The quickest way between two points is in a straight line. The way most people like to travel in is a straight line too, but when do we have an opportunity to stop and smell the flowers — something equally important?
When heading from Monterey Bay, California, down to Orange for a new semester, I can’t count the number of times my family’s saved hours taking the Interstate 5 highway instead of the U.S. Highway 101.
I can, however, tell you that each time we took I-5, I wished I was looking out at 101’s scenery instead as we rolled past seemingly endless flatland and communities like Buttonwillow, with more letters in their names than people in their limits. The roads and highways that take me further from home build in magnitude the farther south I drive.
When I’m down here, they surround with a feverish intensity, comparable to a concrete maze of staunch organization and unimaginative bureaucracy. It’s funny that such a strong contrast exists just 20 minutes south of Orange, with rolling green hills and soft sands — the perfect juxtaposition of enduring traffic stress just to find an emotional calm on the other side. State Route 133 is the road that narrows the gap between the two.
Over 133, you’re taken from the stresses of academic life, to the calmness and tranquility of Laguna Beach. There’s something about being cradled within the hills as I look out over the Pacific Ocean that calms me spiritually. When I’m feeling inclined to go to the beach, Laguna is my first choice and state route 133 is as much a part of the experience as sitting on the sand or walking past the local businesses on South Coast Highway.
It’s a diamond in the rough, the magic carpet that transports one to and fro. As I exit I-405, head south and see the hills swell gradually on each side, I’m momentarily taken back home to Carmel Valley Road and the familiar sights and greenery that surround it, much like Route 133, a primarily four-lane highway.
In the age of gaudy, paved showmanship, it separates itself from the pack of freeways like I55, I-405 and others with more than double its number of daily riders. Caltrans, the entity who manages California’s highways, freeways and Amtrak systems, isn’t conducting any construction on the road, which offers unimpeded travel to motorists. I-5 however, is having extra carpool lanes added, which will bring traffic delays as workers clear out the debris.
On Route 133, the roads are smooth, the destination is beautiful and the road itself offers a chance to take a break from the fast-paced hustle and bustle of daily life. What’s not to love?