I'm a little late chiming in on this thread, but we travel 99 from Stockton(where we catch it) all the time to Visalia to visit our son. Last month, we were coming over from Vegas and since we weren't stopping in Visalia on the way home, I decided to take CA46 over to I-5 for a change of scenery. A mistake that was. I-5 from there to up towards Stockton was horrible. I was following a big rig for a while that obviously travels this route every day or every other day. I kept seeing him swerve sharply to the left or right at times so I figured he was on the phone or sleepy. When I went straight in his path w/o swerving, I hit some humungous pot holes, concrete separation strips, etc. He knew what to avoid. When we got home we had stuff relocate in the cupboards, etc. that we had never had relocate before.
99 is much better, IMO, they have taken many of the sections and made actually freeways out of them and are currently working on one now below Merced that will eliminate perpendicular cross roads that have been there for years. I am done with I-5 until they blacktop over it like they did on I-80 between Dixon and Fairfield.
Barry & Sue Miller(extended RVer's, 6 mos + per/year)
04 Journey 39K, C-7, 330 hp, towing: 02 Dakota 4X or 2013 Ford Edge, Aero 5050XL