I'm not really all that mysterious

pacific coast highway

So I just got back to S.D. from Harbor City, where my uncle and my godmother live. The quickest way back would involve backtracking to the 405, and then heading south directly to the 5, or via the 73 toll road:

I-110 N to I-405 S to I-5 S

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I-110 N to I-405 S to California Hwy 73 S to I-5 S

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But I really like taking the coastal route, even though it adds about an extra 45 minutes to the trip

I-110 S to California Highway 47 N to I-710 N to Ocean Blvd/Livingston Dr/2nd St to California Highway 1 S to I-5 S

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While I think I’ve taken this way more recently, the last time I really remember was around the time when my cousin Rnl. got married. I still remember that particularly hopeful summer, when I was listening to Koop and Sy Smith, and I kept waiting for something good to happen. I wasn’t exactly sure what it was that I was waiting for, but I remember that feeling of electric anticipation. Things were gonna change. I could feel it.

But no. Oh, there are things that have transpired in the intervening two years. Some things have been quite awful, but a few things have actually been surprisingly joyful (so long as I don’t try to think too far ahead and dissect things until there’s nothing left but a bloody, unrecognizable mess. But I digress….) But the Life-Changing Event™ I’m waiting for seems to continue to evade me. One wonders if I would recognize it if it punched me in the face.

Nonetheless, there is some cosmic symmetry in that my cousin and his wife Jnl. are expecting, with a due date sometime in October.

I love driving down to the harbor. Palos Verdes looms to the right, and you can see the lights of the Vincent Thomas Bridge on the left.

Palos Verdes
Palos Verdes from I-110 S • Google Maps Street View
Vincent Thomas Bridge
Vincent Thomas Bridge from I-110 S • Google Maps Street View Vincent Thomas Bridge • CA 47 S • 2006 Nov 23 • Canon S400

The Vincent Thomas Bridge is the only suspension bridge in Southern California, connecting San Pedro with Terminal Island, which is part of the sprawling, gigantic San Pedro-Long Beach port complex.

The massive scale of the San Pedro-Long Beach port complex is nearly incomprehensible. This is the machinery of capitalism laid bare. Cubic miles of stuff is sitting waiting to be shipped off by land or by sea to points all over the world.

Los Angeles-Long Beach Port Complex

California 47 is a weird highway. It’s not quite a freeway, and a good portion of its alignment actually goes east-west, even though it’s signed north-south. The route then exits off of this quasi-freeway and then heads north as the Terminal Island Fwy, then exits off this freeway too, and follows Alameda St. north to downtown L.A. (although it isn’t really signed, as far as I know.) The freight lines go along this corridor to Union Station, where they then get routed along transcontinental railways.

I think the portion of Ocean Blvd east of the California 47/California 103 exit is technically part of the Long Beach Fwy (I-710). Eventually, you get to a ramp that takes you to the freeway proper. The mainline of this route drops you into a 35 mph zone that runs through downtown Long Beach. It flows into Livingston Dr, then to 2nd Street, where you can catch the PCH.

Southbound on the PCH, you’re soon in Orange County (shudder!), right up against the sea. There is something dramatic about watching the waves at night crash up on the shore, the foam glowing magically as you race past at 60 mph. Until you get to Newport Beach, California 1 feels almost like a freeway.

But it’s a Sunday night, so there aren’t really that many people around. Newport Beach and Balboa Island would otherwise probably be raging clusterfucks, and I recall many times being stuck in bumper-to-bumper traffic here.

Between Newport Beach and Laguna Beach, and between Laguna Beach and Dana Point, PCH reminds me a lot of California 1 in Northern Cali, especially between Santa Cruz and S.F. It’s pretty fun to take the curves without braking.

I coast by Laguna Beach, which is pretty much deserted at this hour, and I remember that summer when me, Bn., and his friend Gln. hung out here for a little while. Laguna Beach would actually be pretty cool if only it weren’t in the OC.

In time, you’ll get to the end-of-the-line. While the Coast Hwy actually exits off of California 1 and heads into San Clemente, California 1 itself leads you to I-5. If only old US-101 between San Onofre and Oceanside were actually traversable, you could theoretically stay on the coast the whole way down to S.D. I wonder why they didn’t just run California 1 down the old US-101 alignment? (Other than the fact that it would cut through Camp Pendleton, that is.)

Even still, you can get a pretty good look of the ocean from I-5.

I keep thinking that someone will save me from myself, but I guess deep down inside, I know I’ll have to do it myself. I won’t be any good for anyone until I get my shit together, and every time I make an effort to do so, it seems like everything just falls apart under my ham-handed attempts.

I guess I really have to take this Taoist principles to heart: to hold on to something, let it go.

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