Sunday, July 1, 2012

Sunday Stills: Roads

Saturday, we had to run some errands down the mountain.
I took pictures with my iPhone for the Sunday Stills challenge.
Here we go,
down the roads of our little community... the front gate of our community.  
You can drive down the mountains turning right or left onto the road outside the gate.
Turn right, and you will be on a narrow, wash-board, pitted road for a good hour.
But, it's scenic.
And it goes by a trail to waterfalls and swimming holes.
But we turned left.

The road travels along the ridgeline of the mountains on its way to join the Ortega Highway.
There isn't much in the way of guard rails
and at times the road cuts very close to the edge of the mountain.
Great views of Lake Elsinore, 
great place to jump for hang gliders,
but deadly if you drive over the cliffs.
We've lost community members who were distracted
or driving too fast.
It gives many of our visitors the heebie-jeebies.

After about five miles, we turn onto Ortega Highway.
-- Also known as the death highway.
There are fatalities on this road every month.
Motorcycles going too fast and passing on the curves,
drunk drivers,
it doesn't have to be deadly
but people insist on making it so.

On the weekends, the highway is popular with classic car clubs, motorcycle clubs (those grey bearded Harley guys), and kids on crotch rockets.

After 20 minutes, we reach the bottom of the mountain in the city of Lake Elsinore.  In the 20s it was a big resort town, full of flappers and movie stars.  Then the lake dried up, and the town declined into a hotbed of crack houses.  It's trying hard to come back.  There is the beautiful renovated historic old town, lake front properties and new housing developments;  scattered amongst tall weeded lots with sagging trailers and menacing dogs.

I'll spare you the road shots while we were running our errands.  It involves a lot of freeways.  Ugh.
Instead, here we are back up the mountain ready to turn onto our ridge road.
If we kept going straight, the highway winds back down the mountains and into the beautiful coastal town of San Juan Capistrano.

One side of the road is the steep cliffs and views of Lake Elsinore I showed you on the way out.
The other side of the road is hiking trails and views of the Pacific ocean.
Sorry about the glare from the car window on the photos.

As I mentioned, the road follows the curves along the top of the ridge.
It climbs slightly as we go along -- can you see it winding along in front of us?

While we were gone, the hang gliders arrived.  They are here, jumping off the side of the cliff and soaring down to the lake, almost every weekend.  I have heard that this site is known internationally as one of the best locations for hang gliding.  ...something about how the cliffs create wonderful up-drafts and you can hang in the air forever. 
No, thank you.

Can you see why I love this part of my commute?
And, why I love having a little sports car.


  1. Great shots, thats a beautiful part of California..:-)

  2. I just love driving my little 30' horse "sports trailer" down the Ortega highway, wiping out all the crotch rocket idiots who pass over the double line on the curves at 70 mph. Flash gets a giggle every time the back tires go whump whump over the motorcycle riders. He has hash marks on the inside of his trailer stall for every one we get.

  3. I enjoyed this scenic drive. It is amazing to me how much your landscape looks like ours in the B.C. Okanagan. Except their watr is a huge lake, not the sea.

  4. "hash marks on the inside of his trailer" *ROTFL*

    thanks for showing us your part of the country. i've never been there and had no idea what it looks like.

    are there little crosses/flowers/candles where people have died as a warning to others?

    there is a fantastic drive around the watershed here and i'm determined to someday videotape the drive for my blog. it's just amazing, i've never seen countryside like's how i envision ireland to be. photos won't capture it, it has to be video.

  5. Thanks for the tour, and also for the comments that identified the location as Cal. I would have guessed Colorado! Got a spare seat in the sports car?

  6. I love that you shared your trip from your home to town. A trip many of us make every day but maybe don't appreciate till we share. Fun!

  7. i loved the 5th photo, and dreaming of those guys on Harleys cruising..........pheww!!

  8. Lovely pictures. And I can see why it's dangerous for people being careless or distracted, or meeting someone like that.


Thanks so much for commenting! I love the conversation.