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Ramblings - Angeles Crest

 

 
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Angeles Crest

Sunrise 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
May, 2002


Lee Shurie