Thursday, October 19, 2017

Little Tujunga Canyon: the Tire's Barbershop Quartet

Little Tujunga Canyon is the little runt of the three Tujunga brothers. Alongside Big Tujunga Canyon and Upper Big Tujunga Canyon, Little Tujunga Canyon (LTC) is the littlest brother who got all the hand-me-downs and got stuck with his uncle's rustbox, but that's all LTC ever needed to be fast. LTC is a touge that stresses good driving, following the perfect line, and keeping up the momentum around corners. Going fast isn't how much a driver has under the hood, it's how well they can keep up a consistent speed through a technical course.

I did a drive through from the top to bottom here. Check it out if you want to see me how I drive through LTC.

LTC sits between Foothill Blvd and Sand Canyon Rd. At the top where LTC turns into Sand Canyon, there is a fire station and ranger station (I think--I can't drive through them, so I don't care).

This is my personal favorite touge of them all for several different reasons. Going from south to north (where the top is), it begins out similarly to Live Oak in that it is a snake slithering uphill, but as soon as the first hairpin comes up, the road turns into Mt. Wilson or Glendora Mountain Road in its technical features. Going fairly straight at a good pace is all fun and well, but once the technical corners come up, that's where the real fun begins.

The road itself isn't particular in good condition; although, the county did recently fix parts of the road due to the Sand Canyon fire that happened in 2016. As of the time of writing this, LTC has opened up to the public, so which is why I'm writing about it now. The road is in moderate condition at best. There are cracks on the road, sand spread out occasionally, critters scurrying across, and rocks here and there. The biggest thing to keep an eye out for is the fact that the road is bouncy. This means that at some parts of the touge, the car will bounce up and down, showing how uneven the road is. And that's fun. It's a roller coaster that the driver controls how fast or how much lateral G's are instigated upon the vehicle. The feeling when a mounted phone's screen turns sideways on every corner is rapturous.

There's always a little niggling worry that the car will screech or skid, so I'm always prepared for that while running through this touge. Each corner will make the tires sing or scream, and oversteer is a common occurrence on this road due to how sharp some of the corners are. Each one beyond the hairpin going north is sharp. In fact, some of them are even deceptive like a white van with "free candy" spray-painted on the side. The driver's foot should be either on the brake or throttle; otherwise, each corner becomes the bouncer throwing out the driver like a money-less drunk.

The constant "bounce" in the road is also something to be aware of as the touge may turn into a sideways canyon. Now, I'm always advocating safe driving, and I'm going to advocate it once more: it's important to be aware of every blind corner on this road because how deceptive they may seem. Other drivers will come out of nowhere, especially mid-corner. There's always a time and place for those sideways drivers out there to have their fun by killing their tire's lifespan. I'll simply leave it at that.

Besides the fantastic fun driving through the touge, it has beautiful scenery going across the whole run. Every square inch of this touge is gorgeous. There's a vast amount of landscape to gawk at and plenty of turnouts for people to snap a few pictures. Since this scene has been part of the 2016 Sand Canyon fire, some of the trees are burnt, but there are a few green ones sprouting up as mother nature always reclaims her land back.

I highly recommend this touge for anyone looking for a spirited drive or a motion picture postcard. Remember, drive safe.

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