Looking at a map, it is likely lucky the California Motel lasted as long as it did. Sitting on 16th Street in Merced that once carried U.S. Route 99, it could have easily fallen to eminent domain when U.S. 99 was was re-routed onto a freeway. Instead, it is right at the end of northbound Exit 186C where the freeway makes a turn to the west. In addition to not being new and shiny plus not having immediate access back onto what is now California State Route 99, I’m guessing the noise of cars and trucks decelerating off the exit was a big part of why this property has been closed and fenced off for so long. For vintage sign fans, this is also lucky as it keeps this old sign standing as the layout of the freeway makes this piece of property so undesirable for redevelopment.