Feb 2007

Freeway From Hell

above Palm Desert
Henk and I braved insane Los Angeles traffic on patched concrete and grooved asphalt highways ten lanes across to get to Palm Springs to visit a childhood friend who was there on flight exercises with the Canadian Air Force. Once again, I wish I'd had a helmet cam because you wouldn't believe the hell that is L.A. freeways. The city is all about the car - the bigger the better - and little two wheelers like Henk are few and far between. I felt like an idiot waiting in traffic at a full stop breathing in SUV fumes an hour outside of San Bernardino; but I'd have felt like a bigger idiot splitting lanes like motorcyclists do here. It took me three and a half hours to get to Palm Springs on the 10 - a 2 hour drive at most if southern California had not been overrun by cars! A world gone completely mad - and yes, in that moment, there I was with Henk contributing to the madness trying not to get too mad.

Highway 74
I decided to do anything not to have to take a ten lane freeway home, so I rode south to Palm Desert and turned right onto the 74, which snaked gradually up into the high mountain desert. Although the air was cool as I climbed, the sky was blue, and I could tell by the land (and the number of retirees in Palm Springs) that it hardly rains in this part of the world. When I got to 4,000 feet and looked out at the desert valley below, little toy houses and cars catching the sun's rays and reflecting brilliantly in the sun, apart from feeling very alone and peaceful, and very high and isolated, I wondered why on earth the entire city below was not powered by the sun.