Stan’s Obligatory Blog

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8/19/2018

Vernon Open Streets

Filed under: — stan @ 2:47 pm

Today’s bike ride was for another Ciclavia-type event, this time in Vernon and Huntington Park. Our biggest complaint about the Ciclavia events is that they tend to be overcrowded, but I guessed that this might not be a problem this time, since only about two dozen people live in Vernon. People live in Huntington Park, but it’s a pretty small town, so I thought it might not be too crowded. And that’s how it worked out. We had giant streets almost completely to ourselves.

After taking the full tour of Vernon and Huntington Park, we headed back up into downtown. We passed my favorite building at Wilshire and Figueroa (“101 Times!”), then continued on up into Chinatown. We passed the theater that always has something funny on the marquee. Last spring it said something about “We lost our winter fat, and now we just have spring rolls.” Then we rode up and over the hill by Dodger Stadium, and then down to the river for snacks at Spoke.

52 miles.

Route map and elevation profile

8/17/2018

The Corpse Flower

Filed under: — stan @ 5:34 pm

Last week, there was great excitement around here because one of the Corpse Flower plants at the Huntington looked like it was about to bloom. Kathleen and I went there to see it, and we were ready to go back as soon as the flower opened. But it never happened, and in the end they dissected the flower to try and see why it didn’t bloom. But then on Thursday, we heard that one of their other plants had bloomed unexpectedly, so at lunchtime on Friday, I rode my bike over there to go see it.

It’s reputed to be the biggest flower in the world, and yes, it’s big. It was roped off, which made it hard to lean in close enough to smell it. I was able to just pick up a little bit of the famous smell of the flower. But still, ever since I first heard about this plant on an episode of “Nature” on PBS back in 1986, I’ve always wanted to see one. And now I’ve finally had the chance.

8/12/2018

That’s From Disneyland!

Filed under: — stan @ 2:05 pm

This past week, I saw an item about an art gallery in Sherman Oaks that is holding an exhibit and auction of artifacts from Disneyland. So I figured this might make for a good destination for this week’s bike ride. The gallery wouldn’t be open when we got there, but I figured we could peek in the windows and see at least a few of the items.

The ride out there was pretty flat-ish. We rode down to the L.A. River and then up the bike path to Griffith Park. Then through the park and out Moorpark St into the Valley. We had to take one short detour because they were repaving Lankershim, and so the road was closed there. But we made it out to Sherman Oaks just fine. When we got to the gallery, we peeked in, and we were able to see just a few items. Most of them were farther back in the gallery, and so we couldn’t see much. But we saw enough that I want to take a trip out there to see the show for real before it goes away.

Coming back, we stopped at the gelato place in Studio City. And then back home across Glendale, with the gradual climb up and over Chevy Chase and Linda Vista. It was hot-ish, but not terrible.

49 miles.

Route map and elevation profile

8/5/2018

The Whittier Greenway Trail

Filed under: — stan @ 2:54 pm

Today’s ride was our old Whittier Greenway Trail route. Not a lot special to see along the way, but a pleasant ride. And we stopped for the obligatory photo-op at Dork Street in Pico Rivera.

44 miles.

Route map and elevation profile

7/22/2018

“Here’s a story…”

Filed under: — stan @ 2:29 pm

Last week, I saw an article in the L.A. Times about how the house from :”The Brady Bunch” is on the market again for the first time in 45 years. Here’s the listing:

garysteinberg.com/listing/81933604

Needless to say, when I saw this, I knew where we were going to ride this Sunday. For a route, I started with the route we used for the Amelia Earhart tour last March.

When we got to the house, there were two other groups of people already there to look at it. Apparently, it’s supposedly the second-most-photographed house in the country. So we took our photos and moved on. We stopped for snacks and drinks at Sweet Salt in Toluca Lake.

Usually, we’d take the L.A. River bike trail on the way home, but the stretch of the river trail by Griffith Park is closed for the construction of the North Atwater Bridge. So we rode through the park and got on the bike path at Los Feliz. Then we headed home by way of Highland Park and South Pasadena, with one brief stop at my office to have some ice water from the water cooler.

46 miles.

Route map and elevation profile

7/15/2018

Mack Sennett Studios

Filed under: — stan @ 1:58 pm

This past week, I saw an article in Atlas Obscura about Mack Sennett Studios and how they were behind pie fights becoming a comedy staple back in the 1920s:

www.atlasobscura.com/articles/why-do-people-throw-pies

It said that one of the buildings from the old studio still exists, and that it has a small historical marker out in front of it. So with that, we had a bit of sightseeing for today’s ride.

We took a slightly roundabout route to get to Huntington Drive for the ride into downtown. Along the way, we saw that the wrecked car we saw last Sunday was gone, and most of the debris was cleaned up, but I still made a point of staying as far away from that crushed glass as I could. Then we rode the last bit into downtown. We stopped briefly to look at the construction site where Metro is building the entrance to the tunnel on 1st St for the Regional Connector.

We rode across downtown and then up to Echo Park. We took the small side trip to see the old Mack Sennett Studios building. Then we doubled back, passing by Randyland to our snack stop at Pollen. We’re all still a bit shell-shocked by Chango Coffee closing, so we d wanted to try yet another place in the same neighborhood. It was nice, but table service only, which is a little inconvenient from our point of view.

On the way out of Echo Park, we saw yet another car that looked like it was wrecked while being peacefully parked.

At the south end of the L.A. River bike path, we got on Figueroa St, only to ride right into a monumental traffic jam. We later found out it was caused by some guy who was threatening to jump off the Ave 26 bridge over the Pasadena Freeway. So both sides of the freeway were closed, and all the traffic spilled over onto Figueroa. It was a mess, although I read later that they managed to save the guy.

40 miles.

Route map and elevation profile

7/8/2018

Santa Monica

Filed under: — stan @ 2:41 pm

This past Friday, the temperature in my back yard peaked at 120 degrees. While it’s not supposed to be that hot today, it’s going to be seriously hot. So we’re doing the one-way ride to Santa Monica to escape the heat.

We headed down Sierra Madre to Huntington Drive for the first leg, into downtown. At Soto St, we saw a car that apparently had been parked on the side of the road and then hit very hard. There was glass and little pieces of car all over the road. More on that later.

When we were going through downtown, I took a few pictures of some old neon and electric signs, and one new electric sign that was designed in the same style as the old ones.

We rode out to the west side on the bike lanes that parallel the Metro Expo Line, and then down Ballona Creek to the ocean at Marina Del Rey. As it got later in the day, the heat rose, but as we got closer to the ocean, it got cooler. And the two effects roughly canceled each other out. So when we got to Marina Del Rey, it felt nice and cool to us, but it was still hot enough that the locals were all suffering. We rode the Braude bike path to Venice, and then took a short detour to go by the canals. And then up Main St to our snack stop at Dogtown Coffee.

When we finished at Dogtown, I discovered that my front tire was flat. I fixed it, and discovered that one tiny flake of glass, probably from the wrecked car, was embedded in the tire and had worked its way through. You can see in the photo how small it was. But I got my tire fixed, and then we rode the last mile or so to Santa Monica, and we got on the Expo Line for the ride home.

37 miles, including the two miles home from the Metro station in Pasadena.

Route map and elevation profile

7/7/2018

More Failure

Filed under: — stan @ 8:56 pm

Last February, we went to see the Museum of Failure when it was set up in an old warehouse in the Arts District. I recently found out that after that closed, they set it up at Hollywood and Highland. So today we went to see it. A lot of the exhibits were the same as before, but there were a good number of pieces that were not in the old museum. Each one had a card next to it that described what it was and why it failed. And always snarky comments about each failure.

One good bit was the small room at the back with pens and Post-It notes so that people could anonymously confess to their own personal failures. Some of them were really hilarious. Kind of like PostSecret.

After that, we went and had a very nice dinner in Hollywood at Off Vine.


7/1/2018

More Word on the Street

Filed under: — stan @ 1:43 pm

Last fall, we did a ride to go see some of the installations of the “Word on the Street” art project. At the time, not all of the signs had been installed. So today, we did another ride to go see some of the signs that have been installed since then.

The first part of the ride took us down to the L.A. River, and then up through Griffith Park, ultimately to end up at Groundwork Coffee in the old Pacific Electric depot in North Hollywood. There was another big bike riding group there, as well as the usual assortment of people with their dogs.

After snacks and drinks, we started back. We stopped at the Glendale Narrows Riverwalk, as well as in two small parks in Glendale to see the street signs. Then we came home by way of going up and over Chevy Chase and Linda Vista.

47 miles.

Route map and elevation profile

6/24/2018

The Former Lockheed Factory

Filed under: — stan @ 2:14 pm

For years, I’ve noticed that there’s a giant shopping center next to the 5 freeway in Burbank, and it has big cutout models of famous Lockheed airplanes on top of the signs. I recently found out that that land was the site of the main Lockheed airplane factory, so I wanted to go see it, just to appreciate just how enormous it was.

Along the way, we took a short detour to see the F-104-on-a-stick in the park in Burbank. That was one of the planes built in the old Lockheed factory. Then we took the short ride down Empire Ave to the site of the former factory. It’s a huge piece of land. I’ve seen pictures of lines of B-17 bombers being built inside there during the war.

After that, we headed west, passing by Burbank Airport and the airplane topiary at the entrance. The new topiary is jasmine, and it was blooming. An airplane covered in flowers looks a bit odd, but it smelled nice. On the way down Clybourn Ave, we saw that it looks like the kiddie-ride boneyard has been cleaned out. No more killer clowns, I guess.

The route home went down the L.A. River bike path. When we got there, we found out it was closed from the end near the zoo all the way to Los Feliz. So we ended up riding through Griffith Park to get to where we could start on the path again. Apparently, they’re building some sort of bridge to connect the bike path to Atwater Village on the other side of the river.

46 miles.

Route map and elevation profile

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