For some reason the normal corner of the parking lot we use was cordoned off with yellow caution tape when we arrived. It was about the right size for a skating rink, so we're going to assume for the time being that they've something good will happen to the meetup spot. We did our usual hangabout/gathering of the feces until five after, and at 8pm we rolled out.
Southward through the Little Tokyo Mall we went, then across the courtyard at the Japanese History Museum, then east on Main St started the skate. We covered the first 4 miles or so in warm-up-mode, knowing that a good pace would take the edge off of the 50 degree temperature on our deep-winter night skate. We eased up and regrouped for a little culture, with a brief story about Emiliano Zapata from our resident native American expert and a photo op, then we skated off to Lincoln Park (formerly known as EastLake Park, but not to be confused with Linkin Park, which is in Santa Monica).
The park, who's lake is artifical, was built in the 1880s, along with a similar Westlake Park in Los Angeles. Westlake Park was re-named Macarthur Park on May 7, 1942; Eastlake Park was re-named Lincoln Park. Both Westlake and Eastlake (as well as Echo Park) were built as drinking water reservoirs connected to the city's systems of zanjas (small conveyance channels/ trenches). When the city abandoned the non-pressurized zanja system for a pressurized pipe system, these smaller, shallow reservoirs located at low points no longer provided much benefit. They were then converted into parks.
We headed over to the east side of the lake and hit the skate park. The Lincoln Skate Park is a low walled serpentine with a decent freestyle area and a few jumps and ramps to play on. We hung out for a bit before moving on to the old USC/Memorial Medical Center and it's superb skating, er um, parking garage. After a little more chilling and a docent lecture on the Legend of Chavez Ravine from yours truly, we bombed it like the blitz and then rocked on down the hill, crossed past the old Medical Center and then zoomed the new one on the other side of the hill.
A short skate across the Soto/Marengo St. bridge/intersection took us to the first of our two massive freeway pedestrian overpass crossings, this one @ Evergreen Ave.. It was more than a little gnarly, as the north side of it has a steep drop down to a mess of stairs, so we stumbled and tumbled to the bottom before gathering up again at the springy-foam playground just at the end. Then we scooted up Whiteside and crossed back over the I-10 on what might be the longest freeway overpass i've ever seen. We invited some thugettes we met loitering around the overpass entrance to join us sometime, then skated across and bombed down the southside to the street.
We took the bike lane on City Terrace drive to the crest of the hill, then we shot down through the City Terrace neighborhood, crossed over Cesar Chavez and down to the Eastside Green Lane on 1st Street. We went past Mariachi, took a nearly ill-fated bombing run down the hill on 1st Street, crossing over near Utah in Pickletown and sidewalking up to the Santa Fe stairs. We cruised by Weenies and Beer, but there was no persuading the gang. We knocked off early without an apres skate, leaving out of the meetup just past 10pm and heading on home, 'cause that's where we live.
Joel's Quote of the Night:"Would you like some chocolate chip cookies?"
"Ooo! Are they home-made?"
Deets: 12 miles, 1hr. 55 mins., ~475 ft. elevation gain