I had intended to push out from Sandy Eggo at around 1000 yesterday morning, but between one micro-crisis and another didn’t get rubber to road until nearly 1230. As it turns out, Highway 405 presents quite a different aspect through Los Angeles after lunch time than it does just before or just after, the entire trip was done in three hours and I didn’t even have to lane split. Much.
Mentally I break the ride up in three segments, home to Laguna Niguel is the first leg, then the 405 through LA with a brief jaunt west on the 10 prior to the final leg: Highway 1 – the Pacific Coast Highway – from Santa Monica to Ventura County through Malibu. Due to the grinding nature of the traffic through LA on the 405, it’s the central leg I dread the most.
But the R1150GS made short work of even the LA basin, taking the HOV lane most of the way. I-10 snuck up on me, and practically before you could say, “Nob’s your buncle” I was on CA-1 cruising through some of the loveliest bit of country on the planet. Oh, Santa Monica has rather too many drivers on too few roads with a gratuitous dollop of seemingly senseless stoplights thrown in. But once you’ve broken clear you have high hills on your right, a twinkling, placid ocean on your left, salt air in your helmet, and lovely… Well, as I said, the scenery is delightful.
You could let a creep of envy slip past your guard if you weren’t careful. Those of my class are welcome to use the Coast Road, so long as we push on through, stopping only for a burger maybe. Maybe a beer. But we don’t live there, nor never will, not at the rates they’re charging. Nor yet aboard the luxury class sailing yachts that swing at their buoys hither and yon. But envy, as we have been instructed, is a mortal sin.
I found it was possible however, to channel any transient grumpiness into outright nausea for the proliferation of those ridiculous “coexist” bumper stickers that seemed to dot every third eight-cylinder SUV along the road. I used to think that they displayed a rather appalling naivete – it’s hard to “coexist” with those who want to kill you. Coexistence requires a little give and take, especially for the fellow with the suicide vest and AK-47. And after all, merely waving coexist stickers at one another in the quiet affluence of Malibu does little to soothe the burning jihadi heart in Pakistan’s madrassas and frontier wildlands, far less the inchoate, murderous rage of your Nidal Hassan’s of this world.
I’ve come to believe instead that it is not naivete, but – rather than ostensibly having to do with promoting religious tolerance on all parts and by all faiths – (preaching to the choir, in this land of ours) that these people are banding together in a superior way to talk down to all people of faith. And they are doing so quite content in the knowledge that in coastal California, this is staking out the moral high ground with little effort and zero risk. You are all equally culpable in continuing with your little superstitions, they seem to say. All equally to blame for all of the anger and bloodshed. If you can’t “evolve“, at least run along outside and play nicely.
Me? I feel differently. As they would to I imagine, were they to spend a day or two pied a terre in Karachi or Kanduhar without a file of Marines to keep them safe.
But anyway. Got into Point Mugu at around 1530, just as a chill was settling in. Drove to the workplace, shook hands and exchanged greetings. Walked out to the flight line to see two Kfirs there on the ramp, lean and lethal looking (we know better). A half a dozen Hawker Hunters sat on their flank with their noses in the air, awaiting other pilots and other missions. I’m a little torn, as I miss home already. But I am happy to be back at the hangar with fighters on the flight line and work to do, in the company of those I know and respect.
Two flights today, one day and one night. As I left the base for my short commute to the consolidated bachelor quarters at Port Hueneme, a fog was coming in. As it will tonight no doubt. It’s a lot of fun in the daytime, although fun of a serious sort. In the evening, coming down the glideslope at 1000 feet per minute with no radar altimeter and the field not yet in sight, it’s a lot of work.
I shivered just a bit, and turned the handgrip heat on high.