Friday afternoon (06/09) did something somewhat different - had to make a trip down to Fresno.
The drive is mostly highway (Hwy-99) so I figure the 64-mile ride should take about 60 - 75 min. It took longer, about 100 min. Though there is always some type of road construction on Hwy-99, that was not the cause of my delay. No, Hwy-99 alternates between two-lane and three-lane road for major stretches (and four lanes in certain sections e.g. near major cities), so traffic jams up at various points. In particular, any three-lane to two-lane section.
My trip was car-related, so I figured I would end up in a car focused area (either car repair related or used car sales locations). Nope, I ended up on the edge of agricultural & light industrial. After I settle my car related business, I opted to explore “the edge of Fresno” by opting for a different route to Hwy-41. This “edge-of-Fresno” has lots of warehouses, including a huge Amazon location & a Sikh temple.
Got back on Hwy-41, and transfer to Hwy-99, and encounter the traffic mess plus some element of home-bound commuter traffic. About 6 miles up the road in slow moving highway traffic, an unusual road sign caught my attention - a curry location at the next exit.
Turns out the exit led to a TA Travel Center, which hosted multiple eateries, including this curry business in one building. Besides the eateries, there was a dog park area, shower facilities for drivers, fuel stations for cars and … a row of Tesla charging stations (about half the 12 spots were occupied).
Got back on Hwy-99, and decided on another detour. Exited in Madera, drove past that ARCO station (many many years ago I stopped at the location which had 15 - 20 drink dispensing spigots available), and through the city of Madera. Hwy-145 used to be a somewhat boring driving section between Madera and one of my intended destinations (either Yosemite NP or a tribal casino). Lots more interesting stuff on this drive - more homes on one quadrant of the Hwy-145/Hwy-41 junction, the Madera Wine trail
OUR REGION | Madera Wine Trail (themaderawinetrail.com)
and onto my planned destination – a tribal casino (Chukchansi). Location has gone from a smallish casino with one restaurant, to this massive complex that includes a hotel, casino with a huge gaming area and multiple eating options, built on a mountain side. A little downhill from there is a gas station with a Sonic fast-food outlet. Played a few hours, and walked away from casino about break-even Yay!
Could have returned on the same route I used to get to the casino. Instead I went into Coarsegold proper, and onto Oakhurst, to join Hwy-49. At 1:30 AM, it was amusing to drive 49 mph on Hwy-49 for some miles, then exit at the butterfly i.e. Mariposa. The town is bustling with some activity during daylight hours (at least when I have visited prior), but really quiet after hours. Mariposa was my exit because I wanted to connect with Hwy-140, which would get me home.