Friday, January 8, 2010

Tongva Peak

I took a stroll up the fire road to Tongva Peak this morning since LA public schools are still on winter break until Monday. Even though most of the nation seems to be gripped in an Arctic blast at the moment, Southern California has been very warm all week. I was completely comfortable in T-shirt and shorts this morning. Also, some wildflowers seem to be making early appearances from what I can tell.
California Buckwheat (above)
Last night was the Rose Bowl in Pasadena and traffic was a nightmare. On my way home from work, some dude hit the back of my car on the highway. I had been thinking recently that this particular spot was ripe for car accidents, as many people are merging into and out of traffic to head north, south, east, and west. It was the first time I've ever been in an accident with another vehicle in 15 years of driving. (I once hit a deer that jumped in the road 8 years ago.) The loud bang that jostled me out of my traffic daydream, seemed to indicate a smashed rear bumper. As I pulled onto the shoulder with my hazards on, I motioned for the guy to meet me there. He looked at me indifferently and continued onward.

I then pulled up behind him and then quickly beside him, and then motioned over to the shoulder. Again, the guy shrugged his shoulders and continued on. We were only driving about ten miles an hour because of all the traffic. All of a sudden, the guy slammed on his accelerator and attempted to merge into the lane to the left. At this point, I snapped as I realized this guy seemed to have no intention of pulling over. I started honking my horn and flashing my high beams at him, and again he accelerated trying to ditch me in the traffic.

As I followed behind him, he suddenly cut over two or three lanes to the right to the nearest exit, accelerating all the while. I really started getting pissed at this point. I cut across the lanes as well almost driving my car into the off ramp median. I hopped a curb and dodged some barrier poles and followed in hot pursuit.

Once I reached the bottom of the off ramp, I noticed three police cars parked on the street with their lights on, and rolled down my window honking yelling that the guy in front of me just hit my car and was trying to get away. I accelerated next to the car and started screaming "PULL YOUR @#%$! CAR OVER!!!" The guy finally stopped and when I got out of my car I was steamed to say the least. A police officer was immediately there and ordered me back to my car to "cool off." When the officer came up to my window and asked what happened, I explained to him what just transpired. The officer cut me off and said,
"That's not true, I have his license right here and I was the one who told him to take the exit."

Twiggy Wreathplant (above)
I told the officer that I was completely confused.
"How did you tell him to take the exit and how did you get his license?" I asked the police officer.
He explained to me that there was just a nine car fender bender on the highway, and the officer had just ordered everyone involved to take the exit and they would sort it out in a less congested area.
"So you mean to tell me this guy was just in an accident, and after you instructed him to take the first exit, he hit my car in the process?"
"I guess so" he responded.
I was thinking something didn't quite make sense judging by the guy's behavior after he hit my car.
The officer explained my options, telling me that I could file a report which would not only take a couple of hours, but would also result in a point on both of our driver's licenses, and probably an increase in our insurance rates. Or I could exchange information with the guy and let the insurance companies take care of it. Thankfully after looking at my car, there were only a couple of scratches on my bumper, much less damage than I anticipated. I decided on the second option, and while we were exchanging information, the police officer gave me the license of the man who he thought was standing before me.
"That's not my license." the guy said.
"Didn't I already have your license from before?" the officer asked.
"No." the man replied.
"I'll be damned." I thought to myself, I knew something didn't feel right.
California Prickly Phlox (above)
Since there wasn't much damage, I kept my mouth shut. The officer seemed to want to move on to more important matters since he still had to clean up the mess left behind involving the nine car wreck, and the duties involved with the Rose Bowl. The man apologized for hitting my car, and denied he was trying to get away. I didn't believe him but felt bad for him anyhow, he looked scared for some reason. It took me a while to relax after I got home. Today's hike was an excellent stress reliever. It felt great to be outside, getting some exercise, stretching my muscles and working out the stiffness in my neck.

Tree Tobacco (above)

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