Monday, December 24, 2007
We Paved Paradise
As regular readers know, I'm not a big fan of car culture, so I was dreading the 500-mile drive from San Francisco to Palm Springs on Saturday.
If there was a high-speed train to Los Angeles and then another train to Palm Springs, I would be one of its first and happiest travelers, but we don't live in that world right now.
Still, the skies and the countryside were so beautiful Saturday morning as we drove through the Livermore valley...
...and onto Interstate 5, that I uttered the foolish words, "This is going to be a really beautiful drive."
Unfortunately, we picked the wrong day for travel where three million SUVs packed with families were going to visit grandma...
...and at one point the traffic stopped altogether for an hour or so after a minor fender bender between a couple of vehicles.
What was even worse is that the San Joaquin Valley feels like being on a poisoned planet, with the air getting grungier and more polluted the further south you travel. The Grapevine pass above was invisible until we were a couple of miles away from it.
The air in the San Joaquin Valley is so bad that the Los Angeles basin looked like a pristine natural environment in comparison.
That is, until one runs into the Interstate 5 traffic around Magic Mountain where the traffic crawls in a stop-and-start manner for miles at a time.
Though the 210 highway wasn't much quicker when we turned east, the combination of mountains, light and a nearly full moon was fairly breathtaking.
Plus, you get to drive through towns with strange names like Azusa.
We're all complicit in this natural disaster...
...and I only pray that we change course during my lifetime.