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Author Topic: Los Gatos Creek/Coalinga Road and County Route G1  (Read 1962 times)

Max Rockatansky

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Los Gatos Creek/Coalinga Road and County Route G1
« on: December 28, 2016, 10:17:42 PM »

The weather was clear out today and I had some spare time.  That being the case I decided to knock out a couple more routes in the Diablos and Gablian Ranges that I wanted to try.  Basically I started the day out with taking 198 to the 33 junction north of Coalinga.  From there I took Shell Road, Oil City Road, Palmer Avenue, and Derrick Avenue to reach Los Gatos Creek Road:





A singular route Los Gatos Creek Road and Coalinga Road are roughly 46 miles in crossing the Diablo Range to CA 25 just north of Bitterwater in San Benito County.  The Fresno side of the route is signed as Los Gatos Creek Road and the San Benito side is Coalinga Road....odd when you consider Coalinga is in Fresno County. 



The entire route through the Diablos is paved.  The Fresno County side is pretty high quality with a center stripe the entire way along with a very gradual grade up to the the Condon Peak recreation area and San Benito County:




After crossing into San Benito County the route becomes Coalinga Road and is a single wide lane with no center stripe:



Surprisingly between Coalinga and the Clear Creek Management Area there is plenty of ranch homes, at least just as many if not more than CA 198 to the south.  For those who don't know the Clear Creek Management Area has naturally occurring asbestos fibers...couple that up with the Super Fund Site at mercury mine just to the north at New Idria and you got all sorts of potential health issues if you don't pay attention to what you're doing:



Despite Coalinga Road being narrow I didn't really have much issues with surface quality aside from the couple miles between the Clear Creek Management Area and Hernandez Reservoir.  Basically the issue wasn't so much the asphalt quality but rather surface ice on the road and a large quantity of rock fall.  Coalinga Road has a very steep uphill grade westbound past the Hernandez Reservoir (which was empty today) up to the Laguna Mountain Recreation Area:



Max Rockatansky

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Re: Los Gatos Creek/Coalinga Road and County Route G1
« Reply #1 on: December 28, 2016, 10:46:58 PM »

The Hernandez Dam is a pretty interesting topic to me.  NE2 shared a 1939 State Highway Map on the J1 Thread showing that there was a populated place called "Hernandez" where the reservoir is now.  Apparently the reservoir was built in the 1960s to impound the San Benito River and Hernandez disappeared off the State Highway Maps by 1967.  Hernandez wasn't shown in the 1896 San Benito County Map but is there on the State Highway Map in 1918.  Weird that I can't find any mention of Hernandez anywhere on the web but that seems to be the case with almost every previously populated place in San Benito County aside from New Idria.  Regardless here is links to the previously mentioned maps:

1939 State Highway Map

http://www.davidrumsey.com/luna/servlet/detail/RUMSEY~8~1~258600~5522093:Rand-McNally-Road-map--California

1966 State Highway Map
http://www.davidrumsey.com/luna/servlet/detail/RUMSEY~8~1~239519~5511846:State-Highway-Map,-California,-1966?sort=pub_list_no_initialsort%2Cpub_list_no_initialsort%2Cpub_list_no_initialsort%2Cpub_list_no_initialsort&qvq=q:caltrans;sort:pub_list_no_initialsort%2Cpub_list_no_initialsort%2Cpub_list_no_initialsort%2Cpub_list_no_initialsort;lc:RUMSEY~8~1&mi=23&trs=86

1967 State Highway Map

http://www.davidrumsey.com/luna/servlet/detail/RUMSEY~8~1~239516~5511844:State-Highway-Map,-California,-1967?sort=pub_list_no_initialsort%2Cpub_list_no_initialsort%2Cpub_list_no_initialsort%2Cpub_list_no_initialsort&qvq=q:caltrans;sort:pub_list_no_initialsort%2Cpub_list_no_initialsort%2Cpub_list_no_initialsort%2Cpub_list_no_initialsort;lc:RUMSEY~8~1&mi=21&trs=86

1935 San Benito Topographical Map

http://www.davidrumsey.com/luna/servlet/detail/RUMSEY~8~1~247336~5515379:San-Benito-County-?sort=Pub_List_No_InitialSort%2CPub_Date%2CPub_List_No%2CSeries_No&qvq=q:san%2Bbenito%2Bcounty;sort:Pub_List_No_InitialSort%2CPub_Date%2CPub_List_No%2CSeries_No;lc:RUMSEY~8~1&mi=2&trs=6

1918 State Highway Map
http://www.davidrumsey.com/luna/servlet/detail/RUMSEY~8~1~239613~5511905: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=83&trs=86

1896 San Benito County Map

http://www.davidrumsey.com/luna/servlet/detail/RUMSEY~8~1~1580~170038:San-Benito,-Fresno,-Monterey,-San-L?sort=Pub_List_No_InitialSort%2CPub_Date%2CPub_List_No%2CSeries_No&qvq=q:san%2Bbenito%2Bcounty;sort:Pub_List_No_InitialSort%2CPub_Date%2CPub_List_No%2CSeries_No;lc:RUMSEY~8~1&mi=1&trs=6


I was able to find this transformer box with "Hernandez Dam" near the Laguna Mountain Campground:



Coalinga Road gets keeps getting more windy and even fords a creek up to about 3,000 feet above sea level at Laguna Mountain:





Which has some fantastic views of the rest of the Diablos, apparently the peak is 4,462 feet above sea level:




Coalinga Road sharply descends from Laguna Mountain through Miller Canyon where there is some pretty nice twisties:



Which becomes a pretty placid series of valleys with plenty of ranch lands:



The 1939 Map that NE2 found above showed that the previous alignment of Coalinga Road used what is now Old Hernandez Road.  Old Hernandez is closed off now but popped out to the northwest at San Benito at CA 25.  Oddly the Fresno County side and Los Gatos Creek Road is shown as paved even back in the 1930s:




Incidentally the GSV made all the way to the blocked parted of Old Hernandez from the north, looks like a similar situation as Lewis Creek Road with the older road being turned over to private property:

https://www.google.com/maps/@36.4951846,-121.0350729,3a,75y,180h,90t/data=!3m6!1e1!3m4!1s4bI3gNvJSulw6b17Gl2CCA!2e0!7i3328!8i1664?hl=en

West of Old Hernandez Road, Coalinga Road becomes a two-lane road again all the way to CA 25:






« Last Edit: December 28, 2016, 10:51:05 PM by Max Rockatansky »
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Max Rockatansky

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Re: Los Gatos Creek/Coalinga Road and County Route G1
« Reply #2 on: December 28, 2016, 11:03:57 PM »

Basically the road to G1 was pretty straight forward from here, mostly on CA 25.  I was here back in January to hike East Pinnacles when this section of road first got hit with a landslide.  Looks like Caltrans just gave up, built a new alignment, and filled in the old one:




Speaking of East Pinnacles, I managed to snag the CA 146 shield and CA 25 directly north of it:




I'm pretty sure that this is the J1 in the shield gallery for California:



Took a shortcut on Union around Hollister to CA 156.  I forgot that the old route of 156 was still signed as a business route:




About five miles west is the turn off south for G1 from San Juan Bautista:



Given that G1 is extremely narrow I decided to take my road pictures on the way down.  Fremont Peak is apparently the highest peak in the Gabllan Range and the attraction is the views of San Juan Valley in addition to Monterey Bay.  I guess that's why the area got a Army survey back in 1846 with the clear sight lines:



Max Rockatansky

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Re: Los Gatos Creek/Coalinga Road and County Route G1
« Reply #3 on: December 28, 2016, 11:21:33 PM »

Interesting cahighways has G1 as only 5.42 miles:

http://www.cahighways.org/countyg.html#G1

It would seem that the actual road is much closer to 11 miles given that the post miles begin immediately north of the Fremont Peak Observatory:




I couldn't find anything in regards to the grades on G1 but the first five miles north have be above 10% pretty handily.  The road is most dicey on the ascent since you're on the western slopes of the mountains which are pretty sheer.  The steep grades roughly are from 2,700 feet to 1,100 where most of the houses begin to appear:








The next five miles to the valley floor are pretty tame and pretty scenic looking.  Surprisingly there was frost on the road here on the ascent in sections with a lot of shade:




For the most part G1 follows San Juan Canyon Road but follows The Alameda for maybe a quarter mile to reach CA 156.  The really weird thing that there is a reassurance G1 on The Alameda literally within sight of the north terminus at CA 156.  I'm honestly amazed San Benito County managed to even sign the route at all:



cahwyguy

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Re: Los Gatos Creek/Coalinga Road and County Route G1
« Reply #4 on: December 29, 2016, 02:21:16 PM »

I'll note my milage designations for the county routes come from an extremely old (1970s era) printout of the county route definitions. Not much has been done with them since then.
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Max Rockatansky

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Re: Los Gatos Creek/Coalinga Road and County Route G1
« Reply #5 on: December 29, 2016, 02:39:46 PM »

I'll note my milage designations for the county routes come from an extremely old (1970s era) printout of the county route definitions. Not much has been done with them since then.

I would speculate the 5.42 was probably correct for the era.  A lot of maps of the area around Fremont Peak show the park actually beginning about 5 miles south out of San Juan Bautista.  Given the frequency of the post markers they seem to be a somewhat recent addition in the last couple decades by San Benito County.  It would have been nice to have a northbound reassurance G1 to go along with the first mileage post marker, but then again there is literally nowhere else you can go heading back to San Juan Bautista. 

Interesting I'm thinking that Coalinga Road was realigned and paved in the late 1960s as part of the Hernandez Reservoir project.  That being the case it is easy to understand why the route didn't become a signed County Route given a large portion of it was likely dirt and probably took Old Hernandez Road.  Of course that is total spit ball speculation, all the sources I cited above was all I could find in regards to Coalinga Road or Los Gatos Creek Road.  Total shame too, really Coalinga/Los Gatos is a better maintained road than J1/Panoche/Little Panoche is to the north.

 


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