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Why I-5's most popular stop is now a ghost town

Started by ZLoth, May 13, 2024, 11:43:26 AM

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ZLoth

From SF Gate:

Why I-5's most popular stop is now a ghost town
'Did something happen?'
QuoteDozens of Tesla superchargers stand sentry, ready for an electronic vehicle to give life to. Across the way, a solitary In-N-Out worker walks across the vast, empty parking lot with a single bag of trash. He pauses at the dumpster, swings his arm back and heaves the black object into the air. It lands in the bin and makes an echoey thud. 

The worker turns back toward the drive-thru lane. It's deserted. Nearby, a woman walks a pair of little dogs into a designated dog park area in front of Bravo Farms. The parking lot is vacant but for a white wrapper cartwheeling around in the midday breeze. She observes the expanse of the Central Valley before her and snaps a picture of it with her phone.

"Nobody is here," Lori Butcher, a Washington resident traveling south to LA to visit family and friends, told SFGATE. "I'm surprised." She noted that the buzzy, and often overcrowded, rest stop of Kettleman City was operating at well under capacity.
FULL ARTICLE HERE
Don't Drive Distrac... SQUIRREL!


hotdogPi

A traffic closure has absolutely nothing do to with "California is dying".
Clinched

Traveled, plus
US 1A, 13, 44, 50, 302
MA 22, 35, 40, 107, 109, 126, 141, 159
ME 22, 25, 26, 77, 100
NH 27, 111A(E); CA 133; NY 366; GA 42, 140; FL A1A, 7; CT 32; VT 2A, 5A; PA 3, 51, 60, QC 162, 165, 263; 🇬🇧A100, A3211, A3213, A3215, A4222; 🇫🇷95 D316

Lowest untraveled: 36

Max Rockatansky

Isn't helped that 41 is closed between Kettleman and Stratford (no doubt the main cause).  I'm okay with Kettleman being knocked down a peg, all the stations there charge $1.50-$2.00 over the rest of the Central Valley for gas.  The new EZ Trip up on 269 got popular even for the Kings River Bridge replacement on 41.

bing101

Kettleman City well let's hope for the best as the gas stop town has to deal with the closure of CA-41. Yes its on the the section I-5 halfway from Sacramento and Los Angeles as the article states. Also interesting to see an entire parking lot designated for Tesla charging stations.

bing101

#4
Quote from: hotdogPi on May 13, 2024, 12:12:06 PMA traffic closure has absolutely nothing do to with "California is dying".
:clap: :bigass:

Yes anytime that is said it's about Elon Musk or his allies hogging the spotlight.


Max Rockatansky

#5
Quote from: bing101 on May 13, 2024, 04:07:13 PMKettleman City well let's hope for the best as the gas stop town has to deal with the closure of CA-41. Yes its on the the section I-5 halfway from Sacramento and Los Angeles as the article states. Also interesting to see an entire parking lot designated for Tesla charging stations.

Harris Ranch off I-5 on 198 has a huge bank of EV chargers.  EZ Trip off 269 as I already mentioned has by far the lowest gas prices in the area.  Yeah sure, 41 being closed is the primary problem but Kettleman also has actual competition drawing people from I-5. There is only so much INO and Bravo Farms can do when Kettleman is generally just price gouge central.

Quick aside about Kettleman, gas is about a dollar a gallon cheaper one mile north from I-5 along 41.  That isn't likely to attract many people from I-5 but if you regularly travel on 41 the presence of the other options is very apparent.

Max Rockatansky

At present moment here are the 87 octane prices is the Kettleman City area on Gas Buddy:

Off 41

Shell:  $5.77
Chevron:  $5.78

Off 269

EZ Trip:  $4.99 (listed cash price)

Until recently the Kettleman Stations were all charging well over $6 for 87.  When I passed through last year the prices were about $6.70 in Kettleman and about $4.60-$4.80 in Lemoore.

jeffandnicole

Frankly, I'm a bit confused by the article.  I'm used to businesses saying that construction has caused a drop-off in traffic and business and can't wait for the construction to end.  In this article, they're detailing empty lots and stores, yet the story almost paints a positive light on the businesses.

Max Rockatansky

I took it as a fluff piece when I read it yesterday on the SF Gate Facebook page.

Quick aside about Bravo Farms, I can't speak for the Kettleman location but the one in Traver has an antique store with fair prices on highway signs.  I usually stop to browse whenever I'm passing through on 99. I bought my 145 and 269 shields from there.

ZLoth

Quote from: hotdogPi on May 13, 2024, 12:12:06 PMA traffic closure has absolutely nothing do to with "California is dying".

Just as a story that I classify as interesting.

Quote from: Max Rockatansky on May 13, 2024, 12:56:23 PMI'm okay with Kettleman being knocked down a peg, all the stations there charge $1.50-$2.00 over the rest of the Central Valley for gas.  The new EZ Trip up on 269 got popular even for the Kings River Bridge replacement on 41.

GasBuddy is a invaluable travel tool. Also, if you fail to plan, you pay the price.

Don't Drive Distrac... SQUIRREL!

brad2971

#10
Quote from: Max Rockatansky on May 13, 2024, 04:39:05 PMAt present moment here are the 87 octane prices is the Kettleman City area on Gas Buddy:

Off 41

Shell:  $5.77
Chevron:  $5.78

Off 269

EZ Trip:  $4.99 (listed cash price)

Until recently the Kettleman Stations were all charging well over $6 for 87.  When I passed through last year the prices were about $6.70 in Kettleman and about $4.60-$4.80 in Lemoore.

And just 30 miles down I-5 at Lost Hills, prices are around $.70/gal cheaper: https://www.autoblog.com/lost+hills-ca-gas-prices/

Also, can Caltrans D6 give any reason why SR 269 can't be used as a detour? https://dot.ca.gov/caltrans-near-me/district-6/district-6-projects/06-0v110


Max Rockatansky

#11
Fair question, I've asked D6 several times on social media platforms and didn't get an answer.  I've been using Avenal Cutoff Road to get to CA 269 myself.  Bravo Farms put up signs directing traffic back to Kettleman City following Avenal Cutoff, 30th Avenue and Quail Avenue.

At the end of the day there are multiple viable detours that don't require following 198 all the way west from 41 to I-5 at Harris Ranch.  I can't fathom what the rational was with the posted detour.  The posted detour route only has a handful of signs and is pretty useless for navigation.

SeriesE

I only get off at that exit southbound because the Coalinga-Avenal rest area was closed to use the restroom, and it used to be so crowded that it's hard to find a parking spot.

(My car is fuel efficient enough with a decent sized tank that I can drive 450+ miles without refueling so I never had to get gas in the middle)

cl94

I have no idea why the detour doesn't use 269. Still a state highway, 11 miles shorter. Only thing I can think of is that they didn't want to send people through Huron.

And that EZ Trip at 5/269 (damn you fine?) is awesome. Busy AF, but clean restrooms and a decent amount of parking.
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

The strange thing is that EZ Trip bought an old building and rebadged it.  The only station had prices more in line with Kettleman and was always slow. EZ Trip has mostly been constructing new buildings as of late. 

ClassicHasClass

Quote from: Max Rockatansky on May 13, 2024, 05:09:35 PMQuick aside about Bravo Farms, I can't speak for the Kettleman location but the one in Traver has an antique store with fair prices on highway signs. 

Where? I know they used to. Where did they move them to?

I like the Fastrip in Delano, personally. That's usually my last gas stop when heading into So Cal.

Max Rockatansky

Quote from: ClassicHasClass on May 15, 2024, 09:44:46 PM
Quote from: Max Rockatansky on May 13, 2024, 05:09:35 PMQuick aside about Bravo Farms, I can't speak for the Kettleman location but the one in Traver has an antique store with fair prices on highway signs.

Just north of the regular gift shop:
Quote from: ClassicHasClass on May 15, 2024, 09:44:46 PM
Quote from: Max Rockatansky on May 13, 2024, 05:09:35 PMQuick aside about Bravo Farms, I can't speak for the Kettleman location but the one in Traver has an antique store with fair prices on highway signs.

Where? I know they used to. Where did they move them to?

I like the Fastrip in Delano, personally. That's usually my last gas stop when heading into So Cal.


Where? I know they used to. Where did they move them to?

I like the Fastrip in Delano, personally. That's usually my last gas stop when heading into So Cal.

Just north of the regular gift shop:

https://maps.app.goo.gl/SCB8maMafzddACx57?g_st=ic



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