Venturing to Ventura

I’m gonna be there starting today for a conference by the National Society of Newspaper Columnists featuring panel discussions and workshops on the craft of column writing, branding, achieving longevity or, if that fails, post-newspaper careers (sigh), etc.

Last year the group met in New Orleans, which proved to be one of the best trips of my life. Ventura? Nothing against Ventura — for one thing, it has some great used bookstores, and obviously it will be cheaper for me to get there — but since it’s in my backyard, it’s less exotic. Maybe the Louisiana folks tired of New Orleans will be excited.

Anyway, the usual vacation rules apply here: When I have access to a computer at the hotel, I will log on and post your comments. So be prepared to wait a while before you see them here.

And yes, there will be posts here Thursday and Friday, and columns will continue appearing.

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  • Bob House

    Probably too late, but if you get a chance, a side trip to Ojai and the booksellers in the arcades surrounding the town square is worth it.

    Also, look for Santa Claus on the northbound side of 101 in Oxnard. He formerly sat atop a building that anchored “Santa Claus Lane,” in Carpinteria. A Christmas-themed roadside block of tacky souvenir shops and a couple of restaurants, Santa Claus Lane was a travel icon — at least for kids — on 101 in the ’50s and ’60s. I’ll bet Charles Phoenix has photos.

    [Not too late — I’m still packing! (And checking e-mail.) I’ve been to Bart’s Books in Ojai once and hadn’t thought about its proximity to Ventura. Thanks for the ideas, Bob. — DA]

  • Bob House

    Quick travel tip: if you go to Ojai on your way home, rather than backtracking to Ventura to catch the 101, take 150 out of Ojai to Santa Paula and then 126 to the 5 Freeway and back into LA metro. Might save a little time and it’s a lovely, bucolic drive through the farms and orchards of the area.

    Historical note: Santa Paula was devastated by the failure of William Mullholland’s St. Francis Dam in 1928 — devastated Mullholland’s career as well; he had inspected the dam only a few hours before it failed.

    [I’ve done the 126 and loved it, and may do it again this trip. Oh, and I saw the Santa Claus in Oxnard off the 101 on the drive in, followed by a directional sign for, of all things, University of La Verne. Must have an Oxnard campus. — DA]

  • Linda Frost

    Ventura is the gateway to the Channel Islands. Go to the Visitors’ Center. A day trip out to Anacapa or Santa Cruz would be a real treat. Island Packers runs the concession to get you there. The giant coreopsis on Anacapa should still be in bloom, albeit at bit late for full effect. The marine life and crystal clear waters are a tropical treat. Seals, sea lions, sea elephants they all abound; and the history of the islands from the Spanish to the early settlers who eked out a living raising cattle and sheep at the turn of the last century wrote diaries of the harsh conditions. Legend has it that Cabrillo is buried on San Miguel. Pelican Bay on Santa Cruz contains the remnants of a hotel that drew Hollywood moviemakers in the teens and twenties. Wouldnt it be an adventure to have your conference aboard ship in some remote anchorage? Tales of smugglers, prisoners, and shipwrecks abound. You could see some of the most beautiful treasures anywhere on the planet. Perhaps you might even hear tales of Louie, the Legendary King of San Miguel, or the shipwreck still visible on Santa Rosa Island. Imagine walking a white sand beach where the only footprints are your own.

  • Bob House

    One more thing and I promise I’ll leave you alone (don’t need to post this) — if you take the 5 south, right where the 210 exit is, look up to the hillside on the left and you’ll see water cascading down a “corrugated” channel. That’s the end of the Los Angeles Aqueduct that drained the Owens Valley. It’s the site of William Mullholland’s famous, but brief speech when he turned on the flow in 1913 — “There it is. Take it.”

    [I posted it anyway. Nyaaah. And thanks. — DA]

  • A. S. ASHLEY

    See, you’ll do anything to avoid covering a Pomona Council meeting!


    [It wasn’t a tough choice, no. — DA]