Saturday, March 19, 2022

The Drive of a Lifetime - That I never thought I would be able to take

 I grew up driving. Like most Angelenos of a certain vintage, I got my learner's permit on the day I turned 15 1/2 and my driver's license a day or two after my 16th birthday. My car was not more than 2 months later.

My first fun rides were up to Griffith Park (about 45 minutes from my house) and then on the roads in the park that were built in the 1930s and were a superass fun drive. Particularly as they went nowhere slowly with 1930's switchbacks and "guardrails". 

Those roads were the first victims of cut backs with Prop 13 (long story). They are still there as too steep bike paths and asphalt hiking trails. If you check google maps, they still have the solid green lines of paved, versus the dotted lines of trails. Now they are the purview of long distant or trail bike riders looking for a serious workout.

You can actually see one of those roads in the movie La La Land. It is the road that the leads actually dance on high above LA. They added the streetlight (as you can see because there are no others), but the posts instead of guardrails, and the absolutely gorgeous views to the West and Northwest are true. It was a fantastic drive. But, like I said, you can't drive there anymore.

Filmed on the old Griffith Park "Mount Hollywood" Road that ran through the empty west side of the park.

(Note to my momAnd just FYI, no, that wasn't the gay cruising section - which I honestly never did. I was lucky and grew up shortly after the only way to get sex was to wait in the park. I would not be good having illegal sex OR outside sex. That, to me, is a boner killer right there).

The other legendary drive you could not take without a special off-road vehicle. And, seemingly, an armed backup. That was the road down Baja from San Diego to Cabo. Well, now you can and there is an entire story about it.

You can read it if you want, it describes the magic of that road trip. The road is new. At least since I was young 30 years ago. It used to only be paved part way down the peninsula. For those that don't know, and I assume that is many, because lots of people think Baja California is part of California, it is a glorious and unpopulated part of Mexico. The northern part became a (Mexican) state in 1954. The southern part (Baja California Sur) became a state in 1974.

But the road was still dirt until 1973, and supposedly in the grip of banditos (and yes, I understand how racist the term was - which is why we don't use it) and so it was not to be driven except by big rigs who would not be attacked and hippy caravans, who had nothing to steal.

Well, with the development of a few places along the road, the trip is now safe. The multiple police checkpoints help with that! And the story talks about a road trip up from Cabo. Along the way are the grey whale spawning grounds, where you can paddle out among them in season. And the whales seem comfortable with people.

It is something I am dying to do (the drive first, the whales second). Even going so far as to plan a compatible "safe" desert coastal drive in Australia. I now that it is safe, I would rather go up Baja. Soon! (although the list of "I want to do" is long as Ed will atest).

No comments:

Post a Comment

The Naval Museum in Tivat Montenegro

Tivat, Montenegro is an interesting place. It started as a quiet seaside town that was focused on fishing until the 1900s.  Starting in the ...