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A Senior Is Caught in 'Cruise Night'

October 16, 1988

My advancing age and basic timidness generally keep me off the streets and out of trouble, especially at night. But this didn't work out Friday night, Oct. 7, when I inadvertently got caught up in "Cruise Night" on State College Boulevard in Anaheim.

It was one of my rare, late evenings out and I was returning to Orange, after dinner with friends in Fullerton. As a matter of course, I avoid freeways whenever possible, so I was carefully wending my way across surface streets, when I found myself trapped in a giant traffic jam worthy of a SigAlert.

All across State College from Orangethorpe to Lincoln was gridlock, bumper to bumper. If we got caught on the yellow, we were in the intersection stalling traffic coming off the Riverside Freeway.

So I cautiously rolled down my window, because the reverberations from someone's stereo were cutting into the reception from KFAC 92.3 (classical music). First, I observed three young girls in a hunkered-down red Chevy pointing at me and laughing. So I looked straight ahead and I saw some guys putting beer bottles in their trunk. All of a sudden, a horde of motorcyclists started weaving in and out of three lanes of virtually standstill traffic.

At the same time, I could distinctly hear someone driving over crunched glass in the opposite three lanes of traffic on the other side of the divider. By this time, some drivers on my side had clenched fists and were shouting obscenities.

Naively, I believed there was some major accident up ahead and, sooner or later, emergency vehicles would be coming through, but how could they? More positively I believed this was a late-night crowd from the ballgame or concert, but I wasn't aware of either. Now I had to face the fact that I was the only one in the crowd who was over 18.

So it took me an hour and a half to get home from what would have been normally a 20 minutes commute after midnight. The Anaheim Police Department, later that evening, informed me that cruise nights are routinely held the first Friday of every month. These are not the cruise nights I normally dream of for my retiring years.

Why isn't this information posted somewhere? At the very least, on the official county list of places to avoid for the week. Or in the "Seniors Guide to Survival" publication I can easily pick up at the bank. Why isn't it posted along State College Boulevard? It's because "Cruise Night" in Anaheim is a very well-kept secret, except among the teen-age crowd.

GILDA FEHR

Orange

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