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Solar powered cars – what will they think of next?

May 30, 2014 in Driving, environment, Social issues, Technology, Transportation, Utilities

While the rest of the city was chasing #hiddencash I was doing something a lot more entertaining yesterday. I learned about solar powered cars.  Then again, I nerd out on technology and cars so this was a double win for me.

I spent a nice chunk of yesterday listening to Mike Tinskey at Fords Los Angeles Regional office talk about the future of electric cars.  Mike is the Global Director of Vehicle Electrification and Infrastructure so he knows a few things on the topic.   Read the rest of this entry →

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Ecoboost Tour…take on the competition in head to head driving

May 10, 2014 in Driving, Entertainment, San Gabriel Valley, Shopping, Transportation

I have to hand it to Ford.  It takes real chutzpah to invite people in to drive their cars and compare against the segment leaders.  They are doing just that today at Santa Anita Race Park in Arcadia here in the heart of the 626 with the Ecoboost Tour.  Everyone is invited to attend.  Its really a lot of fun.

I attended yesterday on a VIP Press Pass.  That ecoboost technology is pretty amazing stuff, twin turbos allowing a V6 to replace a V8, 4′s to replace V6 and even a 3cylinder to replace a 4.  All without giving up the performance you want while seeing gains in mileage of 10-20% over the larger engines. Read the rest of this entry →

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Mustang Madness at the Petersen

May 5, 2014 in Driving, Entertainment, History, LA, News, Transportation, Vintage, Which Side?

I can’t think of a better place in Los Angeles to hold a car show than the Petersen Autmotive Museum. The Petersen is all about the car, and this city is one of Mustang’s most important markets. Historically 20% of the Mustangs made are sold in California…with the lions share here.

This weekends show at the Petersen didn’t disappoint.  First up was a guided tour through the history of the Mustang by Dave Kinney, Publisher and Founder of Hagerty Price Guide, the bible of old car pricing and history for collectors.  His tour through the last 50 years of Mustang was both informative and fun.

We started with this 1965 Mustang Convertible with 16,000 miles on it from Ronald Reagan’s gubernatorial campaign.  This car was chosen over all the others around at the time as it was youthful, different and didn’t raise the bar of snobbery that would have alienated voters of the time.   Read the rest of this entry →

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Mustang Madness at the Peterson Museum

May 2, 2014 in Driving, Entertainment, LA, News, Transportation

The 50th Anniversary of the Mustang continues, this time with Mustang Madness at the Peterson Museum brought to us by the folks at Galpin Ford in the Valley. Its not just a one day event, but an entire weekend full of events.

For me its a toss up which event will be the best. Could it be the rally from Galpin in the Valley with a couple hundred Mustangs? Maybe the screening of either the 1974 or 2000 versions of “Gone in 60 Seconds”? All I know is that Sunday is the day to be at the Peterson as that will be the day folks bring their cars and voting is done for the People’s choice with cash prizes for the 3 best cars.

Deets: Saturday 5/3, 9AM-2PM, Sunday 5/4 10AM-4 PM  The Petersen, 6060 Wilshire Blvd, Los Angeles 90036

 

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Oy…what a car show this was!

April 29, 2014 in Driving, Entertainment, News, Transportation

29th Fabulous Fords Forever

Not much out there will tempt me to venture beyond the Orange Curtain, a good car show is a big one to do just that.  This years show was nothing short of amazing.  To celebrate the 50th year of the Mustang they had over 1000 versions of it from its launch up to and including 1, 2015 Model that will go on sale in a few months.  An amazing collection.

Of course it was more than just the Mustang.  It encompassed models from Ford’s inception with a variety of Fords, Mercurys, Edsels and Lincolns.  Every owner there had a story to tell whether it be their first new car ever and drove it the last 40 years, or a barn find they lovingly restored.  Even better…the customs.  Not always my cup-o-tea but I certainly appreciate the effort in making these one off automobiles. Read the rest of this entry →

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Mustangs Across America…comradery and cars

April 10, 2014 in Driving, Entertainment, Events, News, Transportation, Which Side?

Last night was the pre-rally party for the folks taking part in the Mustangs Across America rally that starts here in Los Angeles and will end up in Charlotte NC a week from now.  This event will be the pinnacle of activies surrounding the 50th Anniversary of the Ford Mustang. Read the rest of this entry →

Planned Closure: Northbound I-405 in West L.A. Nights of April 7, 9

April 6, 2014 in Driving, LA, Transportation, West Side

Northbound I-405 Closure in West L.A. Between National Boulevard and Santa Monica Boulevard Planned Nights of April 7, 9

The I-405 Sepulveda Pass Improvements Project contractor is planning to close the northbound I-405 in West Los Angeles from National Boulevard to Santa Monica Boulevard to facilitate formal walk-throughs of the roadway project area in preparation for upcoming lane re-striping activities on Monday and Wednesday night, April 7 and 9. Closure information is as follows:

  • The night of Monday, April 7: midnight to 5 a.m. on Tuesday, April 8
  • The night of Wednesday, April 9: midnight to 5 a.m. on Thursday, April 10

Ramps will be closed as early as 7 p.m., and lanes will begin to close at 10 p.m.

Ramp Closures:
-Westbound I-10 to Northbound I-405 connector
-Eastbound I-10 to Northbound I-405 connector
-Olympic Boulevard/Pico Boulevard Northbound I-405 on-ramp (on Cotner Avenue)

Detours:
-From Westbound I-10: Exit Bundy North, turn right to Northbound Bundy Drive, turn right on Eastbound Santa Monica Boulevard, and turn left to enter the Northbound I-405 at the Santa Monica Boulevard on-ramp.
-From Eastbound I-10: Exit at Overland Avenue off-ramp, turn right to Northbound Overland, turn left to Westbound Pico Boulevard, turn right to Northbound Sepulveda Boulevard, turn right to Eastbound Wilshire Boulevard, and turn right to enter the Northbound I-405 at the Eastbound Wilshire Boulevard on-ramp.

What to expect:
-Work is dependent on favorable weather conditions.
-Emergency access will be maintained at all times.

For a listing of daily closures and latest updates visit our website at www.metro.net/405 or follow us on twitter: www.twitter.com/I_405 and Facebook at www.facebook.com/405project.

Why Crashing Tomorrow’s Marathon On Your Bike Could Be The Least Awesome Thing You’ve Ever Done

March 8, 2014 in Biking in LA, Events, Law, Law Enforcement, News, Rants, Social issues, Sports

UPDATED (3/8 @ 12:16PM): Well would ya lookee here, this latest statement from Don Ward on the Wolfpack Hustle Facebook page indicates that while the race is off it looks like a scrambled-together permitted fun ride with the assistance of LAPD and the mayor’s office may be a go. I’m going to refrain from offering a wholesale “nevermind!” to my post below  and instead suggest “approach with caution” as the situation may still be in flux.

There is much anger over the cancellation by civic officials of tomorrow’s Marathon Crash Race bike ride. The event, which was hatched by my friend and tireless bike advocate Don “Roadblock” Ward the year after freshly minted L.A. Marathon owner Frank McCourt (‘memba him?) decided in his infinite dimwittedness in 2009 to kill the companion landmark bike event to the annual footrace held every year since 1995 apparently because he didn’t need the cash-cow like money generated by the entry fees paid by some 10,000 cyclists to freewheel at their leisure and pleasure along the race course at dawn each year.

I did it every year from its inception to its end. Here’s my timelapse of the final LA Bike Tour:

In its first couple/three years the Marathon Crash Race was a guerilla-style ride, steadily building its participation through word of mouth in the greater Southern California bike community and beyond. But its popularity fully kablammo’d! last year. Depending upon which story you read about it there was anywhere between 2,000 to 4,000 participants. Kray. Zay.

So for this year with the race threatening to be even bigger Don went to some pretty great pains to take the informal cooperation provided previously by LAPD, city and marathon officials, and make it formal. This past week, those officials collectively said “Oh HAIL nah!” leaving Ward dejected and many of those who planned to ride threatening to crash the the marathon and ride the route regardless.

If you’re one of those protesting threateners, here’s the thing to consider: The very public slaying of the Marathon Crash Race by the bureaucrats has been coupled to subsequent very real threats of prosecutorial action to be taken against any and all riders who take to the course in the aftermath of the cancellation. In addition those two elements are linked inseparably to the heightened security concerns brought to the fore by the Boston Marathon bombing last year.

Bottom line to any one in the wake of those facts who is still deciding so unwisely to ride the closed course, you should damn well budget and prepare for and accept the VERY REAL possibility of being stopped most impolitely WELL short of the finish line potentially to stand facing officers barking orders from behind guns/batons/tasers/pepper spray canisters prior to being separated roughly from your bikes and subsequently handcuffed and arrested, with pronation and dogpiling being part of the process. And quadruple the woe and injury that could befall those who ride wearing a damn backpack of any size. For that level of dumbo idiocy I am NOT even in the slightest kidding: it could be your funeral.

I am sad to have to posit such horrible possibilities and scenarios. In a way it means the terrorists have won. But heartbreak aside, from where I’ll be safely sitting, the time and energies that would be expended getting processed into jail, bailing oneself out, dealing with any injuries incurred and a lawyer and eventually facing a court proceeding and penalty would be better spent tapping those cancel-happy bureaucrats — and extraspecially Frank McCourt — on their collective noggins repeatedly until they either bruise or finally come up with the idea that resurrecting the LA Bike Tour might be a pretty decent compromise.

But maybe that’s just me.

A Far-From-Trivial Tale Of Two Bike Commute Fragments

January 4, 2014 in Biking in LA

This may seem meaningless to most of you who travel in fossil-fueled and four-wheeled conveyances, but for those of you who bike this city with any kind of regularity, I trust you can recognize how awesome it is when you discover a better route of travel no matter how long or how short it is — especially if it’s been there practically under your tires all along. The only thing better than discovering such trajectories is sharing them with the one or two cyclists out there, who, like me, didn’t already know the new route already. So here it is:

For years and years and years, to pedal the relative shorthop from Beverly Boulevard to Hoover Street I’ve traversed the route shown on the right (click it for the bigger picture) that mainly utilizes Commonwealth Avenue. It is problematic for four reasons:

1) The ridiculously deteriorated asphalt on the Bureau of Street Services-forsaken stretch of 2nd Street between Hoover and Commonwealth, which probably rivals the infamous rugged terrain that can be found on the famed Paris-Roubaix race.
2) That’s then matched by the crappy roadway extending from 6th Street to Wilshire.
3) Between 6th and Wilshire in the morning you also have to deal with an epidemic of craptastic double parking as people load and unload passengers, most of whom are bound for the nearby court building.
4) The reeeeeeaaaally long wait on Commonwealth at Wilshire for a green light.

So yesterday, now that I’m back in the fully employed saddle again, and getting off the a good start towards keeping my New Year’s resolution to bike more miles than I drive, I was riding south on Vendome approaching Beverly, but instead of going straight across as I’ve done for so long, I decided to go left and see what it would be like getting to Hoover from there via an alternate route.

As shown in the second image at left, I turned right from Beverly onto LaFayette Park Place and not only does it get me to where I want to be with less turns and twists, but it’s also less congested, wider, and the pavement is billiard-slate smooth. And while the green light to cross Wilshire is probably as long as the one mentioned in No. 4 above at Commonwealth, I can at least turn my less-stressed head to my right and say good morning to the statue of the Marquis de LaFayette standing in the corner of the park that’s named after the hero of the American Revolution.

Once across Wilshire, it’s a left turn onto Hoover and I’m on my way, left only to wonder how and why it took me so long to figure out this better way to go.

 

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Thunderbirds plan rehearsal fly over Pasadena 8AM today

December 31, 2013 in Entertainment, Mass Transit, San Gabriel Valley, Seasonal, Transportation

I got the notice from a variety of sources.  All legit…The Air Force Thunderbirds will do a fly over the Rose Parade Route, Colorado Blvd in Pasadena this morning at 8AM.

For any of you thinking about attending the Rose Parade tomorrow the city has a nifty rules sheet online for you to follow.

My advice is simpler. Take the Gold Line to any of the stations and hoof it to the parade route.  Traffic in and out of Pasadena for the parade is horrific at best, gridlocked for hours, the Gold Line will make your life so much easier. The last time we did the parade when the kids were little it took us 2 hours go 5 miles from our parking space to home, seriously…Gold Line it and get off on the Del Mar, Memorial Park,  Lake, Allen or Sierra Madre Villa stops .

A full copy of the Pasadena Police Nixel alert after the jump. Read the rest of this entry →

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Don’t say I never warned you – DUI arrests way up this year

December 27, 2013 in Driving, Holidays, Law, Law Enforcement, Mass Transit, Social issues, Transportation

1,520 DUI Arrests by LA County Policing Agencies Dec. 13-25

A couple of weeks ago I posted a warning that DUI check points were going to increase this year as the various local law enforcement agencies got Federal Grants to up enforcement.  Yikes…up over last year by 95 arrests.  AND New Years isn’t here yet.  Save yourself the hassle and HUGE expense and get a destignated driver, use AAA Tipsy Tow, call a taxi, use the UBER app, use METRO,  but don’t get behind the wheel as its not worth it.

In my corner of L.A, as well as the whole city there will be a huge increase in DUI Checkpoints starting this tonight through New Years.  The press releases with details after the jump.  Read the rest of this entry →

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Los Angeles as one of 6 host cities for 2015 Mustang Reveal

December 7, 2013 in Driving, Entertainment, LA, News, Transportation, West Side

Los Angeles is an important market for the Mustang, one of its biggest.  We were one of 6 host cities in the world to host a 2015 Mustang reveal.  Yes, world as the next generation Mustang will be a globlal car.  The other cities were Shanghai, Sydney, Barcelona, New York and Dearborn that held a reveal on December 5th.  The car is really nice looking, still every bit a Mustang with loads of design cues from the past layered onto a very modern body that holds many similarities with the newest Fords.

The Mustang Reveal in Los Angeles was a big deal.  It started with a big morning reveal then the car was shuffled off to the Hollywood Walk of Fame for its tire prints to be immortalized there.  I missed those two events because I simply have too much going on.  What I did make was the Venice Beach reveal and that was a lot more intimate and spectactular. Read the rest of this entry →

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LA Sheriff announces Holiday DUI Check Points

December 3, 2013 in Driving, Law, Law Enforcement, Social issues

The Holidays are here and with all of our festivities comes drinking. Unfortunately not every one has a designated driver which often leads to tragedy.  L.A. County Sheriff has some DUI enforcement nights already set aside to help catch the drunks before they can cause an accident.  The  press release with important dates and locations after the jump. Read the rest of this entry →

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Free stuff from Honda Black Friday until Christmas

November 27, 2013 in coffee, Driving, Entertainment, Food & Drink, Seasonal, Shopping

I don’t know which tagline to use for this post.  “Happy Honda Days” and “Helpful Honda Man” both apply here.  In short starting Black Friday through Christmas the Honda Dealers are sponsoring a fun promotion.  They’ll have guys in blue Honda shirts working the malls handing out free hot cocoa and coffee.  They’ll be passing out mints too to kill the coffee breath.  Drive a Honda?  Really look for their big blue Honda gas truck…they’ll fill you for free!  They did it last year and worked the city from The Valley to the South Bay…probably the same range again this year so do be on the look out.

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Press Days of the LA Auto Show

November 24, 2013 in Downtown, Driving, Entertainment, environment, Events, Fashion, Food & Drink, Media, Technology

I can’t begin to tell you the fun I have at Press Days for the L.A. Auto Show.  Yes, its a lot of work but a lot of fun is interspersed during it too.  You get to meet some really interesting people from all over the world, both media and manufacturer types.  The reveals are 20 minutes long and 5 minutes apart.  You have two choices…hustle to each or pick and chose the ones you want to stake out and really see.  I always take the latter approach and have time to photo the exhibits with minimal people in the way.

Most of the manufacturers have some sort of refreshment set up.  Audi and Porsche each set up pop-up restaurants with free wifi.  Jaguar did a nice cafe this year too.  However, hands down my favorite was the food trucks AND beer truck at the Nissan stand.  Yes.   A beer truck dispensing ice cold beer, ipa and ale from Stone Brewing.  I had a nice cold glass of Arrogant Bastard thank you very much.

There are tons of other things going on during Press Days as well.  There are receptions and happy hours.  Notable ones were for the Design LA and Aftermarket Halls at the show. There is also the opportunity to get in and drive cars, mostly green cars on the last day (Thursday).   Read the rest of this entry →