JAUNTS : Trains, Planes and Motorcycles in the Spotlight : Santa Paula festival will provide steam locomotive excursions and include a display at the airport.


Santa Paula will move back in time this weekend--literally. The town is paying tribute to vintage transportation in a festive wingding called "Trains, Planes & Motorcycles."

You can take a ride on a restored passenger train, pulled by a steam locomotive built in 1906. If planes are more your speed, you can peruse the collection of antique aircraft at the Santa Paula Airport. Or, you can see the vintage motorcycle exhibit at the Santa Paula Union Oil Museum.

The event, sponsored by the Santa Paula Chamber of Commerce and the Santa Clara River Valley Railroad Historical Society, runs Saturday and Sunday, mostly in downtown Santa Paula.

For kids who have never ridden a train or even seen a steam locomotive, it's a chance to climb aboard and explore the past. Short Line Enterprises, based in Fillmore, is firing up its vintage train for the event. These are the folks who supply the trains for the movie and television industry.

But on Saturday and Sunday the nine-car train is making five hourlong sightseeing runs from the downtown Santa Paula depot. The train goes halfway to Fillmore, through aromatic citrus fields, and then back to Santa Paula.

"This is the most gorgeous time of year to go--it's so fragrant," said A.J. Farrar at Short Line Enterprises.

During the ride, passengers can wander through the restored cars and glimpse the movie posters on the walls. One of the cars is a 1925 sleeper, complete with bedding, for anyone who wants to stretch out. A train buff will be on board the car, dressed as a porter, to provide some historical tidbits about the sleeper.

The train ride costs $12.50 for adults, $7.50 for kids 4-17 years; kids 3 and under ride free.

If it's thrills you want, walk over to the new motorcycle exhibit at the Santa Paula Union Oil Museum. There you'll find a small replica of a motorcycle racing track from the early years of racing. Perched on the side of the steeply banked wooden track is a vintage motorcycle and "rider."

The exhibit is called "Splinter Road" and it's a tribute to the death-defying pioneers of early racing who risked their lives on the wooden velodromes where signs advertised "Neck to Neck with the Wall of Death!" According to the exhibit, these riders roared around the track, lap after lap, at speeds of more than 100 miles per hour.

Two rooms of the museum are devoted to the exhibit, sponsored by the city and Egan's Vintage Motorcycle of Santa Paula. Some 20 motorcycles are on display, including one old-timer, the Excelsior Auto Cycle, that operated with a leather strap rather than a chain, and a 1915 Harley Davidson Speed Roadster.

A gleaming 1929 restored Harley-Davidson is billed in advertising from that time as the fastest road model the company had ever made. Some bikes are fancy, like the one with a fringed seat and saddlebags. One rusty model lacking tires is still awaiting restoration. Another was used by the military.

The exhibit includes old newspaper stories about motorcycle racing greats--including a woman racer--pictures, posters and advertisements. "Splinter Road" is on display through June 26.

From the downtown area you can take a shuttle over to the Santa Paula Airport where some 15 vintage airplanes will be on display on the taxi way. Docents will be on hand to talk about the classics, which include a 1925 Travelair biplane and a 1939 German training plane called a Brucker.

At the airport, known as a hub for out-of-the-ordinary planes, you can get more than a look. For a fee, you can take a ride--even a spin in an aerobatic plane.

Santa Paula's Dana Elcar, who starred in the "MacGyver" television series, is the honorary chairman of the two-day event. Other goings-on include a farmers' market, classic car displays, street fair, walking tours, and a barbecue dinner and dance Saturday night.


* WHAT: "Trains, Planes & Motorcycles," a two-day event featuring vintage transportation.

* WHEN: Saturday and Sunday.

* WHERE: Downtown Santa Paula.

* COST: Train tickets are $12.50 for adults, $7.50 for kids 4-17 years, and children 3 and under free. Saturday dinner and dance, $15. For ticket information, call 525-5561.

* FYI: Train departures are 10 and 11:30 a.m., and 1, 2:30 and 4 p.m., from the depot, 10th and Santa Barbara streets.

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