Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Highway 2 again.

I picked up my son Tuesday morning from his mom's work. We will be together all week and should have fun doing things. I asked him if he wanted to go up to the Mt. Wilson Observatory.
For those of you not familiar with So Cal, above the city of Pasadena Ca. there is a mountain that is basically at this time an antenna farm. Mt. Wilson has a rather cool history dating back to the time of the local Indian Tribes using the areas for their summer homes to get out of the L.A. area heat. You can even hike an old Indian trail that starts in Sierra Madre Ca. and ends near the Observatory on Mt. Wilson.
So once again I digress. He said He would rather go up over the top on Hwy. 2 instead of going the Freeway route. We headed up the mountain and arrived at the Observatory gates at 9 am.
Naturally the gates open at 10 am. We got out of the car and looked over the edge of the mountain near the gates and looked at the L.A. skyline. Alex then went into the car and started taking the convertible top down so we could drive topless. It was very nice up there so top down was a must anyway. A gate near there that normally says "road closed" was open so we drove down it to see if we could kill some time. Mind you that the car we are driving is a '92 Geo Metro Convertible and not a good off road vehicle. The road was steep and dirt. We went down it for a mile or so and decided it would be better if we turned around before we got into trouble. We got back to the top and we hadn't killed but 15 min. Press on down the road was the better Idea, since we have been there many times we didn't need to wait that long to see it again.
With the top down the drive was awesome.

You can just make out Mt. Wilson in the background, the one with all the antennas on it, to the left of My son Alex in the 45 MPG cruiser car.
I posted over a month ago that we had been up this highway and that the full length of it was open now. The route is kind of delineated by a set of tunnels. At these tunnels there is a sign that says there are Big Horn Sheep in the area. We have yet to see them.
I'm kind of weird in that I like to honk my horn in tunnels. My son rolls his eyes when I do it.
So this time I asked if he would like to honk the horn in the tunnel and I pointed to the button on the steering wheel. He said no of coarse. These tunnels have no lights in them so they get a little dark inside. The echo inside with the top down was kind of cool. We get about 50' inside the tunnel and Alex reaches over and hits the horn. He laughs, so I point my head upward and howl in the tunnel, very cool echo. It is Tuesday so there are very few cars on the road this time of the week. There are two tunnels and they are separated by a gap in the mountain about a hundred feet long. I stopped there commenting that we never see any of these Big Horn Sheep. We are looking up the steep mountain side and out over the edge of the valley side and up over the mouths of the tunnels. The silly teenager in Alex kicks in at this time and he says " HEY LOOK!", I turned my head to look knowing full well he was pulling my leg. Punk teenager...grin
We started through the other tunnel and he had to honk the horn again.

This is the area of the tunnels and where you are suppose to be able to see the sheep.

Highway 2, or the part we were traveling on, the Angeles Crest Highway, was originally constructed in 1929 as a fire road, but really didn't get paved or the tunnels and bridges built until after world war II. Finally fully opening in 1956 from what I have read.
As you drive along you see rock walls and pullout areas that have drinking fountains built of rock.

I like how they paid attention to details back then.

The extra grout work between the rocks is really cool. This drinking fountain was not functional, but it looked like it was part of this whole rock construction in the pictures. The larger wall behind every thing was a dam of sorts and water was held behind it, maybe for the drinking fountain?. Water was still coming out of a pipe sticking out of the dam so this thing was built to last.

We pressed on down the Highway and passed the two small ski areas that hide back there. We also drove through this really cool shaded campground. It would be cool to camp there. It is set beside a stream that would be fun to put my feet in.
The best part was down the road a little bit more. There is a part that was heavily damaged a bunch of years back and they had recently rebuilt a lot of the road out there including the guardrail system. We were driving along when I saw something weird in the turnout ahead.

Look closely at the tops of the guardrail anchor posts. Piles of rocks. I pulled off and Alex and I had to get out of the car and say "what the?".
I'm looking at it as art myself. Cairns I believe is what these are. Some of them look pretty interesting.

We naturally had to try our hand at piling rocks.
Here is mine.

And here is Alex's.

Here are some more that were there.

We spent a half hour playing with the rocks there at this turn out, and as usual rocks ended up in the car. We are rock hounds I tell you.
What a great drive.

No comments:

Post a Comment