Friday, July 24, 2015

On the Road: Cajon Pass Fire

English: View of Cajon Pass Northbound in Cali...
English: View of Cajon Pass Northbound in California from Interstate 15. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
When I travel to Los Angeles, I drive 2500 miles. The most challenging twelve miles are those of the Cajon Pass. Drivers come out of the high desert and drive down the mountain on Interstate 15. The road has many turns and drivers barrel down it at high speed.

When I heard about the Cajon Pass fire on July 17, I could not imagine anything so frightening. The road is in the middle of nowhere and drivers' options were few. They had to abandon their cars on the road while fire in the area was moving toward the interstate and over the interstate. Hiking up the mountain in 95 degree weather to flee the area had to be difficult.

When I watched the people walking on the interstate, I noticed many of them had on flip-flops. Of course, they did. It was 95 degrees and they did not anticipate being involved in this situation. When I travel, I always take along a pair of tennis shoes in case something happens to the car and I have to walk. However, in everyday driving close to home, I never put a pair in the trunk. I don't know why this never occurred to me to do so when I do the majority of driving in Northeast Ohio.

I am so sorry these drivers had to go through this experience, but I am happy everyone is okay. When a situation like this happens, I think everyone should learn should learn from it. I already carry water in the car during hot weather. Candles and matches are in the car in case I am stranded in the cold weather. Now I will carry a pair of tennis shoes or hiking sandals in my car at all times. I never know when I will be in the position to walk a great distance. Better to be prepared!!

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

On the Road: Crazy Drivers

Nighttime view of Downtown Los Angeles and the...
Hollywood Freeway, USA. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Crazy drivers are everywhere. When taking a long trip or when traveling in an unfamiliar area, drivers tend to notice when others are operating their vehicles in an unsafe manner. When I travel across the United States, I have few problems with other travelers for the first 2,300 miles. That situation changes as I get close to Los Angeles. Interstate 40 joins Interstate 15 in Barstow and that is where driving challenges increase. Almost every driver is speeding while he has the opportunity. After they descend the Cajon Pass those motorists will be stuck in traffic. I have to be vigilant because at any moment traffic can come to a sudden halt on the interstate. Sometimes the reason for the slowdown is hard to determine. A traffic accident is often a major cause of slowdowns, but sometimes they can occur because motorists are slowing down to view an accident on the other side of the road.

In the Los Angeles area, travelers can encounter some unique driving situations. Sometimes when I am waiting patiently in traffic, I will be startled by the noise of a motorcycle traveling between me and the car next to me. I will be stopped in bumper-to-bumper traffic and a motorcyclist will be riding down the white line that divides the lanes. This is legal. This action also occurs at times when traffic is not stopped. Motorists have to be careful to look for motorcyclists before they change lanes. Normally drivers look for other cars and for people in their lanes. These motorcyclists can come out of nowhere.

Drivers in LA like to frequently change lanes just to get ahead a small distance. A motorist will move from Lane A to Lane B to Lane C and back to Lane A again just to advance a couple car lengths in traffic. As one can expect, this type of driver is easily prone to road rage when he is not able to accomplish his objective.

With millions of cars and hundreds of crazy drivers, tourists are bound to get into accidents. Many times police cannot or will not come to the scene of an accident. Drivers would be wise to remember the camera in their cell phones and take as many photos as possible from as many angles as possible. People who drive in a crazy manner would probably be quick to accuse others of causing an accident. Photos will not lie.

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Travel Tales: Baby Sea Lions

(Photo credit: memyselfandtheinterstate.com)
In another post I discussed the wonderful day we had at Zuma Beach. The surf was high and dolphins were playing close to shore and were surfing the waves. I saw a baby sea lion who would surf into shore and look around. He would then return to the water and surf in again. He did this all along the shore to the delight of those on the beach.

When we returned to the beach a couple weeks later, a somber situation awaited us. We walked down the beach and noticed something on the beach. It was not debris. A midsize sea lion looked up at us, but did not move. I had my daughter stand there while I went to get the lifeguard. When I informed the two lifeguards as to what I saw, the younger man looked concerned, but the older man informed me of the facts of the situation.

The sea lion was from the Channel Islands and something had happened to separate the baby sea lions from their mothers. The sea lions were starving to death. The lifeguards could not feed them because the mother had to chew the food. A rescue group in the area had already rescued 250 babies at that time. They could not take anymore.

We continued our walk down the beach and I noticed something dark in the waves. It was the body of a larger sea lion. A little bit further was the body of another baby sea lion. I wondered whatever happened to the little one we had seen just weeks ago.

(Photo credit: memyselfandtheinterstate.com)

That was a somber day at the beach and we did not feel like taking any photos. We just talked about what was going on in the water. One good thing did happen that day. We were watching the horizon and saw spouts of water fly in the air closer to shore. The whales were swimming by the area. We had never seen them so close to land. At least some wildlife was okay.

At that point in time we could could not find much information in the press about the sea lions, but a recent news story told of individuals who had harassed and kidnapped a sea lion pup from the beach. A wildlife official warned that the bite of  a sea lion could be worse than the bite of a pit bull. He also advised the public that such an act would bring fines of up to $10,000 and up to a year in jail. The press also reported that other organizations had stepped in to help the sea lions. Hopefully, the little guy in the photo found the help he needed.