Monday, August 20, 2007

FYI, Sunset doesn’t cross the 101

As you may remember, the last time I made it over to the Silver Lake area was courtesy of the bus. That's the good and bad thing about the bus: you don’t have to drive yet you don’t pay so much attention so you don't know where you're going.

So I was kinda jazzed when Scott, Craig and I decided to head over there for the Sunset Junction festival yesterday. As I was the only one with even a working knowledge of the area I volunteered to drive us. Seemed like a good idea at the time. Craig’s iPhone even guided us right where we needed to go via backroads to avoid the traffic headaches of Sunset. So we went to the festival and then later a party at a friend’s house up in he hills overlooking the city. It was great. Right up until we left. And got lost as hell.

Having made the trip there and back on the bus by going up Sunset Blvd. from downtown I was like “let’s just take Sunset down to the 101 and then down to the 110 and onto the 10 and on out to home.” Seemed easy enough. Only I forgot that Sunset doesn’t in fact cross the 101. My previous knowledge was really worth nothing. The drunk dude with the Hawiian Punch who claimed he got robbed on the bus that night had thrown me off and caused me to not remember that the bus turned somewhere or something even though I thought we crossed over the 101 at some point. We didn't.

So we get in the car last night and take Sunset Blvd. heading south. For longer than we should I think. Two New Yorker transplants riding with the guy who’s been here like 4 months. We kept going until we’re somehow lost in downtown. We’re heading down Broadway and the street numbers are going up. I don’t even know what that means. I can’t see the hi-rises. We u-turn it. Craig’s giving me shit from the backseat. I ask him where’s his iPhone now, huh? He replies “just tell me where we are and I’ll look it up.” Touche, iPhone. Touche.

Truth is, I have no idea where we are. I know it. They both know it. Yet they have no idea where we are either. We double back and discover the 101 and take it heading south figuring we would cross I-10 if nothing else. I mean, it only runs across the entire goddamn country, right? Well next thing I know I’m on the I-5 heading towards Anaheim or somewhere. No I-10 in sight. We get off on some sketch-ass exit. Not good. At this point I’m laughing my ass off at how lost we are. Oh yeah, that’s the other thing: I normally don’t get lost. But somehow I did. Fortunately, we were all laughing and debating a stop to get something to eat and clear our heads.

But we forge on.

So we hop back on the I-5 and head back north and somehow manage to get it right. I demand all eyes on deck as we look for the 110 which is also known as the 110/Long Beach/San Pedro/Pasadena freeway and probably a half-dozen other names. The thing's got more names than Diddy. And then somehow God took the wheel and we mange to navigate the labyrinth that is the 101 to the 110 to I-10 interchange until finally—like 20 minutes later—we’re westbound on the 10 toward Santa Monica. I think there were tears. It was like a Clark Griswold “I can’t get left” moment.

Here, just click on this map and see how screwed up our route was. Seriosuly. The green arrow is where we started.

In hindsight, we were right on top of the way out the whole time but at night it all just looks like one big mess of highways and signs calling out a bunch of places you’ve only heard of but have no idea if they are north or south or east or west or even real.

It reminded me of a time not long after I moved to NYC when I tried to take the subway to meet some friends on the Upper West Side and made the rookie mistake of taking the express A train which shoots you straight up to Harlem without passing “Go.” The doors close at Columbus Circle and they don’t open again until you’re in die-whitey-die-ville somewhere near like 457th street. Or 125th but you get the idea.

On the plus side, I got that Silver Lake/Echo Park area nailed down now. I know it like the back of my hands. The back of my hands as they deftly maneuver the steering wheel through the streets and highways of LA.

Who’s loves ya, LA?

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