Who: Michael Early, owner, Michael Early Construction, San Diego
Car: 2008 Jeep Wrangler, 70,000 mi.; 2005 Dodge Magnum, 23,000 mi. (special use and beach vehicle); 1991 Dodge Ram Van (parts delivery truck), 121,000 mi.
Previous cars: 2004 Toyota Tundra, 2001 Toyota Tundra and numerous others (usually every three years).
Where? Commute all over San Diego, city and county, and all the way to Palm Springs and Orange County/L.A.
Cheapest gas? Costco (only in the morning, before store opens – otherwise it’s too crowded). Some Arco locations are consistently lower than others, too.
What’s wrong with your car? My Jeep hard top leaks when it rains! Other than that, the CD player stopped working and the dealer won’t fix it, but I have satellite radio, so I never really lose a radio signal.
Listen to when driving? Listen to Chill Channel, AM talk radio, and garage-rock channel.
Cell phone? Yes, with an earpiece. I’m on it all day with 50 to 100 calls a day from employees, the office, the family, and for my other business (a skateboard company).
Hitchhikers? I don’t pick up hitchhikers, but I will help someone with car trouble.
Speeding tickets? No speeding ticket, but I was cited for a right-turn on red where there were no turns allowed in July 2010 onto Harbor Dr. near the airport. I extended the ticket for 6½ months, went to driving class, and paid $235.
Accidents? No accident for 10 to 15 years. I was hit on Hwy 8 east on Election Day in rush hour by a drunk driver.
Worst Traffic? There are typical spots in SD that are bad during certain times. In the morning on Hwy 5 north to Genesee (due to all the medical workers) or in the afternoon Hwy 5 south from Carlsbad to Del Mar, then again at the Hwy 805/5 split (although 805 tends to be worse). Hwy 15 south in the morning and 15 north in the afternoon. Basically everything headed into downtown in the morning and out of it in the afternoon.
Most changed streets? New Hwy 76 in North County when completed will make it modern and not rural any longer from Oceanside to Hwy 15. There’s a lot of new stuff in Chula Vista (Eastlake area), too.
Favorite drive? Around old streets in areas I haven’t been on much. I like discovering little pocket areas that are cool with shops and restaurants from the old times, such as the 101 all the way from Del Mar to Oceanside, and El Cajon Blvd. all the way out to La Mesa. Also the back way into Palm Springs — Hwy 79 to Hwy 371 to Hwy 74 — is really beautiful.
Least favorite? Having to go to anywhere on an appointment against traffic in the afternoon (I will usually reschedule if possible).
Shortcut? There are “shortcuts” all over the city, but mostly to avoid traffic. Take the “Bat Chute” over the top of Mt. Soledad and onto the ramp to Hwy 52. Pacific Highway from Downtown avoids Highway 5 (it comes out at Sea World Drive). Take College Avenue north to Navajo to get into San Carlos. I find good shortcuts mostly by knowing the streets really well and how to use alternative routes to avoid traffic, construction, etc., and by routing my travel at the opposite times of the commuter masses.