Monday, May 4, 2015

From the Archives -- Driving the Bolsa

Here's another post from the Take 25 to Hollister archives. Imagine what Bolsa Road, aka Highway 25, would be like today if the casino, Sun City, and El Rancho San Benito had been built.

The 25, The Bolsa—Same Difference
(originally published October 14, 2008) 

The route into Hollister from the north is via the two-lane Bolsa Road. California State Highway 25, to be more precise, says the Husband. That, I suppose, is a difference between having lived here as a kid and now as an adult. Also the difference between being an old-timer and one fresh-off-the-highway. You say "Highway 25," I say "Bolsa Road." Potay-toe, po-ta-tah. Toe-may-toe, toe-mah-tah. By the way, there are tomato fields on the Bolsa. Not the road, but the area.

Bolsa is the Spanish word for pocket. No doubt it comes from Rancho Bolsa de San Felipe, of which the route and surrounding land were part during the once-upon-the-time of Spanish and Mexican dons. I've read that this pocket of land was known for its swamp, willow grove, and ravine. During heavy rains (remember those?), Bolsa Road can get so flooded that it has to be closed. That can be maddening when you need to get in and out of town, but still the flooded plain is a beautiful sight to behold.

It's 12 miles between Hollister and Highway 101 by way of the Bolsa. Twelve miles out to the real world. Twelve miles back to living far, far away. I’m not kidding. When movers from the Bay Area drove our belongings here, they panicked at the instant sight of no buildings, no freeway exchanges, and no sound walls as they turned onto the Bolsa. One mover called his honey and said he was half-way to Los Angeles.

On the Bolsa, you drive 12 miles of flat land, first viewing row crops, next cows out standing in their fields, and then row crops again. As you get closer to Hollister, you see a few orchards too. And, yes, there used to be a lot more orchards and on both sides of the road.

Being older and having lived for many years of adulthood out in the real world of freeways and noise, tall buildings and noise, urban crowdedness and noise, I appreciate the drive through space that is the Bolsa to seemingly far, far away of Hollister. Who knows how much longer this luxury of nothingness will last. Just within the past five years different developers tried putting up an Indian casino and a Sun City along the Bolsa. There’s still talk about building a brand-new town on the Bolsa, nearer to highway 101. I don’t even want to try to imagine it.

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