Stan’s Obligatory Blog

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9/1/2007

Downtown L.A. and Griffith Park

Filed under: — stan @ 6:44 pm

Route map

It’s #$%^&! hot today. Today’s ride was into Downtown Los Angeles, and then up into Griffith Park.

We met at the Elks Lodge in Pasadena, and then headed out by way of Highland Park to get into downtown L.A. Then we headed straight west on Olympic to Western Ave, which took us up to Griffith Park. I found two photo opportunities on Western. The first was Stan’s Adult Superstore. I make a minor hobby of collecting pictures of businesses with my name on them. The second was Pink Elephant Liquor. Not quite as funny as Hammered Liquor, but it’s still pretty good.

Then we got to the park and headed up the hill. We stopped for a snack and drinks at The Trails in Fern Dell. It was very pleasant there in the shade. It couldn’t have been more than 95 degrees.

When we left there, we headed up the hill to see the newly reopened Griffith Observatory. It looks pretty good. You can hardly tell that they dug up the whole hillside to build a big building underground. We also got to see where the fire burned up the park last May.

Coming down the hill, we took Avocado St to get to Rowena so we could take the regular route home through Eagle Rock. When we were riding across the L.A. River, I noticed that my front tire was going soft. So we found a shady spot and I sat down to fix it. I put in the spare tube and pumped it up. Then, when I went to put the wheel back on the bike, I saw that the back tire had gone flat. So I had to take the tube out and patch it. But then we finally got back on the road.

It got hotter and hotter as we headed back to Pasadena. When I got home, the thermometer on my back porch said it was a nice even 106 (42C). But aside from that, it was a very pleasant ride.

41 miles.
cycling

8/26/2007

Another grave tour? Why I oughtta…

Filed under: — stan @ 5:05 pm

The route there:
http://maps.google.com

The route back:
http://maps.google.com

Today’s ride was a special one. Out to West L.A. to Hillside Memorial Park to visit Moe Howard’s grave.

We met at Victory Park and headed out. The route there was pretty easy, since it’s mostly downhill all the way to downtown L.A. On the way through downtown, we saw the new Caltrans building on 1st St. It looks like it was designed by the same architect as the Death Star.

On the south side of downtown, we saw the Metro Blue Line train heading to Long Beach. The Blue Line is one of the success stories for rail in Los Angeles. It’s about the only rail line that’s used by lots of people.

Next, we headed straight west on Adams. Then we cut south, crossing the old rail line that is going to be the Metro Expo Line someday. The old tracks are still there, but it’s pretty obvious that there hasn’t been a train on them in decades.

At La Cienega, we saw the little piece of freeway that they built back in the 1950s. It was supposed to be the first part of the Laurel Canyon Freeway, and it was supposed to run all the way up to North Hollywood.

We rode through Culver City and passed Fox Hills Mall. Then we were there. The guy at the gate didn’t want to let us in for some reason. I really have no idea what he thought we were going to do. If we’d been in a car he wouldn’t have even noticed us. But I explained that we were there to visit with Moe Howard, and I showed him the map and my handwritten directions. So he finally let us in.

We rode up to the top to look for Ruth Handler’s grave, but we weren’t able to find it. Then we headed over to see Vic Morrow. His death in the “Twilight Zone” movie was the big news story when I first moved to L.A. back in 1982.

Finally, we headed back down to find Moe. The directions I had were not very good. They said he was in the “Court of Love”, but he and his wife Helen were actually in the “Alcove of Love” right next to it. Anyway, we found Moe and took a moment to reflect on The Three Stooges. We’d visited Curly Howard’s grave, which makes no reference to his time with the Stooges. But we noticed that Moe’s was marked with his stage name. He lived long enough to see the Stooges become legend.

Leaving the cemetery, we headed back the way we came, turning north to get to Venice Blvd. We stopped at a Noah’s Bagels there, and then we headed for home. There was a big billboard at La Brea advertising “L.A. Ink“. There just aren’t enough ads that feature heavily tattooed women, so I enjoyed seeing this. We took Venice almost all the way back to downtown, and then turned north on Hoover. Then we got on Benton Way to go to Silver Lake. Along the street there, I saw no fewer than five abandoned couches: 1 2 3 4 5

Benton Way ends in a steep uphill pitch. Then we take a couple of small streets and come out on Silver Lake Blvd at the top of the hill by the dog park. From there, we took the regular route home on Eagle Rock, Ave 50 and Monterey Road.

It was a nice ride.

58 miles.
cycling

8/25/2007

Crown City Trainer

Filed under: — stan @ 7:51 pm

I did the Foothill Cycle Saturday ride today. The route was the “Crown City Trainer”, which was basically a ride to nowhere in particular, but going up and down every hill around. It was fun.

And I just learned that Google Maps has a nice new feature. In plotting a route, you can now grab the route line with the mouse to enter intermediate destinations. This has the effect of being able to force the route to go particular ways. So I did this to plot the route we took today:

The route as rendered in the new Google Maps

There wasn’t really anything remarkable on the ride, aside from two sets of abandoned couches just a short distance apart on Ave 66: 1 2

45 miles.
cycling

8/15/2007

Wednesday lunchtime ride

Filed under: — stan @ 7:52 pm

Route map

Since I was back in the office on Wednesday, I went for a bike ride with Vikki at lunchtime. She was decked out in her new pink Fat Cyclist jersey. It was hot, and we did the Arcadia loop, since that’s a relatively flat and easy ride. Nothing remarkable happened, aside from seeing a pair of deer on the road in Sierra Madre, and the fact that I got a flat right after that.

8/5/2007

Noodling #7

Filed under: — stan @ 8:21 pm

Route map

Today’s ride was number 7 in the “Noodling” series. It was a ride involving lots of hills and riding around to nowhere in particular. It was fun.

We started off going up into Altadena. That was where we saw the guy with the big fox-shaped sign advertising breakfast at Fox’s restaurant. Then we went across into La Cañada, and up and over the big hill by a roundabout route to come out on Chevy Chase. Then back up the hill to pass the school at the top. On the way down, we saw some deer on the side of the road, including a young buck.

Coming out on Linda Vista down by the Rose Bowl, we rode south a bit, and then headed up the big hill on Glenoaks. At the top, we continued on and came down on Patrician Way. This was novel, since we usually do this hill the other direction.

At the bottom, we were at Ave 64. One of the guys made an offhand comment about how he would have enjoyed riding up the hills more if he were 15 years younger. I think we all felt that way, and that was when I noticed the ‘Anti-Aging Institute’ across the street.

We went south on Ave 64 and then turned on La Loma to go up and over another hill. Then we went down the other side and turned to go over yet another hill. There was a part of the route marked ‘Extra Credit’ that involved going up Romney, which was a very steep hill. Then we rode Fortune Way, which took us to Easy St, which seemed entirely appropriate.

In Highland Park, I found a two-piece sectional couch abandoned on the side of the road. Then we rode down through the arroyo and across the freeway to come out on Monterey Road. From there, we headed straight across South Pasadena and San Marino, and then back into Pasadena for our snack stop at the Corner Bakery on South Lake Ave. The pigeons there are quite brazen, and walked right under our chairs to scavenge crumbs.

After the snack stop, we rode straight across the Caltech campus and then back to the park. When we got there, I had 34 miles, so I rode out to Arcadia with Newton just to add a little bit more.

It was a very nice ride.

44 miles.
cycling

7/18/2007

Lida lunchtime

Filed under: — stan @ 7:31 pm

Route map

Today’s lunchtime ride was the Lida loop again. We like the two-mile downhill at the end. That’s great on a hot summer day.

The only funny thing I saw was the house for sale with the big banner advertising “LOW PAYMENTS/PAGOS BAJOS”. You don’t see that often around here.

Right after that, I got a flat. So I sat down in the shade of a building and fixed it, while Eric took the picture for the Flat Tire Gallery.

Finally, it was time for the nice, long downhill back to the office. Along the way, I picked up two more abandoned couches.

It was a very nice ride, even with the flat tire.

7/5/2007

Lida Thursday

Filed under: — stan @ 9:46 pm

Route map

Since Wednesday was a holiday, I went riding at lunch today instead. Vikki couldn’t go, so Eric and I did the Lida Loop. It was hot and hazy, with a bit of a monsoon making it humid by SoCal standards. It was so hazy that we couldn’t see the mountains until we were in Altadena, only about 1/2 mile from them.

We didn’t see anything particularly amusing today, so I didn’t take any pictures. Still, it was a nice ride.

18 miles at lunch, 30 for the day.

6/30/2007

Toluca Lake on a Saturday morning

Filed under: — stan @ 8:12 pm

Route map

Today I did the Foothill Cycle Saturday ride, which was Gene’s old familiar Toluca Lake route. We started out from Victory Park in Pasadena. One of the guys who drove to the park had a funny bumper sticker on his truck with a different take on the classic ‘Ascent of Man‘ illustration.

Leaving the park, we passed an abandoned couch on Hill Ave, and I collected it for the Abandoned Couches Blog.

We rode across Eagle Rock and Glendale, and then through the L.A. Equestrian Center to get to Priscilla’s in Toluca Lake. We stopped there for snacks. While we were there, we saw the tallest dog any of us had ever seen.

After the snack stop, we headed back through Griffith Park and then down the L.A. River bike path. We got off at Fletcher and headed up through Atwater Village. That was where we saw the art-project van. We’ve seen this van before on another ride. I stopped for a picture, and then, when we were about to leave, Don got a flat. So I took the obligatory picture for the Flat Tire Gallery. Fixing the flat turned out to be an ordeal. He put in a new tube, but then when he used the little CO2 cartridge to inflate it, the tire blew off the rim. So Doug gave him a new tube and this time he used my pump to inflate it. But just as he got it up to pressure, the valve snapped. By this time, I’d found the hole in his original tube, so we patched it, and this time I did the pumping. I carefully pumped it up and this time it held, and then we were back on the road.

Right after the flat stop, we passed a second abandoned couch. Then we headed up Eagle Rock Blvd to El Paso and Ave 50. Then across the arroyo to Monterey Road, which took us across South Pasadena and San Marino. Then we went up Sierra Madre Blvd back to the park.

It was a very nice ride.

41 miles.
cycling

6/27/2007

Arcadia for lunch

Filed under: — stan @ 7:54 pm


Route map

Today’s lunchtime ride was the usual route through Arcadia. It’s summer now, and it’s starting to get hot here. But it’s still nice for riding.

I rode my restored 1977 racing bike today. It’s nice to get out and ride ‘old-school’ once in a while. I had Vikki take my picture, since it’s rare for me to actually be in any of my bike-riding pictures.

19 miles at lunch, 27 for the day.
cycling

6/24/2007

B is for Bagel

Filed under: — stan @ 7:42 pm

Route map

Today’s ride is a new version of an old route. Gene said he added a little more mileage because the last time we did it I had complained that it was too short. Heh.

It was a perfect day for riding. We headed out from Victory Park and out to Duarte. Ben had his “South Park” jersey on, with the big “you guys SUCK” on it. I thought that was pretty funny.

We took the San Gabriel River bike path up to the mouth of San Gabriel Canyon. Then we went south into Azusa. That was where we came to the railroad crossing just as the arms came down. I thought a train was coming, so I got my camera out. But it was just a track-inspection truck. Since I had the camera out, I took a picture of it anyway.

Heading back west, we crossed the San Gabriel River and then turned north. We did the little detour into Arcadia before turning east again, crossing back into Monrovia for our snack stop at Planet Cookies. The last time we were here, there was a crime scene investigation going on in front. This time there was no such excitement, which was fine with us.

After the snack stop, we took a fairly direct route home. When we got back to the park, I had 42 miles, so I rode around a little bit more just to get 50.

50 miles.
cycling

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