Stan’s Obligatory Blog

1/12/2014

Another urban oil field story

Filed under: — stan @ 3:23 pm

Today’s bike ride was yet another installment in our continuing series of rides to explore the urban oil fields of Los Angeles. This time, it was to go see the Allenco Energy oil drilling island near USC. We were near there on our ride to see the Doheny Mansion and the location of the first oil well in Los Angeles. This time, we just wanted to go see the oil drilling operation there, since it’s been in the news recently. In particular, there were some stories in the Los Angeles Times about how people in the neighborhood complained about fumes from the oil field, so the EPA sent an inspector out to see, and the inspector became ill from the fumes. Oops.

The day started out with nice sunshine in Pasadena, and we headed south, on our way to downtown Los Angeles. And we promptly rode right into a fog bank. The fog persisted all the way to downtown, and it made for a nice picture of the Bunker Hill towers sticking up into the fog. Unfortunately, looking at the downtown skyscrapers is a bit sad for me right now. Since about Thanksgiving, I’ve been having back problems severe enough that I have trouble walking. Which is not good for climbing the stairs up 50-60 story buildings. The only good thing I can say is that it doesn’t hurt when I ride my bike, so at least that’s still good.

We came out of downtown and found the oil field on 23rd St. Like all oil fields in Los Angeles, it’s out of view, in this case, behind a high wall. The gate was closed, and it was basically impossible to see inside. But then I noticed that there was little hole so that someone with a key could reach inside to unlock the gate. It wasn’t possible to see in through this hole, but it was big enough that I could stick my and and camera inside and take a few pictures. So that’s how we got a view of the inside.

Continuing on, we passed the other oil drilling location on West Adams. Like the Allenco field we’d just seen, this one is also part of the Las Cienegas oil field. The fence around it had been recently raised. Maybe after all the bad publicity surrounding the first oil field, the owners of this one wanted to try and make it even harder to see inside.

Our snack stop was at Noah’s Bagels in Larchmont. After that, we headed home by was of 7th St, and then north through Echo Park and Silver Lake. It was a pleasant ride, even though the sun never really did come out again, and the oil field did in fact smell a bit sulfur-ish.

Here’s the route map: http://www.1134.org/routemap.php?xmlfile=allenco-oil-field

43 miles.

12/22/2013

It’s Still a Wonderful Ride

Filed under: — stan @ 6:11 pm

Yes, it’s the Sunday before Christmas, so it was time once again for the “It’s a Wonderful Life” ride. This one is a bit shorter than what we usually do, but it has some sightseeing.

First stop was at Forest Lawn in Glendale. Jimmy Stewart is buried high up on the hill there, and we stopped to pay our respects. Then it was onward to our snack stop at Paradise Bakery. They apparently just had a fire in the upstairs area above the regular bakery shop, so they were running everything out of their small annex next door.

After that, we rode up the hill into La Cañada to see the Martini House. There are only a couple of scenes in the movie that were not filmed at the old studio backlot in Encino. And the Martini House in Bailey Park scene was one of them. The house still looks the same. Last year, I got some screenshots from the movie to compare. You can see them in last year’s writeup.

By the end, it had turned into a very nice day for riding.

37 miles.

12/15/2013

The Relatively Flat Ride

Filed under: — stan @ 6:00 pm

I didn’t have any major inspiration for a destination for this Sunday’s bike ride, so I got out the ‘Relatively Flat Ride’ that I made up some years ago. It’s 43 miles of the flattest roads I could find around here. There are a few hills along the way, but only when they’re completely unavoidable.

There was some sort of lowrider car group meeting in the park when we were leaving. That was an odd sight. And somewhere out in West Covina, we passed the house that has the two giant candy canes on it every year. But it’s been some years since they put up the basketball-sized ornaments in the tree next to the house.

We passed the Huy Fong Foods factory in Irwindale. They are having some trouble with the neighbors, who say that making their sriracha hot sauce is causing problems for them. They’re fighting back with a small banner in front of the factory while the whole thing goes to court.

We stopped at Merengue in Monrovia. That’s where I saw the bear statue with the sign saying he was an official Old Town Monrovia guide.

All told, it was a pleasant ride.

43 miles.

12/8/2013

Hey – check out the view from up here…

Filed under: — stan @ 2:32 pm

Today’s bike club ride was the old “Glendale Vistas” route. This is a ride that doesn’t go anywhere in particular, but in the process of doing that, it goes up some seriously steep hills. This is the route where I broke my cassette back in 2007.

It was pretty chilly today, so we had to wear lots of layers, and even then it was cold. On the way across Glendale, we discovered a new way to cross the freeway on a pedestrian bridge. That was kind of novel, and along with a few other such bridges on other routes, it got us thinking about a possibly theme ride centered around The (Pedestrian) Bridges of Los Angeles County. Hmm. Have to think about that one some more.

Adding to the tribulations, when we got to Paradise Bakery, they had no chocolate eclairs. That’s the one thing they make that it truly outstanding, and I’d been looking forward to it.

After the snack stop, it warmed up a bit got a little less cold. And then it was time to climb the hills. At the highest point of the ride, we get a nice view of downtown Los Angeles in the distance. And I had to stop and once again point out the building that I climbed 101 times this year.

On the way home, it started to get colder again. So we cut off a little bit of the route to go home by a more direct way. Still, it wasn’t a bad ride.

39 miles.

11/17/2013

A Metro Rail and grave tour

Filed under: — stan @ 2:03 pm

Rain was forecast for today, so we did the route that I made up that travels around the city, never going more than 2 miles from the nearest Metro Rail station. That way, if the sky opens up and rains on us, we have a quick exit strategy at all times.

The route starts out going downtown, and then south along the Blue/Expo lines to near USC. From there, we head west, riding about mid-way between the Expo Line on the south, and the Red/Purple subway line to the north. At that point, we were passing the Angelus Rosedale cemetery on Washington Blvd. We’d been there before to visit the grave of Dooley Wilson, who is known for playing Sam in “Casablanca”. We stopped in there because last April, when we were riding in the Ciclavia to the Sea, we rode by the back side of that cemetery, and I saw a large pyramid there. I’d done some looking, and apparently there are three known pyramid crypts in Los Angeles County. One is in Brand Park in Glendale, and is not accessible to the public. The other two are in Angeleus Rosedale. So we stopped off to see the two pyramids.

After that, we headed up through the Harvard Heights neighborhood to Larchmont Village and Noah’s Bagels. We had some snacks, and then headed for home. By now, the weather was looking quite fine, with no threat of rain. But we stuck to the route, heading back on 7th St, roughly parallel to the subway line under Wilshire, and then through Chinatown and home by way of Lincoln Heights and South Pasadena, along the Metro Gold Line route. All told, it was a pleasant day, and we were glad not to have to use our exit strategy.

44 miles.

11/10/2013

Big Donut again!

Filed under: — stan @ 2:40 pm

Today’s bike club ride was the route to La Puente to see the giant drive-through donut. We’ve been there before, but it’s been a while.

It was a pretty nice day for riding. Cool, but promising to warm up a bit. And no forecast of rain. So we headed out, south and east. We stopped for a photo opportunity at the In-n-Out Burger headquarters and In-n-Out University. Then we continued on to the Donut Hole. We stopped for pictures, and Carla even rode through to get a donut.

After that, we continued on, out to West Covina, and then back north to Monrovia and our snack stop at Merengue. It was a pleasant and pretty uneventful ride.

44 miles.

10/27/2013

Another Halloween ride

Filed under: — stan @ 6:41 pm

Today’s bike club ride was supposed to be out to Glendora for a tour of Rubel’s Castle, but that fell through at the last minute and will have to be rescheduled. So in the meantime, we did yet another Halloween-themed ride. Today’s destination was Hollywood Forever Cemetery in Hollywood to visit Vampira.

It was foggy in the morning. Riding into downtown, my glasses were fogging up, and it was pretty hard to see for a time. Fortunately, it started to lift by the time we got downtown. We saw the Rock-n-Roll Half Marathon in progress, and we also saw the Wilshire-Figueroa building sticking up into the fog. I’m on track to climb that building 100 times by the time we’re done with the last race of the year there.

We rode out to Larchmont for bagels at Noah’s. There was some sort of street fair being set up there. The camels were an odd touch.

After the stop, we headed up into Hollywood and Hollywood Forever. We found Vampira over on the east end, just across the street from the pond and from DeeDee Ramone. We also stopped to see Johnny Ramone, and I noticed lipstick on his guitar this time.

The ride back was our usual route through Eagle Rock and Highland Park. By the time we got back to Pasadena, it was a pretty nice day. So overall, it was a fun ride.

42 miles.

10/20/2013

Down for the Count 2013

Filed under: — stan @ 3:39 pm

It’s almost Halloween. And that means it’s time for the 2013 edition of Down for the Count, where we ride our bikes to Holy Cross Cemetery in Culver City to pay respects to Bela Lugosi. This is the seventh annual Halloween ride to see The Count.

It was a perfect day for riding. There was a slight fog in the air downtown, so we got to see the shafts of sunlight reflecting off the big Ritz-Carlton hotel by L.A. Live. We also got to see the newly-repainted ’slightly different shade of green bike lane’ down Spring Street. I guess that was the compromise for the movie people, since they’d all complained about the old shade of green. Something about it looking funny when they filmed the street and tried to make it look like New York or something.

When we got to the cemetery, we took a few minutes with The Count. His grave is always decorated a bit for Halloween. We also saw that someone had stopped by to leave flowers for Rita Hayworth.

On the way back, we saw what has to be the smallest Culver City Bus I’ve ever seen. And we got to see the progress on the bridge they’re building for the extension of the Expo Line to Santa Monica. Then we rode home across the city and through Silver Lake. It was a pleasant ride.

52 miles.

10/14/2013

More government shutdown fun

Filed under: — stan @ 12:04 pm

I’ve been out of a job for the last two weeks due to the shutdown of the federal government, but today I got to enjoy a rare treat because of it. Turns out that the road up to Chantry Flat is closed to cars because of the shutdown, and so it’s become a 4-mile hike and bike trail for the last two weeks. So this morning, I went out to ride it.

I’ve ridden up this road many times before, but it’s rare to get to do it with no cars. And it was a perfect day for riding, so it was a winner all around.

16 miles.

10/13/2013

The Right Stuff

Filed under: — stan @ 5:38 pm

I’d read this week that Scott Carpenter had died. He was one of the original seven Mercury astronauts, and the second American to orbit the Earth. So in honor of this, this Sunday’s ride was out to the mobile home park in West Covina where the streets are named for the original astronauts. We’d gone there once before, back in 2009.

The route was the old ‘Bagelry’ route, just reversed. We rode out on Gladstone St, which is a long, straight, slightly uphill street. All the way to San Dimas. Then we stopped for bagels. Then, on the way back, we stopped in at Mobile Land.

The rest of the way home was down Cypress St, which is just like Gladstone, but going west, it’s slightly downhill. So that was nice. Then we came home by way of Santa Fe Dam and through Arcadia. It was a pleasant ride.

45 miles.

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