Stan’s Obligatory Blog

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I’m on a quest…

Filed under: — stan @ 8:44 pm

I’m on a quest for the best blueberry muffin recipe. I make chocolate muffins and bran muffins from scratch, and they’re very good. But so far, the blueberry muffin has remained out of reach. I’ve tried several different recipes, and I’m getting close. This muffin is the fourth iteration of the most recent recipe, and it was pretty good.

Tonight I tried a fifth iteration, and I think I’m almost there. Lucinda and I sampled it right out of the oven, and we both thought it was good.

Victory is nearly mine.


Glendale hills and a pirate ship, too

Filed under: — stan @ 8:01 pm

Route map

Last week, I saw an item on Curbed L.A. about a house in Burbank with a pirate ship in the back yard. So I mailed Gene and said we should go see it. So today we did the Glendale hills route, which goes right by there. We’ve done this ride before, and it’s always great fun.

It was a bit chilly when we started out in the morning, but it turned into a very nice day. And there was a lot of climbing on this route, so we warmed up pretty fast. And the sheet of bubble wrap I was wearing helped, too. I recently read that it’s the 50th anniversary of the invention of bubble wrap. It’s an amazing thing. Besides cushioning, it’s also a great insulator, and it even has other (Not Safe For Work) uses.

We had to pass through the part of Altadena Drive where they have the road closed for sewer repairs, so it was a bit of a bushwhack. But then we got past that and headed up the hill. Then Ben got a flat. I circled back to get a picture, but some moisture had gotten in the camera, and the picture was just a purple smear. So he missed his chance to be in the Flat Tire Gallery this time.

On the way up the hill, Om led the charge. I recently have been remembering my racing days, and I’ve been trying to again be King of the Hill. So we had some fun racing up the hill. Then we regrouped at the top and headed down the big hill on Mountain Ave. I find this downhill to be frankly terrifying. I guess I’m getting old.

At the bottom, we crossed Verdugo Wash and headed up the hills on the other side. More nice climbing, with some pitches up to 12%. We rambled through the hills and looked at the views before coming down into Glendale.

We rode out into Burbank a bit and then doubled back on Kenneth. Then we turned off on Angeleno to see the pirate ship. And it was impressive. Sort of like a playhouse gone mad.

Our stop was at Paradise Bakery. I had my usual chocolate éclair. And when we left, I saw two different abandoned couches right around the corner.

The route back went up and over the Lida hill back to Pasadena. By this time, I was pretty tired. Newton beat all of us to the top. Then we rode down to the Rose Bowl and up Washington to Arroyo.

We took a small detour to see the house with the cone in front. There is a house on Arroyo where the owner has apparently decided that he doesn’t like bikes riding in the bike lane. The city has gone to the trouble of painting and signing a bike lane on that street, and this particular homeowner places a traffic cone out at the bike lane line and wants us to go around it. It is unclear why he thinks we should not be riding in the space that the city has provided for us. The man in front of the house claimed to know nothing about the cone, but it was pretty obvious that it was his. So perhaps a letter to the city street department is in order.

By the time I got home, I was pretty tired and moving slowly. But it was a fun time.

42 miles.


San Dimas and Bonelli Park

Filed under: — stan @ 8:58 pm

The route out

The route back

Today’s ride was out to San Dimas, with a loop around Bonelli Park, and then straight home. It rained last night, so it was cool and still kind of wet in the morning.

On the way out to Arcadia to meet the group, I saw something going on at a church along the way. I don’t know what that character in the costume was supposed to be.

The route out was pretty straightforward. When we got to San Dimas, the crossing gates were down at the railroad crossing. But there was no train. So I went to the tracks to see, and I saw that it was just a maintenance crew working. So we went across and kept going.

We did the circuit around Brackett Field and into Bonelli Park by the back way. That was where we saw the airplane boneyard. Then we headed up the hill and out the main entrance to the park.

Whenever it’s wet, my bike computer gets flakey. And today was no exception. When we went down the big hill on Via Verde, I looked at it, and it said we were going 12.9. I know we were going faster than that. Susan said hers read 36, and I know I’ve seen 40 on that hill before.

On the way back, I ran over something that got stuck in my tire. I could feel it thumping on the ground, so I stopped. I figured I’d have to fix a flat, but when I pulled it out, it hadn’t gone through. I even dunked the tire in a nearby puddle to check, but it was fine. So we continued on.

Our stop was at Panera in West Covina. I had a blueberry muffin and some orange juice. I’m looking for a good recipe for blueberry muffins, so I wanted to sample theirs just to see what it was like. It was pretty good.

After the stop, we headed home by the most efficient route. I had to be home by 12:30 to take Lucinda to Science Saturday at Caltech at 2:00.

It was a very pleasant ride.

56 miles.


Dog Park Afternoon

Filed under: — stan @ 8:30 pm

I had the day off today for Columbus Day, so after Lucinda got out of school, we all went to the dog park with Ripley and Suzie Q. It was a nice day for it. The dogs played a bit, and we just stayed in the shade. I took some pictures for a new dog photo album.

The dog park in our neighborhood is still new, and they are still getting the grass established. So they had signs warning that the sprinklers go on at 3:00 PM. The light was just right, so we saw a nice rainbow in the spray. And yes, there really is a trash can at the end of the rainbow.


La Tuna Canyon on an autumn day

Filed under: — stan @ 10:09 pm

It’s fall now. The mornings are getting cooler, and today we saw the first pumpkin stand setting up for business. Today’s ride was through La Tuna Canyon to Sun Valley, and then back by way of Paradise Bakery in Glendale.

We rode up through La Cañada and La Crescenta to get to La Tuna Canyon. Then we did the short climb to the top, followed by the fast four-mile downhill into Sun Valley. Along the way, I had one sightseeing stop. I just finished reading Sue Hough’s biography of Charles Richter. Part of the story involved Charles and Lillian’s involvement in nudism, and made mention that they belonged to a club called Fraternity Elysia, which was at 9804 La Tuna Canyon Road. When I got there, there was just a small side street and some new houses, so I guess the land was sold and subdivided. Another piece of Southern California history plowed under.

At the stop, I got a bottle of orange juice and one chocolate eclair. We were going home over Hospital Hill, so I didn’t want to eat too much.

The ride back was very nice. It warmed up very nicely, and we had a pleasant time. The only mishap was when Don got a flat right at the end of the ride. Of course I had to take a picture for the Flat Tire Gallery.

50 miles.


A day at the races

Filed under: — stan @ 8:38 pm

This afternoon, Lucinda and I went down to Carson to see the last day’s races at the Elite National Championships at the ADT Center velodrome. We went this last year, and we liked it enough to go back this time, even though nobody we know was racing this time.

We got there just as they were starting. For some reason, we had to go through metal detectors at the door. I’m not sure what they were trying to prevent there.

The events we saw were the team sprint, keirin, team pursuit, and the Madison. They were all fun to watch, although the Madison is the best of the bunch. It has lots of action, and it lasts long enough that you won’t miss the whole thing if you go to the bathroom.

There were a few crashes in the Madison, including one that made a little gouge in the wood surface of the track. They ‘repaired’ this by putting some tape over it.

I also found it amusing that there were at least two riders competing there whose fathers were champions back in the ’70s when I raced.

The final event was an exhibition race. They have a track racing program for kids, and they had a short kids race at the end of the day. Lucinda wanted to try track racing, but when she tried getting on the bike they had there, it was just a bit too big for her. So she needs to grow about another inch or two before she can do it.

We got to see some good racing, and I got to tell a bunch of old ‘war stories’. Overall, it was a fun afternoon.

Paradise and Purgatory

Filed under: — stan @ 12:54 pm

Today’s club ride was out to Glendale to stop at Paradise Bakery. They have the best chocolate eclairs I’ve ever had. The ride over was kind of a roundabout route, but that was nice, since it’s not really all that far away. We rode up into La CaÖada and then over the hill on Chevy Chase into Glendale. Then up and over another hill on Glenoaks before settling down for the straight stretch out to Paradise.

We had some nice pastries at the bakery. And then it was time for the ride back. This was the purgatory part. The route back went up and over Mountain Ave in Glendale. This is not a huge hill. It’s not the steepest hill. But it’s just steep enough and long enough that it’s really an experience to ride it. And it’s one of those hills that just keeps on giving. Just when it looks like the top, around the next bend there’s some more. I like it.

Overall, it was a fun ride, even though I had to cut it a bit short to get home by noon so Lucinda and I can go to see the bike races at the velodrome in Carson.

40 miles.


Van Horne, Randy Van Horne, he’s a page right out of history

Filed under: — stan @ 6:35 am

Yet another little adventure from the obituary page of the Los Angeles Times.

Randy Van Horne, whose Randy Van Horne Singers performed the theme songs for “The Flintstones,” “The Jetsons,” “The Huckleberry Hound Show” and several other popular television cartoons of the 1960s, has died. He was 83.

He was yet another icon of my youth who I never really knew existed. I watched “The Flintstones” when I was a kid. When I was 16 and started bike racing, I used to ride with a guy who told me that he still liked watching “The Flintstones”. He said, “you should watch it again, it’s really funny, and we didn’t get most of the jokes when we were kids”. And he was right.

On some level, I knew that a group of people had to have sung the theme song, but nobody ever said who they were. So it’s kind of nice to be able to put a face and a story behind it.

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