Mesa to Pitt 2015

Mesa to Pitt 2015
Mesa to OBX

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Disneyland, Temecula, and climbing Mt. Palomar January 21-23

Jan. 21....A day at Disneyland in Anaheim started with a 75 minute drive from north of LA to south of LA. We had done this trip 9-10 days ago to visit the California Adventure Park that is a twin park to Disneyland itself, so we knew the way, and traffic was actually better on this Tuesday morning than it was that Saturday. The day was a little overcast, so it stayed cool, but not too cool. Pam's birthday is in two days, so she wore her 'Disney birthday button' and many, many people wished her happy birthday as we strolled the park, which she seemed to enjoy very much. I had been to Disneyland a long time ago, and I was surprised how much I remembered, and how little it had changed. The Disney Castle that was made famous on TV is very small compared to the one in Orlando. The Matterhorn, the excellent roller coaster that I remember well,  was pretty tame compared to the roller coasters of today. Disneyland was opened in 1955, so it is as old as Pam and I, and it has an old fashioned feel that the newer Disney World in Orlando does not have. Many of the rides were closed down for seasonal maintenance, and there was no fireworks display, but we had plenty to do, and we closed the place down at 8 pm. We had a nice New Orleans style dinner, and shared a piece of 'Death by Chocolate' cake to celebrate Pam's big day. The parade at the end of the day was nice, but the nicest thing of all was the lack of lines for each attraction. The longest line we had was probably 20 minutes, for the turnpike cars. My favorite rides were the Matterhorn, and the Haunted Mansion, where a ghost rides right in the little car with you. The crazy rides were in the park next door, and this park was more about Mickey and Minnie, and tons of restaurants and gift shops. Our next Disney trip will include grandchildren, but this was a really nice way to celebrate Pam's birthday, and we will remember it forever.

Welcome to Disneyland!  Pam, Walt and the Magic Castle!

Donald and the many blooming flowers

The Matterhorn!  Not as wild as Mike remembered!

Going for a spin on the turnpike

Can you find us in Space Mountain?  Third row...

Cruising down the jungle river

Just hanging out waiting for the "old farts" celebrating their birthdays!

Heading into a 3D show

One of the rides

Standing up in Tarzan's Tree House, looking down

Climbing up into the tree house

At the Haunted Mansion (one of Mike's favorites!)

Toontown at night

The Magic Castle at night

The start of Mickey's parade

Mickey on drums


The Little Mermaid

Donald Duck

Simba, the Lion King

From Mary Poppins

Mary Poppins

Jan. 22....I got up in the morning and rode over to say my goodbyes to the cousins, while Pam followed her precisely choreographed procedure to get us on the road. We rolled around noon, after gassing up with propane and diesel. We drove a couple of hours to Temecula, to the same Pechanga Casino where we stayed before we got to Santa Clarita. I went out for a quick 8.71 miles around the local neighborhood before darkness began to set in.My cousin Lane, a contractor, is working on a million dollar home near here, so he stopped by and we went to the surf and turf buffet at the casino, and spent the evening filling each other in on the last 40 years of our lives since we last saw each other. 

Jan, 23..25.79 miles in 2:55..... Happy 'official' Birthday to Pam! We continued her celebration by crawling out of bed and going over to the hot tub for a morning soak, then omelets at the casino for brunch. At that point, with the weather being irresistibly perfect, I decided to ride to the top of Mt Polamar, which is at about 6,000 ft. Lane is working on his home remodeling and building job way up on top, and had invited us up to see the view. I knew I wouldn't make it to the top before Pam picked me up, but I actually made it further than I thought. Pam came by shortly before I had ascended 4000 ft, so I went ahead and achieved  over 4000 ft on my GPS, for one of the few times on the trip. I rode through three or four Indian reservations, and the scenery was not only of beautiful mountains on both sides of me, but orange groves and nurseries. Each Indian reservation also had a casino, so there were several, besides the one we were staying at. I passed right through the Pala and LaJolla reservations, two more of the many tribes I had never heard of. The perfect 75 degree day steadily deteriorated as I climbed up Palomar Mountain. The sign said it was a 7 degree climb for seven miles once the serious climb began. When Pam came by, it was down to about 55 degrees with a good wind that was either a head wind or tailwind, depending on which side of the many switchbacks I was on. For riding only 26 miles, I got in a very nice workout. Traffic was pretty heavy as I started out between Temecula and Pala, but it gradually became pretty thin as I climbed the mountain. The roads were not really bicycle safe through the reservations, with no shoulders and lots of curves, and even though I wouldn't recommend Temecula-Pala Rd to any biker, I tackled it successfully.  
By the time we pulled into the driveway on top of the hill, the wind was whipping and it was downright cold. Lane gave us a quick tour of his work, and we looked out over the hill to the west, and could see the ocean, which was 59-60 miles away. There was a screaming red sunset, which Lane said was very unusual, and as the darkness set in and lights in the valley came on, we could see the city of Escondido, as well as the smaller reservation towns, and the Rincon Casino. The top of the hill also is home to the famous Palomar Observatory, which claimed to have UFO sightings sometime back in the 60's, I think.

One of 5 Native American tribes in the area

Lane posing in the new wing of the house

This is going to be a huge window with an awesome view

Looking out over the valley - the ocean is at the horizon

Now this is a sunset!

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Kimmel, See Daddy Run, Malibu, 46.7 miles per hour!, the Signalinterview January 15-20

Jan. 15-20......36.16 in 3:08.....I did one ride in this time period, an exploration of some more canyon roads in Santa Clarita. The Santa Ana winds were rocking, and the drought conditions had everything crispy. There is a wild fire in LA, called the Colby Fire, that is making national headlines. The only trace we have seen of it is some smoke, as it is about 30-40 miles south of us, and has burned about 2000 acres and five homes. There was also a minor earthquake, which we didn't feel, but we are getting the full Southern California experience. Pam has an earthquake app on her phone, and this area always has a little rumble going on somewhere. It's just a part of life here, like snow back east, but I must admit, it would be cool to feel a little rumble, as I never have.
My ride expanded to some roads on the outskirts of town, and they made a big loop. The wind wasn't really terrible (all that Outer Banks riding has made me reconsider what a stiff wind is), but I did have one moment where all the stars aligned( tailwind, smooth road, no traffic, downhill) and I hit 46.7 miles per hour, which I believe is the fastest I've ever gone on a bike. If I would have realized the conditions a little sooner, I could have put some more effort into it, and maybe hit 50 mph! An opportunity missed, I guess. I rode south to Stevensons Ranch, then east on Lyons Rd, to Railroad  Street, to Bouquet Canyon, to Soledad Canyon, White Canyon, Plum Canyon, back to Bouquet Canyon, then Copper Hill Dr. to cousin Marina's house for a glass of water. Joseph, the 20 year old, just had shoulder surgery, and I checked in to see how he was doing. The tailwind carried me home, after a head wind in most of the canyons. Most of the roads out of town follow a canyon in this mountainous area, and it makes for great riding, because you have hills, but you never have to peak a mountain to get around. I enjoy the hills because I have to stay in some sort of shape to climb a 4500 ft pass out of San Diego when the trip eastward begins in February.

Bike parked with the giant tumbleweeds that rolled in with the Santa Ana winds

Jan.16.....Michael Jarocki, Marina 's husband, used his far reaching connections as a free lance cameraman, to arrange VIP tickets for us to see the Jimmy Kimmel Show. The show is made on Hollywood  Blvd, right across from the Chinese Theatre, so we had to drive back to that area, where we had explored last week, so we had an idea where we were going. They were full, so at first we thought we were going to get to be in the Green Room, where the stars lounge before and after their appearance, and there is free food and drinks for all of us VIPs. Marina was excited that we would get to do that, but an opening came up, and we were given seats to the actual show. There were a lot of differences between Leno and Kimmel. Leno's studio was bigger and nicer. Kimmel had to set up his desk during a commercial after his monologue. I had never heard of Kimmels' guests, even though they were well known to others. We saw Chris Pine, who has been in a lot of movies, including playing Captain Kirk in the newest version of Star Trek movies, and a guy who is on the TV show, Shark Tank. The musical guest was Gregory Porter, a jazz/blues guy that was really good, we had just never heard of him. As an audience, we had to leave our seats and go to a different area and stand to see him. We had a good view, but some people couldn't see him. After the show, we walked across the street to the Hard Rock Cafe of Hollywood and had supper and a drink. The walk of fame was very slow, with a relatively small amount of people, so there weren't so many of the crazies out, like we saw last time.

Window shopping in Hollywood!

Taking a break in the lobby of the Roosevelt Hotel

This is the line waiting to get into Jimmy Kimmel!

Jan. 17... On Friday, Pam worked around the RV while I ran around in the Jeep for a while, before it was off to another show. This time we went to the Paramount Studios, where Michael was actually working as a cameraman in Studio 19, on a live audience Nickelodeon show called See Dad Run. We drove into Hollywood again, and parked on the very famous studio's lot. Our name was on 'the list', so we didn't have to pay to park. As we wandered, we met Michael, who gave us a small tour of the lot. We saw the New York Street set, as well as a little day care type green space and park that Desi  and Lucy had built for little Ricky to play in when they lived on the lot for the Lucille Ball Show. The studio where our show was filmed was the one used for movies, such as Citizen Kane, and the TV show Happy Days. The star of See Daddy Run was Scott Baio who played Chachi on Happy Days. We also recognized Mark Curry, a tall black guy who we've seen on other Nickelodeon type shows. We got center isle seats, just above Scott Baio's wife and daughter, and got to see how a sitcom is directed, shot, and produced. We were there for about three hours, and they did multiple takes of about ten scenes. The crowd was not exactly what we expected, mostly LA people that they gathered from somewhere, and definitely not as sophisticated as audiences on Leno and Kimmel. 

Famous Paramount Studio water tower

The gate to Paramount Studios

Michael Jarocki and Pam posing in front of the Paramount directory - the right side of the sign lists all of the TV shows and movies currently being filmed at the Paramount Studio.

Saturday, Jan. 18....Pam, Marina, Rosie, Christopher, and I headed to Malibu for a day at the beach. Marina drove her minivan, and took us through LA and Scenic Malibu Canyon, to Zuma Beach, which I rode right by on my travels down the coast. It was in the 80's, but the sun, even though warm, just doesn't burn you this time of year. The beach was pretty busy, and we just sat for a few hours, and watched whales, dolphins, pelicans, sea lions and/or seals play in the water pretty near to shore. I also took a dip in water that was 59 degrees, according to the lifeguard's report. After that, we went to a favorite spot of Marina's, Paradise Cove. It's a pay beach and restaurant where many beach movies have been shot. We really didn't get a chance to stroll the beach and clouds covered any sunset, but the middle of January will be like that sometimes! The place is the sight of the movie, Beach Blanket Bingo from the fifties, many commercials, Baywatch, American Pie, and a whole list of other movies and TV shows I've heard of. We had a nice meal, and I tried all sorts of things I couldn't identify that were on the salad bar. We got home at about 8:30, and called it a night. 

Sitting on Zuma beach

Beach side of Paradise Cove

Posing by Paradise Cove surfboard sign

Sunday, Jan. 19..... After a quiet day, we were invited to Marina's for a BBQ chicken dinner and an evening of hanging out around the campfire. Michael BBQ'd, Marina made the sides, including a corn and avocado salad (very California!). The campfire was in the back yard in a little round fire pit. It was good that Lane (Marina's younger brother), was there, as I haven't seen him very much because of his work. 

Dinner with the Rose/Jarocki families

Monday, Jan 20..... 37.56 in 3:04..... I knew I needed to get out for some exercise, so I headed a little north to a small town called Castaic, and headed out Lake Hughes Rd. I didn't make it to Lake Hughes, but Castaic Lake and Recreation Area provided the scenery as I climbed a pretty decent hill above the huge dam and lake and into the Angeles National Forest and accompanying mountains. There was a lower, smaller lake for fishing and non motorized boats, and then a pretty big dam that is visible from I-5, but not very noticeable if you're not looking for it because of its earth tone color that matches right in. The upper lake, behind the dam, was teaming with motor boats, because today is MLK Day, and some people and schools were off. The lake was relatively full, compared to others I've seen in the area, and there were some green trees around it, which really stood out from the dry, brown , scrub grass predominant in the area. As I got higher up the mountain, the headwind began to blow pretty good, so I picked a turn around spot when I could clearly see that I was heading out into nowhere land, with plenty of climbing. I ended up climbing about 2300 ft the way it was. The road was virtually traffic free, and another fantastic ride out a canyon in this area. I really like the multiple options for riding in this area, and I have really explored very little of what's available. I could live here.
I turned around earlier than I might have, because I had to be back to the RV by 2pm for a scheduled interview and photo session with the Santa Clarita Signal, the local newspaper. Marina contacted them about our travels, and they were actually interested in the story, so it looks like we are going to get a story. The writer said we were inspirational to people over 50. Imagine that. Thank you for feeding my ego, Marina!

This link should take you to the video interview.....this link is an experiment, so....

And this link, should take you to the newspaper article...