Highway 152/156 WB in California

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thesameguy

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Jun 6, 2014
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I've driven this road dozens of times... but always in a fast car and IIRC it was under construction last time I went through.

Anyone know how it is these days headed west between I5 and Highway 101?
 

DonTom

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Apr 21, 2005
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Auburn, CA or Reno, NV
I've driven this road dozens of times... but always in a fast car and IIRC it was under construction last time I went through.
When was that? IMO, back in the 1960's & early 1970's Hwy 152 was the most dangerous road in CA, by far. I would be dead today if I were in a car back in 1971, but I was lucky enough to be on a motorcycle. Perhaps the most scary thing in my life happened there, and I just came out of the army, being infantry in Vietnam.

What happened in May 1971 on my new 1971 BMW motorcycle (which I still have today) on Hwy 152, was I went around a curve and then coming at me was a truck passing another truck blocking the entire road. Ready to be killed from a head-on. But I somehow squeezed between the two trucks with perhaps a couple of inches to each truck at my handle bars. I made it out between the two trucks and that was the hardest my heart has ever beat. I had to stop right after that. I expected to be killed.

If I were in a car that time, I would not be here to tell that story. Would have been a head- on for sure.

These days, Hwy 152 is a divided freeway, safe and fast. Quite the opposite of 50 years ago.

-Don- Auburn, CA
 

thesameguy

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Jun 6, 2014
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When was that? IMO, back in the 1960's & early 1970's Hwy 152 was the most dangerous road in CA, by far. I would be dead today if I were in a car back in 1971, but I was lucky enough to be on a motorcycle. Perhaps the most scary thing in my life happened there, and I just came out of the army, being infantry in Vietnam.

Last time I went through was three years ago? May of 2018 comes to mind. They had already finished the turnoff from 152 to 156 and it looked like they were widening other parts of 152.

I used to drive this fairly frequently.... as frequently as anyone drives a middle of nowhere road. ;) I made a lot of trips from Sacramento to Carmel & Monterey. There were always close calls and frequently accidents, especially the twisty part of 152 (east of 156 IIRC) and on the turnoff from 152 to 156... I'm sure that's why the improvements. I'm not sure it was ever worse than Highway 17, but for whatever reason people seem to lose their minds on these generally fast mountain roads.

I'm rethinking my plan to take the motorhome, though, as I learned my destination involves a lot of small streets. I may just take the Suburban instead.
 

beaverfever

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Feb 3, 2011
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527
it has never been near as dangerous as 17.
in the late 60s to early 70s i hauled out of gilroy using 152 at least once a week and seldom was there any traffic problems
 

Arch Hoagland

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Jul 11, 2014
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Location
Clovis California
it has never been near as dangerous as 17. in the late 60s to early 70s i hauled out of gilroy using 152 at least once a week and seldom was there any traffic problems
Do you remember when the tomato trucks leaked so much tomato juice out on the steepest part of the climb on the highway they would bring street cleaners in to clean the highway? I knew a tomato truck driver who told me about that.
 
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beaverfever

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i remember the tomato trucks and tomatoes squished on the road but i don't recall any street cleaner
could very well been one i just missed it
 

Lou Schneider

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Mar 14, 2005
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11,167
I drove a tomato truck for a season. Never went over 152 though. Our processing plants were in Stockton and Vacaville.

The tomatoes were cushioned by almost floating in water. One of the things we did when when leaving the trailers at the processing plant was drop the hose on the rear of the tub so the water could drain out. I guess going up a steep hill would also dump some water. Left a sticky mess on the asphalt after the water evaporated - I assume they scrubbed it off of the lot every once in a while.
 
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