The location: The Earthquake Road.

Q. What is it supposed to be on the show?

    A. A lonely, desolate stretch of road.

Q. Where is it supposed to be on the show?

    A. in the "Balboa Wetlands" area of Newport Beach.

Q. When did we see it on the show?

    A. In Episode 15 (of season 4), "The Night Moves".

    After a big earthquake devastates Newport Beach, Ryan is badly injured, and appears to be slowly bleeding to death. Seth tries to drive him to the hospital, via a shortcut through the Balboa Wetlands, but their car breaks down on a lonely stretch of road.

    It's night time, and they are forced to try to walk, with Seth helping to support the injured Ryan. But it soon becomes clear that Ryan is too hurt to walk that far, so Seth is forced to leave him at the side of the road and go by himself to bring back help.

    Along the way, he come across a homeless encampment on the beach, where he meets Daryl, a homeless man he once had over for Christmas dinner at the Cohen house.

    Desperate for a way to transport the injured Ryan, Seth trades his $70,000 car for the Daryl's shopping cart, and rushes back to the lonely road. As Seth is pushing the cart back to where he left Ryan, Julie, Frank & Kaitlin happen to come driving along the lonely road and see him.

    The next morning, we see Daryl walking down that same road, carrying his trash bags, when he comes to the car, uses Seth's keys to unlock it, and climbs into the back for a nap.

Q. What is it actually in real life?

    A. A rather lonely stretch of road (at least on one side) - but nowhere near Newport.

Q. Where can I find it in real life?

    A. The lonely road was actually a stretch of Lincoln Blvd (a major thoroughfare), as it passes through a large parcel of undeveloped land south of Ballona Creek (known as the Ballona Wetlands).

    That's between Marina Del Rey (on the north) and Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) on the south, in the area called Playa Vista, north of Loyola Marymount University (LMU).

    To be more specific, it appears to have been mainly shot on a stretch of Lincoln Blvd between Teale Street and LMU Drive. With all the recent construction, the landscape has been changing so quickly down there that it's hard to be positive about the exact spot. But it should be noted that only the west side of Lincoln Blvd was shown.

    They didn't show the east side of the street, because the east side of Lincoln (in that stretch) is already quite well developed with huge, expensive condos (part of the controversial "Playa Vista" development) and the University. If Seth had he really been stranded there, he could have simply knocked on a door and asked for help. But on the west side of Lincoln, it was still strictly undeveloped wetlands - so they kept the camera pointed in that direction.

    On the other hand, when the camera cuts to Seth arriving at the homeless encampment at the beach (where he meets Darryl and borrows his shopping cart), they are actually 25 miles away from Playa Vista. (Seth must be a really fast walker. ;)

    Actually, in the very first scenes of Seth & Ryan driving down the road, they intercut it with a few shots of the beach where they later filmed the homeless encampment.

    In fact, Playa Vista itself is a good mile and a half inland from the nearest beach. They simply spliced the two scenes together, to give the impression that they were shot in the same neighborhood.

    Here is an aerial photo, with both the lonely road and the homeless encampment marked.

    And here is a map link.

Q. How the heck did you figure out where it was?

    A. I correctly guessed the location of this one right from the start. There isn't very much empty land left in L.A., and I could see brushy hillsides in the background that looked like the Playa Vista wetlands area.  So I checked the streets in the neighborhood. I had a few clues to go on, despite the darkness of the scenes. There were no telephone poles on the road, but it did have distinctive light poles. That allowed me to rule out the only two other major streets in the area: Culver Blvd (which has telephone poles) and Jefferson Blvd (which has neither). That zeroed me in on Lincoln Blvd. It had no telephone poles but did have the distinctive light poles. I then began looking for two other features visible in those night scenes: makeshift plastic fencing along the road, and what appeared to be a second fence or road in the hills above the road. And sure enough, aerial photos revealed the plastic fencing along the road, as well as the existence of a second road in the bluffs above the street, allowing me to narrow down the filming area to a more specific section of Lincoln Blvd.

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