4 November 2015 – Victoria Avenue

So I’m back to blogging.  It’s been nearly a year, but I’m going to get back to this regularly–for the five or six of you who I’ve actually told about this so far, that is.

In early November, I took another hike, this time the full length of Victoria Avenue, one of Riverside’s most scenic streets.  Victoria Avenue runs along much of where the orange groves that contributed to Riverside’s early boom were located–some still remain, although there are also some residential neighborhoods, parks, and schools taking up a good bit of the old orange groves.

One of the neat things about Victoria is its landscaping.  Most of the street is divided with two lanes in either direction, and the median is well-tended, with beautiful trees, plants, and even mosses running along it; the sides of the streets are much the same.  I started on the northeast end of the street, which features an informational board explaining some of the street’s history as well as a historical marker.

As you proceed down the street, you’ll eventually come to Riverside Polytechnic High School, whose alumni include Reggie Miller; across the street, on the side I walked, is a well-tended asphalt path for walkers and their dogs.  It is, as one might expect, a fairly popular path for recreational walkers, runners, and strollers!

A short ways past the high school is a park, and then the next point of interest one comes upon is a “Little Free Library,” where one can leave a book or take one for one’s own use.  If I had known I would have brought some books of my own to donate.  I don’t know how much use it gets, but it seemed well-stocked.

The asphalt path runs most of Victoria’s length, but a few miles from the end it stops abruptly, forcing one to go to the road to continue.  There is a big diamond sign reading “END” there–perhaps Shel Silverstein’s inspiration?  At any rate, moving to the road was less than ideal as I moved into the bicycle lane, where I was constantly turning my head back to ensure I wasn’t about to get run over.  I also had to briefly cross to the other side due to some road work that was blocking the bicycle lane on my side.

That lasted for a mile or so, then the sidewalk started back up for the last bit.  There wasn’t much to speak of here–a few vacant grassy lots, then one comes to the intersection with La Sierra.  Victoria continues on past that, but is fairly nondescript from then on.  So I turned up La Sierra, walked past the Metrolink station up to Magnolia, where I boarded the bus back home.

Pictures and map coming soon!

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23 January 2015: Jackson-Victoria-Van Buren-Arlington

This was my first time on Victoria past Washington Street, but really this was to see Van Buren. I got off RTA route 14 on Indiana Avenue just east of Jackson Street, and proceed down Jackson Street onto Victoria. I immediately regretted my forgetfulness, as at the corner of Indiana and Jackson there is a house surrounded by bamboo, which I would have loved to have had a picture of. Oh, well.

Continuing down Jackson, I passed Arlington High School. The architecture of many of the schools in this part of the country is an amazing thing. Coming from the Midwest, where actual cold was a thing that happened and precipitation was a regular occurrence, schools were monolithic: a single enclosed building. You’d show up, walk inside by 8 AM, and you’d be in the same building (unless your PE class was outside or something) until school ended at 3:15. However, reflecting the climate, schools here often consist of multiple buildings, usually long low buildings consisting of a single row of classrooms accessed not via hallways but with exterior doors.

Just before I reached Victoria came an orange grove (really? Orange groves in Riverside? Never heard of such a thing!). The pedestrian path along this part of Jackson runs between a fence for the grove proper and another row of orange trees shielding said path from the street–this has, unfortunately, made for a very littered path. Here came my only real excitement. A rather loud and angry dog was running up and down inside the orange grove’s fence, not entirely thrilled by my presence. This was annoying, but not bothersome until I realized that the grove’s entrance gate was not far ahead. The angry dog was keeping pace me this entire time; meanwhile, the possibility that that gate might be open was not lost on me.

I calmed down once I saw that it was shut, and continued on to Victoria. It wasn’t long before I came to Van Buren, and meanwhile enjoyed Victoria Avenue for what it is: a street that pulls double duty as a park.  But I was only on Victoria for a quarter-mile or so before I turned on to Van Buren.  Just south of California 91 is a four-screen drive-in movie theater. Again, no photographs, but its screens make for an imposing sight as you turn the corner. Continuing up Van Buren, the sidewalk stops on the side of the street I was on from Lincoln to just past the theater–there is a landscape nursery that runs almost right to the curb.

Shortly after I crossed under 91, I made a detour into Arlington Park for a restroom break, but despite signs openly stating that it was supposed to be unlocked during park hours, the gate protecting the door was locked shut. Oh, well–the nice thing about hiking in cities is that there’s always somewhere close. The rest of the trip up Van Buren was uneventful, though I did appreciate whatever city worker decided to cut a passageway through the branches of a tree that had grown out over the sidewalk, instead of just slicing the branches all the way down. A nice touch of personality!

After turning onto Arlington, I stopped to watch a couple of light airplanes and a helicopter land at the city airport. Once I finish coursework I might see if I can scrape together the money to take flying lessons, but for now I’m content to just watch. Just across Arlington from the airport is a bowling alley–the first one I’ve actually seen in the nearly year and a half I’ve been in Riverside!

The trip down Arlington from the airport to Magnolia is one I’ve made several times before, though every time I completely forget about the hill between roughly Lomita St. and Urban St. Not a lot to say, really–there seemed to be a rummage sale of some sort going on in the Sears parking lot, but I wasn’t inclined to investigate. As I like to do, upon reaching Magnolia I hopped into Dematteo’s for lunch, then took the bus home.

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