Stan’s Obligatory Blog


Beverly Hills and the June Gloom

Filed under: — stan @ 2:57 pm
detail of above
detail of above

Since I can’t go on the regular club ride tomorrow, I went for a ride by myself today.

It’s June, and one thing that the tourist books never talk about is the “June Gloom”. Gray, overcast, cool days are all part of it, and today was a textbook example. The sun struggled mightily to break through, but it never really did.

I decided to ride out to Beverly Hills and up Benedict Canyon. This is one of my sentimental favorite Hollywood Hills rides, another being Nichols Canyon.

It’s springtime, and the jacaranda trees are in full bloom, so the streets are just covered with little purple flowers.

I went across Pasadena and down through the arroyo, and then took La Loma up and over the hill into Eagle Rock. I started to ride up Nolden Street, which is the ridiculously steep hill there, but I thought better of it. For some reason, I was feeling kind of tired and dragging today, so I thought that perhaps I shouldn’t push my luck by trying to ride up a 32% grade hill. So instead, I took Yosemite Dr across to Eagle Rock Blvd.

After the ride south on Eagle Rock Blvd, I crossed over the L.A. River into Silver Lake. That was where I saw the art project with television sets arranged on the hillside, each with a short message written on the screen.

After crossing the Franklin Hills and the Shakespeare Bridge, I entered Hollywood. I saw one building with an interesting sort of bas-relief design on the fire escape. So of course I stopped to snap a picture.

Riding a bike down Hollywood Boulevard is always kind of an odd experience. Early in the morning there are very few tourists out, and the street crazies who live there are mostly still asleep.

I took a little side trip down to Santa Monica Boulevard in West Hollywood to see the old Pussycat Theater. This was the flagship of the former porn chain, done in by the invention of the VCR. It’s now the ‘Tom Kat’ and shows gay porn. But the front of the theater still has the old ‘porn walk of fame’ from the ’70s. I got a picture of Linda Lovelace’s signature and hand prints in the concrete there.

Continuing west, I got on the famed Sunset Strip. I passed my favorite book store, Book Soup, and also passed the Viper Room, which I always remember as the place where River Phoenix died back in 1993.

Then I crossed the city limits into Beverly Hills. The street got wider, the pavement got smoother, and everything was fine and dandy. I passed houses with separately marked Service and Guest entrances. Then I got to Benedict Canyon. I took the right turn off Sunset and started up the canyon. It’s a nice, quiet street, and the first couple of miles are pretty flat. I passed Cielo Drive, which is the street where Sharon Tate lived before she was brutally murdered by the Manson Family in 1969. The original house was torn down years ago, so there really isn’t anything to see there any more.

Next came the actual climb up out of the canyon. The road got a bit steeper and switchbacked up the ridge to the crest of the mountains. There I turned right on Mulholland Drive. Back in the days when we lived in Hollywood, I used to ride up there all the time. I always remember seeing lots of women’s clothing lying on the side of the road on weekends. A shoe here, a skirt there, and underwear all around. I didn’t see any of that today, but I’m sure that sort of thing still goes on up there.

At Coldwater Canyon, I saw an odd street sign. It said that the road ends at night, but that implies that it doesn’t during the day. I thought it was funny, so I took a picture.

I continued on Mulholland all the way down into Cahuenga Pass. There I took Wonder View up the hill on the other side of the freeway to the top above the Hollywood Reservior. Then I went down Lake Hollywood Dr to Barham Blvd and on down the hill into Burbank. I took Zoo Drive back into Griffith Park before turning north into Glendale. That was where I saw the funny ‘falling softballs’ warning sign.

After that, I went up Verdugo Blvd to Hospital Hill. At the top of the hill, I turned and went down the hill past Descanso Gardens. From there, it was the regular route home across La Cañada and Pasadena.

60 miles.

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