Stan’s Obligatory Blog

10/30/2011

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.

10/23/2011

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.

10/22/2011

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.

10/16/2011

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.

10/15/2011

Yet more odd things I see when I’m out riding my bike

Filed under: — stan @ 12:33 pm

On Saturday morning, I went on my usual ‘I have a couple of free hours’ bike ride. It doesn’t go anywhere in particular, but I still sometimes get to see some strange things along the way.

When I rode by the Rose Bowl, there was something going on, but that’s not unusual. I just kept going until I saw a solid row of cars across the road with flashing lights coming towards me. So I turned off up Salvia Canyon to get out of their way. When I looked back down, there were being followed by a marching horde of people chanting something or other. It was strange.

In Altadena, I saw a yard sale. That’s not unusual in itself, but this is the first yard sale I’ve ever seen that came with nutrition information.

On the way home, I took a short side trip to see if I could see the wallabies again. They weren’t out, but instead, I saw the desert tortoises that live there having some fun in the front yard. Rule 34 strikes again.

30 miles.

10/10/2011

Chantry Flat

Filed under: — stan @ 11:05 am

It’s a holiday, and I had a little free time this morning, so I did a short ride up to Chantry Flat. I haven’t been up there for some time, and it was a nice day.

It was a pleasant ride, or at least as pleasant as 3.5 miles up a sort-of-steep hill can be. And the view was nice, even if it was a bit hazy today.

21 miles.

10/9/2011

Another urban bike tour

Filed under: — stan @ 12:53 pm

Today’s bike club ride was a sort of random tour of L.A. It was also the day of the third CicLAvia, but we decided not to go to that, since the last time, it was crowded enough that it didn’t feel safe riding in that group. Too many people seem so have the attitude that if there are no cars around, they don’t have to pay attention to anything or follow any sort of rules of the road. So that was out.

A few weeks ago, I read in the L.A. Times about a place in Echo Park that has a room full of vintage pinball machines and hosts a pinball league. So that was one stop on the tour, mostly just to see where it is. On the way, we went past a car club meeting in Echo Park. The Nash Metropolitan hot-rod was pretty funny.

When we crossed Alvarado St, we found ourselves facing a hill that looked like a wall. But it looked flat on the map…

Continuing on through Silver Lake, we went into the east end of Hollywood, where we had a brief sightseeing stop at the Vista Theater. This is the place that as a small Walk of Fame composed of the hand and foot prints of some of the lesser-known stars of cinema.

On the way back, we stopped off at Antigua Cultural Coffee for snacks and drinks.

It was a nice ride.

40 miles.

10/2/2011

Another bike ride to nowhere in particular

Filed under: — stan @ 5:32 pm

This week found me with no special ideas for where we should go on the Sunday bike ride. There are some interesting destinations coming up, but there was nothing appropriately interesting for today. So we did the ‘Relatively Flat Ride’. That’s my attempt to come up with a route with as few hills as possible.

It was a nice day for riding, but since we didn’t really go anywhere, I only took a couple of pictures. But it was a pleasant ride.

43 miles.

10/1/2011

More odd things I see when I’m riding my bike

Filed under: — stan @ 3:16 pm

This morning I went for a little ride. My usual route makes a big loop, and I pass by the Rose Bowl on the way home. It’s not unusual to see some sort of event going on there, but today’s was a bit different. The road had countless thousands of muddy footprints on it, and I saw people running, covered in mud.

When I got home, I looked it up. (Can anyone even remember how life was even possible before we had the Internet?) It was the Gladiator Rock’n-Run. I rode along part of the course just to see what they were doing, and it actually looks kind of fun. And I hate running.

And then, to top it off, I finally got to see the Altadena Wallabies on my way home. There were two of them out in the front yard today. So overall, it was an amusing morning.

30 miles

9/25/2011

Tour de Topiary

Filed under: — stan @ 5:52 pm

Today’s bike ride was the Topiary Tour West. I’ve actually found enough topiary around here to make two complete tours. Today marks the first time we’ve done the western route in over a year. It was just me and Carla today, so we headed out across Eagle Rock.

The first topiary stop was at the south entrance to Burbank Airport, where they have a topiary jet airplane. It’s pretty nicely done. Then we headed south, passing the kiddie-ride boneyard on Clybourn Ave on our way to the second topiary stop, which was a pair of winged horses and a sea monster at a gas station in Burbank.

Next up was the topiary Bugs Bunny on Riverside Drive in Toluca Lake. Then we stopped off at Priscilla’s for a snack.

Coming home, we went up Glendale Blvd to see the topiary dolphins at a gas station there. Then it was time for the four-mile uphill to get to La Cañada. Then down the other side of the hill to see the topiary giraffe family on Berkshire Drive.

Coming back into Altadena, we passed the topiary baskets on Mendocino Ave, and finally, the giant topiary rabbit in front of the Bunny Museum.

It was a fun little ride.

48 miles.

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