Friday, December 31, 2010

Mulholland Drive

Twenty One Miles. That's how long Los Angeles' most fabled highway runs towards the stars. And I made it my goal, as this was my last grand adventure, to drive all those miles alone. I absolutely love Mulholland and think it is traveled way too much by douche bags and not nearly enough by my friends.

I started in Hollywood, my mix cd already playing. Up the hill from Ventura Blvd I went behind a slow tour bus and it wasn't fifteen seconds before I saw a film crew on craggy rocks capturing the dusty view below. I then passed several tour vans, a bunch of hikers on their way to Runyon Canyon, and couples stopping at several scenic overviews. The road twists and turns, takes all you attention, and makes you feel like you are on a roller coaster, constantly on high alert.

As you get higher the hills become green and shaded, the views more spectacular and the mountain parks more deserted. The houses are large and rambling until you dip into Sepulvada Pass and enter hidden castle land. Private gates, private communities, castles on hilltops and no one around but a Bentley whizzing past or a security guard in a little booth.

Once you rise above Beverly Hills you can see the ocean on one side of you, the Valley and snow capped mountains on the other. At times the road becomes so narrow and treacherous you fear you may drop into one of the private pools or coyote filled canyons below. A glimpse of a tennis court here, a looming gate there is all you can see for all the green leaves. Then you dip again into another canyon, then again...and you are in private school land, private community land, and then you breeze by the American Jewish University.

But suddenly, at about eight miles in, I broke out of my present tense revelry. Mulholland vanishes and becomes a populated dirt hiking trail. I found myself going down, down Encino Hills. I tried to get my GPS to take me to the rest of the road- but to no avail. You see, I have been to that part of the road that takes you to the ocean and to the end of Los Angeles County. It is beautiful- green mountains, spectacular estates and gorgeous open spaces. But I had a UNC bowl game to watch, and I don't know, something was holding me back from reaching the promised land. Maybe I'm lazy, for I know the road is a lame metaphor, but boy is it accurate.

Ease: A
Content: A
Subjective Coolness: A (great alone to ponder and get away, romantic for a date, exciting for out of town guests, fun for a group of crazy friends...)
Overall: A

Directions: Look it up! God knows I couldn't figure it out.
Hours: All hours, darling.
Price: Gas, your sanity.

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