My Introduction to Simi Valley
I lived for fifteen years in the Conejo Valley in Newbury Park, Ventura County, and often had occasion to visit Simi Valley to shop. Back in the 1980’s when I lived in Thousand Oaks, Simi Valley wasn’t exactly a go-to destination. We would take the 23 Freeway from Thousand Oaks and connect to the 118 Freeway (now called The Ronald Reagan Freeway) to get to the bulk foods store we used to patronize before it closed. It was the only local source of huge buckets of grains for storage. It was always a scenic drive and once in Simi Valley the hills above it started to look like the movie sets for outdoor scenes in western movies. In fact, many movies and TV shows were shot in the area.
Simi Valley as a Movie Set
Several episodes for the “Little House on the Prairie” TV series were filmed at at Blue Sky Ranch in Simi Valley. The link will show you more photos of the ranch, and the scenery is typical of the valley’s undeveloped land. “Rawhide.” “Gunsmoke,” and “Bonanza” episodes were also filmed at Blue Sky Ranch, just one of many movie ranches in or near Simi Valley.
The movie studios bought the undeveloped land for these movie ranches because if they filmed their movies more than 30 miles from the studios, they had to pay their crews more. It was easier to film on the land that had the right topography for the movies than to try to make sets that looked like it, so the movie ranches were the most economical solution for the studios.
The Ronald Reagan Presidential Library Draws More People to Simi Valley
View from Ronald Reagan Library in Simi Valley, © B. Radisavljevic
When Ronald Reagan built the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library, Simi Valley became a destination city. The library was dedicated on November 4, 1991. We got our first chance to visit it in 2011 on our anniversary. The library is located on a hill overlooking the entire valley. On a clear day, one can see all the way to the Pacific Ocean. From the library grounds, one has a great view of Simi Valley below.
I have written about my visit to the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in detail, describing and picturing the exhibits that most impressed me on Getting to Know Ronald Reagan through his Presidential Library on HubPages. I would still like to show you another couple of photos here that also let you see more of the view.
Pick Up a Great Souvenir from Your Simi Valley Visit at Zazzle
After my first visit to the Reagan Library, I captured some of my favorite scenes on Zazzle products. Here are two of them. You can click on the images for pricing and to search for other products on the same designs. I also included a postcard of typical views of the hills in Simi Valley that was designed by someone else. Enjoy!
Where to Stay in Simi Valley
This weekend we needed to spend the night in Simi Valley as a half-way point to a reunion in Culver City. We usually stay at the Best Western Posada Royale. It’s about ten minutes from the Reagan Library. We travel on a budget, but there are some things we aren’t willing to sacrifice. We need a fairly quiet location, cleanliness, and comfortable beds. A refrigerator, coffee machine with supplies, and microwave are important to us. I could live without the big screen TV, but my husband likes to watch it. While he’s watching, I go to the 24-hour business center and use their computers at no extra charge. I didn’t want to drag my laptop for a trip this weekend. Usually I bring it so I can use it in the room. Wireless connections are free. I really like not having to bring it.
What I especially like is the free hot breakfast in the morning. I’m not all that fond of being limited to the choices offered at the free breakfast most budget motels serve. At the Posada Royale, I had an omelet made just for me, and I had them add ham and cheese. I also had pancakes, watermelon, a blueberry muffin, some seasoned potato cubes, tea, and orange juice. I could have chosen from other fruits and an assortment of pastries. Sausage was also being served, and some days they have bacon. You can also make toast. They will cook eggs any way you want them. When you leave, you really have a good breakfast under your belt that will keep you from getting hungry again for hours. You can eat your breakfast outside at the tables by the waterfall, or you can eat inside through those doors you see at the back of the photo.
After a breakfast like that, I needed to work some of it off. I don’t like the water much, so I didn’t use the pool. Instead, I headed for the fitness room and spent some time on the stationary bike. It made me feel less guilty about the food. I really liked that they had a restroom and water right in the fitness room.
After that I went back to the computer room until it was time to check out. One other thing I appreciate is the rest rooms and drinking fountain in the lobby.I also saw coffee in the lobby. When I’m on the computer I don’t have to go back to the room to use the bathroom or get a drink. Having these in the lobby is also great if you’ve just checked out and discover that last cup of hot beverage is ready to leave your body.
The only downside here is that there is no elevator. On this visit only one ice machine was working. It was also evident that the building was getting older. I saw a crack in the bathroom wall. There were three wedding parties staying there that night, so I guess more ice was being used than usual. I tended to get lost looking for my room, the ice, and some other things, but I always seemed to run into a helpful man with a clipboard who was checking the ice machines and he always showed me how to get where I was going. I believe we still received plenty of value for our dollars.
Should You Visit Simi Valley?
I think the Reagan Library is well worth the trip if you are anywhere near Simi Valley. If you are on your way to Ventura or points north on the 101 or to Los Angeles or points south, it’s a short hop up the 23 Freeway from Thousand Oaks or west on the 118 Ronald Reagan Freeway from the 405 San Diego Freeway. Trust me, the 118 moves much faster than the 101, and the scenery is more beautiful. It’s a nice break from the endless suburbs on the 101.
I suggest you go soon before the developers ruin the view until it looks like every other freeway. Even if you’re not a Ronald Reagan fan, you will see a lot of history, and the trip is worth it just to see Air Force One and Marine One up close. I can only show part of it in the photo below. It is huge. You can even go aboard Air Force One. It’s a great place to take kids. They will even be able to crawl through the replica of the Berlin Wall inside the museum building. What are you waiting for?
If you enjoyed this photo tour of Simi Valley, please share it with others who might like it. The image below was designed for Pinterest if you’d like to share it there.
What would you most like to do in Simi Valley? Which photo did you like best?