Tuesday, March 01, 2011

Driving in

Despite all of the traffic and the idiot drivers I enjoy my morning drive into work. Driving early this time of year really makes evident the transition of the season and the extending of daylight hours. This morning sunrise was at 6:13, and the temperature was right at freezing at my house.

My drive from home to work is 26 miles, and it usually takes about 35 minutes. I try to leave the house at about 6:20, because if I wait just a few minutes then the number of cars on the road seems to double. A few turns from my house, now the sun is right in my eyes at the corner making it hard to see, then due south on Rainbow. One stoplight down (I say stoplight because it always seems to be a red stop when I get to it) to an intersection with shops on each corner. There is a big center with a Super WalMart and Sam’s Club, across is Target, next is a strip mall with a supermarket that was open when we first moved in but then was vacant for five years and is now a ‘Korean Marketplace’. The last corner was a K-Mart that was closed when we moved here and is still boarded up nine years later. The dozen smaller shops next to it are mostly closed as well, with a cheap Chinese all you can eat buffet hanging on (no, haven’t had the nerve to hit it ourselves). I continue on for another four miles or so, with the sun peeping out between the houses and shops to my left. It’s three lanes in each direction, with a speed limit of 45, meaning we’re all doing about 55 (it is Vegas). Along the way we pass the Spanish Trails community, they have a lot of trees and a big golf course, in the summer when I have the windows down you can feel how much cooler it is right here, along with providing a lot of moisture to the air.

I then turn left onto the 215 loop looking directly into the rising sun. This road is four lanes in each direction with a speed limit of 65, which most people keep to. The big hotel towers on the Strip are off to my left, reflecting the few clouds and slowly lightening mountains behind me. In a few miles we pass underneath I-15, the major north-south road that comes up from LA and continues on to Salt Lake City and eventually Canada. There is some construction here where additional lanes are being added to 15, the off ramp to that freeway is always backed up cutting through traffic to two lanes. Add to this the sun directly ahead and those *$& drivers that zip up in the left lane then have to cut over to the off ramp at the last minute, which is bumper to bumper stopped causing the left lanes now to stop while the idiots who waited ‘til the last minute can’t get over. Traffic speeds up from there, the freeway expands to six lanes in my direction as the 15 traffic merges in and then a lot of them leave at the airport exit.

The road continues on, with slight turns moving the sun from straight ahead to either side. Off to the far left the Wynn towers along with some closer office buildings reflect the bright sun. As I drive further east I get closer to the eastern mountain range, and the sun drops down between the peaks, showing up between them now and then. Passing the Green Valley Ranch casino traffic picks up. Two or three days a week there are two patrol cars and three Highway Patrol motorcycles along this stretch, pulling over speeders. Both sides of the center divider go from three up to five lanes as on and off ramps come and go. Eventually I turn right onto the 95, which curves east with the sun right in my eyes again before crossing the dam and moving into Arizona. I get off at the last exit in Henderson, going to a building sitting all by itself out in the open desert. It was built about six years ago, when some developer purchased cheap land way out here with dreams of a large industrial park, ending up with a single two story brick sitting by itself.

I really like looking at the different angles of the sun, the way it’s so low that it reflects in lots of windows. Usually there are very few clouds, and I can see the early planes flying out of LA towards the east, leaving those stripes in the sky we always see. Looking to the west when I leave the house I can see the mountains over Red Rock canyon, with the early sun really making the red stripes very evident in the rock faces.

Even though it’s been around freezing each morning the afternoons have been bright and sunny with temps up close to 16c (60f). Plants are pretending its spring, getting out their growth and flowers before the summer heat sets in. Around town the purple plum trees are in bloom, used as a street tree in some areas, driving west on DI last night one section was just lined with the pink blossoms. Our backyard peach tree has a few blooms out; hopefully we’ll get a big pink blush this year. Some of the almond trees are filled with white flowers, but ours is just starting to bud. Daffodils and paperwhites are showing off all over our yard, and some of the sedums are covered in their yellow-green (chartreuse?) flowers. I bought some peat pots and have started our vegetable garden seeds, so we can get them in the ground when it warms up and we can get veggies before the heat stops them. Cherry tomatoes keep producing all summer, but the lettuce bolts and other things slow down.

On a completely unrelated note, came across this photo of our fat cat Mokie sitting on a pole over our canyon in San Diego. I didn’t remember how many flowers we had back there, sure a lot more than we do here.

10 comments:

Bill said...

My commute. I get out of bed and cross the hallway to my studio. Usually I take two detours - the first is obvious then its the kitchen.

Mo said...

Joe, I drive Rainbow in the morning exactly same time. I would have to agree with the idiot part.

I'm sure we have passed one another or at least flipped one another off.

SOL's view said...

Sounds like a brilliant drive. And I agree, leave just 5 mins later and it's like traffic is double and everyone is an idiot. :)

Virginia Gal said...

its always nice when one has a nice commute to work - helps with the work day.

Froggy said...

Thanks for sharing your morning drive with us, Joe. Sounds lovely at that time of day! Amazing, isn't it, what a difference 5 minutes makes? I have a window on the way to take Dobby to school, where if I go 5 minutes earlier the traffic is horrid, but 5 minutes later and it's easier... go figure!

The Blonde Duck said...

Our tree started blooming too!

Don said...

Long trip across town but you clearly have your eyes open for the beauty of the place; not just the idiot drivers.

Jammie J. said...

You really made your commute sound like a work of art illuminated by the most perfectly timed spotlight. :)

Lately I've wondered to myself whether people made some sort of weird new year's resolution to get in an accident... seems like there were so many in January and February. March has been kind to us freeway drivers so far. :)

A Daft Scots Lass said...

I drive 6km to work and back everyday.

The Blonde Duck said...

Have a magical Monday!