Tuesday, November 16, 2010

The Old 101

Not only do Californians have a magnificent coast to boast about, but they have access to it--not only as boaters, surfers, swimmers, volleyball players, and sunbathers, but also as hikers, pedestrians, motorists, and all the rest of us who simply enjoy the beauty, sounds, and smells of the ocean and the shoreline.

And it is Highway 101 that serves as the transport route for all the afore-mentioned groups that enjoy the many moods of this unique highway.

"Unique" because of its number. According to the American Associa-tion of State Highway and Transportation Officials' (AASHTO) numbering scheme for U.S. Highways, "three-digit route numbers are generally subsidiaries of two-digit routes. However, the principal north–south routes were assigned numbers ending in 1. Rather than lose four available north–south numbers (93, 95, 97, and 99) or assign the primary West Coast highway a 'lesser' number, the AASHTO made an exception to its two-digit rule. Thus, U.S. 101 is treated as a primary, two-digit route with a 'first digit' of 10, rather than a spur of U.S. 1. Thus U.S. Route 101, not U.S. 99, is the western-most north–south route in the U.S. Highway system" (from Wiki-pedia's U.S. 191 web page).

No matter that Highway 101 in the San Diego area today is called S21. For us it will bear the more glamorous and prestigious, albeit tech-nically inaccurate, title of Highway 101.

OK, we could call it "Old 101."

With the name issue resolved, (I feel much better now), we can move on to discussing the scenery along this historic route.

Our friend Tom was staying in La Jolla while conducting some business. While he was driving north on Old 101 to Cardiff, I had the opportunity to photograph scenes, such as the Ocean House (photo #5 above) in Carlsbad Village and the 101 Café (photo #6) in Oceanside.

In some sections of towns along Old 101 sidewalks pass along the cliffs overlooking the ocean (photo above).

It was a joy to see Old 101 closer to the ocean than the homes were. I don't know if the road builders laid claim to the land first or if the home builders took advantage of the hillsides off the coast line to build homes that would provide views over small structures, but it was wonderful to be able to see the ocean while driving along the coast.

At intervals, we passed dozens of cars parked along Old 101 enabling many people easy access to the miles of beaches along this stretch of highway from Oceanside to La Jolla.
The drive along this famous highway around sunset cast an orangish glow to the scene. Add a little mist rising from the ocean, and you just want to stop and watch the sun sink slowly into the ocean.

From a vantage point along Old 101.

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