I Can’t Drive 55


While making my weekly run to the dump last week, I couldn’t help but notice the brand spankin’ new traffic light on Highway 18 at SkyPark at Santa’s Village. I also couldn’t help but notice the CHP unit parked across the highway from SkyPark, waiting for the first vehicle to speed past the signal or, even worse, run through a red light. By the way, it wasn’t me.


A few years ago, when Caltrans announced plans to locate a traffic signal at Highway 18 and Lake Gregory Drive, the predecessor to this newspaper, The Alpenhorn News, railed against a traffic light, the only one on the mountain other than the one in Big Bear. Man, were we wrong. It has since saved many lives, especially when the intersection was icy or fogged in.


However, it didn’t prevent my vehicle from getting clobbered by a lady who ran a red light just as I was passing through the intersection. And she paid dearly for that little mishap, or at least her insurance company did, when they had to shell out thousands to repair my wife’s car, not to mention my injured middle digit, which I would have waved to her, if it hadn’t hurt so much. I wouldn’t be surprised if they took her license away.


“When I drive that slow, you know it’s hard to steer, and I can’t get my car out of second gear. What used to take two hours now takes all day. It took me 16 hours to get to LA. Gonna write me up a 125, post my face wanted dead or alive, take my license, all that jive. I can’t drive 55.” (“I Can’t Drive 55” – Sammy Hagar – 1984)


By the way, Sammy’s lakefront home is on the market for only $4.5 million. My lovely wife has an autographed album she got from him, back in the day, when he put in an appearance at the Wherehouse record store in Riverside.


Speaking of traffic lights, when I was a little tyke, growing up in the OC, I used to watch Engineer Bill play Red Light Green Light on his nightly TV show, where he would toot his train whistle for all the little engineers who would take a gulp of milk when he said, “Green light.” Those of us who didn’t gulp the milk in time would get the dreaded lead bell. I always got the lead bell because I never cared for milk and still don’t, except for wetting down my Cheerios.


In the meantime, drive carefully, wash your hands and don’t touch your face.


“One foot on the brake and one on the gas, hey! Well, there’s too much traffic, I can’t pass, no! So, I tried my best illegal move. Well, baby, black and white come up and touched my groove again! Gonna write me up a 125, post my face wanted dead or alive, take my license, all that jive. I can’t drive 55, oh no!”


Keep it flyin’ Uncle Mott