Road
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California unvarnished

Road
Heat shimmers off the surface of Highway 33 near the agricultural town of Firebaugh, west of Fresno. The state route is a workaday road, a highway for short-haul truckers and agricultural sales reps, for vans shuttling prisoners, convoys of harvesters and even the occasional lone tractor. (Michael Robinson Chavez / Los Angeles Times)
Flag
Firebaugh is one of the scrappy little agriculture-dependent towns along Highway 33 that always seem to be on the brink, just one drought or crop calamity away from ruin, but somehow manage to hang on. (Michael Robinson Chavez / Los Angeles Times)
Barber
Rod Napoleon, right, shares some memories with Kenny Kohaul in the rear dining room of Tina’s Diner, a venerable institution in the oil town of Maricopa. Napoleon is the patriarch of a group of retired roughnecks who meet every Wednesday at the diner. (Michael Robinson Chavez / Los Angeles Times)
Museum
The San Joaquin Valley town of Coalinga is home to the quirky R.C. Baker Memorial Museum, which includes a painstakingly detailed vintage gas station from the 1930s. (Michael Robinson Chavez / Los Angeles Times)
Field
Workers pull weeds from rows of organic carrots in the Cuyama Valley, where Highway 33 begins its ascent into the Los Padres National Forest. (Michael Robinson Chavez / Los Angeles Times)
Cows
North of Coalinga, Highway 33 joins Interstate 5 alongside the massive Harris Ranch stockyard. (Michael Robinson Chavez / Los Angeles Times)
Fishing
Pao Moua, left, drove out with his daughter Mercedes, 15, and her dog Shadow from Madera to the California Aqueduct near Highway 33 and the town of Santa Nella. (Michael Robinson Chavez / Los Angeles Times)
Pass
Highway 33 winds through the mountains of the Los Padres National Forest in Ventura County. (Michael Robinson Chavez / Los Angeles Times)
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