Oops, I Crapped My Pants

Everyone who has been to, lived in, or seen a television program or movie about Los Angeles knows that we have a traffic problem. However, there is one freeway in particular that causes seemingly rational people to either drive like narcoleptic turtles or curse like a longshoreman with Tourette’s syndrome. The freeway I am referring to is the old portion of California’s route 110, also known as the “Historic Arroyo Seco Parkway” or “Sweet Mother Of God, I Think I Just Shat Myself”.

For those who have not had the pleasure of driving on this section of freeway, allow me to give you a bit of background. It was opened in 1940, and is the oldest freeway in the western U.S. It also holds the dubious honor of having the most traffic collisions in the Los Angeles area. This is primarily due to its sharp turns and tiny on- and offramps, one of which, rumor has it, holds the Guinness World Record for shortest offramp in the world. These factors combined cause the “oh shit” factor to rise significantly for many drivers on this road.

I, on the other hand, like to hurtle down this freeway at breakneck speeds on my frequent trips from my home near downtown Los Angeles to the suburban sprawl of Pasadena. Perhaps the reason for this is that I drive an Audi, and it is made to hug curves like a virgin getting his hands on his first set of college-girl tits. However, my exquisite taste in vehicles isn’t at issue here – it’s other people’s complete inability to recognize that suddenly braking in the middle of a sharp curve makes it more difficult for you to control the car’s movement around the curve. If I am behind you when you drop from 65 mph to 35 mph, it also makes it extremely difficult to control my car’s movement right up your slow ass.

My advice to you: if you can’t drive on freeways with sharp curves, short offramps, sudden twists, no shoulder, and half-mile-long blind spots without constantly braking and/or driving below 30 miles per hour, please stay the fuck off of this freeway. If you think those freeway “features” sound like an exciting challenge, I’ll race you from the four-level to the liquor store on Glenarm and Fair Oaks, starting…. now. Loser buys the beer.

8 Replies to “Oops, I Crapped My Pants”

  1. That’s the best freeway in LA. Unless you have a Ferrari or something, all the other freeways are boring, and surface streets tend to have too many lights (although it is possible to find fun roads in the hills, like Muholland or Ortega Highway further down south.) I mean, sure, decreasing radius turns on the interchange are fun, but those only last a short time. The 110 keeps on going.

    Normally, I don’t have a problem with the slow drivers on the 110, unless there are a lot of them. Just think of them as moving chicanes.

  2. The Arroyo Parkway is a great slalom course.

    The kids go ‘woo’ as we whip around the curves.

    BTW, the my wife swears the fish tacos at Gerlach’s next to the liquor store at Glenarm/Fair Oaks are the best.

  3. I still have a lot of fun pulling the curves on Sunset in Pacific Palisades and Westwood. I never make it that far east to try out the 110. I’ll have to make a point in doing that.

  4. Oh, the 110 North is terrific! You’re making me homesick. My very first time on the freeway, my radiator blew just as I approached that shortest of offramps. Since there are no shoulders, I count myself as very lucky. After living in Pasadena for a few years, that strip of concrete became my secret pleasure. While you have to watch for stalled cars on the far side of the blind curves, all other slow cars are just added bits on the slolem course. I’m always quite sad to reach Arroyo Seco in Pasadena.

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