Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Top 5 L.A. Highways

The traffic, the smog, the weirdos, the cliches.  In fact, none of those three things are a detriment in my opinion.  I like it out here.  Granted, I am a New York fan but I could make it out here just fine.  So, in taking stock of some unique things that exist on this coast, I tried to look past the obvious and found the super-obvious: highways.  

Yep.  The stalwart concrete creation of man.  Thanks to good ol' Ike, we can travel about from state to state in a relatively easy fashion.  How does this pertain to LA, you ask?  Well, LA is a huge city.  Gigantic, even.  It spans almost 500 square miles.  Yikes.  And how else are you going to search every single one of those miles without the trusty highways?  You're not.  Or you could if you have a few years to waste.  The following is my list for top five highways/freeways/motorways/traffic cesspools that I have had the pleasure of traversing the past few months.

5.  Interstate 5

This baby is long.  It's the only interstate to touch both the Mexican and Candian border.  With such destinations as Seattle, Portland, San Diego and of course LA, this is your one stop shop for all your west coast needs.  I chose the 5 for it's access to the O.C. ("Don't call it that...").  Everytime I've used it, there has never been too much traffic and it moves fairly quickly.  One of my favorite attractions right off the 5 just a little south of downtown is The Citadel.  I actually have no idea what it is but it is so deliciously gawdy.  I mean, they had a The Biggest Loser casting call there.  Score one for sweetness.  


4. U.S. Route 101

We get the crummy end of this highway cause it stretches all the way up Washington.  But this highway actually got the crummy end of a deal.  Interstate 5 came in and took some of the 101's business in the 1950's.  But all is not too bad when you're the highway of The Golden Gate Bridge.  I don't even like the 101 but I have to include the highway that takes you right past the Hollywood sign.  Just to see that is worth traveling it.  The traffic is generally horrendous though since it takes riders into downtown.  But, I was on it many a times this semester and now I know to avoid it.  You should too.  But only after the first time.

Hollywood Sign.jpg

3. Interstate 405

Running from Irvine up to San Fernando, the 405 is kind of the 5's little brother.  Reaching a tad further west, the 405 just feels like home.  I don't know why that is.  To get south of downtown, my GPS always wants me to take the 101 to the 110 and I don't want to.  The 405 just draws me for some reason.  That was the way we took out to EA Games earlier this semester.  Coming back right before you exit to the 101 near the Sherman Oaks mall, you come over the top of a giant hill and you can see city lights strech north for miles.  It's a beautiful view.  My favorite memory though is when I was coming back from Balboa Pier during Spring Break and I threw on Interpol's Turn On The Bright Lights.  That album is extremely abstract to me and not a favorite but the juxtaposition of that complex swirl of sound and the almost plains-like scenery and greenery that suprisingly accompanies the 405 down south is unforgettable.  It was the early evening and the sky lit up, not kidding, like crooked teeth for all you Death Cab fans.  Too cool.


2. California State Route 1

The great Pacific Coast Highway.  Or PCH ("Stil,l don't call it that...").  With a storied history, the PCH is one of the most famous and oldest highways in the nation dating all the way back to the 1920's.  Oh, and it is so beautiful driving along it.  I was lucky enough to be taking it around Huntington Beach in the early evening with the sun going down to my left.  It was gorgeous.  I was feeling very reflective and oddly enough had Antics by Interpol spinning.  My absolute favorite thing is all the oil rigs that are offshore.  Ever since I was in Virginia near some naval shipyard or something, I have been so fascinated and discreetly creeped out by large objects at great distances out on the ocean.  These oil rigs fit the description.  I feel it would be futile to try and explain this fixation here but it had to be said.  I'll try this, if you've seen the new Star Trek trailer when Chris Pine is riding his motorcycle and in the background are faintly visible giant structures.  I guess that's how I see the oil rigs.  


1. California State Route 134

The little guy.  The underdog.  The shortest of all my choices.  At a scant 13 miles, the 134 is my favorite.  Why?  Well, my friends, it gets me to Chop Shop ever so quickly.  I know it well and it knows me.  Never have a had a single ounce of traffic while traversing it, but that could be cause I'm going the opposite direction of the rush in the morning and evening.  The best part is when I'm coming home around 6ish or so and the sun is going down.  Driving up along a ridge, you can see the Valley and downtown but also the ocean on a clear day.  During sunset, it doesn't get much better.  The cool thing that I get to see right before I exit is the Colorado Street Bridge, or Pasadena's Suicide Bridge.  Long story short, apparently over one hundred poor souls have jumped to their death from this perch.  I'll direct you here so you can learn more.


So there you have it.  If you're wondering why I'm breaking the blog silence with something so mundane as highways, it's fine.  I had to do this for one of my Belmont West classes.  But it's a nice break from the usual complaining I do about other things honestly more unimportant and mundane as highways.  I do promise to regularly be back here at some point in time but I've learned to not make promises.  But for now, think about which one you want to drive and bring a weirdo out with you.  He or she will enjoy the smog and traffic.

1 comment:


Keep feedin me, for I readily identify as one of the baby birds. PJM