Highway 101
(Bygone Byways(TM) since 2001)

Similar to many of America's early highways, Highway 101 originally was a hodge-podge of existing roads loosely collected into a national transportation network.  For example, 101 was known in Southern California as the El Camino Real, the King's Highway.  Further north in California and Oregon, the Roosevelt and Pacific Coast Highways were the chosen roads to adopt the 101 shield while in Washington, the honor went to the Olympic Highway.  From Olympia, Washington, to San Diego, California, the newly commissioned highway carried the early traveler through some of the most beautiful scenery this country has to offer

Due to the rocky nature of most of the western coast, Highway 101 really has not been radically re-routed as much as many other highways.  In many cases, there are no other routes possible through certain areas.  Although there are small sections of road that were bypassed as road building technology progressed, in most cases the new road is literally within a stones throw of the old road and one can simply exit and follow the old, twisty route for a short distance before being forced to backtrack.  Therefore, you are experiencing most of the road as those early, intrepid explorers experienced it!!        

With this in mind, let's explore a little bit of Highway 101 together.  I've had the opportunity to drive from Astoria, Oregon back north along the Washington coast, but I'll need your help to fill in blanks from further south.  I've driven 101 all the way to the Golden Gate before, but at that point in my life, I didn't pay any attention to the road or the history of a place.  Roads existed only to take me from here to there.  My loss.

Washington.  The Evergreen state.  From the capitol in Olympia, 101 heads  first north along Puget Sound and then west along the straight of Juan De Fuca before turning south along the coast.  Skirting the Olympic mountains for most if it's journey, a 101 trip in Washington can't help but be beautiful (albeit gray & misty quite often!).

Oregon.  Once across the 4.2 mile long Columbia river bridge, enter historic Astoria.  Antique shops abound.  Lewis and Clark spent a winter near here after their historic journey gathering provisions before heading back east.  Plan on spending a little time here to provision yourself before driving the stunning trip down the Oregon coastline.  With beaches, overlooks and wineries, take the amount of time you planned to spend in this area...and then double it.

101PC-CA-San Francisco-Golden Gate Sunset-NoPM.jpg (98003 bytes)

California.  Redwoods to rocky beaches, wineries to San Diego surf, historic 101 in California took the early traveler through some of the most varied terrain in the nation.  Check out a few images from the highway that defined leisure.

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