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JAUNTS: In and Around the Valley | GOING NORTH

Roadside Attraction

Sea and surf draw regular contingent of RV campers.

May 01, 1997|JANE HULSE | SPECIAL TO THE TIMES

Trains rumble by and traffic from the Pacific Coast Highway is a few yards away, but for the mile-long chain of RVs nestled on the Rincon Parkway above Ventura, camping doesn't get much better than this.

The ocean is so close they sometimes feel the spray as the waves splash the boulders below them. The pounding surf muffles the unpleasant noises of civilization and lulls them to sleep.

This quirky little stretch--literally a wide spot in the road--is a county-operated overnight camping area with no services except for a few chemical toilets. And forget making a reservation; it's first come, first served. So you'll have to come early if you want to claim a piece of asphalt here for the weekend. The 112 spots, at $13 a night during the busy season, often fill up by mid-day Friday, and on holiday weekends the rush for spaces begins Wednesday.

Getting to the beach is tricky for those not so agile. You have to make your way carefully over large boulders, or walk to county-operated camping areas at Faria and Hobson beaches at either end of the Rincon Parkway where steps lead down to the water.

The parkway, technically a parking meter zone for RVs only (no tents), doesn't offer much more than an asphalt strip marked off in 40-foot segments for one motor home and no more than one car. There aren't even any vending machines.

"You have to have a love for the ocean," said Marlene Reaves of West Hills, who has been coming here for 20 years with her husband Bill. "I could sit and look at it forever."

On weekends, streams of bicyclists use this scenic route. Others walk it, heading out for a burger or breakfast at the no-frills campground snack bars at Hobson or Faria beaches. At night the Rincon strip is dotted with campfires built against the rocks. Although rangers say the fires are illegal, campers do it anyway. The rules state that fires must be contained in commercially built stoves.

BE THERE

Rincon Parkway, a county-operated RV camping area, is located on Pacific Coast Highway, between county campgrounds at Hobson and Faria beaches. Overnight spaces run $13 with stays limited to five days. (805) 654-3951.

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