Stan’s Obligatory Blog

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4/17/2022

Dinosaur Safari

Filed under: — stan @ 7:55 pm

This past week, one of my friends sent me a link to Jurassic Empire because they were doing an event at Westminster Mall in Orange County. I had a look, and I saw that they were also doing it at the mall in West Covina, and I immediately said, “I know where where going this Sunday!” So today’s ride was a trip to go see some dinosaurs. The event was intended as a drive-through, so I figured we wouldn’t be able to ride through it, but I figured we’d be able to see the dinosaurs anyway.

The route went out to the east by a kind of roundabout route, just to pad it out. It was a nice day for riding. We made a big loop around before ending up in West Covina. The mall is right next to the plaza we went to see on the “Crazy Ex-Girlfriend” ride. The actual exhibit was fairly small, and it didn’t look like much in the morning light. I think the trick is that the animatronic dinosaurs have motion sensors in them, so there would be a fair amount of motion, sound and action if there were cars going through. But the dinosaurs looked good.

Afterward, we went across the street to have drinks and snacks at Panera in West Covina. Then we headed home by the most direct route.

43 miles

Route map and elevation profile

3/13/2022

The TV Hall of Fame

Filed under: — stan @ 2:51 pm

A few weeks ago, we went to see the Skirball Center’s exhibit about “Star Trek”. One of the stories in the exhibit was about how, without Lucille Ball, :”Star Trek” might never have come to be. So this week’s ride was a visit to the TV Hall of Fame in North Hollywood, since they have a garden of statues of people who are in the Hall, and of course, Lucille Ball is one of them.

The route took us down through Highland Park to the L.A. River, and then up the river trail to NoHo. The TV Hall of Fame garden is outside the TV Academy building on Lankershim. We looked around the garden for a bit. I saw they had a bust of Merv Griffin, and I was reminded of his headstone from the cemetery in Westwood.

Afterward, we rode to Groundwork Coffee in the old Pacific Electric depot building at Chandler and Lankershim. We had snacks and drinks, and then headed home across Glendale. The route took us up and over the big hill on Chevy Chase and Linda Vista. Then back down by the Rose Bowl and home from there.

48 miles.

Route map and elevation profile

3/6/2022

The Colorado Freeway

Filed under: — stan @ 1:43 pm

I’ve been reading a new book lately:

Freewaytopia: How Freeways Shaped Los Angeles

It tells the story of the planning and building of the freeway system in Los Angeles, and a big part of the story is about the freeways that were planned, some started, and then ultimately never built. One of these is the Colorado Freeway, which was planned and started in the early 1950s, but then never finished. So today’s bike club ride was a tour to visit the two stubs of the freeway that were built but never connected.

The first part of the freeway was built from the edge of Pasadena into Eagle Rock. Most of this section has been incorporated into the modern-day SR-134 freeway, with just the comically-long Colorado offramp hanging on as a reminder of what was once planned. So we rode down the hill out of Pasadena and then stopped to look at the remaining stub of freeway that’s still there.

Heading west to Glendale, I ran over something that sliced open my tire, which promptly exploded. I was able to patch it up to a sort-of-rideable condition with an emergency tire boot, so we continued on. Over near the Los Angeles River, we saw the 0.6-mile stub of freeway that was built off of the Golden State Freeway near Griffith Park. The giveaway about this freeway stub is the center divider. Until just recently, it was just a concrete curb divider, which was the style of the old freeways built in the ’50s. Caltrans recently upgraded it into a proper center barrier divider.

We went for snacks at Paradise Bakery in Glendale. And when we were ready to leave there, I saw that the cut in my tire was spreading, so it looked like the boot was working, but not going to last forever. So we looked and saw that Montrose Bike Shop in La Crescenta opened at 10, and was more-or-less along the way. So we rode up Verdugo to La Crescenta and I went and bought a new tire and tube. After all that, my bike was all right, but all of this took some time, so we cut off part of the rest of the route and just headed home.

35 miles.

Route map and elevation profile

2/27/2022

Marvin Gaye

Filed under: — stan @ 9:04 pm

Today’s bike club ride was a sightseeing ride to go see Marvin Gaye and Hattie McDaniel’s houses. The route was pretty straightforward, aside from one misstep when we came to a dead end at Pico Blvd. The map did not indicate that the street was fenced off, and even when streets are closed off like that, we usually can get through on the sidewalk.
But Wilton Pl at Pico was totally closed off. But we managed to go around, and we were able to find Marvin Gaye’s house. From there, just a short distance south we found Hattie McDaniel’s house. Then we rode back toward downtown on Adams. This was the first time we’ve ever taken that part of Adams in that direction, and it got mixed reviews.

We took Figueroa back up into downtown, and then through the 2nd St tunnel. The city put in a protected bike lane in the tunnel, so it wasn’t bad to ride. This is only the second time we’ve gone through the tunnel, and the first was during a CicLAvia when the street was closed to traffic.

We stopped for drinks and snacks at Chimney Coffee outside of downtown, and then headed home. It was a pleasant ride.

44 miles.

Route map and elevation profile.

2/6/2022

Biddy Mason

Filed under: — stan @ 8:45 pm

It’s Black History Month, so that led us to the theme for today’s bike club ride. Some years ago, I’d read an article about Biddy Mason, who had a really remarkable life story. Today’s bike ride was a visit to her grave at Evergreen Cemetery in East L.A., and then into downtown to see the memorial to her in the alley behind the buildings on Spring Street that stand on the property she owned back in the 1800s.

After that, we rode around and into Echo Park to see if the new Canyon Coffee location was open yet. It wasn’t, so we went a few blocks up the street to Valerie Confections. It had turned into a very nice day by then.

All told, it was a nice day and a nice ride.

42 miles.

Route map and elevation profile.

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

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