Stan’s Obligatory Blog

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They can’t all be gems…

Filed under: — stan @ 10:59 pm

Last year, we hiked up Echo Mountain on the 4th of July to watch the fireworks. The big Rose Bowl display was right below us, and we could see the shows at Dodger Stadium, Exposition Park, and even all the way down to the Queen Mary. It was impressive. So we decided to do it again this year.

We set out on the hike a little earlier this time, in hopes of getting a better spot on the top of the mountain. It wasn’t as hot as last year, and the hike wasn’t bad at all. I’d gotten the MapMyHike app for my new iPhone, and I set it to record the trip up the mountain. When we got to the trail junction near the top, the sign said it was 2.7 miles back to the start, but the GPS on the phone said we’d gone 3.7. I thought this was odd. It was hard to believe that all the guidebooks compiled over decades could be that wrong. But either way, at that point, we were at the top.

There was already a good crowd up there, and we ended up setting up camp in the same place as last year. That was all right, and we spread out our picnic that we’d brought. Then, when night fell, we were ready to watch the fireworks.

On the way up, we’d noticed that it was hazier than last year, but we thought that might dissipate after sundown, when the inversion layer over Los Angeles goes away. But when the fireworks started, we could see that there was a layer of low clouds that were obscuring our view of a good bit of the show. We could see the lower fireworks, but ones that went higher in the air went into the clouds, and we could only see the glowing bits that fell down from them. And then, just as we were absorbing all of this, the marine layer decided to move in. In a matter of minutes, low clouds condensed below us, and blotted out the entire city. So that was that.

We gathered up our things and headed down the mountain, along with the hundreds of other people up there. We’d brought real flashlights this time, and that worked out well. And it made for an odd sight on the trail, with a line of several hundred people with flashlights all walking down the trail.

So overall, even though the fireworks were a bit of a dud, it was a nice time.


Levitated Mass

Filed under: — stan @ 7:32 pm

Today’s bike club ride was a route out to Hancock Park and the Los Angeles County Museum of Art to see the new “Levitated Mass” installation outside the museum. We’ve been reading about this for some time, since it was apparently a major undertaking to bring the rock to LACMA from the quarry in Riverside. The rock was too big to fit under a lot of overpasses, and too heavy for some bridges, so it had to take a very circuitous route to get to the museum. And now it’s installed just outside. So we went to see it.

Starting out, right away, Chris got a flat. Then we continued on, into downtown Los Angeles. When we got to Chinatown, we met up with GT, who had ridden in from Burbank. And he promptly got a flat, too.

While GT was fixing his tire, we got to see the guy pushing the cart with the roasted pig on it. That was an odd sight.

There was a big line outside one of the buildings downtown, but with no outward indication of what could be so popular at 9:00 on a Sunday morning.

Passing L.A. Live, we saw the outside of the X Games, as well as some oddly-dressed people who were on their way to the convention center and the Anime Expo.

When we got to the park, the rock was right there. There was a guard posted by it. He insisted that we could only walk under the rock, and we couldn’t ride our bikes through. I’m not really sure what that was supposed to help, but that’s what we did.

After looking at the rock, we left the park, passing the giant chrome Lenin-head at 4th St and La Brea. Then we rode across Hancock Park to the Noah’s Bagels in Larchmont Village. We had snacks there, and then we headed home by way of Benton Way in Silver Lake.

By the time we got back to Pasadena, it was getting a little hot. But all told, it was a nice ride.

43 miles.

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