WATTS TO SANTA ANA
"I would just like to publicly announce that I have no idea what I'm doing." I read that recently. It got me thinking: why am I doing this exactly? Several years of falling down the Google Earth rabbit hole have ended me up here. At first I walked as part of the research for making art. Then I walked to actually generate the art. Eventually the walking became the art. Now I'm not sure what is going on...maybe all of the above?
I think not knowing what I'm doing is part of the appeal, actually. I'm starting with a pretty basic goal: walk the entire length of the defunct Santa Ana line of the Pacific Electric Railway. Attempt to stay as true to the original path as possible. The rest is mostly up to chance. I assume, of course, that I'll find somewhere to eat/re-hydrate/use the restroom along the way. I also assume that there must be a way to keep moving forward...though I hadn't really thought about ease of crossing the L.A. river...
Eventually I will make some physical art from my experience this weekend. But I'm starting to think more and more that that isn't even necessary. The ephemerality of cataloging my walks via Instagram and Walkmeter places them in ambiguous artistic territory. If my end goal isn't necessarily physical art, then what is my end goal? For now it's the Santa Ana Regional Transportation Center. After that, we'll see...
THIS IS IT! I've been threatening/procrastinating/planning this for longer than I'd like to admit. I've finally built up the nerve, if not necessarily the muscle. I'm going to walk AT LEAST a marathon. I say "at least" because the path I'll be walking has changed a lot in the past 60 or so years.
What used to be a train line connecting Watts to Santa Ana has now been re-purposed into a wide variety of uses. When I walked a similar path in Long Beach, I found mini-storages, gated communities, bike paths, junk yards, and public parks. I also found a couple of traces of original train track. That walk was only around 8 miles.
The Santa Ana Line (http://www.erha.org/pessa.htm) opened officially on November 6, 1905. It served mostly agricultural areas until its final lengths were abandoned in 1958. I will be starting at the Watts Towers Blue Line Station and walking to somewhere near the Cerritos area on Saturday, October 15th. I will walk the remaining distance on Sunday, October 16th, ending up at the Santa Ana Regional Transportation Center. The straight line which follows the original Red Car line is 26.66 miles.
I will attempt to stay as close to that line as possible, diverging only when I have no choice or when I feel like there is something off the path that I should definitely see. I will be tracking all of this with a GPS app called Walkmeter (https://abvio.com/walkmeter/). Walkmeter automatically sends updates to my Facebook account (https://www.facebook.com/lancewalks). I will also be documenting this walk live on my Instagram account (lance_morris_walks) which, magically, also sends updates to my Facebook account!
I would love if people would leave comments and encouragement! If you're feeling adventurous, you can enable notifications from my Instagram or Facebook accounts and you'll be alerted every time I post a photo or anything else. If you're feeling REALLY adventurous you can follow my Walkmeter and come find me! I'll post more about that in the coming days.
Thanks for following me! And stay tuned