Xootr scooter ride from Treasure Island Park in Downey upstream along the Rio Hondo bike trail to Washington Boulevard, and back. Almost 5 miles.

The Xootr scooter ride from Treasure Island Park

I’d ridden this bike path in the opposite direction the week before, south from Grant Rea Park in Montebello, but hadn’t made it all the way to Treasure Island because it was too far.

On that ride, I’d asked a young lady walking, dressed in black slacks and a black sweatshirt how much more to Treasure Island, and she’d told me at least a mile, which would have made a ride two miles longer than I’d planned for that day. So I did a U-ie then, and returned to Grant Rea Park.

A week later

After a week of rainy days plus jobs at home, I set out again, this time from Treasure Island Park, heading north, planning to thread the needle from the opposite end.

On this day, the trail seemed warmer, more accepting, and a better blend with the natural world. For a half mile north from Treasure Island, dense, lush grape vines cover the wall between the river and the bike trail, and I saw inviting looking park areas on the other side, plus neighborhoods of cozy looking homes.

Two mile long hairpin route

On this ride, I check out accesses to a two mile long curved hairpin route that starts at Washington Boulevard and arches like a protecting loop west of but not connected to Treasure Island Park.

I’d ridden this loop once before, starting above Washington Boulevard, and would have done it again on this day if I hadn’t discovered in a reconnoitre by car beforehand that the entire southern tip of the hairpin is tightly fenced off, possibly to prevent riparian homeless people from spilling into the adjacent neighborhood of pleasant suburban homes.

Return ride home

So, up to Washington Boulevard, then back to Treasure Island. On the return, about where I’d done the U-ie the week before, I see again the young lady walker in the black slacks and black sweatshirt.

“Didn’t I ask you last week how far it was from here to Treasure Island?” I say to her.

“Yes,” she answers with a warm smile. No face mask. No rubber gloves. We exchange a few words. She’s from El Salvador. Delmi. I tell her in Spanish that my wife is boricua, which means Puerto Rican.

Human contact

It was such a pleasure to make contact with another human on this ride. A cordial greeting. Just like before.

It made me forget for a moment about Covid-19 and the quarantine, and no way to predict how it will all turn out.

Thank you for joining us

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Jonathan Kelley, 80, was born in Boston, and educated at Exeter and Princeton, then Harvard Medical School, after a year teaching English in Cali, Colombia. He was a Navy anesthesiologist during Viet Nam. He spent the middle decades of his life working in a community hospital in Northern California. Besides his career in medicine, he’s a chef, pianist, and actor in his artistic life. In the kitchen, he specializes in croissants and cooking with coconuts. At the piano, it’s boogie woogie and Joplin rags. As an actor, he’s done fourteen seasons in a Mexican Christmas play in Los Angeles, plus the occasional movie role, as in the soon-to-be-released feature film “Amor en 266 Millas,” where he plays the hippie patriarch of a desert commune in the Antelope Valley. He has two books available on Amazon, “Counting Backwards from 100: My Life as an Anesthesiologist,” and “Short Stories by Jonathan Kelley.” Searching for improved balance and leg strength at age 77, Jonathan came by chance upon a Xootr scooter. Jonathan’s wife is the lovely Puerto Rican actress Gloria Laino. Their mix is like Puerto Rican arroz con gandules served next to New England style cranberry sauce.

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