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Ventura Venture Dec 2011

In December 2011, 23 Knickerbikers enjoyed spectacular weather for a mini-holiday that was all too short! Larry Cahn, Rita Cohen, Will Cronyn, Kathy and Scott Curriden, Joe Estey, Jackie Helleis, Judith King, Lois Horowitz, Helmut Kiffman, Pat Moore, Gary Lamble, Gail Markiewicz, Chris Polta, Martin Wascher, Jim Seal, Susie and Stogs Stogsdill, Julie and Keith Topliffe, Cindy Tozer, Martha Way, and Ken King stayed the “Inn on the Beach,” which was situated right on the sand in South Ventura. The small retail area was decidedly “beachy” with burger bars and informal restaurants.

As the group arrived, we were pleased to note that the weather was unseasonably warm with not a cloud in sight. Ken arranged for the hotel to provide the “breakfast room” in the hotel for our happy hour, and we gathered there for some wine, food, and camaraderie. Following that, several Knickerbikers followed Judith to a fish and chips restaurant she recommended.

On Wednesday the 19th, we rode north on the Ventura River Valley Trail (a rails-to-trails conversion) toward Ojai. We knew that a portion of the trail was closed because of washout, but the lower portion, which winds its way through the relics of an oil field and refinery. The trail has more than a dozen “found art” sculptures that capture many of the uses of the work “mark.” For instance, one is “A Visible Object of Known Position--Hit the Mark.”

Once we arrived at Foster Park, (and repaired a couple of flats) we took a detour on in to Ojai. Uh oh! Five more flats! There must have been stickers (goatheads? tumbleweeds?) in that park!
We were a little late in arriving in Ojai for lunch, so the group split up between those who figured there was time to ride 30 more miles for a total of 50 miles, and those who turned around and returned via the bike path (40 miles). Yes, the longer riders did get back a few minutes before sunset!
On Thursday we decided to head west toward Santa Barbara, having lunch and turning around after 20-25 miles (Carpinteria and Summerland). Once again, the group split in the 40-mile group and the 50-mile group. The longer group, led by Joe, rode on to Santa Barbara while the shorter group had lunch at a little outdoor cafe on Padaro Lane in Summerland. Once again, the weather couldn’t have been more ideal. It was like summer!

Now here’s the problem with three-night mini-tours: on Friday morning most folks started thinking about tackling the drive through LA, and opted to load up and leave. A few of us rode down to Oxnard for brunch, but the nice harbor-side restaurant that some of us visited earlier was closed! We did get a short 20-miler in nonetheless.

Thanks to everyone on the trip, and to our hosts a The Inn on the Beach, the trip was a success. If our only complaint is the number of flats, then we’re pretty lucky! Note that there are many pictures on the Knickerbiker site (either under “past tours” or “scrapbook”) of this trip.
Now where do we go for our next tour?

Ken King