Stan’s Obligatory Blog

11/24/2006

Post-turkey bike ride

Filed under: — stan @ 2:49 pm

Since I missed work this week due to the holiday and also Lucinda and Cathy being sick, I needed to go in to the office this morning to water my plants. So I rode down there to take care of them, and then I came home the long way.

After I left the office, I did a variation on the Water Tower Ride. I rode down through San Marino and South Pasadena, and then up the hill to the water tower.

Coming down off the hill, I crossed the railroad tracks and went down into the arroyo. Then up La Loma and then up Patrician Way up the big hill. After that, I rode down the other side on Glenoaks and took Linda Vista up to Devil’s Gate Dam and then back into Pasadena.

On Ventura St in Altadena, I saw an organ on the side of the road. It wasn’t a couch, so I can’t post it on the Abandoned Couches Blog, but it’s certainly not something that you usually see abandoned on the side of the road.

I rode back across Altadena on Mendocino, and then went home by way of some little side streets. Along the way, I passed the Bunny Museum with its big topiary rabbit in the front yard. Again, that’s not something you see every day.

25 miles.
cycling

11/19/2006

Fern Dell

Filed under: — stan @ 7:23 pm

Route map and photo locations

Today’s ride was a new route. Some months ago, Gene and I had ridden down Western Canyon in Griffith Park. There is a little snack shop there, and we thought it looked interesting. Recently, Vikki was on a ride that stopped there, and she said it was quite good. So it was the destination for today’s ride. It was a perfect November day in Southern California. Blue skies, sunny, and warm.

We started out going directly west on Orange Grove, and then down into the arroyo to get to La Loma. Then we rode up and over the hills to get to Figueroa in Eagle Rock. We took Figueroa all the way down to the L.A. River and Riverside Drive.

We took a short side trip on Oros St to see if the tiniest house in L.A. had sold. The sign was gone, and it looked like someone was living there. We all marveled at how small the house was.

Continuing on, we rode into Griffith Park. We saw the beginnings of the Festival of Lights before turning and heading up the hill by the golf course. Then we got on Mt Hollywood Drive for the trip up and over the hill.

At the crest, we regrouped and then headed down the other side. A right turn on Western Canyon brought us down the hill into Fern Dell and The Trails. The menu is kind of limited, but everything was good.

After the stop, we split into two groups. Several people didn’t feel like climbing the hill back up to the observatory, so they continued down the hill to take a flatter route home. The rest of us headed back up Western Canyon. There’s not much traffic on that road, but right now, a good bit of it consists of the shuttle buses taking people up to the observatory. At the top, we rode through the tunnel and then down the hill, passing the Greek Theater.

We missed a turn and ended up on Hillhurst, but we took a left on Avocado to get back on the route. Then we took Griffith Park Blvd down into Silver Lake.

The streets in Silver Lake were most likely laid out on a map by people who had no idea of the actual terrain there. So when we got to Effie St, we turned and were suddenly faced with a hill that looked like a wall. I immediately said ‘uncle’ and shifted to my lowest gear. Newton said that the grade was around 20% according to his fancy bike computer. Gene was off with the other group, but if he’d been there, I’m sure he would have said, “but it looked flat on the map!”

We continued on, taking some more little streets though Silver Lake, finally coming out on the west side of the reservoir. Then we went left and that brought us back to Rowena and Glendale Blvd.

Taking Glendale north, it turned into Brand, and we rode into Glendale. Then we went right on Chevy Chase and right again on Adams, which brought us to another steep hill. At this point we were all wondering what posessed Gene to make up this route.

Coming down the other side, we found ourselves on York, which we took for a while before going left on Ellenwood. This brought us up through Eagle Rock to Yosemite. There we went right and rode back across Eagle Rock to get to La Loma and back into Pasadena. Along the way, I picked up a new couch for the Abandoned Couches Blog.

At La Loma, we rode back up and over the same hill we’d started out on, coming out down in the arroyo. Then we got on Orange Grove for the ride back to the park. Along the way, I saw the first bleachers for the Rose Parade, which means that the holidays are a-comin’.

It was a nice, ride, even if it turned out to be much harder than we’d expected.

50 miles
cycling

11/12/2006

Santiago Canyon

Filed under: — stan @ 10:18 pm

Route map and photo locations

Today was Aunt Maggi’s “Girls’ Party”. Cathy usually takes Lucinda down there for the day, but because she is out of town, I had to do it. I was left with the afternoon to find something to do. So I brought my bike along and went for a ride.

I got the route from Hugo, who lives in the area and used to work at my office. I modified his route a bit to shave off a couple of miles, and I did it backwards. I thought this would work out better, since I knew I’d be finishing up near sunset, and I didn’t want to be riding down Jeffrey in Irvine into the setting sun.

I started out going east on Jeffrey, towards the mountains. There was a good view of Saddleback from the start. Along the way, I saw strawberry fields, which still looks kind of odd. I’m not used to the idea that there is still farming going on in the depths of suburbia.

A little bit farther along, I saw a campaign sign for Kang, who was running for City Council. Of course, my first thought was, “don’t blame me, I voted for Kodos!

On Jamboree Road, I saw a tumbleweed. We don’t see them much up this way, but it shows just how close the suburbs come to wilderness.

Turning up Santiago Canyon Road, there was a sign warning of fire danger. The canyon is quite scenic, and the road was pretty nice, even if there is a fair amount of traffic on it. There is a big bike lane the whole way, so it was pretty good.

A bit farther into the canyon, I saw a sign of the Nanny State at work. There was a sign that said “Concrete Barrier Ahead”. The barrier was in plain sight about 50 feet behind it. Duh. Glad they told me that.

I rode for a bit with a guy named Mike, who told me about how his job requires him to travel a lot, and how he has a bike stashed with friends in every city he goes to.

At the end of the canyon, I came out in Lake Forest. The bike lane split off onto a separate path, which was pretty nice. I got a view of Saddleback Church, which certainly deserves the ‘mega-church’ label. This is Rick “Purpose-Driven Life” Warren’s place. It had its own traffic light, and the entrance looked like the entrance to a stadium.

I followed the path a while longer, until it started wandering away from El Toro Road. Then I got off and took El Toro down into Lake Forest.

A right on Muirlands got me going north again. There were some more fields, complete with a ‘Tractor Crossing’ sign, which I collected for the Animal Crossing Signs gallery.

Muirlands turned into Barranca and brought me back into Irvine. By now, the shadows were getting long, and it was time to be done.

It was a very pleasant ride.

37 miles.
cycling

11/11/2006

Chantry Flat

Filed under: — stan @ 11:44 am

Cathy is out of town on a trip, and Lucinda had a sleep-over at her friend’s house, so I went for a little ride this morning.

I rode out through Arcadia and Monrovia as far as Mountain Ave. Then on the way back, I went up Santa Anita to Chantry Flat. The road up there was closed for a long time after the winter rains and landslides last year, and it’s been over a year since I was up there. But it’s still a nice four-mile hill, so it’s great fun.

The road is mostly repaired. There was just one spot near the top where it was only one lane due to the outside lane threatening to fall off the mountain. The rest of the road was really quite nice. The pavement was smooth and clean, which is one benefit of having cars around. Mountain roads that are totally closed to traffic tend to be kind of wretched to ride on.

Overall, it was a fun little ride. Now I have to go grocery shopping, since I promised Lucinda I’d make Chinese food for dinner.

25 miles
cycling

11/5/2006

Revised South Lake Ride

Filed under: — stan @ 8:10 pm

Today’s ride was a revised version of Gene’s “South Lake” route. He added some more miles to it because the last time we did it, I apparently said something in my writeup to the effect of ‘it was too short’. It was a perfect day for a ride, clear, sunny and warm.

We had a big group today. One of the biggest ever for the Sunday Morning Ride. We rode east through Monrovia and Duarte to the Santa Fe Dam bike path. Then we took the bike path down to Lower Azusa Road. Usually we have to ride to the south side of the road and then cross to go west, but this time the gate was open on the north side. This is the first time I’ve seen that gate open.

At El Monte, I saw the Surprise Chinese Restaurant. For some reason, I thought that was funny, so I took a picture. Then we continued on up to Longden and then west through San Gabriel.

At San Marino Ave, there was some confusion about which way to go. Gene’s directions didn’t say which way to turn, so we went right. Then we realized that we should have gone left. This was the beginning of the added portion, which was a big loop through Alhambra. It was all right, and it added about five miles to the ride. So I wasn’t complaining.

Coming back up into South Pasadena, I saw a campaign lawn sign for Stephen Sham, who is running for City Council in Alhambra. I don’t know how hard it is to get people to vote for a Sham, but his sign said that he favors finishing the 710 freeway, so if I lived in Alhambra, I’d vote for him.

When we got back into Pasadena, we rode up El Molino. That was where I got a flat. I don’t know what I ran over, but the tire went flat immediately. So I stopped to fix it, and Vikki took the obligatory picture for the Flat Tire Gallery.

After the fixing the flat, I saw a couch on the side of the road, so I picked it up for the Abandoned Couches Blog.

The snack stop was at the Corner Bakery on South Lake, which is why Gene calls this the “South Lake” ride. The line there was out the door, and I only wanted a drink, so I walked upstairs Trader Joe’s and got a quart of orange juice. While we were sitting there, Vikki showed us her special socks. They are supposedly to prevent blisters, but she said that she just found them annoying.

After the stop, we rode across Caltech and down San Pasqual. At this point, we all headed for home by different routes. Newton had ridden in from West Covina, so I decided to follow him a bit and go home by way of Arcadia. And I saw a pair of leather couches there.

It was a nice ride.

52 miles.
cycling

11/1/2006

Lunchtime bike ride

Filed under: — stan @ 6:39 pm

Route map and photo locations

Today at lunchtime we did the Lida ride again. It was a perfect fall day. The sun was warm, the air was cool. Perfect for riding.

When we passed the Rose Bowl, we found Parkview St closed. I had thought that when they closed it last weekend it was just for the game, but it looked like they were doing some actual work on the street, and it was completely blocked off. So we had to take Salvia Canyon up the hill instead.

On the way Lida, I saw that the coyote paw that we’d seen before was still there. It looked like something had been chewing on it since last time, but the end of the paw was still intact.

Aside from that, there really wasn’t anything remarkable about this ride. But it was fun anyway.

19 miles at lunch, 27 for the day.
cycling

10/29/2006

Grave Tour for Halloween

Filed under: — stan @ 9:56 pm

Route map and photo locations

Since this is the weekend before Halloween, I thought it might be fun to do a theme ride today. My first idea was to ride out to visit Bela Lugosi’s grave, but that turned out to be about a 60-mile round trip from Pasadena, so that was too long for a Sunday ride. So instead, we visited Hollywood Forever and Forest Lawn to visit a few music legends.

We rode west from Victory Park, taking Orange Grove, Colorado, and Yosemite to get to Eagle Rock Blvd. Then we took a left and headed south, turning right on Ave 36 to get across the L.A. River and into Silver Lake. Then we crossed the Shakespeare Bridge and took Franklin Ave into Hollywood.

Just before we got to the turn at Bronson, we saw a couch on the side of the road. So I stopped and collected it for the Abandoned Couches Blog.

At Bronson, there was a cutout bird hanging from the wires overhead. I’d read recently that there is someone going around hanging up these little cutout birds above streets in Hollywood. Then we turned and took Bronson south to get to Hollywood Forever Cemetery.

The guard at the gate was very unpleasant, and he insisted that we were not allowed to ride our bikes into the cemetery. This seemed a bit odd, since we’ve been there many times before and never had a problem. Normally, the people at the gate are very pleasant and helpful. But they were having some special events there this weekend, so maybe that was why they had a guard there.

So we agreed to walk our bikes into the cemetery. John, Jon and I all walked in. The rest of the group decided to just continue the ride. We walked in, going back to the pond to find Bianca Halstead’s grave. She was the singer and bass player for Betty Blowtorch. They were just on the verge of making it big in 2001 when Bianca died in a car accident after a show in New Orleans. It’s a sad story, but it’s pretty clear from her grave that she still has a lot of fans who miss her.

Just a few feet away was Dee Dee Ramone’s grave. We’d been there to see it before, but this was the first time I’d noticed lipstick kisses on his stone. Again, it’s plain that he still has fans who miss him.

Leaving Hollywood Forever, we retraced our steps back up to Franklin, and then headed up Beachwood toward the Hollywood sign. The route took us up a very steep hill to just below the sign, and then down the other side and past Lake Hollywood. Then we rode down into Burbank to Priscilla’s for a bagel. And after riding up that hill, we really appreciated the bagel.

After the snack stop, we rode to Forest Lawn. We entered the cemetery and rode to the Courts of Remembrance. There, we saw the graves of Bette Davis and Liberace. Not at the same time, though. Bette is at the front of the building, and Liberace is buried with his mother and brother near the back.

Leaving Forest Lawn, we rode back across Glendale, going up the big hill on Chevy Chase and Linda Vista. There was about a 50-foot stretch of road that was closed for no immediately apparent reason. So we portaged the bikes over the barricades and kept riding. Then we rode down Lida and went around the Rose Bowl. Then we took Orange Grove back to the park, picking up a couch near Fair Oaks and another near Lake.

It was a very pleasant ride.

50 miles.
cycling

10/26/2006

Water Tower Redux

Filed under: — stan @ 8:04 pm

Route map and photo locations

Today’s lunchtime ride was the last before the time change. Not that this matters for riding at mid-day, but the early sunsets may make it impossible for me to ride my road bike to work for a while. So we made the best of it today. And there were even three of us along for the ride.

It was a perfect fall day. Erik, Vikki and I met outside and we decided to do the Water Tower ride again. So we headed south, through San Marino.

The climb up to the water tower was nice as always. Erik kind of left us behind on the bigger hills. But that was all right.

When we got to Colorado, we saw a hawk flying circles over the freeway. This was a bit odd, but still interesting. Then we turned and rode up the big hill on Patrician Way.

Coming down the other side of the hill, we rode down to the Rose Bowl. It looked like they were getting ready for some big event. There was a truck parked there with rolls of temporary fencing ready to be put up.

After passing the Rose Bowl, we rode up to Orange Grove and then back to the office on Green St. Along the way, I was trying to explain to Vikki and Erik how to do a track stand on a road bike, but I don’t think I was explaining it all that well. Still, it was a very pleasant ride.

18 miles at lunch, 26 for the day.
cycling

10/24/2006

Water Tower

Filed under: — stan @ 7:50 pm

Route map

Today’s lunchtime ride was a new route. Down to South Pasadena, up the hill, and around the water tower. Seemed like a nice change.

We rode straight south from the office, through San Marino. We passed Lacy Park, going down the scarp of the Raymond Fault. Then we turned right and took Monterey Road through South Pasadena. At Via Del Rey, we turned left and rode up the hill, passing by the water tower at the top. Then we rode back down the hill and up to Mission to get to Arroyo.

A left turn on La Loma crossed the arroyo and went up a nice short hill. Then we took some small streets through the hills there to get to Colorado and Patrician Way. This was a very nice climb, followed by a winding descent down to Linda Vista. Then we rode around the Rose Bowl and took Green St back across Pasadena to the office.

It was a very nice ride, even if there were no sights remarkable enough for pictures.

18 miles at lunch, 26 for the day.

10/22/2006

San Dimas and West Covina

Filed under: — stan @ 5:30 pm

After yesterday’s debacle, today’s ride was very pleasant. Even if we didn’t really go anywhere in particular.

We started out from Victory Park and basically headed straight east all the way out to Azusa. Then we went south a bit and then east some more to Covina. It was almost completely flat, and with a slight headwind.

In Covina, we headed south and then dipped into San Dimas for a bit. We went up a couple of nice hills, and then started back. There was supposed to be a little ‘extra credit’ detour that took in a couple more hills, but we all missed the turnoff for that. Dunno why.

The snack stop was at Panera in West Covina. There was a very long line, but the bagels were good. Afterward, we took a group picture, since five of us were wearing our custom Sunday Morning Ride jerseys that Newton designed. Of course, since he picked the colors, he’s the one in the picture whose helmet matches.

The route back was pretty straightforward. Through Baldwin Park into El Monte. That was where I got the picture of the “PAINLESS DENTAL” sign with the fine print, “Our goal is“. Then up to Arcadia and back into Pasadena. We saw some peacocks in Arcadia.

It was a very nice ride.

46 miles.
cycling

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