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the trees in the mountains.
            Maneuvering the switchbacks above Grapevine, he gained
          elevation. It was cooler now, and he really didn't worry too much
          about overheating as the Mack had a large radiator. Unfortunately,
          it was positioned in front of the firewall that separated the motor
          from the driver. An uphill climb during a hot day caused the ra-
          diator to really heat up. Sometimes the heat was so intense it forced
          him to steer the slow moving rig from the running board.
            The mountains were beautiful as the last glimmer of daylight
          faded from the peaks above. Headlights began to identify the line
                                                                The  Hotel  Lebec (originally the  Hotel  Durant),  located on  the  Ridge  Route,  was a
          of trucks coming down the grade in the opposite direction. He was
                                                                popular destination for  Hollywood's rich  and  famous  in  the  1920s and  30s. The
          glad he wasn't one of them because a fully loaded truck coming   hotel was razed  in  1971.
          down this hill was a force to reckon with. You dare not make a
          mistake because it would be the last one you made.    cattle grazing on the sides of the hills. The San Andreas Fault
            Up ahead was Deadman's Curve, the most dangerous curve.   created the very mountains the Ridge Route conquered.
          The canyon below was called the "junkyard," testament to the   Coming into view now was the opulent Hotel Durant (later re-
          many rigs that went over the side.                    named Hotel Lebec ), built by Clifford Durant, son of William
            Truckers gaining too much speed coming down the grade of-  Crapo  Durant,  the  founder  of General  Motors,  and  Thomas
          ten slowed their rigs by rubbing the hard rubber truck tires against   0 'Brien of Bakersfield. It was an imposing structure, all lit up out
          the substantial cement curbing because mechanical brakes were   in the middle of nowhere.  This was the watering hole for the
          worthless. This practice did little damage to the tires but inflicted   Hollywood elite. The old Teamster wondered what it would be
          severe damage to the curbs.                           like to bed down there for the night, and run into Buster Keaton
            As he passed Fort Tejon, he recalled that it was here in  1857   or some other famous star.
          that California experienced its  worse earthquake.  The quake   He was still climbing, although Grapevine grade was pretty
          caused extensive damage to the fort, and it was said that the jolt  much behind him now. As the hotel faded from view, he realized
          was so  severe that fissures opened, swallowing unsuspecting   that he had another 36 miles ahead of him. The speed limit on the

          Deadman's Curve was the most notorious curve  on  the  Ridge  Route.  The  canyon  below became  known  as  the  "junkyard"  because of all the cars and trucks that
          missed the curve and  went over the side  of the  mountain.

          42   September/October 2004                                                /  WHEELS OF TIME
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