Ranch Overlook Trail in Rancho Sierra Vista/Satwiwa in Newbury Park

 Trailhead to the Ranch Overlook Trail starts at the juncture of Sycamore Canyon Fire Road (paved road that runs through Point Mugu State Park) and the access bridge to the Satwiwa Native American Culture Center.

Trailhead to the Ranch Overlook Trail starts at the juncture of Sycamore Canyon Fire Road (paved road that runs through Point Mugu State Park) and the access bridge to the Satwiwa Native American Culture Center.

 This is the bridge heading the other direction from the Ranch Overlook Trail sign leading to the Satwiwa Native American Indian Culture Center.

This is the bridge heading the other direction from the Ranch Overlook Trail sign leading to the Satwiwa Native American Indian Culture Center.

The one mile Ranch Overlook Trail is located in Rancho Sierra Vista/Satwiwa in Newbury Park.

The trail extends from just west of the Satwiwa Native American Indian Culture Center to the Palomino Trail in the Rancho Potrero Open Space.

The trail is about two wide and you’ll find hikers, runners, cyclists and equestrians all sharing it. The east portion is moderately flat, leading to a moderate hill. At the peak, you’ll have nice views toward the Rancho Sierra Vista main parking area and adjacent ranch structures as well as towards Boney Mountain.

Continue west down the trail to a juncture where you can either veer right towards the parking area and road into Rancho Sierra Vista, or you can continue straight until the next juncture. At the next juncture, if you take a left, you’ll soon be transitioning from Federal land (Rancho Sierra Vista) to Conejo Open Space land (Rancho Potrero). Though you won’t find a trail sign that indicates this, the trail that continues westward is the Palomino Trail.

Do be mindful of rattlesnakes back here. They want nothing to do with you, so if you come across one crossing the trail, let them make their way across.

 The “peak” of the Ranch Overlook Trail, looking southeast towards Satwiwa and Boney.

The “peak” of the Ranch Overlook Trail, looking southeast towards Satwiwa and Boney.

 Peak of Ranch Overlook Trail, looking down towards main Rancho Sierra Vista/Satwiwa parking area and restrooms.

Peak of Ranch Overlook Trail, looking down towards main Rancho Sierra Vista/Satwiwa parking area and restrooms.

 This is west of the peak of the Ranch Overlook Trail, a downhill section that takes you towards Rancho Potrero.

This is west of the peak of the Ranch Overlook Trail, a downhill section that takes you towards Rancho Potrero.

 This sign is at the bottom of the west side of the Ranch Overlook Trail, facing east, if you opt to take the trail counter-clockwise from the parking area.

This sign is at the bottom of the west side of the Ranch Overlook Trail, facing east, if you opt to take the trail counter-clockwise from the parking area.

 This ancient oak tree is adjacent to the Ranch Overlook Trail sign near the parking lot access. This was taken in September 2018. The large branch broke off earlier that summer. In the background is the parking area.

This ancient oak tree is adjacent to the Ranch Overlook Trail sign near the parking lot access. This was taken in September 2018. The large branch broke off earlier that summer. In the background is the parking area.

 This is the Palomino Trail in the adjacent Rancho Potrero Open Space, looking east towards Rancho Sierra Vista, in June 2018. These areas do green up after the winter rains in the April/May time frame….but dry up fast.

This is the Palomino Trail in the adjacent Rancho Potrero Open Space, looking east towards Rancho Sierra Vista, in June 2018. These areas do green up after the winter rains in the April/May time frame….but dry up fast.

Museum of Military History Posters and Memorabilia at the Simi Valley Town Center

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The Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 10049 and Simi Valley Town Center host an impressive display at the Museum of Military History Posters and Memorabilia

Hundreds of military posters and historical artifacts are on display that were graciously provided by local veterans and collectors. Artifacts include old weapons, munitions, posters, newspapers, uniforms and much more. Several Vietnam Veterans were on hand, imparting stories and background information to us as we strolled around.

Hours are 11am to 4pm on weekends and noon to 3pm on Wednesdays. There is no admission fee, though donations are encouraged to support local veterans.

More info at www.vfwpost10049.com/museum.html.

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 Military Mule with armament (not live of course lol) on display.

Military Mule with armament (not live of course lol) on display.

Pedego 101 Electric Bikes in Westlake Village

Pedego 101 Electric Bikes, located in the Westlake Village Industrial Park at 31332 Via Colinas #107, Westlake Village, offers rentals, sales and service of electric bicycles.

Pedego also offers guided tours once a month and a weekly group ride for anyone with an e-bike to join. I know folks who thoroughly enjoy their Pedego bikes and ride them quite regularly!

Learn more at www.pedegoelectricbikes.com/dealers/westlake-village or call 805.379.9245.

Channel Islands National Park

Channel Islands National Park consists of 5 of the 8 Channel Islands off the Santa Barbara coast. Although the islands are close to the shore, their isolation has left them relatively undeveloped.

The northern Channel Islands are Anacapa (1.1 sq mi), San Miguel (14.6 sq mi), Santa Cruz (96.5 sq mi) and Santa Rosa (83 sq mi) and the southern islands are San Clemente (57 sq mi), San Nicolas (23 sq mi), Santa Barbara (1 sq mi) and Santa Catalina (75 sq mi).

Channel Islands National Park includes the islands of San Miguel, Santa Rosa, Santa Cruz, Anacapa and Santa Barbara. Anacapa is located in Ventura County while the other four are in Santa Barbara County. San Clemente Island, the southernmost Channel Island, is owned and operated by the U.S. Navy. Catalina Island as we know with its population of 3,700 is a popular tourist destination. San Nicolas Island in Ventura County is also controlled by the U.S. Navy. On a clear day you can see two of the five islands, Anacapa and Santa Cruz.

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Visitors to the islands may swim, snorkel, hike, camp, watch wildlife, sail and explore tidepools, beaches and canyons. There is no food service on the islands, so bring what you need. Take a commercial service to the islands like Island Packers, which has been servicing the islands since 1968. Landings at Anacapa and Santa Cruz islands are year-round while the more remote outer islands, Santa Barbara, Santa Rosa and San Miguel are scheduled late spring through early fall.

Visit the National Park Service website at www.nps.gov/chis to learn more about visiting Channel Islands National Park. The park is open year-round.

The Robert J. Lagomarsino Visitor Center at Channel Islands National Park is located in the Ventura Harbor at 1901 Spinnaker Drive (805.658.5730) and the Outdoors Santa Barbara Visitor Center is located at the Santa Barbara Harbor at 113 Harbor Way, 4th Floor.

 On a clear day you can see two of the Channel Islands from Newbury Park and other Ventura County spots. Here's a view from the   Rancho Potrero Open Space   in Newbury Park.

On a clear day you can see two of the Channel Islands from Newbury Park and other Ventura County spots. Here's a view from the Rancho Potrero Open Space in Newbury Park.

 Anacapa Island seen from a whale watching boat.

Anacapa Island seen from a whale watching boat.

The Promenade at Westlake

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Located at the southeast corner of Westlake Boulevard and Thousand Oaks Boulevard, The Promenade at Westlake is an architecturally appealing outdoor mall that has an assortment of things to do, including two large fountains, a koi pond and the Cinepolis movie theater.

 One of two fountains at The Promenade at Westlake.

One of two fountains at The Promenade at Westlake.

Eateries include The Grill on the Alley, Marmalade Cafe, Farfalla Trattoria, Champagne French Bistro, Kreation Organic, Fresh Brothers, Lemonade, Paul Martin's American Grill and Soom Soom Fresh Mediterranean (opened in September 2018). Shake Shack will be opening at the former Public School 805 soon.

Other stores include Cost Plus World Market, See's Candies, Sprinkles Cupcakes and Ice Cream and a variety of clothing and specialty stores, including Restoration Hardware, Brandy Glanville, Intermix, Lululemon Athletica, Sephora, Sharon Segal / Nina Segal the closet, Chico's, Vintage Grocers and more.

Lots of outdoor seating around the fountain area outside of Barnes and Noble.  There is usually live music on Friday/Saturday nights during the summer months.

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The Promenade at Westlake is the sister mall of the similarly appointed The Commons at Calabasas

The Promenade is located at 100 Promenade Way, Westlake Village (southeast corner of Westlake and Thousand Oaks Boulevards).  Visit www.ShopPromenade.com or call 805.497.9861 for more information.

Ventura Harbor Comedy Club

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Located in the Ventura Harbor Village, 1599 Spinnaker Drive, Ventura, Ventura Harbor Comedy Club offers nightly comedy shows, comedy workshops, "funny fundraisers," and other events. 

The club is owned by two distinguished headliner comedians, Andres Fernandez and Randy Lubas.

Check out the lineup at www.venturaharborcomedyclub.com or call 805.644.1500. Must be 21 and over.  Dinner and drinks are served here along with laughs!

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Malibu Sportfishing Pier

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The Malibu Sportfishing Pier is located at 23000 Pacific Coast Highway. Just north of the pier is Surfrider Beach and Malibu Lagoon State Beach. You can go sport fishing in a 48 foot boat or you can fish off the pier. 

The pier was originally built in 1905 and first became open to the public 1934. It is currently operated by the California Department of Parks and Recreation. The pier is open daily from 6:30 to sunset, though the restaurants close later.

Malibu Farm Cafe opened at the ocean side of the pier in 2013, serving breakfast, lunch and dinner. (This was previously Ruby’s Shake Shack that closed in 2011.)

Malibu Farm Restaurant & Bar operates at the PCH side of the pier both indoors and outdoors. Open for breakfast (weekends only), lunch and dinner as well as weekend brunch.

To fish off the pier, either bring your own fishing gear or rent it from The Ranch at the Malibu Pier. at the end of the pier. They rent fishing rods and sell bait. Call 310.456.8031 for more information. Open 8am to 8:45pm daily. Permits are not required to fish off of the pier.

Learn more about the Malibu Pier at www.parks.ca.gov/?page_id=24409 and at www.malibupiersportfishing.com.

Rancho Potrero Open Space in Newbury Park

The Rancho Potrero Open Space area is located in Newbury Park off of Lynn Road, just east of the intersection with Rancho Dos Vientos. The area includes an equestrian center where Rocking K Horse Rentals is located and is adjacent to the Rancho Sierra Vista/Satwiwa area in the Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area.

 Map excerpt courtesy of Conejo Open Space Foundation (www.cosf.org)

Map excerpt courtesy of Conejo Open Space Foundation (www.cosf.org)

A new parking lot and restrooms were built in 2015 allowing for easier access to the Rancho Potrero Open Space (although notably the parking lot closes at 4pm, well before sunset). It is accessible just west of Rocking K off of Lynn/Potrero Road.

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There is a trailhead further west of the parking lot, just before Potrero (Lynn) Road takes a sharp right turn.  You can usually find parking off pavement here. A short (1/4 mile) walk up the hill gets you pretty darn nice views looking towards Camarillo and the Channel Islands. Take the adjoining Palomino Trail east towards Rancho Sierra Vista and the Satwiwa Native American Indian Cultural Center.

 The entrance is further east off of Potrero/Lynn Road

The entrance is further east off of Potrero/Lynn Road

 About a 1/4 mile gets you to the top of a hill that gives you views as far as the Channel Islands.

About a 1/4 mile gets you to the top of a hill that gives you views as far as the Channel Islands.

 Can you believe this view!? Anacapa Island seen clearly through from Rancho Potrero.

Can you believe this view!? Anacapa Island seen clearly through from Rancho Potrero.

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 The views towards Boney Mountain from this area are quite nice too.

The views towards Boney Mountain from this area are quite nice too.

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Camarillo Bird Museum (Western Foundation of Vertebrate Zoology)

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The Western Foundation of Vertebrate Zoology (WFVZ) is a charitable institution based in Camarillo at 439 Calle San Pablo.

The 22,000 sq ft WFVZ (informally referred to as the Camarillo Bird Museum) hosts a natural history collection specializing in eggs and nests of birds. The collections include approximately 250,000 sets of bird eggs (equal to over 1 million individual eggs), representing over 4,000 bird species from around the world. There are also over 18,000 nests, the largest collection of its kind in the world. And over 56,000 bird study skin specimens from over 100 countries.

The Foundation's fundamental mission is to obtain, protect, and manage ornithological collections in a manner that ensures their accessibility to researchers, educators, students, and the public, and to ensure that the materials are used in projects that contribute to the conservation of the world's wild bird species.

The museum is not open to the public except by prior appointment. However, staff conduct public tours on the last Friday of every month from 3-4pm as well as the 2nd Wednesday of the month from 3:30-4:30pm (except Nov/Dec, when dates vary based on holidays). Additionally, individuals and small groups can contact the museum at least 1 day in advance to set up a walk-through of the museum without a tour.

Call at least one day in advance to get on the waiting list (each tour is for a maximum of 20 people). Fee for tours is $5 per person (WFVZ members and kids 5 and under are free).

Visit www.wfvz.org for more information or call 805.388.9944.

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Players Casino in Ventura

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Players Casino is located in the Ventura Auto Mall area just off the 101, with 13 poker tables and three blackjack tables open 24/7.

Players Casino is one of only about 70 active cardrooms in the state of California. Although it is called a casino, technically is it a cardroom. There are over 60 Indian casinos in the state that can offer games other than card games, such as roulette, slots and craps. Another distinction is that in a cardroom, you cannot play against the house; you can only play against other players.

Games offered at Players Casino include Texas Holdem, “21st Century Blackjack,” “EZ Baccarat,” Pai Gow Poker and Three Card Poker.

Other offerings include tournaments, live music and The Patio Restaurant.

For more information, visit www.pcventura.com or call 805.643.1392. Located at 6580 Auto Center Drive, Ventura.

Ventura Flea Market - Ventura County Fairgrounds

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The Ventura Flea Market is held near the ocean in Ventura and is a great place to shop. The event features antiques, used and new merchandise sold by over 500 vendors, more than 5,000 buyers visit the Market each time it is held. 

The Ventura Flea Market is held from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Ventura County Fairgrounds. A special Early Bird admission is available from 6am to 9am at $10.00 per person. Regular admission starts at 9 a.m. at $5.00 per person. Children under 12 are admitted free when accompanied by an adult.  (Prices current as of February 2018.) Pets are not allowed. Event is held rain or shine! Parking is $5.

Upcoming Dates as of 9/19/18:

  • September 30, 2018

  • November 18, 2018

Visit www.rgcshows.com/Ventura.aspx or call 323.560.SHOW (7469) for more information.

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Hiking in the North Ranch Open Space in Thousand Oaks

The North Open Space is represented by several massive sections of nearly 2,600 acres located in the east side of Thousand Oaks. There is a section east of Erbes Road to Westlake Boulevard down to Hillcrest Drive on the west side (this area is referred to as the Hillcrest Open Space Preserve) as well as a section further east bounded by Westlake Boulevard on the west, Lindero Canyon Road on the east and Thousand Oaks Boulevard on south.

These hills are beautiful and quite prominent from throughout the Conejo Valley. Hiking, running and cycling these hills can be a challenge as they are quite steep in most sections.

A main trailhead into the North Ranch Open Space is on Bowfield Street, just east of the North Rancho Playfields. The trail is called the Saddle Pass Trail, winding up and down the hills south towards Thousand Oaks Boulevard.

There are various other neighborhood trail entry points throughout the vast area. One of these is located at Canyon Oaks Park, 6200 Hedgewall Drive, Westlake Village. There's a walkway and a small bridge that leads to a quite intense looking path up the hill. And indeed, it is a very steep path. Definitely not for everyone. This is a path into the Bowfield/Saddle Pass Trail, which is maintained by the Conejo Open Space Conservation Agency.

 Small COSCA sign at the bottom of the steep hill from Canyon Oaks Park leading into the North Ranch Open Space.

Small COSCA sign at the bottom of the steep hill from Canyon Oaks Park leading into the North Ranch Open Space.

 A view of Canyon Oaks Park from about a third of the way up the hill.

A view of Canyon Oaks Park from about a third of the way up the hill.

There are roughly 3 or 4 miles of trails up here, mostly the Saddle Pass north/south trail but other connector trails to nearby neighborhoods, such as the townhome complex on Via Colinas above Thousand Oaks Blvd and the new Westlake Village Community Park and YMCA.

These hills get quite dry and hot during the summer months but in the spring green up nicely. You may even get the opportunity to enjoy some wildflowers.

 Orange beauties can often be seen in the March time frame off the Saddle Pass Trail south section.

Orange beauties can often be seen in the March time frame off the Saddle Pass Trail south section.

 Here's another section of trail that connects homes off of Via Colinas into the North Ranch Open Space. Most of these connector trails are quite steep, though generally well maintained!

Here's another section of trail that connects homes off of Via Colinas into the North Ranch Open Space. Most of these connector trails are quite steep, though generally well maintained!

Golf N' Stuff Ventura

For hours of amusement check out Golf N' Stuff off of Highway 101 in eastern Ventura. Golf N' Stuff features two 18-hole miniature golf courses, Indy style race cars (go-karts), bumper boats, bumper cars, laser tag and a large arcade. You must be 4' 8" tall to drive the go-karts and at least 4' tall to drive the bumper boats and bumper cars.

 The famous Golf N' Stuff Castle seen from Highway 101 in Ventura.

The famous Golf N' Stuff Castle seen from Highway 101 in Ventura.

Wow, talk about a fun venue for a kid's birthday party! Parties include pizza, cake, golf, rides, etc. Lots of things to do for everyone at Golf N' Stuff. The arcade is one of the largest around town.

Golf N' Stuff is open 365 days per year! Yes, it is even open Thanksgiving Day and Christmas Day! There is also a snack bar that serves an assortment of items, like mini pizzas, hot dogs and pretzels. Enough to provide plenty of carbs for your activities.

Sign up for their email club and receive periodic special deals, like 2 for 1 mini golf, etc. A no brainer. There are also printable coupons on the Golf N Stuff site at golfnstuff.com/ventura/coupons.html.

Golf N' Stuff is located at 5555 Walker Street, Ventura. More info at www.golfnstuff.com or call 805.644.7131.

Exit the 101 off Victoria, head North to Moon Drive, which turns into Walker, and turn left. The park is on the right hand side.

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