Stan’s Obligatory Blog

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6/25/2017

The Whittier Greenway Trail

Filed under: — stan @ 1:30 pm

Today’s bike club ride was a visit to the Whittier Greenway Trail. This is the former railroad through Whittier that has been converted to a bike and pedestrian trail. We’ve been there before, but it’s a nice place to visit.

We took the direct route south to get to Whittier Narrows to pick up the San Gabriel River bike path. Then we made our way around to Workman Mill Road. Along the way, we got a nice view of Rose Hills “That ain’t no hard hill to climb” Cemetery. And we even got to see a fast-moving freight train go by at the crossing there.

We got on the Greenway Trail and rode most, but not all of it this time. On the bridge that takes us over the big five-way intersection, we got a nice view of a classic Googie-tyle car wash. We took it as far as Greenleaf Ave, where we turned off to go to Mimo’s Cafe for snacks. After that, we got back on the Greenway Trail for a bit, after passing by the antique street lights with the swastikas on them. Then we picked up the San Gabriel River bike trail for the ride back up to Whittier Narrows.

At the top end of the Rio Hondo trail, our usual route was blocked because the basin was flooded. That was odd. There’s usually water there, but normally, it doesn’t rise up high enough to drown the bike trail unless it’s just rained. So I don’t know what happened there.

By the end, it was getting pretty hot, so the last few miles were a bit of a trial. Fortunately, we had a route home through Arcadia that had a lot of trees for shade. So it was still a nice ride.

46 miles.

Route map and elevation profile

6/18/2017

The Other F-104

Filed under: — stan @ 1:20 pm

We’ve been to see the F-104-on-a-stick in the park in Burbank several times. So today’s ride was a visit to the California Science Center in Exposition Park to see the F-104 that they have mounted on the side of the Aerospace Hall. The F-104 is actual proof of the old engineer’s adage, “you can make a brick fly if you put a big enough engine on it.”

We rode our regular route into downtown L.A., pausing briefly at 2nd St to see if we could see how Metro is coming along with the construction of the Regional Connector. Then we continued south through downtown. I didn’t get to race the Expo Line train down Flower St today.

When we got to the museum, we stopped to have a look at the DC-8 they have on display out front. Then we took a look at the F-104, as well as the FA-18 and the Space Shuttle fuel tank.

Our snack stop was at a new place this time. We usually go to Noah’s Bagels in Larchmont, but the last time we were there, we noticed that a new bakery had opened up next door. So today we were going to try it. I got a donut, filled with chocolate that had a slight infusion of Earl Grey flavor. It sounds odd, but it was very good.

Nobody today was in the mood for our regular route home through Silver Lake, so we decided to go back by way of downtown again, and then up the Arroyo Seco. At the end of that, I bailed out and took the Metro the last few miles, since I needed to get back a little early, since we’re going to San Diego to see my father this afternoon.

39 miles, plus two more coming home from the Metro station.

Route map and elevation profile

6/11/2017

Spoke

Filed under: — stan @ 2:22 pm

Spoke Bicycle Cafe in Frogtown has been busy lately. They recently opened a new kitchen and expanded their menu. When we’ve been there before, it was a pretty minimalist operation. But now they have regular food, a wider selection of drinks, and even indoor bathrooms. So today’s ride was a visit to Spoke to see all the new parts that have recently opened.

We rode out our usual route across Eagle Rock and Glendale. When we got to Burbank, we saw a train nosing its way across Victory Blvd. The tracks only go a short distance beyond there, since that route has been converted into the Chandler Bikeway. But the fact that the crossing signals at Victory are still there I guess implied that trains still sometimes go there. And today was the first time we’ve ever seen one there. From the map, it looks like the little bit of track remaining there is part of a wye off the main line in Burbank.

After looking at the train, we continiuued on the Chandler Bikeway over to Pass Ave. Then south to Riverside to make a loop back to pick up the L.A. River bike path down to Frogtown. We stopped in at Spoke and had some snacks. I had some artisanal hipster-style bacon, just because it was there.

Coming home, we went up Figueroa St to Ave 43, and then the Arroyo Seco bike path to South Pasadena.

42 miles.

Route map and elevation profile

6/4/2017

McDonald’s

Filed under: — stan @ 2:44 pm

Last week, I was watching the movie, “The Founder”, about Ray Kroc. So it seemed appropriate that this Sunday’s bike club ride should be a visit to the oldest operating McDonald’s in the U.S. It’s a nice, flat ride to Downey and, we’ve been there before.

When we got there, I’d been hoping to take a quick look at the Ray Kroc museum they have there. But it was closed for renovation. So we continued on to our snack stop at 3rd St Coffee.

We passed by the Rives Mansion on the way back. Apparently, it’s something of a landmark in Downey. Then we got on the Rio Hondo bike path for the ride home.

43 miles.

Route map and elevation profile

6/3/2017

Limestone Canyon and The Sinks

Filed under: — stan @ 3:15 pm

The May issue of the AAA “Westways” magazine had a short feature about things to do in Orange County, and one of them was to visit Limestone Canyon Nature Preserve, which is just off Santiago Canyon Road. I’ve been by there many times, and I never even knew there was something like that there.

They spoke in particular about The Sinks, which is a place that people say resembles a small Grand Canyon. So of course I wanted to go see it. I recruited Jen from the office to come along, and we were on our way.

We hiked out by way of the Limestone Ridge trail. In the end, this turned out to have been a good choice. We had a nice marine layer in the morning, so it was overcast and cool for the first part of the day. That was where we saw the small gopher snake sunning itself on the trail.

We finally made it out to the first overlook point, where there was a small viewing platform to look into the Sinks. We looked and took a few pictures before starting back. We stopped at the spot of shade under a tree for a bit before we turned off on the trail to get to the viewing platform on the other side of the Sinks. Going to the second overlook added about a mile to the hike, but it was entirely worth it. The view from the second platform was clearly better than from the first one.

We came back by the trail through the canyon. By this time, the sun was out, and it was pretty hot. So it was good that we were down in the canyon for the trip back. There were a fair number of trees there, so there was some shade. The only bad thing was that I’d forgotten a hat, and I actually got a little sunburned on my neck. That was kind of shocking, since it’s only the fourth time in my life that I’ve ever been sunburned. I know that sunburn is just a normal hazard for most people, but it’s pretty unusual for me, so whenever it does happen, it’s pretty disconcerting. Still, it was a pretty nice hike, and a chance to visit a place I’d never heard of before.

Route map and elevation profile

5/28/2017

Nick Metropolis

Filed under: — stan @ 4:16 pm

This past week, the Los Angeles Times had an article about Nick Metropolis. This is an odd little place on La Brea, filled with all sorts of weird junk. So of course, we had to go see it.

The ride out was our regular route through downtown L.A. We stopped briefly at 7th and Figueroa to see the Corporate Head sculpture. Then we continued on out through Koreatown and Hancock Park. We went all the way to Fairfax so we could see the construction site for the new Metro Purple Line station there. We also had a look at the “Urban Light” installation at LACMA. I noticed for the first time that some of the streetlights in it are the antique ones with swastikas around the base.

Heading back east, we got to Nick Metropolis, where we had a chance to look around. It is one weird collection of stuff there.

Our snack stop was at Noah’s Bagels on Larchmont. While we were there, we took a look at the little bakery that just opened up next door. I think we’re going to try going there next time we’re out this way.

The route home was the usual way across Silver Lake and home by way of York Blvd.

46 miles.

Route map and elevation profile

5/27/2017

Return to the George Harrison Tree

Filed under: — stan @ 1:44 pm

I don’t usually ride with the Foothill Cycle Saturday morning group, but today they were doing a ride that started from the park by my house, and they were doing one of my routes. The ride to Griffith Park to see the George Harrison Tree.

The route out was our standard route across Pasadena and through Eagle Rock to get to Hollywood. Then we turned and made our way up the hill to Griffith Observatory. They’ve changed the traffic pattern there since the last time we were there, and the two road leading up to the observatory are now designated as one-way, with one leading up, and the other leading down. So we had to ride through the tunnel to Toontown to get to the road up to the observatory. When we got up to the top, I went for the photo-op with the bust of James Dean, and also had a look at the orbits of the planets in the sidewalks in front of the observatory. I’d thought they didn’t have the orbit of Pluto plotted on there, but it turned out they did.

Leaving the observatory, we headed up Mt Hollywood Drive. We took a short side trip to an overlook that had a nice all-directions view of the park and the city. And after we rolled over the crest of the hill, we started down the Valley side, with a short stop at “Cathy’s Corner”, which was the location for the “What a Waste of a Lovely Night” scene from “La La Land”. I’m in the process of making up a theme ride to visit some of the “La La Land” shooting locations, and this is one of the more important ones on the list.

Continuing on down the mountain, we got to the bottom, where we turned left to head over the our snack stop at Priscilla’s in Burbank. We had drinks and snacks there, before starting for home. We rode back to the L.A. River bike path, which we took all the way to its south end at the bridge to Figueroa St. We took Figueroa north to Ave 57, and then turned off to get to Monterey Rd back to South Pasadena.

All told, it was a nice ride.

47 miles.

Route map and elevation profile

5/21/2017

The old NoHo train station

Filed under: — stan @ 2:56 pm

A few weeks ago, we did a ride to see the TV Hall of Fame in North Hollywood. That day, we stopped for snacks at Panera at Chandler and Lankershim, and while we were there, I saw a sign on the old North Hollywood Pacific Electric Depot that said that they had finished renovating the old building, and that a new Groundwork Coffee was now open inside. So today’s ride was a trip out there to see the old station.

It’s become something of a tradition to renovate old train stations for retail and restaurant use. The former Pasadena stations has several restaurants in it. The old Monrovia station is being renovated with an eye towards that sort of use. So the NoHo station is just the latest in a long line of these sorts of projects.

We took a bit of a roundabout route to get to NoHo, going down almost to downtown, and then up the L.A. River bike path. And also a bit out into Studio City. But it was a nice day for riding, so it was all right. When we got to NoHo, we turned in to the old train station. The Groundwork Coffee shop there is pretty nice, and they have a large shaded outdoor seating area, which was just the thing today. We had some drinks and snacks before heading back.

The route back was a bit more direct. Straight across Glendale and then over the hill to get to the Rose Bowl. The Bowl was on virtual lockdown, since they’d had a big U2 concert last night, and were preparing for another tonight.

In the end, it was a nice ride, although it did get pretty hot today. When I got home, my little weather station thingy said it was 99 degrees, which is a bit much for this early in the season.

47 miles.

Route map and elevation profile

5/14/2017

Where the Streets Have No Name

Filed under: — stan @ 2:01 pm

Today’s bike club ride was a visit to see a little piece of rock history. In 1987, U2 made a video for their song, “Where the Streets Have No Name” where they played a small show on the roof of a building in downtown Los Angeles:

beta.theglobeandmail.com/arts/music/u2s-where-the-streets-have-no-name-30-yearslater/article34932271/

Today’s bike ride was a trip to downtown L.A. to see the building and the corner where they did this.

We rode down through South Pasadena and Highland Park to get to the L.A. River and the new bridge there. We stopped for a minute to look at the “Faces of Elysian Valley” art installation in the traffic circle just before the bridge. Then we headed up the river trail to Fletcher, where we got off and headed into Hollywood. We had take a short detour between Bronson and Gower where there was something happening and Hollywood Boulevard was blocked off with fire trucks and police cars.

We rode across Hollywood, and I was slightly surprised to find that not only did U2 not have a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, but they don’t have a presence at the Rock Walk at Guitar Center on Sunset.

Our snack stop was at Noah’s Bagels in Larchmont. Then we headed back into downtown L.A. via 7th St. When we got to Main, we stopped and looked at the building. It was a liquor store back in 1987, and it’s a Mexican restaurant now, but the building looks essentially the same now as it did then.

From there, we headed back up Main St, stopping to take a photo of the Car Freshener painted on the side of a building at 3rd St. As they say, “[you'll] find one in every car…“. We also saw the signpost pointing to all of the sister cities that Los Angeles has around the world. Just in case you were wondering.

45 miles.

Route map and elevation profile

5/7/2017

The Metro Tour East

Filed under: — stan @ 1:12 pm

The weather forecast for today was for it to be chilly, with a small chance of rain. So the ride for today was the Metro Rail Tour East. This is a ride to Glendora and back, never more than two miles or so from the nearest Metro Rail station.

I went down to the park, but in the end nobody else showed up. So I set out on my own. It sprinkled just a little bit for the first few minutes, but then that stopped, and the sun came out. So I did the whole ride, and it was fine. Fine, except for the stiff headwind all the way to Glendora. But coming back was nice. Gladstone St is about 1% downhill, and with the tailwind, I was pretty much able to glide a good bit of the way back.

37 miles.

Route map and elevation profile

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