Chris Brogan, the So Cal Action Sports Network, and the evening that almost was

Mar 27, 2009 by Lisa Newton

On March 8th, Chris Brogan, a well-known social media expert and activist, posted his upcoming trips and events.

This conference was a must-see for me:

March 26th – March 29th, So Cal Action Sports Network, Irvine, CA. – Speaking to a dynamic group of brilliant marketers.

So, I immediately hit the link and registered.

Although I had driven through Irvine before–it’s only about an hour away from Los Angeles—my confidence reigned supreme that getting from here to there wasn’t going to be a big deal. Plus, being a travel writer and photojournalist, I thought that I did my homework, looking over the So Cal Action Sports Network website, printing my Google maps, making sure my car had plenty of gas, along with a journal for taking notes.

I was very enthusiastic about meeting a few people from the So Cal Action Sports Network, and hearing Chris Brogan speak.

That’s where the good news ends.

Due to circumstances beyond my control, I was unable to leave for the evening conference until 4:00pm. According to Google, Irvine is about 65 miles from where I live. Because the route was practically all freeways, I thought that even with rush hour traffic, I’d be able to make it in 2.5 hours–well, I was wrong.

This was the initial welcome for my good intentions:

The first 50 miles of my drive on the 405 looked like this.

I kept wondering when the traffic would let up.

The answer was, not until John Wayne Airport:

View Larger Map

According to Google maps, I traveled the first 48.7 miles in about 2.5 hours. (I did have to stop to go to the bathroom, which was a necessity.)

I kept telling myself: “Okay, I won’t be too late; I can still make it.”

Fate had a different plan. Although I thought I was headed in the right direction, I soon realized I missed a crucial turn.

I was going north instead of south and getting more and more frustrated with both myself and my predicament.

So I called a friend of mine, who counseled me on the phone to calm down, and maybe stop for a few minutes and snap a few pictures of the great sights, of which there were many. In fact, I had no idea just how beautiful this particular area of Northern Orange County was:

One missed turn ended up being a circle filled with an endless variety of toll roads.

Needless to say, at this point I was failing to get to where I wanted to go, leading me back to where I had already gone. Ah, the proverbial “Bermuda Triangle” of the California freeway system.

By now, as dusk was approaching, I realized that it would be impossible for me attend the event in a timely matter, if at all. So needless to say, I, who take pride in my punctuality and dependability, was both confused and upset.

At one juncture I did get very excited to find Portola Parkway, only to have it dead end at the CA241 Freeway– I’m pretty sure the locals, or the people who work at Oakley, the major sponsor of last night’s event, can confirm that fact.

For a conference that’s starts at 6:30pm entering after 7:45pm is not fashionably late but insulting. So the sunset literally did fall on my pride and feelings.

So after I arrived home, in less than an hour, from my fruitless sojourn, I wanted to make sure that my day was productive more than it had been.

That’s why I wrote this post of “woe is me” and the “hobgoblin of little minds” is driving south from Los Angeles at the worst possible time, I wanted to make sure that others less or more fortunate than me, could learn from “my” following rules of thumb when in driving in Southern California:

1. Always make sure you have a close-up, picture map of where you want to go.

2. Never drink too much water—or anything else for that matter–before you leave on a trip from Los Angeles to Irvine.

3. Give yourself a 3 hour window during rush hour.

4. Always wear your reading glasses when looking at the directions.

5. If possible, take a friend along who can assist, especially when you’re driving in the wrong direction. (Don’t use inflatable dolls to ride along with you for the “Carpool Lane.” The fine is massive and you’ll look, well, rather silly).

6. Accept the fact that the best laid plans may go awry.

9. When you’re frustrated while driving, take 10 deep breaths, then drive on, in a calm and orderly fashion.

8. Don’t get overly excited by any upcoming event that you become distracted and invert and transpose north and south.

9. Write a educational story as a form of learning and therapy.

As they say, sometimes pride cometh before the fall, or more accurately, traffic is a bitch!

The funniest thing is that I’m a seasoned driver who should know all of these lessons–I took my 4 daughters on a 5-week, 11,000 mile cross-country tour, in which we only got lost once. But as I recall, it was Berkeley where that happened.

Although getting lost may be an occasional occurrence in California, it’s not my usual style.

What about you? Have you gotten lost Travelin’ Local before? If you did, I’m sure you too also had a speedy return.

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15 Responses to “Chris Brogan, the So Cal Action Sports Network, and the evening that almost was”

  1. Batoul says:

    Might be time to invest in a GPS. They save you everytime. At least you got some good pictures along the way!


  2. David says:

    My heart goes out to you, Lisa. I’ve been making that jaunt for over 30 years and it just keeps getting worse and worse, despite the increase in gasoline costs, and the allegations put out there for more “green” living.

    Be that as it may, I do feel your pain and sorry that you had to endure being in traffic for 4 hours.


  3. Lara says:

    I’m not sure how or why but this post makes me homesick, even for the 405.


    Stranded In Nashville

    Lara’s last blog post..Bilateral Haze


  4. Mark says:

    My GPS has been a savior! Great tips Lisa! Have a wonderful weekend!


  5. LisaNewton says:

    @ Batoul Thanks for the advice. I’ll put a GPS on my wish list………..:)

    @ David I had never driven this stretch of freeway during rush hour. I had no idea it would take so long. Thanks.

    @ Lara I think when you’re away from home, even the stuff that wasn’t that fun while you were there still make one homesick. We’re always here if you want to make a visit…………..:)

    @ Mark. Thanks, and you enjoy!


  6. mike says:

    Alas, I have spent many an hour in unmoving southern Cal traffic; the secret is to stop and smell the roses along the way (while avoid the exhaust fumes). Another very entertaining post, thanks Lisa.


    mike’s last blog post..Without Hope, We Have Nothing


  7. Lara says:


    I’m way overdue for a visit! Four years may as well be forty.

    Lara’s last blog post..Bilateral Haze


  8. LisaNewton says:

    @ Mike This was my first time, and I did stop and smell the rose, even if it was only for a few minutes. It helped…………….:)

    @ Lara LA is a fast moving city. If you happen to stop by LA, please give me ahout. I’d love to share lunch with you.


  9. Lara says:

    Consider it done. I’m really overdue for a visit, and all but one member of my family are still in the LA area, stretched between Torrance to Monrovia and all parts in between.

    Lara’s last blog post..Bilateral Haze


  10. Bryan elliott says:

    I’m so sorry this happened, traffic sucks and I was nearly late myself. Your story of frustration reminds me of one of the first dates I took my wife on while we were dating. Trying to be super classy, I bought tickets to a concert at the Hollywood Bowl. Being a kid from OC I didn’t know the difference between the 10 and 210 Frwy and got so lost we never made it.

    If there is a consolation, it is that I’m putting together a full video recap for everyone who couldn’t make it. Hope to see u next time.


    Bryan elliott’s last blog post..Especially for HR / Recruiters


  11. LisaNewton says:

    @ Lara Just let me know………………:)

    @ Bryan elliott Maybe getting lost worked for you since your “date” is now your “wife”…………….:) I look forward to seeing the video, and I can’t wait to see the people I didn’t get to see.


  12. Henie says:

    Oh Lisa!

    I wish I had known you were going…we could have carpooled! I left at 3pm and took the 5 instead of the 405…and it still took me 3 hours to get there…and could I have used a partner for the sojourn! There were 2 Portola Valley exits at the toll road for one and I ended up in Mission Viejo for a time…managed to turn around and got there finally…I have some photos I can share.

    Sorry you missed it but I am even more sorry that we didn’t get the chance to meet!

    Henie’s last blog post..Love Done Right Always Hurts


  13. LisaNewton says:

    @ Henie Yes, I noticed that there were 2 exits, and I also ended up in Mission Viejo, but that wasn’t the end of my mishaps. I felt so lost and frustrated. Next time, we can definitely carpool.


  14. Bryan Elliot says:

    Video recap of the Oakley event now posted:


    Bryan Elliot’s last blog post..Recap: Part 1 Chris Brogan


  15. LisaNewton says:

    @ Bryan Elliot Thank you so much for sharing that. I loved every video, and really wish I’d been there in person to see them. But, watching your videos was the next best thing…………………:)


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