There are a lot of exciting places in California: the big cities, the coast, the mountains… and then there’s the central valley. It serves a great purpose, growing the food that feeds America. But as excitement goes, there isn’t much.
Despite the flat farmland, I was excited to get to Los Banos, because it was here that I found an auto parts store. I bought a set of snow chains, and suddenly, I didn’t have to worry anymore about the snowy conditions that awaited in Yosemite, or whether I’d have to change my plans to avoid a snowy road. I was able to relax, and enjoy a perfectly nice small town.
Los Banos downtown district is located along 6th Street, north of CA Rte. 152 (Pacheco Boulevard).
There’s an old-fashioned Rexall drug store…
… and some other nice neon signs hanging over the sidewalk.
I also found this old theater. It’s shut down, and there’s no sign of what it used to be called, or when it showed its last flick.
[tmt_info =””]Portuguese and Basque immigrants played an important role in the history of Los Banos, and those roots are celebrated with special events in May. You can get this year’s dates by downloading the Los Banos Visitor Guide.[/tmt_info]
Continue east on CA Rte. 152, then take Rte. 59 north to Merced.
Here’s the time-lapse, dash-cam video of the drive from Los Banos, through Merced, to Mariposa: