Highway 101: The History of El Camino Real

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Full disclosure: I grew up a mile north of the 101, just west of Santa Barbara, and have traveled it over many years. Those years included a couple when I drove long-distance buses ranging from Los Angeles to San Francisco and Oakland. Also, the Marine Corps years when I hitchhiked or even walked long stretches between San Diego and Santa Barbara. I thought I knew the highway. I have now been comprehensively disabused in that regard.

This is a work of serious historical and geographical research. Sites I only remember passing in childhood, such as the streetcar diner north of Buellton, others I spent entranced days roaming, such as Jungleland in Thousand Oaks, have taken on depth and luster I would never have suspected. Development, investment, and the personalities and financial quirks of the founders are all meticulously explored. Communities and businesses, roads and realignments, are all laid out superbly well. The sheer detail, revealing painstaking and even loving research, is awe-inspiring. Everything from the old redline trolleys to the plethora of service stations is covered, with their evolution clearly laid out.

The illustrations are crisp black and white photos, with the exception of a more modern “California in Color” segment. The book is professionally and entertainingly written, and it took me two days of concentrated reading; a bargain!

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Star Count 5/5
Format Other
Page Count 248 pages
Publisher Craven Street Books
Publish Date 19-May-2020
ISBN 9781610353526
Bookshop.org Buy this Book
Issue September 2020
Category Travel


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