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Maricopa sees influx in visitors after Highway 101 closure

Posted at 11:53 PM, Jan 15, 2018
and last updated 2018-01-16 02:53:03-05

What's usually a quiet town has been completely transformed, after last week's mudslides closed Highway 101 forcing travelers to take an alternate route. 

"We saw a sign in Santa Maria that said 'road closed' but we got it wrong and went down anyway and stopped at Montecito and had to drive around and turn around and finally come back and take the 166 for about an hour and a half," said Rojer Blaine, a traveler headed for Los Angeles. 


The small town of Maricopa on the outskirts of Kern County has seen a boom in visitors to the local Shell gas station, a business that was a bit unprepared by the influx and ran out of gas not once, but twice since last Tuesday.


"The gas stations, the one or two that there are should see plenty of business," said Chris De St Jenn, another traveler making his way through Mariposa. 


The town was inundated Monday night with travelers waiting in line to pump gas, to use the restroom at the local gas station, and of course,  to get through the town itself.


Locals, however, saw both the good and the bad in the new faces. 


"Positive because we're getting good business but negative because of all of the traffic, it goes both ways," said Tim Caples, a Maricopa local.