Destination – California…………#195 (80’s)

The Gallagher and Burk hillside indention

Scott Willson

The Willson’s having arrived from Phoenix and from the Oakland Airport Gary could ascertain the past, viewing the Gallagher and Burk quarry,  its mountain indention still a prominent landmark on the East Oakland hills.  The scene of his youthful adventures,  Devil’s Punchbowl,  the Sulphur Mines,  a remembrance of an audacious childhood firmly embedded.  Gary’s eldest son Scott having awaited their flights arrival at the airport to Shepherd the family to his Aunt Katherine and Uncle Don DaValle’s condominium  in Foster City.  The DaValle’s having departed on a pre-scheduled vacation to Oregon, Gary told to make themselves at home.  Having acquired a  prearranged rental car from Alamo Car Rental, the Willson taking possession of a new Chevrolet Cavalier it’s odometer registering 16 miles.

Foster City, once a landfill

Following his son down Interstate 880, the old Nimitz Freeway,  to the San Mateo Bridge, crossing San Francisco Bay to Foster City.  The city founded in the 1960’s on engineered landfill of the bay marshes on the east edge of San Mateo, the city  named after T. Jack Foster, the real estate magnate who owned much of the land comprising the city.  Gary son Scott having left Oklahoma City taking up residence at first in Santa Cruz but now installing prefab office systems for a company in San Francisco and working for Don and Katherine at Foster City between office set-ups, delineating computer software programs, the DaValle’s having initiated a sideline software business.

San Francisco At The Beach

San Francisco At The Beach

Old Playland at the Beach

The agenda was in place, the morning finding the Willson’s leaving the condominium,  Gary propelling the Cavalier to San Francisco,  the first of a two-day adventure in the city by the bay.   The inaugural stop being the ocean side Sunset District, the family disembarking off the Great Highway that ran parallel to the sandy beach hosting the breaking waves of the majestic Blue Pacific.  With the famous Cliff House Restaurant within sight, Robert, Sandi and Jan, now shoeless their feet greeting  the waters of the Ocean.  Gary very much familiar with these surroundings as a youth having shook hands with the thundering surf and  the joys of the now departed Playland At the Beach, all fond memories.

a Fulton St. entrance to Golden Gate Park


Continuing their drive up Fulton St to the  10th Ave entrance to Golden Gate Park, the 1017 acre expanse playing host to an array of exhibitions,  the De Young Museum, the California Academy of Science and Natural History with its aquarium and museum,  one of the world’s largest.  Gary finding himself at home in the complex, as a youth having ventured to the park and the Morrison Planetarium at six weeks intervals,  a bus journey across the Bay Bridge and subsequent McAllister Ave. Electric Bus to the Park,  a regular visitor to the changing programming of the planetarium. Not surprising when entering the Academy of Science  to find the pendulum outside the Planetarium entrance still suspended and fluctuating from the ceiling,  giving presence to the earth rotation.   A tour of the Steinhart Aquarium,  the african display with its taxidermy wildlife and across to the De Young museum,  Robert and Sandi  experiencing the vast variety of this realm.

Perpetual Pendulum

Steinhart Aquarium

Steinhart Aquarium

The visit to Golden Gate Park would not be complete without the Japanese Tea Gardens,  concerted in 1894 for the California International Exposition,  its five acres, a  wondrous presentation of walkways thru flowering escapades,  circular bridged paths overlooking the tropical fish laden ponds,  the rising Pagoda and sculptured Buddha’s.

Jan At The Japanese Tea Gardens

Robert and Sandi


Leaving the park, Gary deciding on another landmark visitation, Lombard Street,  the famous crooked street in San Francisco.   The steep incline addressing the ascent, its winding interlude decorated with a panoramic display of burgeoned plants,  the residences inhibiting this visitor attraction,  taking amour-propre in their affectations.  The day waning for the  adventuress family,  Gary directing the Cavalier  onto the El Camino Real to ensue a return to Foster City.

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