Covid-19 continues to plague us. Wildfires have destroyed Millions of Acres of beautiful forests and natural areas. The earthquakes in the East Sierra have been numerous and very unsettling. The Political situation in the “Peoples Republic” has become increasingly more radicalized to the left and somewhat comical, as I write this, the gubernatorial recall of Gavin Newsom is one week away.
For the purpose of this article, I will orient the reader to the unique qualities that this state has to offer, as well as its unique detriments t. Most people who are familiar with California refer to it as either Southern California or Northern California, this limits California in its polarizing scope. California is Culture, plain and simple, and yet there are many cultures in California.
SITUATION = Human Terrain = Culture
Most of the communities and people who live in my region, the East Sierra, view Sacramento politicians as the enemy. They generally view everyone from Southern California as “candy-a**es”, People from the Bay Area as “Pinkos” and have a certain simpatico for the other, less developed areas of California, except for the Marijuana triangle, who are viewed as “Cannabis Cartel” or even just as “Hippies” In California, you are either a native or a transplant.
I am a transplant from a large suburban city in the Midwest. Whenever I speak, Californians (and some transplants) automatically comment on my unmistakable regional accent. This speech pattern identifies me as an outsider. This is a fact that I am proud of!
When Californians poke fun at my accent I do a quick drill, I ask them “what is the white liquid” they put into their cereal in the morning. The answer I get is this: “Melk”. My response: “Wrong, Valley Girl it’s, MILK!” This often produces one or two typical responses: laughter and the ice is broken. Or, obscene gestures, ugly four-lettered words, or a few times, a violent physical encounter, (see the following paragraph) Jeepers Creepers! so sensitive, those “Valley Girls”.
Author’s Note: “Valley Girl” is a term used by people in my city/suburbs of origin, for everyone from Southern California, female or male. Since living here for as long as I have, I have come to realize that this cultural perception crosses into “Northern California” and into the littoral areas and large suburban areas.)
When Americans think about Californians, a lot of preconceived notions come to mind. Some of the funniest biases are how when people in Southern California talk they speak in terms of time spent in traffic and the routes they took, this is funny because it is very true. Southern and Northern Californian freeway systems are a nightmare. I would urge readers of this blog to search the internet for a series Saturday Night Live skits called “The Californians”. This is a hilarious perspective on the general American view of Californian culture. The comedians also nail the “Valley Girl” accent so well that I challenge anyone who watches these skits not to laugh.
Transplants often become “Cali-fornicated”, these folks are duplicitous in a good way, as they will claim that California is their paradise, yet when they see or at hear a fellow transplanted person under cultural attack from the natives, they come to a fellow’s aid rather quickly. I could tell a violent story from thirty years ago about a total stranger from New Jersey who came to my aid when an encounter with some natives went from uncomfortable to dangerously violent. I will spare the reader the details, but it earned me a lifelong friend and a key member of my “Network”. Culture of transplants is a culture that is very strong in the urban-suburban areas of Southern California, where many transplants reside. (Southern Orange County, Los Angeles, San Diego.)
California is densely populated in areas near water, where, for the most part, people habituate because these areas are generally very beautiful because of the local climate. I will make it clear to the reader that South Orange County, California maybe one of my favorite places in America, so I am in fact biased. Forgive me this one indulgence: The South portions of Orange County are frequented by people who are largely from other places, these transplants and native people represent beautiful human terrain. People here are physically just good looking!!! Some naturally, some have purchased surgical help/augmentation, a practice that is not just accepted there, but almost celebrated. This is a strange cultural standard for a person from the Midwest.
To someone who is a Native Californian, the Idea of “Escaping California” probably is pure anathema! As a transplant who has been to just about every part of the “Peoples Republic” it seems to me that the culture of being a “Californian” is strongest in folks who hail from the littoral areas. It’s a mindset, an attitude, a way folks carry themselves, it is indescribable, yet, totally palpable! Californians have a certain “swank and swagger” This personality trait is endemic to all races, classes, and creeds of people that I have encountered. It is Californians greatest weakness, and yet it is their greatest strength!
One could, if plotting the right course “Escape California” to Mexico, Arizona, Nevada, Oregon, or even to rural parts of California! I currently am part of a “network” of folks who have very definitive plans to come to my place here in the East Sierra, if the Highways are passable and should the need arise. The fact that California is becoming more and more untenable is proof alone that when it’s time to leave, you want to be the first person on the road.
The traffic nightmare is a key critical consideration for the purposes of this article. (Remember the comedy skits mentioned above, comedy is based in truth!) The freeways are over-congested, have peak hours, are constantly under repair, and are vulnerable to attack! By this, I mean: Attack by the elements, attack by those who wish to regulate traffic by imposing steep tolls, attack to potential catastrophic damage from the “big one” (earthquake) attack from increased human daily use/abuse.
I need to stress to the reader that many of the Counties listed could be re-classified based on my own means of classification, for instance San Luis Obispo County is famous for its Large estancias which produce beef cattle, making it a Littoral and Industrial Farm County. My system of classification is not Scientific, Legal or Cultural in intent, merely just a quick and easy means to understand the areas of California based spending time there and making observations of identifiable patterns that some of the populace has displayed during the time I spent there.
Climate/Weather: “It’s all good man”!
The fact that Southern California has roads as good as it does is directly linked to the Climate and weather. If the reader visits my State/City of Origin, one would see how and why Governors of that state have won and lost elections based on the Tollway’s status. These are pure money makers for lawmakers and are subject to political abuse, public mistrust, and user frustration.
In southern California, Orange County and San Diego County have implemented a successful Tollway system. I have used these tollways extensively, I can say that with great confidence that they are expensive to traverse, yet so worth the price, when considering the traffic on the I-5 and sections of the I-15 in San Diego, Orange, Riverside and San Bernardino Counties. There are many instances where I paid the toll and saved at least 90 minutes commute/traverse time. Southern California Freeways and increasingly tollways are under constant use, even late at night and early in the morning.
If it were not for the Marine Corps base, Camp Pendleton and the US Naval Weapons station facility at Fallbrook, the piece of land between the I-15 and I-5 would be highly developed and there would certainly be a vast network of Tollways on this massive slice of terrain. I could make a very credible argument that the Department of the Navy and Marine Corps, who currently owns this land is controlling the most valuable, undeveloped piece of land in California and perhaps all the lower forty eight states. I challenge anyone to look into the history of this critical piece of real estate, it’s fascinating.
Bugout: “Oh, well, we’ll just go up to the Mountains”
We residents of the Eastern Sierra really appreciate it when the Southern California residents come up for a visit, they bring their hard-earned dollars which they are eager to spend in our small communities for a plethora of goods and services. We also appreciate when they leave and go home after leaving no trace. We East Sierra residents march to the beat of an independent drum, we want Federal and State Government out of our Schools, Places of worship, our Bank accounts, out of our private business, out of our bedrooms, out of our home Larders, and out of our home armories! Knowing that our region is the last solid bastion in California, we also know that almost everyone in Southern California thinks that when TSHTF, that they will “just go to the mountains”.
This “Jack-A**ery” is so irresponsible that it borders on criminal insanity for so many reasons. I would need to write another article or even a dissertation, addressing the myriad issues from congested routes of ingress as well as the mindsets of those wishing to come to the East Sierra during a Natural disaster or man-made calamity. I will identify the paved routes that a reasonable person may assume is a quick, efficient, easy means to exit the state of Bliss (California). For my route descriptions, I am going to start in the South and work my way North. I am going to list the major well-known, federally-funded highways and the smaller byways that a person might consider when leaving the regions that I described earlier in this article. I will primarily focus on escaping Southern California.
(To be concluded tomorrow, in Part 2.)