Stan’s Obligatory Blog

Happy Halloween

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1/14/2018

West Covina

Filed under: — stan @ 2:55 pm

Today’s bike club ride was yet another visit to a filming location. In this case, it was The Lakes at West Covina, which was the little plaza and fountain that was the setting for the climax of the big “West Covina” musical number from the first episode of “Crazy Ex-Girlfriend”.

We took a kind-of roundabout route to get there, since the terrain out there is mostly flat. So this ended up being slightly on the long side for a regular Sunday ride. But that was all right.

47 miles.

Route mape and elevation profile

1/7/2018

The Pot Shop

Filed under: — stan @ 2:54 pm

This past week, I read about how the first recreational marijuana shops are set to start opening here in California. In particular, they said that right now, there are just two shops licensed for this in the Los Angeles area. They are both in West Hollywood, so today’s bike ride was to go see one of them.

We started out with our standard route to get to Hollywood. Then after riding across Hollywood, we crossed into WeHo, where we saw the Alternative Herbal Health Services store. It wasn’t open yet, and it looked to be locked up tight. I guess that’s to be expected, since it’s a cash-only business.

We went to Noah’s in Larchmont for some bagels and such, and then back home by way of downtown Los Angeles.

44 miles.

Route map and elevation profile

12/31/2017

Rose Parade Preview

Filed under: — stan @ 1:18 pm

Today’s bike club ride was a ride to Griffith Park, with the plan of making a loop and finishing the ride by riding down the length of the Rose Parade route in Pasadena. It’s New Year’s Eve, and people start camping out on Colorado Blvd early in the morning.

We started out by heading up through La Cañada, so we started out with almost eight miles uphill, followed by another seven or so miles downhill. Then, when we got to Griffith Park, we rode up and over another hill there. Then we headed down the L.A. River bike path to our snack stop at Spoke.

When we got back into Pasadena, we saw that the parade preparations were coming right along. There were people set up along the whole five+ miles of the parade route, even though the parade doesn’t start for something like 20 hours. The way the stores are boarded up, it looks like a hurricane is coming. We rode all the way to the end of the route, which is right around the corner from the park where we start.

40 miles.

Route map and elevation profile

12/24/2017

Christmas Eve Ride

Filed under: — stan @ 1:22 pm

Today’s ride was one we did a bit over a year ago, so it seemed like time to go again. And it’s a nice, flat route for the day before Christmas.

We rode straight south all the way to Downey. We stopped there for a few minutes at the oldest operating McDonald’s, and then continued on to the Wall of (Un)-Fame at the Metro Green Line station at the 105 freeway. Then we headed back north into Downey to 3rd Street Coffee. After some snacks and drinks, it was back up the Rio Hondo bike trail and home by way of Arcadia.

47 miles.

Route map and elevation profile


12/17/2017

It’s a Wonderful Ride – 2017

Filed under: — stan @ 12:21 pm

Today was the 2017 edition of our Christmas-themed ride, where we visit two sites associated with the 1946 film, “It’s a Wonderful Life.” We’ve been doing this ride every December since 2011, so it’s become something of an institution for us.

The actual route is pretty simple. I forgot to record it with my little GPS thingy this time, but if you want to see it, look at last year’s ride.

When I got up this morning, the wind was gusting pretty hard, and I was a bit apprehensive about the ride, but it calmed down by the time we actually left on the ride. It was still a bit windy, but not terrible.

We went to Forest Lawn in Glendale to pay respects to James Stewart for bringing George Bailey to life. As always, we made a point to stop at the information booth at the entrance to tell them why we were there. For some reason, the security people at Forest Lawn sometimes have some sort of emotional malfunction regarding people visiting the cemetery by bike. We’ve found that telling them why we’re there can defuse this.

After that, we headed over the Paradise Bakery for snacks. And then up the long grind up the hill to La Cañada and the Martini Family’s new Bailey Park home there. The house only appears in the movie for one brief scene, but it’s unique in that it’s the only scene in the entire movie that was shot on location, away from the studio and backlot.

The ride was a bit on the short side, but that’s all right, since I needed to get back a little early today.

36 miles.


12/10/2017

Ciclavia Wilshire

Filed under: — stan @ 2:44 pm

This Sunday was the last Ciclavia of 2017. It was the Wilshire Boulevard route, from 4th and Spring downtown, out to Wilshire and Western. The plan was to ride downtown, pick up the Ciclavia route and ride it out to Western, and then make a loop back through Hollywood, and then down the L.A. River.

We got there early, so there weren’t many people out on the route yet. That made it more pleasant, and we made good time out to Western. Then we continued on through Hancock Park, and then back up into the east end of Hollywood. We stopped for snacks at Spoke in Frogtown

41 miles.

Route map and elevation profile

12/3/2017

Whittier Again

Filed under: — stan @ 1:05 pm

Today’s bike club ride was our old Whittier route. It’s not a ride to anywhere in particular but it’s a nice, relatively flat route. Not a lot to see along the way. The only stops we made were for the photo-op with the sign for Dork Street in Pico Rivera, and for snacks at Merengue in Monrovia.

43 miles.

Route map and elevation profile

11/26/2017

Glen Haven

Filed under: — stan @ 3:00 pm

This past week, we were watching the 1954 movie, “White Christmas” again. This stars Bing Crosby, Danny Kaye, and Rosemary Clooney. All are big-name stars. Yet there were four major characters in the story, the fourth played by Vera Ellen. Since she had a large role in this movie with big stars, I was wondering why I didn’t know who she was. So I went looking. Turns out she was a dancer, and worked in a lot of movies with big-name stars in the 1950s, but she stopped making movies in 1958, and she died of cancer in 1981. And at the end of the trail, I read that she was buried in Glen Haven Memorial Park in Sylmar. I looked it up, and looked at the relatively short list of famous people buried there. And when I saw Jeffery Hunter on the list, I immediately knew we had a new bike ride in our future.

We headed out our usual route across Eagle Rock and Glendale, and then took Glenoaks all the way up to Hanson Dam. Along the way, we saw the van advertising the Hot Topless Maids, including a sign that they are hiring. Good to know. When we got to Osborne, we took that across the dam and then started up Kagel Canyon.

When I mapped out this ride, I knew we had to go up Kagel Canyon a bit, but I really didn’t pay attention to how far we had to go. It turned out to be about three and a half miles, all uphill. Yikes. And about two and half miles in, Carla got a flat. But we finally made it up there, and there was this little cemetery with a commanding view of the San Fernando Valley. We found Jeffery Hunter first. I had to explain to everyone his significance in the geek world. He played Captain Pike in the first “Star Trek” pilot episode, “The Cage“. So even though he was only ever in one episode, he still has a place in the “Star Trek” universe.

Then we went to find Vera Ellen. I’d made a map by hand showing her approximate location, but we had trouble finding her. In the end, John looked up the lat/lon coordinates, and then we walked around with my little Magellan GPS until we’d matched them up. And then she was right there.

Now it was time to head back down. That was a nice, long descent. The sort I would have loved in my racing days. Then we got on Foothill Blvd for the ride home.

Along the way, we met up with another bike rider who lives in the area. He told us that the coffee shop that I’d found in Yelp was closed. He recommended the Back Door Bakery, so we went there. And it was quite good. While we were there, I saw a flyer on the bulletin board for a holiday party that was going to feature the Randy Van Horne Singers. We all know them, even if we don’t know that we know them. Here’s a hint:

Van Horne, Randy Van Horne
He’s piece of music history
He sang ’bout the Flintstones
In the song that we know from TV

Then we continued on up the hill through Tujunga until we passed Stan’s Liquor near the top, and then headed downhill into La Crescenta. From there, it was going to be mostly downhill all the way home.

In the end, the route turned out to be somewhat longer than I’d expected. Mostly because I didn’t measure how far up Kagel Canyon we had to go.

50 miles.

Route map and elevation profile

11/19/2017

The Word on the Street

Filed under: — stan @ 3:39 pm

This past week, I saw a small item in the L.A. Times about an artist who has been making funny fake street signs, which are currently installed at various parks around Glendale. He has a Facebook page for the project, and I was able to contact him there, and to get a map showing where the different signs are installed. So that was our ride for today.

We rode out across Pasadena and Eagle Rock, and then into Glendale. The first one we saw was the “START” sign in Maple Park. Heading off to the next sign, we passed Mission Wine and Spirits. Funny thing is, back in 2006, that same store was called Hammered Liquor Store.

Continuing on, we came to the “BREATHE” sign at Glendale Central Park. Then we rode a little side trip to Pacific Park, and the heart-shaped “ONE WAY” sign. After that, we headed up almost to Burbank to see “RELAX” at Griffith Manor Park. We liked the placement of that one. Seeing the mountains behind it did give it a peaceful air. At least now that those mountains aren’t on fire any more…

We stopped for snacks at Paradise Bakery in Glendale. Then we started on the return leg of the trip. We took a short side trip to see the “Peace Signs” at Casa Adobe de San Rafael. Then we started up the long hill into La Crescenta. We stopped at the skate park to see the ‘SHRED” sign installed there.

Finally, we stopped off at Montrose Community Park to see “Infinte Clearance”. That one turned out to be the hardest to find, largely because that park was much larger than all the others we’d visited.

This was a very entertaining street art project. We liked seeing it, and it kind of reminded me of the time when Richard Ankrom made and installed a freeway sign as an art project in downtown Los Angeles. In the end, it was a fun ride, but as sometimes happens when I make up a completely new route to see something, this one came up a little short. But that’s all right once in a while.

35 miles.

Route map and elevation profile

11/12/2017

The Voice of God

Filed under: — stan @ 1:26 pm

I generally scan the obituary pages of the L.A. Times every day. And some years ago, I ran across an item about Don LaFontaine, the voice actor who was known as “The Voice of God”. We’ve all heard him a thousand times in movie trailers… “In a world…”

This past week, I found out that he’d been buried at Hollywood Forever. We haven’t been there to visit in a while, so that was our destination for today. The last time we went there was last January, when we went to see the monument to Toto from “The Wizard of Oz”.

We went through downtown L.A., stopping briefly to look in the hole where they are building the Regional Connector. We just heard yesterday that the project is going to be delayed by a year, due to some old sewer lines that need replacing around where the tunnel runs. Then we headed out on 7th St, through Koreatown and Hancock Park to end up by Paramount Studios in Hollywood. Then we turned into the cemetery and went looking for Don LaFontaine. He was in a section that I’m not too familiar with, and in the end, I had to look up the GPS coordinates on findagrave.com, and then I walked around with my little Magellan GPS to find the exact location.

Leaving the cemetery, we headed east across Hollywood to the Franklin Hills area. We crossed the Shakespeare Bridge and rode down to the L.A. River. Our snack stop was at Spoke in Frogtown. I had a ‘breakfast bun’, which was sort of like an artisanal version of an Egg McMuffin. It was good.

41 miles.

Route map and elevation profile

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