California Roads - Old US 99 - Grapevine
Former US 99, Grapevine
You'll find Dead Man's Curve off I-5 SB about 3 miles north of Lebec. I took advantage of predawn fog to stop in the shoulder and quickly jog the old alignment without falling down the hillside into the "Junk Yard," named for the frequent crashes. Not that this was curvier than any other part of US 99 through the Grapevine, but the sides were steeper. I officially request that you do not follow in my footsteps, as this area is known by police and they will frequently patrol to see if anyone has stopped to explore. That's why I didn't get any closer to the north end of the alignment than what you see in the last photo.
Back south to where the pavement was broken off to construct the cut that now contains I-5.
The old alignment on the north side of the Grapevine is much more accessible. Drive south from the Grapevine exit (215) onto Grapevine Rd. and head south. The road continues straight into the canyon and peters out, but you'll want to look for the old concrete slab that twists to the left after the power substation.
US 99 SB curves its way back around north (5th photo), slowly climbing the Grapevine in the days before large highway cuts were commonplace, and ends as it curves back around east and runs into the cut for I-5 NB. The skimpy wire fence is all that prevents you from plummeting into traffic.
The sun sets in the west and the headlights of I-5 twinkle in the north.
Farther south, a small loop of US 99 briefly emerges out of the cutaway hillside before disappearing. There's another piece to the south that requires some hiking and more daylight to get to from here.
Back downhill in the gloaming.
Continue south on old US 99 to Lebec
Back north on old US 99 to CA 99
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