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California Cruising!

Posted 08-01-2016 at 08:21 PM by dabrams
I've driven all over the United States and California, where I live now, is still one of my favorite states for its sheer beauty and great automobile terrain. I live in San Francisco now and occasionally make the trip down to Los Angeles for business or to connect with friends. Once in Los Angeles, the traffic is worse than you've heard about with epic stretches of blacktop divvied into massive multi-lane highways and frequent stop-and-go traffic. So I'm clearly not much of an advocate for LA's motorways. The massive stretch of land between the two cities can be either a blur of razor straight mind-numbingly boring two lane highways - vis-a-vis US 5, or a mildly more tree-lined semi-coastal route via highway 101. Those with time on their hands, and a good supply of anti-nausea medication might consider taking US 1, the coastal route, through Mur Woods, and some of the most beautiful Pacific Northwest shoreline you will find. That route is amazingly gorgeous, but adds several hours of driving some very twisty roads to your travel time.

Anyway, on this trip I took 101 South for a spell and then decided to swing over to highway 5 to make some time and satisfy my curiosity about what the heck is between the two major routes! I decided on taking Rt. 198 between King City, CA on the 101 side and the Fresno area on the US 5 side and let me tell you, this is one of the best roads for a driving enthusiast I have stumbled up on in a long time! The speed limit is 55 the whole way with never ending variety in the turns. Since you are basically driving between two valleys, the altitude will creep up about two thousand feet with lots of dips and dives along the way. I found it almost impossible to actually go over the speed limit, and frequently found myself in 2nd gear accelerating out of a turn that really required a slow down to 25 mph or so. I also didn't see a rear bumper my whole way there or back. The road surface is fantastic with just enough undulation at points to work your suspension but smooth enough to confidently carve through the canyons. If you love driving and have some time on your hands, this might be the stretch of road you've been dreaming of.

See some photos I took along the way here:
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