Saturday, October 7, 2017

Mt. Wilson

The intersection of ACH and Mt. Wilson
Mt. Wilson is like the kid who invites you over for a summer pool party, but when you get there, all he has is a bag of opened Cheetos and single Slip 'N Slide. At first, you may not know what to do: join in on the fun or call your mom to take you back home. However, closer inspection of that Slip 'N Slide reveals that it's actually 100 of the slides put together that stretches out to about five miles. Once you get on, the fun never stops until some asshole comes around a blind corner and pushes you off a cliff.

Mt. Wilson (full name: Mt. Wilson Red Box Road) is off of Angeles Crest Highway (ACH) and runs up to Mt. Wilson where a bunch of antennas sits and an observatory that probably observes something. Don't ask me what attractions may be up there because I can't drive through those buildings and make my tires squeal like an autistic teen girl watching a teen pop band on TV in a doctor's waiting room. The road doesn't connect to any other roads, so there's no through traffic, and the only destination is a lovely time.

This is an excellent road to have a little fun on. It's not a fast road, but one with a lot of corners that really push someone's skills as a driver.

First off, the road itself is not really well-maintained despite a lot of traffic (for a touge anyway) going up and down during the day. Is it not maintained because it's overused? Or does the county simply not care? These are the mysteries of life that no one will ever find out like how many licks it takes to get to the center of a certain pop.

Because of the poor shape of the road, it seems like the road itself will simply not make nice with anyone's tires. Cracks and gravel litter the road constantly. Driving up at 30 MPH will make tires squeal around every single corner, and in some cases may cause oversteer. Traction has no place on Mt. Wilson, and I fear what it would be like during rain or snow. Yes, it does snow up there occasionally and at the time of writing this I have seen a snowplow going upwards (pushing it's little plow on the ground making horrible scraping noises too). I do not know the enigma of the plow driving around in early autumn.

Maybe it's my sense of thrill-seeking, but the road is incredibly fun to pace through. Each corner is a challenge to stay in the correct lane, demanding every effort possible to not die. Perfect heel-toe shifting will go a long way here as going uphill demands power to exit each corner. Downhill requires finesse to prevent any understeer off the cliffs.

Don't end up like this guy
Climbing uphill is a devoted mother hand-holding their child, but the other hand is strangling half a wine bottle that's still going glug-glug into questionable orifices. Eventually, she will forget to keep gripping the child's hand and pass out in front of the mall's fountain, leaving the child to spend mommy's credit card on video games. The downhill is having fun in a bouncy castle until the asshole, fat kid pushes you out the exit while mid-air.

Keep in mind that most of the corners on this road are blind corners, which means you should not cross the double-yellow lines. This is an active road during the day, and people are going up and down it on occasion. Always drive at a good, safe pace to prevent anything bad happening.

Besides being an autocross driver's wet dream, the touge itself also sports a fantastic view. The scenery displays itself like a majestic eagle with sparklers in its mouth saluting the flag. Well, most of the time anyway. There's the view of the grand mountains to the north, and then there's the smog-covered city to the south. Fortunately, that ugly city can only be viewed from the top of Mt. Wilson.

I would highly recommend driving through this to experience a true twisty road that gives a splendid view of mother nature. Remember, drive safe.


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