I try to share aspects of pleasurable Southern California life—the sights and activities supporting my personal well-being! However, not everything in my daily life helps me “breathe lighter” and this week I certainly had one afternoon to seriously consider how much work it can be to modify stress! Attitude is everything…
My darling granddaughters live about an hour south! Once or twice a week I navigate a very active freeway…and oh the trucks! This particular stretch of highway ends at the busy Port of Los Angeles. Approximately $236.4 billion in cargo passed through the harbor in 2010, the busiest container port in the United States. The containers and contents are off-loaded and then divided between rail transport and the trucking industry.
And the trucks contribute to heavy traffic with potential gridlock. But, consider this.
We’ve had a birds-eye view of the global recession while watching port activity. In 2009 it was reported that the container industry was being hit by a $20-billion loss. The Port was noticeably affected, with new cars off-loaded and no place to go, parked in a massive static parking lot! The absence of full activity was sadly noted, and the Port suffered (that’s job loss) an unprecedented slide!
Port activity appears to be booming, or at least from an outsider’s vantage point it appears to be quite healthy once again!
As much as I do NOT enjoy driving in a sea of massive trucks, I always note that those trucks do represent jobs!
So back to my well-being! This week after a nice day with Nan and Papa, I took the girls home to their mommy and daddy. I scheduled the drive to avoid the expected evening rush hour traffic–yet it happened–sirens in my rear-view mirror and vehicles screeching to a halt!
Traffic reports warned of an accident of considerable proportion ahead, also signaling the narrowing of four lanes to one. It didn’t take a genius to rapidly calculate that two lanes full of the largest possible diesel trucks somehow snaking into one lane with the rest of us wasn’t going to be good!
I’ll spare you the detailed maneuvering, but I got off the freeway, and although my navigation system told me it was still going to take me an hour to go 30 miles—at least I could control the flow! If I could see the San Gabriel Mountains all I needed was to head north, and I’d eventually get home.
How’d I fare? I remembered to breathe lighter! I was thankful that the girls were not with me—very thankful for that. I had a good car with a great radio—I sing show tunes with my XM Broadway station., and best of all, I decided that if people take road trips and go off the trail to see the largest ball of twine or a house made entirely out of glass bottles, I’d just do the same. I’d take advantage of some sightseeing and make the best of it!
It crossed my mind that snapping pictures along the way might increase my own accident risk, so I’ll just have to tell you what I discovered without the benefit of photos.
Passing a large sign for Downey Studios I discovered movie studios I’d never even heard about! I had to wait to get home to learn they indeed are working movie studios. Previously the former Boeing plant where the Space Shuttle orbiters were assembled, the studio has been used for many major TV and film projects, including Iron Man, Charlie Wilson’s War, Terminator 3, Space Cowboys, and Spider Man. I had no idea!
I also discovered The Columbia Memorial Space Center in Downey–a hands-on learning center bringing the excitement of space to children (of all ages!) and I had no idea it was in my back yard! This is a great resource to pair with our Observatory experience!
I traveled on, noting the military banners flying in honor of Downey’s residents in active military duty. It’s really hard to be cranky about traffic when you’re reading those many, many names and considering their current “inconvenience” don’t you think?
And then a traffic light stop gave me my first good photo-op!
Not California’s oldest, but the “World’s Oldest McDonald’s.” Now you’ve seen it, too! This Downey, CA location opened in 1953 and the 60 foot high neon sign with “Speedee the Chef”is eligible for listing on the National Register of Historic Places. I wasn’t about to stop, but we are going back so that I can see the employees wearing 50’s style uniforms of paper hats, white shirts and bolo ties. Apparently the facility now has a museum and gift shop. You know how I feel about museums, but true confessions, I like gift shops, too!
My spirit was really quite high at that point! I enjoyed my sightseeing trip and could now sail home in good fashion.
It’s all in a good attitude. If a person is going to navigate in Southern California you’d better have one of those! When the going gets REALLY tough, I just thank the Lord that we’re no longer in covered wagons! Travel doesn’t seem quite as slow if you keep that in mind!