Exploring the history of Phoenix, Arizona, just for fun. Advertising-free, supported by my patrons on Patreon. Thank you!

The day I tried to drive out of town in Los Angeles - 1982


I moved to Los Angeles after I got my degree at Arizona State University. My goal back then was to work for an advertising agency, so I got a tiny apartment in a "less than fashionable" part of Hollywood. The only thing I knew about LA is that the advertising agencies were on Wilshire Boulevard, and that's where my job search was conducted.

If you've ever looked for a job, you know that at some point you really need a break. Yes, you can make looking for a job a full-time job, but even though I didn't have much money, I decided one day to drive out of town, by going north around the mountains. I used to do that a lot when I lived in Phoenix, and I had found that just getting away from the crowded city, and driving along some farmland, was calming to my nerves. I was in for a big surprise.

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I expected the city to end on the other side of the mountain, or at least slow down a bit. In the Phoenix area I could drive about ten miles and be away from any hint of tall buildings, or congestion. So I just naturally thought that it would be the same in Los Angeles. For those of you who know the area, I was leaving Hollywood, from about the boulevard and Vine, and going northeast around the mountain. So I drove waaay out east to the 5 freeway and just headed north. And then I saw Glendale.

Glendale is a pretty big city, and has been for a long time. It has skyscrapers. And I just wasn't prepared for how big the metro Los Angeles area was. I kept driving, and driving, and I never left the city, so I went back to my apartment. I think this is when I really started getting the "LA hee-bee-jee-bees". Just the thought that such a gigantic city sprawled out all around me made me feel as if I couldn't escape. Of course I learned later that if you kept on going, then the city would start to fade away, but I didn't have the budget for the gas.

Image at the top of this post: Glendale, Arizona in 1982

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