Legend has it, that high above the city of Pasadena, on the mountain known as Wilson, lies a time warp that will take you back to the beginning of the Universe. I don’t believe in such things, but today I decided to find out if it were true.
The Ride: Silver Lake up The 2 Highway, through The Crest to the top of Mount Wilson.
Sometimes you just take a step forward and live by the consequences.
The Crest is a special place; some people prefer Malibu, or The PCH, but there is something raw about This ride that excites me.
I can feel the adrenaline rise as I get closer. Just looking at the signs makes me know I am in for an adventure.
I pull over at the first stop to look over the city, then do a safety check on my bike.
In the distance, someone has set up a drum set to worship the sun or maybe entertain passersby! I’ll have to say hello on my way back down. I like people who do silly things for silly reasons.
The Crest is all things to all people. It’s a great democracy. The road is well maintained and an easy ride, but if you want something more challenging, you can always push yourself. Get as close to death as you need to find life.
There are pullouts every couple miles, I always stop.
You could spend an eternity up here, I’ve camped in many of these canyons. At the first major intersection you can choose to take Big Tujunga and head back into the city, but that is not my goal for the day, I need to see how we all got here, how we all became.
Bike Porn, nothing else.
I pull into the Mt. Wilson turnoff and look at how the landscape has changed. I can feel myself going back in time, back when things were simpler, yet more important.
Someone has set up a camp near me, I take a closer look.
He survived an airplane crash over Moscow which killed 65 people, he now travels the world by bike. We spend an hour together, he offers me food and drink. It reminds me why I ride.
“Stay Safe,” I tell him.
“Stay Dangerous,” he replies.
I take the turn up Wilson. It’s getting cold fast and ice is on the roads, in a week this will be snow covered, but for now I fear for my safety.
One last look before I reach the summit.
In the distance I see a photoshoot, it reminds me that I am still in LA.
The towers appear, the significance of the place starts to emerge.
I park at the observatory and make my way on foot. Looks like I’m not the only one trying to have fun.
I imagine we are on an island of science floating above the city.
I read the history.
Then make my way up the hiking path.
There’s a restaurant up here, what better place to have lunch?
It’s closed, so I sit and look out into my city.
This is a special place. People search the entire world for holy places. They go to places like China, and Thailand. They walk in the footsteps of Jesus and Mohammad. But they forget, there are holy places everywhere. Even in our city of angels.
Three of the greatest minds of the 20th century were all here. I can feel their presence as I get closer to that time warp.
I see a small museum dedicated to their discoveries. I walk into it, I am all alone. All alone in this special place, this holy place. Today it was made for me. I wonder how often those great scientists walked all alone up here.
I get closer to where that great discovery was made. I try to determine which buildings are new and which are old.
I can’t help but think of Edwin Hubble, how he lived here, long before central heat and Ford f-150s. He breathed his work and made what is arguably the greatest discovery of the 20th century. The big bang, the creation of everything that is, was, and will be.
Then in the distance I see it, the Hooker telescope, it is here that Hubble realized the Universe was expanding, that the universe had to have been created, the universe had a beginning, and may have an end.
Rumor has it that Einstein once looked into the telescope. Einstein believed that the universe was stagnant and could not have been created. Upon seeing that it was expanding, he realized he had been wrong… But actually right! All his calculations showed an expanding universe, yet he was so stubborn in his beliefs that he was sure his calculations were false.
And so I did it! I traveled to the beginning of the Universe. I stood in the place my heros stood. I smelled the air that Edwin Hubble did. My respect grew for this man and this place. I couldn’t help but think of how easy life has become. Hubble lived here, in the cold, in the heat, with the elements, and stared through that telescope until he was satisfied. Years of work for a day of glory. Would you do the same?
I drove back to LA watching the sun set into the sea. My only regret was the drummer had packed up his bags and left. I never had the chance to thank him for making the world more awesome.
Maybe if we were all a little more patient like Hubble, we would make this world a better place. Maybe if we did silly things like that drummer, we would realize we are but a speck of stardust in this vast ever expanding universe.
We are irrelevant, but that is what makes us important.