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10.31.2006 - 26 comments 

Talk about a stark contrast between my preivious post and this one, (but I did however, notice a similarity in the perspective.) I guess that has more to do with the eye of this camera holder than of the subject I was capturing.
There is nothing quite like "The City of lights. Certainly that is the case in this shot, which could be called "The STREET of Lights".

I took this shot having no idea if it would even come out or not. Taken with film, not digitally obviously. Even though at the time I took it, I was just certain that I would be run over at any moment by some nutty Frenchman who would know that I was an American.

Champs-Élysées literally means the "Elysian fields" is a broad avenue in Paris. Its full name is actually "avenue des Champs-Élysées". With its cinemas, cafés, and luxury specialty shops, the Champs-Élysées is one of the most famous streets in the world. The name refers to the Elysian Fields, the place of the blessed in Greek mythology. The Champs-Élysées is also called La plus belle avenue du monde, French for "The most beautiful avenue in the world." At one end of the street is the famous Arc de Triomphe.

The Arc de Triomphe is a monument in Paris that stands in the centre of the Place de l'Étoile, at the western end of the Champs-Élysées (which you can see at the end of the photo). It is the lynchpin of the historic axis (L'Axe historique) leading from the courtyard of the Louvre Palace, a sequence of monuments and grand thoroughfares on a route leading out of Paris. Its iconographic program pitted heroically nude French youths against bearded Germanic warriors in chain mail and set the tone for public monuments with triumphant nationalistic messages until World War I.

The monument stands over 165 feet (50 meters) in height and is 45 meters wide. It is the second largest triumphal arch in existence (North Korea built a slightly larger Arch of Triumph in 1982 for the 70th birthday of Kim Il-Sung); the Arc de Triomphe is so colossal that an early daredevil flew his plane through it.

It was commissioned in 1806 after the victory at Austerlitz by Napoleon Bonaparte at the peak of his fortunes and finally completed— after a long pause during the Restauration— in the reign of King Louis-Philippe, in 1833-36. The sculpture representing Peace was now interpreted as commemorating the Peace of 1815— not the original intention.

The astylar design is by Jean Chalgrin (1739-1811), in the neoclassical version of ancient Roman architecture. Major academic sculptors of France are represented in the sculpture of the Arc de Triomphe: Cortot, Rude, Etex, Pradier and Lemaire. The main sculptures are not integral friezes but are treated as independent trophies applied to the vast ashlar masonry masses, not unlike the gilt-bronze appliqués on Empire furniture.

The four sculptural groups at the base of the Arc are The Triumph of 1810 (Jean-Pierre Cortot), Resistance and Peace (both by Antoine Etex) and the most renowned of them all, Departure of the Volunteers of '92 commonly called La Marseillaise (Francois Rude). The face of the allegorical representation of France calling forth her people on this last was used as the belt buckle for the seven-star rank of Marshal of France.

In the attic above the richly sculptured frieze of soldiers are 30 shields engraved with the names of major Revolutionary and Napoleonic military victories. The inside walls of the monument list the names of 558 French generals. The names of those who died in battle are underlined.

Every year on Bastille Day, the largest military parade in Europe passes down the Champs-Élysées, reviewed by the President of the Republic. The Champs-Élysées is also the traditional end of the last stage of the Tour de France. Of which Lance Armstong is really familiar with.

Huge and spontaneous gatherings occasionally take place on the Champs-Élysées in celebration of popular events, such as New Year's Eve, or when France won the 1998 FIFA World Cup. Many millions of people (and in fact) some invading armies have walked down this street.

I guess I feel fortunate to have been one of them and without a shot even being fired!

"The first condition of understanding a foreign country is to smell it." - Rudyard Kipling Posted by Picasa

10.24.2006 - 30 comments 

I took this shot while leaving the city limits of Spokane, but the hardest part about planning a visit to the Spokane Region is deciding what to see and do first. With all the shopping, dining, arts, indoor and outdoor recreation you could wish for, Spokane is a Northwest wonderland complete with natural beauty and fantastic weather.

As you can see from this shot I took, Spokane is up in the mountains. If you continued on this highway (as we did) you will go all the way across the state and end up in Seattle, WA (another post someday I'm sure)! The town site was originally platted, about 1880, surrounding the falls of the Spokane River, where the river descends from the Selkirk Mountain range into the Columbia Plateau.

Spokane is 280 miles east of Seattle and 375 miles northeast of Portland. The 2000 U.S. census showed that the city population was 197,400, and the county had a population of 417,939. The most recent state figures, released in April of 2006, show that the city population has since increased to 201,600, while metropolitan estimates show the area has more than half a million people, and may be approaching 600,000.

Spokane is the second largest city in Washington state and the metropolitan center of the Inland Northwest. It is the county seat of Spokane County in the State of Washington, USA. It was originally incorporated as "Spokan Falls" (without an 'e' at the end), drawing on the Native American tribe known as the Spokane, which means "Children of the Sun.” It is often misprounounced as "Spo cane", when it's actually prounounced like "spo can".

This coming January, the eyes of the world will be on Spokane for the 2007 State Farm US Figure Skating Championships! World Champion Kimmie Meissner, and all the American favorites will compete for the title of America's best! Then, March Madness takes over as the Spokane Veterans Memorial Arena opens its doors for the first and second rounds of the NCAA Men's Tournament! And I am sure that many of you College Basketball fans, may also recognize Spokane as the home of the Gonzaga University Bulldogs?

Spokane is home to a number of annual events and attractions that draw people from a large surrounding area:The Lilac Bloomsday Run, a 7.46 mile race for walkers and competitive runners, is the largest timed road race in the world, typically drawing about 45,000 participants. It is held on the first Sunday of each May.

Hoopfest is the largest 3-on-3 basketball tournament in the world. It is held the last weekend in June, and has a variety of participants, from kids, teens, and adults to former college and NBA players, in their respective brackets. Started in 1989 with just 300+ teams, the event now annually averages more than 25,000 participants or around 6,000 3-man teams.

Each April, Japan Week celebrates the sister-city relationship with Nishinomiya, Japan, demonstrating the many commonalities shared between the two cities. Students from the Spokane campus of Mukogawa Institute, Whitworth College, Gonzaga University, Spokane Falls and Spokane Community College organize an array of Japanese cultural events, in addition to a number of others that take place around the city.

The Garland Village Arts & Music Festival takes place the second Saturday each August. 2006 will mark the 4th annual street fair. More information can be found at The Garland Village.
You can "Pig-Out In The Park" as there is an annual summer festival celebrating the joy of food. Local restaurants set up booths all around Riverfront Park. Visitors can browse for food and listen to local bands perform. It is traditionally held over Labor Day weekend in early September.

Tour Des Lacs is a two-day benefit bike ride that takes place in September. The route takes riders from Spokane to Coeur d'Alene,Idaho and back, and includes short route options along the Centennial Trail. Routes vary in length from 80 to almost 200 miles and include breakfast, dinner, and food stops.

If you think this road up ahead looks like a pretty drive, you would certainly be RIGHT!

"For my part, I travel not to go anywhere, but to go. I travel for travel's sake. The great affair is to move; to feel the needs and hitches of our life more nearly; to come down off this feather-bed of civilization, and find the globe granite underfoot and strewn with cutting flints." -Robert Louis Stevenson Posted by Picasa

10.19.2006 - 23 comments 

To get back to (and go along with) my fall blog theme, I would like to submit this picture that a took a few falls back at a place called the "Lied Lodge" in Nebraska City, Nebraska. It was one of our first fall trips I ever took in the Midwest. We had heard that Nebraska City was actually the home to Arbor Day and figured that the fall colors there must be good, so off we trecked. The colors were as pretty as any I have ever seen on the upper Eastern Coast of the United States.

At the Lied Lodge, you will find what looks like a giant sized log cabin, with some of the nicest facilites you would find anywhere. You can sit by the huge fireplace, that you can sit in very comfortable rocking chairs and just relax looking across the tree covered area that surrounds the lodge. It makes you feel like you have stepped back a hundred years or so, in just the process of walking through the front doors. The supports for the buliding are none less that giant trees that have been cut down and varnished. They stand at least three stories high and are very impressive just to look at and imagine how big all of those trees must have been when they were alive.

Actually in Nebraska City, they even have a "Tree Adventure" (as they call it) in which, you can discover something NEW (about trees I assume). It is an attraction that surrounds you, touches all your senses, and captivates you with fun and discovery - every time you visit. A visit to Tree Adventure instantly puts you in the midst of both the grand majesty and the up-close excitement of nature. Tree Adventure touches you as you touch nature. Prepare to be swept up by new scents, sounds, sights, and the harmony of the forest. Your soul is soothed - and every sense excited - as you live it up among all the life around you.

In addition to the wonderful Lied Lodge, Nebraska City is also proud to be the home of the national tree-planting holiday, Arbor Day. But they have three day event every year around Arbor Day that is celebrated throughout the community. On Friday, a program to entertain and educate school-aged children is hosted at the Arbor Lodge State Historical Park. The events on Saturday and Sunday offer something for everyone. Visitors will take part in new activities at Kimmel Orchard and they will enjoy Fine Arts, the “Blooming for the Future” parade, a craft show, band concert, environmental games, and a variety of festival foods. Demonstrations, education and sales are all part of the weekend. They start the weekend off at Kimmel Orchard on Saturday with the new Arbor Day 5K Trail Run and the Family Discovery Walk, an exploratory journey of fun and learning through the orchard, vineyard and pumpkin patch. The fun continues at Kimmel Orchard all weekend with good treats, the jumping castle, and hayrack rides for the entire family.

Saturday and Sunday they have a Fine Art Show and Sale at Arbor Lodge State Historical Park featuring a variety of fine works from 39 renowned regional and international artists. The Park will also hosts the Southeast Community Band Concert on Sunday; and the Morton Mansion and property will be open for tours throughout the weekend.

Not only is Nebraska home to the Home of Arbor Day and the Lied Lodge, but it is also home of the Morton Mansion that I just mentioned above. The mansion was also a fun tour we took while there. I found out that not only was Julius Sterling Morton, noted politician and together with Robert Furnas (the co-founder of Arbor Day), was born in New York state and educated in Michigan. Morton and his bride, Carolyn Joy, set out for Nebraska territory on their wedding day in the fall of 1854. They soon settled in Nebraska City where he became the editor of the Nebraska News. His life-long interest in writing and publishing began in his grandfather's newspaper office in Michigan.

In the fall of 1855, 23-year old Morton was elected from Otoe County to the territory's 2nd Legislative Assembly and was re-elected in 1857. President James Buchanan appointed him secretary and acting governor of Nebraska Territory 1858-61. Morton was nominated for governor by the Democratic party in 1867 but was defeated by David Butler, who became the first state governor.

During the years between 1867-1882, Morton dropped out of politics and promoted agriculture. He served on the state board of agriculture and was a member of the state horticultural society, advocating improved farming methods, conservation programs, and tree planting.

The State Board of Agriculture, in 1872, adopted Morton's resolution setting April 10 as Arbor Day. This day was to be set aside to plant trees, and to offer a prize to the person who properly planted the most trees. Governor Robert Furnas issued a proclamation in 1874 asking Nebraskans to observe Arbor Day. In 1885 Morton's birthday, April 22, was designated as Arbor Day by the state legislature, and it became a legal holiday in Nebraska. Arbor Day was observed on April 22 until 1989, when by legislative action the holiday was changed to the last Friday in April.

After several unsuccessful campaigns for governor and for the U.S. Senate between 1882 and 1893, Morton was appointed U.S. secretary of agriculture in 1893 by President Grover Cleveland. Morton was the first cabinet member appointed from west of the Missouri River. Morton served four years as secretary of agriculture, then returned to Nebraska City where he published a weekly journal, The conservative.

Arbor Lodge, the name given to Morton's home west of Nebraska City, grew from a four-room farm house into a fifty-two-room mansion, surrounded by a large grove of trees. The house however did not start off as a mansion, but it sure ended up as one, complete with a bowling alley in the basement. There are three stories and a lot of square footage. Most of these trees were planted by Morton and his wife. In 1923 the Morton family donated the house and grounds to the State of Nebraska as a monument to Morton. Today Arbor Lodge is a state historical park. A bronze statue of Morton, cast by Rudulph Evans, and financed by school children and other friends, was erected in 1905.

Morton's statue stands in the National Hall of Fame in Washington, D.C. He was named to the Nebraska Hall of Agricultural Achievement in 1918. Morton was inducted into the Nebraska Hall of Fame in 1975. In 1987 he was made a member of the Agricultural Hall of Fame at Bonner Springs, Kansas. Morton was elected president of the Nebraska State Historical Society in 1891 and was serving in that office at the time of his death on April 27, 1902 at Lake Forest, Illinois.
The thing that I also found fascinating, was that of his children, one of them stated The Morton Salt Co., one of them started The Argon Starch Co. and yet another on of his sons started an insurance company. A rather financially successful family I would offer. All in all a nice Midwestern Fall Foliage trip, even if it wasn't to the East Coast.

"People travel to faraway places to watch, in fascination, the kind of people they ignore at home."-Dagobert D. Runes, US writer Posted by Picasa

10.13.2006 - 24 comments 

As if Newport Beach and Ventura were not enough for one Southern California visit, we also visited the Presidential Library of my favorite President "Ronald Wilson Reagan" while we where out there and close to it. They had just a few months earlier added the "Air Force One" Plane that President Reagan used to fly around the world meeting with heads of state on.

That alone was worth the visit. We got to tour it as well. And even though I have never been wild about posting photos of either "Things" or "People" on my blog posts, I have done it as you can see here. And for those of you who have wondered if there REALLY IS a Mrs. LZ, well... here she is with The LAZY Blogger.

You have to believe me when I say that we were really very impressed with this library. We even asked a question about President Reagan that one of the tour hosts didn't know, and before we had a chance to get out of the building, he was on his way back to us with the answer. Not only did I find that pretty unbelievable, but I also found out that all 250 of those hosts are ALL volunteers. What a neat thing to do and what a nice place to be able to do it in.

One of the reasons that I was always fond of President had to do with that fact that when I was a young Army soldier from California in Vietnam in 1969 and 1970, Ronald Reagan was the Governor of California at that time. His daughter Maureen was over in Vietnam doing a USO show for us guys in the Mekong Delta. I took pictures of her in the show and mailed him the pictures. He sent me back a personal letter (which he was famous for) that I was very impressed with. He thanked me for the pictures, and then he also thanked me for serving my country over there. That was something that most Vietnam Vets NEVER heard from anyone. I thought at the time, what a GREAT guy! My opinion of him never changed from that point on.

In around 1976, I also happened to be on a direct flight (AA #76) from Orange County, CA to Washington-Dulles Airport with both he and Nancy (when they were traveling to Washington DC to talk about him running for President). He was then just the Ex-Governor of California. Who knew at that time what was is store for him and as it turned out... for the WHOLE world?

The Ronald Reagan Presidential Library and Museum has informed and inspired more than one million visitors since opening in 1991. Perched on a mountaintop with sweeping views of mountains, valleys, and the Pacific Ocean, this 100-acre site, 45 minutes from downtown Los Angeles, offers memorable experiences for people of all ages. Visitors can follow a young Ronald Reagan on his rise from local hero and college standout to the glamorous world of Hollywood stardom. His campaign trail and inauguration as the 40th President of the United States, the Oval Office, and key events of his two terms are revealed through documents, photographs, and artifacts from eight dynamic years in the White House.

These opportunities and many more await visitors at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library and Museum, home to a world-class research facility featuring original presidential documents that forever changed our world. This facility is one of twelve presidential libraries directed by the National Archives and Records Administration. And now they even have Air Force One there too!

As a Presidential library administered by the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA), the Reagan Library, under the authority of the Presidential Records Act, is the repository of presidential records for President Reagan’s administration. Our holdings include 50 million pages of presidential documents, over 1.6 million photographs, a half million feet of motion picture film and tens of thousands of audio and video tapes. Additionally, the Library houses personal papers collections including documents from Reagan’s eight years as governor of California. Information on accessing all of these records, including how to file a Freedom of Information Act request, can be found in their Research section.

Ronald Reagan was born Feb. 6, 1911, Tampico, Ill.,(a site that Mrs. LZ and I visited a couple of years ago). He was the 40th president of the U.S. (1981–89). He attended Eureka College and worked as a radio sports announcer before going to Hollywood in 1937. In his career as a movie actor, he appeared in more than 50 films and was twice president of the Screen Actors Guild (1947–52, 1959–60).

In the mid-1950s he became a spokesman for the General Electric Co.; he hosted its television theatre program from 1954 to 1962. Having gradually changed his political affiliation from liberal Democrat to conservative Republican, he was elected governor of California in 1966 and served two terms. In 1980 he defeated incumbent Pres. Jimmy Carter to become president.
Shortly after taking office, he was wounded in an assassination attempt. His administration adopted policies based on supply-side economics in an effort to promote rapid economic growth and reduce the federal deficit. Congress approved many of his proposals (1981), which succeeded in lowering inflation but doubled the national debt by 1986. He began the largest peacetime military buildup in U.S. history; in 1983 he proposed construction of the Strategic Defense Initiative.

His administration concluded a treaty with the Soviet Union to restrict intermediate-range nuclear weapons, conducted a proxy war against Nicaragua through its support of the Contras, and invaded Grenada ostensibly to prevent the island nation from becoming a Soviet outpost. He was reelected by a large margin in 1984. Beginning in 1986, the Iran-Contra Affair temporarily weakened his presidency.

Though his intellectual capacity for governing was often disparaged by his critics, his affability and artful communication skills enabled him to pursue numerous conservative policies with conspicuous success, and his tough stance toward the Soviet Union is often credited with contributing to the demise of Soviet communism. In 1994 he revealed that he had Alzheimer disease. He died June 5, 2004 in Los Angeles, Calif.

This trip through his Library was a very fun adventure for us and especially given my fondness for President Ronald Wilson Reagan. The Gipper lives on in our hearts forever. Instead of us winning one for "The Gipper" he actually won one for us! May God Bless and Keep you FOREVER "Mr. President"!

"Double, no triple, our troubles and we'd still be better off than any other people on earth. It is time that we recognized that ours was, in truth, a noble cause." Ronald W. Reagan Posted by Picasa

10.08.2006 - 26 comments 

Also on our trip to Southern California last week, we went down from Ventura and visited Newport Beach on our way down the South Coast of California. I took this shot on what is called the Balboa Pier. It has always seemed strange to me that they call this pier the "Balboa Pie, because Balboa is actually an Island on the inside of the Newport Harbor and doesn't really even touch this pier. At the end of this pier is a cool little cafe called Rudy's. It is usually pretty busy and to me is exactly what a cafe on the end of a pier should be. (Quaint, greasy and with the smell of salt water).

Newport Beach has a charming island and peninsula, with great beaches. Yet despite all of its charms, it's often overlooked by tourists and area residents alike, which keeps it relatively uncrowded.

The seven islands of Newport Beach Harbor lie cradled inside Balboa Peninsula, and are some of the most expensive real estate in Southern California. Homes costing $1.5 million and up are surrounded by one of the world's largest small yacht harbors. Newport Beach is a quiet, relaxed place where you're more likely to meet the harbor patrol than the highway patrol, and you may hear more birds than automobiles. You could (in spite of that) spend a while driving around trying to find a parking space.

Newport is Just off Pacific Coast Highway in Orange County. We took CA 55 south from I-5 and directly onto Newport Blvd., or you exit CA 1 at Newport Blvd. Newport Blvd. turns into Balboa Blvd., and it goes down the middle of the peninsula. You can reach Balboa Island from the peninsula by ferry, or take Jamboree Rd. south from I-5 (which has its access by a bridge rather than ferry.

Balboa Island itself can be accessed by the ferry, which takes you to Balboa Island, but first, you can stop for lunch on the upstairs patio at Newport Landing, where the harbor traffic provides a side dish of free entertainment to go with your meal. Once planned to be a racetrack, Balboa Island now teems with cottages arranged in neat rows, looking like a Norman Rockwell scene with American flags flying. Marine Avenue, the island's only shopping area, offers a variety of wares, from handmade kites to resort wear.

Balboa Peninsula's beach was named one of the top ten urban beaches in the United States by Surfrider Magazine in 2001. Ocean side or harbor side? It could be the most difficult decision of your day. The Wedge, at the ocean-side tip of Balboa Peninsula, is famous for bodysurfing. Nearby, Corona del Mar State Beach sits below protective cliffs, the sand littered with beachgoers. I actually used to body surf the Wedge when I was a lot younger and more adventuresome.

There are many things you can do in Newport Beach. Some of those Sights and Activities like the Harbor Cruise, which allows you to cruise on the Pavilion Paddy to get acquainted with Newport Beach Harbor. You can soak up sunshine while moving gently past through green water. Float past waterfront homes, each with their own boat dock, and listen to the gossip-column stories of today and yesterday. Learn who owns the enormous yachts, and how they made their money. You'll pass cottages so small you'd have to go outside just to change your mind, and million dollar mansions divided by sibling squabbles.

As a not so little Side Trip: Newport Beach likes to claim Catalina Island as one of its attractions even though it's technically in Los Angeles County, but who can blame them? If you have the time, take the Catalina Flyer for a day trip to Catalina Island, "the land of happiness." Some of you may even remember the post I did on Avalon Bay on Catalina a few months back, but this visit we opted out of the Catalina trip. Newport Beach is a place where we also got a frozen banana from one of the local shops along the beach. We had a good time down there and even plan on coming back next summer for more of this adventure.

"Our battered suitcases were piled on the sidewalk again; we had longer ways to go. But no matter, the road is life." -Jack Kerouac Posted by Picasa

10.05.2006 - 22 comments 

Last week my wife and I were out in Southern California and got to visit several really cool places. One of those was Ventura. We stayed at the Pierpont Inn there which is actually on the Nation Registry of Historic buildings. It is a really beautiful old hotel complete with the view you see here. It was a overcast morning with the sun trying to peak through the coastal fog, but it had a lot of trouble making in out for the day. The little town of Ventura was very quaint.

Downtown Ventura is home to the Mission San Buenaventura, museums, galleries, dining and shopping. Primary areas of activity include California Street and Main Street between Ventura Avenue and Fir Street. Also located in downtown is the historic Ortega adobe, home to the Ortega family now famous for their chile products. Numerous thrift stores contrast with high-end shops and restaurants. We actually ate in a 50's diner there called "Busy Bee Diner". It was really cute and the food was enough to fill anyone's stomach. The Apple Dumpling was just an awesome dessert to top of an already full stomach.

Father Junípero Serra founded Mission San Buenaventura in 1782, forming the basis of what would become the city of Ventura. On July 6, 1841, Governor Juan Bautista Alvarado granted the 48,611 acre (19,672 ha) Rancho San Miguel to Felipe Lorenzana and Raimundo Olivas, whose Olivas Adobe on the banks of the Santa Clara River was the most magnificent hacienda south of Monterey.After the American Civil War, settlers came to the area either as property owners, buying land from the Mexicans, or simply as squatters. Vast holdings were later acquired by Easterners, including the railroad magnate, Thomas Scott. He was impressed by one of the young employees, Thomas R. Bard, who had been in charge of train supplies to Union troops, and Bard was sent west to handle Scott's property.

Bard is often regarded as the Father of Ventura and his descendants have been prominently identified with the growth of Ventura County. The Union Oil Company was organized with Bard as President in 1890, and has offices in Santa Paula. The main Ventura oil field was drilled in 1914 and at its peak produced 90,000 barrels a day. The city is located between the Ventura River and the Santa Clara River, leading to soil so fertile that citrus grew better here than anywhere else in the state.

The citrus farmers formed Sunkist Growers, Incorporated, the world's largest organization of citrus production.Not easily accessible, Ventura was not a target of immigrants, and as such, remained quiet and rural. For most of the century which followed the incorporation of Ventura in 1866, it remained isolated from the rest of the state.From the south, travel by auto was slow and hazardous, until the completion of a four-lane expressway (US Highway 101) over the Conejo Grade in 1959.

This route, now further widened and improved by 1969, is known as the Ventura Freeway, which directly links Ventura with the Los Angeles metropolitan area. Another route, US Highway 101 ALT (now the Pacific Coast Highway which you can see in this photo) traveled along the coast from Santa Monica via Oxnard, but was not heavily used. From the north, entrance was by way of a single road along the beach and stagecoach passengers either had to wait until low tide when the horses could cross on the exposed wet sand, or go up the Ventura River Valley and then cross over the mountains to Santa Barbara via Casitas Pass, a long and difficult trip.

Inland, Ventura was hemmed in by (what is now) the Los Padres National Forest, composed of mountainous country and deep canyons. This route became passable with the completion of the Maricopa Highway in the 1920s.Since then, Ventura has grown steadily. In 1920 there were 4,156 people. In 1930 the population had increased to 11,603, and by 1950 the population reached 16,643. In the last two decades it has quadrupled to approximately 102,000.Ventura is also an excellent location for surfing. One great surf spot is Surfer's Point.In Plaza Park (Chestnut and Santa Clara Streets, downtown) one of the nations largest Morton Bay Fig Trees is marked with an historic plaque. Across the street is the main post office which houses WPA murals on its interior walls.

The Ventura Harbor is home to a thriving fishing industry, seafood restaurants and a shopping village at Ventura Harbor Village. The Channel Islands National Park Headquarters are also located in the harbor, and the boats to the national park depart from the harbor daily. We ate at "The Greek" which is a nice Greek Restaurant with both inside and outside dining. The place came complete with Belly dancers. The food was VERY good, which was also a plus.The Olivas Adobe, one of the early California Rancho homes is operated today as a museum and performing arts venue.

Located adjacent to the Olivas Park Golf Course, the home is one of the most visited historic sites on the central coast. Living history reinactments, demonstrations of Rancho life and wonderful ghost stories abound. A summer music series of performances held in the old home's courtyard feature an eclectic assortment of artists from blues to jazz to country.Both the Pierpont Inn and the town of Ventura are both worth a stop if you are ever traveling down the Southern California coast.

" the open road is a beckoning, a strangeness, a place where a man can lose himself." -William Least Heat Moon (William Trogdon) Posted by Picasa