My favorite eight-lane ribbon of Los Angeles freeway runs from La Cañada to Silver Lake. It stops abruptly as city streets merge with it and then—now a boulevard—meanders from downtown all the way to the Pacific.
The eight-lane section, no more than 10 miles, differs remarkably from any other in the city. Surrounded by the foothills of East LA, it spends the majority of its day free of the crowds jamming the rest of our freeways. The 2 is a blissful, empty stretch of road surrounded by a web of the country’s worst traffic, and on it you can find folks who love to drive, getting the most out of their cars.
It is also the only section of freeway within the city limits that would allow me to photograph a classic car’s reflection in my side mirror at 65 miles an hour—without the slightest anxiety.
The rolling foothills of Glendale and Eagle Rock gracefully frame a view of L.A.’s skyscrapers from the elevated stretch on the 2’s north end. Then it descends rapidly to go under the 134, usually choked with traffic crawling toward Burbank, and rises again to reveal the hillside homes of Glassel Park. It is here—and only here—where cars mob in the mornings at the 5 interchange.
The 2 used to be a hidden gem in Los Angeles, but it is never deserted now. Still, most days it’s a wonderful stretch of Southern California driving. And on those days, as I’m making my morning commute to Hollywood or the West Side, I see drivers like this one in his 1958 Coupe de Ville, cruising its open lanes, enjoying his classic ride in the southern California sun.