We've executed the drive from Burbank, Ca. to Chester, Ca (nearly 600 miles) at least 40 times over the last 40 years. One has to psych-up for the escape from the West's most populous regions to the least...from the San Fernando Valley out through the desert suburbs of Palmdale and Lancaster to the relatively safe roads beyond Mohave. This last Sunday we found it a very different experience...we shared the eight lane fwys of I-5 and I-14 with only a handful of trucks. It was daylight (7 to 8am) and there were stretches of freeway with absolutely no cars in sight. Soooo...was this a set-up for another SoCal disaster movie?
Beyond Mohave...nothing moving. A group of nearly 100 passenger jets were parked south of the highway for dry storage where we usually see a only two dozen. I treat my Honda like I want it to last for a couple of decades so, I try to keep the speed down near sixty miles per hour. When there are no other cars in sight 62 miles per hour feels very slow. The few cars I did see passed me like I was standing still (maybe 90 mph)...have I seen this movie? A Mad Max movie? I was wishing I had a weapon...more than just an oversized pedal wrench. The Coronavirus (Covid-19) has convincingly changed the motoring mentality of the majority of Californians.
Sure it was Sunday but, suburban Californians race to malls and 'big box' stores on Sundays. By 8am everyone is filling the football field-sized parking lots, jockeying for the best slots...on this day, the parking lots were empty. The boulevards that underpass the freeways were empty...really, there was no one in sight. We'll never see this again, I told my wife in the passenger's seat. I must say, I prefer a little more activity than this...how are the gas stations going to stay open?