I visit Ventura

I went to Ventura yesterday with a group of Scientologists to attend the Grand Opening of Ventura Organization. That event is pictured below, in a photo provided to journalists for publicity purposes, and is otherwise covered at this church website: https://www.scientology.org/scientology-today/church-openings/grand-opening-ventura.html

ventura org grand opening

Needing to wait in line for a bathroom, I got there a bit late, and watched the proceedings from the side of this main area, located at the far right in the above photo.

Riding through the Central Valley

Wanting to get there in a minimum of time, but by car (a rented Dodge minivan), we naturally chose to rocket down the I-5. A typical stop along this freeway is pictured below.

freeway-side stop, central valley

This is a down-to-business freeway. Almost no major cities lie along this road. Fresno is to the east, on the older Route 99. To the distant west are the coastal ranges. Just before Los Angeles, these low mountain ridges turn inland, requiring a drive through a pass. The I-5 goes through Tejon Pass. The highest elevation on that pass is about 4 thousand feet, so not quite the same as crossing the Rockies!

This road is for people and goods that want a fast drive from southern California to northern California. And it really looks it. It’s an ugly road, unadorned by trees or flowers, or even many billboards. It goes “nowhere” except to the L.A. basin to the south and the Bay Area/Sacramento to the north. Of course it continues on further north; I’m just covering this section of it.

The ride south (and back, of course) takes a long time, several hours. And that is in good traffic (which we had). So we had to stop more than once in the valley. Our first stop was around 8:30 in the morning, at a little place about as far down the valley as Fresno.

fruit orchards

This area is dominated by fruit orchards, which I believe are mostly almonds (a fruit harvested for its nut, or pit). We also saw many citrus trees.

westside country store

The Westside Country Store is a somewhat famous business on I-5. But I didn’t know this at the time we stopped there, so didn’t go in.

Two hours later we were very near the Grapevine. We stopped again and I got this image of the electric transmission towers that help power Los Angeles.

electric transmission lines near Grapevine.

Right next to our parking space I spied the movement of a small animal. It turns out that this is a real gopher.

pocket gopher

We raced through the mountains, as we still had many miles to go to get out to the coast. Part of the road between I-5 and the coast is NOT freeway.

We arrive!

But the traffic was not bad, and we got to our destination around 11:30.

ventura org setting

The parking lot in this picture was reserved for special guests and event personnel. Some came in on big tour buses, which unloaded just a block away. The rest of us had to park at the fair grounds, which is up the road a bit.

I shared my spot during the proceedings with an interesting bush which I later learned is commonly called Desert Cassia. It was mad with flowers, so of course I had to take a photo.

desert cassia

As you might be able to tell from the top photo, there were a lot of people there. I met many people who I knew when I worked in Los Angeles, and recognized many more. I met Yoshikawa Wright, a stone sculptor who has an episode on our new TV channel, here: https://www.scientology.tv/series/meet-a-scientologist/yoshikawa-wright.html. We spoke briefly, as I had made a few stone pieces (alabaster) in art class in high school.

The area had been rainy, but this lifted during the event itself, then returned.

freeway daisies

Being right next to Highway 101, the stands of “freeway daisies” were much in evidence. These are more formally known as Trailing African Daisies.

trailing african daisies

We left around 4:30 in the afternoon. It took us about 5-1/2 hours to get back. That’s a lot of car riding! The sun set as we were on the pass.

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