Monday, July 27, 2020


Friends of the Pacific Electric Trail

If you are looking for a great location to meet your friends and enjoy the Pacific Electric Trail, well look no further. The Route 66 Trailhead was completed in 2011 as the last segment of the Pacific Electric Trail conversion along the abandoned Pacific Electric Red car line in Rancho Cucamonga.  The plans for this project were on the drawing board during the prosperous days when California still enjoyed having an Economic Development budget.  For residents who might remember, this section of Foothill Blvd., still retained an original portion of Route 66 pavement, with an adjacent line of eucalyptus trees bordering it on the north side against Red Hill.  Plans for this trailhead also included the widening of Foothill Boulevard and removing the section of train trestle, circa 1929, which is on exhibit at its new location at the Route 66 trailhead.  Historic grapevines were donated and planted by the Filippi family, a winery who have been part of this region's history since 1922 and a monument wall was erected to highlight the early names of the various neighborhoods that encompassed Rancho Cucamonga.  Just to the west of the trailhead is the historic Sycamore Inn which has existed since 1848.

This premier trailhead features equestrian parking and switch back access to the PE Trail, a bathroom, drinking fountains, fix-it station, numerous benches, picnic tables, bike racks, drought tolerant landscaping, and lush trees.  It also features a local historic timeline dating back centuries. This popular trailhead is especially busy after work during the week as it is not uncommon to see the parking lot at full capacity.  Folks offload their bikes for an enjoyable ride, runners meet up to enjoy an evening run and dog walkers show up constantly to take a leisurely walk along the trail.  The flight of steps is especially popular with fitness groups. Visitors come in from all over southern California to access this 21-mile regional trail and of course it is popular with the locals too. 
This trailhead is especially significant to the Friends of the Pacific Electric Trail because it represents years of collaboration with the City of Rancho Cucamonga on the implementation of the Rails to Trails conversion project.  In 2005, when we heard rumblings of this rail to trail transformation being discussed at the City, we decided that it was a project worth participating in and supporting.  Little did we know at that time, just how involved this project would be or where that path would take us.  All five cities worked on their plans simultaneously and on different time schedules.  The City of Upland was the first to complete their section, followed by the cities of: Montclair, Rancho Cucamonga, Fontana, and Rialto.  The location of this trailhead is significant in that it recognizes that the original Route 66 or also known as the “Mother Road” moved populations of America to the West Coast.  Images of cars traveling from Chicago to Santa Monica are on one side of the pedestrian bridge that spans Foothill Blvd., and on the other side the states of Illinois, Missouri, Kansas, Oklahoma, Texas, New Mexico, Arizona and California and proudly named  “Americas Main street.”

The Friends of the Pacific Electric Trail committed to form their non-profit organization in 2005 as an advocacy group and the rest they say, is history.  We are the only community-based volunteer organization that stepped up to the plate to see how we could help advocate a project of this size.  We quickly immersed ourselves in the planning process, met with the engineering and planning departments, attended numerous city council meetings, became familiar with staff to help share the progress of the PE Trail.  The Friends developed a successful fundraising walk, run, cycle event that ran for 14 years.   The Friends also developed a Trail Enhancement Program and collaborated with local businesses to donate tax-deductible funds for Trailheads and rest stops along the trail.  The Friends partnered with Cal-Fire to plant shade trees along the trail, collaborated with the Sheriff’s department on the “We Tip” program along the Trail, launched a mini education program: “Story time on the Trail”, co-hosted a community bicycle repair co-op: “Viva la Bicycle” offering free minor bicycle repairs and hands in education and this is only a small portion of what we’ve invested in over these past 15 years.

Our commitment to wellness was a natural fit when the City of Rancho Cucamonga announced in 2008 that they were in the beginning stages of forming Healthy RC which is a statewide initiative promoting healthy communities.  We have participated on the Steering Committee since it’s inception and watched it grow over 12 years into a successful healthy lifestyle program enjoyed by our residents.  The Friends also aligned with the healthy communities in our neighboring cities and counties in the Inland Empire.  The Friends worked tirelessly towards fundraising to help with the restoration of the Etiwanda Pacific Electric Depot with a goal of preserving this historic 106-year-old treasure for generations. 

I mention just a small portion of our community involvement because we always believed in what this regional trail could do for the Inland Empire.  In my wildest dreams, I could never imagine the number of years of community engagement we would be involved in.  Recognizing that it takes great stamina and energy to make such an endeavor successful, it is obviously time to train my replacement and nurture much needed new volunteers.  There are a few substantial goals that we would still like to achieve, but the workload is heavy and now is time to share it with others.

At the Route 66 Trailhead, there is an empty or temporary signage monument looking for a much-needed face lift.  The Friends of the Pacific Electric Trail want to design, build, and donate the new sign/message to install there.  This is why we want to reach out to our community and hopefully gather input from you to help us tell the story of our history.  We are not limited by borders as the regional PE Trail spans 21 miles that represent rich history in the Inland Empire.  Please email your stories to: for consideration.  We will feature all suggestions in next weeks blog.  Collaborating with our community has proven to be the most rewarding way to give back over the years, and we’re looking forward to continuing the tradition.

Friends of the Pacific Electric Trail
-Victoria Jones Friend of the Pacific Electric Trail
Like us on Facebook

Monday, July 20, 2020


Friends of the Pacific Electric Trail

Residents in the Inland Empire are fortunate to have a 21-mile Class I bike path in their backyard to enjoy 365 days a year.  Unlike parks that have hours of operation, the PE Trail is open 24 hours a day and includes lots of lighting for evening use with mile markers every ¼ mile on the light poles. Practicing social distancing during the COVID-19 pandemic has been challenging to navigate  but not impossible, especially with the recent surge in new cases in southern California.  Trying to balance physical exercise as a part of overall wellness is easily made possible by walking, running, or cycling on the PE Trail.  We all need a physical or mental health break from time to time to offset the self-isolation we are honoring to help slow down the spread of the COVID-19 virus.

Since 2005, the Friends of the Pacific Electric Trail have been part of the process and have witnessed the transformation of the once abandoned Pacific Electric Red Car Line into a premier Class 1 multi-use, regional trail.  In the City of Rancho Cucamonga, there is the added benefit of the decomposed granite 5-mile stretch of the Trail for equestrian and is extremely popular with runners. This 21-mile trail is the “Jewel of the Inland Empire” and connects residents and businesses in the cities of Montclair, Upland, Rancho Cucamonga, Fontana, and Rialto.  This trail is frequently used by neighbors who enjoy walking their dogs for exercise, a safe route to school and for many, a safe way to commute to work on a bike without the concerns of motorized vehicles.

The “Friends” came together this Saturday morning at the popular Amethyst Trailhead to film the beginning of a series of “Trail Safety Shorts.”  During the COVID-19 pandemic, this filming project highlighted social distancing and of course, we were all wearing face coverings.  We met with friends both old and new as we tried to film in between the busy traffic on the PE Trail.  Cycling groups, families with their kids in strollers, walkers with their dogs, young and old, the PE Trail was buzzing with activity.  Our dear friend “David” from Dude Tools came by to visit during the filming and thanked us for making Trail Safety a priority for our community.  The Amethyst Trailhead is adjacent to the Alta Loma district and is a great place to begin your trip as it offers a monument featuring the history of the area, parking, picnic table, water fountain for human, dogs and horses, a hitching post for equestrian, shade trees, landscaping, trash can and doggy stations.

Trail safety is important for everyone who enjoy the PE Trail and the Friends of the Pacific Electric Trail are committed to educating the public on the best way to enjoy the Trail.  Whether you are walking, running, or cycling on the Trail, it is always a good idea to practice Trail Etiquette.  If you are a walking or running group, please keep to the right side of the trail to allow cyclists, skaters or runners to pass you on the left.  If you are a cyclist, please announce yourself to those you are approaching so that they are made aware of your presence.  If you are walking your dog, please keep your leash short to keep from blocking other users.  We encourage dog walkers to pick up after their dogs and dispose of waste in the numerous trash cans provided along the trail.  Please do not litter the trail and dispose of your trash responsibly.  For many, wearing your ear buds while exercising is natural, but please be aware of your surroundings by glancing behind you occasionally for approaching trail traffic.  You should always be able to hear someone announcing “ON YOUR LEFT” as they approach you.

The PE Trail is designed for non-motorized vehicles such as:  electric wheelchairs, scooters, bicycles, skateboards, and roller skates.  Electric golf carts and Gem cars are not permitted on the PE Trail.  Electric pedal assist bicycles are permitted but all electric bikes are not permitted.  When we all SHARE THE TRAIL, we acknowledge that the trail is designed for everyone to enjoy.  This collection of Trail Safety videos will be featured on our website in the near future and hopefully shared with our sister cities and please feel free to share them with your friends and neighbors,

When we are spending a morning on the Trail, folks are eager to share their trail stories with us, tell us areas of the trail that need attention, ask questions, etc.  Most responsible dog walkers carry their own doggy water bowl but there are a few drinking fountains on the trail that provide water for humans and pets such as at the Route 66 Trailhead, Amethyst Trailhead, and at Central Park.  There is an additional mini trailhead with 5 picnic benches, drinking fountain, fix-it station and a little shade adjacent to the Fire Station on Day Creek Blvd.

The Friends of the Pacific Electric Trail are committed to wellness and safety on the trail as we have always supported active living and healthy lifestyles in the Inland Empire.   Thank you to the best film crew: Justin, Kathi, Jeff, Dennis, Laura, James, Emilia and Sean for volunteering to be in our trail safety shorts and for supporting the Friends of the Pacific Electric Trail.  A big shout out to our webmaster and videographer, Juan, owner of OFF THE CHARTS TV for an outstanding collaboration.

If you have ideas of what we might film for trail safety, please comment below.
Friends of the Pacific Electric Trail

Monday, July 13, 2020


Friends of the Pacific Electric Trail

The rush to reopen the nation too soon and allow employers to open their doors to re-stimulate the economy has turned out to not only be premature, but an economic and health disaster.  Common sense has proven to be in short supply, and it was obvious that the states who caved to political and economic pressures, are experiencing the drastic rise in COVID-19 cases that have spiked to record highs.   We gained nothing by this senseless exercise but a giant setback that will cost us more in the long run.  Our hospitals are once again at the breaking point with full capacity and there is not an adequate amount of testing available to the highest risk segment of the community, much less, the general population.  What so many are experiencing is “temporary amnesia” because they have convinced themselves that opening the economy will magically make the virus disappear, when in fact, the virus has now turned the corner with the premature reopening with disastrous results.

Photo by Gustavo Fring from Pexels

One does not need to have a crystal ball to predict the future. You just have to use common sense and adhere to the public health experts guidelines during this world-wide pandemic and continue to self-quarantine, social distance, wear face coverings when it is necessary to go out in public, wash your hands frequently and avoid large gatherings.  For those who won’t listen and convince themselves and others that just because we are tired of staying at home, that is safe to go to the beach with tens of thousands of people who just want to have a day of fun in the sun, the results are proving disastrous.  Many bars, salons, and other businesses who opened with minimum safety requirements for their customers and staff are now facing the grim reality of having to close their doors yet again. Faced with terrible choices of losing businesses, losing jobs, homes and all financial stability or chance losing our lives, some  choose to ignore all warnings.  Well, now we all must pay the price of ignoring the recommendations to shelter at home, and we are experiencing huge spikes in COVID-19 cases. 

Photo by August de Richelieu from Pexels

Sheltering at home is the most courageous and yet the hardest thing we can do for our community and each other.  It is a difficult and temporary sacrifice that will help diminish the curve of new virus outbreaks.  This preventative, manageable gesture can make a significant difference in the spread of the virus.  Self-isolating is not meant to be permanent; it is about being a good human who cares for others.  Public health experts are working with private industry to develop a vaccine but that takes time.

Photo by Polina Tankilevitch from Pexels
One recent gesture of compassion and generosity came from Taiwan who donated face masks to three Native American tribes.  ATAYAL Organization works with Taiwan to donate 3,000 face masks to Native American tribes in Washington State.  Reminding us of generosity and genuine concern for mankind, renews my faith in humanity.
Taiwan news ***

It is no longer a question of returning to the pre-pandemic environment that existed as recently as four months ago. Under the relentless influence of the pandemic, the U.S. economy is being reshaped. There will be fewer jobs in airlines, hotels, restaurants, and traditional retail and more jobs in e-commerce and technology industries.
United Airlines announced plans to lay off more than one-third of its 95,000 workers. Brooks Brothers, which first opened for business in 1818, filed for bankruptcy, Pier One and many others are closing their doors and restructuring to an online business model.  Welcome to resizing business as we once knew it. 

The business model for our grandparents changed due to the industrial revolution.  Our parent’s business model changed at the end of the wars and our population explosion.  Now our economy and lifestyles are evolving again.  Just as the aid’s epidemic slammed the door on the baby boomers, the lifestyle of the Free Love Generation, the COVID-19 pandemic will evolve our society and every other country on the globe in ways we cannot imagine. 

Shifting workers from fading industries to the handful that are experiencing rising sales will not happen quickly. During the Great Recession, which began in December 2007, it took nearly 10 years for the unemployment rate to fall back to its 4.4 percent low.
For Levi Strauss, booming online sales were not enough to offset the impact of the closure of most of its retail outlets in March and April. The company said last week it would lay off 700 workers, aiming to trim quarterly expenses by $100 million.
Businesses must be conservative and cautious and resize their business for the worst-case scenario of an economy that does not bounce back.

Photo by Andrea Piacquadio from Pexels

As the virus has raged longer than first expected, some companies are concluding that they just do not need as many workers as they did in February, said Heidi Shierholz, former chief economist at the Labor Department.  We may see the job market transform itself to more virtual employment model worldwide.   But first we need to stop the viral spread and listen to those who have dedicated their lives to save our lives.  Not to the loudest voice in the crowd, but the honest, educated, informed voice.
Anthony Fauci

How have you had to make continuous adjustments during the COVID-19 pandemic?  Please comment below.
Friends of the Pacific Electric Trail
-Vicky & Dennis Jones Friends of the Pacific Electric Trail

Like us on Facebook

Sunday, July 5, 2020


Friends of the Pacific Electric Trail

The 4th of July is a National holiday in the United States of America and due to the COVID-19 pandemic, many of us looked for alternative ways to safely celebrate this tradition. Also known as Independence Day, it is the most important holiday in our land for it celebrates the very founding of our country which solidified the American colonies' resolution to fight for their independence from Great Britain 244 years ago. Independence translated into freedoms that shaped the country that we grew up in, it's in our blood, it is our DNA.  This Independence Day 2020 has given us a space for reflection of the freedoms we so deeply treasure.  Fireworks may be the public demonstration of this national holiday, but they are not a requirement.  We will have much to look forward to next year when we are finally passed the health crisis and truly have something to collectively celebrate.

This year will be unusual due to our inability to gather and celebrate traditionally.  Not since 1918 have we been unable to join with friends and family to honor the efforts of our founding fathers and the patriotic citizens of the colonies.  That was due to the Spanish Flu that arrived in America with the returning soldiers in WWI.  That pandemic, like this one, has Americans struggling to come to terms with the restrictions that are necessary to slow this epidemic down.  There were those back then who would not or could not come to terms with the need to shelter in place.  But, just like 1918, this health crisis is about biology, not about infringing in freedoms or inconvenience.  By obeying the law of the land and guidance from our health experts to not spread this illness, we are not infringing on our fellow man’s freedom to stay alive.

The Preamble states the purpose of the Constitution and its intent. It is not law or a legal document but is used to explain what to expect in the Constitution.
The Preamble of the Constitution was written in 1787 and contains 52 words to preface our great document. The term Independence Day was recorded as early as 1790, but the term Fourth of July is found as early as 1779. Of course, Independence Day / Fourth of July commemorates the events of July 4th, 1776 when the Second Continental Congress adopted the Declaration of the Independence, declaring that the 13 colonies were free from King George.  Upon its inception, this democracy was an experiment like no other. It was and is meant to guarantee freedoms of the individual. Meant to ensure that no individual had greater rights that another.

We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.

Looking back, the Constitution acted like a colossal merger, uniting a group of states with different interests, needs, laws, and cultures. Our 1st government was the “Articles of Confederation” where states acted together for their own specific purposes. The Constitution united ALL citizens as members of a whole, vesting the power of the union in the people. Without it, this peculiar American experiment might have ended as quickly as it began.

We the people of the United States, in order to form a more perfect union, establish justice, insure domestic tranquility…”

Citizen’s consent to follow the law protects our rights in everyday situations. The key to the rule of law, is the commitment to applying the laws fairly to everyone.

Today we see America in turmoil and isolation fatigue is leaking like a sieve.  Our citizens are marching in the streets by the tens of thousands, even when they know that their very lives are dependent on isolating due to a deadly pandemic.  Unfortunately, many in our country are divided politically to the point of open hostility more than ever before. Some do not trust our government, our police, our elected officials, and it is taking a toll on our spirits.  We fought a war with ourselves over the rights of all to be free, then 100 years later, we had to march to confirm the results of that war and yet that message seems to have been lost. So today, we still have not got it right.  Our country is a work in progress, and it should be always striving to improve.  Yet, what we do have is the right to speak our minds which is protected by the freedom of speech. Even when it seems that no one is listening. We can speak openly, we can march openly, we can pray openly. It is an experiment that continues . . . we have been here before, and we will get through this again.
Friends of the Pacific Electric Trail

How did you celebrate Independence Day this year?  Please comment below.

-Dennis Jones Friend of the Pacific Electric Trail
Like us on Facebook