Dead Man’s Corner:

The two lane Mountain View road from Harbison Canyon into El Cajon was littered with corners which were off-camber, blind, or more typically, both. Anyone who suffered even the most mild of motion sickness symptoms were forced to drive several miles out of the way to connect with Interstate-8 and take it into town. Each of these corners had a sign posting a suggested safe speed which mostly seemed more suitable for bicycle than automobile traffic. To Father, these signs were not warning, but challenge. Taking the road on his motorcycle to work every day had given him an intimate knowledge of it’s every facet. I don’t recall why we had been in town that day, but I do remember thinking that I had no idea the Arrow could go so fast. Ripping around the corners, the little red car shuddered as it’s tires chirped. “This is a fun road if you do it right” Father told me. I had to agree. Then “Hold on, this one is really tight.” he said. A standard S-curve is challenging enough for most drivers, but this was one tight off-camber corner into another even tighter corner angled in the opposite direction, the effect being something more desirous in a water slide than a road. Guard rails were not installed. Over the years, a collection of abandoned vehicles had accumulated at the bottom of the ravine below. “Hang onto the door, here we go!” and there we went. Into the first corner, my face plastered against the window, the sound of screaming tires loud in my ears, then a momentary vertigo as the road took the Arrow into the opposite direction, as well as the opposite pitch. The sound the tires made changed in pitch as well. I clung to the door handle for all my life, and I was sure that if I had let go, I’d have found myself in Father’s lap. He shifted gears as we settled into a short straight section before arriving at the bottom of the canyon. Father grinned widely as he looked over at me. “We probably shouldn’t mention this to your mother.”