My last night in Santa Barbara County was spent camping in the State Park in Carpinteria. There I met a group of cyclists who were riding north to Refugio State Beach together; they were meeting more cyclists that morning at the train station. They invited me to join them around their campfire and we had a nice visit. One of their members was especially interesting to me. He is a man who emigrated to the United States from South Vietnam at the age of 17 in the 1960s. His family was of an elite class and embraced a more Western way of life. He remembers the presence of American oil companies in South Vietnam during his childhood and believes that American oil interests played a definite role in our decision to fight the North Vietnamese, who wanted control over their own country and resources. This was the very first time that I had heard anything about America’s oil interests in Vietnam. All I have ever heard is that the United States wanted to promote democracy and prevent communism. How many wars have we fought and are we still fighting with a selfish motive? It is one thing to take care of yourself and to put yourself first so that you may be of real service to others. It’s another thing entirely to put yourself first at another’s expense. I’m not saying that I have never done such a thing, for I have. But I’m learning that it doesn’t serve me.

 I crossed into Ventura County somewhere along the Pacific Coast Highway which has a great bike path for many miles.

I passed the Rincon Parkway Camping Ground which is nothing more than parking spaces along the coast highway for recreational vehicles; it was Saturday and the spaces were full of people of all ages, playing music, flying flags and stoking their barbecues and their generators, as their are no amenities of any kind.

I began to see more and more people in the water, including surfers, as well as others enjoying the water’s edge in a variety of ways, despite the fog.

This horse and rider posed for me nicely.

I spent a night in a motel in Ventura to avoid a cold and windy campground covered in fog. It felt wonderful to get a good hot shower (with real cotton towels!) and to charge my phone and battery pack to full capacity. That I was able to get the dour front desk clerk to smile made the whole motel experience especially rewarding.

The next morning was Sunday and I got to the San Buenaventura Mission just in time for the 10:30 am Spanish speaking mass. It was Pentecost Sunday, the time when the Holy Spirit is said to have descended upon the apostles and other believers in Jesus Christ. I was able to understand the service well enough, especially since the priest was not a native speaker of Spanish. Like I am (in part) he was of Dutch descent, and we looked a lot alike compared to everyone else in the church. I was thinking about that, and about how Hispanic Americans of native origin are probably similar to Native Americans in their ancestry. I wonder if Native Americans and Latin Americans can relate well to one another. I don’t know. I did feel a kinship with the priest simply because of our complexions. Does that make me a racist? I don’t think so.

The mission was established in 1782 by the president of the Missions at that time, Father Junípero Serra.

It, too, was in Chumash territory and there was a large Chumash village nearby. It became a very productive mission in terms of population (1,328) and production of food and cattle hides in its peak years (1802-1821.) It is an active parish now and added a K-8 school just 17 years ago. Compared to the Netherlands, the priest told me after mass, this diocese is thriving.

That afternoon I made my way past the gateway to the Channel Islands (are the Islands just as foggy as the coast?) to a cousin’s house in Oxnard where I enjoyed her and her friend’s company and a cup of tea. My cousin’s son, Luke Williams, makes documentaries about ancient peoples, the Sacred Sites they created, and what these are all about. His website, if you’re interested, is: Pukajay.com. My cousin, too, has been involved in the spiritual ways of Native Americans and others for many years; I once did a Vision Quest under her guidance in the Los Padres National Forest near Ojai. She currently works as a healer and psychic medium.

 I took a wrong path on my way to her house thinking that my Google Map had mistaken a service road for a bike path. I ended up removing my panniers and putting my bike over a fence. It got hung up on one of the brake controls.

I was just grateful that I could lift it, and myself, over.  ?‍♀️

On my way to my camping place for that night I passed by this channel to the sea, near Point Hueneme. The name Hueneme is derived from a Chumash phrase wene me meaning “resting place.”

This is ironic in that Port Hueneme is a very active port and because it is also home to Naval Base Ventura County, a merger of Naval Air Station Point Mugu and Naval Construction Battalion Center Port Hueneme.

I am struck by how many military installations I have passed since leaving Monterey.

It was getting dark by the time I arrived at Point Mugu State Campground and I was grateful to arrive before dark.

The canyon in which I camped was beautiful, quiet, and without wind, and also without cell phone service. I had a restful night’s sleep and was packed and ready to get on the road the next morning by 9:00. I was to ride to my sister’s place near Malibu that day and I made it easily by noon. I saw many surfers (some really buff ones, too) and even some porpoises surfing together in the waves. I’m not sure which animal I like better. ?

18 thoughts on “Ventura County

  1. Thank you Jody, sharing your experiences (which are always thoughtful and insightful) is a blessing for me

  2. Jody…while driving on 68 east to Salinas yesterday I noticed a gray flowing robed person with a beard up ahead, and yes, my mind went to, “Oh my, it’s the friar Jody met last week!” So, I beeped, waved and he waved back!…Suzanne

  3. Wow! You’re really putting on some miles. I’m really enjoying your photos and stories. The image of the relief of a hot shower is so relatable. How do you ever keep your phone charged while camping?
    We take so many amenities for granted. Blessings on your journey…
    Pauline

    1. Many campgrounds have a place to plug into an outlet these days, if not right at the site, in the bathrooms. I have also resorted to plugging in at Starbucks and at libraries, like a real homeless person. ? Nice to hear from you Pauline!

  4. How many miles have you traveled so far? You are making some swift progress. As for your comment about feeling a kinship to a similar skin…..I would say, “observation”. Racism means you feel yourself superior to someone else because of your skin or race, and I know that is not the case with you. Observations are just that. 🙂 At least that’s my 2 cents worth. 🙂 Love you, friend. Keep on pedaling!

    1. I think I have traveled close to three houses hundred miles, Diane. Not that many compared to a lot of touring cyclists in the time I’ve been on the road. I feel like the tortoise in the Aesop Fable.

      I guess my question is why do I feel more comfortable and akin to people with my same complexion? Especially when surrounded by others who look differently from me? I suppose it’s some sort of instinctual gravitation towards one’s own kind, or family, for purposes of survival.

      1. Hi Jody, ❤️ posts. I sometimes make them my spiritual reading, early mornings.
        The “sole caucasian” question is of interest to me. The thing I notice, when I’m in a bowling alley with 5000 Taiwanese in Taichung or I’m the only güero on a train in Sri Lanka, is a slight uneasiness. But once I become aware of it, I look around and see…friendly faces, and it evaporates.
        I also had the experience, as A child, of driving through “Indian” reservations with my grandparents. My grandfather was part Cherokee (though he looked “whiter” than I), and he would persist even when my grandmother got nervous and wanted to turn back. Maybe that says something about their marriage too, haha!
        You guys are going to Cuba? Very cool! I hope you do these posts there too!
        ??

        1. Just remembered, about the camaraderie: the first time I was in Taichung in 1990, the only Westerners I saw for two weeks were two young men, white shirts and ties…the Jehova’s Witnesses. We shared a smile that went beyond their mission.
          Racist? I ask the motive and the consequences.
          ??

  5. Hi Jody..I am totally impressed with your stamina and how fast you are gobbling up the miles…

    1. Fast or slow, it’s quite the adventure. My daughter and I are wanting to go to Cuba. Know anything about getting a visa?

      1. Jody, my brother and his wife are going to Cuba this year. Phone me if you’d like his number and tips.

  6. I continue to enjoy your tales and photos, Jody. About Google Maps, although they are helpful, I often find them incorrect. Just fyi in case you’ve not already found these resources, the bit.ly/BicycleMaps section of bikemonterey.org includes some maps for areas outside Monterey County and also has a link to the California Bicycle Coalition’s Maps & Routes section: http://www.calbike.org/maps_routes

    1. Thank you Mari! I will check it out. ?

  7. Wonderful, wonderful, wonderful Jody! Thank you for your continued sharing of your journey. I smile a lot when reading. Namasté, Teresa

  8. I loved reading all your latest shares. I read…happiness and contentment…in your writings.
    I Imagine you will remember and cherish these experiences the whole rest of your life!
    I am so happy for you. love, charmaine

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