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Old Highway 395, Part 7: US 395 in Bonsall and Fallbrook via CA 76 and Mission Road (1934-1947)

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Go to: Part 6 | Main Old 395 page | Part 8

We continue on our early US 395 alignment from the previous Part, crossing the San Luis Rey River into Bonsall and Fallbrook almost entirely along CA 76 and SDCo S13, and also look at some lost alignments and crossings that were bypassed by the modern highways.


CA 76: Mission Road

The Bonsall Bridge in Part 6 is obviously not how we'll be crossing the river with the trusty Saturn; instead, we get onto CA 76 and arc over it on the modern 1990 crossing, which is still just one lane per direction. CA 76 here is named Mission Rd, which US 395 will continue north when it branches off towards Fallbrook. Although it isn't signed here, SDCo S13 is also hitchhiking with us from Vista Way.

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Picking up the other end of US 395/former CA 76, emerging on the other side of the Bonsall Bridge as Old Mission Road.

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Distance signage, including to Lake Henshaw, where CA 76 terminates at CA 79.

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EB CA 76/NB SDCo S13/old US 395.

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CA 76 is a very twisty route with poor sight distance, perpetually congested and running often in far excess over its design capacity. For this reason much of the route is designated no-pass with a centre "rumble strip" made out of Botts dots.

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Bonsall. Bonsall, and of course the Bridge, are named for the Rev. James Bonsall, a retired Methodist minister and local settler who cultivated fruit trees in the region; originally, however, the town existed as Mount Fairview as far back as the 1850s. In a move anticipating modern municipalities renaming themselves stupid and sycophantic things such as "Truth or Consequences" and "Half.com," the town later renamed itself Osgood after the chief engineer of the Southern Railway Survey to flatter him into routing the railway through the town. No such luck, alas. The Post Office gave the town its modern name in 1889.

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Advance signage for the SDCo S13/CA 76 separation. Notice how Mission Rd follows S13; east of this point CA 76 becomes Pala Rd.

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Separation. We turn left to follow old US 395 into Fallbrook.

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San Diego County Route S13: Mission Road

Historic Route 395 signage at the turnoff.

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Looking back at the CA 76/S13 junction with some very large shields on this guide sign.

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Incidentally, east of the intersection is this ghastly sign for the CA 76 safety zone. The general layout and copy are okay, if bland, but the distorted 76 shield looks like a green Easter egg with two kissing automobiles on it.

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North on Mission Rd/SDCo S13/old US 395.

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Mile 4.

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Hellers Bend

One of the bypassed sections is on the grade into Fallbrook, which Mission Rd continues on a straight grade.

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The old alignment, however, is a more wind-y road called Hellers Bend.

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If you look closely, you can see where the road striping branched off onto the old alignment.

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Continuing down Hellers Bend.

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A little ways along we start coming up to this fenced off area.

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This is the Heller's Bend Preserve (notice that the sign has an apostrophe), operated by the local Fallbrook Land Conservancy.

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Grant signage next door.

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The reason for the bypass is pretty obvious; curves like this would have been insanely hazardous with truck traffic, for example.

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On some sections, the asphalt has worn off to reveal the original concrete beneath it.

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Continuing around the small ranch-style plots and homes that dot the area.

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A small original culvert.

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Approaching Mission Road and the end of Hellers Bend.

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SDCo S13: Mission Road (continued)

Continuing north on Mission Rd.

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Mile 11.

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Shortly afterwards we come to another old bypassed portion, this one much shorter.

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This is the old Ostrich Creek bridge (a small feeder of the San Luis Rey), looking at the later US 395 crossing from the old bridge itself.

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The US 395 bridge Mission Rd uses now was built in 1943, as the date stamp indicates.

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The Ostrich Creek Bridge itself, however, is considerably older and probably dates from the very early 1920s (per the Fallbrook Historical Society). It was part of the original routing of US 395, although it is not obvious why it was replaced.

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Looking at the creek nearby.

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The bridge is still here at the corner of Mission and Overland Trail, despite its dilapidated current condition.

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Continuing north into Fallbrook. Fallbrook is not an incorporated city even in spite of its moderately sized population and the fact that the region had been settled in modern times since 1858, when Vital Reche put down stumps in the region (the Reche in names like Reche Road), and undoubtedly earlier. Reche was, among other things, a beekeeper and named his particular brand of honey after his hometown of Fallbrook, PA. The name then, er, stuck to the town as well. Today, the region is inhabited by 29,100 [2000]. Some older maps render the town as Fall Brook, but that hasn't been seen since the 1950s.

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S13 is the main artery for Fallbrook proper, but S13 does not follow US 395's route in the downtown section.

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Instead, we separate down the business district (closed to thru oversize truck traffic), heralded by a Historic Route 395 sign.

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Main Avenue in Fallbrook

Entering the Fallbrook downtown business district. Main Avenue was originally Main Street, and it isn't certain to me why the name was changed.

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Junction SDCo S15, a small local route to the nearby park areas, connecting with Old Highway 395 on the other side. Another repurposed county shield; obviously San Diego county likes to recycle their signs. The other side of this highway is in Part 9.

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Notice the "greenout" on the overhead street sign, replacing Street with Avenue.

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During Christmas, when I took a number of these photographs, Fallbrook really gussies up.

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Approaching Mission Rd/SDCo S13 on the other end of its bypass around downtown.

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Junction S13.

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Detour: San Diego County Route S13 Fallbrook Bypass

SDCo S13 instead takes a western bypass around the downtown intended for thru traffic and trucks. There is no evidence to suggest that US 395 ever followed this alignment, but here it is for completeness, just past the Main Ave split.

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Mile 14.

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Junction S15 (and its western terminus).

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Turning right also to curve east.

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Picking up US 395 at Main Ave.

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End Detour: Mission Road

Continuing on as Mission Rd/NB SDCo S13/NB US 395, although for the remainder of this alignment we will actually be heading east.

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S13 shield.

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This alignment is quite curvy and difficult in places, as shown here descending the hill into the Rainbow Valley (in the next Part). Notice an old alignment sitting next door which has been turned into a discontinuous access road.

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Historic Route 395 sign, continuing our descent.

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Mile 19.5 (an interesting fractional milepost) as we make the terminal approach towards the later US 395 and Interstate 15.

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End SDCo S13 at Old Highway 395 and Interstate 15. Here our two forks meet, but first we need to cover "New" Highway 395, and for that we will rewind back to Escondido in Part 8.

Continue to Part 8

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