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It's Your Life / People, Places and Things to do. : SIGHTSEEING : Four-Wheeling It in Ojai and Beyond

August 03, 1995|JEFF MEYERS

If you've ever wanted to explore Los Padres National Forest without having to hike, bike or ride a horse, consider Ojai's Pink Moment Jeep Tours.

In the comfort of a customized four-wheel-drive vehicle with see-through plexiglass top, you can sit back, see the sights and listen to a driver/guide explain the history and geography of the area.

"This is the Chinese Wall built by the Chinese around 1900," said guide Dok Smith, stopping the Jeep at a straight-as-an-arrow, mortarless stone wall that runs between orchards in lower Ojai.

The tour--named for the mystical "pink moment" that tints Ojai mountains at sunset--is the brainchild of two Ojai couples, including a grade-school principal. Because of the winter rains, they've only been in high gear for a few months. About 75% of their customers are tourists attracted by brochures placed in area hotels.

Tours run from 1 1/2 to 3 1/2 hours. Most customers want to go to the top of 5,200-foot Chief Peak to see its vistas of the Channel Islands and the national forest.

"Customers love to see the flowers and the view from the top," said Smith, a second-grade teacher at Ojai Valley School, "but they're also surprised we can get up as high and as fast as we do."

Gourmet picnic baskets are also available.

* Pink Moment Jeep Tours of Ojai; $12-$38 per person; 646-3227 or 525-0391.

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