Stan’s Obligatory Blog

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7/16/2017

Bubble soccer with the Derby Dolls

Filed under: — stan @ 1:04 pm

It’s been a while since we’ve been to see the Derby Dolls, but I’m still on their mailing list. So when I saw that they were doing a fundraiser this Sunday where they would be playing Bubble Soccer, I thought this would be a fun thing to go see on the bike club ride.

The park where they were playing is not really very far away, so we took a roundabout route to get there, going down to Atwater Village, over the L.A. River, and then up the river bike path and making a big loop through Studio City and North Hollywood. We stopped for drinks at Groundwork Coffee at the old Pacific Electric depot in North Hollywood. Then we rode back across Burbank and into Glendale to the park where they were doing the bubble soccer.

When we got there, there were two matches in progress, although the proceedings bore only a passing resemblance to soccer as we know it. But there was lots of running around and colliding and general hilarity. Besides, roller derby players are no strangers to colliding with each other. When the matches finished, one of the Dolls asked if I wanted to try on one of the bubbles to see what it was like. She helped me in to it, and then promptly body-slammed me so that I went rolling across the grass. And yes, it was pretty hilarious.

45 miles.

Route map and elevation profile

7/9/2017

Lawnchair Larry

Filed under: — stan @ 1:59 pm

Last Sunday was the 35th anniversary of the flight of “Lawnchair Larry“. So today’s bike ride was to pay him a visit at Forest Lawn Hollywood Hills.

It was promising to be hot today, so I’d worked out a route that was about as flat as it could be. We rode out by the basic route across Eagle Rock and Glendale. Then we crossed the river to Griffith Park and headed out to Forest Lawn.

The listing in Findagrave.com said he’s in the “Columbarium of Valor”, which I wasn’t sure of the location. When we got there, there was nobody in the little information booth at the entrance, so took a chance and headed up to the top, where the Court of Valor is, with the idea that it might be nearby. But when we got there, there was nothing like that there. So we rode back to the entrance and I went into the main office to ask. The people there were very nice, and they gave me a map and detailed instructions to find the place. It turned out to be in the same general structure as where Carrie Fisher is buried.

Leaving Forest Lawn, we headed over to Priscilla’s. The original plan was to go to the gelato place in Studio City, but it was getting hot enough that we wanted to head back sooner. We had some cold drinks at Priscilla’s, and we even got some extra ice to put in our water bottles. Then we headed back by way of the L.A. River bike path. We had a couple of new riders along today, and one was suffering in the heat, so we stopped at Spoke to get some ice water. After that, we continued a bit more, but they wanted to bail out. I was still pretty sore from climbing Mt Baldy yesterday, so we all bailed out and rode Metro home from the Lincoln/Cypress station.

35 miles, including the two miles home from the Allen Metro station.

Route map and elevation profile

7/2/2017

“Instagrammed to death”

Filed under: — stan @ 4:01 pm

This week, I ran across an article in the LA Weekly, “10 L.A. Spots That Have Been Instagrammed to Death”. We’ve been to see a lot of them before, but there were two on the list that I’d never seen before. So that was today’s ride.

The route for today was very similar to the one we used for the “Where the streets have no name” ride in May. I just trimmed a few miles off the first part of it, since we were going to be adding a few extra to go out to West Hollywood.

When we were heading in to Hollywood on Hollywood Blvd, I saw a storefront that proclaimed that it was in “EaHo”, or East Hollywood, just as places in West Hollywood refer to it as “WeHo”. I thought that was funny. Back in the ’80s when I lived in Hollywood, the east end was just known as “Scary Hollywood”. Times change.

There was an odd bit in the middle where it looked like there had been a mudslide. There was brown mud all over Hollywood Blvd. That was very strange.

At Highland, we took a side trip up onto the sidewalk to go find Donald Trump’s star on the Walk of Fame. We saw some tourists taking selfies of them making rude gestures at it. But it didn’t look like it had been defaced recently.

The first Instagram stop was the “Made in LA” mural on the wall at Cisco Home at the corner of Melrose and Laurel. And true to form, there was a mother and daughter taking pictures there. They said they were from Denmark, so they definitely counted as tourists.

Heading a few blocks west on Melrose, we got to the #pinkwall at Paul Smith. And sure enough, there were more tourists taking pictures there. And there was even a crew putting on a fresh coat of pink paint to freshen it up. And across the street there was a wall painted to promote “Martha and Snoop’s Potluck Dinner Party”. I had no idea that that was even A Thing.

Our snack stop was in Larchmonth Village. Noah’s Bagels, or Mr Holmes Bakeshop, which opened recently, and we visited a few weeks ago. From there, we headed for home, by was of downtown L.A. That was an opportunity to make one more Instagram stop at Bottega Louie to get a picture of some of the famed macarons. I also stopped for a picture of Dearden’s, which I recently read is closing after over 100 years in business.

Overall, it was a pretty nice ride, and we got to see some things we’d never been to see before.

45 miles.

Route map and elevation profile

6/25/2017

The Whittier Greenway Trail

Filed under: — stan @ 1:30 pm

Today’s bike club ride was a visit to the Whittier Greenway Trail. This is the former railroad through Whittier that has been converted to a bike and pedestrian trail. We’ve been there before, but it’s a nice place to visit.

We took the direct route south to get to Whittier Narrows to pick up the San Gabriel River bike path. Then we made our way around to Workman Mill Road. Along the way, we got a nice view of Rose Hills “That ain’t no hard hill to climb” Cemetery. And we even got to see a fast-moving freight train go by at the crossing there.

We got on the Greenway Trail and rode most, but not all of it this time. On the bridge that takes us over the big five-way intersection, we got a nice view of a classic Googie-tyle car wash. We took it as far as Greenleaf Ave, where we turned off to go to Mimo’s Cafe for snacks. After that, we got back on the Greenway Trail for a bit, after passing by the antique street lights with the swastikas on them. Then we picked up the San Gabriel River bike trail for the ride back up to Whittier Narrows.

At the top end of the Rio Hondo trail, our usual route was blocked because the basin was flooded. That was odd. There’s usually water there, but normally, it doesn’t rise up high enough to drown the bike trail unless it’s just rained. So I don’t know what happened there.

By the end, it was getting pretty hot, so the last few miles were a bit of a trial. Fortunately, we had a route home through Arcadia that had a lot of trees for shade. So it was still a nice ride.

46 miles.

Route map and elevation profile

6/18/2017

The Other F-104

Filed under: — stan @ 1:20 pm

We’ve been to see the F-104-on-a-stick in the park in Burbank several times. So today’s ride was a visit to the California Science Center in Exposition Park to see the F-104 that they have mounted on the side of the Aerospace Hall. The F-104 is actual proof of the old engineer’s adage, “you can make a brick fly if you put a big enough engine on it.”

We rode our regular route into downtown L.A., pausing briefly at 2nd St to see if we could see how Metro is coming along with the construction of the Regional Connector. Then we continued south through downtown. I didn’t get to race the Expo Line train down Flower St today.

When we got to the museum, we stopped to have a look at the DC-8 they have on display out front. Then we took a look at the F-104, as well as the FA-18 and the Space Shuttle fuel tank.

Our snack stop was at a new place this time. We usually go to Noah’s Bagels in Larchmont, but the last time we were there, we noticed that a new bakery had opened up next door. So today we were going to try it. I got a donut, filled with chocolate that had a slight infusion of Earl Grey flavor. It sounds odd, but it was very good.

Nobody today was in the mood for our regular route home through Silver Lake, so we decided to go back by way of downtown again, and then up the Arroyo Seco. At the end of that, I bailed out and took the Metro the last few miles, since I needed to get back a little early, since we’re going to San Diego to see my father this afternoon.

39 miles, plus two more coming home from the Metro station.

Route map and elevation profile

6/11/2017

Spoke

Filed under: — stan @ 2:22 pm

Spoke Bicycle Cafe in Frogtown has been busy lately. They recently opened a new kitchen and expanded their menu. When we’ve been there before, it was a pretty minimalist operation. But now they have regular food, a wider selection of drinks, and even indoor bathrooms. So today’s ride was a visit to Spoke to see all the new parts that have recently opened.

We rode out our usual route across Eagle Rock and Glendale. When we got to Burbank, we saw a train nosing its way across Victory Blvd. The tracks only go a short distance beyond there, since that route has been converted into the Chandler Bikeway. But the fact that the crossing signals at Victory are still there I guess implied that trains still sometimes go there. And today was the first time we’ve ever seen one there. From the map, it looks like the little bit of track remaining there is part of a wye off the main line in Burbank.

After looking at the train, we continiuued on the Chandler Bikeway over to Pass Ave. Then south to Riverside to make a loop back to pick up the L.A. River bike path down to Frogtown. We stopped in at Spoke and had some snacks. I had some artisanal hipster-style bacon, just because it was there.

Coming home, we went up Figueroa St to Ave 43, and then the Arroyo Seco bike path to South Pasadena.

42 miles.

Route map and elevation profile

6/4/2017

McDonald’s

Filed under: — stan @ 2:44 pm

Last week, I was watching the movie, “The Founder”, about Ray Kroc. So it seemed appropriate that this Sunday’s bike club ride should be a visit to the oldest operating McDonald’s in the U.S. It’s a nice, flat ride to Downey and, we’ve been there before.

When we got there, I’d been hoping to take a quick look at the Ray Kroc museum they have there. But it was closed for renovation. So we continued on to our snack stop at 3rd St Coffee.

We passed by the Rives Mansion on the way back. Apparently, it’s something of a landmark in Downey. Then we got on the Rio Hondo bike path for the ride home.

43 miles.

Route map and elevation profile

5/28/2017

Nick Metropolis

Filed under: — stan @ 4:16 pm

This past week, the Los Angeles Times had an article about Nick Metropolis. This is an odd little place on La Brea, filled with all sorts of weird junk. So of course, we had to go see it.

The ride out was our regular route through downtown L.A. We stopped briefly at 7th and Figueroa to see the Corporate Head sculpture. Then we continued on out through Koreatown and Hancock Park. We went all the way to Fairfax so we could see the construction site for the new Metro Purple Line station there. We also had a look at the “Urban Light” installation at LACMA. I noticed for the first time that some of the streetlights in it are the antique ones with swastikas around the base.

Heading back east, we got to Nick Metropolis, where we had a chance to look around. It is one weird collection of stuff there.

Our snack stop was at Noah’s Bagels on Larchmont. While we were there, we took a look at the little bakery that just opened up next door. I think we’re going to try going there next time we’re out this way.

The route home was the usual way across Silver Lake and home by way of York Blvd.

46 miles.

Route map and elevation profile

5/27/2017

Return to the George Harrison Tree

Filed under: — stan @ 1:44 pm

I don’t usually ride with the Foothill Cycle Saturday morning group, but today they were doing a ride that started from the park by my house, and they were doing one of my routes. The ride to Griffith Park to see the George Harrison Tree.

The route out was our standard route across Pasadena and through Eagle Rock to get to Hollywood. Then we turned and made our way up the hill to Griffith Observatory. They’ve changed the traffic pattern there since the last time we were there, and the two road leading up to the observatory are now designated as one-way, with one leading up, and the other leading down. So we had to ride through the tunnel to Toontown to get to the road up to the observatory. When we got up to the top, I went for the photo-op with the bust of James Dean, and also had a look at the orbits of the planets in the sidewalks in front of the observatory. I’d thought they didn’t have the orbit of Pluto plotted on there, but it turned out they did.

Leaving the observatory, we headed up Mt Hollywood Drive. We took a short side trip to an overlook that had a nice all-directions view of the park and the city. And after we rolled over the crest of the hill, we started down the Valley side, with a short stop at “Cathy’s Corner”, which was the location for the “What a Waste of a Lovely Night” scene from “La La Land”. I’m in the process of making up a theme ride to visit some of the “La La Land” shooting locations, and this is one of the more important ones on the list.

Continuing on down the mountain, we got to the bottom, where we turned left to head over the our snack stop at Priscilla’s in Burbank. We had drinks and snacks there, before starting for home. We rode back to the L.A. River bike path, which we took all the way to its south end at the bridge to Figueroa St. We took Figueroa north to Ave 57, and then turned off to get to Monterey Rd back to South Pasadena.

All told, it was a nice ride.

47 miles.

Route map and elevation profile

5/21/2017

The old NoHo train station

Filed under: — stan @ 2:56 pm

A few weeks ago, we did a ride to see the TV Hall of Fame in North Hollywood. That day, we stopped for snacks at Panera at Chandler and Lankershim, and while we were there, I saw a sign on the old North Hollywood Pacific Electric Depot that said that they had finished renovating the old building, and that a new Groundwork Coffee was now open inside. So today’s ride was a trip out there to see the old station.

It’s become something of a tradition to renovate old train stations for retail and restaurant use. The former Pasadena stations has several restaurants in it. The old Monrovia station is being renovated with an eye towards that sort of use. So the NoHo station is just the latest in a long line of these sorts of projects.

We took a bit of a roundabout route to get to NoHo, going down almost to downtown, and then up the L.A. River bike path. And also a bit out into Studio City. But it was a nice day for riding, so it was all right. When we got to NoHo, we turned in to the old train station. The Groundwork Coffee shop there is pretty nice, and they have a large shaded outdoor seating area, which was just the thing today. We had some drinks and snacks before heading back.

The route back was a bit more direct. Straight across Glendale and then over the hill to get to the Rose Bowl. The Bowl was on virtual lockdown, since they’d had a big U2 concert last night, and were preparing for another tonight.

In the end, it was a nice ride, although it did get pretty hot today. When I got home, my little weather station thingy said it was 99 degrees, which is a bit much for this early in the season.

47 miles.

Route map and elevation profile

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