Stan’s Obligatory Blog

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7/7/2019

Scoops Ahoy!

Filed under: — stan @ 1:45 pm

On Friday, I saw an article on LA Eater about how they have a pop-up Scoops Ahoy ice cream shop in Burbank. This is a promotion for “Stranger Things” on Netflix. These sorts of things happen from time to time, like the time we rode out to visit the Kwik-E-Mart they built as a promotion for “The Simpsons”.

It was a perfect day for riding. Cool and overcast. Perfect for a ride to Hawkins.

About 42 miles. I’m not completely sure, because my GPS turned itself off in North Hollywood.

6/2/2019

Twin Pines Mall

Filed under: — stan @ 3:56 pm

The Sunday bike club ride was rained out the last two Sundays. This is almost unheard-of here in SoCal. Usually, we can tell the weather by looking at the calendar, and if it’s after May 1st, we don’t have to worry about rain until October. But we were rained out.

So this week’s ride was a trip to Puente Hills Mall, which played the Twin Pines Mall in “Back to the Future”. It appears at the beginning and the end of the movie. It was where Doc Brown first showed Marty the DeLorean time machine. So that was our sightseeing for today.

On the way out there, we passed by the In-N-Out Burger museum in Baldwin Park. We’ve been there before for the tour.

The route was very flat almost the whole way. It turned out to be a bit longer than I’d expected, but that wasn’t a problem. And it was a nice day for riding, even if we couldn’t get our bikes to 88 mph to travel through time.

50 miles.

Route map and elevation profile.

12/16/2018

The Cocoanut Grove Mural

Filed under: — stan @ 2:59 pm

This past week, I saw an article in the L.A. Times about how a neighborhood group in Koreatown wanted the L.A. Unified school district to paint over a mural on the wall of the RFK Community School. The mural depicted Ava Gardner and some palm trees, with a red and blue sunburst background. Apparently, they thought the sunburst pattern looked too much like the Japanese battle flag. Granted, Japan has a history of using Korea as their punching bag, and they have been behind a lot of bad things happening to Korea, but this seems like a bit of a stretch. But in any event, I thought we should go see it.

The route went through downtown and past USC. On the way into downtown, we stopped to see an AIDS memorial in the park just outside downtown. After passing USC, we headed north to Koreatown. We stopped to see the mural, and the for bagels at Noah’s in Larchmont. Then home by way of Chinatown and the Arroyo Seco bike trail. And just to top it all off, we saw the two-legged dogs again. It’s been several years since we first saw them, and if I didn’t have pictures from the first time, I’d think that they were just part of a weird fever dream. But we saw them again today.

44 miles.

Route map and elevation profile.

11/17/2018

Earthquake Tour with Atlas Obscura

Filed under: — stan @ 8:38 pm

Today was the latest version of the San Andreas Fault tour with Atlas Obscura. This is about the fifth time we’ve done this tour, which is based on Sue Hough’s book, Finding Fault in California: An Earthquake Tourist’s Guide. Back in 2014, Sue took our office on a tour based on her book, and I knew immediately that this tour would be a hit with the Atlas Obscura crowd.

The first stop was the McDonald’s in San Fernando, which has a nice little fault scarp between the drive-through and the parking lot. This is a remnant from the 1971 San Fernando Earthquake. After that, we headed up the 14 Freeway, passing over the famous interchange that fell down in 1971, and then again in 1994, and then on to the Antelope Valley. We stopped at the scenic overlook by Lake Palmdale, and then took a short walk up the hill to see the famous road cut where the freeway cuts through a hill that was pushed up by motion on the fault.

WE stopped for lunch at Charlie Brown Farms in Littlerock, and then we went on to Pearblossom. We stopped for a photo-op at the signs marking where the fault crosses the road. There was a pair of signs there that someone installed decades ago, but those signs were vandalized some time in the last year or so. So Morgan and I had made a new pair of signs, which we took a field trip to go and install back in May. The new signs are still there, and still look nice and clean and new. After that, we went just a short distance down the road to go see the Pallett Creek trench site, which was the birthplace of the relatively new science of paleoseismology.

Heading up into the mountains, we stopped to dig a bit in some fault gouge in a road cut near Big Pines. Then we went through Wrightwood, and on down into Cajon Pass. That was the final stop, at Lost Lake, which is a small sag pond. It’s a pretty unlikely place for a lake, which is the charm of it. After that, we headed back to Pasadena.


8/12/2018

That’s From Disneyland!

Filed under: — stan @ 2:05 pm

This past week, I saw an item about an art gallery in Sherman Oaks that is holding an exhibit and auction of artifacts from Disneyland. So I figured this might make for a good destination for this week’s bike ride. The gallery wouldn’t be open when we got there, but I figured we could peek in the windows and see at least a few of the items.

The ride out there was pretty flat-ish. We rode down to the L.A. River and then up the bike path to Griffith Park. Then through the park and out Moorpark St into the Valley. We had to take one short detour because they were repaving Lankershim, and so the road was closed there. But we made it out to Sherman Oaks just fine. When we got to the gallery, we peeked in, and we were able to see just a few items. Most of them were farther back in the gallery, and so we couldn’t see much. But we saw enough that I want to take a trip out there to see the show for real before it goes away.

Coming back, we stopped at the gelato place in Studio City. And then back home across Glendale, with the gradual climb up and over Chevy Chase and Linda Vista. It was hot-ish, but not terrible.

49 miles.

Route map and elevation profile

7/22/2018

“Here’s a story…”

Filed under: — stan @ 2:29 pm

Last week, I saw an article in the L.A. Times about how the house from :”The Brady Bunch” is on the market again for the first time in 45 years. Needless to say, when I saw this, I knew where we were going to ride this Sunday. For a route, I started with the route we used for the Amelia Earhart tour last March.

When we got to the house, there were two other groups of people already there to look at it. Apparently, it’s supposedly the second-most-photographed house in the country. So we took our photos and moved on. We stopped for snacks and drinks at Sweet Salt in Toluca Lake.

Usually, we’d take the L.A. River bike trail on the way home, but the stretch of the river trail by Griffith Park is closed for the construction of the North Atwater Bridge. So we rode through the park and got on the bike path at Los Feliz. Then we headed home by way of Highland Park and South Pasadena, with one brief stop at my office to have some ice water from the water cooler.

46 miles.

Route map and elevation profile

7/15/2018

Mack Sennett Studios

Filed under: — stan @ 1:58 pm

This past week, I saw an article in Atlas Obscura about Mack Sennett Studios and how they were behind pie fights becoming a comedy staple back in the 1920s:

www.atlasobscura.com/articles/why-do-people-throw-pies

It said that one of the buildings from the old studio still exists, and that it has a small historical marker out in front of it. So with that, we had a bit of sightseeing for today’s ride.

We took a slightly roundabout route to get to Huntington Drive for the ride into downtown. Along the way, we saw that the wrecked car we saw last Sunday was gone, and most of the debris was cleaned up, but I still made a point of staying as far away from that crushed glass as I could. Then we rode the last bit into downtown. We stopped briefly to look at the construction site where Metro is building the entrance to the tunnel on 1st St for the Regional Connector.

We rode across downtown and then up to Echo Park. We took the small side trip to see the old Mack Sennett Studios building. Then we doubled back, passing by Randyland to our snack stop at Pollen. We’re all still a bit shell-shocked by Chango Coffee closing, so we d wanted to try yet another place in the same neighborhood. It was nice, but table service only, which is a little inconvenient from our point of view.

On the way out of Echo Park, we saw yet another car that looked like it was wrecked while being peacefully parked.

At the south end of the L.A. River bike path, we got on Figueroa St, only to ride right into a monumental traffic jam. We later found out it was caused by some guy who was threatening to jump off the Ave 26 bridge over the Pasadena Freeway. So both sides of the freeway were closed, and all the traffic spilled over onto Figueroa. It was a mess, although I read later that they managed to save the guy.

40 miles.

Route map and elevation profile

6/9/2018

Spahn Ranch with Atlas Obscura

Filed under: — stan @ 2:05 pm

Today I got to go on yet another Atlas Obscura tour, this time of Spahn Ranch. This was a movie ranch a long time ago, and later was notorious for the Manson Family living there for a time in 1969. And now it’s a county park. A few years ago, I took Lucinda on the Dearly Departed Helter Skelter tour, so this was sort of a companion piece to that.

We walked up the hill to the back of the ranch, where there were a couple of rusted hulks of cars that were stolen and abandoned there in 1969. Apparently, they would steal cars to get the engines, which they used in building dune buggies.

Next, we walked down to the large flat area next to the road. This was where the Spahn house had been. When the land was converted into a park, the county came in and covered that whole area with several feet of new dirt, I suppose to discourage people from hunting for artifacts there. Then we walked down into the creek-bed. There were large trees down there, as well as the famous little cave where Life magazine staged a photo of the Manson Family in 1969. And of course, we all had to get photos sitting in front of the little cave. Overall, there wasn’t a lot here that I hadn’t heard about before, but the whole point was to get to see the places where it happened.

5/26/2018

Earthquake Tour Again

Filed under: — stan @ 7:11 pm

This Saturday was the fourth time I’ve been part of leading the San Andreas Fault tour with Atlas Obscura. The last time I did this was in October of last year, and my partner that time was Morgan from the USGS office. But this time, she was offered a chance to go to a conference in Japan, so Nicholas was my partner for the tour. We also had a special guest along this time. Back in April, Kathleen and I had gone on the Nastie Nellie Oleson Tour with Alison Arngrim in Hollywood. This was tremendously entertaining, and along the way, I told Alison about the earthquake tour. She was interested, but the tour was already sold out. But it turned out that Sandi had held one seat in reserve in case Nicholas or I wanted to bring a guest, so Alison got the guest seat for the tour.

After a quick tour of the Seismo Lab, we headed up to the fault scarp at the McDonald’s in San Fernando. I also went inside to get some iced tea and to use the bathroom. That was where I saw what I can only assume is an unfortunate typo on the soap dispenser.

In Palmdale, we took in the view from the overlook by the freeway, and then climbed up the little hill so we could look down into the famous road cut where the 14 freeway crosses the fault. Then it was time for our lunch stop at Charlie Brown Farms. After that, it was time for Pallett Creek. We knew that the mysterious signs that marked where the fault crosses the road had been recently vandalized after more than a decade of marking the spot. So I’d made a new sign, which we brought along to use for the photo-op, even if it’s not properly planted in the ground. Then we traveled the quarter-mile or so to the actual trench site next to Pallett Creek. It’s not much to see, but it’s a chance to talk about how Kerry Sieh invented the science of paleoseismology there, back in the 1970s.

Heading up into the mountains, we stopped at the road cut near Big Pines to dig in the fault gouge. Then a quick bathroom stop in Wrightwood before heading down the other side of the mountain into Cajon Pass. There, we got to see Lost Lake, a small sag pond on the fault there. I like Lost Lake just because it looks like such an improbable thing. A pond all by itself, surrounded by desert. We also were very lucky this time. To get to the lake, we have to cross four railroad tracks. On the way in, we saw a train that had just finished passing the crossing when we got there. And while we were at Lost Lake, I saw another train come by. But that one finished passing by just as we were leaving. Cajon Pass is one of the toughest stretches of railroad in the U.S., and the trains there tend to be very long, and very slow-moving, so we were lucky to have missed both of them this time.


5/19/2018

Metro – Halfway There!

Filed under: — stan @ 2:02 pm

So Metro says that the construction of the Regional Connector is halfway done. So they had a little party about it. Which wasn’t all that big of a deal, but on the other hand, they were offering quick tours of the construction site in Little Tokyo. We got to go inside the fence and look down into the pit where they are constructing the new light rail station. They also had displays about the other projects under construction around L.A. I also saw that the Japanese museum is having a new exhibit as a follow-on to their Hapa Project exhibit from 2001. Being Hapa, I think this is something I need to go see.


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