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Commentary: Unexpected 6 a.m. commotion prompts powerful thoughts

Work trucks clog La Cañada’s Bay Tree Road near Lone Grove Way just after dawn on a recent Friday morning. Reg Green writes that despite his early impression of the scene, it turned out that wood power poles were being replaced.
(Reg Green)

In its 72 years it is probably safe to say that Lone Grove Way has never seen anything like it and certainly not at 7 o’clock on an otherwise perfectly normal morning. Lone Grove is a minute cul-de-sac with only one house on it and backs up on to the national forest in profoundly quiet Angeles Crest Estates, the houses bordering Angeles Crest Highway opposite the golf course. I’d say it has claims to being the least-used paved road in California.

But on a recent Friday it and the adjoining Bay Tree Road, another quiet strip, were jammed with an army of heavy trucks of all shapes and size: trucks with cranes, trucks with bucket seats, trucks with maintenance equipment to fit any likely emergency.

I drive these streets at 6 a.m. every day on my way to a hike and back about 90 minutes later. In 14 years of living in this neighborhood I can attest that these streets, at that time, are almost as empty as Pompeii after the eruption of Mt. Vesuvius in AD 79 wiped out all life there. Very occasionally a car will back out of a driveway and slink silently away. Most days two ladies walk their impeccably-behaved dogs. Nothing else.

So my surprise was total. My first thought was: Is this a setting for another of the many car commercials that are filmed along photogenic Angeles Crest Highway? Have the advertisers decided the time has come for them to persuade us that we all ought to own a crane truck?


But no, it turned out that they were there to replace the wooden power poles with metal ones which, among other things, will help protect them from fire. So, along with the excitement, it was for a worthy cause and, as far as I can tell at the time of writing, without anyone losing power.

In the years ahead, when conversation about the weather and the great local schools flags, I hope to tell stories to my great-grandchildren about how I used to drive a 125-foot articulating boom lift, and I have photos that show, if not that, something very similar. But for now normality has been restored to Angeles Crest Estates and, as Shakespeare put it, “the rest is silence.”

REG GREEN can be reached via