I’m A Travelling Man

A lot of lane changing is necessary.

It is by far the most challenging road I’ve driven on a regular basis.

Screenshot-1I’ve commuted to Palm Desert the last two days.

If you try to get directions from my house to KMIR, Google Maps displays 73 miles. That’s got to be my ‘as the crow flies’ distance.

A few milliseconds later the Goog figures it out with roads — 105 miles. About 90 of those are highway.

They’re the same roads, but the route seems totally different coming and going. I always drive there in daylight, home after dark.

Because of the strong, nearly constant, northwesterly winds on I-10 through the San Gorgonio Pass, I get close to 30 mpg going, 26 mpg coming home. Tonight there were 35-45 mph gusts in the pass. The last three nights were windier.

When it’s very windy, sand blasts against your car and it feels like there’s an anchor tied to your bumper. Even my low-to-the-ground roadster has a tough time staying in one lane with tropical storm force gusts,

The mountains here are tall and often packed in ranges. Where passes don’t exist road building is impossible.

The passes are very pretty in the daylight. They’re just dark at night.

CA60 badlandsThe 60 between Beaumont and Moreno Valley is crazy all the time as it snakes through an unnamed pass in The Badlands. Honest. The Badlands. Check the map.

There are only two lanes and no shoulders. The mountains are steep right to the road’s edge. No highway would be engineered like this today.

Trucks do 45 mph. Cars sometimes hit 80 mph. It’s an interesting mix and very scary at night. I haven’t gotten over that yet. A lot of lane changing is necessary.

It is by far the most challenging road I’ve driven on a regular basis.

Google knows a lot about my trips. I went to get the map (top left) and noticed Google had noticed I shopped at Whole Foods in Palm Desert yesterday. It marked the latitude and longitude of tonight’s dinner, but didn’t figure out it was Panera.

On the way home Google vibrated my phone to tell me there was construction ahead. I wasn’t using any maps. The phone was in my pocket, screen off. Google figured out where I was heading and thought this note was important.

The amount Google knows is beyond what most of us can imagine. They mine data the way they mine the Internet. Usually very insightful and thorough, but sometimes wrong. It’s creepy and a lot of power relegated to imperfect machines.

On my way in I usually gab on the phone. Thank you chatees.
The way home is dominated by the radio, mainly satellite. Most times I make the trip it’s 70s and 80s.

On Fridays NPR’s “On the Media” runs at midnight PDT. I caught that tonight.

A large part of the trip is through what can only be described as urban sprawl. Mile-after-mile of Target, Michael’s, Kohls, Home Depot and a hundred other national chains. Is Riverside noticeably different than nearby Moreno Valley or dozens of other cities that exploded mid-century? There’s no there there.

I have seen very few police cars on my trips. They have few places to hide.

Though California is known for its endless freeways, about 20 miles of my trip is taken on a toll road–$6.84 each way! The trip would be 30 minutes longer and burn another gallon of gas without it. No brainer, but expensive.

It took nearly two hours to drive to work today. Coming home was 1:26 averaging 73 mph.

I like being in Palm Springs. It’s a desert oasis! It was very hot today. You deal with it. The true desert rats understand what they can and can’t do during summer.

I also like being home… I’m bushed!

7 thoughts on “I’m A Travelling Man”

  1. Hi Geoff,

    Should you be driving home that late at night? You look great, but you’re not exactly a spring chicken. I worry about you. Thanks for all your stories. Love them. How’s your Dad? You haven’t mentioned him lately. Our weather people here in SC are so boring. We miss seeing you. Lived in CT 54 years, so always watched you. Be careful!!

  2. I agree with Jan—about your travelling those roads at night. Now I can see why you do it from your home setting. I sure wouldn’t be driving it –how many other cars are out there with you? I think I would have a motel room on reserve! Hopefully, the fires stay away from that area.

  3. Part 2–actually I take back that last statement. I didn’t realize the amount of freeway you have. I was thinking back to the mid 60’s when it took literally hours to get from Glendale to Indio or Thousand Palms–like 3-4 hrs. I would probably drive it, also—. Just stay safe, Geoff.

  4. Unless gas is more than $6.00 a gallon out there it’d be cheaper to take the non-toll road. Although the extra 30 minutes in travel time ain’t fun. If there aren’t a lot of cops on THAT road you can cut that time down by just driving faster. Might use more gas but that depends on the price of gas out there. Kind of depends on what you’re looking for I guess.

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