Resolving Crescent City……#194 (the 80’s)

Farewell to a mountain-locked “Shangri-La” – Scott Valley

A meaningful farewell is given to Aunt Bernice,  the Facey’s  and  the eminent view of the Trinity and Marble Mountains from Etna.   The embarkation finding the family leaving the wondrous mountain-locked “Scott Valley christened,  Shangri-La,  the Willson family again traversing Yreka Mountain on California 3,  accessing Yreka the city of Gary’s earthly commencement.   Having acquired an address  the family making a stop to visit of Gary’s cousin  Pat O’Toole and his wife Shirley,  a thirty year lapse since the two having greeted each other.   Pat and his older brother Bud, both having retired from military service having seen combat in Korea and Vietnam,  Bud availing the Army’s Air Defense Command and Pat a Sonar Specialist aboard a Naval Destroyer.   One final stop  before the beckoning invitation of the road is answered,  a visit to a relation who’s presence is a remembrance of a 4-year old,  but having never having been able to elicit their appearance in person,  his Uncle Pete Potter and Aunt Ann.   Their long time residence a remembrance firmly imbedded because of the sounding of a horn at the Yreka commercial laundry, a sounding displayed in the morning,  twice during the lunch hour and at the completion of the work day.  During the last year of the war,  the 4-year old  would visit with his Aunt and Uncles only sibling,  his older cousin Billy.  After his visit he would walk home past the laundry and for an unbeknown reason the sounding of the laundry horn was intimidating.  Approaching the laundry would find the youngster gathering speed,  running,  success was surviving without a horn encounter.  Gary finding it was a luminous occasion to finally experience and visit with Pete and Ann,  A memorial focal countenance of a forty-three year family memory

Gary’s Uncle Pete and Aunt Ann

Gary’s cousin Pat O’Toole and wife Shirley

Gary's WW II home in Yreka at 215 Butte St.

Gary’s WW II home in Yreka at 215 Butte St.

Gary’s curiosity was acuminous,  before departing Yreka  he aspired to ascertain the location of the apartment residence he resided in during World War II,  its appearance and location disclosed only in the memory of a 4-year-old, Gary recalling  the name Butte St.  Instinct  prevailing,  driving to Butte St.,  stopping at a residency and taking a picture,  the results would be forth-coming from his mother upon the film’s development, confirming a childhood memory.   The aphorism  “you can’t get there from here”  was apropos,  the Willson’s aspiring to travel due-west to the Pacific Coast and Crescent City,  finding the only applicable highway from Yreka to the pacific coast was US 199, commencing in Grants Pass Oregon.   Once again addressing Interstate 5,  the new Chevrolet Cavalier bounded in a northern aperture,  the panoramic ambience of the mountainous terrain,  its woodland accession a vestige of natures macrocosm.   The first Oregon city of caliber,  Ashland,  Gary again acknowledging a memory from the age of ten,  having abided on a picnic with his Aunt Bernice and Uncle Sam to Lithia Park.  The resonant precursor for the remembrance,  the Parks Lithia Mineral Water drinking fountain,  not aware of the fountains difference,  its bitter taste not a pleasant experience for a thirsty ten-year old.

mt-shasta-yreka4

View of Mt. Shasta from Yreka

Grants Pass Oregon

Grants Pass Oregon

The Collier Tunnel

The Interstate knows no limit,  Medford came and went,  Grants Pass was rapidly ascending on the horizon,  a junction with US 199,  crossing of the Rogue River and a course alteration to the southwest.  The scenic 80 mile journey to Crescent City commencing uninterrupted until crossing back into California,  coming upon the Collier Tunnel,  named for California State Senator Randolph Collier,  serving 36 years,  the principal author of the 1947 Collier-Burns Act,  which created the California  highway network,  earning him the title  “The Father of the freeway system”.   Gary having recalled hearing his name, as Collier was born in Etna,  lived in Yreka and his political astuteness providing Siskiyou County unprecedented stature.  Approaching the Jedediah Smith National Recreation Area with its towering redwoods and  ambling Smith River,  bringing the travelers to a halt.   A time to pause, Gary, Jan, Robert and Sandi disembarking their conveyance,  wetting their feet in the cool clear aqueous Smith River waters ,  a time to reflect on the silent wilderness serenity,  with its majestic aura and absorb this temporal meaning of nature’s opulence.

The Willson’s at the Smith River

Sandi, Jan and Robert cooling their feet

The Smith River

Smith River redwoods

The 80 mile extent of US 199 was about to fulfilled,  merging with US 101,  4 miles from Crescent City,  the highways final termination.   Gary was surprised with size of the town,  a population of 3500,  all residing in area of less than 2 square mile.    A visual perspective of the towns historic landmarks was enhanced culminating at the  tidal basis of Battery Point.   Taking leave of  the Cavalier,  the family venturing towards a light house built in 1855,  position on a tiny islet across an isthmus only accessible at low tide.  The family discovering a fortuitous reward prevailing,  the isthmus was dry, the ocean withdrawing its tidal gift and being of few visitors.   The tidal basis way to islet was betoken by a lack of rocks, a well-traveled route and once aboard the picayune island,  an uphill walkway was found.   The lighthouse Hosts greeting their visitors,  introducing themselves,  welcoming them to the beacon structure,  their perennial home, elucidating about their life on islet and providing a tour of their living domain.   A narrow stairway journey upward to view the beacon light, the couple chronicling its history and picturing folklore stories of the oceans bellowing force,  its crest sweeping across the islet,  at times  a driven tempest,  questioning the fortitude of the occupancy and the anatomy of the architecture.  The lighthouse excursion providing a celebrated capsule of California’s bygone history and concluding Crescent City, the Willson journey to continue.

The Willson’s at the Battery Point Lighthouse

Battery Point Lighthouse – Tides in

Fisherman’s Marina Crescent City

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