Ah, September. The last month of the US Government fiscal year. Silly season 3. But also the time when we are gearing up for the November elections — and for us roadgeeks, the battle over Proposition 6 — the initiative to repeal the gas tax increase, which (if passed) will do horrible things for the highways in this state. As for me, it has been a month of adding maps to the county sign route pages; as the month finished, I’ve added routes through all the letters up to “S”, and am working on the “S”s. So while I work on that, have some headlines:
- Big Sur’s new stretch of highway already cracking. The newly rebuilt section of Big Sur’s scenic Highway 1 near the town of Gorda is beginning to crack, an early sign of wear for the road that opened just a month ago. But it’s nothing to be alarmed about, state officials say. Several cracks in the pavement, sometimes a foot or longer, were reported this week across the one-third mile stretch of coastal road, which was closed to traffic in May 2017 after being washed out by the enormous Mud Creek Slide.
- Mineral King Road/Mountain Road 375; the unbuilt California State Route 276. Back in July of 2016 I took Mineral King Road east from California State Route 198 to Mineral King Valley in Sequoia National Park. Mineral King Road is a 24.8 mile roadway which travels from the confluence of the Middle Fork and East Fork Kaweah River in modern day Three Rivers to Mineral King Valley. Mineral King Road has an approximate starting elevation at about 1,000 feet above sea level in Three Rivers and ends at approximately 7,400 feet above sea level in Mineral King Valley in the High Sierras.
- Yesterland: Walt Disney’s Mineral King. It was a Friday. It was about a week before Christmas. And it was official: The U.S. Forest Service awarded the right to develop the Mineral King area of Sequoia National Forest to Walt Disney Productions. The year was 1965. A wire service article quoted Walt Disney: “When I first saw Mineral King five years ago, I thought it was one of the most beautiful spots I had ever seen and we want to keep it that way.” To Walt Disney, that meant a self-contained “Alpine Village” designed to preserve the natural beauty of valley. Other people wanted “to keep it that way” too. But to them it meant no development at all.
- The western end of US Route 6 and Laws Depot on the Carson & Colorado Railway. Back in June of 2016 I visited the western terminus of US Route 6 at US Route 395 located in Bishop, California of Inyo County on my way to Laws Depot. US 6 is one of the longest US Routes at 3,205 miles between Bishop, CA east to Provincetown, MA. Historically US 6 was the longest US Route ever when it ended in Long Beach at 3,652 miles. US 6 is known as the Grand Army of the Republic Highway and is mostly known for traveling through some of the most rural corners of the Continental United States.