Mountain Road

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The only relic of a failed expedition to DeMille’s Lost City, a full scale replica of an ancient Egyptian city commissioned by Cecil B. DeMille out in the California desert near the sleepy little town of Guadeloupe (which I’ll explain in greater details when I post the photos from a successful expedition). I read about DeMille’s Lost City several months back and took an interest. It was only recently that I decided to look into where exactly it was located and was pleased to discover that it was a mere 3 hours’ drive from my home (in theory, but more on that in a bit) and decided that if I got a free day, I should go out there and see what’s what, take a look around, take some pictures. You know, the usual. Well, today I had a free day, so I went.

I set out at 10am, or thereabouts, and decided to avoid freeways, due to fear of driving at such high speeds. I ended up driving a lot of remote mountain roads through the woodlands, which were absolutely gorgeous, but also full of switchbacks and dangerous curves bordered by sheer drops and knuckle-bleachingly narrow. With a somewhat insane average speed limit of 55mph .There were other vehicles behind my own, (including a large number of speed-junkies on donorcycles, who I was absolutely convinced that I would have to call an ambulance for at some point to scrape their broken forms off the canyon floor, but luckily it never came to that), so I couldn’t go slower than the limit.

Despite a noticeable lack of cross-streets, this route was a lot more roundabout then it could have been, mostly due to all the curves. It was around my third time crossing through the Los Padres National Forest (on a different road each time, mind you) that I began to wonder if perhaps there was a more direct route. Unfortunately, there was no way to figure that out until I reached my destination.
Just to give you an idea how far this was, Guadalupe is one hundred and seventy-odd miles from my hometown. Had I still been living in New England and gone the same distance, I’d have ended up two states over. The clerk at the gas station had never heard of Pasadena. I should have brought an oar along to see if anyone would think it was a winnowing fan (obscure mythological joke. Sorry).

I didn’t reach Guadeloupe until 6pm, and by then the visitor’s center that I was heading for had closed (the Lost City itself did not have a street address, so I’d need to go to the visitor’s center in town to find out how to get there). Unable to continue, I stopped to refill my gas tank and headed back home to return to find the Lost City another day.
I took the freeway home. I found that it wasn’t as bad as I’d previously experienced. After spending most of a day driving 55mph on treacherous mountain roads, going 75 on a wide, flat straightaway suddenly didn’t seem so frightening, and was in fact a welcome relief. I guess this means I’m cured of that particular fear. I was also pleased to discover that while the trek up to Guadalupe through the mountains took 8 hours and most of a tank of gas, the journey back used up less than a quarter of a tank of gas and was completed in exactly the projected 3 hours.

Next time I get another free weekend, I’m heading back up there to try again. I’ll definitely be sure to take the freeway out next time, but probably bring a change of clothes just in case I end up having to spend the night in town.

To be continued…

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Filed under Articles, My Art, Photo Expeditions, Photography, Pictures

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