A couple of weeks ago some of the trees at work went from green to bright yellow overnight. Today I noticed that the trees out in the parking lot had gone red.
If I’m fooled by the fact that it was relatively easy to get on the freeway… (Going past several schools and into a TERRIBLE intersection that gridlocks in a heartbeat means that a normal 6-7 minute drive to the freeway normally takes 12-15 on a good day and has taken as much as 25 minutes.)
And then I’m disappointed by the fact that the freeway was clogged and jammed and slow… (Once I get ON the freeway in the morning, it’s almost always been wide open, “maximum freeway speed” all the way to the office.)
And my head is distracted by a dozen different things… (There’s a lot going on!)
And the route to the new office is the same one as to the CAF hangars… (The old job was to the east, where the new job is to the west out on the 101 Freeway, just about half as far as Camarillo is.)
If I’m not paying attention it’s very easy to be sitting in the #1 lane, cruising along at 75 mph (“maximum freeway speed”, as opposed to the 65 mph speed limit) as I suddenly realize that the overpass I just went under was my exit to the office.
Fortunately, there are exits every mile and I know the area well, having run it all repeatedly when training for the 2011 LA Marathon with a Road Runners group. Take the next exit, double back, five minutes wasted, a lesson learned.
That should have been the biggest problem I had today!!
Earlier this week the trees (aspens? poplars?) in front of our office building went from green to bright yellow overnight.
This afternoon some of the trees on the back side of the building were trying for some oranges and reds.
We’ll see how much they get done. For right now it’s a valiant effort, but they have a lot of practice to do before they’re ready for the big leagues in New England and upstate New York.
No tourism calendars will be showing these trees as an enticement to come and visit Beautiful Agoura Hills – but they beat looking at burnt hillsides and ash while taking a break from the office!
There are those who say that we don’t get fall in Southern California, or the foliage change of color that goes along with it.
Granted, we don’t have the weeks of slow build up to an explosion of color like Vermont does. (These trees were all quite green on Friday, for example.)
In fact, our “fall foliage” season seems to last about 36 hours. Aren’t you glad that I captured some of it for you?!
In two days it will all be gone and these trees will be completely barren. Blink and you’ll miss it!
The thing to REALLY watch out for? On a cool, misty, foggy, drizzly morning like this, with a layer of these leaves covering the tile and polished brick walkway into the office it’s like being on an ice skating rink. Slippery little bastards!
But as you’re lying there, twisted and broken and bleeding, waiting for the paramedics to come, try to make sure you come down on your back so you can watch the glorious display above you!
We’re safe. Nothing near our homes.
Nothing near Saturday’s wedding venue, although there have been two small brush fires that were in locations that could have exploded into Malibu Canyon. Fortunately, both were put out quickly and held to under 10 acres. The worst problem was some spectacularly lousy traffic on my commute home. (Remember that bottleneck I mentioned about the Calabasas Grade on the 101 Freeway? The small fires were on either side of that, one yesterday, one today, right in the heart of that pass.) Our undying thanks to the fire crews that jumped on those and saved us from a worst-case scenario.
There have been relatively few homes lost – just a few dozen across Southern California. Northern California is worse off.
But I’ve never seen the sheer number of fires all starting up at once. Watching the news where they were listing just the ones that were at least 30-40 acres up to 300-400 acres with freeways closed and evacuations ordered, there were at least seven or eight today. Plus the one by the Getty Museum from a few days ago that’s pushing 1,000 acres and is still burning. Plus the one that started this morning near the Reagan Museum (remember these views? – they were all on fire today, literally), surrounded the Library right up to the building perimeters, which is at 1,645 acres with 0% containment as of three hours ago.
And the winds are still howling. For 24 hours straight they’ve been blowing at 20-30 knots steadily with gusts much higher. And they’re expected to do that for another 24 hours – or more.
And all of the power outages are horrific, all over the state. The killer part is that the power companies, Pacific Gas & Electric and Southern California Edison, are shutting off the power for days at a time to millions of people and leaving them totally stranded with spoiled food, disabled people left in life-threatening conditions, businesses and schools shut down, lost wages… And they’re doing it to “prevent” more fires, which would be caused by their shoddy, ill-maintained power lines.
Yet several of the local fires look like they were started by…failures of shoddy, ill-maintained power lines.
These idiots are shutting off the power AFTER the fires start to try to prevent the fires from starting.
Even if we can’t get the morons of our society to accept the reality of climate change, can we get them to accept that time travel isn’t possible, no matter how bad they feel about the legal liability of being complete screw ups?
I came out of the hangar on my way home at just the perfect time. The sun was just hovering on the horizon, blood red through layer after layer of smoke.
While the worst of the smoke (for the moment) isn’t hitting where we live, the smoke from the past several days of fires has been blown out over the ocean, where a lot of it is lingering. You can see different strata of smoke across the horizon.
It’s beautiful, in a horrific sort of way.
One thing that the new job has a bit of (not too much) which the old job didn’t is a commute in LA traffic. To get to my old office in the morning or back home at night was 10-15 minutes or less and with the grid of local streets available there were a hundred different routes to take if one street or the other was blocked by an accident or something. The new job is 20-45 minutes in the morning (depending on if there’s an accident in the bottleneck through the Calabasas Grade on the 101 Freeway) and typically 40-60 minutes back home in the evening.
Today there was the additional complication of multiple brush fires in the area, which despite being 20 to 40 miles away, filled the air with smoke and ash.
Map from arcg.is/0Pvq0f using data from County of Los Angeles, Esri, HERE, Garmin, METI/NASA, USGS, Bureau of Land Management, EPA, NPS, USDA | FEMA NSS, EGIS | USGS, GeoMAC, Esri | County of Los Angeles, Esri, HERE, Garmin, METI/NASA, USGS, Bureau of Land Management, EPA, NPS, USDA | NOAA, Esri | NASA, Esri
For those of you not familiar with the Los Angeles area, I’ve indicated the general area of home (red circle, red arrow) and the new office (red circle, green arrow). That freeway (white line) where it says “Calabasas” is where the 101 Freeway goes through the Calabasas Grade between the San Fernando Valley (Canoga Park, Winnetka, Reseda, Encingo, Granada Hills, etc) and the Canejo Valley (Agoura Hills, Westlake Village, Thousand Oaks).
Someone at the office noticed the smoke about 16:00 and our first thought was that for it to be that thick there must be a fire nearby – fortunately, that was not the case. Still, here’s the view from the office parking lot when I left at 17:00. I wish there was a way to convey the choking stench in the air.
I knew the commute would be tough for a couple of reasons, even though the fires weren’t near us. First, people get freaky when it smells of smoke and your eyes are burning and you’re starting to cough and it’s hazy and threatening… It’s a very base, animalistic response from somewhere way down on the brain stem left over from our lizard ancestors.
Secondly, with that “Basin” fire at the junction of the 101 and 405 Freeways 20 miles ahead there would be massive slowing. Part of it is people slowing down to simply watch the fire and smoke near the freeway, some of it is the reduced visibility. A lot of it is that many surface streets used as commuting shortcuts in that area had been shut down as fire crews moved in and possible evacuations were set up.
Sure enough, about two exits after I got on the freeway near the office, I saw this:
For reference, if there isn’t any traffic at all, this sign generally shows 7 minutes to Topanga Canyon and about 18-20 minutes to the 405 Freeway.
Welcome to LA – bring fire extinguishers!