Stan’s Obligatory Blog

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Remembering Rodney King

Filed under: — stan @ 2:48 pm

Watching the news these past two weeks has been surreal. Seeing protests and riots in cities around the world brings back the memory of the 1992 Los Angeles riots, and so, it seemed appropriate that we should go to Forest Lawn and pay respects to Rodney King. He was the original guy-beat-up-by-police-on-video.

When we got to the cemetery, there was a deer wandering around. It was just strolling around and eating the flowers that had been left at graves. The cemetery is right next to Griffith Park, so I guess it’s probably not surprising that wildlife from the park would wander in.

After the cemetery, we continued on to Priscilla’s for snacks. Along the way, we saw a bit advertisement for “Wonder Woman 1984″. It said, “Only in theaters, June 5″, which seems a bit improbable, since all the theaters are still closed right now. I see in the entry for it in IMDB, the release has been pushed back to August.

Coming home, we did a route we haven’t done in some time. Up Verdugo and home through La Cañada. That was nice climb.

45 miles.

Route map and elevation profile


The Glendora Bougainvillea

Filed under: — stan @ 2:16 pm

This has been a weird week. Protests erupting in the streets around the world. So it seemed appropriate that we should avoid going anywhere near downtown Los Angeles today. So the other direction took us east to go see the Glendora Bougainvillea. We’ve been to see it before, but this is the prime season for bougainvillea flowers, so it’s generally a good time to go see it. And it worked out well. We didn’t see any street protests along the way, and the flowers were nice.

43 miles.

Route map and elevation profile


The Giant Tamale

Filed under: — stan @ 2:22 pm

Today’s bike ride was a trip down to East L.A. to see the giant tamale on Whittier Blvd. This is one of the relatively few remaining examples of programatic architecture in Los Angeles. Also, on the way there, we took a short side trip to see the sea monsters playground at Vincent Lugo Park in San Gabriel. On the way back, we stopped at Merengue in Monrovia. For some reason, there was no line there today, so we were able to go in and get some snacks.

39 miles.

Route map and elevation profile


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


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


The Big Donut

Filed under: — stan @ 3:17 pm

I checked my logs, and it’s been over a year since we went to La Puente to see the big drive-through donut shop. So that was the ride for today. Since it’s exclusively a take-out operation, I figured it would be open. It was a pleasant ride. Nothing bad happened. We stopped for snacks at Merengue in Monrovia, but there was a long line outside, so we skipped it.

45 miles.

No map this time, since when I fell last week, it broke one crucial switch on my GPS unit.



Filed under: — stan @ 3:09 pm

Today’s bike ride was the Random Ride to Whittier. We’ve done this many times before, and today really looked like it would just like the others. Until I fell. We have riders fall on our rides once in a while, but it’s extremely rare that I go down. Last time was in 2002. And since I’ve been riding as an adult, I’ve only fallen seven times over the 47 years leading up to today. So it was a shock.

On the way there, we did the obligatory stop for a photo at Dork Street in Pico Rivera. We do this any time we’re down there and have someone new on the ride.

The incident took place just when we got on the Whittier Greenway Trail. I’d pulled off the trail for a moment, and on the way back onto the pavement, my front wheel caught on a little big plastic edging strip sticking out of the dirt. And down I went. Yick. It was a very low-speed crash, so really it was just me ego that was badly hurt.

We were going to stop for snacks at Mimo’s in Uptown Whittier, but we decided to just skip that and head home.

45 miles.

Route map and elevation profile


This was nice

Filed under: — stan @ 4:14 pm

So this happened. I put in my paperwork to retire from the USGS, effective March 31. Then the coronavirus came along. They sent us all home, and I put in my last two weeks on the job from home. And of course, the lockdown also meant I didn’t get a proper retirement party. At the time, I’d told everyone that my plan was to spend the month of April doing nothing. But that was supposed to be by choice. But now we are here at the beginning of May, and I really did do nothing in April.

But today, a package came from FedEx. It was a very nice plaque for my retirement. So that makes for a nice cap to a 25-year career at the USGS.


Circus Liquor

Filed under: — stan @ 4:10 pm

I get a lot of ideas for sights to go see from Roadside America. This week’s bike ride was to see the big neon clown at Circus Liquor in North Hollywood.

In addition, it seems that the 5 freeway (that’s Interstate-5 to non-southern-californians) is closed through the city of Burbank right now, since they are demolishing the bridge where Burbank Blvd crosses over the freeway. As an empty freeway in Los Angeles is a surreal sight, it seemed appropriate to drop by for a look.

The route out was pretty straightforward. There is very little traffic out these days. Got up to NoHo, and there was the 32-foot-tall clown. Yikes. It was kind of hot, so we went for iced tea at Groundwork Coffee in NoHo. They had just a small walk-up window, and only one person working inside. Groundwork is in the Pacific Electric North Hollywood depot, and it’s right next to the end of the Metro Orange Line bus line. Usually, the Orange Line is very crowded. But today, buses were coming and going with just a few people on each one. And I saw that they had installed a sort of sneeze-shield door next to the driver so that it is more isolated from the rest of the bus.

Heading home, we went to see Burbank Blvd and the bridge being torn down. Then we took Olive Ave to cross the freeway, and to gawk at the weird sight of a completely car-free freeway. From there, it was straight back across Glendale and Eagle Rock, then up the Colorado Hill into Pasadena. Riding through Old Town is normally like doing the Running of the Bulls, but Old Town is Ghost Town these days.

44 miles.

Route map and elevation profile


Bike Riding During Wartime

Filed under: — stan @ 1:31 pm

Today is the first bike club ride since the order came down to close all restaurants and coffee shops in Los Angeles County, and for people to stay at home. So I figured we could ride to Donut Man in Glendora, since the only service they have is a walk-up window. Since our bike riding groups are almost never more than 6-8 people, it seemed like it should be all right, and we never touch unless something goes very, very wrong.

It was a nice day for riding. And the whole ’social distancing’ thing, and the ’stay at home’ thing meant that the streets were pretty deserted. The last time I saw streets this empty was during the Arab oil embargo, when there were no cars out because people couldn’t get gas.

At Donut Man, there was a line wrapping around the building. But that’s normal for them. What’s not normal is the tape marking 6-foot intervals to keep the people apart. That was very odd-looking.

On the way back, we rode through downtown Glendora, and it was a ghost town. We stopped off at Encanto Park for a bathroom break. That was where we saw the roped-off playground. That had an apocalyptic feel to it. And downtown Monrovia was also a ghost town. The whole thing was a weird mix of being nice having empty streets to ride on but feeling like it’s the end of the world.

38 miles.

Route map and elevation profile

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