Who knew? The Boulevard of Broken Dreams is also a place to go bike riding. Since tomorrow is Easter, I can’t go on the regular Sunday ride. So I convinced Gene, Newton, and Matt to go on a ride today in the Hollywood Hills.
We started out on the standard route out of Pasadena and across Eagle Rock, and then into Los Feliz. After crossing the Shakespeare Bridge, we went south and got onto Hollywood Blvd. On the east end, it’s Little Armenia for a bit, and then it becomes Thai Town. That was where we saw the Thai food place with a big hot dog on the roof. We also passed the infamous Jumbo’s Clown Room. Legend has it that several now-famous women did turns stripping there.
After Thai Town faded away, we were on the part of Hollywood Blvd that every tourist sees. The Walk of Fame. We just passed most of it by, but we did make a point to stop and see the star for Godzilla, since he is one of only a few completely fictitious characters who have stars there.
Most tourists think that Hollywood Blvd ends at La Brea Ave. The locals know that it goes on to Laurel Canyon, but I know that it goes even farther than that. On the other side of Laurel Canyon, there is a little street that goes up the hill. That is the continuation of Hollywood Blvd. It’s a little residential street in the hills, the kind that looks like a noodle on the map.
We rode up the hill, stopping to look at one house with a weird chimney. We only took one wrong turn on the way up, which was surprising, since a lot of the intersections up there are not well-marked. A lot of times, it’s hard to tell which way is the continuation of the street and which is the cross street. We continued on until the Boulevard of Broken Dreams merged into Sunset Plaza on top of the hill. From there, we went down the other side on Lookout Mountain Road, down into Laurel Canyon.
At the bottom of the hill we did a quick left and right on Laurel Canyon Blvd, passing by Houdini’s old house, and then up Willow Glen. This is a very narrow and steep street that climbs up the side of Laurel Canyon to the Mt Olympus area. I always remember reading about Mt Olympus in the October 1969 issue of National Geographic. The article was about the floods and mudslides that year in Los Angeles, and it had a photo of Mt. Olympus, which was a new development at the time. Part of the caption read:
To protect Mount Olympus in Hollywood, right, developers graded slopes and moated lots with storm drains. Sites near the summit sell for as much as $85,000.
Needless to say, $85,000 sounded like a staggering sum back in 1969, but it seems ludicrously cheap by today’s standards.
After passing the faux-greek temples on Mt Olympus, we went down into Nichols Canyon. Turning left on Nichols Canyon Road, we then climbed up out of the canyon to the top of the ridge at Mulholland Drive. Crossing Mulholland, we took Woodrow Wilson down to the freeway.
Crossing the freeway, we were back in the city, but we took one more detour, going up Wonder View to Lake Hollywood. This was one more climb, but it was worth it to avoid the traffic in Cahenga Pass.
After all that excitement, we headed home across Burbank, Glendale and Eagle Rock. For some reason, I was pretty tired from all that climbing, so I was actually quite glad to be taking the relatively non-hilly way home.