25 October 2005

Precipitous Doom, or How Not to Drive From San Francisco to Los Angeles

There's nothing like a nice relaxing weekend trip to San Francisco. Especially if you drive both ways. The drive up, along Route 5, was fairly uneventful and boring, with the possible exception of when we passed a few miles of cows. Holy crap did that stink for miles in each direction. Anyway, the city itself is very nice, but since I'm sure that no one really wants to read a boring "Lombard Street was awesome!" entry, I'm now going to skip over everything up to the drive back.

Everyone had told us (with the second half of us being Matt) that we should drive back along Route 1 for the amazing view. The drive sounds great on paper, but in actuality it is the side of a cliff. And that cliff happens to have many sharp turns and no guard rails. Picture 90 miles of hairpin turns up and down steep hills along the edge of a 25-50 meter cliff. Once on the road, there is only fowards and backwards - there are absolutely no alternative routes to be taken. Many of the curves have signs suggesting speeds of [5-35] mph, though you'd have to be nuts to go that fast on most of them. But didn't the gorgeous views make up for the death defying road conditions? Of course not. It was foggy as all hell. Most of the time you couldn't see anything to the right but fog. There were some clear patches with amazing views towards the beginning, but by the time the road became bad, the view was always spoiled by distant fog. With so much fog to go around, of course there was a decent amount on the road. In case the drive wasn't bad enough already, visibilty was limited to 25 feet in some places.

So my mom was right - the drive was not particularly pleasant. Did you see that Mom? I just said you were right, and in publically viewable writing no less. It may never happen again.

EDIT: To clarify things a bit, Sunday's weather was rain and heavy fog. Route 1 sucked so much due to said weather, though I imagine it's still a bit scary when the road is dry and you can actually see ahead of you. No more rushed posts started 10 minutes before I have to leave for class.


farniks said...

I've been on that drive. I'll have to disagree - I rather liked it, especially passing through Big Sur, population 2. The Stinson beach part of it was a little nauseating, but didn't the fog help prevent you from seeing down to the bottom?

slackwench said...

I love Route 1! You're just too cautious. Too bad about the fog too. Also, I think one of the videos they showed us in drivers ed to scare us was of a guy who went reaching around on the floor while on Route 1 and went crashing off the cliff and broke his spine.

osmodion said...

I did have to admit, after the drive was over, that it would have been pretty nice if there was an actual view. I forgot to mention above that it was also raining, so the road was slick. And I don't think I really made it quite clear just how bad the fog was - you couldn't see around the turns, and in some places the edge of the road.

I don't think that I would mind going north on Route 1, but going south was an absolutely horrible experience.

osmodion said...

See above reply to farniks about the weather conditions on Sunday; I didn't explain the situation fully. Also, the other drivers were going about the same speed.