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.