Stuck at Kettleman City

We’ve been on the road since I don’t know what time. Yay to Yoshi for driving, because I don’t think I’d have been able to take this.

They shut down the 5 southbound at Hwy 41 but by the time that happened, we were already stuck on the 5 and past the last offramp before the 41.

We spent over two and half hours to go the final 5 miles or so to Kettleman City.

Thank god we made it to Jack in the Crack before closing so we could use the restroom and order food (we were the last customers of the night before they shut down the register).

update from yoshi: wanna know what happened?

we headed out of gilroy (after lunch with my mom and a *quick* stop at eddie bauer to get jozjozjoz a rain jacket) around 5:15 pm and had very little rain or wind over pacheco pass. it was all gravy once we got on I-5, too, until a couple miles before harris ranch (100,000 head of wet cattle don’t smell so good, btw) and the flashing alert sign said “hway closed at rt 41 use alt route.” mmm, ok. the exit to the alternate route, which i guess went past harris ranch, was backed up for 2 miles. so we kept going. bad idea. but traffic cleared up for another couple of miles and then about 5 miles from kettleman city the traffic stopped. we turned on the traffic report (which we should’ve done before we left but hey, we’re not so smart sometimes) and learned that a series of accidents had forced the closure of the highway. and because of the number of cars on the road already, the CHP had closed the onramp to I-5 from highway 152, the road we’d been on earlier in the afternoon. an overturned big rig on I-5 was being cleared so they were forcing everyone off at kettleman city. the alternate route usually is highway 33 but that was also closed due to downed power lines so it was either 60 miles west to highway 101 or 60 miles east to highway 99. we called my parents to get help weighing the options and then decided to go east to hwy 99. as it turns out, there were downed power lines along I-5 around bakersfield, too, so the southbound lanes of I-5 were shut down from kettleman city to highway 99. next time we’re calling 1-800-gas-road (Caltrans number provides road conditions, closure and delay information). so not fun.

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3 Responses to “Stuck at Kettleman City”



  • What was wrong with the road? Rain? And is there a restaurant named Jack in the Crack, really??


  • That’s why I usually take the 101 to go down to LA if it’s winter–the 5 is too unpredictable and scary. The husband and I got caught up in some tule fog for about 10 miles once, and after that I don’t take the 5 during the winter.


  • poor you! it’s bad enough being stuck, but by 100,000 wet cattle and those hills of manure? i’m glad you made it home ;)

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