Todays post is going to be completely not job related. This blog is going to probably mostly be about work and games and stuff. But all work and no play would be a dull existence so here is something a bit different.
When I first came to LA 15 odd years ago, I thought it was horrible. I arrived here after driving all around the South West US, San Fran, Yosemite, Kings Canyon, Vegas, Grand Canyon etc etc. LA was a big disappointment, I remember driving up the 101 to go to Universal Studios. It was hot, overcrowded, just awful. So you can imagine how delighted I was when I found that I wouldn't be working at Sony in Foster City (Nor Cal) when I moved to the US 8 Years ago. Instead it was going to be Santa Monica in West LA.
Now though, times have definitely changed. In fact I have spent enough time up in Foster City, to know that I would have hated it. LA on the other hand keeps surprising me. One of my hobbies is driving. I am lucky enough to have bought my dream car a couple of years ago, its made for the twisties. I am always looking for great drives where you can get away from the masses. Even with LA and its 6 million odd cars, its suprisingly easy to find them.
Just last week at the end of my break I went on a drive up in the hills. I had purposely been waiting for a super clear spring day. You often get them at this time of year, usually the best day is just after a rain storm. The wind blows all the clouds and any smog away and you can see for literally a hundred miles. If you ever came to LA on a day like that you may have seen some very big mountains off in the distance. At the very top of these are some enormous aerials. This is actually the Mount Wilson observatory.
The road that leads up to this is called the Angeles Crest Highway. I saw someone on message board talking about this road. They described it as one of the best drives close to Los Angeles. Its actually a pretty major road through the mountains. But a couple of years ago a major storm destroyed part of the highway and it has yet to be fixed. This destroyed section is about 35 miles in though. So that means 35 miles of twisty cool mountain scenery with almost no traffic on it, since it doesn't really lead anywhere.
The Mount Wilson exit is not very far along the road and the view from the top is pretty spectacular. You can honestly see for a hundred miles. If you take a look at this panorama you can see a small blob in the middle of the city. This is the enormous LA downtown. Some of the buildings are 70+ stories. You can't see it at all on the photo, but it was possible to see all the way to Santa Monica in the distance haze. Its the best view of LA I have yet found.
Driving further down the road, past the police speed trap (No one lives on this road and nobody commutes on it, so they were just there to make some cash) the road opens up into some beautiful scenery. It goes as high as 7000 feet in parts and the temperature was dropping the whole way. It was about 45 degrees at the top compared to 70 when I left the house. In fact there was still snow on the ground. There were lots of signs warning of Ice and the need for snow chains. I can imagine it gets pretty nasty conditions whenever a winter storm passes through LA.
All good things come to an end. This road will be even better when they fix the storm damage. It normally carrys on right up to 'Mountain High' which is a ski area pretty close to LA. There is even a nice little restuarant and Bar about 20 miles down this road called 'Newcombs Ranch'. I had some nice Lunch there on my way back. For now I would have to say this is the best drive I have had in LA. Its only about 20 mins from my house to the start of this road and I will be coming back a lot more.
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