To mark the 90th anniversary of the US Highways, here are a couple of spots where you can actually drive, bicycle or walk on pavement that was here in 1926… and earlier.
- Torrey Pines State Reserve, U.S. 101: A plaque near the Visitor Center at the Torrey Pines State Reserve marks pavement dating back to 1915, before the designation of U.S. 101. Drivers use a portion of the uncovered pavement to access some of the parking area. A long stretch is closed to cars, but open and preserved for bicycles and hikers.The remainder of the route up the side of the bluffs is still used, but the century-old concrete strip and other improvements are under layers of asphalt. Other original parts of the old road are visible in Carlsbad, south of the Palomar Airport Road interchange. The photo here is from Torrey Pines.
- Jacumba, U.S. 80: The road through this dusty high-desert town still follows the same route, but west of town is a bridge over the San Diego and Arizona Railroad tracks. The current bridge was built in the 1930s. Look on the west side of the current bridge and you’ll see the approach and a little of the original structure of the original bridge, built before the rail line was completed to San Diego in 1919.There are also two 1917 bridges remaining, one near Descanso that’s still open to traffic, and another west of Pine Valley.
U.S. 395 came along later, but artifacts of its early days include the Bonsall Bridge north of Vista, and a couple of old gas stations along Rainbow Valley Boulevard in the community of Rainbow, just south of the San Diego-Riverside county line.
Of course, you can find out more about old U.S. 101 and U.S. 80 in my Joyride Guru® books… the Kindle versions or new paperback.