Exploring a Famous L.A. Road
Mulholland Drive Ride
Mulholland Scenic Corridor
This is a ride that I have thought about for a long time. Why not ride L.A.'s famous Mulholland Drive from Cahuenga Pass to the Pacific Ocean? The distance (about 55 hilly miles) is well within my capabilities.

But the thing that has stopped me before now is Dirt Mulholland, the 8 miles or so of unpaved road above the western San Fernando Valley where road bikes fear to tread.

Mulholland is a phenomenon of Los Angeles, both an idealized 

spectacle and a place from which to survey the classic city of 
visibility.
--David Thompson, Beneath Mulholland


Cahuenga Pass

Enter my recently- acquired Trek 520 touring bike. Yes, it's a road bike, but with a stout frame and thick tires that should be able to handle the occasional dirt road.

I was out the door a little after 6 a.m. and within a half hour and a half dozen miles I arrived at Cahuenga Pass and the beginning of Mulholland Drive.



Bodysnatcher Bridge
Cahuenga Pass is the site of the bridge over the Hollywood Freeway that gained B-movie fame in the opening scene of "Invasion of the Body snatchers."

I was sort of hoping that a crazed Kevin McCarthy would be waving his arms and frantically hollering at me to save myself.

But no. So I guess the ride is on.
Hollywood Sign
The beginning of the famous road has a distinctly Hollywood feel. Scenic lookouts, houses on stilts, a few security cameras, a bit of suitably faded glamour. This opening segment of Mulholland is mostly uphill, but not really steep. 
Bowl Overlook
The first of numerous scenic overlooks has a view of Hollywood and Downtown, which was shrouded in fog on this morning.

The Hollywood Bowl was near enough for a picture, though.

The Bowl's bench seats looked like nicely-arranged piles of lumber from this altitude.

Oval House
Mulholland is the location of all manner of ritzy houses, of course, but the type of house that really belongs here, in my humble opinion, is the 1960s modern type with glass walls that shows up in Julius Schulman photographs. 

.

Private Drive
I'm less fond of the private drives and gated communities that are prevalent on this segment of Mulholland.

 

Here's a view of the central San Fernando Valley from a scenic overlook near Beverly Glen.
SFV Overlook
Landslide Control
Despite all the wealth, these hills are tough to live in. My early spring ride comes after one of the wettest winters on record in Los Angeles. Hillside homeowners did what they could to stop excessive erosion and landslides. 

[PART 2: Dirt Mulholland and Beyond]