Jun 27

1968 Upper Lopez Canyon Road



Jack Magee stands between two cars on narrow curve


August 10, 1968Upper Lopez Canyon Road was built along a ridge to replace the old and even narrower original road soon to be beneath the waters of the new Lopez Lake.In the era of super highway building it was a shock to see a new road only 16 feet wide, four feet less than standard.The road provides access to church and Boy Scout camps as well as Big and Little Falls.

Here are the first paragraphs of a story by staff writer Jack Magee.Remember those old country roads so narrow you had to wait for the other guy to pass—and honk your horn going around the bends?Well, there’s one a lot like it on the eastern fringe of the Lopez Water Project area northeast of Arroyo Grande.Only this one is brand, spanking new.

As the story says, Lopez project engineers specified the road at 16 feet. It would be up to the county to widen it.Quoting Magee again,

So it looks like traffic over the road will certainly increase—if it can. Those who drive it may find their insurance boosted if their agents find out.For, this skinny, spaghetti-string of a road seems made to order for sideswiping, with its curves, switchbacks, foot-deep drainage ditch in sections and blind corners.Sometimes, going around on of the tight curves carved through hills or chiseled out of cliffsides, you half expect to meet yourself coming the other way.

The reporter also talked to the project construction superintendent Parker Van Neman.

There’s always the outside chance you won’t meet any oncoming rig on the curves. And anyway, Van Neman observed reassuringly, those extra-long outside mirrors on campers fold on impact.

The photo was by Barry Minett**Another story on the front page tells of Richard Nixon’s pick for vice-president, Maryland Gov. Spiro T. Agnew. Mitt Romney’s father, George, was in the running as well as Gerald Ford but Nixon wanted an aggressive campaigner.Agnew.

“You can look him in the eye and you know he’s got it. This guy has got it,” said Nixon….“People say he’s not known. That’s nonsense in this day and age. He’s known now and as the campaign goes on he’ll become better known.”Agnew, Nixon said, is “one of the most underrated men in America.”

Both would be elected and later resign in disgrace.This year, 2008, the Olympics will be held in China, unimaginable in 1968 before Nixon opened relations with the communists.

Related posts:

  1. 1963 Lopez Canyon Oil
  2. 1965 Lopez Dam Proposal
  3. 1968 Diablo Canyon archeology
  4. 1963 Road Race
  5. 1968 Robert F. Kennedy assassination