GNABRT Day 11 – 3 days in L.A.


GNABRT map - day 11It’s actually more than that, of course, but when I was on the phone with my friend this morning, I mentioned that in between the Dodgers game tomorrow and the Padres game, I had three full days of nothing (except exploring, I suppose).  I thought it would make a good film title.

Good Gravy!  I’ve driven in Washington and been driven in New York.  I think California is going to win the award for worst traffic conditions.

It was prophetic that my first traffic jam occurred right at the sign proclaiming the California border (with Nevada).  The fun kept going from there.

Most times you get into a traffic jam there is a cause.  While I find any traffic jam on a highway inexplicable without an accident, the jams today were totally inexplicable.  I struggled to find any reason for the slowdowns.  I never found one on any of the occurrences (of which there were many).

Apparently, Californians just like to slow to a crawl every five miles or so, even when on an open interstate between the cities.  Sure, there were times the slow truck lane (don’t get me started) merged back into the highway (3 lanes to 2), but for that to slow down 70 mph cars with two lanes to drive in seemed improbable, if not irrational.

Now, understand, most of these jams were nowhere near L.A. or any other “congested” city.  I just plain didn’t get it.  I was exceptionally pleased at my reaction, though, which was actually amusement at the incongruity of continually slowing down to a crawl on a high-speed interstate.  Nowhere else in my 3,500 miles had I encountered this.  I especially liked when we waddled past a 70 mph speed limit sign at 15 mph.  You can’t make this stuff up!

The City:  Los Angeles, California follows the pattern of most of the cities in the southwest in that a series of Spanish and Mexican explorers settled in the area and began the process of naming the locales.

As befits a city famous for providing fanciful ideas, the original name of the city was El Pueblo Sobre el Rio de Nuestra Señora la Reina de los Angeles del Río de Porciúncula.  And you thought Lawrence Welk had a long run.

That was in 1781.  60 years later, Los Angeles had 141 people, or  about half the people shown in the CGI credits section of most summer blockbuster films. Just six years later, the U.S. “wins” California from Mexico (who makes it official the next year).

By 1880, the city was burgeoning and USC was founded, that’s the USC Methodists, until a newspaper columnist uses the word Trojans. Less than 20 years later, L.A. gets the fifth symphony orchestra established in the U.S.

1910 is the first time a film is shot in L.A.  The pace picks up from there.

The Game:  The Dodgers indeed play tonight, but I usually give myself the day off on a travel day. The GNABRT will see them tomorrow.

Miscellany of Day 11:

– A couple of times crossing the wide open spaces on the highway, the Subaru was buffeted by a powerful gust.  The car was shoved at least 3 or 4 feet each time.  Interestingly, no signs were posted like in New Mexico warning drivers about strong cross winds.  Either it’s uncommon or they expect everyone will be stuck in a traffic jam and be unaffected.

– I was concerned my Nav speech circuits would wear out as she repeatedly told me “Traffic Jam Ahead”.  It was most amusing when I was actually in a jam and she would tell me.  I discovered she was referring to the next traffic jam awaiting me when I got out of the one I was in.

– The whole right lane thing had me confused.  Supposedly, this lane was for slow-moving trucks (they seemed to have a maximum driving speed well below the passenger limit).  While they could be spotted in these lanes, passenger cars went careening in and out of the lane to pass other vehicles.  This confused me twice:  Why would you pass on the right when the slowest vehicles would be in the two right lanes (trucks and slow cars) and why create a slow truck lane, just make a left-side passing lane for all the crazed speedsters.

– The front desk clerk recommended a place called Chego’s for my food choice.  It is a Mexican-Korean combo (I’m just repeating, I’m not explaining).  They sell bowls of interesting food.  I chose The Beefy T, with hot chili rice, beef, other stuff and spicy sauce.  It was less than a block from the hotel so I brought it back to the room.  I had to turn down the A/C while I was eating.  Yum!

– Speaking of eating in the room, I surmise the floor is slanted.  The desk has a chair with wheels and the chair constantly slides back to the beds.  I literally had to hold the underside of the desk while eating.  On the plus side, I can roll back to my bags or paperwork without effort.

Tomorrow, beyond the Dodgers game (the hotel has a free shuttle…woo hoo), I am taking my Subaru for its first service (6,000 miles).  I’m sure Pacific Subaru will be thrilled to give me some no-charge service knowing they’ll never see me again.  The place is located in Torrance, which has some resonance to my previous existence.

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