March 26, 2019

Ventura County Super Bloom Quest

Last weekend, I went out to see if I could find a Super (or at least fairly good) Bloom in Ventura County. I had heard about the hoards of "selfie" obsessed poppy peepers that have flocked to the Lake Elsinore area and was definitely not willing to endure that. I decided to see if I could find a less crowded alternative closer to home. The Acorn, our local weekly newspaper, offered several possible locations where California poppies and other wildflowers have been spotted in large numbers.

Meandering California Poppies with Boney Mountain in the BackgroundSaturday morning, I went to the first location, Rancho Potrero, just south of the Dos Vientos neighborhood in Newbury Park to see what I could find. As soon as I arrived at the trailhead, I could see patches of flowers off in the distance, and off I went. Alas, as I approached closer, the blooms turned out to be on private property, and I could admire them only from afar. Nonetheless, the hike was beautiful, with great weather and beautiful cloudy skies. There were more than enough wildflowers to enjoy and best of all, hardly any people!

On Sunday morning, my wildflower search started at the Conejo Canyons trailhead where I started down the fire road to the Hill Canyon Trail to connect to the Hill Canyon Trail and finally to the Peninsula Trail which runs roughly parallel to the Hill Canyon Trail and then reconnects with it. It was along this trail I was rewarded with a riot of yellow, gold and purple. I spent a good hour there taking photos (no selfies, though!)  Then it was time to head back home. Hopefully next weekend, I'll get out and explore some more. Stay tuned....

Wild Lupine along the Palomino Trail

California Poppies along the Peninsula Trail in the Conejo Canyons

Poppies on the Hillside

Posted in Local Interest
March 5, 2017

A Day at the Mullin Automotive Museum in Oxnard

Looking down on several touring cars at main level.
I don’t know what took me so long but last week I finally visited the Mullin Car Museum in Oxnard. It’s been here since 2010 at 1421 Emerson Ave in Oxnard in the same building the late Otis Chandler’s car collection was housed. To be honest, I’m not a car enthusiast which might be part of the reason I hadn't seen it yet. It also takes a bit of planning since it’s only Elegant touring cars on to the public a couple of days each month.  However, it is definitely worth the effort. The museum has a marvelous collection and it is beautifully presented. The building is in the Art Deco style, complementing the era of the cars. You don’t have to be a car aficionado to appreciate the sleek lines and sexy curves of these classic vehicles. I arrived about a ½ hour after they opened that Saturday morning and there were a surprising number of people already there.  

I passed on taking the guided tour since I wanted to take photos before it became too crowded but I caught bits and pieces of what the tour guides were saying and will go back another time for the complete experience. 

The photographic opportunities were fantastic because you can get right up close to these cars but there are some challenges as well. Tripods are not allowed and you can’t bring in a camera bag. Thank goodness I had the 16-35mm f/4L image stabilized lens on my Canon 5dsr camera that allowed me to handhold at shutter speeds as slow as 1/10 of a second. Even with that I had to shoot at ISO 800 and take several shots to capture one sharp image.

I spent the next couple of hours photographing the cars and museum starting with the touring cars on the ground level and working my way to the race cars upstairs. If I hadn’t had an afternoon appointment to show homes, I might very well have spent the entire day there.

For more information on the days the museum is open and to plan your own visit, see the Mullin Automotive Museum website.

Bugatti Type 23 BresciaBugatti Type 23 Brescia 

1937 Delahaye Type 1451937 Delahaye Type 145

Exterior of the Mullin Automotive Museum in Oxnard Mullin Automotive Museum in Oxnard

Oxnard must have won the automobile car museum lottery having two world class car museums calling Oxnard home. Oxnard's other auto museum is the Murphy Auto Museum and it is less than half a mile south of the Mullin Auto Museum. 


Posted in Local Interest
July 19, 2015

Proposition 90 and 60

Senior Couple Reviewing Prop 90 InformationUnder Proposition 13, the value of a home (for property tax purposes) is generally reassessed to its current value whenever a change of ownership takes place. If you are a senior who has owned your home for a long time and currently benefit from a lower Prop 13 tax valuation, the prospect of dramatically higher property taxes can be quite a deterrent if you’d like to sell your home and replace it with one that better suits your current lifestyle and needs.

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Posted in Taxes
July 12, 2015

Oxnard Salsa Festival

Salsa dancers on the dance floor

I love Salsa. The beat and Latin rhythm of the music is addictive.  If only I could dance to it myself!  Alas, even with the numerous lessons I’ve never been able to achieve much more than a comedic parody of Salsa.  And even if I’m not as bad as all that, I am very envious of the natural fluid movements of the Salsa dancers you’ll see competing at the Oxnard Salsa Festival on a huge dance floor with an impressive sound stage and musicians right behind them.  They make it look so easy.  With the Jumbotron screens you’re guaranteed to

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Posted in Local Interest
Aug. 14, 2012

Bottle Village...Simi Valley's Most Unique Real Estate

Round House at Grandma Prisbrey's Bottle Village
About February, someone flipped the switch on the Ventura County real estate market and it has taken off like crazy. Since then it seems that everyone who has ever talked to me about buying a home in the last couple of years is ready to buy now!  I’m not complaining….not at all, but all of this intense real estate activity has really cut into my photography time.  Sidewalk at Bottle VillageSo when I got an email last week that Grandma Prisbrey’s Bottle Village in Simi Valley would be open for a couple of hours on Sunday to a limited number of photographers, I jumped at the chance.  My knowledge of Bottle Village was limited to a few

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Posted in Local Interest
Feb. 7, 2012

Breathtaking Views of Point Mugu Naval Base in Ventura County and Beyond

Ventura County Coastline from the Chumash Trail

Ever since I first hiked the Chumash Trail in Ventura County to Mugu Peak last year, I've wanted to return for sunset on one of the incredibly clear days that Santa Ana winds brings us a handful of days each year and take photographs.  It's hard to plan a hike like this because you never know in advance when the weather conditions will be right. When they are

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Posted in Local Interest
Dec. 27, 2011

Ventura...Winter Home of the Most Discerning Monarch Butterflies!

Monarch butterfly landing on a cluster of other butterfliesVentura is fortunate to be one of the locations along the California coast that discerning Monarch butterflies choose to spend the winter during their annual migration. Really, who can blame them for choosing Ventura real estate for their stay? Even though winter arrived last week we’ve had nothing but sunny 70 degree days since.  The real question is why would they leave for the summer?

Cluster of hundreds of monarch butterflies at Camino Real Park in VenturaI’ve had a fascination with Monarch butterflies since I was a small boy but and yet never had a chance to visit one of their overwintering spots until last week when I drove over to Ventura’s Camino Real Park to check them out for myself.  It didn’t look too promising as I drove through the park, sunroof open looking skyward for butterflies and seeing not a single one.  I ended up just outside the park where Aurora Drive dead-ends at the park and got out of my car and walked along the stand of Eucalyptus trees growing there.  

It was starting to look a little more

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Posted in Local Interest
July 13, 2011

Santa Paula Citrus Classic Hot Air Balloon Festival

Balloon Glows behind the Limoneira East Area I sign
I love, love, love Santa Paula’s Citrus Classic Balloon Festival.
 I was excited when the first Citrus Classic balloon festival was announced in 2008. I knew I had to be there.  I’ve always wanted to see the famous Albuquerque Balloon Festival and now I had chance to experience something similar on a smaller scale in my own Ventura County.  I could hardly wait to see hot air balloons take

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Posted in Local Interest
May 22, 2008

Ventura County Beaches Earn an A!

Wave at Marina Park in Ventura

Heal the Bay, an environmental group, issued it’s “Beach Report Card” that assigns grades of A to F to 517 beaches on the California coast based on measured bacteria levels from April 2007 to March 2008. 55 of Ventura County’s 56 beaches rated an A during the spring and summer months. Rincon Beach received the lone B. In the wet winter months, water quality is not as good due to run off from and test beaches measure much higher bacteria levels.

The Ventura County Star quotes Mike Grimmer, Heal the Bay’s Beach Report Card manager in today’s newspaper:

It’s amazing how good the water quality is there (in Ventura County),” said Mike Grimmer, Heal the Bay’s Beach Report Card manager. “If you’re at an open-ocean beach and it’s dry weather, you have almost a 100 percent chance of swimming in clean water,” Grimmer said. “We’re making some strides on wet weather. Unless we live in a society where there’s no trash anywhere, a lower standard is always going to be expected during wet weather conditions.”

For more information on Ventura County “Beach Report Card”, visit:

Heal The Bay Ventura County Report Card Map
Heal The Bay Ventura County Report Card Text
County of Ventura Water Quality Tests

Posted in Local Interest
May 20, 2008

Buying a Home? For goodness sake, get a CLUE!

Flooded HomeC.L.U.E. stands for the Comprehensive Loss Underwriting Exchange  which is a huge database used by the insurance industry to track claims homeowners file against their homeowner’s insurance policies. This information helps insurers of Ventura County real estate avoid fraud and writing policies for people who make excessive claims, but this information also follows the home the claim is made on. Just like having a bad credit record affects your ability to get financing for a home, negative information in the C.L.U.E. database can affect

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Posted in Real Estate News