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passing the National Forest Inn, a white
                                                                                     clapboard structure that had a garage,
                                                                                     gas station, cafe and nine sleeping cab-
                                                                                        Mile after mile into the night, he
                                                                                     would soon be over the ridge. He was
                                                                                     now on a stretch of highway between
                                                                                     Martin's Garage and the Ridge Road
                                                                                     House,  a  couple  of small establish-
                                                                                     ments above Castaic. It was here, ear-
                                                                                     lier in the year, that a maintenance crew
                                                                                     working on the road left a stretch of dirt
                                                                                     that  had  turned  into  mud.  A  fellow
         A view of the serpentine-like curves of  "Swede's Cut"  on the  Ridge  Route.   Teamster rounding a curve with a fully
                                                                                     loaded Packard truck saw a Mack truck
            Reservoir Summit Cafe also offered tent cabins. The floor and   and trailer load of oil-well casings. The Mack had slowed nearly
         bottom half of these units were made of wood, with the upper half  to a stop when the driver saw the mud. The Packard hit the Mack,
         of the wall and roof constructed of canvas. A small tin garage south   pushing it backwards, and the Packard nearly went over the side.
         of the cafe housed a tow truck. The reservoir was on a knoll above   At  Castaic,  the  old
         the cafe, and had been constructed for storing water for use when   Teamster  stopped  to
         concrete was mixed to pave the road back in 1919.      stretch his legs and get a
            Soon, he was going through Swede's Cut. The curve at the south   cup of coffee. He was glad
         end of the cut signaled the start of Serpentine Drive and a rapid  that he was down off the
         descent. Not long ago, a truckload ofMexican farm hands missed   Ridge  Route.  He  could
         the curve and met their maker. You had to be alert to the many   now relax a bit for the rest
         curves and grades on the Ridge Route.                  of his  trip  into  Los An-
            Shifting into a lower gear, he slowed his rig in advance of the   geles.
         crucial tum and descent. At the bottom he drove another two miles,

         A stretch of dirt left by a maintenance crew on  the  highway between  Martin's and  the  Ridge  Road  Garage turned  into mud and disaster for a Mack loaded with  oil-
         well  casings  and  a Packard,  loaded with eight tons of olives. The  driver of the  Packard  (inset) can  smile at his close  call.

         44   September/October 2004                                                 /  WHEELS OF TIME
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