Stan’s Obligatory Blog

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6/14/2018

And then this happened…

Filed under: — stan @ 10:47 pm

Last September, we took a trip to Santa Cruz to move Lucinda into her new home-away-from-home at UC Santa Cruz. And today was the other bookend for that experience.

A couple weeks ago, Lucinda asked if I would come to Santa Cruz to help her move out and bring her home. At first I thought this would make for a grueling day or two days, but at the same time, I realized it was an opportunity to spend a day with her. As she’s growing up, opportunities for things like that become more rare. So I worked out a plan. I would fly to San Jose in the morning, and then rent a car there. I was able to set it up with Hertz that I could rent the car at San Jose Airport, and then bring it back the next day to their office in Pasadena. So the plan was to pick up the car and drive it over the hill to Santa Cruz. Then we loaded up all her stuff into the car. We stopped off in downtown Santa Cruz for lunch, and then we headed for home.

We took the 101 south for a good bit of the trip. We had to take some small roads to pick up the 101 in Prunedale. Then we went south on the 101 for what seemed like forever. Along the way, I told Lucinda that I wanted to take a short side trip to the Carrizo Plain to see Wallace Creek. That’s a very desolate and remote place that is famous among seismologists. To get there, we had to take Highway 58, which I expected to be like Highway 46 that I took home last fall. But no. Highway 46 was divided and almost like a freeway, while Highway 58 was like a narrow, winding country road. We took that for a very long time before we came to the turnoff. That was a small, but well-paved road. But we were only on that for a short distance before we had to turn off onto a small dirt road. At least it was pretty well-graded, so it wasn’t a big deal. But as city people, we’re just not used to be out in the middle of nowhere and being all alone for as far as we could see in any direction.

There’s a small guest book at the site, and it looks like it gets a visit about once every week or two on average. I wrote us into it, and then we walked up the trail to go see the famous creek. Well, actually, ‘creek-bed’. It only has water in it on fairly rare occasions when it rains. But it was impressive. The channel is pretty deep, and the offset where it crosses the fault is really obvious. The sign said that they figured out that the offset of that creek-bed represents 3,800 years of earthquakes, and that led to knowing that the San Andreas is moving an average of about 1 1/3 inches a year.

We walked a little bit down the trail to see a pair of smaller offset creek-beds. They were channels that were offset by about 30 feet in the 1857 Fort Tejon earthquake. They weren’t as big and obvious as Wallace Creek, but it was still impressive to be able to see how much the ground moved in one event in 1857.

When we finished at Wallace Creek, we continued east on the 58 to get to the 5 freeway at the Buttonwillow offramp. That’s a little cluster of gas stations and food places to cater to people traveling between northern and southern California. We had some dinner there, filled the car up with gas, and then we headed home. And yes, it was nice to get to spend a day with her doing this.

6/9/2018

Spahn Ranch with Atlas Obscura

Filed under: — stan @ 2:05 pm

Today I got to go on yet another Atlas Obscura tour, this time of Spahn Ranch. This was a movie ranch a long time ago, and later was notorious for the Manson Family living there for a time in 1969. And now it’s a county park. A few years ago, I took Lucinda on the Dearly Departed Helter Skelter tour, so this was sort of a companion piece to that.

We walked up the hill to the back of the ranch, where there were a couple of rusted hulks of cars that were stolen and abandoned there in 1969. Apparently, they would steal cars to get the engines, which they used in building dune buggies.

Next, we walked down to the large flat area next to the road. This was where the Spahn house had been. When the land was converted into a park, the county came in and covered that whole area with several feet of new dirt, I suppose to discourage people from hunting for artifacts there. Then we walked down into the creek-bed. There were large trees down there, as well as the famous little cave where Life magazine staged a photo of the Manson Family in 1969. And of course, we all had to get photos sitting in front of the little cave. Overall, there wasn’t a lot here that I hadn’t heard about before, but the whole point was to get to see the places where it happened.

6/3/2018

Rubel’s Castle

Filed under: — stan @ 1:09 pm

Today’s bike club ride was another visit to Glendora to peek in on Rubel’s Castle. As it turned out, there was a group there about to take a tour given by the Glendora Historical Society, so we got to talk to them for a bit about the castle. So that was entertaining. Then we rode back down the hill for snacks at Classic Coffee before heading home.

39 miles.

Route map and elevation profile

5/27/2018

Maywood Again

Filed under: — stan @ 1:32 pm

It’s been a few months since we visited the giant shiny new pot shop in Maywood, and I’ve gotten some requests to go see that again. So that’s what we did today.

On the way into downtown, I stopped to take a few pictures of the warehouse-turned-gallery where the “Beyond the Streets” art show is being held. I’ve heard good things about it.

When we got to Maywood, the security guards at the pot shop remembered us from when we’d visited back in January. I guess they don’t get a lot of bike clubs visiting.

Heading back into downtown, we went out 7th St, and then up Bonnie Brae to Echo Park. And when we got there, we found out that Chango Coffee was no more. So we went a few blocks up the street to another hipster coffee shop and bakery. It was pretty good, but we really did like Chango.

46 miles.

Route map and elevation profile

5/26/2018

Earthquake Tour Again

Filed under: — stan @ 7:11 pm

This Saturday was the fourth time I’ve been part of leading the San Andreas Fault tour with Atlas Obscura. The last time I did this was in October of last year, and my partner that time was Morgan from the USGS office. But this time, she was offered a chance to go to a conference in Japan, so Nicholas was my partner for the tour. We also had a special guest along this time. Back in April, Kathleen and I had gone on the Nastie Nellie Oleson Tour with Alison Arngrim in Hollywood. This was tremendously entertaining, and along the way, I told Alison about the earthquake tour. She was interested, but the tour was already sold out. But it turned out that Sandi had held one seat in reserve in case Nicholas or I wanted to bring a guest, so Alison got the guest seat for the tour.

After a quick tour of the Seismo Lab, we headed up to the fault scarp at the McDonald’s in San Fernando. I also went inside to get some iced tea and to use the bathroom. That was where I saw what I can only assume is an unfortunate typo on the soap dispenser.

In Palmdale, we took in the view from the overlook by the freeway, and then climbed up the little hill so we could look down into the famous road cut where the 14 freeway crosses the fault. Then it was time for our lunch stop at Charlie Brown Farms. After that, it was time for Pallett Creek. We knew that the mysterious signs that marked where the fault crosses the road had been recently vandalized after more than a decade of marking the spot. So I’d made a new sign, which we brought along to use for the photo-op, even if it’s not properly planted in the ground. Then we traveled the quarter-mile or so to the actual trench site next to Pallett Creek. It’s not much to see, but it’s a chance to talk about how Kerry Sieh invented the science of paleoseismology there, back in the 1970s.

Heading up into the mountains, we stopped at the road cut near Big Pines to dig in the fault gouge. Then a quick bathroom stop in Wrightwood before heading down the other side of the mountain into Cajon Pass. There, we got to see Lost Lake, a small sag pond on the fault there. I like Lost Lake just because it looks like such an improbable thing. A pond all by itself, surrounded by desert. We also were very lucky this time. To get to the lake, we have to cross four railroad tracks. On the way in, we saw a train that had just finished passing the crossing when we got there. And while we were at Lost Lake, I saw another train come by. But that one finished passing by just as we were leaving. Cajon Pass is one of the toughest stretches of railroad in the U.S., and the trains there tend to be very long, and very slow-moving, so we were lucky to have missed both of them this time.


5/20/2018

The ride to Whittier – Now with more teapot!

Filed under: — stan @ 1:23 pm

Today’s bike club ride was our regular route to Whittier, but this time with a short side trip to see a giant suspended teapot fountain outside an Asian shopping center in Temple City. When we started out, it was kind of misting and damp, but thankfully, that stopped once we got a few miles away from the mountains. We also discovered two new topiaries in front of a preschool in Temple City. And finally, we did the photo-op with Jen at Dork St in Pico Rivera. So all around, it was a fun little ride.

46 miles.

Route map and elevation profile

5/19/2018

Metro – Halfway There!

Filed under: — stan @ 2:02 pm

So Metro says that the construction of the Regional Connector is halfway done. So they had a little party about it. Which wasn’t all that big of a deal, but on the other hand, they were offering quick tours of the construction site in Little Tokyo. We got to go inside the fence and look down into the pit where they are constructing the new light rail station. They also had displays about the other projects under construction around L.A. I also saw that the Japanese museum is having a new exhibit as a follow-on to their Hapa Project exhibit from 2001. Being Hapa, I think this is something I need to go see.


4/22/2018

Ciclavia Foothills Edition

Filed under: — stan @ 3:26 pm

Today’s bike club ride was the Ciclavia “Heart of the Foothills”. This was the first time that there was an official Ciclavia event inland. The route went from San Dimas to Claremont. When we ride to Claremont, it’s about a 58 mile round trip, which is a bit beyond our normal 40-45 for a Sunday ride. So the plan for today was to start by taking Metro to the end of the line in Azusa. From there, we rode to San Dimas, where we picked up the Ciclavia route. We rode the route out to Claremont and back. We didn’t stop in Claremont, since we wanted to get back before it got too crowded.

Back in San Dimas, we stopped for snacks at the Bagelry. Then we rode back to Pasadena. This made a total of 44 miles riding. When we first got off the train in Azusa, I forgot to turn on my GPS thingy, so it missed the first few miles. And it also didn’t count the initial two miles from the park where we start to the Metro station at Allen.

44 miles.

Route map and elevation profile

4/15/2018

Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.

Filed under: — stan @ 2:14 pm

Yesterday, I was at the Aon building stair climb. While we were there, there was a crew setting up for shooting a scene for Marvel’s “Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.” on Wilshire Blvd. They had lots of fake rocks and fake broken chunks of pavement, as well as a couple of fire cars, like the ones we saw in Griffith Park once that turned out to be for an episode of “Grey’s Anatomy”. The setup crew said they were going to be working all day to set the scene, and the actual filming would be done of Sunday morning, so that was our sightseeing destination for today.

We got an early start today, so we made it downtown in time to see the 8:46 Metrolink train to Lancaster go by. If we see that train, that means we made good time getting downtown.

When we got down to Wilshire, it was pretty obvious that this shoot was a Big Deal. There were a lot more prop cars, and hordes of extras in business suits with dirt smeared on their faces milling about. We even saw Chloe Bennet as Daisy Johnson there. Apparently, her super power is the ability to create earthquakes, which Jen and I thought was pretty funny, since that meant her character had the power to make us have to go into work.

After gawking at the shoot for a few minutes, we continued on our way. We made a loop out and back through Hancock Park. Then up Benton Way through Silver Lake and then to the L.A. River bike path. We stopped for snacks at Spoke. Then we headed home by way of the Arroyo Seco bike path.

41 miles.

Route map and elevation profile

4/8/2018

Bruce Lee

Filed under: — stan @ 2:09 pm

Today’s bike club ride was a trip to Chinatown in Los Angeles to see the bronze statue of Bruce Lee there.

We rode out across Eagle Rock and Glendale, and then down the L.A. River bike path. Then through Elysian Park to get to Chango Coffee in Echo Park. I’d remembered this time to check the Dodgers schedule to be sure there was not a game today, since that park gets pretty crowded on game days. We had snacks at Chango before taking Bonnie Brae St down to 7th St. This was novel, since we ride Bonnie Brae fairly often, but this was the first time we ever did it in this direction. It looked like a whole new street. We noticed The Bonnie Brae House for the first time today. We were wondering what was special about it.

Just before we got to 7th St, we passed 666 Bonnie Brae. The police and fire department were there in force today, for reasons that were not entirely clear. Then we turned on 7th and rode back in to downtown L.A. Then up Figueroa St to Chinatown. There, we went to see the Peephole Cinema, and then across Hill St to the Bruce Lee statue.

The route home was back up Huntington Drive, which is another route we do frequently, but not in that direction.

40 miles.

Route map and elevation profile

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