Signal Hill has long been a communications point on the Southern California landscape. In an earlier era, Native Americans signaled their brethren with fire and smoke, from Santa Catalina Island to the foothills of the Coastal Range bordering what is now L.A.

Today the signals are electronic, connecting us--at the click of a mouse--to vast, new worldwide networks.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Feeling Adventuresome? Go Fly a Kite.

Karl, a "worker bee" on the Long Beach Boeing C-17 Globemaster III engineering team, keeps a kite in his car, "just in case I come across a breezy hilltop on my lunch hour," he says with a smile.

A long-time Long Beach area resident, he remembers working as a kid at his grandparents' Ray's Shooting Gallery on the old Long Beach Pike.

He told me he is a Vegan and spoke highly of the health and ecological benefits of the dietary regimen. Then we got into Buddhism, for some reason. I suggested he read a little Robert Aitken, the Zen master who died earlier this month and who "... made Zen Buddhism workable for Westerners."

Karl spoke enthusiastically about his passion for bicycling. He suggested I take a look at the work of his friend, photographer and cyclist Russ Roca, who is documenting his grand cycling tour of the States in a blog called The Path Less Pedaled.

And there is another friend, Adrian, who is due to arrive shortly in Costa Rica after cycling through Mexico and much of Central America. It's notable that Adrian is touring using a "fixed-gear" bicycle, meaning there is no freewheel to provide the opportunity to coast; no need for brakes, a simple machine, synchronizing legs and wheels. "What's the purpose of that?," I asked. A moment's hesitation, a quick smile, then: "I suppose it's the challenge," he said.

Meanwhile, there's Karl, taking a break from work to fly his kite on Signal Hill... thinking about pedaling. Another sweet, Pleasant Encounter on Signal Hill.

(For more Pleasant Encounters on Signal Hill, scroll down or click on slideshow in sidebar to the right.)

-- RCH


  1. What wonderful inspiration to find your interest and pursue it. We all become "who we are" by that means...
    Thanks, Richard, for this great post about Karl, et al!