A Santa Fe Dam Ride With Xootr Scooter

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This morning I rode my Xootr scooter along the top of the Santa Fe Dam, in Irwindale, CA. You’d think a ride along the top of a dam should be a few hundred yards across, and a few hundred yards back.

This dam however, though only 92 feet high, is long, almost seven miles round trip

The Santa Fe Dam was built between 1938 and 1949 as part of the taming of the river system in Los Angeles. Construction was delayed by floods and World War II. On the north side of the dam, in the water collection area, there’s a lake for fishing and swimming, and attractive picnic grounds along tree-shaded paved paths.

Angulation of the sides of a dam has to do with a physics principle called the Angle of Repose, where piles of one material or another will be most stable if stacked at the right slope angle, which varies depending on the material used.

35° for granite, 40° for crushed stone gravel, for example

The flat, smooth paved top of the dam is perfect for riding along with the Xootr scooter.
The flat, smooth paved top of the dam is perfect for riding along with the Xootr scooter.

A ride along the top of the Santa Fe Dam is optimal in that it’s flat, with smooth pavement. People can have good rides there on bicycles, scooters, and even roller skates. I passed a young couple where the wife had roller skates with shiny gold shoes, which I thought most elegant, flashier even than Judy Garland’s magic ruby slippers in The Wizard of Oz in 1939!

I could overtake golden roller skates and her husband if I worked at it, but at the end of the day I think they had a speed edge on me.

Wind can be a factor on the Santa Fe Dam, but it wasn’t this morning. Overcast, if not cool

Santa Fe Dam trail links up in less than three miles with the Lario Park Trail to the north
Santa Fe Dam trail links up in less than three miles with the Lario Park Trail to the north

The Santa Fe Dam trail links up in less than three miles with the Lario Park Trail to the north, on the uppermost part of the San Gabriel River Trail, and by crossing the street south from the dam face you’re at the spiral garden three miles above Ramona Boulevard to the south, which is another of my pet rides.

It felt good to renew my riding experience on the dam, and to convince myself only by checking the altitude gain and loss on my ride map that the dam top is really flat, even though you think you should be going down hill as the height of the dam lessens, heading north.

550 scoots east and north, 600 scoots back

Average speed 6.6 miles… would have been faster if I discounted the walk up the surface of the southwest corner of the dam. It felt good.

Don’t forget to check out my website at JonathanKelley.net.

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Jonathan Kelleyhttps://www.jonathankelley.net/
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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