ILLEGAL BIKE RIDEFrom the intersection of I-5 and Jeffrey Road in Irvine, go east on Jeffrey. After two miles, you will come to the intersection of Portola Parkway. Follow Jeffrey for another 1.5 miles until it ends at a gate. A sign announces this is Irvine Co. property. An invitation! Cross the gate, and continue on the road as it passes under the 241. Watch out for the Irvine Co. security guard, who, should he apprehend you (shame on you), will thrill you with his impression of Cool Hand Luke. The road climbs switchbacks past coastal scrub, cactus and lush flora that thrived long before Irvine was turned into a developer's wet dream. This is how it was—and still could be. At the top of the ridge, the view is spectacular: all of South Orange County is revealed, the Santa Anas rise impressively to the southeast, and on a good day, Catalina is visible in the sparkling expanse of Pacific blue. A fast descent down the far side deposits you on Santiago Canyon Road, just south of Irvine Lake. Although barely 5 miles in length, this is the best illegal road bicycle ride in Orange County. Early in the morning is the time to experience this ride unimpeded.
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INCONSPICUOUS 1.According to the 2000 Census, more than 5,000 Colombians live in Orange County, making them the sixth most-populous Latino nationality in la naranja and the largest South American enclave. But there is nothing in the county landscape that would hint at this. No small bodega hawking produce, no restaurants selling tasty somethings (Colombians outnumber their Peruvian continental brothers by more than 1,000, yet Peruvian restaurants are common in Orange County), nothing. Donde estn?2.There are seven Spanish-language weeklies based in Orange County, most in Santa Ana. King is Miniondas, which is in its 27th year of publishing soccer stat after soccer stat after soccer stat. INDUSTRY WAY, HUNTINGTON BEACH If all those tubes of Tester's are getting too pricey, put the cap back on the glue and head down to Industry Way in Huntington Beach. Here the surfboard-factory resin fumes hang so thick you'll be huffing without ever leaving the car. And it's only stumbling distance from the Westminster Mall for the next Jay and Silent Bob marathon. INKA GRILLMystique and music from the Andes on Friday and Saturday nights awaits at the Inka Grill, where one can partake of an extensive list of wines from around the world and select from a newly expanded menu. The ambiance lends itself to most any occasion; bring a date if you're looking for cozy atmosphere and tucked-in conversation. Don't miss the chupe de camarones, a milk-based shrimp soup that is like shiatsu for your tongue. This Peruvian restaurant offers a 42-entre menu, entirely derived from family recipes, featuring quality ingredients and moderate prices. 260 Bristol St., Costa Mesa, (714) 444-4652; additional OC locations. IRVINE Irvine proves you can plan cities, but you can't plan people. Consider the Irvinian who worked for more than a decade to transform his bland tract home into a mighty Gothic castle and was subdued only by the combined power of City Hall, a homeowners association and his pissed-off neighbors. Or the former mayor who chased his very large wife into their very small bedroom, fired several shots—and missed. Or the two Irvine policemen who, in 1993, fired 43 bullets into a cow that had wandered onto the San Diego Freeway. Or the straight-as-they-come Mormon drug-company founder who, just last year, arranged a hit on his business partner (it failed), rushed back to his serene-looking Irvine home (where he'd buried strange specimens in glass jars in his equally serene-looking back yard), and fired a bullet through his head. Or that well-ordered Irvine produced both Zack de la Rocha of Rage Against the Machine and University High grad Will Ferrell. We're saying look beneath the surface, is all. Discussion questions: 1. Is Irvine's stifling atmosphere directly responsible for producing dead cows, comic geniuses and angry rock icons? 2. If so, why isn't every day Comic Dead Cow Angry Rock Day in Placentia? 3. What makes Comic Dead Cows so angry on Rock Day? 4. Sorry. Discuss. IRVINE REGIONAL PARKOut by the pond is a stone monument to Orange County's veterans of the Spanish-American War. It includes a plaque made out of steel from the wrecked battleship USS Maine, dedicated to the ship and four soldiers, all of whom died in the war but none on the Maine itself. 1 Irvine Park Rd., Irvine (714) 633-8074. IRVINE SPECTRUMThis is Orange County's version of Universal City Walk, except it's a lot smaller, there's a lot less to do, and there's a whole helluva lot more yuppie scum. The name of the street it's on indicates what you need to bring along: 71 Fortune Dr., Irvine.. IRVINE, UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA You've flown into Irvine for a business meeting, and you want to find the downtown. If you're the brainy sort, you want the University of California, Irvine, home to Orange County's best architecture (ask students to point you to Frank O. Gehry's computer science and engineering building or James Stirling's Science Library; it's unlikely they'll know, but you'll have participated in someone's public education) and an astonishing botanical collection in the campus' central Aldrich Park. Pop by Rowland Hall and look for an immense man who might be a former basketballer dressed in a lab coat: he's likely to be the university's Nobel Prize winner, F. Sherwood Rowland, the man who first discerned a link between CFCs and ozone depletion. In the basement of the very same building is an actual nuclear reactor. (Note to terrorists: the uranium used in the reactor core is not weapons-grade.) Across the street from the university, you'll find great food and drinks and one of Orange County's great movie theaters, the Edwards University. You don't know this—because you're visiting—but Orange County has hundreds of screens showing a total of about 14 movies, most of them The Tuxedo. In that context, Edwards University is an art house. Additional attractions: underground tunnels haunted by undergrads and some of America's most artful graffiti—in a storm drain emptying from the campus into nearby San Diego Creek. Corner of Campus and University, Irvine.