The Mystery of Mooncrest Drive

My main biking goal right now is to get ready for AIDS/LifeCycle, but I’m trying whenever possible to work in my “ride every street in the San Fernando Valley” project. I’m not quite two-thirds of the way done.

64.54%. Not bad, right? Looks pretty full.
The “untraveled” map tells the real story.

I’ve done nearly all of the flat areas that are close to home, so now I’m starting to get deeper into the twisty little streets in the hills. Sometimes that means I find weird stuff usually hidden from the hoi polloi who crawl around the floor of the valley. Yesterday’s discovery was Mooncrest Drive, where the Fancy Lads are unhappy to have their lives interrupted for the entertainment of the masses.

“These signs will stop them!”

I can’t figure out exactly what triggered these people so much that they’d go to the trouble of getting signs made, but I did find a couple of clues. The first was this article from last year that isn’t specifically about Mooncrest Drive, but features a 2020 picture of the street with the “FILMING NOT WELCOME” signs visible in the background.

“See? The signs are almost working!”

The problem is that it doesn’t say what production was filming, so that wasn’t much help.

Then I found this page on a Twin Peaks blog. I thought that might have been the source of the complaint, but Twin Peaks filmed four years earlier and the signs look newer. And the scene was so short that it would have wrapped before the neighbors had a chance to organize. Also, it was used for a nondescript scene featuring a very minor character, so I wouldn’t be surprised if it was a one day second unit shoot.

Everyone still talks about the scene where the nurse leaves the secretary’s house.

The only other thing I found was that Norman Lear used to live on Mooncrest Drive, but I have no idea if it was even this section of the street.

Brian could figure this out.

A couple of unrelated pictures!

Disney loves to find off model versions of their characters on a beat up truck selling “soft serve ream.”

Now, Donate!

The Los Angeles LGBT Center and San Francisco AIDS Foundation do great work helping people live healthy, safe lives. Go to my AIDS/LifeCycle sponsor page and make a donation. Anything you can give helps! Thanks!

100!

100 days. A little over three months. It’s going to be bonkers. I’m going to have fun, but I’m also freaking out a bit. Well, maybe more than a bit. You help me freak out less by sponsoring my ride. And a ton of employers will match your donations, so you get to pay once but give twice- neat!

When I make these goofy little videos, I always spend way too much time looking for little bits of related audio & video. Sometimes I get lucky and find something like Mark Ronson’s “The Bike Song.” I fun and appropriate song I’ll actually listen to.

Sometimes I’ll find songs that I like but aren’t quite right for the video, like this Del Vikings song that’s about a flat tire, but not the right kind of flat tire.

Or this great 8 bit version of bicycle race that I couldn’t find a place for:

Sometimes I find clips of movies I can’t believe I once thought were funny.

Casual racism AND forced alcohol poisoning? HILARIOUS.

And sometimes I find… this.

Honestly, his videos have higher production quality than mine.

Now sponsor my ride and save some lives!

Out to CSUN

Bring me all the streets

While I’m training for AIDS/LifeCycle, I’m also still working on my “ride every street in the San Fernando Valley” project. Just like national COVID vaccinations, I’m currently around 60% done. Also just like national COVID vaccinations, the rate of completion has plateaued.

Guess which corner of the Valley I live it.

I’ve pretty well saturated all the available roads near where I live, so I end up riding ten miles in one direction just to get to where I’m picking up new streets. “But Luke,” you say, “why don’t you just drive your bike to the other side of the Valley so you don’t have to ride 20 miles to pick up another five?”

Good point.

I just feel a little silly going through all the hassle of loading my bike on the car so I can tool around random neighborhoods. I mean, I’ve done it, but it feels like it defeats the purpose of riding a bike.

I don’t know what I like, but I know art

My quest to cover all of the roads sometimes leads me to odd places. Yesterday’s ride to the North end of Tampa included a surprise visit to the CSUN Art department. No one was there, but there’s some outdoor artwork.

Also, a rubber chicken.

Life and Taxes

Now it’s time for you to save lives. Don’t worry, it’s easy. Donate to sponsor my AIDS/LifeCycle ride and give people with HIV/AIDS the health services they need to survive. You also get a tax deduction for helping. BONUS: your employer might match your donation. When you donate you’ll get information about how that works.

Thank you for being awesome and donating. You rock like a hurricane.

Not Particularly Little

HAM! FIRE! AND MORE on a fun ride through Little Tujunga.

Sponsor Me!

Your donation goes to the Los Angeles LGBT Center and the San Francisco AIDS Foundations, two groups that help people living with HIV/AIDS. Do good! Donate!

Secret Road!

Okay, it’s not exactly a secret, but Little Tujunga is a rare thing in Los Angeles: A long scenic road through Angeles National Forest with very little traffic, but not so isolated that you’d never get help if you had an accident. I spent 99 percent of the time on the road with no one around, and I could hear cars coming from a mile away. That’s not just a cliché; it was so quiet that a distant engine was totally audible. Well worth the ride!

Dancing Hams

I like stupid puns and wordplay. A few years ago I realized “Hansen Dam” sounds a lot like “Dancin’ Ham,” and I decided that there should be a store that sells them. And when I was looking for a spokesperson, Danson/Dancin’ was the obvious choice. The fact that people who overact are called hams didn’t even occur to me until I was in the middle of making the ad.

A man, a ham, a dam: Panama

Forest, Fire

Angeles National Forest is the first National Forest in California. It’s about 700,000 acres. It’s so famous for burning that its Wikipedia page has wildfires listed ahead of the local flora and fauna. The Station Fire in 2009 burned for over a month!

A typical day in the forest.

Wildlife, gone away station

If you look behind me when I talk about laughing like Seth Rogen you’ll see some containers and a dumpster across the street. That’s the back of what’s left of the Wildlife Waystation. It used to be a home for wild and exotic animals.

Sort of like a less murdery Tiger King

They ran out of money a couple of years ago and the animals were transferred to other locations.

Happy Trails

I wasn’t actually thinking of John Denver and Miss Piggy when I sang “Happy Trails,” but I knew the Van Halen version would get me a copyright strike.

Bom ba dee da, bom ba dee da, bom ba dee da dee da dee da

Roy Rogers, the guy best known for the song, used to live in Chatsworth in the San Fernando Valley.

This is the version of the song I usually think of.

Then he moved to Apple Valley in San Bernardino.

I’m sure he never sang this song.

Sponsor Me!

I’m just over $500 in donations. I’d like that to crack $1000 in the next two weeks. You can make that happen! Donate today!

The Importance of Ice Cream

This post has everything: freeway bicycles, ice cream, cartoon dogs, skull faced giants. and epic sunglass fights.

Sponsor my ride!

Setting goals, and then ignoring them

I have a bit of serial monomania I’ll find something I like and really focus on it until I get tired of it, then come up with some sort of grand project, then drop it almost completely. Web design from scratch? I used to make new pages every day; now I haven’t made one in years (this page is different because WordPress is doing all of the heavy lifting). Photography? I took thousands of pictures and always had my camera bag with me; now the bag usually just sits on the floor and only comes out when I need to get pictures for the yearbook.

My current focus: the bike. It’s held on a good long time, but I can feel some burnout sneaking in. I don’t like it. My bike is a fun thing, and I’ve been turning it into a chore. That’s not good. So instead of pushing my love of riding to the breaking point I’m going to do a crazy thing: ride my bike for pleasure. I’m still going to set goals (and I’m definitely doing the AIDS ride in June), but I’m going to spend more time away from the bibs & jerseys and goals. More t-shirts, heavy bikes, and slow rides casually exploring. More ice cream is always good!

My Monster Trucker

My heavy and awesome bike is a 2004 Surly Long Haul Trucker. It’s a really popular touring bike. Tough, comfortable, and with lots of places to hang bags and stuff. I saw it hanging on a fence by the freeway one morning and thought “if it’s still there this afternoon I’m going to check it out.” Eight hours later it was still there.

Imagine this, but beat to hell

The frame had a big dent in the top tube but was straight. Someone had added random blue “highlights” with spray paint. My guess was that someone stole it, took it for a joyride for a while, then abandoned it. I decided to take it home.

I didn’t want to just take someone’s bike, so I tried to find the owner. I posted the bike online, checked bike registries, and even contacted Surly to see if they could figure out the original owner based on the serial number. (Side note: find your bike’s serial number and register it on bike sites like Bike Index and Bike Register). After a couple months of holding it, I realized I’d never find the original owner. I took it apart, repainted it, and ended up spending hundreds of dollars on my “free” bike.

Free except for the new wheels and tires, saddle, cables, bottle cages, bar tape, saddle bag, cassette, brakes, and paint. Totally worth it.

CONSUME. OBEY.

They Live is a weird movie. Some of it is great. Some of it is awful. Some of it is only great because it’s willing to be awful. My video has about one second of a fight where Roddy Piper tries to get his friend to put on sunglasses. In most movies it would have been a thirty second struggle- a minute, tops. They Live devotes SIX MINUTES to two guys lumbering through a brawl in an alley. No music, no quick cuts. Just six minutes of two guys rolling around in a garbage.

It didn’t hurt that Roddy Piper was a pro wrestler.

Bike Shop Guy

Bike Shop Guy gushed over my bike. Specifically, he loved that it has rim brakes and quick release wheels. Newer bikes are like newer cars: they’re better performers than their ancestors, but they’re really hard for consumers to work on. New bikes have custom parts that require special tools that ordinary mortal can’t afford and don’t usually need. Bike parts are a lot less interchangeable. Most of the repairs on old bikes could be done with tools in a standard tool box.

That’s actually one of the reasons my Long Haul Trucker was such a popular touring bike. You could bring that thing into any little town and there would be someone around with the tools and parts to fix it. Good luck doing that with your top end Cervélo.

It’s pretty, but is it nine thousand dollar pretty?

Colossal

War of The Colossal Beast is the sequel to The Amazing Colossal Man. It’s the story of a sixty foot tall man with one eye who somehow manages to sneak out of an airport and walk to Griffith Park without being noticed. If you’d like to watch it, it’s available in lovely upscaled 4K on Youtube:

There is no scene like this in the movie.

…but I recommend the MST3K version.

Now I’m off the bike until tomorrow. In the meantime, you should sponsor me! And share the sponsor link: http://tofighthiv.org/goto/gattuso. Thanks!

Meeting other riders and the magic of clockwise

Why is the Rose Bowl ride better clockwise? What’s it like to talk to strangers? FIND OUT NOW!

Circling the Bowl

I said that riding clockwise around the Rose Bowl was “prettier” than going counter-clockwise (or anticlockwise if that’s your style), but that’s not exactly right. The real reason it’s better: there’s a consistent dedicated bike path if you go clockwise. If you go the other way you sometimes have to either go against the traffic flow or ride in the street.

Greek, Observatory, Lather, Rinse, Repeat

A great thing about living in the southeast corner of the San Fernando Valley is having a lovely and challenging ride through Griffith Park. A bad thing about it is that it’s really tempting to repeat that ride instead of exploring. Goal: find new places to go!

Group(ish) ride!

Some good things I learned on yesterdays ride:

  • I can keep up with most riders
  • It’s much easier to keep a steady pace when you ride with a group
  • talking to strangers probably won’t kill me

I’m almost always a solo rider, so I was really surprised to discover how much I enjoyed being part of a group. I guess I need to start tagging along on group rides.

Darkness is coming

I’m a teacher. My workday often ends early enough that I can get in a long ride after work and still have sunlight. Thanks to shorter days and the coming end of Daylight Saving Time, that’s not going to last.

Options:

  1. Ride in the dark after work
  2. Ride in the dark before work
  3. Shorter rides
  4. Riding more on weekends
  5. Go pro, quit my job, and ride full time

It’s going to be a mix of the first four (though riding before work is going to be very rare). I move at turtle speed so number five is right out, unless some team wants me to make all their other riders look phenomenal by in comparison.

“Yeah, just lapped Gattuso. AGAIN.”

Sponsor me!

You should donate to sponsor my ride!

Your donation goes to The Los Angeles LGBT Center and The San Francisco AIDS Project, two organizations that do great work supporting people living with HIV/AIDS. Any donation helps! My current goal is $3000, and I’d be thrilled if I could cross the $100 mark in November.

And please share the donation link with friends: http://tofighthiv.org/goto/gattuso

Thank you for being awesome!