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Gauging interest in a Fresno area meet

Started by Max Rockatansky, October 16, 2022, 05:49:38 PM

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Max Rockatansky

A couple members of the road community have asked me if I'd be interested in hosting a Fresno area road meet.  Given my meet ups out west tend to happen sporadically I was curious if this is something the wider community would want?  Below is some of the possible ideas I'd have for two day road meet:

-  Exploring what's left of US 99 around Fresno County.  At the moment there is quite a bit left worth seeing, but there would be less as time goes on because of the High Speed Rail taking over much of north Golden State Boulevard and Railroad Avenue. 
-  A driving loop east from Fresno through Kings Canyon/Sequoia National Park via CA 180, the Generals Highway, CA 198 and CA 99.  This can include CA 180 in Kings Canyon and Tenmile Creek Road if said hypothetical road meet was to happen in May or after.
-  A driving loop of Big Sur via CA 41, CA 46, CA 1, CA 156, Crazy Horse Canyon Road, old US 101 on the San Juan Grade, CA 156, CA 152 and CA 99.  This would be a massive driving day but a worthwhile one at about 8-10 hours. 
-  A driving loop of Ebbetts Pass (CA 4), Monitor Pass (CA 89) and Sonora Pass (CA 108) after all three open for the season.  Again this would be a long driving day, typically I've been able to complete the loop in 9-10 hours. 

I'm game for a meet even it is small, it would likely need to take place in late May-June or early September through Mid-October to avoid closures and weather issues. 

My thought is that the Day 1 stuff could start at my house.  Fresno isn't too big, I'm not far from the US 99 stuff and I do have a yard full of highway signs which probably would be of interest.


That sounds interesting.  I don't think there've been many meets in California, yet the state has so much to offer roadgeek-wise.

Count me interested.
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A meet drive should last about 5 hours. Big Sur and Ebbetts Pass should be friend things, not meets. The first two would work as meets.

A.J. Bertin

I would be very interested, but it's looking like my travel calendar for 2023 is already starting to fill up... so it's highly unlikely that I'd be able to attend this meet if it's held in '23.  Sounds fun, though!  There's a lot of California that I haven't been able to explore yet.
-A.J. from Michigan


I'd be a definite maybe for a Fresno meet given how close I am. My attendance would depend on a ton of other factors.

The 99 option is probably best for a "traditional" meet and would be something I'd be interested in attending. Throw in any other old alignments/historic relics and you have a classic meet tour (3-5 hours including stops). The others I see running into time issues given typical meet shenanigans.

Please note: All posts represent my personal opinions and do not represent those of my employer or any of its partner agencies.

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Max Rockatansky

Based the feedback I've received so far it looks like early May would be the ideal time to do a meet for Fresno.  My thought would be to hold said Fresno prospective Fresno Meet on May 6th and May 7th.  The desired 3 to 5 hour driving window for meets can be met fairly easily. 

This is what I was considering as a Day 1 itinerary:

Start the Meeting out at the In-n-Out Burger at 10 AM (the secret opening time) off of Jensen Avenue and Golden State Boulevard (Old US 99):

Address:  2657 S 2nd St, Fresno, CA 93706

I think this would be a solid starting point given it is right off two freeways (CA 99 and CA 41) and has a bunch of hotel options.  There are also other food options and even a nearby taco truck catered my wedding if anyone is inclined to try something besides In-n-Out.  Either way the tour would depart at 11 AM and begin mostly Old US 99 centric:

Segment 1:  The original alignment of US 99 on Railroad Avenue approaching downtown Fresno.  This will provide views of vintage streetlamps, the Van Ness Arch and the now blocked old transition of US 99 onto Cherry Avenue.  All of these items will likely be fully razed to make way for the HSR.

Segment 2:  A drive down Broadway (detour via Van Ness and Cherry Avenue) to where former US 99 is now bisected by Chukchansi Park.  There is a vintage Rio Grande gas station at the corner of Cherry and Los Angeles which would be a brief stop.

Segment 3:  A detour down Inyo Street, Fulton Street and Tuolumne Street back to Broadway.  This would take the tour down the recently restored Fulton Street which essentially the Main Street of Fresno.  Fulton Street was for several decades converted to a pedestrian mall, the restoration as a roadway is done pretty well.

Segment 4:  A drive on Old US 99 via Broadway, Divsadaro Street, H Street and Belmont Avenue to the Belmont Subway and Belmont Traffic Circle.  The Belmont Traffic Circle was the first Traffic Circle constructed in California and was opened during 1932. 

Segment 5:  A drive on the two segments of North Golden State Boulevard (former US 99) bridged by modern CA 99 to Weber Avenue in Herndon.  Weber Avenue is the original pre-1929 alignment of US 99 and is still largely paved in Portland Cement.  As the tour segment rejoins North Golden State Boulevard it will pass by the San Joaquin River Viaduct of the HSR.  The bridge used by CA 99 over the San Joaquin River into Madera County was constructed during 1929 as part of US 99 and been widened to accommodate freeway traffic.  If possible, the tour will stop at Avenue 7 to see the now partially razed transition of pre-1929 US 99 from what is now Road 33 from Herndon.

Segment 6:  A drive north on CA 99 towards Avenue 12 in Madera to see the Palm & Pine in the freeway median.  The Palm & Pine once denoted the midway point of US 99 in California.  The pine tree is actually a cedar tree, unfortunately there is nowhere to stop. 

Segment 7:  A drive east on Avenue 12 to modern CA 41.  From Exit 138 the tour can access the 1941 Lanes Bridge which was a major realignment of CA 41 after the original Lanes Bridge was destroyed by a truck crash.  The Lanes Bridge is still maintained as part of CA 41 even though it is now a freeway frontage. 

Segment 8:  A drive towards Lanes Road and the site of the original alignment of CA 41 on the 1889 Lanes Bridge at the San Joaquin River.  Much of the original alignment of CA 41 has been repurposed as the Lewis S Eaton Trail.

Segment 9:  A drive down old CA 41 on Blackstone Avenue towards the 1914 Wishon Avenue Underpass.  The Wishon Avenue Underpass was originally part of a Fresno Traction Streetcar Line which was eventually converted to road usage.

Segment 10:  A drive back into downtown Fresno to see the Stanislaus Street and Tuolumne Street overpasses over the Union Pacific Railroad.  These overpasses were once part of the alignments of CA 41 and CA 180 in down Fresno.

Segment 11:  A return to South Golden State Boulevard via modern CA 99 Exit 132A.  South Golden State Boulevard contains a short locally maintained freeway segment which ends at Church Avenue.  Golden State Boulevard continues south through the communities of Malaga, Fowler and Selma before becoming Simpson Street in Kingsburg.  There are several notable items to see on South Golden State Boulevard such as the Fowler Rail Depot, the neon Fowler Sign, the original alignment of US 99 in Fowler on 8th Street, the original alignment of US 99 on Front Street in Selma and the Kingsburg Train Depot. 

I would recommend seeing the Fowler Sign and Van Ness Arch at night given both are classic neon signs.  I figure a decent post-tour even would be a stop at my house for the parties interested in seeing the couple hundred highway signs I have in my yard and the library of California Highways & Public Works. 

Regarding Day 2 my thought would be to head east from Fresno towards Grant Grove of Kings Canyon National Park. 

My thought is to have a morning breakfast meet up at the Yosemite Falls Cafe in Clovis off of CA 168 and Ashlan Avenue.  I figure the tour could head to Kings Canyon and Sequoia National Parks as a group then split off so everyone could keep up their own pace.  My list of recommended items to see in Kings Canyon/Sequoia National Parks would be as follows:

-  Grant Grove.
-  Hume Lake Dam (one of the first arch concrete dams constructed) and overlook of the Kings Canyon Highway (CA 180).
-  The entirety of the Generals Highway (one of the finest NPS driving roads).
-  The General Sherman Tree in the Giant Forest.
-  The Auto Log, Tunnel Log and Moro Rock on Crescent Meadows Road. 
-  The Pumpkin Hollow Bridge on CA 198 departing the southern terminus of Generals Highway in Three Rivers (this is a seriously beautiful bridge over Kaweah River).
-  Old CA 198 at the Slide Rock Recreation Area. 
-  The vintage gas stations on CA 198 in Lemon Cove.

I'm open to optional days on Friday before the meet and Monday after.  Basically, if some of you guys are up for real back roads, anything I listed the original post or something like Yosemite (I don't think reservations will be a thing by then?) I'm pretty much game for anything. 


I'm interested as well. We were in Sequoia and Kings Canyon a "little while ago", but when I checked dates on my photos, that was 2009. The roadgeeking part of that was limited to highway signs along 198 and other roads, so Max's itinerary has a lot of interesting new sights in any case.
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Max Rockatansky

There has about ten people who have expressed interest in a Fresno meet since I posted this thread.  I figure that's enough to post something official.  When I get an opportunity tonight I'll post a new thread with the meat of Reply 5 on this board. 


Sounds interesting. It's getting hot in PS by May 1 so a drive even to the Central Valley would be interesting, especially as I've never been to Fresno.

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