Week 160: Burbank

January 13, 2019

10,000 Steps a Day in L.A. #36, Back in the Saddle, 4.5 miles

Yippee ki-yay! (Joy, not you, John.) This morning Barbara and I hit the bridle paths and sidewalks of the Rancho Equestrian area of Burbank between Griffith Park's Zoo Drive, Riverside Drive, and Victory Boulevard—home of Mr. Ed and the drive-in premiere of Blazing Saddles. We parked at Travel Town (more on that later,) and walked a bridle trail west on Forest Lawn Drive and through one of the tunnels created specifically for horse traffic under the ten-lanes of the 134 freeway. The tunnel sure is swell for steeds with steel shoes, but Saturday's rain meant Barbara and I danced our rubber soles around mud soup peppered with road apples—way to get in the equestrian mood! Emerging from the tunnel only slightly soggy, a short walk led us to the Mariposa Equestrian Bridge, built over the flood control channel by the US Army Corps of Engineers in 1939, for horse access to Griffith Park. (Getting the idea of how much Burbank respects its horses?) At the north end of the bridge, we entered the horse-friendly, Rancho Equestrian neighborhood bordered by Riverside Drive. A few blocks west, my WBR home for 28 years. Around us, the recreation center where Burbank-native Barbara spent her youth, with a memory on every block—the former location of the Pickwick Drive-In (1949-1989), the Pickwick Recreation Center and Pickwick Gardens with banquets, bowling, bar, restaurant, and Pickwick Ice, the NHL-sized ice rink (saved from extinction by the L.A. Kings hockey team partnering with Pickwick to maintain the skating and hockey programs. Go Kings!) Strolling east along Riverside, we got a sidewalk-close view of the charming rancho-style homes. The city of Burbank, founded in 1867 when Pueblo Los Angeles dentist David Burbank bought 9,000 acres for a sheep ranch—became a thriving movie center (WB, Disney) in the 1920s, and an aviation center in the 1930s. But this particular neighborhood has retained the rancho-era charm of its Spanish-Mexican Colonial grant origins. One-story ranch houses with horse stables in the back and horse trailers in the drive. At Riverside and Main, the Mexican restaurant popular with riders, and, on the SE corner, the entrance to the Los Angeles Equestrian Center, host of horse shows, dressage, and rodeos and a familiar spot for my horse riding pals (Nancy Cole Silverman, you KNOW this place!) We passed horse supply shops, horse rental businesses, a corral with a sweet filly who wandered halfway to give us a nod, realized we weren't offering food, and gave us the snub. We circled around the Bette Davis Picnic Area (she was a local,) and hiked south to Zoo Drive along Griffith Park for the grand finale at Travel Town (1952) just as it opened to the public. So much fun to wander around the yard and visit the museum's milk wagon, an old hand car, a model RR room, and a Harvey-girl room, surrounded by adorable little kids tugging their parents around TT's amazing collection of locomotives, built from the 1860s Civil War to the 1920s. Barbara celebrated a childhood birthday party here, and my dad worked all of his life for the railroad, so Travel Town was a treat for both of us. Fun hike.

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