Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Thin Red Line

I messed with this picture (gee, can you tell?) because I want you to see that red line on the road. If I don't myrtilize the picture, the line fades out of your vision, like this:

The line is turning north from Colorado Blvd. onto Sierra Madre Blvd., heading up toward Pasadena High School.

I've turned that corner over and over again but didn't notice the red line until the other day when it finally caught my eye. What's it for?

Aha. It can only be one thing. It's marking a route.

This is the relatively inglorious part of the route of the Tournament of Roses Parade. Floats turn north here off of Colorado Blvd. and wind things up near the High School. I only say "inglorious" because this part's not seen on TV. The floats are still beautiful here, and thousands of parade viewers still line the route. In fact there's RV parking near the high school, and one of the parade's honored traditions, the Post Parade Showcase of Floats, takes place there every year. For people who don't want to camp all night in the cold (and it does get too cold here for the likes of me to sleep outside), the Post Parade Showcase is a calmer, warmer way to see the parade. You can walk among the floats and see them close up for a reasonable fee.

I find no reference to the red line on the web. If you've got info, let us know. Can the float drivers see it under their floats? Do they look for it between the posies on the windows of their flower-bedecked Mac trucks? Or do they just know the way?


P.A. said...

Pasadena Adjacent

That mini mall is also the location of my dentist. My teeth have an involuntary reaction to this photo.

Laurie said...

I'm glad to know the explanation of that line. I wondered for a long time after we first moved here. Didn't you post about it a few months ago? I could have sworn I learned about it from your blog!

Miss Havisham said...

Red paint, a brush, and a rerouting. heh.

Knoxville Girl said...

That sounds reasonable. Here in Knoxville, we have pink lines that mark the Dogwood Trails every year.
Miss Havisham has a very Wile E. Coyote idea. I like the way her mind works.

Anonymous said...

P, I don't know what you're talkin about! Actually that line points to the Sat farmers market. That's why it's there year round.

So, Laurie that's the straight & narrow of the story.

Trish said...

the thin red line (pink as the year progresses) IS for the Tournament of Roses Parade floats. Drivers use it to ensure they are not crashing into the crowd, especially if their outside vision is less than stellar.

Good pic and even better improving it so the line can be seen!

Petrea said...

Sorry about that, PA. I love my dentist. I know, strange.

It wasn't me, Laurie. It only just clicked in my brain.

Heh. Havisham, you're diabolical. No one would ever know, of course.

KG, I think Miss Havisham might enjoy the Dogwood Trails, for all her Wyle-E-ness.

How silly of me, L.O.!

Thank you, Trish. Wouldn't a crowd crash be awful? Slow-mo, too.

Benjamin Madison said...

Fascinating as the red line is, more interesting to me is "myrtilize" - not to be found in my online dictionary. When we were kids we used to threaten to "murdalize" each other, meaning to utterly destroy. This was beyond mere murder. This was murder and total destruction of the remains violently, explosively and forever. Nice to know there are still some words floating around that have not been captured by the etymologists, although both spellings have appeared online.

Petrea said...

I don't know, Benjamin. I borrowed the word and may have murdalized it. But the meaning is the same.

USelaine said...

I think it was Ben Wideman who talked about it. But there's always room for another angle.

Hey, my copy of Photoshop Elements doesn't have myrtlize either! But I could push the "saturate" slider over to the right to get something like this.

I wonder if Temple City still has a Camellia Parade. We used to go look at the floats at the park near our house, next to the library. South Golden West and Las Tunas.

Michael Coppess said...

Murdalize: "To kill in a highly entertaining fashion."

Actually, I think Bugs Bunny popularized the term. Regardless, I knew exactly what you meant!

Ted Thompson said...

Yes Bugs used it, as did a lot of WB characters...

Which makes me think, why does this make me think of the gag where the Coyote repaints the center line so it runs right into a painting of a tunnel on a cliff wall...?

"The crowd is anxiously waiting, but the floats are STILL nowhere in site, Bob..."


Miss Havisham said...

"That's right, Blob. The floats seem to be going back towards Suicide Bridge."

Kim Thomas said...

Yep, Trish nailed it. It follows the whole route.

Katie said...

I love what you've done to the top photo -- looks like one of my vintage 50s postcards! I can't wait to watch the parade next year, having now been to Pasadena. If you can believe it, I've never really watched the parade on TV. (I know, I know, very lame of me.)

Christie said...

Very cool to be where the parade that we can only see on TV actually really is!

pasadenapio said...

Float drivers can't see forward, only down. They're literally on their bellies as they drive these behemoths down the parade route. We (City of Pasadena) repaint the line every three or four years. People camped out on the sidewalks the night before the parade must stay on the curb until 11 p.m., and then they're allowed to go into the street as far as the blue honor line that you see on both sides of the street along the 5.5-mile parade route.

Ms M said...

Interesting post and comments! I learned more about the inner workings of the Tournament of Roses parade, the location of a dentist's office in Pasadena, and two new words, "myrtilize" and "murdalize". Here in Boise, they spray colored lines on roadways right before big races, like the Women's Fitness Challenge or the Race to Robie Creek. So, we see runners and bicyclists, but few floats -- and certainly none as grand as the Tournament of Roses parade!

USelaine said...

In Santa Barbara, there used to be a stretch of freeway that looked like it was bombed by paint blobs, at speed. It was sort of like those fairway art-making vendors, with the bottles of paint you squirt down on the spinning white cardboard. Only in this case, going in the direction of traffic. Hard to describe. Obviously.

Bernie K. said...

Um, color blind. Can't see no red line. Y'all are lyin'' again.

Trish said...

I have to add---*some* drivers do have forward views and some actually have real seats---not just on their tummies. Depends on the float and configuration. But they ALL must have a view of the red line.

But, this illustrates why it is there are so many "white suits"---to help guide these folks. "nooo, a little leeeeft".

And yes, there have been a few crashes over the years. TOR doesn't talk about it, but I've seen it happen.

Petrea said...

Excellent link, Michael! Warner Brothers must have invented it. It makes sense. That second definition, "First seen" in the ninja movies? Nope.

PIO, next I'll have to get a picture of the blue "honor line." I didn't know what that was for, either. You learn something new every day!

Where in Santa Barbara, uselaine? Is it still there?

trish, do tell. Do you remember specifics?

elizabeth said...

Marching bands use that line, too. It makes it a lot easier to keep the alignment of the ranks and columns.

Of course, the only real danger in marching band is a horse pooping in front of you. Crashing into crowds would only happen if you lost your balance stepping around a horsepat.

Trish said...

I KNEW you were going to ask for specifics.

Any times I am remembering are at least 20 years ago---that's the last time I was physically at the parade.

No crashes were ever major---like taking out a whole section of people and shutting down the parade. THAT would be a scar on the TOR!

I used to stand with my godparents family behind "the turn" from OGB to Colorado, back when you could stand back there, or later put up small scaffolding behind the small bleachers set up there (as opposed to the huge stand up up now). I distinctly recall one year where several floats wandered off towards the Norton Simon Museum and into the crowd instead of following the line. Seemed like drivers lost the line. Once, a float nearly did not turn and tried to run into the crowd accumulated at OGB and Colorado. Thankfully the brakes worked and averted disaster. And once, had to be 1984/5/6 ish time frame, some friends were sitting near the flagpole at the turn and had to jump out of the way of a large float where the turning radius failed badly, while it passed the initial inspection, did not operate correctly during the parade. It took a tow truck to back it off the curb and get it headed down Colorado Blvd.

Bands do use it and most of them these days make that turn wonderfully. There have been a few bands over the years who sort of squirmed around the corner and reassembled after the turn. Nothing quite like being at the parade and feeling those drums pound in your chest as they go by!

We also used to call the "blue line" the handicapped line---since it seemed like every person out near the line got there because "I'm disabled, I need a good spot" while the rest of us craned to see the parade. ;-)

Speaking of less abled, I knew a "white suiter" who crashed his moped and broke his leg during the parade---had to have been 88 or 89. He was not exactly stable on the thing and ran right into the crowd and hit a curb. It was a sad day in ToR history.

I do not miss walking the parade route late on the 31st in the cold, nor do I really miss working on the floats in that same cold weather...but they sure are pretty to watch. It is my one "I have to watch it" TV thing each year.

Petrea said...

Elizabeth, I'm laughing.

Trish, thank you! Great stories. Translations for out-of-towners:
TOR= Tournament of Roses
OGB= Orange Grove Blvd.
White Suiter= TOR official

USelaine said...

P, I think the paint drops were usually on that straight stretch right in town, roughly between the Carrillo and Mission exits, northbound. They must have been done in washable tempura paint, because they'd fade away only to be reapplied. I haven't been back down there in years.

As for marching band hazards, I used to be in the color guard in high school, and the band was working a St Patrick's Day procession at a shopping center lot. We were situated behind the elephants. We broke formation as necessary.

Petrea said...

Thanks for the map, usE. Thanks even more for the imagery!

Danial said...

I like red line because warn to our.

Danial said...
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