Hidden Treasure………………#50 (the 50’s)

Pioneer, once called Pioneer Station in another era.

Pioneer, once called Pioneer Station in another era.

 The journey from Oakland to Jackson, the town being the county seat of Amador County, situated in the heart of the mother lode ,  a gateway to the gold country claims filed by the prospectors of a bygone era, the drive taking about  2 hours.   Gary realizing the family stops at the real estate office in Ione,  a small hamlet on highway #88 just before descending  into Jackson were more than coincidental.  The family having tentatively come to an agreement on a piece of property in a recently opened section of east of Jackson on #88 towards Kit Carson Pass named after one of the icons of western history.  The ensuing journey east with its rising elevation and the majestic tree shrouded Sierra’s painting a picture, the roads winding upward travel making the two lane highway seemed longer than 16 miles.  Their destination  culminating at what the teen consider a wide-spot in the road,  the town of Pioneer and from all appearances the village  looked to be nothing but a  way-stop for those traveling to and fro from the high country of the Sierra Nevada range and eastward on to  Nevada.    The roadside business encompassing a curio shop,  service station,  small general store on one side of the highway and on the other side the tired remains of the old Pioneer Station,  now an adult  beverage dispensing establishment and a small US post office.

Ground covering blanket of Pine Needles

The property the youths parents  acquired was about three miles from the stagecoach-stop of a town, in a secluded section bordering on what was said to be federal land property.  The family meeting with a representative of the realty company,  Gary watching as the real estate agent paced off the property boundary,  observing  as the man journeyed over the ground covered blanket of pine needles, residue from years of shedding, the agent marking trees to designate the property line.   The observant teen pondering a question , when a professional survey was  performed would the results be within reason of the tree markings?   He wasn’t alone with his questioning, his Dad getting assurance from the agent that he had done this before and that his marking would pretty much hold true.   Gary very much aware of his Dad’s dream and  long time desire to build a cabin retreat away from the bustle of city life and especially the throes of its populace.  Standing before his new-found surroundings the young man inhaled the ambiance of the secluded area,  the pines,  douglas fir,  red cedar and madrone, tall sentinels all standing watch over their domain.   He perceived the gold country lore,  knew of the history, the past invasion,  the many who had humbled themselves beneath the wilderness with its forest canopy, the youth was ready to renew the effort of those before him and search out its hidden treasure.

One could feel the stillness and solitude of this wilderness, an atmosphere of  isolation, the  property without amenities having  no source of electricity,  water,  or sanitation facility, its only access  a narrow dirt road bulldozed at some point in history.  There was a sense of adventure, an ere of the  previous inhabitants of a by-gone era,  those itinerant individuals of a hundred years ago prospecting, laboring for a bonanza to provide a station in life.   The introductory weekend finding the  family spending the night in Pine Grove, returning in the morning for an agenda of exploration and discovery during this initial visit. Upon discovering what appeared  to be a widen path or road nearby, following it down  they came upon the remains of past mining sites and a most needed treasure,  a free-flowing water source just a quarter-mile away.  A spring running out of an old abandoned mine on the side of the hill,  someone in the past  having positioned a pipe into the flowing water, the pipe extending out over the mines tailings and below, a person could kneel beneath the available  flowing water from the pipe.  Gary sampling the very cold water, discovering it having a mineral taste, the family deciding to supply their own drinking water, but there would be other uses for mother nature’s provision.   The  accommodation of temporary sanitation would be remedied, but electricity was out of the question,  Gary’s Dad’s improvement agenda would be measured in years rather than months.   The family’s newly acquired project was somewhat aloof,  there being no time-table or schedule,  a  weekend visit at the most once a month or six weeks during late spring thru early fall, the winter months prohibitive because of the snow.    Gary’s  dad  prefabricated  a large shed at the family’s home in Oakland,  its purpose was to house tools, a sheltered sleeping area, when completed to be  transported and erected .  It was a beginning,  Father and Son, the two venturing to make a wilderness inhabitable, Gary’s sisters and mom joining the two on many occasions.

41 Chevy 4 speed pickup


A recently purchased 1941 pickup soon found added responsibility with its new family.   It wasn’t a street attractive pickup,  it was working truck with a heavy-duty bed and a four speed non synchromesh transmission giving it stature, and very able in transporting material to the sierra site .   Father and son having made a trip with the prefab shed, during the assembly they needed some additional materials deciding to journey to the small Hamlet of West Point some  twenty miles distance.  Just after entering the turnoff on State #26,  Gary’s Dad halting the pickup on the side of the country road,  opening the driver side door,  walking around to the passenger side,  motioning  for Gary to slide over.   Gary somewhat perplexed couldn’t believe what was verbally delivered next , “It’s your turn  to drive”.    The youth was silent, for the first time in his life he didn’t know what to say.    Gary slid across the seat,  posturing himself behind the steering wheel.   His Father starting to  explaining the how to release the clutch and shift the gears,  Gary never hearing a word,  he knew the shifting pattern and how to double clutch when shifting gears in a non-synchromesh,  having been a student of observation for years,  his truck driving Dad being the visual instructor.   The main concern for the youth wasn’t the mechanical aspect of  making the pickup go,  that wouldn’t be difficult but the  espousing of  judgement,  steering,  where the truck was in relationship to the white line and the meeting of oncoming traffic,  these he never experienced and would be something that could only be acquired as a driver.   He found it  a different situation sitting in the driver’s seat,  this was reality,  not the passenger side pretext, but now focusing,  maintaining his confidence,  this being his first time to demonstrate a yet proven skill and briefly thinking, depending on the outcome,  possibly his last.  Easing the clutch out, the movement began, and with it so did his driving experience, his dad nodding an approval.   With his first time  driving experience under his belt, it would be time for a learner permit, the youth discovering,  responsibility is always being in the driver’s seat.

2 Responses to “Hidden Treasure………………#50 (the 50’s)”

  1. online banking Says:

    Glad to see that this site works well on my Droid , everything I want to do is functional. Thanks for keeping it up to date with the latest.

    • gwillson7 Says:

      Appreciate the comment. Sharing my true-life episodes presents avaricous pleasure. I have many years of foremost events to explore and hope you continue to enjoy my decries on your Droid. Thank You…………..Gary

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