19 September 2011

Always Take The Road Less Traveled Pt 1

As summer draws to a close, it is time to pack the bags, load up the compact sedans, and head back to college! I always like to start off the year with an adventure, so I pulled out my map and picked a nice, long, curvy route from the San Francisco Bay Area back to Santa Barbara. 

I decided to take California Hwy 33 for as long as possible during my drive. Hwy 33 runs north-south down California's Central Valley parallel to I-5, and provides a scenic look at a number of small oil towns, and the Petroleum fields which surround them.

To get to Hwy 33 however, I'd have to take Interstate 580 out of the bay area to catch Interstate 5 in California's Central valley. From the 5, as it's locally known, I would be able to catch Hwy 33 South through valleys and mountains, eventually ending up at the Central Coast! Over the next couple days, I will be profiling each highway segment I covered on this trip. 

Route Overview - 367 miles/590 kM

I started my trip from a friend's house in Berkeley right near the Interstate! I got on I-580 East and followed it through the Oakland Hills and Castro Valley out of the Bay Area!
I-580 heading out of Berkeley, CA towards Tracy
Heading through the Altamont Pass

Approaching the Windmills!
Driving through the Altamont Pass

In the eastern reaches of the Bay Area, Interstate 580 goes over Altamont Pass in California's Diablo Mountain Range and the towering wind turbines perched high above the freeway on the ridges. Altamont Pass Wind Farm is one of the oldest in the United States, and produces an average of 125 Megawatts

Heading south in California's central valley where the I-580 splits with I-205
After the Altamont Pass, it gets flat and straight for hundreds of miles. The surrounding land is mostly agricultural, with some industrial areas. Few notable landmarks are present aside for the occasional truck stop.

I-580, 205, and 5 for a triangle in the central valley. 

Passing Wind Turbines at Safeway's HUGE distribution plant near Pleasanton
Interstate 5 is California's major North-South artery connecting Sacramento and the Bay Area to Southern California. Most people driving this route are on a long distance trip!
I-580 near I-5. It will look like this for a while now!

Its rare to see speed limits above 65 MPH(104kM/h) in California

Now I am in California's Central Valley making my way south! The next post will take us down I-5 to Hwy 33. Cheers!

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