Cajon Pass

Sat Nav bombed out as we couldn’t enter a damn address, fortunately I’d pre-printed the google maps destructions so we followed those with no bother. Did wrestle with e I101 for a few miles but once on the I10 (San Bernadino Freeway) we flew. Off onto Highway 138 and finally left onto the 3N48 Parker Ranch Road to Hill 582.

Now to say that they don’t get many VW beetles up that dirt track was an understatement; at one point we were on the edge of the ballast on the edge of the 4 foot, wheels spinning gently into the rocks. Chickened out and parked at the foot of the hill and walked up. Met two local rail fans who were tending the hotspot. Rakes, shovels and 100’s of litres of water dragged up to the hill each week in their pickups. Note to self. If I do ever come back here make sure the rental car is either a 4 by 4 or better still a Silverado!

Don E. Toles (the Hilltender) and Jerry were great guys, very welcoming. Jerry quickly added us to their airline survey, noting yet more people avoiding BA! Don started the whole thing in 1993 when he planted some trees. A small group of guys meet there each week and basically keep it up. Trees, cacti, rubbish collection, a bench sat in the shade and even a bird table. All finished off with rockery walling. Ruth and I were invited to sign the visitors book, which is kept permanently on the Hill in an old military ammo box. Priceless. A UK enthusiast group had even signed and left an old LNER ad depicting Flying Scotsman, probably from the 40’s and they’d all signed it.

No signs of any unfriendlies, either Reptilia or Arachnida but Jerry let the cat out of the bag telling Ruth that Tarantula too were frequently seen on the hill.

The Californian sun was good to us and I got the shots I’d hoped for. It was with trepidation when they left us in charge and headed out. Later in the afternoon Ruth and I just sat on the bench, in the sun and watched a whole lotta nothing go by.

Ended then day with a visit to the Summit Inn as planned and confused the waitress who immediately recognised us for tourists and asked “Have you just come from Vegas or are you on your way there?”, my answer of neither we’ve been on Hill 582 all day certainly did not appear in the list of responses she’d ever received to that question. Ruth destroyed 3 straight cups of coffee much to the surprise of the waitress who had only just returned with menus!

Stormed back to LA via Pasadena as the Sat Nav was able cope with the hotel address and discovered that Exit 8C dropped us not only onto North Gower Street but less than 100m from the hotel. Result

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