Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Black Canyon Rd: Where Are the Guardrails?

The locals whisper about the treacherous road that has claimed nearly a dozen lives, and even at night, a driver could see the ghosts of those who have fallen to their death on Black Canyon. Ghost cars would drive up and down the road, seeking revenge on the tarmac that spanked their rubber and has no guardrails to hug. Aimlessly, these cars would wander, and at the dead of night, they may strike the late night touge driver with a fearsome visage of someone who doesn't know how to brake properly around corners.

Black Canyon sits on top of a little mountain where Boeing does something secret. It lies between Woolsey Canyon and Old Knolls Rd. in Simi Valley.

First off, the road is short, not maintained, and dangerous. There is only a single guardrail throughout this whole touge, and it's on a straight that covers a little creek or ditch. Not exactly the place I would put a guardrail since most corners are sharp and lead to a steep cliff. The touge tempts the driver with fun times with the twisties and steep grade, but then it pushes you into the women's bathroom and runs away. All that's left is to be embarrassed by the situation and probably dead.

Good times can be had at Black Canyon, but it does come with a price. Like an eastern European brothel, the driver's only protection is what he or she brings: good driving skills, excellent brakes, and a little self-control. Each corner calls out for good, timed braking and excellent tires. But with all this talk about how dangerous the corners are, it's the same with any other touge.

The experienced driver would take corners with finesse and room for error. This thought process is no different here at Black Canyon as well. The corners aren't hard nor are they deceptive. Since the touge only takes ten minutes (or less) to run the full course up and down, it's quite easy to remember where the tricky bits are. Once the tricky parts are etched in the good old bone box, driving through the road becomes far more manageable. The corners only seem scary because of the lack of guardrails, but that shouldn't deter anyone from having a good (safe) time.

Especially because this touge is so short, it can be run on multiple times within an hour which grants it a similar appeal to Live Oak. It's short and sweet. One hairpin in particular (pictured above) is a blast to drive through. This hairpin immediately leads down to another hairpin (pictured below).

The first initial hairpin may catch the first time driver by surprised because it requires the driver to slow down to nearly 10 MPH, essentially making it a U-turn. Even better is that I swear while going downhill on this hairpin that some of my tires lifted off the ground just a tiny bit because of the road's camber.

This road with a little course knowledge is an excellent, fun road to drive on. Just be wary of the lack of guardrails. Remember, drive safe.

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