Archive for September, 2015

Hyperlapsed! Labor Day Bike Ride

Sunday, September 13th, 2015

Here’s a 5-minute hyperlapsed version of the roughly 18-mile, 105-minute casual bike ride I did Labor Day morning that went from Silver Lake and back via Atwater Village, the Los Angeles River Bikeway, Boyle Heights, the Sixth Street Bridge, the Scrap Metal District  and back up Central Avenue across downtown and through Echo Park:

In LA, A Landmark Means Always Having To Say Goodbye

Tuesday, September 8th, 2015

farewellWith so many of my Los Angeles touchstones lost to progress and reinvention, in this city a landmark means almost always having to say goodbye — and that’s proven to be the case for the cherished Sixth Street Viaduct.

Only it’s not being demolished for some over-development. Instead it’s shortly scheduled to be brought down and be replaced by a modernized version because the bridge has long been ravaged internally by a concrete “cancer” that has slowly eaten away at it and compromised its structural integrity beyond saving. There’s something like a 70% chance it will fall in the event of a major seismic event.

It’s rather ironic that in a city that so often destroys itself, the bridge was a bit of a victim of its location. The on-site plant supplying the concrete during the bridge’s construction in 1932 produced a product with a high alkali content that reacted adversely with the area aggregate introduced to it. In a way it was doomed from the start.

And now the end is nigh. Work has already begun at various locations at and around ground level, but it’s been a bit of an unknown when the bridge itself is to be closed and dismantled. As such, on yesterday morning’s bike ride I specifically paid the beloved bridge a visit — perhaps for the last time — and paid my respects.

Old Thing In A New Light

Wednesday, September 2nd, 2015

truk

It’s easy to take one’s tools for granted. Day in and day out, year after year, familiarity is said to breed contempt, but it also breeds indifference. Such is the case of my 18-year-old Nissan truck, which throughout our life together, beginning when I drove her brand new off the Glendale Nissan lot in July of 1997 with 18 miles on her odometer (she’s got about 127,000 and change presently), has dependably and dutifully gotten me from my points of origin to destination with no muss and no fuss (a couple of dead batteries along the way notwithstanding).

I’m not much for the pretense prevalent in you-are-what-you-drive Los Angeles, but at the same time this truck most definitively makes a true statement as to who I am. Certainly heads don’t turn when she passes, except maybe in cases of those few angelenos who might appreciate old pick-ups relatively well-maintained — and I definitely don’t make it easy for them to admire seeing how as I’ve only washed her roughly four times in the last six years.

The most recent of those washes came last weekend, spurred on in part by a rather thorough cleaning/organizing/purging of the garage. The truck’s thick blanket of dust and grime just didn’t look right in its corner of the freshly spiffed-up carport. So this past Saturday I rolled her over to a local self-wash, soaped her up, scrubbed her, rinsed her, toweled her dry, and dang if she hasn’t been catching my eye these last couple days — so much so that coming back from lunch yesterday afternoon I stopped and snapped the above photo.

Look too close and you’ll see the ravages of time; myriad pings, dings, scratches, pocks and the like. But from where I’m standing she’s a thing of beauty deserving my appreciation.