Reflections on the Central Valley

The major highways through Sacramento are I-5 and I-80, which more or less replaced US highways 40, 50, and 99. Highway 99 is a roadside architecture paradise, running through Lodi and Stockton as well as Fresno and Bakersfield. Highway 50 leads to the Sierra and passes through historic Placerville.



Lodi is a small central valley agricultural town about ten miles north of Stockton. Cherokee Boulevard is the old route of Highway 99 through town, and there are some roadside gems to be seen. The Safeway below, alas, has been remodeled by its new owner.



Stockton’s an interesting place. For the roadside effect, check out Wilson Way (old Highway 99). Wilson Way and its environs are also a good area for thrift stores, including Thrift Outlet (East Harding Way near Wilson Way) and Thrift Center (Wilson Way near Harding Way).

University of the Pacific is a good boy-watching spot on Pacific Avenue. There is a gay bar, Paradise (10100 Lower Sacramento Road), but I’ve never been brave enough to check it out.

Another interesting sight is the twin malls on Pacific Avenue. In most cities with two malls, they’re on opposite ends of town. Not in Stockton. Two unrelated malls were constructed next door to each other. There are even a couple of stores with branches in each. Strange…