I need a helicopter.
Due to the birth of my granddaughter up in the Pasadena area, and several friends living in the coastal and valley areas of Los Angeles, I am once again required to drive its freeways.
And those freeways live up to their miserable reputation of being wildly confusing and poorly marked.
I managed well enough when I lived up there, wandering no farther than north to south on the 405, the 5 and the 210. But now I am required to access the east-west roadways and whoever did the signage should be horsewhipped.
The multiple freeways crossing and interconnecting one another is like being forced to unravel Christmas lights at 65 mph.
I tried hard to carefully focus on finding the exit for, let’s say, the 101 off of the 134, on my way to the 110 and then the 10 to get to Santa Monica.
Jockeying from lane to lane, trying to avoid unexpected and oddly numbered exits was exhausting. And yes, I missed a turn or two.
And worse, the signage made me think I had missed a turn or two, requiring me to get off at a random exit and work with my half-baked GPS options to get my bearings.
Then I had to find the way back onto the freeway. That’s just the most fun. It is not the way I want to get to know L.A.
Each time I go up to Eagle Rock, I have taken a different route. They look straightforward when you consult directions, but none are simple.
The first time we took the 101. Oh-my-word. This is, I believe, the area’s oldest freeway, with only two lanes and neighborhood streets serving as on-ramps.
You also have to stop before merging and there are no merge lanes. It is staggering.
The next time, I took a northbound route that I thought merged with the 210. It didn’t. It spit me out in northeast Pasadena and led me on a spaghetti bowl of surface streets and stoplights before I got to my destination.
The last time, I did better on the 5 to the 605, but once I got on the 134, signage and my GPS were vague. I got there, but I’m not sure how.
It’s unclear if the GPS is a help or a wrench in the works. I would do far better with, and truly long for, a proper Thomas Guide map book.
I will henceforth do more research before the rubber hits the road. I am determined to slay this dragon, and put its head on a pike, before my grandchild turns 1.
Faugh an Beallach!
Jean Gillette is a freelance writer who was meant to have a chauffeur. Contact her at [email protected].