Okay, cue the timpani drums and orchestral horns, and imagine that clickety typewriter sound effect as each letter appears...
Dateline: Los Angeles, CA, Thursday, May 1, 2008, 7:29 p.m.
Destination: Van Nuys/Lake Balboa area
Purpose: Classified extramilitant activity with operatives
The Militant set off in his car to the Valley as his operatives suggested he arrive at 8 p.m. Being it past 7 o'clock already, heading to the Valley should be a bree...uh-oh.
Upon entering the northbound 101 Freeway, traffic was crawling at snails-pace levels. A sea of read taillights could be seen as far down as the eye can see.
Not good. So the Militant headed into Shortcut Mode and traversed the sidestreets, hopefully entering the freeway onramp by Franklin & Gower.
No such luck. Upon reaching Franklin, there was another sea of taillights greeting him. Same for Hollywood and Sunset boulevards, and even Fountain Avenue (so much for cutting through Laurel Canyon...).
He spotted a fair number of bicycle commuters during his futile shortcut hunt. Wonder if they're trying to tell him something.
The Militant turned on KFWB and lo and behold, there was a fatal crash and an overturned truck on the northbound 101 at Barham - right smack dab in the middle of the Cahuenga Pass - the oh-so delicate artery of the circulatory system known as the Los Angeles freeway. Southbound traffic was free-flowing. The other way, not so much. Traffic backed up as far as Alvarado. This artery was blocked, and the City's having a heart attack right now.
Canceling the activity with operatives was an option, but not a wise one, as it was a rare opportunity that all parties involved were available this night, and rescheduling would throw another wrench into the Militant's plans.
The time now: 8:01 p.m..
Yes, the Militant spent half an hour in his car, navigating a 2-mile radius area fraught with impassable westbound congestion. Even if the Cahuenga Pass accident got cleared up at this point, this is gonna take a while.
Evasive measures were called for. The Militant headed straight back to the compound, parked the car and grabbed his backpack, iPod, jacket, gloves, helmet and bicycle. That all the Militant can stands, and he can't stands no more!
He pedaled straight to the nearest (M) station, got his daypass, and got on the platform.
Within seconds, he heard the rumble and hollow whoosh of a northbound Red Line train.
"Woo-Hoo!" the Militant exclaimed.
As it passed, the lights were off and the headsign read: OUT OF SERVICE.
"D'oh!" the Militant added.
But within a few minutes, at 8:35 p.m., an actual train arrived, full of passengers and with even three other bicycles in his subway car.
It was an odd ride, as the train screeched to a sudden halt in the Cahuenga Pass tunnel (don't tell the Militant that the accident up on the surface had an effect...), then stopped and started up again like an Elvis tune. The same thing also happened between Universal City and North Hollywood.
Upon reaching North Hollywood, he rushed to the elevators to the surface and joined the crowd of people waiting across Lankershim for the next Orange Line bus. But there were two other bicyclists already waiting on the platform...something's gotta give, and it was 8:53 p.m. already.
In a serendipitous turn of events, the arriving bus' front bike rack was able to hold all three of us cyclists. Awesome.
The Militant arrived at the Woodley station at 9:15. In four minutes he rolled his bike into the front yard of his operatives' house.
The entire 16-mile rail-bus-bike trip took 44 minutes.
30 minutes were wasted earlier in navigating the side streets in snarled traffic via car, a waste-of-time trek totaling almost 10 miles.
You tell the Militant which was the more efficient trip.