Daily Affirmation

The best things in life are free.
The second best are very expensive.
- Coco Chanel

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Biking & Nostalgia - Memorial Day 2012

Our Memorial Day was 9 parts relaxing, with a pinch of physical thrown in along with a heaping spoonful of nostalgia.  Surprisingly, we both slept in until 9:00!  That's something that just never happens around here, but it sure felt good.  We had breakfast, got ready, and soon had the bikes loaded onto the rack and were off to the bike trail!  Previously, we'd done the end of the trail from out in O'Neill Park at the end of Yorba Linda/ Anaheim Hills, clear through to Chapman Avenue in Orange.  We'd also done the last 5 miles from McFadden Avenue in Santa Ana to Huntington Beach and back.  But we'd never done that middle section, so that's where we headed.
All kinds of people were out riding, ranging from the serious cyclists to old duffers like ourselves, to families out for a family ride, to kids riding to the beach.  The first part of the trail was lovely, winding past a green golf course.  After that, it got mean.  The winds off the coast were blowing against us and it was a struggle (for me) to keep going down under each overpass, and then pedal up against the wind on the other side.  I was determined to do at least 5 miles each way, though.  We sort of lost count at one point, and I don't do well when I don't know where I am goal-wise.  I need that goal to keep me going when it gets hard.  We finally agreed to stop at Warner Avenue, which was the next overpass.  L pulled out his phone with the mileage app on it, and we'd gone 6.8 miles!  Over our goal!!
We must have looked exhausted and heart attach prone because a group of girls riding by stopped and asked if we were ok.  Mixed emotions there.  While it was VERY nice of them to ask, it was a little embarrassing to appear as if we needed help.  Maybe they just wanted to make sure we didn't have a flat tire or something.   But note to self: work on fitness so I don't look like I'm going to die when I'm out riding.  I don't know if that will happen though, because no matter how fit I am, I seem to be a prolific head sweater.  Yep, sweat stinging my eyes and everything.  It's ok when I'm going along because the breeze/wind cools me off.  But when I stop... well, I suspect I look extremely overheated, triggering young girls to ask if we're/I'm ok.  *sigh*
We got back to the car, which was parked just a short way from downtown Orange, so we headed to the Orange circle, which is the center of town with a roundabout that goes around the historic fountain in a little park.  There are four streets that feed into the roundabout, which can get a little crazy if you're not used to entering and exiting it, but I've always loved old town Orange.  My friend Marion and I used to walk from my house all the way down there (a few miles), shop all day, and then walk back.  Non-stop talking.  Endless energy.  This was when we were about 12-13 years old, couldn't drive, and wanted a little freedom away from home.  So we walked.  Probably unheard of today, but I have really fond memories of doing it.
The Orange Circle has gone through a resurgence.  It's full of antique shops, little boutiques, bakeries, and wonderful little restaurants.  Chapman University is a few blocks to the north, so it's also busy with student activity.  I love college towns.  The surrounding neighborhoods are full of lovely old Craftsman cottages, most of them well kept up, and on Memorial Day many of them were all decked out with flags, and color from beautiful flower gardens.  So the following is a sampling of what we saw there.  It reminded me of being in a small town (and Old Town Orange is about the closest thing to a small town in Southern California!)  Do you remember the movie "That Thing You Do" with Tom Hanks?  Filmed in Old Town Orange.  We went there a couple of times during the filming to watch how it was transformed into an east coast downtown of 50's - early 60's vintage.  I love it there.  It's where I grew up, and it still seems like home, jam-packed with so many memories over the years.

Later in the day, when the sun wasn't so bright, we came back to the Orange Circle to take some pictures inside the park of the fountain, the flora, the flag, and the people.

A lovely old orange tree in the park. If you look closely (enlarge the picture if you can) you'll
see names and hearts carved into the trunk and branches.  The street exiting south off the circle (Glassell) 
is just beyond.

This adorable gentleman with the snappy hat very kindly let me take his picture, along with his cute dog.  
Theywere just sitting there, enjoying the early evening. Roses surrounding the fountain 
just in front of him.

Closeup of the dog.  So cute!  Made me want one just like him.  What a face...

The flag flying in the park, flanked by one of many palm trees.

The historical Orange Circle fountain.  Once a year the students at Chapman University
have an "Underwear Run" and they run through the fountain. A few years ago they broke it,
costing the University several thousand dollars to repair it.  Now they try to barricade it off during 
that time, but I imagine the students still find their way in - although hopefully they're 
more careful now.  Shops on the south side of the circle in the background.

Glassell Street looking south. Most of the buildings around the circle are still
original with decorative upgrades such as new windows, doors, etc. But it all looks
amazingly like it did when I was 12 - just repainted and spiffed up.  Newer cars.

So that was our Memorial Day.  After the photo session, we came home and BBQ'd hamburgers, just the two of us.  We were sunburned from our morning ride, properly exercised, and had satisfied our yen for nostalgia and small town values with a trip back in time to the Orange Circle.
Next weekend the pace definitely picks up.  We'll be inflating the blowup bed, shopping for kid friendly food, and making sure all toys are in working order in anticipation of the arrival of these two little beauties:

Beach days, playing with the fairy princesses and their castle, having picnics, playing games, learning to play hopscotch.  Disneyland thrown in for good measure, along with a family BBQ.  I'd better start eating my Wheaties.


  1. What a cute town. I don't think I've ever been there and will check it out next time I'm around.

    Cracked up about the kids worrying you old geezers were on your last legs...



  2. Wow! That does it, I'm oiling the chain of my bike and I'm going riding.

  3. What a great tour and satisfying day. Enjoyed all your pics! And don't worry about being a head sweater. I'm one and I exercise all the time. Just call them drops of love.

  4. This was very interesting and informative, karen. I can relate to being perceived as old and feeble and in need of help. This morning when I went through the checkout at the supermarket the 80 year old man who bags groceries asked if he can help me take them out to my car. I suppose he asks everybody the same question but still...

    I looked up the Orange Circle on a Google map because I like to see where my besties live, work and play. Seems you aren't too terribly far from Anaheim. I remember when Kiss "destroyed" Anaheim. You also apparently live about as close to Disneyland as I live to Disney World.

    I have seen That Thing You Do several times but never knew it was filmed in Old Town Orange. It looks like a fun place to stroll around. I'm sure you know that Modesto, CA was the setting for American Graffiti although the movie was reportedly shot mostly in San Rafael and Petaluma.

    I clicked to enlarge all of your pictures and enjoyed them, especially the dog's face.

    I will repeat that your grandchildren look exceptionally intelligent. Mia always comes across as an "old soul" which just amazes me. How proud you must be, dear friend!

  5. Such a beautiful "little" town! You are really brave to bike so far and what a great achievement..even if those youngsters thought you needed help! The pics were beautiful but not as beautiful as your Grandkiddos..wow, they are adorable and I'm sure you're looking forward to the visit. I love old homes decorated with a patriotic theme. Red, white and blue goes with everything! Glad you had a fun weekend!

  6. Love the dog. You think that 9 is sleeping late? In this house, morning doesn't arrive until at least 10 or 11. I'd like to go on the underwear run, but I might traumatize the kids.

    Janie Lola

  7. It sounds like a great Memorial Day. Good for you for getting on that bike and riding and NOT having a heart attack!
    Love the pictures of the town.
    You're going to have fun next weekend with those little darlings!

  8. Your Memorial Day sounds like it was pretty tiring. I can't believe you rode those bikes that far. I commend you and envy you too.

    I don't think I have ever been to Orange either. That town sounds like it would be a fun place to see. We haven't taken a ride just to look at scenery for ages. It seems like every time we are in the car, it is to go see one of the kids. That is about all the traveling we do any more.

    When I was young, I used to do a lot of walking too. We had to walk to school every day and when I was in High School, it was quite a long distance. Our blocks were pretty long and we had to walk about 30 of them every day, plus go through an underpass clear across the railroad tracks which were pretty close to downtown. That was in Pocatello, Idaho. It was a railroad town and those tracks took at least 10 minutes to walk under, if you walked very fast. It took me close to an hour to walk to school each day. My mom couldn't afford for me to take the bus and we didn't live far enough away from school to warrant a school bus. I was pretty healthy though in those days.

    I do try to get exercise here too. I walk 15 minutes on my treadmill, ride my staionary bike for 15 minutes and we have an aerobic pool exercise routine that takes a good 40 minutes to complete. I feel so much better when we are able to do that.

  9. Don't forget to bust out the slip'n slide! ;-)

  10. I love the movie "That thing you do"! That song is one that wi;; get in your head and stay there for DAYS! Super catchy.:)

    you were nice to ask the man with the dog if you could take his picture. I might have just kindly shot it without his knowledge or permission.

    I always love the pics of your grandbabies. Gorgeous little angels!! I really dig their swim suits. :)

  11. Okay, so now I am completely intrigued with Old Orange Town. Maybe next time I head to Oceanside, Chloeefornia, I can make a quick side stop

  12. I loved your photos - thanks for sharing them. I kept expecting Sheriff Andy and his cohort, Barney Fife to come cruising down the street towards home where Aunt Bea had just cooked dinner. Looked like I vision Mayberry...What a lovely place to growup! Kudos to you for that LONG bike ride!! So you sweat a bit, no big deal. I thinks it's amazing that you ride that far!!

  13. Sounds like a perfect day. I'd love to get a bike. I live right on the Veloway here in Austin so there are many bike paths. You inspired me! What a happy Memorial Day. Love your photos....

  14. yes..keep eating your Wheaties!! what fun pictures!!! makes me want to be there!!
    good for you!

  15. sounds like your Mem day was a real winner. You are my hero with your 6mi+ bike ride. whoa! How fun to have family coming in town. Ain't summer the best?


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