Funny how the mind works. Today I was blankly sitting in front of my laptop with no idea what to write about, tuned to KCBX, the local NPR radio station, when a report from Chicago mentioned the famous circular downtown roadway known as the Loop and that made me think about King City’s once well-known Loop.
For those of you unaware, the Loop is not an actual circle roadway but rather a combination of roads that lead in a circuitous route from King City and back again; the start and arrival points just a mile or so apart. And while that Loop was well-traveled by local teens at one time, it is no longer popular among the younger set, but the roads comprising still exist and are open to the public.
That is not the case with the Greenfield Loop. Yes, we had our Loop back in the day and if memory serves, I can navigate it still in my mind if not in my car; I doubt even on my bicycle. But I recall the times, granted they were few in number, maybe six or seven, that I either rode along or drove with buddies aboard a circular route leading from Greenfield Oak Park and back. I may have to refer to an old map, but this is the route, as I remember it:
We left the park on Elm Avenue and headed west, uphill, to Espinosa Road and followed its curve to where it meets Patricia Lane where we then proceeded south. The asphalt of Patricia ends, but we kept going on the dirt where it circled around the Morinini Ranch and connected with Underwood Road. Here we crossed all four lanes of Highway 101, something far easier 50-plus years ago, to where Susan Lane once intersected with Kenner Road.
I say met because Kenner no longer exists in its original state, but back then it ran along the bottom of the Bench until it passed the Kenner Ranch house and met with Central Avenue at the place where Central makes a sharp turn to the west; across from that intersection was a field where many, many years ago there were buffalo (bison, whatever, but they were there).
We then proceeded north on Central to Elm again, and then headed toward Arroyo Seco until we came to 15th Street where we headed north, crossed Oak Avenue where 15th made a small jog, continued until it met with Peach Road and on Peach to the intersection of Pine Avenue across the road from the canal that runs by the Franscioni and Griva Ranch homestead.
Turning north on Peach we went to Thorne Road where we headed east toward town again where at El Camino Real we crossed the 101 overpass and made a 180-degree turn south along a road parallel running along the freeway, long ago known as Livingston Road, to Pine Avenue. On Pine we went east to Second Street, turned right to Oak Avenue then east again to First Street which leads back to Elm and the Park. Nice little loop that for the most part kept us out of town but not very far from town.
As mentioned before, some of these roads and streets are no longer accessible by private vehicle, but if you find the right maps they are still listed; I admit I used one to find Livingston Road, that one I had forgotten (if I ever knew it). A look at such a map shows that at one time Espinosa Road ran south from Hudson Road along the Salinas River area all the way to Underhill.
And up where Arroyo Seco Road intersects with the 101, site of the old Los Coches stage stop, the two frontage roads running parallel to the freeway are, on the east, Doud Road and on the west is Vida Road; I had never heard those names applied. Doud ran south nearly to Hudson Road. And speaking of Hudson, I always thought it was two sections, one to the east and one to the west of ECR, but just east of the freeway a road once led northward a short way that was also Hudson. Who knew?
I did not know that at one time Cedar Avenue once ran south off of Thorne across from Los Coches Road, intersected with Fir Avenue, made a rectangular route, crossed Arroyo Seco Road and intersected with Birch Avenue which ran eastward to Beeswax Canyon, a totally new name to me. Thus endeth the tour.
This is a little caveat to the above; maybe not so little as it concerns a very serious matter. Both of the above-mentioned Loops, along with many other South County backroads too numerous to mention but many of you know them well, were often used far less for their scenic offerings as routes for beer drinking while underage. And while sometimes there is humor in the retelling of those days there was also all too often heartbreak. Cars with engines of outrageous horsepower on narrow, twisting roads with teen drivers behind the wheel led to severe injury and death far too many times.
Today these backroad beer jaunts are rare, if any; and that is a good thing. While I claim no expertness in the field most of the young people I have encountered in the past decade are far less inclined to alcohol and drug consumption; far less. Also, there are many teens today who do not drive at 16 as I and my friends did; many don’t drive until they are 17, 18 or 19 years old.
The best positive current indication is there are no obituaries appearing at all too short intervals in the local newspapers with the name of a student or recent grad whose family is facing a far too soon funeral. We should find much satisfaction in this generational change of attitude to something once so prevalent.
Take care. Peace.