Stan’s Obligatory Blog

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9/9/2007

Green Olive

Filed under: — stan @ 3:59 pm

Route map

Today’s ride was a new route that Gene calls “Green Olive, but no Martini”. As you can see, we went on Green and Olive, so there you have it.

Before we even got out of Pasadena, JJ got a flat. So I got a picture for the Flat Tire Gallery.

We headed up into La Cañada, where I saw yet another mailbox with hot-rod flames. This makes five now. Pretty soon, I’ll have to make a special photo album just for them.

A little while later, in La Crescenta, I found yet another abandoned couch. So I got a picture for the Abandoned Couches Blog.

After lots of fun riding up and down the hills in La Crescenta, we headed down the hill into Glendale. Then we turned left and went up Mountain Ave. This street is aptly-named. It’s a good climb, and it just keeps on giving. Every time it looks like you’re at the top, there’s a little more. But there was a nice view of downtown Los Angeles from the top. It made a nice backdrop to the pictures of Ben and Gene cresting the hill.

We came down the hill and headed back into Pasadena. Our snack stop was at the Corner Bakery on Lake Ave. And then we headed home. It was a perfect day and a nice ride.

42 miles.
cycling

9/8/2007

No Tuna Redux

Filed under: — stan @ 8:37 pm

Route map

Today’s ride was Gene’s “No Tuna for Me” route. This is a ride through Burbank to Sun Valley, and then back by a route that completely avoids La Tuna Canyon. Not that La Tuna Canyon is a bad thing. Some of us like riding up four-mile hills. But Gene’s route is a nice quiet way through the horse territory of Los Angeles, so it’s pretty nice.

We headed out under perfect skies. It was another insufferably nice day in Southern California. We crossed Eagle Rock and into Glendale. That was where I saw the telephone pole that has apparently had a few signs posted on it over the years.

When we got up to Sun Valley, we saw a sight that should strike terror in just about anyone: a bus with “Student Driver” on the back. Apparently, there’s a bus driving school there. Who knew?

Heading up into the hills, we left the garbage dump and auto wrecking yards behind, and entered the place where all the houses have horses. We saw one house with what looked like a sculpture garden in the riding ring.

Coming out on Sunland Blvd, we crossed the 210 freeway and then turned off for the ride through Tujunga. We rode up Apperson, which is a nice quiet street. We thought we’d be able to see the Viking House we saw a few weeks ago. But it was not to be. We turned off on Tujunga Canyon Road to head down to Montrose. That was where we saw a couch apparently abandoned after a hard night of partying.

When we got to Montrose we stopped at Berolina Bakery. The eclair there was quite good, yet not quite as good as the ones at Paradise Bakery in Glendale.

Finally, we headed home by the usual route. When I got back to the park, I had 46 miles, so I rode around for a little bit more just because “50″ looks so nice on the bike computer display.

50 miles.
cycling

9/3/2007

Mad Dogs and Englishmen go to the beach

Filed under: — stan @ 8:07 pm

Route map

Noel Coward said “Mad dogs and Englishmen go out in the midday sun“. and I guess that includes me now, too. Today we all went to Orange County for the day. Cathy was going out for her birthday lunch with her sister. Lucinda was going to spend the afternoon with Grandma and Grandpa. So I brought my bike along to go for a ride. I figured it was bound to be cooler there, near the coast.

When we got there, it was in fact cooler. It was only about 100, rather than the 105 or so in Pasadena. Yup, that helped a lot. But my plan was to ride down to the beach at Dana Point. I figured it would probably be cooler there.

The first part of the ride felt like standing in front of a 15,000,000-watt blow dryer. The heat was searing my eyeballs. I stopped off for a picture at the Federal Building in Laguna Niguel, aka “The Ziggurat”. I went to a bike race there back in 1978. I watched, but didn’t ride, since there was no race for my category that day. But I remembered the building, so I wanted to see it again.

As I got closer to the beach, I could feel a difference as I crested each hill. It got, well, less hot. But it was still hot when I got close enough to see the ocean. It wasn’t until I got on Pacific Coast Highway that it actually started to feel cool.

I stopped at the park by the beach to refill my water bottle. I rode along the beach for a few miles. It was still hot by beach standards, but it felt good. I saw the southbound Amtrak Surfliner go by right before I turned around to head back.

When I turned to head home, I realized that I’d been having a tail wind all the way down there, but it wasn’t bad. It was a cool headwind, so it felt good. I headed back up into Dana Point, stopped at a liquor store to buy a bottle of orange juice, and then I turned north and headed up the hill away from the beach.

It got hot again as soon as I was out of sight of the beach. Then I got a flat. I was alone, so I had to fix the tire and take the picture myself.

The rest of the ride back was pretty uneventful. South Orange County is in many ways a bicycle paradise. Most of the major roads have bike lanes, and the drivers are generally pretty well-mannered. But Orange County is also Master-Planned and Sanitized for Your Protection. This is the part that I don’t care for. But there are aspects of it that are funny. Costco has its own traffic light and street sign.

By the time I got up to Irvine, I was out of water and looking for somewhere to get something more to drink. Then I noticed my bike making a weird noise. I looked and saw that I’d lost one of my front brake pads. I took this as a sign that it was time to stop. So I turned and headed straight for home. I found another liquor store and bought a quart-bottle of Gatorade and chugged it. Then I finished the ride.

It was a fun time, even with the seared eyeballs.

40 miles.
cycling

9/2/2007

Still hot as *^#$!

Filed under: — stan @ 9:39 am

Route map

It’s still hot as hell here, but that didn’t stop us from riding today. We just didn’t go quite as far as usual, and the route was pretty flat. There really wasn’t much remarkable about it, aside from the heat. Our snack stop was at Noah’s Bagels on South Lake Ave in Pasadena. And the rest of the ride was one of those ‘just noodling around going nowhere in particular’ rides. But it was still a fun time.

38 miles.
cycling

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.

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