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Phil Drake: Road warrior gives up

first_imgTo all of you folks who commute long distances every day: my hat’s off to you. I know some people are shocked when they hear of road rage incidents on clogged freeways; I must be the lone voice who wonders why we don’t have more. You’re driving, you’re stopping. Some guy cuts you off. I see a million reasons why people would be trigger-happy. Last week I was asked to help out at our Whittier office. I live two miles from the Tribune office. Most days I can be there in six to eight minutes. I watch the faces of weary co-workers parade to their desk in the morning, each wearing the battle scars of a harried commute. But then I remembered Puente Avenue. Dear, sweet Puente Avenue. That would take me to Whittier. Once I realized the freeways were a joke and surface streets were the true heroes, I was at the Whittier Daily News in no time at all. The next day’s plan was to take surface streets. I made it to Puente Avenue and was cruising along with traffic when we came to an abrupt halt. I looked ahead and cars were backed up for at least a mile. The light at Valley Boulevard was out and cars were slowly getting through the intersection. In 20 minutes I moved about 200 feet. I called the Whittier editor and told him I was running late. I then took a right on Valley and got on the 605. From there I took a hodgepodge of freeway and surface streets. I had burned through two cigars, used my daily allotment of cursing in just minutes and was still miles from my destination. I stopped at a 7-Eleven to get some much-needed coffee. There were two guys in line ahead of me. One cashed in a multitude of lottery tickets and the other paid for his $1.49 cup of coffee in pennies. I was fidgeting and running in place, as if I had to go to the restroom. I tossed a $1.50 on the counter and bolted to the door. Within two minutes I entered the Whittier Daily News’ parking lot. I stumbled into the office looking half crazy and like I had been on a three-day drinking binge. The commute had bested me. I was now a full-fledged member of the harried travelers club. Now give me my medal – and some coffee. [email protected] (626) 962-8811, Ext. 2110160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! I figured if I left 45 minutes early, I could commute the 15 or so miles from Covina to Whittier with plenty of time to spare. My first day started off gloriously. I made it to the San Gabriel River (605) Freeway by hitting every light. “Good golly, I am going to be there in 15 minutes,” I chortled to myself while biting down on my Phillies Titan cigar and swigging from a bucket of coffee I brought with me. The 605 was a parking lot. I quickly maneuvered around and headed back toward Baldwin Park. The streets of Baldwin Park have always perplexed me. Does Francisquito Avenue run north-south, east-west or both. And Merced, where the heck does that go? last_img

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