Stan’s Obligatory Blog

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5/22/2020

A Bit of History

Filed under: — stan @ 3:46 pm

This whole retirement thing is still very novel. It means that I can go on weekday bike rides, and being on lockdown at home means I have time to watch a lot of TV and movies. Lately, I found a new PBS show called “Lost L.A.”. One of the episodes is called “Discovering the Universe”, about how the Mt Wilson observatory was the site of one of the single greatest astronomical discoveries. So while I was out riding with Carla today, we decided to go by and see the Carnegie building in Pasadena where they have the archive of the glass photo plates where Edwin Hubble figured out that the universe was far, far larger than the Milky Way galaxy. It was this bit of history that was why I was willing to fork over a fair amount of money to Atlas Obscura for a chance to go look through the 100-inch telescope.

30 miles.

Route map and elevation profile

5/17/2020

The Little Free Pantry

Filed under: — stan @ 3:20 pm

Last year, I’d read an article in the L.A. Times about a church in Burbank that adapted the Little Free Library idea into a Little Free Pantry for the community. Now that we’re on lockdown for the last two months, and millions of people are out of work, I thought we should go back there, since I guessed that it was probably pretty empty. I brought along two cans to donate, and several other people brought small backpacks with non-perishable food items in them.

When we got there, the Little Free Pantry was indeed pretty bare. We put all our items in it, and we pretty much filled up the top shelf. I hope that helps someone out there.

We went to Priscilla’s in Toluca Lake, but part of our group got separated, and I went back to look for them. It turned out they’d missed a turn, and just went there by a slightly different route. But that added a couple miles to my total.

Since my old Magellan GPS bit the dust a couple weeks ago, I decided to join the cult of Garmin. I got a Garmin Edge 130, and today was the first shakedown ride with it. Just looking at the data, it seems to do a very good job, and it seems that the altitude data looks better than what the old Magellan did.

44 miles.

Route map and elevation profile

2/9/2020

Somewhere over the rainbow…

Filed under: — stan @ 4:10 pm

I recently read that Judy Garland is now buried in Hollywood Forever. For a long time, she was at a cemetery in Westchester County, New York. But apparently, a few years ago her family decided that it would be more appropriate for her to be interred in Hollywood. Since celebrity graves are a good ride theme, Hollywood Forever was the destination for today.

The day started off with a slight threat of rain, but this route tracks close to several Metro Rail lines, so we have bailout options. Still, there were only two of us today. We rode through downtown L.A. and then out to Larchmont Village and then to Hollywood Forever, which is located right next to Paramount Studios. When we got there, we ended up having to ask the guy at the information booth where Judy is located. But once we found her, it was pretty obvious.

Continuing on, we headed for home by way of Frogtown. We got as far as crossing the L.A. River and starting up Figueroa St when it started raining. So we turned off on Ave 26 and got on the train at the Lincoln/Cypress Metro station. When we got back to Pasadena, it was raining lightly, but it was all right to ride the two miles home from the station. Then, about five minutes after I got home, the sky opened up, and we had pouring rain. So that was lucky good timing.

32 miles, counting the two miles home from the Allen Metro station.

Route map and elevation profile

12/15/2019

Dollface

Filed under: — stan @ 9:06 pm

A few weeks ago, when we were out riding, I saw an ad for a new series on Hulu called “Dollface“. I made a note to look this up, since it’s Kat Dennings, who I’m a huge fan of ever since she was Norah in “Nick & Norah’s Infinite Playlist“. For reasons I can’t quite explain, “Nick & Norah” is one of my most favoritest movies of ever.

So I watched the series when it came out, and I liked it a lot. There are a lot of little surreal bits in it, and in particular, two of my most favorite ones were the beginning of episode 2, when Jules got into a fight with the fitness app on her phone, and also episode 9, where they made their own version of “The Wizard of Oz”. So going to see a couple of these locations became the theme for today’s ride.

The scene with Jules fighting with the app on her phone was shot at the Micheltorena Stairs in Silver Lake, just off Sunset Blvd. I worked out a reasonable route to get there, including riding through downtown L.A., which was the scene of the women’s march in sort-of-Oz in the “Feminist” episode. And we were off.

It was a bit windy when we started out, but we figured it would be all right. By the time we got to downtown L.A., it had reached the point of being windy enough that it was getting unpleasant to ride in. On the other hand, that also made for another tie-in with the show, since the “Feminist” episode began with a crazy windy day in L.A.

We rode out to Hancock Park and stopped for bagels at Noah’s there. The wind had gotten bad enough that people walking were having trouble with it. But we pressed on. We rode back into Silver Lake, and then down a very steep hill to get to the bottom of the staircase. The lower part of it has been painted with hearts, and is known for being the most Instagrammed staircase in L.A. The actual scene from the show was shot on the upper part of the staircase, so I walked up there, carrying the bike. I got my photo-op, and at that point, I said “uncle” and decided to bail out and take Metro home. The nearest Metro station was the subway at Vermont and Beverly, so we headed over there. Just before we got there, we saw a homeless tent colony on fire. That was kind of scary, and the smoke was very thick. But we made it to the subway and rode the train back to Pasadena.

33 miles, including the two miles from the Pasadena Metro station back to the park.

Route map and elevation profile

11/24/2019

The Doo Dah Parade

Filed under: — stan @ 7:10 pm

Last week, I found out my friend Sue from the office was going to be one of the Grand Marshals for the Doo Dah Parade. So that was the plan for the Sunday ride today. I made a slightly shorter route, so we could make it back by 11:00. When we got there, I rode around to the staging area to find Sue and her crew. When I got there, Morgan wrapped a feather boa around my neck, and I got to be an honorary Seismo Sistah. We did two laps of the parade route, dodging a hail of flying tortillas. It was a weird and entertaining experience.

33 miles.

Route map and elevation profile

9/8/2019

Here’s a story…

Filed under: — stan @ 2:19 pm

A bit over a year ago, we rode out to Studio City to see the “Brady Bunch” house. It was only seen as the exterior shot in the TV show, and none of the actual filming took place there. But HGTV bought it last year, with the intention of remodeling to make the inside of the house match the ‘inside the house’ sets that used to exist on a soundstage somewhere. So now the remodel is done, and the TV show is scheduled to show, starting tomorrow. So today’s ride was another visit to see the house.

We rode out to Burbank first, then made a loop and headed south to Studio City. Sadly, the house still had the construction fence around it. I guess maybe that’s because they want to keep it under wraps until the show airs. Still, we were able to see several obvious differences compared to the house as it looked last year.

We stopped for drinks and snacks at Sweet Salt in Toluca Lake. Then we rode home by way of Griffith Park and Highland Park.

46 miles.

Route map and elevation profile

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.


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