Roadway>>james Dean’s Last Ride

As you travel on Highway 46 from California's Central Valley toward the coast, you'll pass by a spot called Cholame. There isn't much to distinguish the place besides a cafe and a shady tree, but it marks the the site where a 24-year old James Dean lost his life behind the wheel of his Porsche 550 Spyder on September 30, 1955.

I passed through Cholame on my way to Santa Maria for the Cruisin' Nationals last month and thought it would be worth sharing this infamous spot with you guys.

On that day in 1955, James Dean was driving his Porsche from Los Angeles to Salinas for a sports car race, when he collided with a 1950 Ford Coupe at junction of highways 41 and 46. Dean succumbed to injuries from the wreck, while his mechanic and passenger Rolf Wütherich was seriously injured but survived.

The cafe sits about a mile from the original site of the crash and now serves as a stopover point for those traveling between the Central Coast and the Valley.

When I dropped by there were a few truckers taking a break from the road.

I've yet to dine at the Jack Ranch Cafe. Might have to stop in the next time I pass through and sample the cuisine.

The James Dean Memorial itself is the work of Seita Ohnishi, a James Dean from Japan. The memorial was designed and built in Japan before being transported to Cholame.

Also part of the memorial is this plaque – "A Tribute to a Young Man".

The famous photo of James Dean at a gas station in Los Angeles preparing for that fateful ride.

Even though the road layout has changed since 1955, there is still something a little eerie about this two lane road highway that passes through the golden hills of Central California.

If you ever find yourself passing through, make sure to stop in Cholame and see this piece of history for yourself.

-Mike Garrett

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13 comments

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1

Ever since, the porsche where James crashes, has been killing people.

2

Agree with vrooom, "google" "James Dean Porsche curse"- Now that is eerie!!!

That second to last photo you show is only minutes after the car was unloaded off of the trailer at Bakersfield, as Dean could not wait to drive it any longer. This is the last photo ever taken of James Dean. RIP mr Dean, another fine actor and car enthusiast taken before his time!!

3

I used to go there all the time when I lived in Lemoore

4

Awesome. I used to stop by there every couple weekends on my trip from where I was stationed in Lemoore to home in Pismo for a food pit stop.

5

i could see why he would have been speeding down that road in that car...

6

a fitting tribute. the guy was cool too.

7

I once made a stop in Fairmount, Indiana, where James Dean spent some time growing up and where he is buried. There's a little museum in an old school building which contains many artifacts and possessions of the late actor. A very interesting place.

8

Really?!?! don't know why, but I'm interested in this ghost stuff on public roads

9

Fag in his mouth at a petrol station, brave man!

10

Thanks for the nice Tribute. I've stopped here many times as I venture to Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca. The food at this cafe is really good.

11

I Have The Last Photo Of James Dean only Two people Have ever Seen This Photo It is Of James Dean And his Machanic in the back of the ambulance .

12

Nikhil: if memory serves, it was the other driver's fault for driving into the oncoming lane, not Dean's

13

Re: BlueSlug



I think the other driver was let off the hook. Dean was speeding(1). But the main factor was his car. It was a hot day in the dessert(heatwaves), and with him driving that low of a car at that speed it was very likely that his car was almost invisible because of the color, background, and speed he was driving. It really is too bad. He had a lot of potential he never reached.



RIP James Dean.

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