Stan’s Obligatory Blog

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Filed under: — stan @ 9:00 pm

Route map and photo locations

Today’s lunchtime ride was a sightseeing trip over to Glendale. I saw a picture on Franklin Avenue of what has to be the best liquor-store-name ever: Hammered Liquor. So this was our destination for today.

We started out going up to Union St and taking that through Old Town, and then Colorado across the bridge and down into Eagle Rock. A right on Figueroa brought us up the hill, where we took the quiet way across Eagle Rock.

Coming back down onto the busy streets, we took Wilson over to Chevy Chase, and then right on Maple. And then, at the corner of Maple and Glendale, there it was:

Hammered Liquor

Hammered Liquor Store. I got out my camera and snapped a couple of pictures.

Continuing on, we made a little loop through Glendale and headed back towards Eagle Rock. We had to ride on Colorado for a few blocks to get across the 2 freeway, but then we took Yosemite across to Figueroa.

On the way back, we tried a new route variation. Instead of going up the long hill on Colorado, or up the steep hill on La Loma, we took a left on Brixton. The map showed that this came out at the top of the Colorado hill, but gave no indication of what the trip would be like. It turned out to be a nice quiet residential street. But the Law of Conservation of Hills required that we climb a bit. Instead of the long Colorado hill, we had two short, but very steep pitches. I don’t know how steep they were, but I almost had to shift out of my 39×17. But it was nice to come out at the top of the big hill.

When we crossed back over the bridge, I took a couple more pictures. Then the last part of the ride was back across Pasadena on Green St and then back to the office.

18 miles at lunch, 27 for the day.


A ride to Bonelli Park

Filed under: — stan @ 8:29 pm

Route map and photo locations

Today’s ride was out to Bonelli Park in San Dimas. There was a big women’s triathlon going on there, and we thought we might get to see Vikki racing in it. It was a very hot and sunny day, so I brought along my big water bottle.

I wore my new Navigators team kit. I’m not generally one for wearing the jerseys of major professional teams, but I feel a slight connection to the Navigators. Their founder and team manager is an old friend. We were junior racers together back in 1977. He’s in this picture on the far left in the light blue jersey. And here’s a picture from when I saw him at the Tour of California. I told him I’d get one of his team jerseys just so I could tell the story on rides.

We started out going east through Arcadia. We took Sierra Madre out to Santa Anita and then went down to Longden and took that all the way out to where it put us on Arrow Highway. Then we turned right on Azusa Canyon. Well, some of us did. The others missed the turn and just kept going. I pulled out my phone and called Newton to tell him that they’d missed the turn, but I guess he didn’t hear it ringing. So I left voicemail and we just kept on going.

We took Cypress St east all the way to Reeder, which then turned into Puente St. We took that until we got to Via Verde, where we took a left and headed up a nice hill. Jon was the first to the top, and when I got to the top he was waiting for me. And he made me promise that I’d mention that he was the first to the top. And yes, Jon was the first to the top of the hill.

Continuing on Via Verde, we rode into Bonelli Park. This was the site of the Danskin Women’s Triathlon. They had started at 6:45 in the morning, so we figured that most of them would be done by the time we got there, but there were still a few people finishing. We looked around, but we couldn’t find Vikki and her team. I tried calling her, but I guess she wasn’t near her phone, so I left voicemail. (Are you seeing a pattern here?)

When we were getting ready to leave, I saw a woman holding a big blue mylar shark balloon. So I had to ask her about it. She said it was so her friends could find her. Maybe we should have tied one of those to Vikki. Anyway, I snapped a couple of pictures of the shark before we left.

On the way out of the park, we took a somewhat creative route that took us through the maintenance yard and then past Raging Waters and Puddingstone Lake before we came out in San Dimas. Then we stopped at the Bagelry, where we had a bagel.

After the snack stop, we got on Gladstone and headed west. This is the nice street with the very slight downhill slant, so we all feel like a million bucks when we’re riding on it. Except for Jon, who got a flat. We found a small bit of shade to stop in while he fixed his tire. And did I mention that Jon was the first one to the top of the hill?

After the flat, we continued on Gladstone. That was where we saw the “Day Laborer Site” spot and also passed behind the Miller brewery. Years ago I remember reading about how there was an idea to put an NFL team in a new stadium in Irwindale. I thought that this would be perfect synergy. The brewery is already there, so they could just run a pipe directly into the stadium.

After we passed the brewery, we turned and went into the Santa Fe Dam Recreation Area. We stopped for water at the nature center. Then we rode up the bike path to the bridge into Duarte and got back on the streets for the last part of the ride home.

We took Royal Oaks for a bit before going up a small hill into Bradbury to get on Lemon Ave. Then we took that into Monrovia and got on Colorado. Then we took a right on Michillinda and rode up to the little street behind Sears and cut over to Rosemead and Orange Grove to get back to the park. At that point I had 49.3 miles, so I rode a few blocks extra on my way home to get to a nice round number.

50 miles.


Another ride at lunchtime

Filed under: — stan @ 6:55 pm

Route map and photo location

I went for a short ride with Vikki today at lunchtime. This time we went west, just for something different. It was a warm day, but gloriously clear and generally very nice for riding.

We rode down into San Marino, taking El Molino down to Mission. Then we went right and rode across San Marino and South Pasadena. At Arroyo, we went north towards the Rose Bowl. A left on La Loma brought us across the arroyo and up a nice little hill.

At the top of the hill we went right on San Rafael and took that up to Colorado. Then we got on San Rafael going north into the hills. We rode up the hill, passing by the old Kresge Seismological Lab before cresting the hill and coming down the other side to Linda Vista, above the Rose Bowl.

We took Linda Vista up into where it turned into Highland in La Cañada. Then we went up a bit before looping back by JPL and heading back into Pasadena. The last part of the ride was straight down Wilson Ave and back to the office.

19 miles at lunchtime, 27 for the day.


Not for the faint of heart…

Filed under: — stan @ 9:34 pm

Route map and photo locations

Today’s ride was over to Hollywood to get a peek at a real estate listing I’d seen on L.A. Curbed. Realtors are notorious for always making every house sound like the best thing ever, so I was a bit shocked when this listing said that the house is “not for the faint of heart”. That seemed remarkable enough to warrant a look.

We started out heading west on Paloma and then got on Orange Grove to get to the Colorado Bridge. Then we took Colorado across the arroyo and down the hill into Eagle Rock.

Yosemite Drive brought us across to Eagle Rock Blvd, which we rode down to Glassell Park and Ave 36. A right turn put us on Fletcher to cross the L.A. River and into Silver Lake. Then we took Rowena and St. George to the Franklin Hills and Franklin Ave.

Crossing the Shakespeare Bridge, we came in to Hollywood, and we took Franklin all the way across to Highland, where we stopped to see the house that is ‘not for the faint of heart’. There was just a small walkway between two buildings with a few mailboxes. The house itself is behind the buildings and up the hill. 65 steps up the hill, to be exact. Since the mailbox is down by the street, the mailman won’t hate you, but I’d bet the pizza guy would. The house also has no parking, which is unheard-of here in Los Angeles. And all this can be yours for only $795,000.

Continuing down Highland, we got back on Franklin, passing by the Magic Castle, as well as the motel where Janis Joplin died. Then we turned right on Outpost. I’d ridden up this hill once before, when we first moved to Hollywood in 1988. I never rode up it again. And today I remembered why. It is a hill that is also not for the faint of heart. It starts out steep and just gets steeper at the top. And the road is rough. So it’s a tough climb.

At the top, we went right on Mulholland for the cruise down into Cahuenga Pass. Then we went over the freeway and rode through a little residential area to get to Barham Blvd, which brought us down into Burbank. We passed by Warner Bros and the somewhat shabby-looking Starlet Apartments. Then we stopped for a snack at Priscilla’s. I had a bagel and a large orange juice.

After the stop, we headed east through the equestrian neighborhood, where I got a flat. I picked up a staple in my tire, and it went flat almost instantly. I gave the camera to Tommy to take the necessary picture for the Flat Tire Gallery.

Continuing on, we took Sonora, Grandview, and Graynold up to Kenneth in Glendale. Then we went right and rode across Glendale to Verdugo Blvd. That was where Doug got a flat. His tire leaked more slowly, since it was caused by just a tiny sliver of glass. But it was flat none the less, so he got another entry in the gallery.

After the second flat fix, we headed up Verdugo to Hospital Hill, and then it was the standard route home acrosss La Cañada and Pasadena. When we got back to the park, I had 43 miles, so I took a quick ride out to Arcadia and back just to get to a nice round number.

50 miles.


Three American icons

Filed under: — stan @ 2:31 pm

Route map and photo locations

Today’s ride was another cemetery sightseeing tour. We rode up to Mission Hills to Eden Memorial Park to see Lenny Bruce and Groucho Marx, and then to the San Fernando Mission cemetery across the street to see Ritchie Valens.

It was cool, overcast, and the forecast called for rain later in the day. We started out from Victory park, heading west on Paloma. At Hill we turned right and went up the hill. Then we went left to get on Woodbury to get out of Pasadena and pass by JPL.

In La Cañada we took Berkshire, Chevy Chase and Descanso to get up to Foothill Blvd. Then we took a left and rode Foothill all the way across La Crescenta and Tujunga, passing by Hanson Dam and into Sylmar, where we passed the “Best Live Poultry” place.

At Maclay we went left and rode through San Fernando. We went right a few blocks to get on Workman, which turned into Rinaldi and brought us to Eden Memorial Park. The guy at the front gate looked at us kind of funny and asked why we were there. We told him we were there to see Groucho Marx. He gave us a map and sent us up the hill. At the top of the hill it became clear that he had misunderstood and given us the map to the memorial service that was being held there that day. So we turned around and went back down the hill. We stopped about half-way down and found Lenny Bruce’s grave. Years ago I took a class at UCLA Extension called “How to Perform Stand-Up Comedy”, and we talked a lot about how Lenny was in many ways the father of modern stand-up. He was one of the first to break the old ‘two guys walk into a bar’ joke-telling mold. And he was rewarded with obscenity prosecutions.

Next, we went down to the big outdoor mausoleum and followed the directions that I’d brought along. We found the door to a small room, where we found Groucho Marx. Each niche has a small holder for flowers. Groucho’s had a cigar in it, which seemed entirely appropriate.

Leaving Eden Memorial, we took a quick left on Sepulveda and went into the San Fernando Mission cemetery. Just inside the front gate between curb numbers 235 and 247 we found Ritchie Valens. I’m not quite old enough to remember the Day the Music Died, but I heard about it when I was growing up.

Next, we got on San Fernando Mission Road and rode back into San Fernando, passing by the mission. (Who’d have guessed it would be there?) Then we went back through downtown San Fernando, pausing briefly at the bike shop for a picture of the “S&M Bicycles” sign in the window. Then we took a right on Glenoaks and headed for home. There was a billboard on a bus shelter there for the San Fernando Criterium, which is coming up in two weeks. Mabye we will have to ride up there again to see it. Continuing south on Glenoaks, I saw the sign for “Stan’s U.S. Guys”. I always take pictures of signs that have my name on them.

We rode through the auto-wrecking ghetto in Sunland, and passed the stinky landfill. Then we turned left on Tuxford, which brought us to La Tuna Canyon Road. Then it was time for that nice four-mile climb up the canyon. As usual, Matt was the first to the top. Jon brought up the rear, saying something about how he needed to do more riding. I was just a bit ahead of Jon. It’s a nice climb, but no matter how you slice it, it’s still uphill.

From the top, we rode down into Montrose and then up Hospital Hill. Then it was downhill the rest of the way home. We rode for a bit with a couple of triathlon people who were preparing for their first Ironman next weekend. I told them about our regular Sunday ride, so maybe they will join us in a few weeks after they’ve recovered.

It was a nice ride.

55 miles.


Random sightseeing, and the tiniest house

Filed under: — stan @ 8:18 pm

Route map and photo locations

Today’s ride was a sightseeing trip to Hollywood and Silver Lake. Part of the route was the regular Foothill Cycle Saturday ride, but then Gene and I took a side trip to do some sightseeing.

We started out at Victory Park and rode over to the Pasadena Elks Club Lodge, where we met the rest of the club group. Then we headed west on Colorado through Eagle Rock. That was where I saw the gym advertising kickboxing for kids. For some reason, I found this to be a funny mental image, so I stopped for a picture.

We rode into Glendale on Wilson, and then took Jackson up to Glenoaks. Then we took Glenoaks all the way across Glendale. A left on Sonora brought us down to Riverside in Burbank, just across from the Bette Davis Picnic Area. Then we crossed the river and the freeway and took a right on Zoo Drive.

We rode past Travel Town and up the hill in Griffith Park. A right turn at the closed gate brought us onto the road up the back side of Mt. Hollywood. This is a nice long climb, and it’s especially pleasant because the road is closed to cars. So it’s just a nice place to ride.

When we got to the intersection by the tunnel, Gene and I went right, down into Fern Dell. We rode down all the way to Los Feliz Blvd, and then went right to get to Franklin Ave. Then we took Bronson down to the cemetery.

Hollywood Forever is home to many stars, and today we were there to visit with Don Adams, who is perhaps best-known as Agent 86 of Control in “Get Smart”. His grave is currently not marked with a stone, but I was able to locate it with some help from the people on the Get Smart mailing list. I gather that his family is still considering trying to have him buried in Arlington National Cemetery, due to his service in World War II. But in the meantime, he is in Hollywood Forever. Also, while we were there, we walked down by the pond to see the cenotaph for Jayne Mansfield.

Leaving the cemetery, we rode back across Hollywood and into Silver Lake. We took a right on Sunset and headed south, passing by Lovecraft Biofuels, which is a shop that does bio-diesel car conversions. Then we took a left on Benton Way and rode up some hills to come out on Silver Lake Blvd right by the reservoir and the dog park.

At Glendale Blvd, we went left, and then right on Fletcher and right again on Riverside. We took Riverside all the way to Figueroa, with a quick side trip down Oros St to see a house I’d seen the real estate listing for last week. This one is even smaller than the one we saw last week, and the one from the week before. This one is 299 square feet. The flyer says that the lot is 1300 square feet, which means that the lot is smaller than my house alone. It was impressively small.

Oh, yeah. Just for everyone who’s not in California, the asking price for the shoebox-sized house was $199,000.

Leaving the tiny house, we rode up Figueroa St to Ave 60, and then over to Monterey Rd and into South Pasadena. We rode all the way across San Marino and then went north on Sierra Madre Blvd, and then we were home.

It was a nice ride.

46 miles.


An earthquake tour by bike

Filed under: — stan @ 10:40 pm

Route map and photo locations

Since this coming week is the 100th anniversary of the 1906 San Francisco Earthquake, I decided it was time to do a bike ride with an earthquake theme. The route was to visit a number of locations connected with the 1971 San Fernando Earthquake. As it turned out, none of my regular riding group could make it today, so this was a solo effort. The day was overcast and cool, with some intermittent light sprinkles, but overall it wasn’t a bad day for riding.

I started out heading across Pasadena to La Cañada and then up Foothill Blvd. I took Foothill all the way up to Sylmar. It was a pretty long ride, but it was all right. Once I got past Tujunga, it looked, felt, and smelled like I was out in the country. That’s always kind of a weird feeling when one is within the Los Angeles city limits.

When I got up to Sylmar, it started to look more urban, but in a barrio kind of way. That was where I saw the “Live Poultry” shop. Then I got up to where all the freeways meet at the north end of the San Fernando Valley. I stopped there to take a picture of the Los Angeles Aqueduct Cascades. This is where William Mulholland gave his famous “There it is – take it” speech back in 1913.

Then I rode up a little hill to get into the little valley where the big I-5/CA-14 freeway interchange is. The ramps here fell down in both 1971 and 1994, and the photo of the fallen overpass is one of the iconic images from the 1994 Northridge Earthquake.

I got a nice view of the overpasses from down below. Then I got on San Fernando Road and started back south. That was where I saw the car with the big German Shepherd sticking out of the sun roof. Then I turned right on Balboa and headed down into the Valley. I took a left of Woodley so I could come down next to the Los Angeles Reservoir. The dam here was damaged in the 1971 quake, and a large portion of the San Fernando Valley had to be evacuated for a time because of the danger that the dam would collapse. Sadly, it was not possible to actually see the dam from the road. The USGS has a fact sheet that tells the story of the dam.

At Rinaldi St I took a left. I went a short distance and then stopped at Eden Memorial Park. I’d planned on visiting Groucho Marx’s grave there, but when I saw the Star of David on the fence I knew that they would be closed on Saturday.

Continuing on, I took Maclay St back up into San Fernando. I took a right on Glenoaks Blvd., which is a big and busy street, but it has a bike lane, so it’s not all bad. I took that all the way back down to Sun Valley, passing the big landfill and recycling center (stinkeroo!) and KAOS Auto Parts. Then I turned left on Tuxford to get to La Tuna Canyon Road.

The four miles uphill in La Tuna Canyon is always fun. On the way up, I passed the Dog Resort, and also another mailbox painted with hot-rod flames. Then when I got to the top, the sun came out. I got out my sunglasses and continued down the other side into La Crescenta.

A quick trip up Hospital Hill, and then it was downhill all the way home. It was a nice ride.



House of Prince, House of Moe

Filed under: — stan @ 9:57 pm

Route map and photo locations

A couple of weeks ago, I saw an item on The Smoking Gun about how Prince was being sued by his landlord because he had painted his house purple. The copy of the document on the site gave the address, so I immediately plotted a route to ride out and see it. Today was the day for sightseeing.

I met Gene at the park, and we headed out. Right after crossing the Colorado St. Bridge, we got a very good view of the burned out mansion in the San Rafael Hills, so I stopped for picture. Then we headed down into Eagle Rock.

We took Eagle Rock Blvd and Fletcher down into Silver Lake, and then across the Shakespeare Bridge and onto Hollywood Blvd. We rode all the way across Hollywood and then took a little side trip to see Dicks St.

From there, we went back up Doheny to Sunset and headed west again. Just before the Beverly Hills line, we turned and went up into the hills. We stopped for photos at Prince’s house. We saw the “3121″ by the mailbox, which isn’t the address, but the title of his new album. The house was not purple, so I guess he had it painted again.

From there, we continued on up the hill. At first we missed a turn, so we went up a horrendous hill, only to have to come back down. Then we found Thrasher Ave, which was where Moe Howard lived. We stopped for a quick picture at Moe’s old house, and then continued on, going back down the canyon to get to Sunset Plaza.

A left turn on Sunset Plaza sent us uphill again. This time we rode all the way to the crest, stopping only briefly for a photo of the mobile dog-grooming van. There was also a construction site with a scaffold that had half of a mannequin on it. That was kind of strange and worthy of a photo. Then when we got to the top, we headed down the other side. We stopped for another photo of the foundations of a new house. Obviously, the definition of a ‘buildable lot’ is somewhat different in the hills.

Continuing on down the hill, we took a side road to get to Wonderland Ave. But Google Maps had lied to me, and the road ended partway down, so we had to turn around and come back up. Then we took Lookout Mountain the rest of the way down to Wonderland.

After a left on Wonderland, we groaned up yet another steep hill. I stopped for a picture of an Elvis mural on one house, and then we continued on to see the house that was the site of the 1981 Wonderland Murders. Then we turned back down and took Laurel Pass and Allenwood up to Mulholland. We stopped at the park there to get some water.

After just a short jaunt on Mulholland, we turned left on Laurel Canyon and headed down into the Valley. We stopped for a photo of the ruins of a house that had slid off its foundation earlier this winter. Then we went the rest of the way down the hill.

At the bottom, we stopped to see a house I’d seen on L.A. Curbed. 636 square feet on a 0.04 acre lot for $499,000. It made the $1.27 million house we’d seen in Laurel Canyon look like a bargain.

For the trip home, we took Moorpark and Riverside back across Studio City and Burbank, passing by Bob Hope’s old house in Toluca Lake. Then we went up to Kenneth and Mountain in Glendale and took them back to Verdugo.

The ride up Hospital Hill was all right. We had a little tail wind, which helped a tiny bit. Then we took the standard route home across La Cañada. I stopped to snap a picture of the Linda Vista overpass where the stencil said “LINDA VITSA”. They probably outsourced the stencil-making.

From there, it was downhill all the way home across Pasadena.

56 miles.


Around the world by gimpy bike

Filed under: — stan @ 9:02 pm

Route map and photo locations

Today’s ride went all over the world, and we were just riding around L.A.

The first part of the ride was down Huntington Drive and then across Ave 60 to Figueroa. Then we took Figueroa down to the river and into Riverside Dr. Then we went north a couple of miles to Alessandro St and took a left. That brought us to the first sightseeing stop of the day. The Fargo Street Hill Climb.

Fargo Street is reputed to be the steepest street in Los Angeles. In fact, it’s the steepest street I’ve ever seen anywhere. It’s funny, but in real life it looks about twice as steep as it does in the picture. I don’t know why that is. I tried to ride it last year but was defeated. This time I didn’t try. I’d pulled a muscle last week fighting with a stuck gas pipe fitting, and I didn’t think it wise to risk aggravating that further by trying to ride up a 33% grade.

Still, it was an entertaining thing to watch. And while we were there, I ran into an old friend who I know from somewhere else entirely. Lisa is someone I know from tattoo conventions, but it turns out that she has bike-riding friends, and she now lives just a few blocks from Fargo St. So I got to visit with her for a bit, which was fun, even if it was one of those ‘when worlds collide’ kind of things.

Leaving Fargo St, we headed south on Glendale Blvd, and then go on Sunset to head into downtown. At Broadway we passed the dragons that mark the gateway to Chinatown. Then we took a left on Alameda and passed Union Station. At Ord St we took another left and I once again heard that unmistakable “PANG!” sound that meant I’d broken another spoke. My bike went gimpy again, but I was able to make it the last couple blocks into Chinatown. After my experience last week, I had put a spoke wrench in my bag, so I was able to get the wheel straight enough to limp the rest of the ride.

In Chinatown we stopped at a bakery, right by the statue of Sun Yat-sen. Gene was looking around and he pointed out the sign for “Ooga Booga” around the corner. That was definitely worth a photo.

Leaving Chinatown, we went up Main to Daly and then turned south. The street turned into Marengo when we passed Mission and the L.A. County Coroner’s Office. I always say that Los Angeles is a unique place. How many cities have a gift shop at the Coroner?

Heading into East L.A., we came to the Evergreen Cemetery, and then the excavation next to it where they discovered the bones of 108 Chinese who had been buried in a potter’s field dating from the 1800s.

Continuing on, we went deeper into East Los Angeles. Newton is from El Salvador, and he remarked that the houses looked just like the ones he remembered from back home.

Coming out on Whittier Blvd, we came to the Home of Peace cemetery. We went in the gate and followed the streets back to Curly Howard’s grave.

The last part of the ride was north a bit to get to 3rd St, which we took east until it turned into Pomona Ave and then Potrero Grande. We took a left on Del Mar, which brought us all the way back up to San Marino. Then we got on Sierra Madre Blvd and then Altadena Dr for the last bit home.

It was a fun ride.

43 miles.


San Dimas and a Gimpy Bike

Filed under: — stan @ 6:09 pm

Route map and photo locations

Today’s ride was out to San Dimas to see the third stage of the San Dimas Stage Race. This is a three-day affair, and today’s race was a short-course criterium around downtown San Dimas.

We started out from Victory Park and rode out through Arcadia and Irwindale to get to San Dimas. We had hoped to get there in time to see the Masters 45+ race, since they are my age, and some of them are even people I raced against back in my racing days. But when we got there they were running late, so we ended up seeing the finish of the Category 5 race and the beginning of Category 4.

As I usually do when we go to see a race, I’d brought along an extra $20 bill to donate as a prime for one of the races. So I went up to the stand and gave it to them for the Category 4 riders. They did a good sprint for it, but I missed out on getting a picture, since the batteries in my camera decided to go dead right at that moment. But it was a good sprint, and I hope the winning rider got some satisfaction from it.

After that, we rode up to Gladstone and took that back west to go home. While we were riding through Glendora, suddenly I heard that unmistakable “PANG!” sound that meant that I’d broken a spoke. My bike immediately went gimpy, with the back wheel wobbling and rubbing on the frame. Vikki had the presence of mind to grab my camera and take a picture for the Flat Tire Gallery. It’s not technically a flat, but it’s a mechanical failure, so that’s close enough. Fortunately, Makoto had a spoke wrench, and I was able to call upon my old bike-mechanic experience and managed to get the wheel straight enough to limp home. It wasn’t rubbing on the frame, but it still was hitting the brake pads. That meant that I had some extra drag, and that made it impossible to do my usual track stands at the red lights. But my Gimpy Bike and I made it home just the same.

43 miles.

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