Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Driving a Gas Pipeline Road

I drove a service road for a Southern California Gas Company pipeline. I saw it in Google Earth and thought it'd be a fun drive, due to the curves in the road and the local terrain. It was fun: not too hard, not too easy, beautiful landscape. It was signed "Private Road - Use at your own risk". Oddly, the sign was located about half way along my route. Here's a map showing the area boxed in blue, followed by a map showing my route.

The most difficult part was a washed out section with lots of exposed sharp pointy rocks and 18 inch gullies. I'd rate that section a 4 on the Mitchell scale. Luckily, it was only about 50 yards long. Here's a google map centered on that section of the road.

There were some fun rolling hills. A few were about 20 degrees - according to my inclinometer. Those really got my attention! It's a bit unnerving to drive up a really steep hill, reach the top and not be able to see the road. I had to practically crawl over the top, and as the truck's front hood dropped, I could see that the hill drops back down just as steep as I came up. Fun!

Here's a shot of a minor washout section. I had to raise the suspension here.

The far western section is right next to I-40. I wonder what the freeway drivers thought when they saw me driving nearby. The region is called the Lava Hills, and this shot shows why.

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