Stan’s Obligatory Blog


Cultural history

Filed under: — stan @ 10:34 pm

This past Thursday was the anniversary of The Day the Music Died. I’m not quite old enough to remember that, since I wasn’t born until later that year, but I remember people talking about it when I was young. It seemed to be something of a cultural touchstone for a generation. So when I found out that Ritchie Valens is buried in the cemetery behind the San Fernando Mission, I knew we had to take a ride up there.

It was a very nice day for riding. It got quite warm, and the only bad part was that the wind picked up when we got near San Fernando. We fought a headwind most of the last few miles to the cemetery. When we got there, we saw that someone had already put some fresh flowers there, probably on Thursday. It’s also interesting to see the things people leave behind. In this case, coins and guitar picks.

On the way back, the wind held steady, which was all right, since we were riding with it now. That lasted all the way to La Tuna Canyon. Then we got the joy of riding four miles uphill and into the wind. After we crested the hill, it was downhill into Montrose. Our snack stop was at Goldstein’s Bagels. Then we headed home. It was a very nice ride.

55 miles.


Water tower

Filed under: — stan @ 10:27 pm

I had a couple of free hours today. It was a nice day. So I went riding.

I did my usual I-have-a-couple-of-free-hours route. Down to South Pasadena, up the hill to the water tower. Then back up to the Rose Bowl to noodle around a few times before going home. It was a perfect day for riding.

The only minor annoyance was on the way home, when I got a flat. This was the same tire that I had a flat on last week. I think that tire’s about had it.

It was a nice ride.

27 miles.


Rained out again

Filed under: — stan @ 2:25 pm

Today’s ride was to be a visit to Michael Jackson’s house in Holmby Hills, with a ride up and over Mulholland and home via the Valley. But it didn’t quite work out that way.

We left Pasadena under overcast skies, but the forecast was for a chance of light rain later in the day. We rode down through Eagle Rock and across the river into Silver Lake. Then I got a flat.

After fixing the flat, we continued on. When we stopped for a photo-op with one of the big guitars on the Sunset Strip, we felt a few raindrops. We continued on, and it began to rain more. We stopped for a conference at the border of Beverly Hills. And then it started to rain in earnest. So we turned tail and rode back to Hollywood and Highland and the Metro Red Line subway station.

We rode the subway into downtown L.A. and then took the Gold Line train home to Pasadena. This marks the first time we’ve had to bail due to rain in the middle of a ride. But we were fortunate that this happened on a ride where we were close to a subway stop.

26 miles and some wet riding.


Big Things

Filed under: — stan @ 12:50 pm

Today’s bike club ride was the “Big Donut” route to La Puente to see the Donut Hole. This is a drive-through donut shop with a giant donut on each end of the building. It was a nice day, and we had a good group for the ride.

On the way down there, we passed a chicken restaurant and a man in a chicken suit getting ready for work. We also passed the headquarters of In-N-Out Burger, complete with In-N-Out University and the In-N-Out Company Store.

At the giant donut, we paused for a photo. Then we rode on, heading back north, with the snow on the San Gabriel mountains as a backdrop. Our snack stop was at Merengue in Monrovia. Then we headed home across Sierra Madre.

When we passed the Albertson’s, I veered off, because I saw the Oscar Mayer Wienermobile. Like the big donut, the Wienermobile is a prime example of marketing with things shaped like the product being sold. And so I had to stop and see it close-up.

44 miles and one Wienermobile.


A rare Saturday ride

Filed under: — stan @ 2:55 pm

Lucinda is now practicing for being a teenager. Which means she sleeps late on weekends. Since she was planning on sleeping until 11 or later today, I told her I was going to go for a ride in the morning. It was forecast to be a nice, warm day. I rode down to Alhambra to meet up with the Foothill Cycle Saturday group for the first time in a long while.

We rode up into South Pasadena and then over into Highland Park. Up Easy St, and then into the San Rafael hills in Pasadena. I took a little side trip down the street that goes to the base of Eagle Rock. I’d never seen the rock up close before, but from the vantage at the bottom, I could see the eagle in the overhanging cliff above. Then I continued on, up and over the hill and up the last big hill overlooking La Cañada. At that point, rather than going back to where we started in Alhambra, I took my usual route home across Altadena. It was a very nice ride.

33 miles.


The Topiary Tour

Filed under: — stan @ 8:03 pm

Today’s bike club ride was the Topiary Tour Classic. This is a ride out to Glendora by a rather roundabout route that passes by every example of topiary to the east of Pasadena. It was a very nice day, and we had a good-sized group this time.

The first stop was the topiary Smokey the Bear by the fire station on Foothill Blvd in Pasadena. From there, we headed south and then east, passing by the topiary swan on Camino Real at Baldwin. Then out into Baldwin Park to the house that has several topiary animals in the yard. They had the giraffe done up with lights and a Santa hat.

In Glendora, we passed by the topiary teddy bears. They were the first ones I saw, and they inspired this whole silly adventure. Then we stopped off at Classic Coffee in Glendora, where Carla got me the littlest eclair I’ve ever seen. It was good.

On the way back, we passed a few more small topiary animals in Glendora, and then a pair or horses in Monrovia. The last stop on the tour was the big rocking horse on Grand View Ave in Sierra Madre. We also saw what is likely the weirdest mailbox I’ve ever seen. Between that, the bass mailbox, and the catfish mailbox, maybe I can make up a weird-mailbox tour some day.

It was a nice ride.

40 miles.


Looks like another perfect day…

Filed under: — stan @ 7:56 pm

I had an unexpected free afternoon on Saturday. And it was a very nice day. So I went for a ride. As always, when I’m out riding on a nice winter’s day in L.A., I remember when I used to ride in the winter back in New Jersey. This is just so much more pleasant. And I remember my 6th grade teacher, Mr Wagner.

I did my usual route for when I have a free afternoon. Down to South Pasadena and up the hill to the water tower. Then back to the Rose Bowl for a few times around before going home through Altadena. It was a nice time.

26 miles.


As time goes by – again

Filed under: — stan @ 5:58 pm

Since nobody else showed up for the club bike ride last Sunday, we did the same route today. The only change I made was to adjust the route slightly so that we’d have a traffic light to cross 3rd St in Los Angeles.

It was cold and slightly threatening today, but otherwise it was a good day for riding.

We did the route, stopping at Angelus Rosedale Cemetery to pay respects to Dooley Wilson. Then we rode through Koreatown and Hancock Park to our snack stop at Noah’s Bagels in Larchmont Village.

On the way back, we felt a few raindrops, and we briefly considered bailing out and taking the train home, but the weather held, and we made it back without getting wet. And, as if on cue, just as I pulled up to my house, the sky opened up and the rain began. It was perfect timing.

42 miles.


As time goes by

Filed under: — stan @ 6:47 pm

It rained hard last night. The roads were still wet, and it was cold this morning. But it looked like it was going to be a good day, so I went riding. The rest of the regular Sunday group didn’t show, but I went anyway. The route was a new variation to get to Angelus Cemetery outside downtown L.A. to visit the grave of Dooley Wilson. We did this ride a couple of summers ago, so it was time again.

Just a bit outside downtown, I got a flat. I tried to locate the hole in the tube, but it was too noisy on that corner. But I felt around the inside of the tire and didn’t find anything. So I put in the spare tube and headed off. I got about half a mile and then I got another flat. This time I was sitting by the railroad tracks next to the L.A. River. It was a lot quieter and I was able to patch both tubes. Again I felt around the inside of the tire and came up empty. I started riding again, and I got as far as Union Station before I got yet another flat. This time I paid close attention to where the hole was, and I made a thorough inspection of the tire right there. Then I found a little sliver of glass. So once again I patched the tube and headed off. By now I had only one patch left, so I figured if it happened again, I’d just take the train home.

In downtown, I rode down Broadway and looked at some of the old theaters there. Then out on West Adams to Angelus. I stopped to pay respects to Mr. Wilson and to remember him singing “As Time Goes By”. Then I headed out, up into Koreatown and then over to Larchmont. Along the way I saw a store selling water and Internet access. Yeah, I guess those go together. I also saw that Snow White’s house on Larchmont Blvd is for sale.

I skipped the stop, since it was just me,and the three flat tires had thrown me off schedule. I tried a new route back, going east on some little streets to get over to Silver Lake and then up Benton Way. It was a lot quieter than the way we usually go.

When I got back to Pasadena, I saw the final preparations for the Rose Parade, which means it really is the end of the year. But with this ride, I made my goal of 4,000 miles for the year. So it was a nice ride.

42 miles.


The Great Wall of Los Angeles

Filed under: — stan @ 11:46 pm

Well, the rain finally stopped, and I got to go for a bike ride. I met up with some of the people from the regular Sunday group, and we headed out to the San Fernando Valley to see the Great Wall of Los Angeles. This is a mural painted on the side of a flood control channel that covers the entire span of Los Angeles history. It starts at the south end with giant slots and mammoths, and goes all the way to the present.

We headed out and rode straight west across Eagle Rock and Glendale into Burbank. Then we took Oxnard St out into the Valley. Along the way, we saw an impressive driveway gate. Nice and shiny. Then we got to the Wall. It’s pretty impressive.

Coming back, we took the bikeway along the Metro Orange Line. We stopped at Panera in North Hollywood for a snack. Then we headed home. We went across Glendale and then up to La Cañada. When we got back to Pasadena, we took Howard St across so we could pass by the house where Sirhan Sirhan grew up.

It was a nice ride.

48 miles.

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