"I-5 Junction for Pacheco Pass" Santa Nella Village by atufft
Santa Nella Village Travel Guide: 0 reviews and 3 photos
Along the I-5 California Central freeway corridor, there are a number of small hamlets that are either completely devoted to the business of serving travelers, or are older farm towns that have similarly found greater profits by selling gas, food, and lodging to those driving through. Gustine is the older farm town, and Santa Nella is the new one, created originally by the Anderson's Split Pea Soup company as a hospitality center. The landmark which is most notable along the east side stretch of I-5 is the Anderson's Split Pea Soup Windmill and German style architecture. Across the freeway overpass on the west side is the mission revival belltower of the Ramada Inn Mission De Oro. In addition to these two landmarks is a large number of corporate gasoline stations and fast food providers. The information provided here more or less duplicates that given for the town of Gustine, which is accessed by the same exit, but is slightly north and further off the freeway. There is very little of interest in Gustine for the passing traveler. For those more interested in seeing a local town, see my pages for Los Banos, the closest central valley town of any significant size and interest. Even this town though is likely to be appreciated in a matter of minutes or hours, quite frankly, although the suburban residential and retail business growth of Los Banos has been considerable in recent years.
The San Luis Reservoir and a couple of wildlife refuges are located in this area too, and are themselves of considerable interest. However, the Pacheco Pass, through which hwy 152 threads is of notable interest to travelers for a variety of reasons. First, few California travelers know about the ease of transit between the central valley and the Monterey Bay area via this route. Pacheco Pass actually affords a quick scenic access between San Jose and the Monterey Bay area through to Yosemite, for instance, and for those in a hurry traveling south toward Los Angeles or Los Vegas, easy access to speedy I-5 freeway via the Pacheco Pass route is a secret told in few travel guides. The Pacheco Pass is not new. This was an escape route used by Joaquin-Murrieta, the legendary "Robin Hood" figure who was the inspiration for the masked bandit swashbuckler Zorro. Today, the growing neighborhoods in Gustine, Santa Nella, and Los Banos are resident to many who commute daily over the Pacheco Pass to high paying jobs in the Silicon Valley. The attraction here is affordable housing, since the average price of a new home is in many cases less than half the price of a similar home in the San Jose metropolitan area.
Santa Nella/Gustine interchange is relatively remote roadside stop for many travelers heading between Northern and Southern California. The fortunes of the Anderson's Split Pea Soup Restaurant and other businesses here compete for the traveler's dollar, so expect frequent changes in service over time. When we stopped by recently, Anderson't Spit Pea was closed. However, the roadside attraction continues to grow every year, so if one is in need of gas, food, bathroom, or even a stay overnight, the options for these services will continue to multiply. One more comment: It's worth watch the gas gauge carefully along I-5 and measuring when and where to get gas. Santa Nella stations, like many others in isolated sections of I-5 are likely to have some of the highest prices in the state due to the desperate fortunes of those passing through.
- Pros:Easy off-ramp access for travelers and affordable housing for locals
- Cons:Not much beyond fast food and gasoline
- In a nutshell:Santa Nella/Gustine is one of several stops along the I-5 corridor
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