Posted by SBinLA on:
-- A series confronting my expectations
Number 1: The Smog
In J.R.R. Tolkien's classic, The Hobbit, Bilbo Baggins and a hardy group of dwarfs dared enter the cave of Smaug the Dragon hoping to get their hands on a golden treasure. When I ventured down to Los Angeles, I imagined it as my own personal Smaug the Dragon, an angry smoky enemy, breathing a heavy brown haze of sulfur into the air. I won't be able to breath! I'll develop a hackling cough! And running? Riding my bike? Forget about it.
Thankfully, this proved largely false. Of course, it's no SB (I don't think I even knew what smog was growing up). There are poor air quality days, and I avoid exercising from 1pm-5pm on a normal weekday, but day-to-day...I don't even notice. And I'm talking about Pasadena here. The coastal cities are better, the ocean providing large-scale diurnal air movement.
Air quality during the hotter, higher barometric pressure summer month (and an LA summer can be a long time) is typically worse. I can rarely feel it in my lungs or notice a shortness of breath, but views take on a noticeable brown tint. The winter undoubtedly provides the most beautiful time of year. Lower pressures not only mean cleansing rains but also more wind which can make for crystal-clear days, as happened this winter. With snow levels down around 3,000', the San Gabriel and San Bernardino Mountains were covered in white and provided Pasadena with some breathtaking views (which I sought out on runs and bike rides, but appologetically, I have no pictures, I will try to get better about this).
To evaluate air quality in Pasadena (or Santa Barbara for that matter) check out: AirNow.gov (although it is a better source for Ozone than for Particulates, which may be of equal or greater importance).
After Number 1, it's Pasadena 1; Expectations 0. And thank goodness for it. Look out for more "Reasons I Though I'd Hate L.A." coming soon.
---> As a Santa Barbarian, are you a L.A. hater? or an aficionado? Tell me your assumptions about the big city to the South (negative or positive) and I'll dedicate a post to it.