Stan’s Obligatory Blog

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6/5/2022

The 40th Anniversary of E.T.

Filed under: — stan @ 3:41 pm

June of 1982 was 40 years ago, and that was when “E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial” was released. At the time, it was just a nice little movie, but over time, it’s taken it’s place in our culture. We’ve been to see Elliott’s house from the movie before, but not for some years. So it was time to go again.

I pared the route down a bit from last time to cut down on the amount of climbing. It was still an impressively steep hill to get up to the house, but we made it.

36 miles.

Route map and elevation profile.

5/29/2022

The Berlin Wall

Filed under: — stan @ 7:30 pm

Today’s bike club ride was a visit to the Berlin Wall on Wilshire Blvd, across the street. It’s there because of the Wende Museum, and it’s the largest piece of the Berlin Wall outside of Germany.

This morning, I read that the city of Los Angeles had arranged for the original artist to come back and repaint the Micheltorena Stairs, after they had been painted over by unknown vandals a few weeks ago. So we decided that we’d also take the short side trip to see them on the way out to the Berlin Wall. The stairs look good, and apparently the city has arranged for them to treated with an anti-graffitti coating so that if they are vandalized again, it can be washed off easily.

We made it out to the Berlin Wall and took in the sight. We also saw that the main building for the Los Angeles County Museum of Art across the street has been completely demolished. I’d heard that they were rebuilding it, but I didn’t realize that that meant it was going all the way to bare ground.

We went for snacks at the Curson Cafe in Park La Brea. We’ve been there before, and it’s nice sort-of-hidden place.

On the way back, we were about halfway back to downtown Los Angeles when I broke a spoke. Of course it was on the back wheel, and of course it was on the gear side. I took out my spoke wrench and managed to tune the wheel enough that it wasn’t dragging on the brake or the frame, and we continued on until we got downtown. Then I said ‘uncle’ and we got on Metro Rail to go back to Pasadena.

34 miles.

Route map and elevation profile

5/8/2022

Holiday Bowl

Filed under: — stan @ 2:35 pm

I was watching an episode of “Lost L.A.” the other day about how the Crenshaw neighborhood was a mixed Black and Japanese area after the Japanese came back to Los Angeles after the war.

www.youtube.com/watch?v=y9TyxQy57Q4

After seeing the part about Holiday Bowl, I figure that was going to have to be the Sunday bike ride for this weekend. So here we are. We rode out to Crenshaw to see the building that used to be Holiday Bowl.

45 miles.

Route map and elevation profile.

5/1/2022

The Los Angeles Riots

Filed under: — stan @ 2:28 pm

It’s been all over the news this week that this is the 30th anniversary of the 1992 Los Angeles Riots. So it seemed appropriate that we should take a ride back to where it all started, as it were. So we rode over the Forest Lawn to see Rodney King.

Afterward, we rode over to Burbank and Priscilla’s for drinks and snacks.

46 miles.

Route map and elevation profile

4/24/2022

This is why we can’t have nice things…

Filed under: — stan @ 9:13 pm

This week, I saw a news item about the Micheltorena Stairs in Silver Lake. This staircase had been painted with hearts and rainbows, and it’s on the list of ‘the most Instagrammed places in Los Angeles.’ We’ve been to see them before. But this week, the news was that the stairs had been painted-over.

This is why we can’t have nice things.

So I figured it was time for us to go visit again.

We used the mostly the same route as last time, just without the extra bit to West Hollywood to see the Pink Wall. When we got there, we could see that the designs painted on the stairs had been painted over. I walked up to the second set of stairs to see if they had been painted over, but apparently they had not. The article I read said that the city is talking to the artist who painted the stairs originally, and she may come back to re-do them. If so, we’ll have to come see them again.

After seeing the stairs, we made a quick stop to see the “Music Box” stairs, since they’re just a couple blocks away. Then we went to Noah’s Bagels in Larchmont for drinks and snacks. And then we headed home by way of downtown L.A.

42 miles.

Route map and elevation profile

4/17/2022

Dinosaur Safari

Filed under: — stan @ 7:55 pm

This past week, one of my friends sent me a link to Jurassic Empire because they were doing an event at Westminster Mall in Orange County. I had a look, and I saw that they were also doing it at the mall in West Covina, and I immediately said, “I know where where going this Sunday!” So today’s ride was a trip to go see some dinosaurs. The event was intended as a drive-through, so I figured we wouldn’t be able to ride through it, but I figured we’d be able to see the dinosaurs anyway.

The route went out to the east by a kind of roundabout route, just to pad it out. It was a nice day for riding. We made a big loop around before ending up in West Covina. The mall is right next to the plaza we went to see on the “Crazy Ex-Girlfriend” ride. The actual exhibit was fairly small, and it didn’t look like much in the morning light. I think the trick is that the animatronic dinosaurs have motion sensors in them, so there would be a fair amount of motion, sound and action if there were cars going through. But the dinosaurs looked good.

Afterward, we went across the street to have drinks and snacks at Panera in West Covina. Then we headed home by the most direct route.

43 miles

Route map and elevation profile

3/13/2022

The TV Hall of Fame

Filed under: — stan @ 2:51 pm

A few weeks ago, we went to see the Skirball Center’s exhibit about “Star Trek”. One of the stories in the exhibit was about how, without Lucille Ball, :”Star Trek” might never have come to be. So this week’s ride was a visit to the TV Hall of Fame in North Hollywood, since they have a garden of statues of people who are in the Hall, and of course, Lucille Ball is one of them.

The route took us down through Highland Park to the L.A. River, and then up the river trail to NoHo. The TV Hall of Fame garden is outside the TV Academy building on Lankershim. We looked around the garden for a bit. I saw they had a bust of Merv Griffin, and I was reminded of his headstone from the cemetery in Westwood.

Afterward, we rode to Groundwork Coffee in the old Pacific Electric depot building at Chandler and Lankershim. We had snacks and drinks, and then headed home across Glendale. The route took us up and over the big hill on Chevy Chase and Linda Vista. Then back down by the Rose Bowl and home from there.

48 miles.

Route map and elevation profile

3/6/2022

The Colorado Freeway

Filed under: — stan @ 1:43 pm

I’ve been reading a new book lately:

Freewaytopia: How Freeways Shaped Los Angeles

It tells the story of the planning and building of the freeway system in Los Angeles, and a big part of the story is about the freeways that were planned, some started, and then ultimately never built. One of these is the Colorado Freeway, which was planned and started in the early 1950s, but then never finished. So today’s bike club ride was a tour to visit the two stubs of the freeway that were built but never connected.

The first part of the freeway was built from the edge of Pasadena into Eagle Rock. Most of this section has been incorporated into the modern-day SR-134 freeway, with just the comically-long Colorado offramp hanging on as a reminder of what was once planned. So we rode down the hill out of Pasadena and then stopped to look at the remaining stub of freeway that’s still there.

Heading west to Glendale, I ran over something that sliced open my tire, which promptly exploded. I was able to patch it up to a sort-of-rideable condition with an emergency tire boot, so we continued on. Over near the Los Angeles River, we saw the 0.6-mile stub of freeway that was built off of the Golden State Freeway near Griffith Park. The giveaway about this freeway stub is the center divider. Until just recently, it was just a concrete curb divider, which was the style of the old freeways built in the ’50s. Caltrans recently upgraded it into a proper center barrier divider.

We went for snacks at Paradise Bakery in Glendale. And when we were ready to leave there, I saw that the cut in my tire was spreading, so it looked like the boot was working, but not going to last forever. So we looked and saw that Montrose Bike Shop in La Crescenta opened at 10, and was more-or-less along the way. So we rode up Verdugo to La Crescenta and I went and bought a new tire and tube. After all that, my bike was all right, but all of this took some time, so we cut off part of the rest of the route and just headed home.

35 miles.

Route map and elevation profile

2/27/2022

Marvin Gaye

Filed under: — stan @ 9:04 pm

Today’s bike club ride was a sightseeing ride to go see Marvin Gaye and Hattie McDaniel’s houses. The route was pretty straightforward, aside from one misstep when we came to a dead end at Pico Blvd. The map did not indicate that the street was fenced off, and even when streets are closed off like that, we usually can get through on the sidewalk.
But Wilton Pl at Pico was totally closed off. But we managed to go around, and we were able to find Marvin Gaye’s house. From there, just a short distance south we found Hattie McDaniel’s house. Then we rode back toward downtown on Adams. This was the first time we’ve ever taken that part of Adams in that direction, and it got mixed reviews.

We took Figueroa back up into downtown, and then through the 2nd St tunnel. The city put in a protected bike lane in the tunnel, so it wasn’t bad to ride. This is only the second time we’ve gone through the tunnel, and the first was during a CicLAvia when the street was closed to traffic.

We stopped for drinks and snacks at Chimney Coffee outside of downtown, and then headed home. It was a pleasant ride.

44 miles.

Route map and elevation profile.

2/6/2022

Biddy Mason

Filed under: — stan @ 8:45 pm

It’s Black History Month, so that led us to the theme for today’s bike club ride. Some years ago, I’d read an article about Biddy Mason, who had a really remarkable life story. Today’s bike ride was a visit to her grave at Evergreen Cemetery in East L.A., and then into downtown to see the memorial to her in the alley behind the buildings on Spring Street that stand on the property she owned back in the 1800s.

After that, we rode around and into Echo Park to see if the new Canyon Coffee location was open yet. It wasn’t, so we went a few blocks up the street to Valerie Confections. It had turned into a very nice day by then.

All told, it was a nice day and a nice ride.

42 miles.

Route map and elevation profile.

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