Friday evening of Memorial Day weekend, I was on my way to Home Depot driving east on Red Apple Avenue, just about through the big signal-light intersection with Highway 202 and about to begin that drunken maze of curbs and lane changes that start at that intersection and continue, with Walmart down farther on the right, once Red Apple changes to West Tehachapi Boulevard.
As I drove straight across that major busy intersection, intent on watching traffic flow and all going on there, I clipped the jutting-out high curb on the intersection’s east side with an incredibly loud bang and tore up the entire left side of my car.
A stunned me (no accidents in my entire driving career since 15 and now approaching 70), and my 32-year-old mint-condition Camry, now making the most horrendous array of noises, miraculously was able to limp on down the road to my longtime great mechanic, Don’s Pro Tech, where my pathetic-looking car sits at this moment, tilting sadly downhill on its left side, until after the long holiday weekend.
There’s not even any white or reflective paint on the edges of the curbs in that poorly designed (I’m an engineer by background) traffic-maze area to differentiate the vertical concrete from the road concrete. Without such visual cues, and traveling at traffic-flow speed, I misjudged just how much of a jog to the right you need to execute as you’re leaving that busy intersection going east, with its traffic crunch there, to avoid experiencing the kind of rude awakening I did.
I later noticed, from studying the tire marks telling stories on all the other sneaky curbs in that “road improvement” area, that my calamity has many friends. Drivers beware — or you’ll be joining our growing club of ruined tires, dented wheels, and bent frames!
— Dr. Edwin M. Young, Alpine Forest Park