May 4, 2015
The Committee [for Simon Rodia's Towers in Watts] negotiated with the city to allow for an engineering test to establish the safety of the structures and avoid demolition of the structures.
The test took place on October 10, 1959. For the test, steel cable was attached to each Tower and a crane was used to exert lateral force all connected to a 'load-force' meter. The crane was unable to topple or even shift the Towers with the forces applied, and the test was concluded when the crane experienced mechanical failure. Bud Goldstone and Edward Farrell were the engineer and architect leading the team. The stress test registered 10,000 lbs. The Towers are anchored less than 2 feet (0.61 m) in the ground, and have been highlighted in Architectural textbooks, and have changed the way some structures are designed for stability and endurance.
The tour commences. $7, IIRC.
They're down a dead end residential street that has parking only on one side (despite what you may see here). You drive to the end of 107th Street, turn around, and parallel park. There is a small parking lot if you proceed north of 107th on Graham.
April 14, 2015
That Griffith Park Cougar
P-22 has gotten himself more publicity by wandering out of Griffith Park and taking of residence in the crawl space under a home in Los Feliz. The map below shows the outlines of that neighborhood, according to Google.
April 10, 2015
Desert Hot Springs Boundaries
Let it be a mystery no longer. I took this map from the PDF version that's on the city's website.
Click this and you will get surprisingly detailed map of the city with which you ought to be able to resolve any number of questions. It includes the little detail that I-10 is completely within our boundaries between Palm Drive and Indian. The city limits do not run along the median, but along the south side.
April 7, 2015
Jeff and I went for a nighttime walk around Lake Merritt.
March 13, 2015
Getting To And Hiking The Alexander Zuckermann Bicycle-Pedestrian Path
While I was up in the San Francisco Bay area last weekend, I went over to the east bay and hiked that portion of the new Bay Bridge Trail that is open to the public. Officially it is the Alexander Zuckermann Bicycle-Pedestrian Path. The part everyone is excited about is the path that is constructed along the new eastern span of the Bay Bridge which will eventually allow bicyclists and pedestrians to have direct access to Yerba Buena Island and Treasure Island. Currently, public access to the path stops just as it gets to the suspension portion of the bridge just east of the Yerba Buena tunnel.
But you don't get to bike or walk on that new path unless you find one of the trailheads in the real world environments of Emeryville or Oakland...or the bus stop on the Bay Bridge itself. The bus stop has been there all along, I'm sure, primarily to serve Caltrans employees who work on the bridge. Go to ACTransit.org if you want to figure out how to take advantage of the easy way.
The Bay Bridge's own website offers up a nearly useless map. The map has been shrunk so that no street names are readable with no link to a readable version. Your tax dollars at work. TrailLink has a better map, but you have to register to use it, and it only shows one entry point - the one I used. The Oakland Wiki has a similar map and you don't have to register to use it.
The trailhead that I did not go to is in Oakland at 37.82198, -122.301379, AKA the parking lot at Maritime Street and Burma Road.
The trailhead I did go to is in front of the Emeryville IKEA store at 37.829521,-122.292555. The current imagery at that link puts it in shadow, but it's there. The trailhead on the easterly (IKEA) side of Shellmound Street is for pedestrians and bicycles. Over on the westerly side of the street is another access point that joins the bike path that goes along there. They join immediately after the easterly branch crosses beneath the Shellmound/40th Street viaduct.
There are several bus routes that will take you right to the trailhead (or to IKEA, which is its own kind of hike):
- The AC Transit 31 bus from MacArthur BART station
- The AC Transit 57 bus from MacArthur BART
- The AC Transit Transbay line C which also connects to MacArthur
- The AC Transit Transbay line F, also connects to MacArthur
- The AC Transit 26 bus from West Oakland BART station
- The Shellmound/Powell line of the Emery Go-Round which is free, privately owned and connects to MacArthur.
Or, you can do like I did, and just walk the 1.8 miles from MacArthur BART. Head west on 40th Street. As you near the trailhead, 40th will go up on a viaduct that curves to the right and comes down as Shellmound Street. The trailhead is RIGHT THERE to your right. Even the blind can't miss it. If you get to the first driveway for IKEA, then you have gone too far! Turn around! Walk back the way you came a hundred feet or so and wake up and pay attention to the world around you. How in the hell did you miss that?
There is also a crosswalk at that first IKEA driveway which you can use to cross over Shellmound Street to get to the twin trailhead on that side of the street, but why expose yourself to traffic like that? The IKEA, BTW, offers restrooms and water fountains, but comes up pretty short in the hiking supply department. I'm sure you could find a water bottle in there, if you wanted to take the time to look for it. There is a Trader Joe's about half a mile north and you will have passed various retail opportunities on 40th Street.
Once you get to that IKEA trailhead, this video will give you some idea of what you could see along the path:
Here's a link to all my still photos from the hike which was about 10 miles round trip from the MacArthur station. Samples:
Currently the path is open from 7 AM to 6 PM and they say that CHP begins clearing it at 4:30. I was on there after 4:30 and saw no sign of CHP, but a couple of local police (or sheriff's deputies) bicycled up the bridge about then. This photo was taken at about the spot where the path from Oakland joins the path from Emeryville.
This is the last porta-potty before the bridge. I didn't spot anyplace to get potable water anywhere along the trail, so bring all you need.
As far as you can go for now. Access to the islands is supposed to happen this summer.
Old equipment under the old Bay Bridge atop one of the support towers. It looks electrical and I wondered why this equipment needed to be this far out from the shore.
Lots of landscaping along the way before you get to the bridge. Under the biggest snarl of overpasses there is a riparian habitat with all the plants and animals one might expect to find there - except not a lot of water fowl. Of course, buried beneath those highways I don't know how an egret is going to see it, much less get to it.
This seems to be the access to the tunnel out to the toll booths. I did not descend. There were no signs telling me to stay away or inviting me in.
On the viaduct facing east on 40th into Emeryville and Oakland. Pedestrians on one side (north and east), bicycles only on the other side.
March 3, 2015
Not Missing It
Boston Virtual Imaging sent someone out with a drone and a camera to document the snow in Boston. They made a tour of some of the major tourist highlights in central Boston:
In order of appearance:
- Charlestown (Bunker Hill)
- Public Garden
- Boston Common/Beacon Hill
- Commonwealth Avenue/Back Bay
- Fenway Park
- Beacon Hill or maybe Charlestown again - hard to tell when you're up that close, although the unusual house one sees on the left will identify it for someone who knows Boston better than I - but I'm betting heavily on Beacon Hill
- Charles River/The Esplanade (Hatch Shell)
- Waterfront/Harbor Hotel/that thing that used to be an elevated highway which is now called the "Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy Greenway"
February 26, 2015
The Beauty Of Los Angeles
A good video of downtown L.A. shot with a drone that shows off a lot of the architectural detail and murals that people either can't see, don't see or take for granted.
February 20, 2015
Los Angeles City Hall Observation Deck
West of City Hall is its equally tough sister agency, the LADWP. You can see the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion cowering in front of the LADWP, a bit to the left.
The Lindbergh Beacon
The beacon on top of the Los Angeles City Hall was turned on by President Calvin Coolidge from the White House during the City Hall dedication ceremonies April 26, 1928. The light was gratefully dedicated to Charles A. Lindbergh for his contribution to the advancement of aviation, and in commemoriation of man's first transatlantic solo flight from New York to Paris on May 20, 1927.
Press Photographer Association of greater Los Angeles.
In the park just west of City Hall, the park furniture is bright pink, as it should be. You may need to click the image to get the full-res version in order to appreciate the pink highlights.
January 23, 2015
Downtown Palm Springs
January 12, 2015
Ten Bridges Epic Walk
Yesterday I went on the Ten Bridges Epic walk, which crosses 10 of the bridges over the Los Angeles River. It came to about 14½ miles. Maps:
This is a detail from the photo above. These are the most recently unearthed remains of the Zanja Madre which were found in 2014. The brick probably dates from the 1880s, although the ditch itself goes back to the settling of Los Angeles. News story with photos here.
We try a shortcut along the river that is probably railroad property. It turned out to be a dead end and we had to follow our steps back and loop around.
The Vernon Chamber of Commerce. I expected something a bit nicer.
The famous hockey burger - which sets it apart from those ordinary hockey burgers that you never heard of.