July 9, 2007


Over the weekend, The Wife and I drove down to Beverly Hills to have dinner with some friends we hadn’t seen in a while.  We had a wonderful dinner – as I wrote last week, good food and good wine shared with good friends is what it’s all about.  Unfortunately, despite leaving a two-hour window of time in which to travel to BH, we were still an hour late.  We got caught behind this brush fire, identified as an “accident” that closed down the freeway.  Now, I know this area well enough to know alternative routes.  There are two other ways to get through Agua Dulce other than the Antelope Valley freeway – there is Escondido Canyon Road to the south, and there is Sierra Highway to the north.  And that is it.  Other than that, you’ve got to take Angeles Forest Highway, which will put you in either Tujunga or Pasadena – neither of which are particularly useful when you’re trying to get to Beverly Hills.  As we approached, I could see the tower of smoke – at least a thousand feet high – and I could tell that it included both the freeway and Escondido Canyon Road, so I knew the only way through would be Sierra Highway.  But I waited one exit too long to get off the freeway and wound up stuck in the traffic stop.  People behaved very badly, forgetting all courtesy and permissiveness with regard to merging, creating four lanes on a two-lane highway, and driving on the shoulders and in some cases blocking emergency vehicles using the shoulders to try to get to the problem area.  Everyone was special and no one let anyone in to merge.  I lost my temper once when a guy would not stop tailgating in order to prevent me from merging in at one point.  This reminded me of the fact that there are only seven major highways and two major rail routes that service the entire Los Angeles metro area – going clockwise, you have Highway 1, Route 101, Interstate 5 to Sacramento, Highway 14, Interstate 15, the Union Pacific Line, Interstate 10, Highway 60, Interstate 5 to San Diego, and the Southern Pacific/Amtrak Line.  If all of these were to be cut off at the same time, for some reason, seven million people (or more) would be unable to get out and supplies would be unable to get in other than by sea or air.

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