was obscured by morning mists that had rolled in from the
Pacific Ocean during the night. Soon however, the sun began
to warm the land. Together, the sun and a warm desert breeze
overpowered the mist, which receded back toward the sea.
After a long work week and a vigorous morning at the gym,
I was looking forward to a chance to get away. I had thought
about riding up the Pacific Coast Highway, spending the night
in Pismo Beach or one of the other small towns along the coast.
Prior to Memorial Day there are always vacancies to be found
at the hotels or bed and breakfast inns. But Santa Maria,
one of the towns along the coast, was home to one of the Hell's
Angels killed in last week's violence in Laughlin, Nevada.
Many of his fellow club members and rivals were still in the
area amid rumors of revenge, so I thought it might be wise
to head in the other direction.
As the sun rose higher in the sky I found myself winding through
the Angeles National Forest. As I climbed higher and higher
into the pine forests, grand vistas began to appear around
nearly every turn. Rock formations appeared in curious colors
and shapes. Past Mount Wilson and Mount Baldy, miles and miles
went by with little sign of other people. At this time of
year the campgrounds and picnic areas are all but deserted.
Crossing over the Santa Clarita Divide and the Pacific Crest
Trail, the road continued to reveal new surprises.
Eventually, at Pinion Crest, I looked out from the 8,000-foot
vantage point across the vast Mohave Desert. 6,000 feet below
me, it stretched to the north and the east farther than the
eye could see. Around another corner the entire Los Angeles
basin appeared, with the Pacific Ocean beyond it reflecting
a clear blue sky unmarred by any hint of a cloud - nor even
a contrail from the ever-present air traffic heading to or
from Los Angeles International Airport.
When I reached the San Bernardino National Forest and the
unique formation called Mormon Rocks, I realized the 90 mile
ride to Marina Del Rey would put me there just before sunset.
Dinner on the restaurant veranda - while watching the sun
disappear among the silhouetted sailboat masts - seemed like
a good way to end the day. And so it was.
Lee A. Shurie