I haven't flown thru there for donkey's years, but in days of yore the VFR corridor E of LAX used to be a first-rate way for smaller aircraft to operate quickly and efficiently under the complexities and delays of the East-to West conveyor-belt primary approaches to LAX.
By following the easily-recognizable run of the cement dent that was & is LA River, one could tunnel right under the heavy traffic on 10 or 15-mile finals for some or all of the Angels four nearly-parallel East-West runways. In better times back when, looking at the incoming from the Proud Bird Restaurant sitting right adjacent to the approach path a few hundred yards from the piano keys on the South-side, one could swizzle a Mai-tai over a good steak at a great price and reflect on the near endless Christmas-light string created by the heavy traffic streaming in, hour after hour after hour.
The LA River had likely built and sculpted most of the basin there, back in the days when monster floods were normal and wooly mammoths trod from Wilshire's tar gushers to the vast pebbly spread of the uncontrolled watercourse. But the 20th century reduced the LA River's former majesty all to a narrow, generally dry gutter of long and skinny proportions, which runs (in memory, at least) for possibly as much as 20 miles South to North in the style and form that possibly suits for car chases and other cinematic adventures. All that cemented distance was quite easy to eyeball from the low altitude ceiling set by LAX's TCA floor, and mercifully distinctive in the sometimes iffy visibilities when smog, fog, and sunset conspired together, attempting to hide the useful evidence from aerial passers-by.
That bit of River short-cut saved me a couple hours a night in certain years, as the means for speedy access, insulated from the heavies at right angles just a bit higher, when coming and going N to S and then back shortly later on the turnaround - in an era when sleep seemed more optional than one might want and time was precious for the sleeping. Came to consider that bit of imprisoned stream as a friend and helper -- and to share, on each transit, the sadness of its having been so coldly suborned in the lap of urban progress.
Last edited by arcniz; 17th Jun 2012 at 12:18.