I took a business trip down to Irvine again this week, so in order to make up for being in Irvine most of the time I took Friday off so I could go carve some canyons with Wrong Wheel Drive (41%). Here’s how it went!
I surprised even myself by rousing myself at 5:00 AM with little difficulty, and I was out on the road by 6:00. There were more cars out here than I expected, but that’s what they build these freeways so wide for, right? I hit only minor congestion and have time to stop for a leisurely breakfast at Taco Bell and still make the Reel Inn parking lot well before WWD, who had to stop to fill up his Miata first. I made a quick post on Oppo to entertain myself in the meantime.
When WWD arrived — in truth right at the time we agreed upon, even though he had to fill up — we took a little time to chat, apply sunscreen, and take a few photos. I have no idea what’s ahead of me at this point. Driving 100% purely for the fun of driving, with no other purpose, is something I’ve done maybe 30 minutes of total so far in my life, and I’m about to hit some canyon roads people love talking about on the internet. I remarked to WWD that I didn’t think that I would be keeping up, but I think he was thinking about the cars more than the drivers and didn’t seem to believe me.
So of course we headed out of the parking lot up to Malibu Canyon Rd and then Piuma Rd. I proceed to finally open up the throttle on a canyon road without worrying about the vehicle in front of me, and quickly find myself with a stupid grin on my face. WWD figures out shortly that I’m not going to be driving at his pace and dials it back a bit, which I’m thankful for since I’m using his sole working brake light to tell me when I should be braking.
We get to a pullout that I recognize from WWD’s posts, and WWD discovers that it was probably a good thing that he had to slow down on my account because his Miata’s cooling system is making a hissing noise. After confirming that the temp was a bit high, we head down another canyon road to Mullholand Freeway back towards his place so he can swap the Miata for his WRX.
He doesn’t mention to me that the WRX is also close to empty, so I laugh a little when he pulls in to a gas station on the way back out. I dunno, I guess driving these roads is just routine for him, but I think it’s funny that he planned a whole driving day and started the morning with both of his cars low on fuel. I make a post on Oppo to tease him, but since I hadn’t posted a picture of his Miata, nobody got it when I posted this photo of his WRX getting filled.
Taking Mullholand Freeway back out, it grows less developed and more fun, and we start to gradually let loose with the throttles again. At one point I glance down at the speedometer and surprise myself seeing the needle over around 90! I think that I’ve only driven 90 or higher a handful of times (maybe it happened a bit more when I was passing people in that Golf R I rented), and those were all on big flat old highways. I don’t have much time to enjoy the moment, since of course this is the spot when we pass a police cruiser headed in the other direction. Fortunately, luck/our guardian angel Dominic Toretto are on our side and the po-po don’t turn around.
After a few more canyon roads, the obligatory stop at Neptune’s Net (just to look), and an aborted attempt to hike Mugu Point the long way, we stop for our midday activity of a punishingly steep climb. We spent most of the way up in a cloud, but the peak was just above the marine layer which made a lovely effect:
On the way back down, we ran into a coworker of WWD’s, who informed of us of a bikini contest happening nearby later that evening (apparently he has a bit of a reputation as a partier).
After the hike, we went to a neat Mexican grocer nearby where we had a delicious lunch of burritos from their deli counter and cane sugar sodas.
The after-lunch drive started with Decker Rd. I forgot this road was the one that WWD said had “first-gear hairpin turns” at the bottom, so I was totally unprepared for those (they’re wild!). Not the best start, but I got back in to the swing of things after that, and I was able to keep up with the Subie on the curvy bits (though he was taking it a bit easier since the WRX is his daily).
After the eastgoing leg that started with Decker, we got back on the PCH and drove until we hit traffic. WWD and I parted ways while I tried to figure out if I was gonna miss my flight (at one point the worst-case estimate of the map app made it very possible), but I ended up making it back to LAX with 15-20 minutes to spare.