Sunday, January 31, 2010

Saturday Ride

I met Danielle with her dad Mike and brother James the day before Thanksgiving. Danielle was enjoying the outdoors with a tailgate picnic at Newman's Point on Glendora Mountain Road. We shared the view of the reservoir. The water level was down from a long hot summer and fires. Recall the view from November 25, 2009:

Danielle it's time to come back for another picnic. The rainfall and snowfall has filled the reservoir nicely. Can you see the islands?

The road had a few areas with sand and silt. Avoidable. Rideable. Pleasant. The view from top of Monroe:

Wednesday, January 27, 2010


After 10 days of no mountain and no rain, I set a leisurely pace. I had energy to look up at the sky enjoy the clouds, the near full moon and sunset.

Talked with a number of folks and characters along the road. Brian from SC Velo shouted hello as he descended. One white haired rube sitting in back of his blue van at the First Saddle chuckled as I passed by. He was already done with the hard part! I agreed. He explained his route. He drove to the saddle then pedaled his bike to the shed twice. This longer 4 mile section of road from saddle to she was also flatter. True enough. Interesting concept.

Saw Matt coming up as I was going down when Charlie also stopped and chatted. German triathletes were coming to try out our mountain in February. They planned bike adventures in the Alps and the Dolomites. We will see if GMR can charm them with its curves, easy slope and our warmer winter weather.

Charlie and I descended together. He wondered how in the heck I was braking. Easy. Dual sets of brake handles. None of this leaning way down to squeeze the front brake levers. We were zipping down at 27 mph around the ranger station where the pavement was bumpy at best and strewn with sharp rocks from last week's rain fall. I approached the light at Boulder Springs and realized Charlie was no longer with me. I circled around. Flat tire. A cycling dude walking his German Shepard agreed how cold it got when whipping down the mountain. He asked Charlie if there was snow at the shed. Not today. The walker and I recalled the snow from last year. The icy patches of road. Today it was dry and warm.

Wednesday evening bike ride bliss. Life was good on the road.

Sunday Hike

Met Ty and Dan at the Monroe and Mystic Canyon Y. Dan has a new nick name Dan, the Buck Man. He earned it by spotting a six point buck in the canyon. He commented that he also found a carcass presumed to be a mountain lion kill.

Hiking farther each week, I reached a new point of interest.

And of course the view of Glendora Mountain Road. Definitely click for a larger view.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

A Different Perspective

The day dawned crisp with patchy clouds. The furnace rumbled on early. The roar of the fans circulated warm air through the house as the digital thermometer read 36.9F! Chilly.

The daughter living in Columbus, Ohio had called Friday night and cheerfully described her first winter "abroad" in the mid-west. It's raining here. Do you know that it has to warm up to be able to rain? It's 40F. It's the warmest winter Ohio has had. There was happiness in her details. At 40F she relished the Ohio winter heat wave. Southern California, also needed warming up.

After the week of rain storms, GMR would be wet and muddy. Shaded in the winter from the southern sun, the road near Newman's Point would be icy. I have watched as intrepid sojourners ventured over those slick slippery and treacherous patches. Not so bad on the slower upwards bound trek, but required heaving breaking on the downhill.

Jason brought his green fixed speed bike. The sun had warmed the air to 45F. We headed down the San Gabriel River Trail leaving my house at 9 am. Jason attacked the hills on Sierra Madre on his single speed with strength and enthusiasm. Plentiful recumbent bicyclers out on the city street. They were cloaked with a protective tarp to break the wind. They looked toasty warm in their wheeled tents.

Arriving at the SG River trail, the dry, parched river bed of September flowed with water. We stopped in at the Encanto Park in Duarte. A helicopter flying low was headed up the canyon. A massive peloton cruised by, perhaps the Montrose Ride. I snapped pictures of Mount Baldy between the chain links of the bridge to the park.

The water flowed down the weirs, the horses kicked up their heels, the goats happily chewed everything and anything while the sun danced and shone.

The game became did you see that? Traffic was light, but when it happened people rushed by tight and fast. I watched cadence and leg position. Easy pedaling on the downhill we arrived at the 10 freeway at 10:45 am. I was ready to head back. That easy downhill became that subtle uphill challenging nonetheless.

We assisted one rider stopped fixing a flat tire. Christopher had gone through two CO2 cartridges. I loaned him the micro hand pump. He lived downtown and drove to Whittier Narrows to ride the trail. Today's ride was short. He was ready to invest in hand pump.

Plenty of stopping and pictures along the way. At the Nature Center we enjoyed the outing of gopher snake who had decided that a visitor's green fleece jacket fit him perfectly. One passer by said the snakes could not digest their food at low temperatures hence the hibernation.

The challenge of keeping up with Jason on the way back, left a huge hole in my stomach and I was ready to chow down on lunch when I arrived home. It was a great day to be outside. A very good adventure indeed.

Check out the slideshow:

2010-01-23 San Gabriel River Trail

Friday, January 22, 2010

Road Status 2010-01-22


The last rock run truck headed south on Glendora Mountain Road to Sierra Madre at 16:18. I continued on up the road to check on the gate status. It was locked. Artful avoidance of the turnout while changing direction kept my car from getting stuck in the mud. A sheriff's vehicle headed up the road at 16:22. Busy place for a rainy Friday afternoon.

During the Thursday evening check on the gate, the rain pounded my windshield obliterating any visual on the road near the ranger station. The windshield wipers had no impact in clearing the huge droplets. It felt like I was driving blind. I slowed down to a virtual stop. The density of rainfall conditions improved within a few feet. The dramatic difference could impact the burn area.

Glendora had 6.95 inches of rainfall this week. More than half the season total of 12.59 inches.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Road Status 2010-01-19

Incredible. The gate was open at 16:45. The storm headed in on Wednesday and Thursday promised lots of rainfall. Brace yourself.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Honda Firesale

Mandy of has the weekend scoop. Sunday January 17, 2010 at 8:30 in the morning on Glendora Mountain Road approximately mile marker 3.0 or two miles from the GMR/GRR junction a Honda two door Civic met its demise. There's debris on the wall where the car initially hit, showing pieces of red bumper and glass.

The car was consumed until there was no more material to burn. There's no sign of the fire being put out by firemen. Seems the car hit the wall while coming downhill, then did a 360, and came to a stop on the other lane.

Road Status 2010-01-18

No surprise folks. The gate on Glendora Mountain Road was closed. Lots of rain today. Two inches in our gauge. Cullen School reported 2.18 inches. Most likely the hillside moved and the road was muddy and slippery. The LA County Road Closure website has been updated with our closure. No estimate on reopening.

The roads in Glendora were relatively dry in comparison to the lake I drove through to get onto the 55 North Freeway in Santa Ana at MacArthur Boulevard. I plan on taking a paddle with me tomorrow in case the car stalls.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Sunday Hike

Sunday. Hiked up Mystic to my farthest point beyond the "Y" where Mystic, Poop out and Monroe trails join, beyond the steep "Y" to the peak called 2760, at a curve yet unnamed. The view of Glendora Mountain Road from the other side of canyon. In the distance the clouds were amassing for the first storm this week.

Saturday Ride

Ominous cloud cover dissipated into a brilliant day. The morning clouds discouraged the early birds and when the sun came out the traffic bloomed.

On the way up, I met a SC Velo rider Brian at the electronic sign. He was headed for Baldy with his buddy. They were quickly out of sight. Juan passed me by around the first saddle and waited for Willie at the shed. They were also headed for The Village. My ride peaked out at the top of Monroe where I took the picture. the receding snow should be replenished with the upcoming storms. Met Ernie from Long Beach back at the shed. It was his first time since the arrival of his second child eight months ago. Matt was also on the road that morning. Willie made a turned around sooner than expected and he talked a bit on the way down the mountain.

My legs having missed the Wednesday ride complained a bit. I am getting back to my winter pace. The holiday cold a diminishing concern, I still swapped out the initial base layer drenched in sweat for a nice dry one. Much less chilly descent when you don't have ice cubes next to your skin. The sun and the temperature warmed up at midday. The motorcycle traffic also increased on the way down. I tried to get off the mountain between their laps. A successful trip in all.

I will be checking on the road status in the afternoons as the rains come in this week.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Saturday Ride

Blame it on Football. The New York Jets, the Dallas Cowboys and the Arizona Cardinals each winning their respective games. Yep. Football is my reason for a delay of posting. Not an aversion to computing technology that reminds me of work once I turn it on. Yep. Football. A much better reason.

Saturday was a fantastic day for a ride. Temperatures in the 70s. Light traffic. Sunlight and warmth. And the budding greenery. Is this January?

Willie caught up with me. Juan sprinted ahead while Willie and I enjoyed similar political views on the topic of balancing compensation between the upper and lower echelons. Willie and Juan were on their way to Baldy Village. I still recovering from my holiday cold was quite happy with heading home from the shed.

When a rider zips past you not once, but twice or three times on every single Saturday, one begins to wonder if they are a professional. I got a rare chance of catching Colleen when she was refueling at the electronic sign for her next lap to the top of Monroe. She is simply amazingly fast and puts in five laps for her ride while I happily put in one.

An inspiration to us all.

Man Rescued Angeles National Forest

Tipped off by Mandy from Adobovelo, an elderly man drove his vehicle off Highway 39 near mile marker 21. The driver aged 74 was rescued by 10:00 am today and was airlifted to the Huntington Memorial Hospital.

The hillside unforgiving to the unwary, curves can jump out of nowhere. There are eight listings of vehicles over the side on the Incident Web Site for the new year.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Hog Wild

The Angeles Wildcad Incident site covered many mishaps that occur in the forest. From traffic collisions, road closures, medical aids, illegal campfires, smoke checks, assists with flat tires and tows, the many unique scenarios captured on this website titillate the reader with their brevity.

This afternoon the site listed an item timestamped at 14:26, "Large pig in the sun" - reported on Glendora Mountain Road at mile marker 13.71. I had hoped it was an coded invitation for a New Year's barbecue feast.

Matt ventured out to get an eye witness report and photo. Located approximately 200 yards from the electronic sign. It was indeed a dead pig. As of 16:30 it had been removed.

When driving on the road, be prepared for the unexpected wildlife or careless driver, otherwise you too could become bacon in the sun.


Carol Anne Hagele, Education Specialist with the SGV Mosquito & Vector Control District has identified our errant hog as a pot-bellied pig and most likely someone's pet. Either escaped or dumped. Wild and domestic pigs have longer snouts and longer legs and lack the big “dewlap” under the chin.

Thanks Carol!

New Year

I am off to a slow start to an absolutely gorgeous New Year's weather. The first part of the holiday break was my version of hog heaven. Biking, then hiking, then biking again. Good weather, cool weather, back to great weather. With friends or solo. I felt unstoppable until waylaid by the tiniest of life forms: a cold. Just a niggly little post nasal drip that cascaded overnight into a torrential hurricane of forces. Hunkered down and syrup-upped I have been sidelined, sidetracked and felt like an over the side vehicle. Finished reading two books and started a third: ChiRunning.

Forced to take a slower approach to life, I got out for a walk on Saturday and Sunday. Saturday was Little Dalton Basin behind the Hot Shots Ranger Station. The creek burbled cheerfully rushing between the rocks. My mind boggling question was, "If water is clear, why are clouds white?" Physics of light absorbed versus light refracted answers the question, but its much better if you are outside in 78F weather on January 2nd in Glendora California.