A Panting Potter
Sleeping quarters are very comfortable, circa 1939, totally immersing one in the ambiance of a bygone era. In the dark of morning dawn my girlfriend swears she heard breathing in our room and every time she pointed it out, it stopped. My take is it was a guest next door through the paper-thin cabin walls, but to this day she believes it was the ghost of John Potter. All in all, staying aboard the Queen Mary is a truly unique experience and well worth a daytime visit, romantic dinner, and dancing or a full-on haunted overnight adventure. Events at the QM range from Art Deco festivals to the Calendar Motorcycle Show. During our stay, the Long Beach Roller Derby had a bout in the adjacent Geodesic Dome.
Glen Tavern Inn: Santa Paula
The next morning we rode north from Long Beach to Santa Paula’s Glen Tavern Inn, rumored to be the most haunted structure in Ventura. It’s only 100 miles but we took the scenic route up PCH to Hwy 23. This 36-mile stretch to Fillmore on 23 tours you through sinewy twisties in Malibu, the long languid desert terrain of Simi Valley, and sweeping foothills of Fillmore. It will take two hours to traverse but well worth the ride. The Road Glide is supremely suited to this terrain. Its 110 Twin Cam V-twin motor generates a tire-shredding 122 lb-ft of torque, 15 percent more torque than even the TC-103 engine. The black powdercoating, Screamin’ Eagle logo, and Heavy Breather conical air intake are unique to this CVO. Showa adjustable rear shocks replace of the standard air shock so you can adjust the suspension for your weight. Road Glide Customs new CVO fairing windscreen not only looks cool, it offers adequate wind protection. She purrs along politely until you twist the throttle thrusting an angry growl through the big 4-inch exhausts hitting triple-digit speeds in a heartbeat.
Devil Be Damned
The Glen Tavern Inn is a Tudor-style hotel built in 1911 and numerous guests have reported odd manifestations in their rooms late at night. At least 50 percent of the hotel staff has encountered one of the several phantoms that wander the Inn. The history of decapitated prostitutes and crooked card dealers shot to death in the ’20s during the infamous third floor poker games haunt these hallways. It’s purported the piano in the lobby often played itself and there have been sightings of shadowy figures looking out room 23. Author/clairvoyant Heather Woodward states room 307 has had more than one person murdered there and writes about a blonde prostitute who was decapitated for unknown reasons, her corpse deposited via a dumbwaiter used to smuggle liquor upstairs during Prohibition. Guests have recounted hearing scratching sounds emanating from the closet and knocking on the door, as well as seeing impressions on the bedspread. Quite honestly, the room felt pretty creepy and after the door closed by itself with a classic horror movie squeak, we made every excuse to leave and walked the town.
Paul Revere Rode a Harley
Downtown Santa Paula has an amazing statue dedicated to two motor officers who became known as the Paul Reveres of Santa Paula based on their heroic midnight ride. The monument called The Warning, sculpted by Eric Richards, was erected in 2003 to mark their heroic ride. Motor Officers Thornton Edwards (on the Indian) and Stanley Baker (on the Harley) were on duty the evening of March 12, 1928, when the recently completed St. Francis Dam, 36 miles upstream in Santa Clarita, collapsed. Killing an estimated 470 people, to this day it is still the second worst disaster in California history. The collapse released 52-billion gallons of water that headed directly towards Santa Paula. The police department learned of the impending danger shortly after the dam broke and Thornton and Baker spent the next three hours riding their motorcycles throughout Santa Paula, notifying residents and evacuating the town. As a result of these two officers’ actions, the residents of Santa Paula were successfully evacuated and few died that night.