple weeks since I've been out on the Old Ridge Route in addition to US 399.  You'd also know that the front of my daily driver Sonic ate a deer in Utah and had me saddled with a Buick Enclave on the last trip.  The good news is the Sonic back and I had a free couple days.  The bad news is that the weather has been murky and really just plain crappy the last few weeks.  Regardless the weather toned down a little which gave me an opportunity to check CA 198 from I-5 to US 101, Old CA 25, G15, and CA 146 West among other things.

Before I get started there is some relevant threads to the topics that I listed above:

-  Coatimundi's La Gloria Road thread where Old CA 25/Lewis Creek Road was discussed along with possible roads or trails that "hypothetically" could be used to connect the two CA 146s.

http://www.aaroads.com/forum/index.php?topic=18951.0

And my thread where CA 198 basically has been pieced together in a clinch this year on replies; 38, 39, and 79.

http://www.aaroads.com/forum/index.php?topic=18621.75

So with that all in mind set out and started things off by taking CA 198 to Coalinga where 33 multiplexes:



33 takes a weird turn northbound to enter Coalinga, or at least it's weird now that I-5 is around.  My path was straight ahead on CA 198 through the signage cluster:



There is a pretty unique advisory sign warning trucks with trailers not to take 198...it doesn't ever stop them.  And...really it shouldn't, the route is pretty decent for a rural highway and 7% isn't anything too extreme in my opinion.  Less than a mile west of Coalinga, 198 starts to gain elevation and change character rapidly to a mountain route:






Parkfield Grade...already covered that one, probably not well advised after a rain storm though:



198 starts to flatten out exiting Fresno County around Priest Valley westward to Monterey County.  Pretty apparent at this point that I was in for some rain:




Just west of Priest Valley and North Fork Road is the gate for Lewis Creek Road which was once the southern terminus of CA 25:



Lewis Creek Road was part of CA 25 until 1956 when the modern alignment of the highway adopted.  The change can be seen on from the 1955 to 1956 state map.  At the time Lewis Creek Road was shown as a completely dirt section of CA 25, odd that it hung on so long:

1956 State Map
http://www.davidrumsey.com/luna/servlet/detail/RUMSEY~8~1~239549~5511866:Road-Map-of-the-State-of-California?sort=Pub_List_No_InitialSort%2CPub_Date%2CPub_List_No%2CSeries_No&qvq=q:caltrans;sort:Pub_List_No_InitialSort%2CPub_Date%2CPub_List_No%2CSeries_No;lc:RUMSEY~8~1&mi=43&trs=86

1955 State Map
http://www.davidrumsey.com/luna/servlet/detail/RUMSEY~8~1~239552~5511868:Road-Map-of-the-State-of-California?sort=Pub_List_No_InitialSort%2CPub_Date%2CPub_List_No%2CSeries_No&qvq=q:caltrans;sort:Pub_List_No_InitialSort%2CPub_Date%2CPub_List_No%2CSeries_No;lc:RUMSEY~8~1&mi=45&trs=86

This looks like it will be a six part write-up given all the routes I went through.  Figured I'd just give a heads up for anyone reading this before they start replying.

Max Rockatansky

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Part 2....

Continuing with the Lewis Creek Road/Old CA 25 gate.  Looking down the gate you can see the road grade for 25 was pretty extreme when it was using Lewis Creek Road:



The abandoned portion of Lewis Creek Road below following the creek of the same name can be seen pretty well from CA 198, the elevation at this part of the highway is about 2,700 feet above sea level.  Part of Lewis Creek Road is still maintained from modern CA 25, I'll hit on it later on but Coatimundi definitely has more to look at with that segment in his thread:




You know you're coming up to CA 25 when you see a valley below which separates the Gabilan Range and Diablo Range.  Basically the valley you're seeing contains the San Andreas Fault and CA 25 essentials runs right atop of it:




CA 198 really isn't anything too difficult or notable west of CA 25 in the Gablians.  CA 198 actually has an "End" marker at US 101, something that can't be said for every route on this trip:




Monterey County probably is the most consistent County in the state with actually signing lettered County Routes.  In this particular case G15 follows 1st Street in Kings City and Metz Road to CA 146 West while G13 follows Bitterwater Road to CA 25.  My route was towards Pinnacles National Park and CA 146 so I followed G15:




Metz Road is in pretty bad shape, especially for the first six or so miles north of Kings City.  Metz is heavily prone to floods which I was somewhat concerned about given the recent rain.  There was a "flooded" sign but actually no pooled water.  Metz Road is notable given that it actually travels over a railroad tunnel that was built in 1923:

kkt

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Do you know if the railroad is still in use?
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Max Rockatansky

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Do you know if the railroad is still in use?

Yes, it's a Southern Pacific Line that's active...apparently built in 1886.  There was three rail sidings on Metz Road called; Harlem, Metz, and Elsa.   I can't find much information aside from Metz, apparently it had a post office from 1888 to 1933.

Speaking of that tunnel, here is a close up showing the time stamp of 1923:



The western segment of CA 146 actually runs on Metz Road from Soledad before it suddenly turns north to Pinnacles National Park.  This is where G15 terminates, although there isn't any "End" signage:



CA 146 has had a weird history.  Basically the modern signed route dates back to the 1964 Highway Renumbering and has always been split from West and East Pinnacles.  Since the route has been numbered both the West and East alignments have always been the same.  Prior to receiving a number both sections of CA 146 were unsigned parts of LRN 120 from 1935 until the highway renumbering. The original western alignment of the road to West Pinnacles took Stonewall Canyon Road to modern CA 146.  That alignment was replaced sometime between 1940 and 1942 which can be seen on the following maps:

1940 State Map
http://www.davidrumsey.com/luna/servlet/detail/RUMSEY~8~1~239585~5511890:Road-Map-of-the-State-of-California?sort=Pub_List_No_InitialSort%2CPub_Date%2CPub_List_No%2CSeries_No&qvq=q:caltrans;sort:Pub_List_No_InitialSort%2CPub_Date%2CPub_List_No%2CSeries_No;lc:RUMSEY~8~1&mi=67&trs=86

1942 State Map
http://www.davidrumsey.com/luna/servlet/detail/RUMSEY~8~1~239582~5511888:Road-Map-of-the-State-of-California?sort=Pub_List_No_InitialSort%2CPub_Date%2CPub_List_No%2CSeries_No&qvq=q:caltrans;sort:Pub_List_No_InitialSort%2CPub_Date%2CPub_List_No%2CSeries_No;lc:RUMSEY~8~1&mi=65&trs=86

Speaking of weird, CA 146 probably is the narrowest state highway in California....even more so than CA 4 over Ebbetts Pass.  After a couple times north of Metz Road you get the warning about the road becoming single lane:




Apparently there is actually a wishing well on 146, there was even a Caltrans Truck on the way out doing maintenance on it....weird...



Stonewall Canyon Road still intersects the modern CA 146 even today.  Given that this was the previous alignment it's understandable why the Inn at Pinnacles is on Stonewall.  I'd hate to drive something like this on a rainy day....granted I am intrigued to find out how much of Stonewall is passable by car:




Continuing north there is a crap ton of "146" signage all the way to the National Park Boundary.  There is even an "End" sign where you would really never expect one:



« Last Edit: December 29, 2016, 01:47:49 PM by Max Rockatansky »
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Max Rockatansky

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The really weird thing is about the western CA 146 terminus is that the road is actually better inside Pinnacles National Park.  It's actually slightly wider than the approach from Metz Road which I find extremely odd.  I'm to understand that this section of road leading the Pinnacles is an older path that the San Andreas Fault took:





Rumor has it that the Old Pinnacles Trail was actually an Old Spanish horse trail.  I've heard rumors about a car or two being able to traverse both sides of what was Pinnacles National Monument at the time...I don't buy it given the terrain around the Balconies Caves.  I'm fairly certain that people must have been mistaking La Gloria Road as a road through Pinnacles given how close it approaches the northern border of the park.  Regardless it's only a gap of 3.3 miles that separate both alignments of CA 146 from having a complete continuation...kind of a shame that there was never a road around the Balcony Caves somewhere...anywhere:








Max Rockatansky

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Believe it or not the weather actually started to clear up a little.  The next storm sounded like a freight train but turned out to be a drizzle:




I like how the park guide sign even managed to include "California" in the 146 shield:



And I'm half surprised there isn't a "Begin" here....why is it that the weird state highways are always signed the best?



Made my way down to G15 and Metz Road, grabbed a G16 for good measure on the way back to Kings City.  I decided to take Lonoak Road since I've never have taken it before:





At least Lonoak road is double laned in Monterey County:




Because once Lonoak hits the San Bonito County lane it drops to one lane and is severely beat up:



Max Rockatansky

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Like I said...single lane and beat to hell, good thing Lonoak Road is only 15 miles:



But as the road dips back into Monterey County near the eastern terminus with CA 25 you wouldn't know things could be so bad:




Took a turn north for about 3 miles on CA 25 north to Lewis Creek Road.  Basically you can go a couple miles back into the Diablos heading east to CA 198.  The road is surfaced, you would have had to ford Lewis Creek back when this was part of CA 25.  Coatimundi has better pictures of this section than I do, I went back about 2.5 miles before another storm started coming in:





Had the weather been more favorable I was planning on taking Coalinga Road/Los Gatos Creek Road back east.  Given things didn't look so hot I was able to discern that CA 25 doesn't have an "End" sign for whatever reason.  Seriously how does CA 146 get an "End" sign but not CA 25?



Kind of a cool view of CA 198 east and a clearer look at the San Andreas Fault with the better weather:




And a couple better photos of Lewis Creek Road with a clearer view...signage too showing why you can't use the road anymore:





So if it's a wildlife management area....is it private or public property?  I know there is a ranch on the other side of Lewis Creek Road where you can't drive any further.  Does that mean someone owns almost all the entire course of the creek all the way up to CA 198?...if so that's a damn shame, it would have been nice to be able to at least walk old CA 25.

Anyways, I guess the theme for next month is going to be Diablos December.  I don't really feel up to some slog with chains in the Sierras so I figure Coalinga Road, Panoche Road, and the Mount Hamilton Highway are what the doctor ordered.  Idria Road is probably way too dicey given the wet weather this time of year...maybe next summer. 

Edit:  KKT I found out some information on the train tunnel and edited my initial reply to you in reply #3.
« Last Edit: November 28, 2016, 10:27:29 PM by Max Rockatansky »
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sparker

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Side note re the RR tunnel along Metz:  the line is the UP (former SP) Coast Line, extending from Burbank to San Francisco (the portion from San Jose to SF is now owned by Caltrans and operated as the Caltrain commute RR).  The tunnel does see daily Amtrak (Coast Starlight) usage as well as periodic UP freight traffic.
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Max Rockatansky

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Side note re the RR tunnel along Metz:  the line is the UP (former SP) Coast Line, extending from Burbank to San Francisco (the portion from San Jose to SF is now owned by Caltrans and operated as the Caltrain commute RR).  The tunnel does see daily Amtrak (Coast Starlight) usage as well as periodic UP freight traffic.

Thanks, it was pretty easy to find the origin of the line...but not the back story and I'm no rail expert.  I did find some specific information about where the rail sidings were.  Metz was roughly at Metz Road and Topo Road, Elsa was about a mile or so north of Mesa Del Ray Airport, and Harlem was located west of G15 roughly where Blue Jay Lane is located.  All three sidings would have been heavily prone to flooding with the Salinas River right there.

Incidentally what's the story with the rail line running from Coalinga to Goshen?  I've seen that line on maps dating back to the early 1880s.  I thought that line wasn't in use until last year when I saw a freight train running east on that line.

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Incidentally what's the story with the rail line running from Coalinga to Goshen?  I've seen that line on maps dating back to the early 1880s.  I thought that line wasn't in use until last year when I saw a freight train running east on that line.
http://www.gwrr.com/railroads/north_america/san_joaquin_valley_railroad
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/San_Joaquin_Valley_Railroad
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kkt

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Thanks for the train info, all!  And for the fantastic pictures, Max.  Wishing I had time to explore like that!
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Max Rockatansky

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Thanks for the train info, all!  And for the fantastic pictures, Max.  Wishing I had time to explore like that!

Yeah honestly I'm surprised that I have the time right now with all the family obligations that usually come up this time of year.  Good thing I didn't sit around waiting for a train spot though with the limited freight and Amtrak that Sparker mentioned. 

sparker

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Thanks for the train info, all!  And for the fantastic pictures, Max.  Wishing I had time to explore like that!

Yeah honestly I'm surprised that I have the time right now with all the family obligations that usually come up this time of year.  Good thing I didn't sit around waiting for a train spot though with the limited freight and Amtrak that Sparker mentioned. 

Ever since UP bought SP back in '96, rail traffic on the Coast Route has, besides the various Amtrak services, been sparse indeed.  Much of that is due to SP's moving their L.A. area hub out to Bloomington;  the massive "Colton" yard on the south side of I-10 opened in the early '70's, a scant few years after the Palmdale-Colton cutoff over Cajon Pass was completed (1967), which allowed them to close Taylor Yard just north of downtown L.A. and sell off the increasingly valuable urban land.  That cutoff is now part of the main N-S UP West Coast route, which uses the original SP Valley line north of Palmdale via Mojave, Tehachapi, and Bakersfield (next to CA 14 and CA 58) before continuing north to Sacramento largely adjacent to CA 99.  The original Valley Line trackage from Los Angeles to Palmdale is now owned and operated by Metrolink as part of their commuter network; some sporadic UP trains also traverse the trackage, mostly at night after and before the commuter "rush".   

Although mainly used by Amtrak (both its multistate Coast Starlight intercity service plus the local SoCal service between San Luis Obispo and San Diego), what UP freight traffic there is presently on the Coast Line is dominated by agricultural service out of the Salinas Valley and seasonal sugar beet trains originating near Santa Maria.  Also, the line sees occasional "baretable" trains -- the movement of non-loaded container cars back to the Port of Los Angeles/Long Beach, which uses the Coast Line to avoid congestion over the Tehachapi trackage between Bakersfield and Mojave, which UP shares with BNSF.  Nevertheless, traffic on the line has deteriorated overall compared to its 1950's and '60's levels; part of this is the longstanding SP "deferred maintenance" practice (often due to insufficient cash flow!); while the Valley line tracks have been upgraded to heavy-duty welded rail (136-152# rail weight per linear foot) to handle the virtually continuous stream of traffic, the Coast line is a mixture of lighter (averaging 112#/foot) rail; while some of the heavier-used sections in and north of the Salinas Valley feature welded rail (again, because of localized commercial agricultural traffic), much of the trackage south of there down into Ventura County still uses "stick" rail -- 39' sections (resulting in the "clacking" noise historically made by trains in service); it requires much more in the way of maintenance -- although considered sufficiently heavy-duty and safe enough to support Amtrak passenger service.  Thus, if UP has the option to do so, long-distance north-south freight traffic is routed over the main Valley line.

Why 39' rail lengths? -- it's so they can fit in a standard 40' open-top gondola car!     
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kkt

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Thanks for the info, Sparker!
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Max Rockatansky

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Sparker, given that the line on the Metz has a tunnel from 1923...any idea where the rails ran prior to it being built?  I would speculate that flooding had have been an issue when the line was opened through the area in the late 1880s.  Were the rails a lot closer to the Salinas River?  Looked to me that the tunnel was there to maintain a relatively high grade above the river.

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It used to do a sharp curve around the hill; I think the grade is still visible.
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Max Rockatansky

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It used to do a sharp curve around the hill; I think the grade is still visible.

You're right, it's lapping the hell out of the river bed too on that grade on the hillside:

https://www.google.com/maps/@36.319933,-121.1819282,276m/data=!3m1!1e3?hl=en

It's not very visible from Metz Road on the south end of the tunnel looking at my picture....it's barely apparent on the far left in the dirt patch left of the tunnel:



Too bad I couldn't find a place to pull over on the north end, I might have been able to see the old grade. 
« Last Edit: November 30, 2016, 10:59:36 PM by Max Rockatansky »
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sparker

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The old SP had some rather nasty experiences with roadbeds being wiped out by flooding in other areas such as Tehachapi Creek in the Woodford area between Tehachapi and Caliente and the Sacramento River canyon south of Dunsmuir.  Not surprising that back in 1923 they elected to drill straight through the Metz escarpment rather than try to maintain the curving ledge above the Salinas River after flood damage -- the "cutoff" tunnel also allowed higher speeds along that stretch -- my Amtrak experiences on this trackage always had the train maintaining maximum track speed in that area.  SP's LA to SF premier "Daylight" service used the Coast Route, so maintaining speed when feasible (a relatively simple matter in the Salinas Valley but always problematic in the more mountainous portions of the route) allowed a "breakfast-time" departure and a "dinnertime" arrival in both directions; the Daylight service always had the trains (#98 southbound and #99 northbound) meeting at the San Luis Obispo depot.  Because of the later SB schedule of the current Amtrak service, the meeting location is usually north of SLO these days; with Amtrak's usual (and often necessary) penchant for flexibility, the meeting place can be anywhere from the Cuesta grade north to King City, depending upon any delays to the Seattle-originating southbound train.
« Last Edit: December 01, 2016, 04:18:00 AM by sparker »
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Max R: "According to Cahighways.org the western part of what would become CA 146 was LRN 2 from 1933 until it was reassigned LRN 120 in 1935."

Where do I say this on my site? On the Route 146 page, I only mention LRN 120, and on the LRN 2 portion of the Route 2 page, I make no mention of Route 146.

Otherwise, this discussed led to some updates on Route 25, Route 146, and LRN 120. Again, expect to see them around the 31st.
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Max Rockatansky

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Max R: "According to Cahighways.org the western part of what would become CA 146 was LRN 2 from 1933 until it was reassigned LRN 120 in 1935."

Where do I say this on my site? On the Route 146 page, I only mention LRN 120, and on the LRN 2 portion of the Route 2 page, I make no mention of Route 146.

Otherwise, this discussed led to some updates on Route 25, Route 146, and LRN 120. Again, expect to see them around the 31st.

Give me a little bit of time today and look up the stuff I was referencing.  I might have crossed up a map I was reading with your site on the LRN 2, I'm fairly certain that there was a map showing two LRNs on what became CA 146.  If I messed something up I'll go back and correct.

Edit:  I believe that I figured out what I was looking at and corrected the error above, sorry for the confusion.
« Last Edit: December 29, 2016, 01:49:03 PM by Max Rockatansky »
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sparker

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Max R: "According to Cahighways.org the western part of what would become CA 146 was LRN 2 from 1933 until it was reassigned LRN 120 in 1935."

Since the westernmost mile or so of CA 146 multiplexes with the Soledad business loop of US 101, that short portion would have been at one time a segment of LRN 2; prior to the US 101 freeway's construction, LRN 120 would have diverged from that route at the point where present-day 146 turns away from the loop in central Soledad.  That probably accounts for any confusion.  No harm; no foul! 
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As noted above, I couldn't find what Max wrote on my site, either for Route 146, LRN 2, or LRN 120. I rediscovered this when looking to see if I needed to capture what Sparker wrote for my site.
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Max Rockatansky

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Which is what I'm fairly certain what I was looking at.  My own personal notes that I keep with the hard copy of my photo albums were a little more clear and only said that a tiny portion of West CA 146 was created out of a small portion of the original US 101 alignment (LRN 2) in Soledad but it doesn't specify dates in that regard.  How I twisted that all up while writing this thread is beyond me.

Something that did catch my eye running through my January 2016 album of East Pinnacles was that I don't recall seeing a "146 End" marker like the Western half of the highway at the Park Boundary.  I didn't see one on the East 146 either but that simply could be that it is due to west 146 being completely in Monterey County and the East is in San Benito County....but still both in are Caltrans District 5.  Next time I'm out that I'd like to have a look for mileage post markers to see if that clarifies the East 146 endpoint.

Edit:  146 East seems to be much more clearly evident when Pinnacles was a National Monument:



Compared to the current boundaries of Pinnacles National Park:



It would seem that when Pinnacles became a National Park that the Pinnacles Wilderness Area was annexed.  That would seem to implicate that at least when the Monument existed that the end of 146 East truly was at the Old Pinnacles Trailhead.  So given that I've never seen any relinquishment history on 146 aside from Soledad wouldn't seem to imply that Caltrans still maintains the entire roadway on the east side of Pinnacles National Park?  Not that is anything too unique given CA 190 clearly exists within Death Valley National Park, CA 245 and CA 180 in the Giant Sequoia National Monument, and CA 180 arguably does within the Grant Grant Grove Section of Kings Canyon National Park.


Edit again:  Incidentally since I brought up the topic of 180 in Grant Grove my primary arguments for the highway technically existing is several fold.  First there is no clarification that states that Grant Grove in Kings Canyon National Park "isn't" part of CA 180 but rather it seems to be defined as just one of the sections:

http://www.cahighways.org/177-184.html

Second the signage for CA 180 in Grant Grove clearly has Caltrans sourced shields much like Death Valley has with CA 190:




The first sign can be found here on the GSV:

https://www.google.com/maps/@36.7213221,-118.9703298,3a,75y,180h,77.99t/data=!3m6!1e1!3m4!1sl-NFxAme7t7RdlmF31FUWQ!2e0!7i13312!8i6656?hl=en

Followed by the eastbound 180 directly after the intersection with the Generals Highway:

https://www.google.com/maps/@36.7243888,-118.9552817,3a,75y,90t/data=!3m6!1e1!3m4!1sCtXGA5G1OkLkIzP4ufTdKA!2e0!7i13312!8i6656?hl=en

As opposed to what you might see in Yosemite with the implied CA 120 being strange Park Service sourced over Tioga Road/Big Oak Flat Road:



However there is indication even prior to 1940 when General Grant National Park was around that the Park Service maintained the road:

1938

http://www.davidrumsey.com/luna/servlet/detail/RUMSEY~8~1~239588~5511892:Road-Map-of-the-State-of-California?sort=Pub_List_No_InitialSort%2CPub_Date%2CPub_List_No%2CSeries_No&qvq=q:caltrans;sort:Pub_List_No_InitialSort%2CPub_Date%2CPub_List_No%2CSeries_No;lc:RUMSEY~8~1&mi=69&trs=86

But then again other maps from the 30s indicate otherwise:

http://archive.org/stream/californiahighwa193436calirich#page/n275/mode/2up

The modern park map is literally no help:

« Last Edit: January 01, 2017, 04:19:14 PM by Max Rockatansky »
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Max Rockatansky

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CA 146 West
« Reply #23 on: July 15, 2017, 11:31:56 AM »

Went to the west Pinnacles yesterday.  I noticed there was a fresh pavement job by Caltrans from Metz Road/G15 to the West Pinnacles entrance.  That being the case I did a photo clinch album from the park gate to US 101 in Soledad, I'll update in Road Blog style later but the album is here:

https://flic.kr/s/aHsm1aNPXh

Max Rockatansky

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Before I get started on the Road Blog deal I'll address the Photobucket deal not allowing pictures on third party sites.  All the previous linked photos in this thread can be found in this album:

https://flic.kr/s/aHskPozVfv

As for CA 146 East I broke that segment down in this thread:

http://www.aaroads.com/forum/index.php?topic=20442.0



SO!....with all that in mind I'll start from the Pinnacles National Park gate which actually is operated automatically.  On the way up to Pinnacles there was a VMS stating that 146 east of Metz Road was closed nightly 9 PM to 6 AM which should have ended yesterday:

IMG_2352 by Max Rockatansky, on Flickr

IMG_2353 by Max Rockatansky, on Flickr

The westbound start of 146 West has a reassurance shield:

IMG_2354 by Max Rockatansky, on Flickr

With a END shield at the terminus looking the other way:

IMG_2355 by Max Rockatansky, on Flickr

Of course the first four mile or so west to Soledad on CA 146 are single lane and narrow:

IMG_2356 by Max Rockatansky, on Flickr

IMG_2357 by Max Rockatansky, on Flickr

Of course Stonewall Canyon Road is the where the original alignment of LRN 120 meets modern CA 146 with the Inn at the Pinnacles being the big road marker:

IMG_2358 by Max Rockatansky, on Flickr

IMG_2359 by Max Rockatansky, on Flickr

With a look back:

IMG_2359A by Max Rockatansky, on Flickr

Kind of silly there is a "Single Lane" sign just south of Stonewall Canyon Road:

IMG_2360 by Max Rockatansky, on Flickr

 


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