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Thursday
Feb262015

Aerial Photographs of Conejo Grade in 1957

The four mile stretch of Highway 101 that connects the Conejo Valley with Pleasant Valley is the Conejo Grade.  Originally constructed in 1915 with no less than 49 twists and turns, the Conejo Grade has been straightened and widened over the years to accommodate growing population needs.

The shot above was taken in 1957 by aerial photographer Walt Dibblee. You can clearly see remnants of prior iterations of the Conejo Grade from above. You also may notice the lack of, well, much of anything, at the top of the grade in Newbury Park.

Below is another shot, a bit closer up. As you can see, the Grade was not quite as wide in those day.

Thanks to Walt's son Steve Dibblee of VenturaViews.com

Wednesday
Feb252015

Whales, Seals, Birds and Wildflowers on Display at Point Dume in Malibu

Suzy Demeter of Suzy Demeter Photography shared these photos of her recent outing at Point Dume Natural Preserve headlands and Westward Beach in Malibu. Whales, seals and flowering coreopsis are out in force. Learn more about local beaches ranging from Malibu through Oxnard at this link.

Breaching whales near Westward BeachSeals sunning themselves at Point Dume State BeachAn egret without regret on this beautiful, sunny day

Tuesday
Feb242015

Mugu Rock at Point Mugu

Point Mugu is an unincorporated part of Ventura County that is derived from the Chumash word Muwu, or beach. Other than the Naval Base, probably the most well known fixture in Point Mugu is the Mugu Rock. Mugu Rock is a large rock formation that was formed when Pacific Coast Highway was built and cut through the mountain that now resides on the other side of PCH. Before PCH was built, a road went around the rock, where a chain link fence has been placed to keep people away from this hazardous area adjacent to the Pacific Ocean.

Mugu Rock is located just a few miles near the northwest tip of PCH before it veers north towards Oxnard. It is about a 10 mile drive from the Camarillo Premium Outlets and about 20 miles from the heart of Thousand Oaks taking either the 101/Lewis Road route or the slightly slower, curvy and interesting Potrero Road route.

Professional landscape and wildlife photographer Greg Clure of Newbury Park has shared a couple neat images facing Mugu Rock from the south. Visit Greg's website at www.gregclurephotography.com for more of his outstanding work.

And here is some not so professional video footage of Mugu Rock from the north.

INFORMATION ABOUT AND DIRECTIONS TO DOZENS OF LOCAL AREA BEACHES

Tuesday
Feb242015

California Has Billions of Dollars of Unclaimed Property - Claim Yours Now!

The State of California currently has over $7.1 billion in Unclaimed Property belonging to 27.9 million individuals and organizations (as of February 2015). That's nearly half of the state's population!

California's Unclaimed Property Law which requires "holders" such as corporations, business associations, financial institutions, and insurance companies to annually report and deliver property to the Controller's Office after there has been no customer contact for three (3) years. Often the owner forgets that the account exists, or moves and does not leave a forwarding address or the forwarding order expires. In some cases, the owner dies and the heirs have no knowledge of the property.

The most common types of Unclaimed Property are bank accounts and safe deposit box contents, stocks, mutual funds, bonds, and dividends, uncashed cashier's checks or money orders, certificates of deposit, matured or terminated insurance policies, estates, and mineral interests and royalty payments, trust funds and escrow accounts.

Find out more at www.ClaimIt.ca.gov. Search the database at ucpi.sco.ca.gov/UCP/Default.aspx.

Search by last name and drill down by city if you'd like. But perhaps you might want to try the first few letters of your name and city...maybe someone misspelled your name!

There are over 50,000 unclaimed accounts in Thousand Oaks alone!

Tuesday
Feb242015

The Giant Sand Dune on PCH Across From Thornhill Broome Beach in Malibu

After two decades of living in the Conejo Valley and driving PCH countless times, I've always rushed by the gigantic sand dune located on the east end of Thornhill Broome Beach in Malibu but never actually stopped by to inspect it. With the urging of my 6 year old, we decided to check it out over Labor Day weekend.

Driving north up PCH, you'll see the sand dune on the east side after passing by Sycamore Canyon/Sycamore Cove Beach and before the reaching the entrance to the Thornhill Broome Campground.  CLICK HERE for more information about various beaches in Malibu.

Park on the shoulder off of PCH. There's plenty of room, though you may be partially parked in the sand. You can also park on the beach side of PCH but rather than taking your life in your hands jaywalking across PCH, you're better off parking on the mountain side of the highway.

The mysteriously large sand dune is the result of "Aeolian transport," or the wind's movement of particles, in this case, sand. Quite steep this hill is, but your effort will be rewarded with some beautiful views of the Pacific Ocean. Plus, you get a nice birds eye view of Mugu Rock.

We noticed that the southern-most portion of the sand dune see

Click to read more ...

Saturday
Feb212015

Ventura County Fire Department Offers Free Car Seat Safety Inspections

For those of you with kids looking for some help in ensuring your child safety seats are properly in place, consider the Ventura County Fire Department Child Passenger Safety Program.

Members of the Department are trained and certified through the National Highway Transportation Safety Association as a Car Seat Safety Technicians. The Program educates parents on proper use and installation of child safety seats. The department provides free car seat inspections, installation guidance, product recall checks and informative literature.

Program locations are near the Camarillo Airport, CHP Ventura, Crowley House in Thousand Oaks, CHP Moorpark and Moorpark Family Resource Center. More information at this link.

Volunteers from the VCFD Child Passenger Safety Program are knowledgeable and friendly!More on California child passenger seat belt laws and safety information

Saturday
Feb212015

Photos From Janss Conejo Ranch in 1960-1961 in What is Now Wildwood Park

In the 1930s to 1960s, a number of TV shows and movies were filmed in what is now Wildwood Park, like Gunsmoke, The Rifleman, Spartacus and Wuthering Heights. Steve Dibblee of Ventura Views has provided these shots taken by his father, Walt Dibblee, of a western ranch town in Wildwood Park in 1960-1961.

You can see the same, familiar Mountclef Ridge in Wildwood Park today

Steve indicated the above photo shows The Rifleman's house and barn. It may also have been used in "The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance."

And here is a bit of a depressing scene at the ranch on September 28, 1960.

View more of Walt's Ventura County area photography, including an extensive collection of aerials from the mid 1950s to the late 1960s, at VenturaViews.com.

Thursday
Feb192015

Places Where Kids Can Eat Free in Ventura County

Here is a list of restaurants that have "Kids Eat Free" deals around Ventura County! These deals are subject to change at a moment's notice, so make sure to call the restaurants in advance! Let us know of any changes or additions! Now let's go EAT!!

Ventura County area daily deals and online coupon websites

Restaurant rewards programs at 100+ Ventura County eateries

Added 2/25/15: Rookies Sports Bar at 419 E. Main Street, Ventura is offering a Kids Eat Free deal for kids under age 12 w/purchase of adult entree.

Carrows is offering Kids Eat Free, Mon through Thurs for kids 10 and under, for each adult entree purchased, all day long. Valid only on dine-in orders. Local Carrows Restaurants at 1601 N. Oxnard Blvd in Oxnard and 2401 Harbor Blvd in Ventura. (Updated 12/4/14)

Coco's Bakery Restaurant currently (as of February 2014) has a Kids Eat Free deal every day for under age 12. Locations in Camarillo, Calabasas, Ventura and Simi Valley.

Bogart's Bar and Grill at the Muvico Theater in Thousand Oaks has a Kids Eat Free deal all day every Tuesday. Call (805) 494-4702 for details. (Reconfirmed 2/25/15)

D'Amore's Famous Pizza at 300 N. Lantana in Camarillo is currently offering a Kids Eat Free deal on Sundays all day for ages 4 to 12. One child per paid adult meal, dine in only. Call 805.445.6534 to confirm. (Reconfirmed 5/6/14)

Dickey's Barbecue Pit offers KIDS EAT FREE for kids 12 and under on SUNDAYS, dine-in only. Free kid's meal for each paid adult meal equal or greater in price. Locations in Ventura at 6100 Telegraph Road (805.212.4240) and Simi Valley at 2902 Tapo Canyon Road (805.577.7675). Dickey's also offers FREE ice cream every day when you dine in.

Denny's offers Kids Eat Free for 10 and under from 4 pm to 10 pm on designated nights. Up to 2 free kids meals for each paid adult entree. (Updated 1/16/15)

El Torito offers Kids Eat Free for kids 12 and under all day on WED

Click to read more ...

Thursday
Feb192015

The Immaculate "Gardens of the World" in Thousand Oaks is a Cultural Landmark

Dedicated to the residents of the Conejo Valley in December 2001, the Gardens of the World is a beautiful tribute to various cultures of the world. The 4.5 acre site is located in the heart of Thousand Oaks at 2001 Thousand Oaks Boulevard, literally across the street from the Thousand Oaks Civic Arts Plaza and sandwiched between a strip mall on one side and Mastro's Steakhouse on the other side.

Gardens of the World is privately-owned and operated by the Hogan Family Foundation, Inc. You will find peace and serenity here in gardens representing England, France, Italy and Japan, as well as a Mission Courtyard which features murals of the 21 remaining California Missions. There are benches dispersed throughout the gardens for relaxing and enjoying the peace, beauty and serenity.

There's also a Resource Center where the work of local artists is often displayed. And since 2003, Gardens of the World has hosted a great Jazz Series on Sunday afternoons in August in the traditional American Bandstand area.

Gardens of the World is open to the public Tuesday through Sunday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Visit www.gardensoftheworld.info or call 805.557.1135 for more information. Parking is available on Thousand Oaks Boulevard and limited parking is available in a parking lot on site.

English Rose Garden

Italian Chain FountainFrench GardenPagoda in the Japanese Garden with koi pond

Wednesday
Feb182015

Amazing Automobiles: The Ultimate Car Exhibit at Reagan Library Through May 1

Spectacular cars used in Hollywood and by Heads of State will be displayed at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library and Museum in "Amazing Automobiles: The Ultimate Car Exhibit." The cars will be on display until May 1, 2015.

The exhibit is in partnership with the Petersen Automotive Museum to showcase some of The Petersen’s most stunning and memorable cars at the Reagan Library while The Petersen is closed to the public for renovation.  Most of these cars come from The Petersen’s vault and are not seen by regular museum-goers.

In the Hollywood Gallery, cars used in television and movies, as well as owned by celebrities, on display include:

  • 1956 XKSS owned by Steve McQueen (one of only sixteen built)
  • 1971 DeTomaso Pantera owned by Elvis Presley (which still has the three bullet holes from when he shot the car)
  • Batmobile driven by Michael Keaton in “Batman” (1989) and “Batman Returns” (1991)
  • 1946 custom Ford used by John Travolta and Olivia Newton John in “Grease” (1978)
  • 1966 Ford Thunderbird driven by Geena Davis and Susan Sarandon in “Thelma and Louise” (1991)
  • 2001 custom Honda Roadster driven by Devon Aoki in “2 Fast, 2 Furious” (2003)

In the Heads of State Gallery, cars built for Heads of State in multiple countries are on display, including:

  • Pope John Paul II’s 1998 Cadillac Papal Parade Phaeton
  • 1942 Lincoln Limousine (ordered the day after the attack on Pearl Harbor and used by Presidents Roosevelt and Truman)
  • 1938 Packard Super 8 Parade Phaeton used by Juan and Evita Peron, President and First Lady of Argentina

In the Historic Cars Gallery, rare, iconic and historic cars will be displayed January 31, 2015 through May 1, 2015, including: 1981 Gold-Plated DeLorean DMC-12, 1952 Ferrari 212/215 Inter Spyder, 1913 Mercer Raceabout and 1939 Bugatti 57C Atalante.

Batmobile driven by Michael Keaton in "Batman" (1989) and "Batman Returns" (1991) (Photo Credit: Peterson Automotive Museum)

1966 Ford Thunderbird from Thelma and Louise (Photo Credit: Peterson Automotive Museum)

Steve McQueen's 1956 Jaguar XKSS (Photo Credit: Evan Klein)

More information at reaganfoundation.org/cars. Tickets can be purchased at reaganlibrary.com/tickets. Hours are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. The Library is located at 40 Presidential Drive, Simi Valley. 805.577.4000 / 800.410.8354

Ooohh, the Ventura County Library has a $3 off promo code when purchasing Reagan Library tickets online for the duration of this exhibit. Use discount code "VCLIBRARY" at www.reaganfoundation.org/tickets.aspx.

Sunday
Feb152015

Great Views at the Ventura Botanical Gardens Demonstration Trail in Grant Park

The Ventura Botanical Gardens Demonstration Trail is a 1 mile trail between Ventura City Hall and Grant Park, offering awesome views of downtown Ventura and the coastline. The six foot wide trail with a decomposed granite surface is accessible behind Ventura City Hall at 501 Poli Street.

Access to the trail is on the right (east) side of Ventura City Hall. There's a parking area at the bottom of the trail.Parking area behind Ventura City HallThe Demonstration Trail is a first step as the Ventura Botanical Gardens (VBG), a 501(c)3 non-profit, raises funds to expand upon it. VBG began planting its Chilean Gardens in February 2014, featuring hundreds of plants, including giant terrestrial bromeliads called Puyas, Acacia caven trees and an array of succulents and cacti. When complete, the Chilean garden will be the largest garden of Chilean plants outside of Chile.

Learn more about VBG and its efforts and upcoming charity events at www.venturabotanicalgardens.com.

The trail is decorated with pretty wildflowers and other California native plantsThere are some neat rock walls on sections of the trailA short walk will get you some pretty views!

Sunday
Feb152015

Laugh it Up! Live Comedy in and Around Ventura County

Looking for laughs around Ventura County? Here are some great options to consider.

The Ventura Harbor Comedy Club (located at Ventura Harbor Village), features top-notch comedy five nights a week. Admission is generally $15 plus a two drink minimum. The club is owned by comedians Andy Fernandez and Randy Lubas.

Jason Love hosts a monthly comedy show, Laugh Out Loud Comedy Night, at the Paseo Camarillo Regency Theater on the 3rd Wednesday night and at the Westlake Village Twin the 1st Wednesday night of each month. Shows start at 7:30pm.

Ventura Improv Company, located in Downtown Ventura, offers live improv on Friday and Saturday nights. Family fun for only $8 to $10 admission. VIC also offers up improv workshops and other classes for those so inclined.

The Canyon Club in Agoura Hills is known primarily for great music acts but they also have top-notch comedians on hand all the time! Ticket costs vary. Reserve a dinner table and get guaranteed seating!

The Thousand Oaks Civic Arts Plaza hosts all types of performances...musicals, concerts, lecture, ballet, dances, plays and, sometimes, comedy!

Hillcrest Center for the Arts in Thousand Oaks is currently hosting a monthly "#Comedy" Series one Friday night each month featuring some of Hollywood's popular headlining comics. Visit www.hillcrestarts.com to learn about upcoming shows.

Sunday
Feb152015

Easter Egg Hunts and Other Fun Easter Activities Around Ventura County

Here at Conejo Valley Guide we have a special place in our heart for Easter fun! The bunnies of the Conejo Valley and surrounding Ventura County areas are planning ahead to make this Easter memorable.

We have the Germans to thank for the Easter Bunny concept, which came about in the 1500s. Hares and bunnies are signs of fertility and eggs signify rebirth. The Germans brought Easter traditions to America and it wasn't until after the Civil War that Easter became widely celebrated. Now we celebrate by gorging ourselves on candy!

Easter Sunday 2015 is April 5th! Easter Sunday is the first Sunday after the first full moon following the northern hemisphere's vernal equinox. As a result, Easter Sunday ranges from March 22nd to April 25th


Upcoming Easter season events and activities in and around Ventura County (list will be updated regularly; dates/time subject to change, so check with event organizers to be sure):

Fri, March 27th: City of Malibu Annual Easter Hoppening Event

Sat, March 28th: Conejo Springfest Event in Thousand Oaks

Sat, March 28th: Breakfast with the Bunny at Reyes Adobe in Agoura Hills

Sat, March 28th: Cottontail Day at Ventura Harbor Village

April 3rd, 4th, 5th: Big Bunny's Spring Fling at the LA Zoo

Click to read more ...

Sunday
Feb152015

Bench Yourself in the Conejo Valley

We have over 140 miles of public multi-use trails surrounding us here in the Conejo Valley managed by the Conejo Open Space Conservation Agency (COSCA) and hundreds of miles more in the neighboring Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area. Many of these great trails are highlighted here on Conejo Valley Guide.

All of this hiking, biking and running can make one tired. Not to worry...there are benches in strategic spots all throughout the area. And they all have great views! Here we highlight some of them. Click the images for more information about the trails leading to them.

Bench at the top of "Space Mountain" on the Los Robles Trail West

A bench on a hilltop overlooking the Conejo Valley on Los Robles Trail East Scenic LoopBench on Los Robles Loop East Scenic Loop looking towards the south

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Saturday
Feb142015

Thousand Oaks Community Park Has Several Unique Features Worth Exploring

Thousand Oaks Community Park, located at 2525 N. Moorpark Road, just north of Thousand Oaks High School, has something for everyone. This large, park is home to the Thousand Oaks Community Center, a hub for year-round events and activities for all ages. The center has a full-size gym, several fully-enclosed racquetball courts and other great features. More info at www.crpd.org/parkfac/1koaks.

If you have young kids, probably the most popular feature of this park is the playground and adjoining "Ant Hill."The Ant Hill is a unique, small man-made hill covered with artificial grass that is a fun play slide area for the kids. Bring a piece of cardboard and enjoy the ride.

This nearly 36 acre park also has soccer and softball fields, four tennis courts, one sand volleyball court and plenty of picnic area. Both the park and the community center are popular for birthday parties. On the east side of the park is another unique fe

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