Plenty of potential riches in the form of things to do and see await discovery in and around Pomona, California, site of FMCA’s next international convention.
By Peggy Jordan, Associate Editor
In 1848 gold was found in a creek near Sacramento, California. Once word got back to the rest of the civilized world, a large migration west ensued. People wanted to find some of that shiny stuff for themselves.
Likewise, a fortune of friendships, travel memories, and good times await motorhomers who head to FMCA’s 79th International Convention, dubbed “Rush To The Golden State,” February 25 through 28, 2008.
Pomona’s Fairplex, home of the Los Angeles County Fair, will be the site of this gathering. Fairplex is a superb facility for hosting an FMCA convention “” that’s why this will be the association’s sixth visit there. Other conventions were held at the facility in 1993, 1997, 2000, 2003, and 2006.
As usual, FMCA members who attend the upcoming convention likely will be itching to discover what else is in the area. Either before or after you’ve taken in the convention seminars and entertainment, enjoyed the ice cream social, and spent time shopping and socializing, consider the following gems.
Fairplex has attractions all its own. They include a nifty car museum called the Wally Parks National Hot Rod Association Motorsports Museum. This 28,500-square-foot facility houses vintage and historical race cars, plus photos, trophies, uniforms, and much more. It focuses solely on drag racing, chronicling more than 50 years of the sport’s history. Museum admission is $4 for seniors 60 and over, $6 for adults, $4 for children 6 to 15, and free for children 5 and under. The museum is open Wednesday through Sunday from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
Another important “attraction” at Fairplex, at least to motorhomers, is the Fairplex KOA/RV Park. If you’d like to stay on the grounds before or after the convention so you can see more of the area, this RV park is very convenient. It puts you near Los Angeles area museums, theme parks, resorts, and fun sights. It has 185 full-hookup sites and all kinds of amenities. Call (909) 593-8915 for more information, or visit the Fairplex Web site listed below and click on Destinations.
Also near Fairplex, and of particular interest to golfers, is the Mountain Meadows Golf Course, located right on Fairplex Drive. This 18-hole championship-length course is beautiful, set amid rolling hills. Check www.mountainmeadows.americangolf.com or call (909) 623-3704 for more information.
For general Fairplex information, visit www.fairplex.com or call (909) 623-3111.
Pomona traditionally was a citrus-growing region long ago, and its agricultural heritage is preserved, as it now hosts the state’s largest county fair. The town also is known for its history. If you stick around Pomona to do your sight-seeing, you’ll find some interesting things. Consider exploring the following . .
- Palomares Adobe. This 13-room home, built in 1854, combines the Mexican adobe wall style with American roofing and flooring. Historically accurate gardens and a blacksmith shop also are on-site. The home is open on Sundays from 2:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.
- Pomona Ebell Museum of History. The museum building once housed Pomona’s oldest organization for women, which was disbanded in 2004. The building itself, circa 1910, also is the city’s historical society headquarters. It’s open Monday through Thursday from 1:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. While you’re there, you can learn about other historical sights in town. Visit www.pomonahistorical.org/ebell/ for more information, or call (909) 623-2198.
- Antiques, Art, Farmer’s Market. Shopping for food, unusual gifts, artwork, and collectibles is fun and easy in Pomona. Each Wednesday from 4:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m., area farmers bring produce for all to admire (and buy!) at the corner of Second Street and Garey Ave. This is not just an array of food, but a fest with flowers, herbs, live music, artisan booths, and gifts, too.
The city’s Antique Row is one of the state’s most popular antique-hunting destinations, with dozens of shops. The Arts Colony shops lure locals and out-of-towners who have an eye for the classic, the unusual, or the whimsical. Hours vary from store to store and gallery to gallery. Check the entire list of gallery and antiques shops locations on the Metropomona Web site.
For Pomona travel, shopping, and restaurant information, visit www.metropomona.com, or call (909) 261-5004 to talk to a representative and receive a free brochure.
Just outside of town there is even more to explore. Former war heroes (the metallic kind, that is) can be seen at the Planes of Fame Air Museum located at the Chino Airport, only a few miles from Pomona. It has 150 aircraft; 30 are flyable and represent mainly World War II planes from various countries. This huge collection is open daily. General admission is $11; kids ages 5 to 11 are $4; children under 5 are free. Visit www.planesoffame.org or call (909) 597-3722. Planes are frequently moved and flown, so call ahead to learn what’s on-site when you plan to visit.
Shopping galore is available at Ontario Mills Mall, the largest mall west of the Mississippi River. Its 200 stores include a JC Penney outlet and Marshalls; eateries, among them a Rainforest Café restaurant; a movie theater; and much more. Visit www.ontariomills.com or call (909) 484-8300 for more info.
In nearby Claremont is the Rancho Santa Ana Botanical Gardens, an 86-acre preserve dedicated to native California plants, where admission is always free. Check ahead for hours: (909) 625-8767.
Day Trips. Pomona is near so many fascinating Los Angeles area stops that you will likely keep your towed car unhitched for quite some time. (Don’t consider driving the motorhome to any of these locations unless you’ve checked about doing so first.)
Here are just a few of the many stops worth making a day or a half-day trip from Pomona . . . .
- Richard M. Nixon Library and Birthplace, in Yorba Linda. Includes Nixon’s first home, as well as a host of items that tell the story of his life and presidency. See www.nixonfoundation.org for details, or call (714) 993-5075.
- Ronald Reagan Presidential Library and Museum, Simi Valley. Includes Reagan’s own Air Force One, artifacts and memorabilia, and Reagan’s final resting place. Visit www.reaganfoundation.org or call (800) 410-8354.
- The Getty Center, near Interstate 405, north of Los Angeles. Includes works by Michelangelo, Renoir, onet, and many other masters. See www.getty.edu or call (310) 440-7300.
- Universal Studios Hollywood, in Universal City. This is now a full-fledged theme park, in addition to being a working film studio where countless TV and movie shows are created. Stunt shows, animal shows, bus tours, and more are offered. Visit www.universalstudioshollywood.com or call (800) UNIVERSAL (864-8377). Also helpful is www.pazsaz.com/uniinfo.html.
- Disneyland, that classic theme park where dreams come true, is still in its original Anaheim location. Next door is Disney’s California Adventure Park. For details, see http://disneyland.disney.go.com, or call (714) 781-4565 (recording only) or (714) 781-7290.
- Live game show, talk show, comedy show tapings. Many television shows invite live audiences. If you’ve always dreamt of seeing “The Tonight Show” in the afternoon; playing the “New Price is Right”; or cheering on a star in a sitcom, this is your chance. A large listing of shows, times, and ticket info is available at www.tvtix.com. While on this site, click on “Studio Tours & Maps” to learn how you can tour all the major Hollywood film studios.
- Hollywood’s famous Walk of Stars, where you can fit your hands and feet into the imprints of celebrities. Plus, Los Angeles’s many famous museums “” the Autry National Center Museum of the American West, Southwest Museum of the American Indian, and Institute for the Study of the American West; the Petersen Automotive Museum; the Museum of Tolerance; the Japanese American National Museum; and many more. This area also has three aquariums, and theme parks such as LEGOLAND California and Wild Rivers Waterpark.
For more information about Los Angeles area attractions, visit www.latourist.com or the Los Angeles Convention & Visitors Bureau Web site, www.greaterlosangeles.com; (800) 228-2452 (9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Pacific Time).
It’s probably safe to say by now that the choices for fun things to do and see in the Pomona area may have you wondering how you’ll fit it all in. Well, begin by registering for the “Rush To The Golden State” convention “” online at FMCA.com; by calling (800) 543-3622; or by referring to page 64 of this issue “” and take it one step at a time.
The nice thing about this gold rush is, you can be sure the good stuff will still be there when you arrive.
P.O. Box 1499
Sacramento, CA 95812-1499