I’ve lived in California for 42 years and had never driven this “most dangerous road in California” (according to the Statewide Integrated Traffic Records System) until yesterday. The serpentine, 66-mile route from La Cañada-Flintridge to Route 138, NE of Wrightwood, also known as CA Route 2, is a metaphor of life: the riskier the task, the greater the rewards.
Proverbial pea-soup weather at the start of the drive (900’ elevation) made the anticipation of what beckoned from above more exciting. Driving data projected on the windshield of the Lexus GS Sports Sedan I was test driving created a sense of safety and control by enabling me to keep both eyes on the road. Breaking through the fog at about 4000’ was breathtaking – quite similar to the view from a plane leaving an overcast airport.
The Mount Wilson Observatory and its100-inch telescope was as awe-inspiring as the 10-mile detour off the highway to reach it. Also on this campus of technology atop Mount Wilson were many communications towers, popping out of the ground like slender periscopes.
Newcomb’s Ranch (5340’ elevation) is a modern-day oasis along the route, being the only sit down-restaurant along the entire highway. I’m still a bit puzzled why the bar selection was so extensive, given that the vast majority of customers will shortly be hiking, bicycling, or driving on the road with the ominous moniker. My cola went just fine with an outstanding chili and cornbread lunch.
Sickening evidence of the devastating 2009 Station Fire was on both sides of the highway for many miles leading to Cloudburst Summit (7018’ elevation), and mercifully changed to healthy green trees around Dawson Saddle, the highest point on the route, at 7901’ elevation.
In less than six hours and 200 miles, I had completed one of the most exhilarating drives of my life, and one which I would recommend to anyone who enjoys a good road trip.