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Fresno Area Road Meet (May 6-7, 2023)

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Max Rockatansky:
Given there has been enough interest expressed on the forum and elsewhere for a Fresno Area Road Meet I'm going to go ahead and make it official.  The Fresno Area Road Meet will take place on May 6-7, 2023.  Please reply to this thread if you are interested in this meet or are planning to attend. 

Finalized itinerary:


   Welcome to the 2023 Fresno Area Road Meet.  At a population of 542,107 residents the city of Fresno is the largest city in San Joaquin Valley and fifth largest in California.  Fresno is historically tied to the corridor of US Route 99 which is preserved today in California State Route 99 consisting of the longest non-Interstate freeway corridor in the country.  Day 1 of this tour will be centered on the Fresno area.  An emphasis has been placed on exploring the older corridors of US Route 99, many which will be razed soon to make way for the High Speed Rail.  Day 2 of the tour will consist of an at-your own pace tour of the Generals Highway which links Kings Canyon National Park to Sequoia National Park via a ridge of the Sierra Nevada Mountains.   
Day 1 Tour

The Day 1 Tour meetup location is the In-n-Out Burger off of Jensen Avenue at 2657 S 2nd Street, Fresno, CA.  The tour meetup will begin at 10 AM (the unposted opening time for In-n-Out Burger) and will depart at 11 AM.

Segment 1 Description:  The original alignment of US Route 99 followed Railroad Avenue northbound into Fresno where it would have crossed the Southern Pacific Railroad and Santa Fe Railroad via an at-grade crossing to the Cherry Avenue.  During the early 1930s US Route 99 was partially shifted off of Railroad Avenue onto a wider approach to the Cherry Avenue rail crossing via Church Avenue and D Street.  Items of interest on Segment 1 include:
-   The current Van Ness Arch can be seen at the intersection of Railroad Avenue and Van Ness Avenue.  The Van Ness Arch traditionally has served as the entrance to downtown Fresno.  The current Van Ness Arch was erected during 1929 and has an unclear future due to High Speed Rail construction.
-   At the north end of Railroad Avenue the Cherry Avenue rail crossing can be seen.  Cherry Avenue no longer is continuous and access is barricaded. 
Segment 1 Map Link:
2657 S 2nd St, Fresno, CA 93706 to 2100 S Railroad Ave, Fresno, CA 93721 - Google Maps

Segment 2 Description:  The next leg of the tour backtracks through the Van Ness Arch and follows the alignment of US Route 99 via Cherry Avenue and Broadway to the southern flank of Chukchansi Park.  Chukchansi Park severed the original alignment of US Route 99 on Broadway in downtown Fresno.  Items of interest on Segment 2 include:
-   At the corner of Cherry Avenue and Broadway there is an interesting site which contains the wreckage of two Fresno Traction Company streetcars.   In 1901 the three streetcar companies in Fresno consolidated and began operating electric lines beginning in 1903 as the Fresno Traction Company.  The Fresno Traction Company operated electric street car service until 1939 when the lines were converted to bus service. 
-   A short detour north of Broadway on Cherry Avenue to Los Angeles Street will take you to a Rio Grande Station constructed during 1938.
-   Broadway continues under the California State Route 41 freeway where the 1950 Monterey Street Overhead realignment of US Route 99 would have met it.  The Monterey Street Overhead has since been razed and has been replaced by the CA 41 freeway.
-   In the 1930s at the intersection of Broadway and Ventura Avenue, US Route 99 would have picked up CA 180 which multiplexed it to Fresno Street.  Broadway Street continued through downtown Fresno and would have picked up CA 41 from Fresno Street to Stanislaus Street.  Broadway can no longer can used as a through route between Inyo Street and Stanislaus Street as it has been sectioned up for downtown plazas and partially razed to make way for Chukchansi Park.   Chukchansi Park was completed in 2002 and was intended to be part of a revitalization project of downtown Fresno.
Segment 2 Map Link:
2100 S Railroad Ave, Fresno, CA 93721 to 798 Broadway St, Fresno, CA 93721 - Google Maps

Segment 3 Description:   Segment 3 will detour around the gap on Broadway along Fulton Street and back to the former alignment of US Route 99 towards the Belmont Traffic Circle via Broadway, Divisadero Street, H Street and Belmont Avenue.  Items of interest along Segment 3 include:
-   Fulton Street is historically considered to be Fresno’s main street.  Fulton Street was converted into a pedestrian mall during 1964 and reopened to vehicular traffic during 2017.
-   The Belmont Subway is where US Route 99 crossed under the Southern Pacific Railroad.  If you look closely a stencil directing traffic onto northbound US Route 99 can still be observed.  The Belmont Subway is an endangered structure slated to be razed during construction of the High Speed Rail.
-   The Belmont Traffic Circle was the first such structure in California having been constructed during 1932.  The fate of the Belmont Traffic Circle is unclear given it may be razed during construction of the High Speed Rail.
Segment 3 Map Link:
798 Broadway Street, Fresno, CA to 498 N Wesley Ave, Fresno, CA 93728 - Google Maps

Segment 4 Description:   Segment 4 will follow the former alignment of US Route 99 on North Golden State Boulevard, the northbound lanes of CA 99 and back to a discontinuous segment North Golden State Boulevard towards Herndon Avenue.  The tour will detour to the original alignment of US Route 99 at Herndon siding via Herndon Avenue and Weber Avenue.  Items of interest along Segment 4 include:
-   The segment of North Golden State Boulevard immediately north of Belmont Traffic Circle is aligned past the eastern extent of Roeding Park.  Roeding Park is one of the largest urban parks in the Fresno area and is home to Fresno Chaffee Zoo.
-   The alignment of CA 99 between the discontinuous segments of North Golden State Boulevard was recently moved by Caltrans to make way for the High Speed Rail grade.  The grade of the High Speed Rail can be observed to the right of the northbound lanes of CA 99.
-   North Golden State Boulevard between Ashlan Avenue and Herndon Avenue is fated to be razed by construction of the High Speed Rail.  A new right-of-way for North Golden State Boulevard can be observed to the west of the current road alignment.  When this segment of North Golden State Boulevard is razed, much of the original alignment of US Route 99 in Fresno will be lost.
-   Originally US Route 99 crossed the San Joaquin River at Herndon siding.  This crossing required US Route 99 pass over the Southern Pacific Railroad at-grade twice.  The at-grade crossing can still be partially found if you look where North Golden State Boulevard aims towards Weber Avenue behind the Target store.
-   Weber Avenue north of Herndon Avenue carries the original alignment of US Route 99 towards the San Joaquin River.  The asphalt surface quickly gives way to vintage Portland Cement along Weber Avenue.  Weber Avenue ends at the foot of the San Joaquin River where the 1903 Herndon Bridge was located.  US Route 99 was realigned during 1929 onto the bridge which now carries northbound CA 99 over the San Joaquin River. 
Segment 4 Map Link:
498 N Wesley Ave, Fresno, CA 93728 to 7648 N Weber Ave, Fresno, CA 93722 - Google Maps

Segment 5 Description:  Segment 5 begins with a return to North Golden State Boulevard and to CA 99 northbound alongside the San Joaquin River Viaduct of the High Speed Rail.  The tour will follow northbound CA 99 over the San Joaquin River via the 1929 era bridge (once part of US Route 99) towards the Midway Palm & Pine between Avenue 9 and Avenue 12.  From CA 99 Exit 151 the tour will follow Avenue 12 east, CA 41 north and Road 145 east to Friant Dam.  Items of interest along Segment 5 include:
-   The San Joaquin River Viaduct is a component of the first segment of the High Speed Rail being constructed in San Joaquin Valley.  The San Joaquin River Viaduct is easily observed from North Golden State Boulevard and the 1929 bridge carrying CA 99 over the San Joaquin River.
-   An abandoned segment of former US Route 99 can be easily observed pulling over at the off-ramp for Avenue 7 at Exit 144.
-   The Midway Palm & Pine can be observed in the median of CA 99 between Avenue 9 and Avenue 12.  It is unknown who planted the Palm & Pine but they are thought to symbolically represent the transition from Southern California to Northern California.  If you look closely the pine is actually a cedar tree.
-   Friant Dam was completed during 1942 and impounds the San Joaquin River to form Millerton Lake.  Millerton was the original Fresno County seat which was plotted near Fort Miller along the San Joaquin River.  Millerton was a major way-point along the 1850s era highway known as the Stockton-Los Angeles Road.  As development of San Joaquin Valley began following the construction of the Southern Pacific Railroad the population of Millerton began to decline.  During the 1870s Millerton lost the Fresno County seat to Fresno.  The Millerton Courthouse was preserved and can be visited above Friant Dam.
-   Downstream from Friant Dam the ruins of the 1906 North Fork Bridge can be observed in the San Joaquin River.  Following the destruction of the 1889 Lanes Bridge, the 1906 North Fork Bridge was pressed into duty and temporary CA 41 (until 1941).  The North Fork Bridge was destroyed by flooding during 1951 despite Friant Dam being present. 
Segment 5 Map Link:
7648 N Weber Ave, Fresno, CA 93722 to Friant Dam, Friant, CA - Google Maps

Segment 6 Description:  The Day 1 tour will end with a return to South Golden State Boulevard via Friant Road, the CA 41 freeway and Jensen Avenue.  The tour will continue south into the city of Fowler via South Golden State Boulevard to the vintage neon Fowler Sign which once graced US Route 99.  South Golden State Boulevard continues as an expressway through the cities of Selma and Kingsburg to the Kings River.  South Golden State Boulevard is an excellent corridor to explore you desire to see an additional portion of US Route 99.  Items of interest along Segment 6 include:
-   Friant Road is a Fresno County maintained expressway which follows the canyon cut by the San Joaquin River.  If desired the site of the 1889 Lanes Bridge and original alignment of CA 41 can be found by following Lanes Road via detour from Friant Road to the San Joaquin River.
-   The CA 41 freeway is the busiest limited access highway in Fresno with a peak AADT approaching 150,000 vehicles.  The skyline of downtown Fresno can be observed along CA 41 approaching the CA 99 interchange.
-   South Golden State Boulevard is one of the longest intact surface segments of former US Route 99.  Despite no longer being state maintained South Golden State Boulevard offers an expressway grade detour which can be fun to explore and offers a functional escape to traffic backups on CA 99. 
-   At Cedar Avenue another viaduct belonging to the High Speed Rail can be seen in the process of construction.  South of Fresno much of the alignment of the High Speed Rail follows that of the Santa Fe Railroad towards Bakersfield.
-   A detour onto north Clovis Avenue will take you to the relocated 1882 Fowler Railroad Depot building.  The 1882 Fowler Depot was moved from South Golden Boulevard and Merced Street in downtown Fowler to where it is presently located during the 1970s.
-   The Fowler Sign as noted above is a vintage neon sign which dates back to the heyday of US Route 99.

Segment 6 Map Link:
 Friant Dam, Friant Dam, Friant, CA to 6754 Golden State Blvd, Fowler, CA 93625 - Google Maps

Day 2 Tour (Cancelled due to weather, see reply #36)

The Day 2 Tour meetup location is the Yosemite Falls Café at 4020 N. Cedar Avenue, Fresno, CA at 8 AM.  Following breakfast the tour will begin with an eastward drive on CA 180 (the Kings Canyon Highway) to Grant Grove of Kings Canyon National Park.  The Day 2 will meet at Grant Grove to take photos at the General Sherman Tree (the second largest tree in the world) before breaking away to begin an at-your-own pace tour of the Generals Highway.
Map Link for Yosemite Falls to Grant Grove:
Yosemite Falls Café to Grant Grove, CA - Google Maps
The Generals Highway is an approximately 46 Mile National Park Highway.  The Generals Highway connects the Grant Grove annex of Kings Canyon National Park south to the Foothills Entrance of Sequoia National Park at the eastern terminus of California State Route 198 in Three Rivers.  The Generals Highway lies entirely within Tulare County and crosses through portions of the Giant Sequoia National Monument within Sequoia National Forest.


A link describing the southbound journey on Generals Highway to CA 198 can be found on Gribblenation:
The Generals Highway; connecting Kings Canyon National Park and Sequoia National Park (
My personal recommendations for places to visit along the Generals Highway include:
-   Taking a detour to Hume Lake to overlook CA 180 in Kings Canyon and Hume Lake Dam.  Hume Lake Dam likely is the first arch concrete dam constructed and was where the Sanger Log Flume once began.
-   The Redwood Mountain Vista.
-   The Kings Canyon Overlook if not the short Buena Vista Peak Trail
-   The Clover Creek Bridge (the Gribblenation blog cover photo).
-   The General Sherman Tree of the Giant Forest.
-   If open, a detour on Crescent Meadows Road to Moro Rock and the Tunnel Log.
-   The Tunnel Rock which happens to be a former alignment of the Generals Highway.
-   The Pumpkin Hollow Bridge as CA 198 begins near the Kaweah River. 

Tentatively interested. Depends on how crazy work is and the guest list. Luckily for me, I'm close enough to decide that week if it comes to that.

I missed your initial thread but decided to "surf" thru the forums today. I be interested as well, would likely plan to attend one or two months out

A.J. Bertin:
I won't be able to attend, but I'm delighted to see that some areas in the western United States are starting to be represented at road meets!

If I only did not have other 2023 plans already....


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