If you remember, on Monday I did some exploration up the I-5, to the north, a very urban area. This time I decided to go south, through the Irvine Y (where the I-405 branches off from the I-5 and semi-parallels it north), into San Diego County.
San Diego itself is quite urban, of course. But its county is huge, stretching from Orange County all the way to the Mexican border. Once it gets out of Orange County, the 5 becomes a seaside freeway, with the sort of views that make you surprised there aren't more accidents on the road.
The soundtrack, provided by a local radio station, was great in San Diego County. It was mostly recent songs that are fun to drive to--one of the best was Be My Girl.
The first place I remember passing through was a small city, I think Oceanside, which is coincidentally where a former best friend was born. (He moved away when I was twelve or thirteen; it was my attempts to stay in contact with him that introduced me to AIM.) The houses on the hills there were beautiful, and you could just tell that all had wonderful views of the ocean.
The second landmark I remember was the San Onofre nuclear reactors. These power plants, in the shape of twin domes (we occasionally joke that they're a monument to Britney Spears), were shut down a few years ago by environmentalists; apparently, they make the water a little too toasty for some fish. Bad idea in a place with power problems, but you can't reason with enviro-whackos, can you?
The third place I remember is Camp Pendleton. Pendleton is a Marine Corps base, and a large one; it's a major training center for the Corps, IIRC. It's mostly open space, however; aside from the highway and related structures, I didn't see a paved road until I got to the main gates, which I eventually used to turn around. Of course, the Marines use the open space for their training, so they need lots of it.
Eventually, I stopped at a rest stop and stared at the ocean for a while. It was getting to the point where I needed to turn around soon, so I spent a few minutes thinking about it from a different angle, one Rachel and Mom both suggested: what am I risking?
I took a few minutes, then got in the car, made a quick (31 second) phone call, and got on the freeway. The exit for the Pendleton gate was my opportunity to turn around and get on I-5 north.
The drive home was quicker than the drive out, for some reason, even though traffic was denser. When I reached the Y again, I took the 405. The 5 is closer to school, but the 405 passes closer to home.