From Ventura to Monterey, OD green the mainstay...

    Ventura has this great bike infrastructure.  its amazing, and more amazing yet more, is that no one is riding their bikes.  instead they are driving their cars, typical right?  

    Here is the land of the “strip mall”, the land of franchise and the land of cars.  On the upshot, every mall has nice bike racks, even in front of the bank.  Typical bike life, the streets are full of cars, the parking lots full too, and on the bike you get door front parking.  this shot of the Pug is in front of WAMU where i walked in to deposit a check.img_5299_textmedium

    I’m always hard pressed to decide what bike i want to ride today.  it becomes more and more of a consideration these days.  Ironic because, now-a-days, since I’m here in Ventura helping take care of my grandparents, and my dad too, suddenly my grandfather gifts me his 2 cars, both 1979, a van and a Cadillac.  Neither of which i care to drive, but then again i dont care to drive at all.  However the car has crept back into my life by default of the sad necessity to shuttle my family members to doctor’s appointments, and their steadfast practice of “shopping” at the grocery stores.  they always buy the same stuff, so there really isn’t any “shopping” going on.  I know, its a form of getting out of the house for them, and its good to get them out, but my god!  how those old ways of life grind against my nature.  It blows my mind to see how an entire generation has held material objects at such a high value.  but then again, we have to remember that in 1930, merchandise was valued.  China dot com hadn’t hit the shores.  Consequently my Nana does things like, loves to eat TV dinners and washes the trays and keeps them.  I mean...STACKS of old TV dinner trays!

  When i ask them of actually cooking, its like sheer lunacy.  I cant imagine not wanting to eat fresh foods.

  So here i am in this SoCal world.  a bitter sweet irony where I am amazed at the infrastructure and the actual bicycle facilities but yet no one rides a bike.  Also you’d be amazed at the debris in the shoulder of the roads.  Of course, right?  right, tons of glass, plastic, gravel, nails, screws, tools, tire carcasses, you name it.  the road ways are like veins collecting plaque.  I have had more flats on the Pug in the 1 month that i have been here, than i had in all the time i was there in Monterey.  

as a kid i loved my “Army Lunch Box”

and i loved the little cans of Army Food

and i loved my little P-38 can opener

In Ventura I loved to ride my bike

and i especially loved “Hobo Jungle”

which is now Emma Wood State Beach


my paternal grandfather told me of WWII

the South Pacific

the Solomon Islands


my maternal grandfather told me of going home to the Philippines to fight

he was a Filipino Commando 

he was the grandfather i knew for the first 8yrs of my life

my dad a Vietnam vet

my mom a WAC from Ft. McClellan

where they met as dad was out processing from his tour

so it was for me to enter this manifest in Fresno

then later to move to Ventura

I awed at the Ventura Fair Grounds

and even as a young kid, it seemed to me to an old Army post or something

it was Camp Ventura

where my paternal grandfather entered the Army prior to WWII

he was a cook assigned to an Anti-Aircraft Artillery (AAA) unit

my dad, and maternal grandfather went thru Ft. Ord

and as a kid i had these Deja Vu memories of playing in white sand with my toy cars.

life in Fresno often had trips to the coast to cool off, so it was often to Monterey, but i was very young in those days, not even 5.

as i was 19 and in the army at Ft. Ord, one day i drove to the end of Ocean Ave in Carmel, stepped out of the car, and walked in the white sand, with a flood of memories, as i knelt to the ground passing my hands in the sand, as if i still had that car.  Memories so strong, Deja Vu, in Ultra Reality

my Army Lunch Box had a smell

i grew to love that smell

i always rolled my socks

my shoes were always at the foot of my bed

and i always made my bed as my mom, my grandfather, and my dad had taught me

in Basic Training i was blown away to learn that i had been keeping my room to military standards, i knew nothing different

the first time i opened an Ammo can, the smell of Cosmoline took me back to child hood

when we were issued new field jackets, boots et al, i was beyond happy.  when i got my license to drive a "deuce and a half” it was almost just like driving our 1959 Ford Stepside van with no syncro.  my dad taught me right, taught me how to remove a split ring from a set of duals with a pick ax, how to double clutch, and how to adjust a set of valve tappets.

i had never put my finger on a trigger, but the countless times he told me of being a 60 gunner, tracer rounds every 3rd round, traverse and elevation mechanisms, etc, it was almost as if second nature, but this time around, me...this manifest, had the discipline to actually fire in 6 to 9 round burst, and follow orders.

growing up homeless with dad in our van living at the State Beaches here in Ventura, during the 80’s, Carter was the President, a recession was in full tilt, and there were lots of people without jobs.


20yrs has past, and i still love to ride to Hobo Jungle, and today i found those old pastedgraphic-4_textmediumCoastal Artillery turrets.  in those days they were still on the beach, and not in the surf as they seem to be today.  I would sit and imagine how dirigibles would patrol the coast, and some how Zepplins would flash across my mind, Janis and Big Brother, those big bellows of smoke from Zig Zags, the snap and flash of Zippos, and my dad and his hippie buddies, post Vietnam in Fresno, would kick back, pop bellowing smoke, like old man of the north on a map blowing the wind, and i’d toss a paper airplane thru the smoke, maybe he’d play along and puff smoke rings.  The Goodyear blimp was in fresno, and we often would watch it land.  In Ventura i would imagine old Navy blimps over head, maybe 1940, those big Coastal Artillery turrets actually with Howitzers mounted to them, and i could only imagine the bang they’d make.  somehow howitzers, Cosmoline, ammo cans, moth balls, OD Green, and some kind  of “code”, ethic, value, family unit...rules...something was in my blood.

    20yrs after leaving Ventura, with all of that, all of which i have lived thru the US Army, Operation Just Cause, etc...and of course the bike...that big ol OD Green monster of a bike, actually its just like it was when i was kid...5spd Schwinn beach cruiser, drum brake in the rear, and generator lights.  even then, i’d simply ride away.

Emma Wood State Beach.  Devian 39 years old.  2007


devian 12 years old, apartments off of Ventura Ave.  1980 or 1981


when i was a kid we used to play here in Plaza Park, located right in front of the Ventura Post Office, and of course i loved to play “Firing Battery”


The Pug is natural with this M1A1 Pack Howitzer.  I cant tell you how many times i had played on this howitzer, running my hands over the breech, the mount where the gunner’s sight goes, and imagining how the spade would dig into the ground.  Those child hood play days took me to the 7th I.D. Light at Ft. Ord where i lived up to my dreams, repelling out of UH60 Blackhawks and firing M102 Howitzers.


I was fortunate enough to realize that i needed to go to my old motor pool and snap some pics before the Battalion crest totally fades away.


    I was part of B Btry 7/15 FA 1987 to 1991 serving in Panama Operation Just Cause.  As a kid i could only imagine how it was to fire a howitzer, and as a young soldier i learned that, but still i was only imagining what it was to actually fire at a target.  One of the comforts of field artillery is that most of the time you never see your rounds after the lanyard is pulled.  However in Panama, we did some direct fire, fire missions, and in those, i did see what a 105mm Howitzer can do to a building.  No wonder they say Artillery is the King of Battle.


    After M102’s we received these really cool British M119A Howitzers.  I found this pic thru wikipedia.  Kevlar helmet with “rag top” was a hallmark of the 7th I.D.


circling my haunts

somehow they are intuitive

of course its all about life on a bike...