Sunday, January 13, 2013

"ol' 99 in North/Central California undulated and rerouted itself like a living serpent"

As if taking a cue from the study of Darwinism, California's Highway 99 has evolved as the technology of road-building and the autos that rode them advanced dramatically.  Indeed, no where along the whole length of 99's run down the west coast has the old highway changed its face and routings so dramatically as in California.  From the many routes through Shasta canyon to the evolution and eventual bypassing of the dreaded Ridge Route, ol' 99 in North/Central California undulated and rerouted itself like a living serpent.

Further south, 99 was one of the main highways carrying goods and services from the Valley to the insatiable megalopolis of L.A..  As L.A. grew and swallowed the surrounding countryside, 99 had to grow as well.

From its original alignment along 2 lane roads into downtown, 99 grew into one of the original multi-lane, clover-leaved freeways and provided the first glimpses into the coming world of the 'interstate' highway system which would cause it's ultimate demise.  

So let us take a look at the life-cycle of Highway 99 in California.  So many towns and establishments found new life and vigor as the new U.S. highway went through their townships, only to later wither and often times pass on completely as a newer alignment developed and became the 'preferred' route.  Therefore, there exist today a multitude of historic businesses that once served the 99 traveler, but now lie in the backwaters of California's roadways.

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