It used to be when I would drive to L.A. I would take what I call the "back way" using the Pearblossom Highway. Pearblossom, although dangerous due to its one lane each way (I will never drive it at night), is quite fun because it takes you across a windy valley where the road is littered with little shops that sell kites and wind chimes and other toys and Charlie Brown Farms where you can buy all kinds of good stuff to eat. I like to make a stop at Penney Lynn’s shop and buy a colorful pinwheel then open up my truck windows so it can cheerfully spin in the breeze. Pearblossom also has a long stretch of hilly ups and downs that if you hit them just right give you that satisfying, squirmy, stomach dropping sensation that induces in me odd nostalgia for family road trips as a kid.
I am driving to L.A. today to visit my dear friend Jen (and see Amy and Ben too!) and unfortunately my little "back way" would take me much longer since Jen lives in Culver City, so I am taking the straightforward route down the 15 to the 10. Saving time is always good, but truthfully I loathe this route because it takes me over the dreaded Cajon Pass. I hate the Cajon Pass. The downturn of this pass is so very, very steep, so that the stretch of road seems to float hundreds of feet in the air with a bottomless pit on one side of it. Most drivers fly down it at speeds that so defy logic that it all just makes me want to cry. As soon as I hit it my heart starts pounding, blood rushes to my head, my breathes shorten, I turn down the radio for concentration and grip the steering wheel until my knuckles turn white, all the while praying that I will live through it! And I don’t even believe in prayer! I always move over to the slow lane, but that doesn’t stop these crazy freewheeling speedsters from crawling up my ass and then passing me as soon as they get the chance! I’ve shared this irrational fear of the Cajon Pass with friends. It’s amazing how polarized the reactions can be. One friend will agree with me completely while another will laugh in my face and berate me for being that slow scaredy cat that gets in their way when they traverse the pass with glee! To make matters worse, just the other day I saw on the news that there was a 50 CAR PILEUP on the pass! No deaths, thank goodness, but still! Of course this was very early in the morning and due to early morning fog obscuring the roadway. I'll hit it just after noon so I'm sure I'll be fine. Gulp.