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Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Carmageddon here we come!


This summer is already way too busy and moving far too fast, but its about to come to a screeching halt on Los Angeles’ 405 Freeway…

This is “Carmageddon” week in Los Angeles. This is the week the City of Angels chose to shut down the city’s busiest freeway to tear out an old bridge and put up sound-walls, and no one really knows what else. It doesn’t sound like a big deal but trust me, taking the 405 Freeway away from Angelinos for even a couple of days is going to bring millions of heat-stroked drivers to their knees for 70 miles in all directions—at least that’s what we’re being warned.

I don’t live in Los Angeles anymore but I was born and raised there. My family, friends and business associates are still there. It’s an amazing city with far more depth than its critics give it credit for, but man is it hell to drive around down there! Everything you’ve heard about LA traffic is true. The only place in the world where I thought it was worse was Manila-but that’s another story…

Two weeks ago my family and I drove to the Anaheim Angels Stadium near Disneyland to see a U2 concert. I loved the concert but I didn’t love the drive. We hit a thick patch of Friday afternoon traffic that took us nearly 5 hours to drive only 70 miles. We were in second gear, bumper-to-bumper hot, smoggy traffic most of the way. We were driving so slow I was able to read trash wrappers by the side of the road. The people around us became eerily familiar faces. If I wanted to, I could have rolled down my car window and held lengthy conversations with the other drivers—traffic was that bad and it wasn’t even Carmageddon!

As we rolled slowly across Los Angeles, I saw mile after mile of heavy equipment and materials assembled along the 405 waiting to snap into action.  All I can say is, I hope the new bridge does these folks some good. There is no wiggle room on these crowded roads.

Since I don’t live in LA anymore why am I complaining? I’ll tell you. Two different sets of friends and family from out of state have chosen this week to fly into LAX and visit. One on July 15th the day before Carmageddon and one set of friends on July 17th right in the thick of the mess. They all need a ride from the LAX airport… They want to visit the Los Angeles cathedral and take the kids to Disneyland too. One group even wants to drive the 405 to San Diego, stopping to do fun things along the way. (I don’t think so, unless you think camping beside the freeway is fun…)

I had to break the bad news to everybody that we would be changing our plans and heading out of LA as quickly as possible by train…

Today is my anniversary. I wish I could celebrate quietly with my husband, but we have yet another set of friends coming to visit from Texas tonight… No private, romantic anniversary dinner for me. Oh well, there’s no rest for the wicked. It’s almost time to get in the car and start rolling slowly toward LAX.

XXOO Kat

15 comments:

  1. Can you believe my bad luck? I can't! lol
    XXOO Kat

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  2. First off, Happy Anniversary!!!! I hope you and the hubby can carve out at least a small amount of celebration time. I can't even imagine being in a car for 5 hours. I would probably go insane or kill someone. It's a bad day if I catch traffic going into work and spend forty minutes in the car!!!!

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  3. Happy Anniversary Sweetie! Try to find some time to be with hubby!

    We were in LA 5 years ago and spent a lot of time on the 405. When I heard they planned to close parts it gave me the chills. I'm glad I'm not visiting now. The 405 is a nightmare on a good day. Good luck to your friends.

    Amber

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  4. Happy Anniversary, Kat! Hope you and hubby can find some time together:)

    I hate road construction on a good day but the summer heat (108 today) combined with bumper to bumper traffic is a prescription for misery wherever you live, ugh!

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  5. Happy Anniversary, Kat!

    I lived in the LA area for years. Had to work everything around the traffic problems. Live in Palm Springs now. During the tourist season it's murder, but during the summer months the streets are all empty. Lovely. :)

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  6. Happy Anniversary, Kat!!

    Here in Michigan, it's called orange barrel season! There isn't a major freeway NOT under construction, and a couple are closed until October. My in laws live about 40 minutes away, and we just might have to rent a helicopter to go visit them!!

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  7. happy anniversary Kat! good luck with the (non) driving!
    Liz

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  8. Hi Marie, I might go insane in traffic just to let off steam. Worst case scenario is I get out of the car and talk to other stranded people or just walk to LAX... The car can catch up later.
    Amber-you would hate this so much! I'm so glad you won't be struck in Carmageddon, of all people you should be spared!
    Paris, part of the suspense is no one really knows what to expect. It might be a Y2K bubble burst or it might be awful... This is the first time in LA city history they've had the 405 completely taken away. There's a mini-series hiding in there. lol
    Tessie go for the Helicopter! Last week's traffic jams involved a visit from the Royal couple and lots of helicopters. Hint:should you choose the helicopter remember to dress the part (Sarah can be helpful in this department) wear iridescent, sheer stockings and pale shoes and a crazy hat... Wave to the commoners with a flat palm.
    Hi Liz! I do think a cold beer after that drive is in order! lol
    XXOO Kat

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  9. Tina, I know you know that area very well. It's a summer zoo anyway. You're at the minimum safe distance in Palm Springs! lol
    XXOO Kat

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  10. Oh my gosh! Good luck! I remember the days when L.A. traffic was even worse than it is now - it's actually better than when my kids were little and we used to drive from Phoenix to Disneyland.
    I've always said that my idea of hell is rush hour on the '5'.

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  11. Hi Julia, I'm like you I love Disneyland so much I happily suffer Carmamgeddon to get there! lol
    XXOO Kat

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  12. Hey Kat,

    Google is acting up and I couldn't post my comment. So I'm enclosing it in here. Can you post for me?

    Kat,
    First of all I want to say Happy Anniversary to you and your hubby. Maybe you guys can sneak and have a romantic bubble bath.
    Second of all you guys couldn't pay me enough to be in LA traffic. And I love to drive when it comes to roadtrips. But parking lot bumper to bumper driving helllllllllll NO!
    So all I can say Kat is Bless Your Heart, and Pray church pray for Kat in that traffic.

    Teresa K.

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  13. Thank Teresa K! All prayers are appreciated, please visit 7SS again. We love company!
    XXOO Kat
    PS Google was rude to poor Teresa K and wouldn't let her post her comment-shame on you Google! lol

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  14. I grew up on the East Coast, and spent years in different states. Drove in all kinds of traffic, including NY City and Washington D.C. Nothing scared me. Moved to the Midwest. No scare there either.
    I lived in Southern CA for two years and it took me 6 months to get up the courage to drive on the Freeway...I never saw so many crazy drivers and traffic before!
    I told my husband he'd "crossed over to the dark side" before me, because he managed to drive on the Freeway right away.
    I'm glad I'm no longer living in CA!
    Got stuck during one of the many televised car chases on the Freeway so have a story to tell about that!

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  15. Marianne, you were involved in a LA car chase? You must write or blog about it!
    XXOO Kat

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