Friday, January 30, 2009

You bring the sunblock, I'll bring the water


What is it about Altadena? Why is everything either hot or cold, rich or poor, sane or in? I could keep going -- old or new, wild or paved, beautiful or really, really ugly.

Take downtown. A butt ugly downtown, a pockmarked embarrassment to all the little towns that hover above Pasadena. Only one single boulevard, littered with the broken bodies of failed or ailing shops. No one plans a trip to downtown, no pedestrians roam the streets. No one buys anything there, because there's really nothing to buy, other than bandaids or gas. I want to shake this downtown by the shoulders and ask, "What happened to you? Shape up, make something of yourself; take a look at your sister Sierra Madre, or your rich aunt La Canada. Why the hell are you so pathetic? You have one gelato shop in a strip mall and you think you can call it a day?

Yup.

But then Altadena has by far the most beautiful and historically quirky and significant entry trails to the mighty San Gabriel Mountains. Creeks, bridal paths, waterfalls for god sakes. A view from Echo Mountain clear through LA to to the coastline to Catalina Island. On any trail you might find ruins and relics of the 1800's, mining camps and mountaintop hotels. Altadena has unleashed some wild imaginings and some crazy, crazy dreams.

So I decided, let's take a weekly tour and discover Altadena, its belly and underbelly, as it were. And look at some of the myths and legends -- to bunk as well as debunk.

And I think I'll start next week's tour with the spooky wreck known as Zorthian Ranch.

30 comments:

  1. Good lord - I clicked onto that photo and was struck with a major case of vertigo.

    I think I'll lie down for a while.

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  2. You better take me along since I know where all of the bodies are buried.

    "carbunkl"

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  3. Imo, downtown looks like it has seen better days, and maybe it will again, some day.

    However I had the best gelato in Altadena.

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  4. Can't mistake those distinctive beautiful white skies of your Alameda!

    Include in your tour the many, many fine eating establishments.

    Great idea! I can wait.

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  5. Downtown Altadena is a great place to come if you need an advance on your Paychex.

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  6. Yeah, Susie, downtown is one classy place. (I think, I think, I'll actually have a former nymph who will escort me up to Manso... I mean Zorthian, Ranch. I was chased out three months ago.)

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  7. I still take my dry cleaning to Merit Cleaners. I haven't found one in my neighborhood I like as well.

    :)

    I'm looking forward to our tours. Some of them I know, some I don't. Never been to the Zorth because in my nymph days I was dancing about elsewhere.

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  8. Looking forward to the tour!
    And I think we have two downtowns -- Lake Ave. downtown (with the Websters complex and hipster row, that bar/gallery/smokeshop complex) and Lincoln Ave. downtown (liquor stores, tawdry discount shops, and oh yes, Lincoln Crossing). If you need a companion, let me know -- I never turn down a good tour!

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  9. Pardon us. Mary Kate Overanxious here doesn't know what she means about bodies buried and such as that is or NOT. I mean to say, we know of no bodies buried there and if we should fall over one we shant disturb a thing. I can't leave the house, are you kidding?

    "harma"

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  10. correction: no bodies buried there or unburied there

    It means nothing.

    You remember nothing.

    This was never written.

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  11. Oh Lordy,
    i hope I'm not going to have to climb any hills for this. I like FLAT. Oh and don't think you've cornered the market on tawdry downtown areas. B'ham's got a bad case of it as well.
    V

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  12. Oh yes, I intend to grab a local blogger here and there to help. (Not K, though, because he'd be way too demanding and make me carry all his equipment.) Oh Virg, I know a couple of views that might trump DT B'ham.

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  13. i wanna visit your unused discarded downtown!

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  14. Altadena has a downtown? doesn't that go against gravity?

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  15. What is this ranch of which you speak? And dancing nymphs? Sounds like Altadena is way more interesting than I ever imagined.

    I'm with K on getting vertigo from that shot. (Sitting down now.)

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  16. My "equipment" is a tripod.

    Wait - that doesn't sound right.

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  17. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  18. kB: your answer went out 2 u via emale.

    It's good to see Tim is up giving 2 more tours again!!

    LA, I don't know where 2 begin with the Z ranch, so I'll just let an ADena loco native speak to that. There is a website on it, however, but I have 2 much of a headache to recall te url.

    My equipment is a...Well, I'm a dog so do I really need to explain to you humans!

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  19. http://www.zorthian.com/ranch.html

    -K-, tripod sounds sorta right.

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  20. Google is my friend.

    Just when I thought I knew everything about Los Angeles, I find out about Zorthian. Why didn't I know about those parties back in the 90s?!

    I remember the name Zorthian from a book about Richard Feynman. KB, I can't wait to see pics from the ranch. Who cares for it now?

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  21. Show us your tripod K.!

    And KB, Honey you ain't seen nothin yet. I may well ditch my vow to show only positive things and let it rip one day. It'll make KM cry though and I hesitate you know. He has such a load to bear up there in the BIg Apple.

    I need some clarification on "nymph" . Is it just nymph or short for something else? Inquiring minds....

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  22. All will be clear. Or not. But we'll explore. Yes Petrea, that's the website. But I do think that is a way sanitized look at the manso...I mean, Zorthian Ranch.

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  23. I'm going to bribe you to take me there.

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  24. Very hippie, I'd love to see it.

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  25. And I'm sure you'll be non-judgemental as always.

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  26. Farnsworth Park. I have spent many hours over the years sitting on a bench, watching kids playing soccer, softball games, and reading. It became my weekend library/study site some years ago. I don't know anyone who frequents it. It is a private sancturary. I feel blessed by whatever gods there be to share it.

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  27. Ohhh. I can't wait. A tour, a tour. Also, that gelato is really good. And you have Patticakes, which makes a very good apple tartlet.

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