Stan’s Obligatory Blog


Why do birds suddenly appear…

Filed under: — stan @ 8:49 pm

Route map and photo locations

Today I took a sightseeing bike ride to go visit some Americana. There were three targets for the day: The 1953 McDonald’s, the “Close to You” and “Only Just Begun” apartments, and Johnie’s Broiler, all in beautiful Downey, California. It was a cool day, but forecast to warm up nicely. A perfect winter’s day in SoCal.

I started out heading south, through San Marino and San Gabriel. I rode down through Whittier Narrows and then turned south again on Rosemead. Then I just went straight, all the way to Downey.

At one light, there was a very shiny tanker truck in front of me, so I took my picture reflected in it. Then I continued on to the where Rosemead turned in to Lakewood, and the 1953 McDonald’s. We’d visited there before, so I didn’t go inside to see the Ray Kroc museum this time.

Continuing on down Lakewood, I took a right on 5th St. That was where I saw a house undergoing a fairly drastic remodel. Only the front wall was still standing. Then I rode a short distance farther and found the “Close to You” and “Only Just Begun” apartment buildings. They are a pair, right across the street from each other, and they were bought by Karen and Richard Carpenter with their earnings from their first big hit songs, back in 1970.

I went a bit farther on 5th St to get to Firestone Blvd and Johnie’s Broiler. This is a 1950s Googie-style coffee shop that was being used as a used-car lot promising “BAJO MILLAGE” cars. It was also being considered for historic status. Apparently, the owners weren’t too happy about this, because they hired a bulldozer to start knocking it down without a permit. So the building is still half-standing, but in ruins.

Leaving Johnie’s, I backtracked to get to Paramount Blvd and headed north. At Mines Ave, I went right and went back to Rosemead. That was where I saw it. Shangri-L… Oh. It said Shangri Lodge. Never mind. The place was kind of scary, with bars and bulletproof glass around the manager’s office.

I took a left on Beverly to take the scenic route back up through Montebello. That was where I saw yet another abandoned couch for the Abandoned Couches Blog.

At San Gabriel Blvd, I turned left, and immediately heard that telltale hissing sound. I had a flat. Since I was riding alone, I had to take the obligatory picture Myspace-style, with the camera held at arm’s length. I put on a spare tire, and continued on.

I went up Walnut Grove to get back up to San Gabriel, and then went west a bit on Longden to get back to Del Mar. Then it was straight up through San Marino and back to the park.

It was a pleasant ride.

Addendum: I fixed my flat tire this evening. I was riding my old racing bike today. So I was riding Old School. This is the first time in three years that I’ve fixed a sew-up tire. I’m out of practice. I used to do this all the time and didn’t think anything of it. But it was hard.

42 miles

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