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OutdoorAbstract

Look For The Skid Marks

I was driving up Mt. Baldy Road at about 3:30am Saturday just as I've done over 1000 times.  I've seen lots of stuff and have always been aware of the dangers having had numerous close calls over the years of driving 25K+ miles a year all over the West but this was really up close.  Right around the Dam, below the parking for Potato, a WRX coming down at a high rate of speed can't hold the corner, spins out across the uphill lane and slams into the side of a hill, spinning around then off the road backwards.  If I was one more second farther they would have impacted the front left corner of my tiny Honda Fit and my survival would have been extremely questionable.  Yes, I know all about probabilities, but my wife has already been a widow once.  Not sure I can afford a giant rolling fortress but without one I am done with Mt. Baldy Road.  Beware the maniacs.
tekewin

A harrowing experience.  Glad you are OK and hopefully the other driver was, too.  As a WRX owner, I want to state for the record that it wasn't me. I drive like a nun on twisty mountain roads.  I've seen more consistent speeding by drivers on ACH than on Mount Baldy Road.

I've always considered getting to the TH and home as part of the risk of hiking, maybe the most dangerous part.
Taco

Sometimes people lose it downhill on Baldy. Sometimes early morning isn't the best time to avoid fast drivers, as that's often when I used to go with my buddies to go fast and not endanger anyone else (cue the non-SAR members saying SAR is in danger, blah blah blah).

Glad you're okay. I know how that feels. Been nearly taken out a few times, in a car and on a road bike. 0_0
VermillionPearlGirl

I once saw two downed motorcyclists, with motorcycles on fire, in the same week. It was disturbing.

Also, I've seen more than one car spun out into the hill pretty bad up on Glendora Mountain Road, they seem to race up there at night.

Just yesterday I drove down the 39 behind a pick up that had no respect for the line in the middle of the road. I mean like comically so. I was really surprised that didn't turn out worse.

As much as I'm afraid of rattlesnakes and mountain lions, they always say you're a lot more likely to die in a car accident driving to and from the trailhead then you are to die on the trail.
RichardK

Mt Baldy Road

Several years ago, we were headed up the road at sunrise.  Just below the village, a car had spun out blocking the downhill lane. It was on fire.  A man and a woman were leaving the flaming vehicle walking downhill. My wife ran over and asked if they needed help. They told her to buzz off. We could not get a cell phone signal to report the incident, but the doors to the Buckhorn Lodge were open. A guy opening up said he would call the sherriff. It was all gone when we drove back from our hike hours later.
Taco

Hmmm, how much should I say on here?  Twisted Evil

Yes, folks race up there. There are different groups that 'race' up there. Some of us older more mature drivers (the ones you don't need to worry about) go up there at certain times. Sometimes those who are not as wise occupy the same places at the same times, as it is public property.

I've been behind so many people who double-lane (cross the yellow middle marker). Usually it's a minivan with kids in it or a pickup truck. They're not going fast enough to warrant double-laning, nor is that a safe practice 90% of  the time.

Avoid GMR late at night if you fear getting involved in something. You don't have to worry about all of us, but there will always be novices up there pushing their luck I guess you could say.

I'd like to consider myself the ambassador or whatever of spirited driving for this forum. Yeah there are kids/inexperienced drivers, and some people who perhaps go 'too fast' by a lot of folk's estimation, but there are also plenty of us who drive safely and respectfully (and fast).

I guess what I'm trying so hard to say is that not all of us who drive fast in the hills are yahoos. I've helped with many car crashes, flat tires, car issues, downed motorcycles (got a cool scar on my leg from the last one), bicycle crashes, lost drivers, etc etc etc. The San Gabes have awesome driving roads. As long as we don't have an attitude that all motorcyclists and drivers are assholes, and attitude that quickly develops on forums like this one.

PS: Always use turnouts. Smile
OutdoorAbstract

Taco wrote:
Yeah there are kids/inexperienced drivers, and some people who perhaps go 'too fast' by a lot of folk's estimation, but there are also plenty of us who drive safely and respectfully (and fast).

I guess what I'm trying so hard to say is that not all of us who drive fast in the hills are yahoos.  As long as we don't have an attitude that all motorcyclists and drivers are assholes, and attitude that quickly develops on forums like this one.


I agree, the clown that nearly creamed me was clearly going 'too fast' for his own level of expertise.  I also agree that not all of us who drive fast, I'm in that group, are yahoos.  If everybody knew their limits and paid close attention to the situation at hand fewer innocents would be put at risk.

When I saw the driver of a Civic Del Sol accelerate over the embankment in a suicide attempt just above the Dam at least she didn't risk anybody else's well being.

Am I still actually willing to curtail my pre-dawn mtn activities due to this incident?  Not sure at this point.
BrownMtnBob

The mountain roads are there to enjoy, not to race on.  It's ridiculous.  People out trying to enjoy the area and have a good time being harassed by racers in cars or bikes.  ANYONE who crosses a double-yellow line on mtn roads should be dealt with.  I guess once I hit about 40 years old, this became pretty obvious.  I've seen cars very very very nearly take out motorcycles by crossing double yellows. I've seen motorcyclists riding like fools....which is why I generally don't even take my bike into the canyons on weekends.   And don't even get me started on the topic of those ridiculous cars with "fart pipes" (you know, because if you pull the muffler off your 4-cylinder  Integra, and replace it with a hollowed-out ash-can,  it becomes a 12 second race-car, right?  Rolling Eyes ).  

The National Forest is for enjoying, not seeing how close people can get to causing an accident involving a family of 6, just out to enjoy the surroundings.....or to kill a bicyclist just out for a ride....or to annoy everyone in the area with a 110 db fart pipe.   That's my $.02
Taco

I feel the same way about Harleys. Loads of noise for no reason other than to get attention. Humans have bizarre courtship rituals.
OutdoorAbstract

and it continues...

I know, I said I wouldn't return without a battleship but we all know how that goes.  This morning around 4am some little white car (Geo Metro?) overcooked it just above the tunnels and rolled.  Didn't seem to have gone off the side.  May have been effected by widely spread debris from rockfall.  On my way down saw their skidmarks go right through the now divided rocks.  

At least this time they had the courtesy to crash about 15 minutes prior to my arrival instead of 1 second prior.  CHP was on scene when I went past.
OutdoorAbstract

dangerous

A bicyclist was killed in an encounter with a car on Mt. Baldy Road near the dam, same area where my close call occurred.  Saturday morning, maybe around 7:30am, I was descending by car and the road was closed requiring diversion down the Mountain Ave. side.  Sheriff's helicopter was just landing on the dam for emergency evacuation to the hospital.  Claremont PD had the road closed Wednesday around 2pm and indicated that investigation of the fatality site was continuing up the road above the closure.
Hikin_Jim

Crap.

Any details?

HJ
OutdoorAbstract

Learned some of the details regarding the fatality.  Cyclist was descending Mt. Baldy Road near the dam.  Chevy Tahoe was also descending.  Outside rear view mirror on the passenger side of the Tahoe struck the cyclist in the head as the Tahoe went past the cyclist.  Not good.  I bicycled on GRR and GMR back in the 80's but never would have considered riding on the lower part of Mt. Baldy Road where the speeds are so high.  These days I do descend from the top of the pavement to The Village on a bicycle but tell myself that automobile speeds are lower in that area and I'm faster than they are so nobody is going to run me over from behind...
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