Stan’s Obligatory Blog

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12/4/2005

Sunday ride with one hill

Filed under: — stan @ 8:07 pm


Route map and photo locations

Today’s ride was one we haven’t done since last year. One of the roads on the route washed out in the rains last winter, so we’ve been avoiding it. But Gene recently heard that the road was closed to cars but passable by bike, so we went to do it today.

We started out going east to Arcadia and then south to Temple City. This was just to pad the ride out a bit, since it would have been very short if we just went and rode up the hill.

We made a loop back through San Marino and South Pasadena and then headed up into the San Rafael Hills. We rode past the burned-out mansion there. The mansion that burned is next door to the house that was used as “Bruce Wayne’s house” in the old “Batman” TV series. Original reports said that the Batman house had burned, but it later turned out to be the house next door.

Next, we headed down Linda Vista and passed the Rose Bowl. Then we turned up Inverness and started climbing. Right about here, we met up with Ben Bertiger, who was out riding with his parents. The decided to join us for the hill portion of the ride. Ben is the Southern California Junior 10-12 Track Omnium Champion. Track racers are not generally known for being good hill climbers, but he gave us all a run for our money. He may have been the first to the top, but I don’t know. He was well ahead of me.

On the way up the hill, we had to stop to portage the bikes past the fence where the road was closed. Then we stopped to admire the washed-out road. It was impressive. After that, there was one more fence to cross, and the the rest of the climb to the top.

At the top of the hill, we went down the other side and took Lida back down to the Rose Bowl. We passed the Bowl and then went into Old Town for a snack at Il Fornaio.

After the snack stop, we went past the Rose Bowl yet again, this time on Prospect St. Then we took Arroyo and Windsor Road up to Altadena Drive. From there it was a nice three-mile downhill back to the park.

46 miles
cycling

11/19/2005

Goodbye Norma Jeane

Filed under: — stan @ 10:51 pm

Route map and photo locations

Since I can’t do the regular Sunday ride this week, I contacted Gene and we arranged to do a ride today. The plan was to ride out to Westwood to visit Marilyn Monroe’s grave.

Today was another achingly beautiful Southern California day. It was clear. It was the kind of day when they take postcard pictures. It was amazing.

We started out going west and down through the arroyo, past the stables, and then up to York Ave. We took York to Eagle Rock Blvd, and then took that south. We crossed the L.A. River on Fletcher, then took Glendale Blvd and Rowena Ave into the Franklin Hills.

After crossing the Shakespeare Bridge we turned south and picked up Hollywood Boulevard. Riding a bike down Hollywood Blvd is always a unique experience. We passed the Thai hot dog. Then we got to the main tourist area and the Walk of Fame. Workers were putting up the holiday decorations over the street. We stopped where Marilyn’s star is, but they were digging up the sidewalk there and several of the stars were buried under a big pile of dirt. So we didn’t get to see her star.

Turning south, we took Hawthorn Ave for a bit and then went south some more to get to Fountain Ave. We took Fountain to its end and then went south one block to Holloway. Then we went up a little hill and got on the Sunset Strip. We passed all the usual landmarks there, and then crossed into Beverly Hills.

We rode halfway across Beverly Hills on Sunset, and then turned south a bit and took Elevado the rest of the way. Due to a miscalculation, we ended up on Wilshire, but we only had to ride on it for a block or so to get to Santa Monica Blvd.

Sadly, Santa Monica Blvd through Century City is being rebuilt. So it was kind of miserable to ride on. I immediately remembered why I used to always take Olympic instead. Fortunately, we only had to ride on it for about a mile. We passed the Los Angeles Mormon Temple with the nicely landscaped fault scarp in front of it. Then we turned off and went to visit my friend Kathleen at her house in Westwood.

We got some water and visited with Kathleen for a little bit and then got back on the road. We went north to the Westwood cemetery. It took us a while to find the entrance. We finally went down an alley between two high-rises and found a little gate that went in to the cemetery. Then it was pretty easy to find the crypt where Marilyn is buried.

Leaving the cemetery, we crossed Wilshire and went north into Holmby Hills. We passed Aaron Spelling’s modest little 56,000 square foot house. Then we crossed Sunset and took some small streets through the hills there to get to Benedict Canyon.

Benedict Canyon Road is one of the nicest roads in the Hollywood Hills. It has been repaved, and it has less traffic than most of the other roads. We took it all the way up to Mulholland Drive, and then we turned east for the trip home.

Mulholland is nice to ride from west to east, because it tends downhill in that direction. And the views today were fabulous. We saw some filming going on on one of the side streets. We also stopped for water at a park and had to admire the view of the Valley and also the view of Downtown L.A.

When we came out by the freeway in Cahuenga Pass, we took Cahuenga for just one short block and turned off onto one of the small streets to cut through the neighborhood there to get to Barham Blvd. Then it was the nice downhill and a turn on Forest Lawn to get to Griffith Park.

We rode through part of Griffith Park and then turned off to get to San Fernando Road. Then we took a route that Gene knew to take small streets across Glendale and Eagle Rock. Then the final test was to ride up the Colorado hill. That brought us back into Pasadena. We crossed the Colorado Bridge and then took Orange Grove back to the park.

65 miles
cycling

11/5/2005

Turnbull Canyon both ways

Filed under: — stan @ 11:09 pm

Route map and photo locations

Today’s ride was down to Whittier and then over Turnbull Canyon both ways. We were able to fully appreciate the climb in both directions.

I started out meeting Gene at Victory Park in Pasadena. We rode down to Temple City to Live Oak Park to meet the rest of the group. Starting out from Live Oak Park, we rode over to the Rio Hondo bike path, and then went south to San Gabriel Blvd, just above Whittier Narrows.

Getting on the San Gabriel River bike path, we went south some more to Pico Rivera. There we got off the bike path and took a small detour to Dork St. After that, we went west on Beverly Blvd to see the bridge over Rio Hondo that had caught fire earlier this week. Crews were busy tearing the bridge down in preparation for fixing it. We all found it amazing that a bridge for a major road was built of wood in this day and age.

Turning around, we headed east on Beverly Blvd into Whittier. We passed London Calling, which looked like a punk rock outfitter and seemed especially out of place in suburban Whittier.

Soon, the road turned up Turnbull Canyon and we started climbing in earnest. We saw lots of mountain bike riders on the fire roads in the canyon. At the top we stopped to regroup and take in the view.

Continuing down the other side, the road felt a lot like riding a steel roller coaster. It felt at times like the road was just suspended in the air, with sheer drops on both sides.

At the bottom, we took Los Altos and Vallecito to Camino del Sur and Colima Road. Our official snack stop was at McDonald’s at Colima and Hacienda. Most of us chose not actually eat anything there. I decided to tempt fate and have an Egg McMuffin. I thought about my old riding friend Tim who used to like to eat one of these in the middle of a 50-mile ride.

After that, we continued a bit on Colima and then took Stimson, Halliburton, Newton, and Joan streets to make a loop and get back to Turnbull Canyon Road. Then we started back up.

At the fire station there we saw a sign that said “Positively NO SMOKING” with a picture of a joint. I thought it was a bit funny that they would be so specific about it.

Near the stop, I stopped to pick up a flyer for a house for sale. The asking price was a cool $1.3 million. We stopped for one more regroup at the top. While we were waiting, I rode about halfway back down the hill to pick up the stragglers and then rode back up again. Remember, I like riding up hills. After everyone was at the top, we headed back down the west side of the hill.

At the bottom, we took Beverly to Workman Mill. At Peck we took a left and took that up to Rush St. That was where we passed through the sheet-metal-shop ghetto and saw the rocket sign at Kenny’s Sandblasting. We also saw Mike’s Liquors and Bait Shop, which seemed a bit out of place given that Southern California is not usually renowned for its fishing opportunities.

Getting back on the Rio Hondo bike path, we went back the way we came. Then we took El Monte Ave and its enormous bike lane up to Duarte Rd in Arcadia. At Holly we took a right to get up to Huntington and took that back to Sunset.

Turning north on Madre St we crossed back into Pasadena and took some small streets back to Sierra Madre Blvd and Victory Park.

62 miles
cycling

10/23/2005

Hollywood Hills and The T. Marvin Hatley Estate

Filed under: — stan @ 4:16 pm

Route map and photo locations

Today I got to play ride leader for the Sunday bike ride. I made up a route to go to the Hollywood Hills and pass by the former T. Marvin Hatley Estate. T. Marvin Hatley was a composer, and he did the music for a lot of movies from about 1930 to about 1950, and he wrote the Laurel and Hardy theme song. His house had a very large sign painted on the front wall that said, “The T. Marvin Hatley Estate”.

We started out taking the direct route west on Orange Grove, Colorado, and Yosemite across Eagle Rock. Then we turned and went down Eagle Rock Blvd. That was where we saw the church sign asking if we wanted to spend eternity “smoking or non-smoking”.

Turning off on Fletcher, we crossed the L.A. River into Los Feliz. A quick bit on Rowena and St. George brought us to Franklin Ave and the Shakespeare Bridge.

Continuing west on Franklin, we passed the über-creepy Scientology Celebrity Center and moved on into the center of Hollywood. There, we took a right on Cahuenga and headed up into the pass. The road was right next to the Hollywood Freeway, and it was loud, but there was very little traffic on the road with us, so it was all right.

At the top of the pass, we turned off and crossed the bridge to get to Mulholland Drive. From there, there are two ways to climb the hill. Mulholland is a long and gradual climb, and Woodrow Wilson is two steep sections with a flat bit in between. The general consenus is that Mulholland is the easier way to go. So we took a right there and headed up Woodrow Wilson.

When we got to the top of the hill, we stopped to catch our breath, and I had a look to see if I could remember which house was the former T. Marvin Hatley Estate. Since Mr. Hatley died in 1986, I figured that the new owners of the house would have probably removed the painted sign on the wall. In the end, I think I identified the house, but being that this was the first time I’d been up there in 15 years, my memory was a bit fuzzy. And being cross-eyed and seeing stars from the hill climb probably didn’t help.

A left turn on Mulholland took us back down to Cahuenga Pass. Along the way, we passed the Hollywood Bowl overlook, and we also got to dimly see the Hollywood sign through the fog. Then we crossed the bridge over the freeway. That was where I saw the signal-box graffiti about “So many things, too little poetry”.

Next, we headed up Wonder View toward Lake Hollywood. This is another stiff climb, but it’s worth it to avoid having to ride any more on Cahuenga. It’s quiet, and there is very little traffic. Also, at the top of the hill we got to see the bright-orange house. You don’t see one of those every day.

Heading down into Burbank, we passed Warner Bros and the somewhat shabby-looking Starlet Apartments. Then we stopped at Priscilla’s for a bagel and orange juice. They have very good fresh-squeezed orange juice there. And it’s definitely worth the extra $0.25 to get the large size. If they offered a “Super Size” I’d even get that.

After our snack stop, we came home by the standard route across Glenoaks and up Verdugo to La Cañada. Then down Descanso and Chevy Chase and back into Pasadena on Woodbury Road. Finally, we went down New York Drive and came back to the park.

49 miles.
cycling

10/15/2005

Laurel and Hardy and some T&A

Filed under: — stan @ 8:43 pm

Route map and photo locations

Since the weather forecast for Sunday involves rain, I thought that a ride today might be just the thing. Gene and Philippe were game, so we set out from the park at 8:30.

The plan was to do the grand tour of Laurel and Hardy, visiting both their grave sites and the staircase where they filmed “The Music Box“.

We started out going west through Eagle Rock and Glendale. When we got to Burbank, we took some small streets behind IKEA and then got on Burbank Blvd. Crossing the freeway, we turned off onto Victory Blvd. That was where we saw our first T&A. It was T&A Hobby Lobby. We decided that this was in the same class as S&M Liquor, and I may have to start a gallery of funny business names.

Continuing on, we got to Valhalla Memorial Park. I got out my portable GPS unit. I’d written down the coordinates of Ollie’s grave, but it turned out that I’d written them down in decimal degrees, and the GPS unit was displaying degrees, minutes, and seconds. Not having a calculator or the GPS unit manual handy, we were stuck. So I just looked for the low wall and clump of trees I’d seen in the Google Maps satellite view. Fortunately, I’m pretty good at seat-of-the-pants orienteering, and a peek over the wall brought us Ollie’s plaque, placed by his grave by the Sons of the Desert. We paid our respects to Ollie, reflecting on seeing his movies when we were kids, and also about how we was not very old when he died.

When we left, we noticed a set of four adjacent markers for four members of the Stiff family. Talk about having an unfortunate name.

Heading south through North Hollywood and Burbank, we passed the Warner Bros ‘ranch’ where they have their big outdoor sets. Then we went past the main Warner Bros studio and turned on Forest Lawn Dr.

At the main entrance to Forest Lawn, we turned and went up the hill. Just above the church we came to the terraced area where Stanley is buried. We had to walk our bikes up two sets of stairs to find him. We paid our respects to Stan, remarking on how they were among the pioneers of film comedy.

Leaving Forest Lawn, we went up the back side of Mt Hollywood. We rode up the long hill and then down the front side, passing through the Griffith Park tunnel and coming out by the Greek Theater. Continuing down the hill, we came into Silver Lake and Sunset Blvd.

We rode down Sunset, but somehow we missed the turnoff for Vendome St. Before we knew it, we were at Alvarado and we realized that we’d gone too far. Since it was getting late, we didn’t have time to go back, so seeing the stairs will have to wait for another time.

We took Glendale Blvd north to Fletcher, and then took Fletcher to Eagle Rock Blvd. That was where we saw the last bit of T&A. This time it was T&A Seafood.

Going north, we went around Occidental College and then took Meridian St across Eagle Rock. At the end, we took Ave 64 down to York and took a left to go over the bridge to South Pasadena. Then we took Monterey Road across San Marino to Sierra Madre Blvd. Then it was straight north on Sierra Madre back to the park.

52 miles
cycling

9/25/2005

Mt Washington and Self-Realization

Filed under: — stan @ 8:36 pm

Route map and photo locations

Today’s ride was to Mt Washington in Los Angeles. This is a little hill neighborhood just northeast of Downtown.

We started out heading up the hill into Altadena. Then we took Woodbury Road across to La Cañada and went up Chevy Chase and Descanso. Then it was down Hospital Hill to Montrose and then the long downhill on Verdugo Blvd.

Verdugo took us all the way down into Glassell Park and Eagle Rock Blvd. We took a right there and took Eagle Rock down the Cypress Park. There wasn’t a whole lot of interesting stuff to take pictures of along the way. And even where there was something, I was too slow in getting the camera out. So I missed a picture of the sign advertising the “Happy Dolling Doll Show”, among others.

When we got down almost to the L.A. River, we got on Figueroa St, which was newly repaved. That was nice. We took that north a bit and then turned up Mt Washington. The street got very narrow and winding, which was a nice change of pace from the big streets we’d been riding on. We climbed all the way up the hill, and at the top, we stopped by the gates of Paramahansa Yogananda’s Self-Realization Fellowship. We paused to meditate briefly before heading down the other side of the hill.

At the bottom of the hill, we headed north some more, back into South Pasadena. There we stopped at a little cafe and bakery. They had a sign advertising “Pastries Fresh Daily”, but then I noticed that they had a jar of Twinkies next to the biscotti. I asked them about this, and they said that they usually also had Ding Dongs, adding that they were actually pretty popular. Hmm. I had a bagel.

Leaving the cafe, we headed east across San Marino. Newton had ridden in from Covina, so we decided to follow him part way back. We took Colorado across Arcadia, and then went one block south to Santa Clara St, which is a nice quiet street that goes across Arcadia and Monrovia. That was where we saw the hot rod parked on the side of the road. We all agreed that it looked like it would probably be a fun car, but that you’d need to wear earplugs while driving it.

When we got to Duarte and the Nun Crossing sign it was time to turn around. Philippe and I turned around and retraced our route back to Pasadena, pausing only briefly to snap a picture of the AMME sign. Now that we’ve seen it, it seems obvious that there would be a group such as the “Worldwide Association of Mexicans Abroad”, but who knew it would be in a strip mall in Monrovia?.

The last bit of the ride was back through Sierra Madre. Then I was home.

52 miles.
cycling

9/18/2005

Riding over Mt. Hollywood

Filed under: — stan @ 8:47 pm

Route map and photo locations

Today’s ride was the ‘Greek Theater’ route through Griffith Park, but today we did it in the opposite way. We rode through the park from north to south so as to do the uphill part on the rough part of the road.

We started out going through Eagle Rock and Highland Park. On Figueroa St. we saw what may have been a bit of a student film. There was a guy with a camera filming a car pulling away from the curb. I snapped a picture of him.

When we got to the railroad crossing, there was a train coming. As the train came across the road, it blew its horn. I have a duck call that’s louder than that train horn. I’ve read that the train horns are toned down due to complaints from people in South Pasadena, but I don’t know how the horn is supposed to warn people that a train is coming if it’s not loud enough to hear.

When we got down by the L.A. River we had to take a short detour, but we made it back onto the proper bridge to cross the river and get on Riverside Drive. And that was where I noticed that my tire was going flat. I was hoping it would hold out long enough to make it to the park, but that didn’t happen. I had to stop and fix it, and this makes my fourth appearance in the Flat Tire Gallery.

After the tire repair, we continued on, entering Griffith Park. We rode through the park and up Crystal Springs Road, past the golf course. Then we turned and went up the road to Mt. Hollywood. This road through the park has been closed to cars for years, and it’s not been maintained well. It’s got lots of holes and bumps and is generally not that good to ride on. But there are no cars. So it is Good. We headed up the hill. It’s actually a pretty nice climb. You’d never guess that you’re in the middle of the Los Angeles megalopolis when you’re riding up that road.

After we crested the hill, we started down the Hollywood side of the hill. There was a little sign on the side of the road warning us of filming ahead, and of possible delays. When we got there, we saw the camera trucks and dressing room trucks, but I guess they weren’t working on Sunday morning. We also saw a sign that I guess was a prop for the movie. It said something about a ferry, and we know that there aren’t any ferries anywhere near Griffith Park.

Coming down the hill, we went through the short tunnel, and then down the hill past the Greek Theater. Then we took Hillhurst down to Sunset, turning left and taking Sunset all the way into Downtown. That was where we passed the art-project van parked on the side of the road.

When we got downtown, we stopped for a snack at Philippe’s, which is just north of Downtown, on the edge of Chinatown.

After the snack stop, we continued north on Main Street, passing by the corn field in the old rail yard. Then we took a short detour to see the winery. Most people are surprised to learn that there is a winery in the industrial district right outside downtown Los Angeles.

Crossing the river again, we continued on Main Street, passing S&M Liquor. Of course this was a photo opportunity that I couldn’t pass up. After that, we got on Mission Road, which later merged into Huntington Drive. We took Huntington all the way back to San Marino. Then we turned left on Sierra Madre Blvd to get back to Pasadena.

44 miles
cycling

8/7/2005

Glendale hills

Filed under: — stan @ 10:58 pm

Route map and photo locations

Today’s ride was the hilly Glendale route that Gene came up with a few months ago. It’s a nice ride, but I’m still tired from yesterday’s ride, so the prospect of more hills was not as exciting as it usually is.

We started out going straight up Altadena Drive, which is a pretty good hill in itself. At the top, we came down Windsor Rd across the arroyo from JPL, and then we headed up into La Cañada. We passed the old fire station house and I noticed that there were little flame sculptures along the wall, so I got a picture.

At the top of the hill, we rode through the section where the road is closed due to a small landslide last winter. Then we went down the other side into Glendale.

From there, we went into the hill areas of Glendale on the south face of the Verdugo Hills. This area looks and feels just like the Hollywood Hills, but the roads are better. I guess Glendale has more money than Los Angeles for street repair. It was on one of these little roads back in a canyon where Tommy got a flat and became the latest entry in the Flat Tire Gallery.

Coming down out of the hills, we rode a bit along the base of the hills, and then down to Glenoaks Blvd. We took Glenoaks back to Paradise Bakery, where we stopped for a snack.

While we were sitting there, we noticed that Steve and Tommy were missing. They had been with us at the last turn, which was just a couple of miles back. We were just about to go look for them when they rode up and said that Tommy had had a second flat. Of course I was mortified that I’d missed being there to take a picture.

After the stop, we headed back across Glendale and up Chevy Chase. Then we turned off on Linda Vista and rode up over the hill. We stopped briefly at the top, since there was a bit of shade there. Then we rode down the hill to the Rose Bowl. At the Bowl, we took Washington and Lincoln back to Orange Grove, and then back to the park.

42 miles
cycling

8/6/2005

Carbon Canyon

Filed under: — stan @ 4:14 pm

Route map and links to the photos

Back in my racing days at Claremont, Carbon Canyon was one of my favorite rides. From Claremont, it was a 42 mile loop with a nice hill on the Chino side of the canyon. So for old times’ sake, I wanted to do it again. I made up a route from Pasadena and Gene and I went and did it today.

We started out going east and south through Temple City and Azusa, and then went south through Covina. We passed by the spot where I got a flat tire last Sunday. Then we turned on Grand Ave to head south through Diamond Bar to Chino Hills. Now it turns out that Chino Hills is called that for a reason. Who knew? There were three big hills we had to go over to get to Carbon Canyon. At Valley Blvd they were doing construction, so it was bit of a challenge to get through. When we crossed the line into Chino Hills, I thought we were on Mars. Or at least the place where JPL tests its Mars Rovers. It was quite bleak-looking. We stopped at a park for some water, since it was already hot, and I’d finished all the water I started with.

Finally, we got to Carbon Canyon Road. The hill was nice, just like I remembered it. We rode up to the crest. At the top, we stopped for a minute to marvel at one apparently paranoid homeowner’s sign and take in the view.

When we started down, I saw what looked very much like a rattlesnake on the side of the road. I’d never seen a rattlesnake outside of the reptile house at the L.A. Zoo, so I doubled back to take a picture. It wasn’t moving, but it wasn’t obviously run over, so it may have been alive. I don’t know, and I didn’t poke it with a stick to find out.

Continuing down the canyon, we passed The Party House. Then we crossed the county line into The O.C. Coming back out into civilization in Brea, we saw two girls on horseback and oil wells.

After a quick ride through Brea, we turned on to Brea Canyon Road to start back. We stopped at an oil company and looked at the historical marker where Gaspar de Portolà camped in 1769. We also saw some oil derricks up on the canyon walls. We continued on through the canyon.

We climbed up out of the canyon and back into West Covina. We stopped again at another park to refill our water bottles with tepid water from a fountain. Then we got on Amar Road.

At Amar and Hacienda, we stopped at The Donut Hole. This is the big drive-through (or ride through) donut shop. I got one chocolate-frosted raised donut in honor of the occasion. Then we stopped at a 7-11 so Gene could get a drink and we could put ice in our water bottles.

Heading north from there, we stopped off in Baldwin Park we saw a Metrolink track inspection truck, and also the archway with the somewhat controversial writing on it.

Then, we continued on up to Lower Azusa Road and over the El Monte Ave and its nice big bike lane.

We stopped one more time in Arcadia to get water at the high school. Then we rode the last bit back home. It was a very nice ride.

75 miles
cycling

8/4/2005

More adventures of the reluctant bachelor

Filed under: — stan @ 10:17 pm

Route map and photo locations

I went for another ride today after work. This time I went west to the Rose Bowl. There is a big semi-organized group ride there every Tuesday and Thursday. It’s sort of a practice race, and it’s quite the sort of thing I would have done back in my racing days. But I’m no longer young, strong, and fearless, so I’m not interested in doing it any more. When we first moved to Pasadena in 1995, I did it a few times just to see what it felt like to be riding fast in a racing pack again, but after some guy who didn’t know what he was doing knocked me down and sent me to the hospital, I decided not to do it again.

I rode down to the Rose Bowl on Orange Grove, passing the Pasadena Fish Market. “U Buy, We Fry”. When I got there, I did one lap around the Bowl. Then I went up the little hill to Linda Vista and took that up to the bridge over the freeway below JPL. Then I took Woodbury Rd. back across Pasadena. That was where I passed the “Apartments for Rent” sign. Nothing says “home” like concertina wire.

16 miles
cycling

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