Tuesday, June 29, 2010

I'm a little busy...

We are now the guardians of my son's puppy...and I'm a little busy.

She is one-half Bull-Mastiff,and the rest of her is Pit Bull and Lab.

She's quite sweet...anxious to please.

And cried half the night after her long trip from Las Vegas! I hope the neighbors got some sleep--I certainly didn't. She woke up every dog in the neighborhood.

She is making her way into our hearts.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Riding Phelan

Dang! The thick sand got me. I bailed out before going over.

Mozart is ahead of me. I watch his bike disappear around the corner. I wonder how long it will take him to discover I'm missing?

My bike is too heavy for me to pick up (over 225 pounds) so I decide to relax. Because...this is supposed to be fun! I pull my camera from my pack and take some pictures.

I almost rolled down there.
A poppy smiles at me.
That's the back of Mt. Baldy.

A highway sweeps through the valley below.
Oh there he is!

Hey—What took you so long?
We spent 3 hours on the trail and we had a really good time. No more mishaps! Part of that three hours we stopped to take pictures or took in the view and I noticed these yellow wild flowers.

About half-way up that big hill (below) the road forked to the left...do you see it sliced into the mountain heading left? Oh...Mozart has ridden that big hill before but there was no way I was going up. It's steeper and bumpier than it looks.
We ended up at our friend's home, in Phelan, for a barbecue. Our hosts, Tony and Patty live only a mile from the off-road trails.

We brought an extra bike for Tony. After the barbecue wound down, he and Bill slipped out for an evening ride. Tony, hasn't been on a dirt bike since he was a teen. Mozart said he rode like it was yesterday!
After tossing his boots in the truck Mozart heads up the path for some relaxation and good conversation before we head home under the star filled sky.

On the Home front: I am working this summer with severely handicapped children. It's quite a physically active job. But it's a good experience and I'm learning alot. Secondly, my oldest son just called from Las Vegas. He needs to move home for a couple of months and is bringing his new best friend. A Pit Bull/Bullmastiff. Oh dear.

More later...

Have a nice weekend!

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Retired? or Not...

(update--Thanks for those encouraging comments! Went up and down the street tonight. I set off the barking dogs and the neighbors peered out their windows. Mozart put a different kind of spark plug in to bring the idle under control. Now I can slow it down better!--6/17/10 Thurs.)

I'm retiring from off-road riding. Well, at least I thought I was until yesterday. It seems we've been invited to a church potluck Saturday and the hosts live in the desert.

Should we bring the bikes and go for a spin? The potluck doesn't start until 3:30. Mozart got out the bikes tonight and started them up. While he was revving the engines, I watched from the porch and wondered how I would look at the potluck after riding through dirt, rocks and sandy streambeds.

And I worried. After two years, would I remember how to ride? So I got on the bike and tried to ride it around the back yard. I didn't get far. It stalled next to the peach tree. Mozart said to give it a little more gas. But then it bolted forward with too much speed. Mozart sighed. "It's been sitting so long the carburetor is gummed up." Tomorrow he is going to take it apart and clean it. I was disappointed because I couldn't practice. He rolled the bike into the shed and we both came back in the house.

Later on, I stepped outside in the darkness and walked across the grass to the shed and slipped inside. I straddled my bike and imagined riding through the desert. I practiced shifting, and breaking. Hmf! Those skills used to be innate. Now I have to think!

Hopefully my coordination will return quickly or it's going to be one unforgettable ride on Saturday! To be continued...

Some memories below:

Thursday, June 10, 2010

The Arroyo Seco

I felt a stir of wonder as I ventured under the old bridges of South Pasadena Wednesday night, and followed the Arroyo Seco--a stream and watershed in Los Angeles County.

Several days before, a short article in the newspaper caught my eye. "Evening hike on level trail in the Arroyo Seco." I had never explored this ribbon of watershed land that stretches through several cities then eventually empties into the Los Angeles River near Dodger stadium. On google's satellite map, it threads across the page like a skinny green island in an ocean of cement.

The Wednesday evening hike would explore a 3 mile section. Wednesday evening? That's right in the middle of the work week. After some pause for thought, I decided it much better to be adventurous than overly conscientious. Let the men cook their own dinner tonight! And do the dishes to boot!

So after a morning at school and an afternoon with Letty, I pulled in my driveway at 5:30 p.m. to eat a quick dinner and then pick up my friend Lynn.

We drove east passing homes, restaurants, skyscrapers and just when we thought there couldn't possibly be any unoccupied land, the road gently sloped down into a canyon.

We slipped in with the other hikers, who stood in a circle for last minute instructions.

The trail passes under several bridges. The stream swells and shrinks paralleling the Pasadena freeway, the oldest freeway in Los Angeles (1940).

A few of the bridges which cross the Arroyo Seco were built in the 30's. This is the famous Colorado Street bridge (below) built in 1913 known for its beautiful arches, light posts, and railings. During the depression of the 1930's several distraught people jumped off the bridge, thus it acquired the nickname "Suicide Bridge". A protective barrier has been added to make the bridge safe.

The early settlers found the canyon and its flood waters a daunting barrier when they wanted to travel to Los Angeles. There are stories of crossings taking four or five hours before the bridges were built.

At one point, we crept up out of the canyon and alas!—The Rose Bowl! (in the distance below)

We ran out of daylight on the way back. We couldn't see a thing except for the old glowing lamps on the Colorado Street Bridge and these beautiful bushes with white flowers.

Lynn takes a closer look.

I hope you enjoyed the tour!

By the way, "Arroyo Seco" is Spanish for "Dry Streambed".

"Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks the water I give him will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life." ---Jesus (John 4:13,14)

Friday, June 4, 2010

The Day

Today was Writer's Critique Group. We read through 3 chapters of Sandee's novel, edited the first chapter of Muriel's book, combed through Debbie's proposal, and enjoyed Ruth's funny antedote. We had eleven in attendance, and here are some pictures taken by Deanne.

Yes, I look a little hamish being in both of them. (An accident of course)

Then I went to Letty's. We went to the beauty salon and while she was having her hair done, I met a 90 year old Hawaiian woman "Mary" who stepped out from under the hair dryer. She sat next to me while she waited for the "Dial-a-Ride". It turns out she knows Letty, and I ended up giving her my number, just in case she needed any extra help this summer. (I'm not working in Summer School and could use some extra hours.) Imagine...90! I would love to interview her. The stories she could tell!

Letty and I stopped at a produce place on the way home and bought strawberries and cherries. The cherries were 79 cents per pound! And three baskets of strawberries were $2.00!

After an intense scrabble game, where Letty beat me by 25 points, I went home. Then I remembered I was supposed to go to the bank. So I got back into my 100 degree car and went to the bank. Then I remembered I needed to drop the house payment at the post office.

I really should get more organized.

Letty is a great example for me. For instance. Here is a picture of her sock drawer.

Have a good weekend!