Stan’s Obligatory Blog


Sally Rand

Filed under: — stan @ 2:51 pm

This week, I happened on the featured grave of the week at It was Sally Rand, former silent movie star and burlesque performer who is famous for her fan dance. It said she is buried in the cemetery in Glendora, so I knew where we were going this Sunday.

It was kind of chilly, but not a bad day for riding. We had a small group, but that’s pretty normal when it gets colder. We headed out to the east. We saw a lot of storm damage in Arcadia, and a little in Monrovia. In Azusa, we saw one sign blown over, but that was the end of it.

In Glendora, we stopped at Classic Coffee. We were just sitting down when Carla rolled up. She had been about 5 minutes late to the start, and she’d been chasing us all the way there. We had coffee and snacks, all the time wishing that our table was about 10 feet west and out of the shade of the building.

Continuing on, we came to Oakdale Memorial Park. Apparently, they don’t get a lot of tourist traffic there. I had to go into the office and they had to look up where Sally is buried. It took them a few minutes to find, but I came out with a little map marked to tell us how to get there. So now I have yet another entry for my graves gallery. We had neglected to bring fans, so Carla made do with the map and two route slips to demonstrate the basics of the fan dance.

Our sightseeing mission accomplished, we headed home. It was a nice ride.

42 miles.


I had a couple of hours free…

Filed under: — stan @ 4:31 pm

It turned into a very nice day today, and I had a few hours free, so I went riding.

I’d seen the yard-Grinch in Arcadia before, but he’s always appropriate around this time of year.

There wasn’t any parade today, and no marching bands chanting about wanting fried chicken.

Ever since the storm, crews have been going around cutting up and carting away the fallen trees. I’d wondered briefly what they were doing with all that stuff, and when I rode by the Rose Bowl I found out. They had a tremendous pile of sticks and leaves and branches. There was a front-end loader scooping up batches of stuff and dropping it into the hopper of an enormous grinder. This was followed by BIG NOISE, and then ground-up stuff came spewing out the other side. There were a lot of pine and eucalyptus trees damaged in the storm, so the ground-up stuff smelled pretty good.

I saw they had part of the road closed for filming near JPL. It’s on the part of the road where it’s like a little freeway for about 1/2 mile. The guy at the barricades said they were filming a commercial.

The wallabies weren’t out today. But I did see the remains of the biggest fallen tree I’ve seen from the storm last week.

30 miles.


The Random Ride to Whittier

Filed under: — stan @ 3:57 pm

This Sunday’s bike club ride was the Random Ride to Whittier. I figured that going south would get us out of the area of destruction from last Wednesday’s wind storm.

We saw a little bit of destruction on the way out of Pasadena, but after that it was all right. The bike path by Whittier Narrows Dam had a big sign saying it was closed, but we saw people riding on it, so we just tried it out. And it was fine. We were able to get through to where we wanted to go, so I don’t know what the problem was.

I was too slow with the camera to get a picture of the guy on the skateboard being pulled by two dogs. Sort of a SoCal version of the Iditarod. I did get the guys riding on the motorized skateboards. But I still don’t get what the purpose was of the row of sandbags on the edge of the river.

We had to take a small detour in Arcadia where the road was closed and a crew was fixing the overhead wires. But we went around it and made it to our snack stop at Merengue in Monrovia.

It was a pleasant ride.

45 miles



Filed under: — stan @ 6:50 pm

It’s the last Sunday of the month, so it’s time for our ‘longer’ Sunday ride. This time, I didn’t have any particular inspiration for weird sightseeing, so we just rode out to Claremont. It was a nice day for riding, aside from a slight headwind all the way there.

When we got there, we went to Le Pain Quotidien for our snack stop. While we were there, I had a look at the bronze sculptures in the fountains outside.

Fortunately, the wind didn’t die out, so it kept going to give us a nice tail wind on the way back. That combined with the 1% downgrade on Gladstone St to make for a fun trip back.

Silvio got a flat on the way back. His tire just failed, and it did it in a way that made a noise that I’ve never heard a bicycle tire make in all my years of riding. Fortunately, Carla had some tire boots, so we were able to piece it back together enough to make it back to Pasadena.

When I got home, I had 56 1/2 miles, so I rode around the block once just to get to 57. It was a nice ride.

57 miles


A weird Saturday morning bike ride

Filed under: — stan @ 1:08 pm

I had a few hours free this morning, so I went for a short bike ride. I wasn’t planning on going to see anything in particular. Just wanted to tool about a bit. But it turned out to be a weird little morning.

I rode out to Arcadia, and smack into a traffic jam in the detour around a parade route. It was a strange parade, consisting entirely of marching bands. And there were essentially no spectators. Just people who were with the bands. And one of the bands was marching and playing, and chanting, “We want fried chicken!” It was weird.

Heading back to Pasadena, I found out there was a UCLA game at the Rose Bowl, and the street I wanted to ride on was closed. OK, so a game at the Rose Bowl isn’t all that unusual, but I thought the girls on top of the Winnebago with the giant inflatable CU buffalo were funny.

After getting past the Rose Bowl, I headed up into Altadena for the trip home. And I rode right into a crime scene. The L.A. County Sherriff had a block of Christmas Tree Lane closed off with cars and deputies at both ends, and a helicopter circling overhead. The told me they were chasing someone on foot, so I thought it was probably best to just get out of their way.

And finally, I went by the house where the wallabies live, but they weren’t out today.

All told, it was a weird morning’s ride.

28 miles.


The Great Wall of Los Angeles

Filed under: — stan @ 6:51 pm

This Sunday’s bike club outing was a ride to North Hollywood to see the Great Wall of Los Angeles. This is a long mural painted on the side of a flood-control channel that depicts events in Los Angeles history. It starts with giant slots and saber-tooth cats at one end, and goes up to the 1984 Olympics at the other end.

It was a good day for riding, and we had a good group. We headed out across Eagle Rock. In Burbank, we took the Chandler Bikeway for a while, which was where we saw perhaps the fattest chihuahua I’ve ever seen anywhere. It looked like a bratwurst with four toothpicks for legs.

Oxnard St took us the rest of the way to the park that runs alongside the mural. We came in at the modern-day end, and we worked our way back through time to the mammoths at the start. Then we turned on Chandler for the ride back. Our snack stop was at the Panera Bread at Chandler and Lankershim in NoHo. Then a bit more on the Chandler Bikeway across Burbank, and then back home via Yosemite Dr in Eagle Rock.

When we came back into Pasadena, we saw the first bleachers going up for the Rose Parade. Like the first robin of spring, that’s a sure sign of the changing seasons around here.

It was a nice ride.

45 miles.


Down for the Count, 2011

Filed under: — stan @ 5:27 pm

It’s Halloween weekend, and time for our bike club ride out to Holy Cross Cemetery in Culver City to visit Bela Lugosi’s grave. This time, we had a little extra in the form of a PBS biography program about Bela Lugosi that aired on Saturday night. So we got to learn a bit about how he pretty much originated what we think of as the standard vampire character.

It was a nice day for riding. We headed down through downtown L.A., we saw the Occupy L.A. encampment by City Hall. And we had to take a little detour because of the Rock-n-Roll Half Marathon. Several key streets were closed for the event, but we were finally able to make our way through and then head out West Adams toward Culver City.

When we got into Culver City, John got a flat. In the process of fixing it, he accidentally pinched and punctured several more tubes before we finally got the tire back on and holding air.

Continuing on, we got to the cemetery and headed over to the Grotto, where Bela is buried. As always, people had decorated his grave for Halloween. On the way out, I was talking to Michael and found out that he was part of the original punk rock scene back in the late ’70s, so I took him to see Darby Crash’s grave on the hillside by the entrance.

On the way back, we stopped for bagels at Noah’s, and then headed back by way of 4th St. That’s a nice, quiet street. Not at all the place where you’d expect to run across the Batmobile. We see some decidedly odd things when we’re out riding.

All told, it was a fun ride.

52 miles.


La Tuna Canyon

Filed under: — stan @ 4:26 pm

Today’s bike ride was the classic La Tuna Canyon route. Out across Eagle Rock and Glendale, and then back by way of La Tuna Canyon and Montrose. It was a little chilly in the morning, but turned out to be a very nice day.

Not much remarkable happened along the way. The only bad thing was when we were going up La Tuna Canyon and I got a flat.

On the way home across Altadena, I saw people putting up the lights on Christmas Tree Lane. They told me that they have a pulley mounted at the top of each tree to make it easier to haul the lights up without someone having to climb all the way to the top every time.

And finally, I went by to see if the wallabies were out. And they were both lounging on the grass in the front yard.

41 miles.


Glendora Ridge and Baldy Village

Filed under: — stan @ 2:21 pm

Today was a special ride. Carla organized a group to ride up Glendora Mountain, along the ridge, all the way out to Baldy Village. I’ve done this ride before, but that was back in 1978. I recall it as being fun and not all that hard, so I was curious to see it again and see how hard it is now. Or, as I’m fond of saying, “How hard could it be?”

We all met up at Encanto Park in Duarte. I violated my usual rule of always riding to the start point today, largely because I knew we were going to be doing a lot of big hills. So I got a ride out there with Carla. While we were getting ready, David came up, with his bike stuffed behind the seats of his convertible Jaguar.

We started out up San Gabriel Canyon Road. When I did this route back in 1978, I was newly-arrived from New Jersey, and the guys I was riding with were telling me that we were about to ride up “the biggest hill you’ve ever seen in your life.” At the time, I got excited and ended up racing them all up the hill. This time, we took it at a more leisurely pace. We stopped at Camp Williams for water, and then headed up the back side of Glendora Mountain. That was a nice 5-mile uphill. The sign at the beginning said it was a 6% grade. At the top, we stopped to regroup and take some pictures. Then we headed off down Glendora Ridge Road. This was the part that I remember from 1978 as being just a sort of gentle rolling and winding road with nice scenery. But apparently, I was much stronger in those days. The scenery was still very nice, but it was a hard ride. The trend was uphill, but with some significant downhill portions. On the other hand, it was nice and quiet. In the whole 12 miles, I only saw six cars. When I got to the end where the road drops off down to Baldy Village, I stopped for some more pictures and to rest. Then we all rode down the hill to lunch at the Mt Baldy Lodge.

At that point, we had a choice. We could go back the way we came, along the ridge. Or we could go down Mt Baldy Road into Claremont and just take Foothill Blvd back. I was game to try the ridge, just to see the scenery again, but everyone else wanted to go back the easiest way possible. And I can’t complain about that. So we rode down into Claremont and made our way back that way. When we got back to Encanto Park, we were nicely tired, but not in a bad way. So it was a fun ride, even if it did prove once again that I’m not as strong as I was when I was 18.

58 miles.


The House of Davids

Filed under: — stan @ 6:23 pm

I recently read that the House of Davids is for sale. Apparently, Norwood is dismayed that his house is more famous than he is, and so he wants to move away. So I figured we should pay another visit. I’d heard that he was going to be having a yard sale, but we were too early for that.

It was a nice day for riding. We headed out across Highland Park and down into Silver Lake. Then into Hancock Park to the House of Davids. He had one of the Davids wearing his holiday regalia, I guess just to show what they look like around the holidays.

After that, we headed north into Hollywood. Our snack stop was at Groundwork Coffee on Sunset. It was a nice day to sit out in the sunshine. Just like the day when we were sitting there in the sun reading the CNN news crawl across the street telling us that the Metrodome in Minneapolis had collapsed from the weight of the snow on the roof.

From there, we headed home. On Fountain Ave, we got to see a fairly violent car crash. A small car ran a red light and T-boned a big pickup truck. Made quite a sound.

And that was our ride for the day.

42 miles.

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