Stan’s Obligatory Blog

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3/4/2018

Biddy Mason Memorial Park

Filed under: — stan @ 2:51 pm

Last week, I saw an article on Atlas Obscura about Biddy Mason. who was born a slave in Mississippi in the early 1800s, and won her freedom after being brought to California. It was really a remarkable story, and it said there is a small park in downtown L.A. that tells her story. From the address, I knew we’d been by there a hundred times, but we’d never noticed it. So that was our destination for today.

The ride was basically to downtown L.A., then home via Echo Park and the Arroyo Seco. We rode down Huntington Drive, and then Mission Rd. There is one stretch along Mission where there are always several cars with Denver boots on them.

When we got downtown, we went looking for the park. It turned out to be in the alley behind the buildings there, which explains why we’d never noticed it before. The panels on the wall told her story. She really did have a remarkable life.

After looking at the park, we noticed that the alley we were in was right behind the Bradbury Building, which is an ornate old building that was J.F. Sebastian’s home in “Blade Runner”, as well as appearing in lots of other movies over the years. We had a look into the lobby there before continuing on our ride.

From downtown, we rode out 7th St to Westlake, and then up into Echo Park and our snack stop at Chango Coffee. As always, there were lots of Echo Park people with their absurdly-well-behaved dogs. I got a sort of artisanal version of an Egg McMuffin there.

On the way home, we took one more short side trip. I’d heard recently that the city of Pasadena had put a plaque in front of the apartment building where President Obama lived when he was a student at Occidental College. So we had to go see it.

39 miles.

Route map and elevation profile

1/28/2018

Cookies L.A.

Filed under: — stan @ 4:58 pm

This past week, I saw an item in the L.A. Times about another cannabis store opening up, making it the third one in Los Angeles County. I looked it up, and it turned out to be in Maywood, which is just the other side of Vernon, and about two miles south of the Farmer John hog mural. So that was our destination for today.

We got a late start today. John had just put new tires on his bike, and they were very hard to put on. So he had two pinch flats. I ended up putting two new tubes in the tires, and then we were able to get going. We took our regular route to downtown L.A., down Huntington Drive. Along the way, I realized that it was the 28th, making today the 32nd anniversary of the Space Shuttle Challenger disaster. So we made a short detour to go through Little Tokyo to see the monument to Ellison Onizuka there.

Leaving Little Tokyo, we took Santa Fe Ave south to get to Vernon. We turned off to pass by the Farmer John plant, and then continued on to get to Maywood. When we got to Cookies L.A., we were surprised at how big it was. The one we went to see in West Hollywood a few weeks ago was just a little storefront. But this one was a big industrial building. We didn’t think it would be open yet, but there were a couple of security guards by the door. It turned out that John’s flat tires had slowed us down just enough that the store had just opened. So we had to take a look inside.

The lobby area looks like a fancy doctor’s office waiting area. Apparently, since cannabis is still illegal on the Federal level, the shop has to be a cash-only business, so there was a little ATM in the waiting area. And that was also why there were three guards outside. They had a little booth with a guy who checked our IDs. Then he opened the door so we could go into the actual store. There were a pair of doors, almost like an airlock to get inside. The actual store area looked like a big, fancy department store cosmetics counter. There were probably seven or eight people working there. I talked to one, and she showed me around the counter, explaining what different things they had available. It seemed like a very well-run operation. The guards outside told us that they had only opened last Tuesday, and that they had had lines out the door since then. We managed to not wait in line just because we happened along just when they first opened.

Leaving the pot shop, we headed back across Vernon. We saw the Southland Box Company. I thought there ought to be a whole herd of cats hanging around outside there. We also passed by the six or so houses there. Vernon is famous for being an industrial city with a ridiculously small population of only 113 people.

We rode back into downtown Los Angeles, and then out on 7th St to Bonnie Brae St, which brought us up to Echo Park. Out snack stop was at Chango Coffee there. I got a little artisanal breakfast sandwich there. And of course, there were several absurdly well-behaved dogs there.

At this point, my GPS hiccuped, and for some reason, it took no data on the trip from the coffee shop to Riverside Dr. Then it started up again, and recorded the rest of the ride. The route home took us through Highland Park, and then South Pasadena. It had turned into a very nice day, and it was a nice ride.

46 miles. Would have been maybe one mile more if the GPS hadn’t gone south.

Route map and elevation profile


1/14/2018

West Covina

Filed under: — stan @ 2:55 pm

Today’s bike club ride was yet another visit to a filming location. In this case, it was The Lakes at West Covina, which was the little plaza and fountain that was the setting for the climax of the big “West Covina” musical number from the first episode of “Crazy Ex-Girlfriend”.

We took a kind-of roundabout route to get there, since the terrain out there is mostly flat. So this ended up being slightly on the long side for a regular Sunday ride. But that was all right.

47 miles.

Route mape and elevation profile

1/7/2018

The Pot Shop

Filed under: — stan @ 2:54 pm

This past week, I read about how the first recreational marijuana shops are set to start opening here in California. In particular, they said that right now, there are just two shops licensed for this in the Los Angeles area. They are both in West Hollywood, so today’s bike ride was to go see one of them.

We started out with our standard route to get to Hollywood. Then after riding across Hollywood, we crossed into WeHo, where we saw the Alternative Herbal Health Services store. It wasn’t open yet, and it looked to be locked up tight. I guess that’s to be expected, since it’s a cash-only business.

We went to Noah’s in Larchmont for some bagels and such, and then back home by way of downtown Los Angeles.

44 miles.

Route map and elevation profile

12/31/2017

Rose Parade Preview

Filed under: — stan @ 1:18 pm

Today’s bike club ride was a ride to Griffith Park, with the plan of making a loop and finishing the ride by riding down the length of the Rose Parade route in Pasadena. It’s New Year’s Eve, and people start camping out on Colorado Blvd early in the morning.

We started out by heading up through La Cañada, so we started out with almost eight miles uphill, followed by another seven or so miles downhill. Then, when we got to Griffith Park, we rode up and over another hill there. Then we headed down the L.A. River bike path to our snack stop at Spoke.

When we got back into Pasadena, we saw that the parade preparations were coming right along. There were people set up along the whole five+ miles of the parade route, even though the parade doesn’t start for something like 20 hours. The way the stores are boarded up, it looks like a hurricane is coming. We rode all the way to the end of the route, which is right around the corner from the park where we start.

40 miles.

Route map and elevation profile

12/10/2017

Ciclavia Wilshire

Filed under: — stan @ 2:44 pm

This Sunday was the last Ciclavia of 2017. It was the Wilshire Boulevard route, from 4th and Spring downtown, out to Wilshire and Western. The plan was to ride downtown, pick up the Ciclavia route and ride it out to Western, and then make a loop back through Hollywood, and then down the L.A. River.

We got there early, so there weren’t many people out on the route yet. That made it more pleasant, and we made good time out to Western. Then we continued on through Hancock Park, and then back up into the east end of Hollywood. We stopped for snacks at Spoke in Frogtown

41 miles.

Route map and elevation profile

10/22/2017

P-22 Day

Filed under: — stan @ 5:01 pm

This morning, when we were riding through Griffith Park, I saw a sign for the P-22 Day Festival. This was in honor of P-22, the famous Griffith Park puma. So after I got home, Kathleen and I went back to the park to go see it.

There were booths with exhibits about wildlife conservation, and mountain lions in particular. About plans to build a wildlife overpass over the 101 freeway, since crossing freeways is one of the most dangerous things that wild animals have to do. The had a stuffed puma that had been killed by poachers so we could see what it looked like up close.

It was an odd little event, but fun in its own way.

10/14/2017

San Andreas Fault with Atlas Obscura

Filed under: — stan @ 7:51 pm

Today was yet another edition of the Atlas Obscura San Andreas Fault Scavenger Hunt. This is the third time I’ve been doing this tour with Atlas Obscura, and it seems to be as popular as ever. This time, my partner for leading the tour was my friend Morgan from the office.

We all met at the Seismo Lab, and we started off with a quick tour of the lab. We saw the lobby exhibits about the history of earthquake study, the media center upstairs, and a small exhibit about Charles Richter and Beno Gutenberg, who started the Seismo Lab and systematic study of earthquakes back in the 1930s.

The first stop of the tour was the small fault scarp next to the McDonald’s drive-through in San Fernando. This is a small remnant from the 1971 Sylmar earthquake.

The next stop was the scenic overlook and the famous road cut along the fault in Palmdale. When we were walking up the hill to look at the road cut, we ran across a tour group of students from Long Beach State. They were apparently doing about the same tour as we were, but traveling in the opposite direction.

We stopped for lunch at Charlie Brown Farms, which is still a deeply weird place. This time, I noticed that they had camel meat in the freezer. I suppose it tastes like chicken…

After lunch, we had a pair of stops close together. One at the signs marking the fault, and then at the Pallet Creek trench site, which was where the science of paleoseismology was born. The signs are kind of a silly stop, but it’s a chance for a photo-op. The trench site is interesting from the standpoint of it being important to the history of science.

Now it was time to go into the mountains. We stopped at the road cut that has the fault gouge on one side, and we showed everyone how the rocks in the sand could be crushed by hand. That’s always popular. Then we continued on to Wrightwood.

The last stop was at Lost Lake in Cajon Pass. Last year, it was suffering from three years of drought, and the lake had no water in it. But this time, it had some water, and was actually a lake.

And that was our tour.


10/1/2017

The Whittier Narrows Earthquake

Filed under: — stan @ 2:33 pm

Today is the 30th anniversary of the Whittier Narrows Earthquake. This was felt all over Los Angeles, and it caused some significant damage in nearby towns. So today’s bike club ride was to visit a few locations associated with the earthquake.

The first stop was at the San Gabriel Civic Auditorium. This building was damaged and later repaired. You can see a photo of the damage here:

http://scedc.caltech.edu/significant/whittier1987.html

We could see that the upper portion had been patched up, and there were still some cracks in the lower part of the building.

The next stop was the epicenter, which was just a few blocks southeast of the big intersection of Walnut Grove and Garvey in Rosemead. Not really much to see there, but that’s the place.

Next we rode to the Whittier Greenway Trail, where we saw a display of bricks and columns that were salvaged from a few historic buildings that were damaged enough that they had to be torn down. Then from there, we rode into downtown Whittier, and our snack stop at Mimo’s Cafe.

The last stop of the tour was at the Whittier Museum, which is hosting an exhibit about the earthquake. The building pictured on the banner outside was just a few blocks away.

Here are some more pictures from that day:

http://www.nbclosangeles.com/news/local/Whittier-Narrows-Earthquake-Puente-Hills-Fault-California-Seismology-Photos-Images-448452433.html

45 miles.

Route map and elevation profile

9/24/2017

East Valley Lines

Filed under: — stan @ 2:56 pm

Today’s bike club ride was a visit to Travel Town in Griffith Park to see the East Valley Lines model railroad. I found out that one of my friends from the office is a member, and he was going to be running trains there today.

We took our regular route out, across Eagle Rock and Glendale, with a stop at Paradise Bakery for a chocolate eclair. Then we rode a loop out and back through Burbank before heading over to Travel Town. When we got there, Claude let us into the room with the layout. We were able to stash our bikes in the club workshop area. Then we got a good close look at the layout, which is of course under construction. We were there for about a half-hour watching the trains.

The route back took us down the L.A. River, with a quick stop at Spoke to get some ice water. Then back up the Arroyo Seco bike path to get back to Pasadena.

43 miles.

Route map and elevation profile

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