La Grange, CA to Northridge, CA – 286 Miles + 100 local miles
To read the entire trip see www.tanstaaflpress.com/tgrt
The trip south was quite enjoyable. Not only that but I was averaging about 20MPG…(much more than any other point in the trip as 15 is nominal) until I reached the Grapevine. For those of you who don’t know, there is a small mountain range between LA and the San Fernando Valley. You go up, and over and this twisty, windy climb. It is quite steep and known as the Grapevine (I’ll leave the reason as an exercise for the student). Even with this tortuous climb, my RAV4 proved equal to the challenge, climbing it at or near full speed and still managing 13MPG to the top.
I zoomed into Northridge a full two hours earlier than I’d scheduled. Which brings me to how I schedule my days and estimate my times. My car GPS can estimate arrival based on the speed limit of the roads and the traffic. As I’m not going to be going full speed, I usually add an hour to their projected travel time because I’m going slower and often have to retrace my steps because of parking and not being able to change lanes at the right time due to the trailer. To this already inflated amount of time I always schedule an hour for lunch. Often I won’t take it, but I want the option. And then, four-fifteen minute stretch, fuel, and necessary breaks. So you can see the schedule is bloated. That way I won’t miss my time unless I leave later than expected or I need to take a nap… yes, I sometimes get tired enough to need a nap. Driving is very fatiguing to me.
So after parking I spent a couple of hours with my friends and to accommodate some issues of theirs that had cropped up, I took off again. It is only 7:30P. I needed to find a place to park for the night. Some basic priority of boondocking: 1) truck stops, 2) rest stops, 3) casinos (and more). As I’ve still got energy, and I knew of some casinos in the area I wanted to explore tomorrow, I hotfooted it. Casino one was under construction and didn’t have parking for oversized vehicles. Casino two had its roof partially caved in and was undergoing repairs. Casino three threw me out even before I got into their lot. So much for casinos. Now what do I do. It is now nearing 10P. I decided to go do my sightseeing at night.
I rolled down into Long Beach where I visited three old home locations, remarked at the massive changes as I drove around towing my trailer. Eventually I got tired. Of several options open to me, I chose to park in the lot of a 24hr grocery. I slept from 11 until 2:30A when the security guards rousted me (failed choice on my part that I won’t repeat). The only place I KNEW of to park and sleep was Castaic… all the way back to the top of the Grapevine so 90 minutes later I managed to arrive to safety where I got another few hours sleep.
Next: Tar and Desert