APPLE VALLEY — Several musicians from across the country who’ve faced the joys and challenges of driving the Cajon Pass have written and performed songs about the busy mountain route.

Three who hail from Southern California, and who are very familiar with the High Desert, recently released songs about the pass, a route traveled by tourists, truckers, adventurers and over 82,000 High Desert commuters.

Sony artist Gethen Jenkins, who wrote the country tune “Cajon Pass,” told the Daily Press the inspiration for the song came from his many “Harley Davidson rides” from his home in Long Beach to Apple Valley.

“The Cajon Pass is a special place for me,” said Jenkins, who has family in Apple Valley. “The pass is a place that leads to the High Desert, a place where you can escape the hustle and bustle of L.A. life and enjoy the clean air, quiet nights with a bunch of laid-back people.”

The lead singer of “Gethen Jenkins & The Freightshakers,” Jenkins’ “Cajon Pass” song is a fast-paced, guitar-picking, honky-tonk tune about “shenanigans” along his highway journey that leads back into his lover’s arms.

A native of West Virginia who served in the Marine Corps for eight years and was part of Operation Iraqi Freedom, Jenkins said he tries to ride his Harley as much as possible, especially up to the High Desert where he can “relax and unwind.”

“Back when I lived San Diego, I used to travel up the Cajon Pass to my wife’s hometown of Apple Valley,” Jenkins said. “I guess you can say the Cajon Pass is like an old friend that I see from time to time.”

Sony recently released the group’s six-song digital EP titled “Where the Honkytonk Belongs,” which includes the songs “Cajon Pass” and “Bell Mountain.” His music can be found at www.gethenjenkinsmusic.com.

A former teacher who retired from Excelsior Charter School earlier this year, Bill Lopez, 63, told the Daily Press he wrote his “Cajon Pass” song for a gentleman at Tender Heart Adult Day Health Care in Hesperia.

“I’m not a country singer, but this guy at the facility loves that type of music so I decided to create a song for him,” said Lopez, who ministers by song at the facility every other month. “He plays the harmonica, so he’ll be joining me the next time I play my guitar there.”

Lopez said his 70-mile trips to Calimesa to visit his 91-year-old mother, Jessica Price, have been “a real eye-opener” for the singer who never commuted regularly down the hill.

“I couldn’t believe the amount of traffic and the crazy way people drive through the pass,” Lopez said. “Those long trips provided the perfect ingredients for the song.”

Lopez, who has played the guitar for over 45 years, said his song includes references to cars going “way too fast” through the Cajon Pass where “a cross by the road” and “flowers on the ground” tell a story too often told.

“When I read the Daily Press story about the commuter who travels down the hill to UCLA — my heart really went out to him and to the mass of people who have to drive the pass everyday,” said Lopez, who hopes his song will be bring enjoyment to the people at Tender Heart and the “brave commuters” who spend much of their lives driving down the hill.

Lopez, who plays regularly at Calvary Chapel of the High Desert, Apple Valley Post Acute Center and various assisted living facilities, said his “Drivin' the Cajon Pass” song can be heard online on his Rockville Radio 7.77 channel on www.soundcloud.com.

Several other artists have penned songs about the busy thoroughfare, including Michael "Mike Cease" Canzius “AKA CeasrLives," whose “Cajon Pass” song can be found on his first solo project titled “Bear Valley Rd.”

Cease said he draws inspiration from his diverse background and life travels, with his “Bear Valley Rd” project reflecting on his time spent growing up in California, finding love and relocating to Atlanta.

“I’m sure everyone that travels through the Cajon Pass could write a story, a song or a poem,” Lopez said. “Whether you love or hate the Cajon Pass, that place always invokes an emotion.”

Rene Ray De La Cruz may be reached at 760-951-6227, RDeLa Cruz@VVDailyPress.com or on Twitter @DP_ReneDeLaCruz.