Neverending freeways

I’ve had two days of driving the freeways and I have to say that they never seem to end.

Heading out to Venice yesterday we took the 10 freeway in a westerly direction. All the freeways in LA are known by their numbers which, until you are here, sound so confusing. For example, a friend recently posted to my Facebook wall the directions to Los Angeles airport. It read “101 south to 110 south to 105 west.” Anyone reading that back home would think it was some kind of code to find a treasure (in this case I did find a treasure at the end, Movie Lass).

However, once you get the hang of the traffic arteries, you can pretty much go anywhere. That said, a GPS with advanced lane assist makes things so much easier, especially when there are carpool lanes or you come to an intersection where, if you were looking from above, it would look like a bowl of grey spaghetti.

Today’s freeway adventure was driving Movie Lass east on the 10 freeway to Redlands, which is a lengthy 60 odd miles away. For some reason, in my head I equivalated 60 miles with 60km and wasn’t expecting the drive to be so far. In reality it was something of a 100km drive on a freeway with 6 lanes and walls, making it somewhat of a tunnel with nothing interesting to look at except the back end of cars passing me.

Don’t get me wrong, I really like driving here. But on my solo trip back home as I battled with bleary eyes from the long, hazy drive, I just kept thinking “there is no way I could do this in peak hour traffic.”

Exit the freeway

Doorman's Chair
The doorman gets the best seat in the house, although the view of the stage is pretty shoddy.

Astra and I were headed out for the evening to see a musical comedy show, Lost Moon Radio, produced by a (hopefully soon to be) friend I met last week.

We had just got on the freeway and I was telling Astra how I like to sit on about 55 miles per hour (not quite 90kmph) when all of a sudden all I could see in my mirrors was a cop car with flashing lights and sirens blaring. I was being pulled over. I had a mini panic because I didn’t really know what to do. I moved into the far right lane and went to stop on the shoulder when over the megaphone I heard “Take the next exit”, so I kept going. The exit seemed to go on forever and there wasn’t anywhere to pull over. The cop could sense my hesitation and said “Exit the freeway! Exit the freeway!”

I continued to receive barked instructions over the megaphone, which were distorted and unintelligible as we passed under the freeway, so I trundled slowly on and got a commanding “STOP!” I made to turn and get my handbag off the back seat, but Astra warned me not to, just to stay still in case he got spooked about me pulling a weapon or something. Whilst I’ve not had to use it before, I’m sure I could use my handbag as a weapon, especially since I had the mean motorcycle bag with me, but that would be as close as I would get to carrying and using a weapon.

The cop appeared at Astra’s window with a torch. I pressed the button for it to wind down and he asked to see my registration papers and drivers license. He then told me that he’d pulled me over because my tail light was out. He didn’t really want to believe that I didn’t know that but said he would let me off with a warning. I’m not sure how I’m supposed to know when my lights aren’t working, and after just having picked Esmeralda up from the mechanic, it didn’t even cross my mind to check. But I promised to get it looked at the next day.

As the cop went to leave, he asked if I knew how to get back on the freeway, and I said “I have a GPS”.

Not that it helped. We went around in circles for a while as we ended up going north instead of south on the freeway and then east instead of west on an exit to turn around. Despite still feeling shaken, we could see the funny side of driving in circles.

For some reason, the GPS (whose name is Lori the Lunatic), kept telling me to exit the freeway way earlier than I had seen on my earlier Google Maps direction plot. Supremely confident in my ability to find my way, I ignored Lori every single exit until La Brea which is where I wanted to get off. Then I mucked it up and couldn’t get off so I had to wait until the Fairfax exit. Then Lori didn’t want to help me get on West Adams Boulevard, so Astra and I found that on our own and then proceeded to the address. However, after we passed La Brea I started to have my doubts about where Lori was trying to take us.

After a mile and a few blocks, I thought I’d best check the address. And well, human error does occur. It seems I’d typed in 3253 instead of 5253. I think a bit of dyslexia had kicked in there. So we turned around and finally made it to the venue on time – albeit via a most roundabout trip. I would love to see a print out of where we drove, there’d be comedy in that.

Lost Moon Radio Episode 9 was great (and worth the massive adventure to get there). There were some very talented people and some really funny pieces and it was a great opportunity to take advantage of the diverse entertainment on offer in LA. Though I didn’t get up and sing karaoke to the live band afterwards; that would have been bad entertainment.

Heading out on the freeway

Gin, J and I have headed off on an adventure in the hired Corolla. A drive on multiple freeways to San Diego.

Karen, our Australian GPS, helped us find our way from the 101 to the 5 to the 710 to the 5 to the 55 to the 1 and well, you get the drift, we were freeway whoring all over southern California.

Aside from the snaking entrances and exits, what fascinated me was driving in to San Diego at night. We came over a hill and before us lay two wide reflective lines of red and white lights like an 80’s arcade game. A product of the busy 6 lane freeway.

Everything is bigger in America.