Sunday, February 23, 2014

Hiking In Los Angles

(President's Day Weekend 2014)   Usually President's Day Weekend is a great chance to get in three major rides back to back to back.  A few years ago it was Patterson Pass Self Supported Centuries two days in a row.  Three day weekends are now great to visit my daughter so it was a bike free three day weekend (she did offer to take us on a cruiser bike ride on the Santa Monica Boardwalk.)

OK--here are the two great thing about LA.  The winter weather is nicer than the San Francisco Bay Area, easily 10 degrees warmer.   The place is filled with starlet wanna be's jogging around in yoga outfits.

This is all negated by the PARKING which is nonexistent and TRAFFIC which sucks.

In the 1970's Los Angeles was still the city of the future.  Remember that World Series where palm trees sprouted around short sleeve shirt wearing fans at Dodger Stadium while fans were bundled in winter jackets while the Bronx was burning outside Yankee Stadium.   Forget clunky mass transit--jump in your sports car and zip to your destination.

Forty years later.  Every street and highway in Los Angles is at a near standstill.  There are malls with mega garages that you have to pay to park in--oh, first hour is free but it takes 1/2 hour to find an open space.   Parking on the street is a joke---remember to move your car in two hours as only some two hour limit spots were open.   A big cheer lets out when we actually hit 20mph while stuck on another LA Freeway during off commute hours.

The Kalifornia Krazy urban planning ain' much better.  Multimillion dollar extravagant shopping plaza in the middle of Hollywood--two block later are rows of blood bank/ pawn shop stores covered by massive security gates.

In the stress of driving around a few too many "Home for the Holidays" moments interfered with all of us just relaxing, but we did get in a few nice activities.

Statues at the Staples Center.   One thing LA did correctly in the past decade is move their sports arena of the future--the Fabulous Forum (which looked great on TV but was actually a dump) from the edge of the LA Metro Area to downtown.   In the front of the Staples Center are a bunch of nicely done statues that give homage to the stars that have played for the local indoor teams.  And as the Lakers had 3 of the top 10 basketball players of all time and the Kings had one of the top 3 hockey players of all time, they are really honoring some all time greats.   I was a Lakers fan growing up and it was a kick seeing the Jerry West statue.  My only complaint about the artwork is that while most of the statues look kinetic, the one of Wayne Gretzy is kinda motionless--like the Orlando Cepeda statue at AT&T Park.   My other complaint is where is the Wilt Chamberlain statue?--Wilt was a Laker for the last 5 seasons of his career and winning the 1971-72 championship with that all time great Laker team.  Maybe Wilt is "overlooked" by the Lakers as he was a basketball nomad..if so what a shame.

OK--its nice that they have a statue for longtime announcer Chick Hearn, but before one of Wilt Chamberlain?

First time I gave the car Garmin a workout and it was great--much easier than trying to read MapQuest print outs while driving in traffic (which had been much better than navigating by Triple AAA road maps that somehow were always to the wring scale of what you needed.)

Hiking Above Santa Monica-Temescal Trail in Temescal Gateway Park-
I didn't think this hike would be too strenuous in an urban park but I was wrong.  Undulating hike on narrow dirt trails.   About 4-5 miles.   I didn't think twice when I forgot my hiking shoes in the car and did it in beat up loafers, until 1 mile into the hike.   Nice circular route with lots of good views.

Every view of downtown Los Angeles (background) has it deep in dark grey air.

Later we ate a funky Los Angeles institution--the Farmers Market.   A relic of an international food Court mixed with produce stands.  Unfortunately now attached to a mega mall which is made to look like main street Disney with a parking garage on steroids and 11 open spaces in the whole garage--have fun trying to find them.

Hike In the Hollywood Hills to Griffith Observatory-On getaway day we took a morning hike that was about half as long as the day before but climbing almost immediately.  Today the dirt trail was wide and hard packed.  The art deco Griffith Observatory loomed overhead.    Though the observatory was closed lots of people enjoying the hike.    Many good views of the LA basin.  After enjoying the surroundings at the top we took a different way back.  Going west we could have linked up with the much longer walk towards the HOLLYWOOD sign, instead we hit a path that followed the "old" cooling water runoff (no longer in use) from the observatory--lots of nature along with stone walls in the middle of nowhere.

Only blight on the day was 3 "cars" now waiting for my parking space, and one not letting me leave as he was blocking me while waiting for a parking space across the street.  So LA......

No comments: