Stan’s Obligatory Blog

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Greeks, Geeks, and a Fuel Cell Car

Filed under: — stan @ 8:11 pm

Just a couple of random things I saw and found amusing:

Yesterday, they were filming “Greek” again on campus at Caltech. It’s weird to be riding my bike across campus and suddenly see things in the middle of the sidewalk that I know are just props. And it’s always funny to see a familiar place dressed up as something different. It wasn’t quite as dramatic as the last time I saw them filming this on campus, but the bulletin board kiosks on the sidewalk were kind of jarring to see. Especially since if I wasn’t paying attention, I’d have run into one of them.

Later, when I was going out for the evening, I saw a GM fuel cell car on the road. I’d seen a couple of these parked behind the GM Training Center in Burbank back in February. So it was interesting to see one out on the road. It was very quiet.


A fun Saturday night

Filed under: — stan @ 10:51 pm

I didn’t say anything about the time between Saturday’s bike ride and Sunday’s bike ride. It was a very fun time. But it wasn’t the sort of fun that I can talk about here. So here’s the officially sanitized version.
redacted report

View from the playground

Filed under: — stan @ 9:21 pm

This morning, when I dropped Lucinda off at school, this is what I saw from the playground at the school.

The fire in Santa Anita Canyon was crossing a ridge about 2 miles away. It was a bit unnerving to see actual flames on the mountain that close to the school. But the word tonight is that they are gaining ground on the fire, and school will be open tomorrow. So I guess that’s a Good Thing.


Nowhere in Particular

Filed under: — stan @ 4:51 pm

Today’s ride was one I just made up that I called “Nowhere in Particular”. We did rides with some substantial hills the last two weeks, so it was time for a slightly flatter ride. Also, Gene said he was going to come and ride with us for the first time since his accident last November.

There is a fire burning up Santa Anita Canyon above Arcadia. It started yesterday, and it spread last night. The first picture shows a car hood with the deposit of ash that fell from the sky outside my house on Saturday night. When we met at the park, the air smelled of brushfire smoke, and we could see tanker airplanes flying overhead. So we decided to alter the route a bit just to avoid going through Sierra Madre, since part of the town was evacuated, and there were fire department staging areas set up there. Also, we could see the smoke from the fire, and we figured it was better if we could stay away from it as far as possible.

When we were in Arcadia, Gene noticed that I’d cleaned my bike. Normally, I never clean my bike. But I’d been talking to Susan about this yesterday, so I thought I’d surprise everyone by wiping off some of the dirt. This was shocking enough for everyone that I handed the camera to Susan to take a picture. Just to record the occasion for the ages.

When we got out to Duarte, we stopped at Encanto Park to top off our water bottles, since it was a very hot day already. Then we got on the San Gabriel River bike path and headed south. That’s the nice way to go, since the trend is downhill. We rode that all the way down to Whittier Narrows before we got off and got back on regular streets.

We turned down Lincoln Ave towards Montebello, where we say one of the many bells set up around California with historical markers for El Camino Real. The bell we passed was the “San Gabriel Archangel” bell.

In Montebello, we went over the only substantial hill on the ride. It was short, but a bit steep. But it was over quickly, and we headed down the other side. Then we went straight north through San Gabriel all the way back to Pasadena, where we stopped at Noah’s Bagels on Lake Ave.

After the stop, we headed straight back to the part. By this time, the wind had shifted, and Pasadena didn’t smell like a brushfire any more. It was hot, but it was still a fun ride.

44 miles.


Hot day at the Corner Bakery

Filed under: — stan @ 3:28 pm

Today’s ride was the “Corner Bakery” route. We’re having another spring heat wave now, so it was already warm in the morning, and promising to get hot later.

We started out and headed east. Almost immediately, YK got a flat. For some reason, it took everyone a long time to fix it, but we were finally going again.

We rode out to Arcadia, passing the park where we sometimes meet to start rides. That’s where we saw the inflatable slide that looked like the sinking Titanic. Then we headed south into Temple City before turning west again to make a big loop.

We crossed South Pasadena and then headed back into Pasadena, passing above the Rose Bowl. Then we hit the hills in La Cañada. We rode all the way up the hill to the school at the top, and then came back down all the way to the Rose Bowl. There was some sort of charity walk going on there, so the road was closed and packed with people. We rode slowly through the crowd for a short distance before deciding it would be better just to go back up the hill and take Linda Vista around to get where we were going.

Back in Pasadena, we stopped at the Corner Bakery on Lake Ave. I found us a table with an umbrella, so we had a bit of shade. We sat and talked for a bit before headed back to the park.

It was a nice ride.

38 miles.


No Tuna, Bagel Instead

Filed under: — stan @ 4:47 pm

Today’s bike ride was the “No Tuna for Me” route that Gene made up last year. It’s got just as much climbing as La Tuna Canyon, but it’s broken up into little pieces, so it doesn’t feel like the 4-mile grind up La Tuna Canyon Road.

We headed out to Eagle Rock. At the bottom of the Colorado hill, we usually turn right up Figueroa to Eagle Vista. But today we tried something different. We went straight and then turned right on Monte Bonita. This got us to the same place, but without that sharp off-camber turn on Figueroa.

We rode across Glendale on Kenneth. When we got into Burbank, we took a quick detour to look at the backyard pirate ship again.

When we got on to Glenoaks, Steve got a flat tire. So I took a picture for the Flat Tire Gallery.

In Sun Valley, we turned right on Peoria St. This street runs along the edge of the big garbage dump there. And right along the fence, we saw two pieces of a formerly-nice black sectional couch. Then, just a short distance up the street, we saw two chairs that matched.

Leaving the dump, we headed up into Horse Country. It’s always a bit odd to be riding down a residential street and see horses within the city limits of Los Angeles. We rode up, winding our way back into Sunland, where we turned and headed up toward Tujunga. We stopped for a moment at a little park. Then we rode on, coming out on Tujunga Canyon Road for the fast descent into Montrose.

We usually stop at one of the bakeries in Montrose, but today we decided to try an experiment. The bakeries are all at the bottom of Hospital Hill, and we always have to ride up the hill after the stop. So today, we rode up the hill first, and we stopped at Goldstein’s Bagels instead.

Inside, Susan pointed out the specials board that listed a “Reese’s Peanut Butter ‘n’ Cream”, which is truly not a traditional bagel flavor. But Susan and I got a laugh out of it because — well, I guess you just had to be there… We also got a laugh about the ATM that was apparently on its break, and the stickers on the back of one of the signs out front. “Andre the Giant Has A Posse“.

We all liked the fact that after the stop, we were already at the top of the last hill. And it was all downhill back to the park. It was a nice ride.

45 miles.


A nice ride with no hills

Filed under: — stan @ 8:10 pm

Today’s ride was the “Molly’s Souper” route out to Upland. We started at Arcadia Park and headed east.

Right away, the group split up, and Steve, Susan, Silvio, Garett and I went ahead. We took a short detour through the Santa Fe Dam bike path to avoid the rough stretch of road on Foothill Blvd. We thought that would give the rest of the group a chance to catch up, but when we got to Gladstone St, they were still behind us. So we carried on. We rode all the way out to the border of Claremont. By that time, it was 10:30. Susan had to be back by noon, so she needed to head back. I’d offered to keep her company for the ride back, so the two of us turned around there. We stopped at the park in La Verne to refill our water bottles. Then, when we were leaving the park, we saw the rest of the group still on their way out. We waved and said hi. They asked if we’d done the whole route. Susan was about to tell them “yes” but I beat her to it and said “no”. I’m no fun that way.

The ride back was about 10 minutes faster than the ride out, largely due to that 1% grade on Gladstone. Heading west on the street is always a joy. Our average for the ride was just over 16mph, which is not bad. And the round trip from Arcadia Park was about 44 miles. Since I always ride to the start of the ride, I got a little extra. So it was a good distance and a nice ride.

56 miles.


Urban hiking in Griffith Park

Filed under: — stan @ 10:28 pm

I’ve been doing the Tuesday night hikes in Griffith Park lately. It’s fun, and interesting to see what’s in the park right here in the city. Tonight was a different hike, where we went and looked for an old trail that was burned out in last year’s fires. We went up a fire road for part of the way, and then struck out on a faint trail up a ridge, just overlooking the Golden State Freeway. Such is urban hiking. We can be walking up the side of a mountain, but listening to the roar of a freeway. But we got a nice view of downtown L.A. at dusk, which was nice.


My life these days

Filed under: — stan @ 11:51 pm


Ridin’ bikes in the hot sun, I sought a rhyme then I saw one

Filed under: — stan @ 7:38 pm

Today was the infamous “Mountain Lion” ride. We did this ride back in November, so I thought it was time to go back and do it again. Of course, I hadn’t counted on it being an early-spring L.A. heat wave. So it was hot like summer, and we were dripping sweat on the climbs.

The ride goes up into La Cañada, La Crescenta, and Tujunga, going up and down the front face of the San Gabriel Mountains. There’s a fair bit of climbing, and some terrifying descents as well. The high point, both symbolic and literal, is the hill on Pineglen Road that we refer to as “Mountain Lion Hill”. There is a sign part-way up that warns us that mountain lions have been seen in the area. So we try to maintain a brisk pace through there, which can be difficult when you’re riding a bike up an 18% grade. I was expending maximum effort just to go 3mph. That’s why the picture of the sign is blurry. It’s hard to have a steady hand with the camera while riding up a hill like that. I even had to shift. I ended up in my next-to-lowest gear for the final steep pitch to the top.

Coming down into Tujunga, we were on somewhat more level ground. We passed the Viking House, and then continued on down to cross Foothill Blvd. That’s where I saw the Roe Zee Market, which I found amusing for some reason. Maybe it was just the heat.

We stopped for water at a little park in Tujunga, and then rode down Tujunga Canyon Road into Montrose. Our snack stop was at Oven Fresh bakery. I always get orange juice there, since it’s fresh-squeezed and very tasty. And it also means I get to watch the Zummo orange juice machine doing its little mechanical dance, cutting each orange in half and simultaneously squeezing both halves, while more oranges roll down the feeder track. It’s entertaining to watch. Especially when you’re dazed from riding up Mountain Lion Hill.

After the snack stop, I got some couches for the Abandoned Couches Blog. Then we headed straight for home across Pasadena. Don’s fancy bike computer said we’d done a total of 3,600 feet of climbing. It was a nice ride, even with the heat.

42 miles.

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