Stan’s Obligatory Blog

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12/12/2021

The Griswold Family Christmas

Filed under: — stan @ 4:02 pm

Last week, I saw an item on the news about a guy in La Mirada who decorated his house as the Griswold house in “National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation“. And of course, I immediately thought, “I know where we’re going this Sunday…”

https://losangeles.cbslocal.com/2021/12/07/la-mirada-says-it-wont-fine-national-lampoon-house/

As it turns out, La Mirada is pretty far away from Pasadena, but I figured out a route to get there, as directly as I could make it. So we set out to do the ride.

The first part was very familiar, until we got to the part where we went south from Whittier. Some of the streets were pretty big ones, but they turned out not to be bad for riding. And after a few miles, we made it to La Mirada. When we got there, we saw the house immediately. It was impressive. The guy was there, so he talked to us a bit about how he did it. The whole display was very elaborate, complete with two cars and the beat-up RV. We have no idea where he keeps all that stuff the rest of the year.

The route back was almost identical to the route there. I made it slightly different just to have some different scenery on the way back When we got to Whittier, we stopped at Mimo’s in Uptown Whittier. Then from there, it was just a straight and familiar ride home.

49 miles.

Route map and elevation profile.

10/10/2021

CicLAvia 2021

Filed under: — stan @ 2:47 pm

Today was the first CicLAvia in a very long time, so today’s bike ride was a trip into the city to ride it. The route went from Boyle Heights out to MacArthur Park, so we padded it out a bit on the ride over. We took the route through Rosemead and East L.A. to get to the start. Then we followed the route through downtown out to Westlake before turning around and following it back up to the end in Chinatown. Then we turned off and went for drinks at Chimney Coffee outside of downtown. From there, we ride home by way of Highland Park, passing by the two giant dragonflies on Ave 52.

43 miles.

Route map and elevation profile.

9/26/2021

The Pink Motel

Filed under: — stan @ 2:18 pm

Today’s ride was out to Sun Valley to see the Pink Motel. This is an odd little thing that’s listed by the L.A. Conservancy as a historical oddity.

The ride out was complicated by the fact that today turned out to be the Pasadena Marathon, and so some of the streets were blocked off, and we had to take a detour that involved going up and down some fairly big hills. But in the end, we made it out there all right. And yes, it’s pink. After that, we rode through the equestrian neighborhood in Shadow Hills to get to Tujunga and the Back Door Bakery. We had some snacks and drinks and then headed home.

Along the way, my bike went gimpy, first by refusing to shift the the big chainring. That was odd. And a bit later, it started to feel like one of my cleats was coming loose. I checked them, but they were all right. But then, just about 1/4 mile later, I noticed that the left crank arm on my bike was coming loose. That explained everything, aside from why such a thing would be happening. Fortunately, Michael had a tool with an 8mm allen wrench, so I was able to tighten it back up, and made it the rest of the way home.

48 miles.

Route map and elevation profile

9/12/2021

Angelus Rosedale Cemetery

Filed under: — stan @ 7:56 pm

I recently figured out how to access the Huell Howser Archives at Chapman University, and I’ve been watching a lot of his old shows. And one of them was an episode of “Visiting” from 1997 where he visited Angelus Rosedale Cemetery to learn about some of the history there. It’s a very old cemetery by Los Angeles standards. We’ve visited here before, to see Dooley Wilson, and also to see the two pyramid crypts there.

So today’s bike club ride was a visit to Angelus Rosedale to see some of the graves Huell Howser had talked about in his show. We rode downtown by our standard route, and then just a bit west to get to Washington and Normandie and the cemetery. We made a loop around, based on information from findagrave.com. Finding Hattie McDaniel and Dooley Wilson was fairly easy. But Tod Browning turned out to be in the small mausoleum, and I wasn’t able to find him until I did a search and found a photo of his niche and its surroundings. Caroline Severance was relatively easy, with a fairly large vertical stone. We had a lot more trouble finding Anna Wong and Maria Rasputin, which in the end turned out to been because the map I had was outdated, and one of the roads on the map had been taken out and used as space for more graves. But in the end, we found them all.

All of this turned out to have taken a fair amount of time, so we decided to forego the usual snack and drink stop, and we just headed home from there. It was getting very hot, so we figured that was the prudent course of action.

41 miles.

Route map and elevation profile

9/11/2021

20 years…

Filed under: — stan @ 2:02 pm

I don’t always go on the Foothill Saturday rides, but I generally make a point of going when they’re doing one of my routes. And since today is in fact September 11, it seemed appropriate to do the ride that visits two 9/11 memorials in the Los Angeles area.

The first is in Rosemead, and it’s one I found through Roadside Americal. It’s thousands of little stainless steel doves, one for each person who died in the attacks, all welded together to form pair of hands, holding a bent steel girder from the World Trade Center towers. It’s simple and elegant.

From there, we rode west into the city, going through East L.A. and downtown, and then up through Echo Park to get to just outside Dodger Stadium, which is where the fire department training center is. The gates there are usually locked on weekends, but they had them open today, and there were some firefighters there to answer questions about the memorial there. It’s a part of the steel exterior structure of the lobby level of the South Tower.

After that, we rode through Chinatown and stopped for drinks and snacks at Chimney Coffee.

44 miles.

Route map and elevation profile

9/6/2021

A bit of Disney History

Filed under: — stan @ 7:02 pm

This is the bike club ride from August 29, 2021.

I’d read recently that the city of Los Angeles had bought and was refurbishing the house that Walt and Roy Disney lived in when they first moved here from Missouri.

So, of course I said, “I know where we’re riding this Sunday.”

The house is in the Los Feliz area, and we’ve never been down that street, despite riding by a block away countless times over the years.

When we got near the house, we took a short side trip to see the “Snow White cottages”. The story is that Walt brought his animators over there to see those houses, and he told them that the house in “Snow White” should look that them. Then we headed over into Los Feliz to see the actual house. It’s a pretty typical house for the neighborhood, but now it’s special. And just a block or so down the same street is the building where Walt set up his first studio.

From there, we rode back into Griffith Park and then up to Burbank. We went down Alameda to see the giant imposing gate that is now the face of the corporate behemoth that Disney has become. They’ve planted trees that have grown quite large, so it’s difficult to see the main building with the Seven Dwarfs holding up the roof.

Anyway, no matter how you slice it, it’s an amazing success story. And a little piece of what makes living in Los Angeles tremendously entertaining.

42 miles.
Route map and elevation profile

12/27/2020

The Crapi Apartments

Filed under: — stan @ 3:51 pm

Today’s bike club ride is one we haven’t done since 2014. In the Palms section of west L.A., there is an apartment building called “Crapi Apartments”. It’s a real place. The first time I saw a photo of it, I thought it was a Photoshop gag, but it’s real. So we went to see it today. It was a relatively long ride for us, but it’s quite flat. The day started out cold-ish. It was cold enough that when I saw a shopping bag full of takeout container trash, I tore one side off the bag and stuffed under my jersey. And then I wasn’t cold any more. And by the time we were headed home, it was pretty warm, so it was a good day for riding.

52 miles.

Route map and elevation profile

11/29/2020

Cameron Woods

Filed under: — stan @ 2:47 pm

Today’s bike club ride is one we haven’t done in several years. It’s a visit to Orion Ave in Van Nuys, also known as the “Leave it to Beaver” street, and it’s reputed to be the most-filmed street in Los Angeles.

www.youtube.com/watch?v=D3DLxGQVv_0

53 miles.

Route map and elevation profile

10/25/2020

Down the for Count – 2020

Filed under: — stan @ 8:44 pm

Today is the Sunday before Halloween, so it’s time for the annual Halloween ride to Culver City to visit Bela Lugosi’s grave. We’ve been doing this since 2007. The route has evolved over the years, but it always comes in at about 55 miles. This time, we had a couple of flats on the way back, and the little cafe we usually stop at has apparently closed permanently. But it was a nice cool day, so we still had a nice time.

56 miles.

Route map and elevation profile

8/2/2020

Farmer John

Filed under: — stan @ 1:46 pm

Today’s bike club ride was a trip down to Vernon to see the big mural painted on the outside of the Farmer John meat packing plant. We’ve been to see this before, but this is the first time in a long time.

The route brought us through downtown Los Angeles. Along the way, we saw several large homeless camps in El Sereno. When we got to downtown, we took a short side trip to see how the construction is coming along for the tunnel entrance for the Regional Connector on 1st St. We also paused briefly to see how the new 6th St bridge is coming along.

In Vernon, we stopped to admire the hog mural. We tried to see inside the gate and see the mural of the big angels flying off to hog heaven, but there was so much stuff set up inside the gate, we couldn’t see it.

We rode back through downtown and then up to Echo Park. There was yet another big homeless camp next to the lake in Echo Park. There really seem to be more of them than ever before, which is disturbing.

We rode through Elysian park, and I was soft of glad that I didn’t have to check to make sure there wasn’t a Dodger game today, although that’s because of Covid-19, which is far from a Good Thing.

We stopped for drinks at Antigua Coffee, and then headed home up the Arroyo Seco bike path.

42 miles.

Route map and elevation profile.

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