Archive for May, 2012

Tomorrow I leave for the Santa Cruz area to spend the weekend. I plan on stopping in Cambria, maybe Hearst Castle (never been) and Big Sur. I’ll see how the timing works. After staying with my hosts, I return to the scene of the crime, and will get my Subaru repaired (three days). I will return to Ojai and visit with Craig Walker re Ethel, and go back to Reyes Bar & Grill. I’m getting thirsty just thinking about it.

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This is a must see place and one I will return to, and spend more time looking around. Adjacent to the museum is an art gallery featuring local artists. More to come when I return next week.

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Traffic was nonexistent and if it weren’t for the “Slow to 10 mho” signs, I would have had more time to look around. So I would stop here and there and take the photos. It makes me realize how big our country is, so vast and open. A ranger at Chuchupate Ranger Station told me there were many virtually unexplored areas throughout their responsibility, including numerous archeological treasures, which remain off the beaten track. Another sign that gave me repeated pause: “Watch for Falling Rocks.” I closed my moon roof, as if that would do any good.

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As I said below, Tony is the consummate host at this out of the way location. I regret not taking more pictures of the surrounding structures, which at first glance see to replicate and old frontier town. I will endeavor to return and make amends. I’ll say it again, Jim Beam Devil’s Cut. I might add that he considers himself a small businessman, and related that his friend in North Dakota paid a one time fee of $85 to start up his aggregate business, while Tony pays many, many times that amount – annually! He mutters “California government” now and then in our conversations. Here’s some pix:

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So much for a days worth of people, places and events. One step at a time.

Here I am at The Gables, with the portrait and plaque of Dr Ethel Percy Andrus, my grandaunt. And a grand lady she was. Founder of AARP (did you get a notice in the mail?). When I was a kid, we would visit her, my grandmother (Maud), and my uncle’s family (they had a horse at one time – envy). She intimidated by to no end. Formal lunches for crying out loud? Napkins? Silverware? What’s with that? At least it was a step up from my father’s tongue sandwiches on pumpernickel. Then there’s the building named in her honor at USC. so when, as a know-it-all kid of 15 years of age, she asked me to have a talk with her in the parlor, little did I realize the potential for a life changing possibility was about to slip through my mental fingers forever. She asked me, quietly and firmly, what I wanted to do with my life. “I’m going to go to college, graduate, and join the Navy and become a jet pilot!” A very reasonable and well-formed answer I thought. She quizzed me as to the aspects of my answer and I stood firm – “jet pilot!” Using a slightly different tack, she asked if I had any interest in the pharmacological sciences. “No way Nana (she hated that term of address, but what did I know?)”. And then it was over. She had an aside with my father, and the topic was never brought up again. It’s my understanding that AARP sells drugs, but you didn’t hear that from me.

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[note: trouble with formatting continues….I’m going to let it go for now…sorry]

Finally! My road trip is being realized at last. I left Barry first thing in the morning and got gassed at Costco, breakfast at iHop (spinach/mushroom omelet), and returned to Ivy Lawn for the third day in a row. No matter, I got the plot location from the office, and spent the good part of 30 minutes trying to find the plaques. Plural you ask? Yes, my grandaunt, Ethel Percy Andrus, her sister (my grandmother) Maud Service, and my aunt Ethel Andrus Service are side by side. I cleaned around the plaques and thanked them for the memories. Then off to Ojai where Ethel Andrus had founded AARP back in the ‘Fifties. They have changed the senior’s residence name to Gable of Ojai, and it took me a minute to orient myself to what was, and now what is. I was warmly greeted by the director and others, with Christine giving me a tour around the grounds. I met Betty, 102 years old, and wrote on a dry erase board to see if she remembered Ethel. She shook her head “no.” ¬†To fill in some of the family history, I made arrangements to talk with Craig Walker, who is in the process of creating a permanent exhibition of Dr. Andrus at the Ojai Museum. When I return to Oxnard next week (ugh) to get my car restored, I’ll also meet with Craig over coffee.

Ivy Lawn Memorial Cemetery, Ventura, CA

My grand aunt, Ethel Andrus

Family affairs in order, I drove off in the vain attempt to locate another side of the family tree, to wit, Mildred Kimball, my maternal grandmother. In the early 1900’s she was hired by a small Mexican community, as a teacher. Unfortunately, I left the copies of her letters home, at my home. One recollection I have is her traveling the last eight miles to the rancho in a buckboard. Barry thought she might have left from Lockwood Valley, so that’s where I went, their real estate website implying there was a historical presentation there. As it turns out, there’s no there there. I drove right through Lockwood Valley and didn’t know it. I really don’t know what I would have asked even if someone had been available, clueless as I was. Regardless of the search, the drive was wonderful, with lots of sunshine, winding roads, and a spectacular view from the summit of 5,104 feet. There was virtually no traffic going either way. That gave me brief moments to marvel at this tortured land, where unimaginable¬†geologic forces wrested an ever-changing topology into what we see today. Extremes in weather and tremendous forest fires (900,000 acres in the last seven years alone) give meaning to the word “wilderness.”

Summit Highway 33 – looking back, west

Summit Highway 33

From the summit of Highway 33, looking east














On the way back from Frazier Park I stopped at Reyes Bar & Grill, 1.5 miles off Lockwood Valley Road. Tony, owner and barkeep is quite a character, and entrepreneur, owing thousands of acres and any number of businesses, including an aggregate operation off the Cuyama River. Thirsty, I had club soda and lime, finally relenting and had a shot of Jim Beam Devil’s Cut, one of the smoothest whiskeys ever, and I should know (not). His bar was recuperating from Memorial Day, with the campsite overflowing with locals and out-of-towners. His regulars came and went while we chatted, and then three of his six kids came back from school, and he served up some watermelon and ice cream.

From Reyes Bar & Grill, I continued westward along Lockwood Valley Road to Highway 33, north to Highway 166 to Santa Maria, 101 to SLO, and Highway 1 to Cayucos where I’m writing this on a sunny morning at the beach. I had fish & chips with local brew or two and Schooners, sitting outside on a raised deck overlooking the waves rolling in. I had a nice talk with another diner, Suzanne, visiting from Salt Lake City. It is so nice to have a conversation where communication is valued, and we had a laugh or two, and discussed far ranging topics that had us closing up the place.


One half of Frazier Park , CA

I’ve decided to spend another day in this small community, taking a walk or two, camera at the ready. The Cayucos Motel is more than adequate for my purposes, and Christina, the hostess, even put a breakfast tray in my room, since I tend to rise early, and the continental breakfast is not available until 8:00 a.m. Nice touch. I will fill in this “Day One – Part 20” entry as my thoughts return to me. “Part 20?” I’ve been away for twenty days now, and “Day One?” The first solo element of my road trip – as I said – finally!

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I’ve been staying at my brother Barry’s home for the past four days, and enjoying the weather; coastal, breezy, sunny. I visited with my niece, Shani, her husband Clint, and my first grandnephew, Logan. Barry, Margaret and I went to Ivy Lawn Memorial Cemetery and tried to locate Dr. Ethyl Percy Andrus’ mausoleum but ran out of time, as the maintenance crew had to ready to grounds for Memorial Day. Back at their home, we had a wonderful try-tip steak with rice and steamed spinach. I’m packing up tomorrow to return to another leg of my road trip. My next week or two will center around getting my car repaired. The fender and parts will be here next week while I am up by Santa Cruz. Then I will return to Oxnard and spend three more days with the car in the shop. Then back up north I go again, this time to continue with the “gray road experience.” It will be interesting to see how this all works out, as making firm arrangements is problematic to say the least. Oh well, it’s all good.

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