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November 09, 2007

Rolling, Rolling on the Rivers: San Gabriel River Bicycle Trail 2

Continuing my journey (Late comers can saddle up here!) along one of the three great rivers of Southern California I find myself now on the west side of the river and the rollies have returned, for a while, as I leave Irwindale behind.

Sga_tr8 As I came out from under an underpass, with a big dip leading down under it, I found my way blocked by bikes!

Imagine a whole herd of spandex clad club riders, racing hell-bent for the beach, at 25 mph (I was doing about 15 myself.) coming upon this unexpected scene!

On the side of the trail were 2 disheveled white guys, in their mid-fifties, with beer cans in their hands, staring drunkenly at the fence separating the trail from private property.

I stopped and, um, politely told them to move their bikes out of the way because, if a crowd came through, the result might not be very pretty.

As I pedaled away they went to move their bikes and when they saw me take the picture they were spooked enough to get on them and ride away.

They both passed me when I stopped again a couple of miles down the trail (One guy asked me how much my bike was as he passed, the other yelled “BOO!!”).

Sga_tr9The landscape finally begins to change, with less vegetation in the river.

As I pass the 12 mile mark, around 11am, I pass three African-American ladies out for a mid-morning stroll.

Actually, due to my stops along the trail, this was our third meeting (Sing along… I pass you, you pass me!).

We had a good laugh as I told them that, at this rate, they might beat me to the beach. ;-D

At 14 ½ miles I’m well into El Monte and several schools form the view, on my right, including the sports field of Monte Vista High School.

It was along here that I saw a guy in the river, tossing a rock at a flock of birds, leading me to razz him about his lousy aim. (Too bad the birds didn’t think to turn around and drop a few, um, presents on his stupid head!)

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A little further on I find a Horse Trail is running next to the path for a while, and when I saw a hole in the fence, after passing a rider, I saw my chance for a nice photo. The horseback riders I saw, on my journey, were all Hispanic. Did they own the horses, or were they hired hands performing exercise duty? I don’t know.

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After 15 ½ miles the vegetation in the river took on a new and crowded appearance.

Lush trees and shrubs are everywhere.

When it’s not raining walkers and horseback riders can be seen in these areas of the river.

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Some of those who live next to the river could care less that travelers occasionally stop to ogle them. ;-D

Barnyards and stables in the suburbs? Amazing. ;-D

Horse stables are a major feature to be seen along most of the trail.

Sga_tr13 I no sooner pass the row of barnyards than I discover the reason for all the greenery.

Where San Jose Creek comes out of the east and meets the San Gabriel I can see the natural glory of the areas past at the Thienes Ave. entrance to the trail.

As this sturdy example of 21st century characters living out their Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn fantasies shows the fishing is good along here. ;-D

Oh, look! They even have their very own jogging track! ;-D

Nearby are two interpretive displays with pictures, in need of a little clean-up.

One explains about the Tongva Indians who inhabited the area centuries ago and includes a scene of the Mission San Gabriel, painted in 1832.

The other discusses respect for the river and the Emerald Necklace Park Network, a 17 mile loop that, when completed, will link 1500 acres of parks along the San Gabriel and Rio Hondo rivers.

This will expand and improve upon existing cycling, hiking, and horseback riding trails in the Whittier Narrows and Bosque Del Rio Hondo region, from Irwindale and Peck Park, in the north, to Pico Rivera and Legg lake in the south.

There is a bit of controversy related to current efforts.

It revolves around a proposal for the new San Gabriel River Discovery Center being planned for a portion of the Whittier Narrows and shows that not all environmental activists are on the same page on every little issue.

Judging from the date of the letter, shown here, it appeared that opposition was planning to take an awful long time to gear up for battle. ;-D

But the latest in their disagreement with the efforts of the Angeles Chapter of the Sierra Club, can be found on the website of Friends of the Whittier Narrows Natural Area.

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A mile further on I encounter another horseman, one who jokingly challenged me to a race on his beautiful horse. (Despite appearances this was not the “Headless” Horseman out for a post Halloween stroll, hee, hee!)

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Up to this point everything was just ducky on my ride and I was about to leave the major natural portions of the river behind, heading further into this middle stretch of the journey.

***Continue on to - Rolling, Rolling on the Rivers: San Gabriel River Bicycle Trail 3***

November 9, 2007 in Riding Los Angeles County | Permalink

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