There’s a strip of highway just off the Antelope Freeway (CA 14) in Lancaster, California, where drivers not only feel the road, but hear it as well.
A few years ago the good folks from Honda came out to this desert community to make a commercial. They took the idea behind the rumble strips that are used to alert drivers when they stray from their lanes, and cut hundreds of grooves in the pavement. Now when you drive over this quarter-mile stretch of Avenue G between 30th and 40th Streets West, you are treated to the closing strains of Rossini’s William Tell Overture.
Here is a link to a YouTube video that Kimi and I made recently on the Musical Road: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u_dBjN2_MKE
My family and I drive over this stretch of desolate highway whenever we are up in Lancaster. We have tried it at a variety of speeds, but the truth is that the grooves are the wrong height in places which causes the tune to be slightly off. It is reminiscent of the robotic choir from the Sirius Cybernetics Corporation singing Share and Enjoy. (And in case you have no idea what I’m talking about, click here: Share and Enjoy)
It’s still a blast, and the only real reason to visit Lancaster. But I learned recently that some curmudgeonly homeowners near the original site of the Musical Road were so angered by the increased noise levels that they demanded the city pave it over, which they did. Luckily for fun-lovers like us, the city re-created the current Musical Road far away from these haters.
Now with the nearest neighbors miles away, we once again have a reason to stop in Lancaster. (Better enjoy it now before the settlers move in and spoil everyone’s fun.)
And while you’re there, make sure and tell any Lancaster resident you run across who complained the first time to “Go, stick your head in a pig!”
Here is a link to the Honda commercial: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sJFGacuxcSM