Mountain Musings


Highway to Hell


This is a little tale I like to call The Road to Nowhere. “Highway 18 Reopens” proudly proclaimed The San Bernardino County Sun in an article published in 2005.


Open to what, you say? Open to the Highway 138 interchange “in the middle of nowhere,” according to The Sun. Well, that’s just dandy. I’m pleased to know that if I’m down the hill and I’m in the mood for a scenic drive, I could meander all the way up to the Mormon Road Monument, which was once described by a former Sun writer as “The Highway to Hell” – and look where it led him…out of a job.


“No stop signs, speed limit, nobody’s gonna slow me down. Like a wheel, gonna spin it, nobody’s gonna mess me around. Hey, Satan, payin’ my dues, playing in a rocking band. Hey mama, look at me, I’m on the way to the promised land, woo! (Chorus) I’m on the Highway to Hell, Highway to Hell.” (“Highway To Hell” – AC/DC – 1979)


Highway 18 might someday be more aptly known as “The Highway to Heaven.” This would especially be true, if it led us to a place called “Mormon Encampment,” since most Mormons plan on entering Heaven as their final destination. But don’t we all aspire to do that?


I sure don’t want to end up in that “other” place now that I’ve had a chance to hear what it’s like down there. Oh yes, I once heard a brief sample of what it’s like in Hell on the late Art Bell’s syndicated, late night, Coast-to-Coast radio show.


Back in the 70s, Bell aired an audio tape, reputedly recorded by a team of scientists who drilled a hole deep into the Earth’s crust and lowered a microphone down into it, revealing for the first time the actual sounds of Hell. You could distinctly hear voices of thousands of tortured souls screaming out in anguish. I even thought I heard the voice of that former Sun reporter crying out in repentance.


If you are interested in hearing it for yourself, call up current Coast-to-Coast host George Noory (heard locally on AM 640 KFI) and ask him to play the “Mel’s Hole” tape.


How do we know that those sounds supposedly emanating from “Mel’s Hole” didn’t actually come from the thousands of tortured souls waiting in line on Highway 18 for the “Highway to Heaven” to finally reopen without the aid of pilot cars, which (thank heavens) it finally did? If truth be told…and I always tell the truth…well, most of the time…every settlement and town on Earth had its beginnings in the middle of nowhere.


Even Crestline, which was once known as “Fly Camp,” began as a stopover and watering hole for horses and mules traversing the Mormon Road. However, it eventually morphed into the bustling hub of humanity that it is today. The Mormon Road Encampment could become a way station for weary travelers on their way to the so-called “Middle of Nowhere.”


Now, an In-N-Out Burger conveniently located there would be “Heaven on Earth” to me.


Keep it flyin’ Uncle Mott