I understand that the perception (and probably reality) of air in LA is generally poor. I know there is smog here and air quality issues. That said, there something I love about it.
I love when I coming off the 110 North into Pasadena at night and I turn off my A/C, roll down the windows, open the sunroof and breath in the air. It’s hard to describe. Like it’s moist, but not humid. Cool, but not cold. There’s a scent almost like after a rain, but probably just from thousands of lawn sprinklers all over the city.
Growing up, my Dad always rolled down the windows as we drove off a freeway or highway into town. He told me the wind noise helped he keep from going too fast. I don’t know if that’s how I got started, but it’s not what keeps me doing this ritual.
After 30-60 minutes driving through the concrete freeways of LA in my sealed off car with A/C I need to be refreshed. The 110 has this earthy nature to it. Yes, it’s a freeway, but it’s a freeway that clings to the land. It curves, it bumps, it jostles. You can drive just 60 mph and feel like you’re about to lose your control. You feel the Arroyo Seco and the trees next to you. You are driving into the mountains and the grow in your windshield.
This is no concrete below grade freeway. This is no transportation throughway for tractor-trailers and deliveries. The 110 only goes to Pasadena. Then it ends and you drive past favorite places just a couple miles from home.
You can roll down the windows, open that moon roof and breathe. It’s refreshing, awakening and enlightening. It reminds you that sometimes driving is fun. It’s not all traffic and stopping and waiting and dreading.
I love that Pasadena air. Your drive might be terrible, but at least you know it will end great.