Thursday, August 19, 2010

Squirrel II?

Ben said:Ernie... I have a brilliant idea for you! First get an old bus, cut he top off, get some hippie to paint wild designs on it and do Avenue of the Giants tours. So... What to call it? I know, the Squirrel!! It could work.
Sorry about the bad case of the fuzzys, I blew the photo up from a thumnail sized photo of a post card for sale here.

It worked for a long time. I think the owners of the “Squirrel” Redwood Tour Bus just got tired of doing it. As you know the front part of the bus was covered with acrylic panels for a see through roof. There was no seat belts or any other safety measures for that matter… Ah, the good old days.

Did you know that bus was salvaged from a So. Hum School bus? It wrecked just north of Redway and slipped off of the low side of the road and rolled down a bank. (1971????)It hit a patch of ice. The driver was driving very slow and cautiously, if the bus had been traveling at normal speed, it probably would have gone right on around the curve, but driving it so slow allowed it to slip down the super in the road and tumble over the bank. Nobody was killed, but Dr. Mark Phelps sister, Laural, injured her back.

You reminded me of one of the earlier times that we had a “redwood war”. You probably know that at one time the road went through the redwood grove, to the east of the flat, straight, road in Phillipsville. The old road was left in place through the grove and it was very popular as a tourist road. The Squirrel did a narrated tour through the Phillipsville grove.
The “Environmentalist” wanted the pavement ripped up and replaced with ferns and underbrush like Mother Nature intended. Roy Schmunk, the owner of the bus got the opinion of the most highly respected redwood expert in the world, Emanuel Fritz , to make a statement that the pavement would not harm the redwoods in any way. The most respected redwood expert in the world’s opinion didn’t mean diddley against the local enviros, and of course the pavement was ripped up.


Ross Sherburn said...

How many years was the Squirrel in operation??


Ernie Branscomb said...

I never paid much attention to it, but it must have been aroynd 10 years.
Maybe somebody else knows???

Ekovox said...

Hey, whatever happened to that nifty Avenue of the Giants sign on the north end of the bypass? It consisted of a 10-foot long redwood log cut along the side and painted with giant yellow letters. I'm saddened by it's loss.

Ben said...

Ernie... I don't recall environmentalists involved in the P-ville side road. I think Parks and the Sheriffs got tired of patrolling it as it was the most famous "lover's lane" around. Parks doesn't like things that might cause lawsuits and they have closed the pretty little bypass south of the Myer's Flat bridge below Hidden Springs. Another of their hidden policies has been the destruction of the old orchards now on Park land. The fruit is an "attractive nuisance". They let wild grape ruin the tees right there at P-vill and cut down many of the Bull Creek orchards. Cal Trans has destroyed another orchard at the scales across from Phillipsville. Back in the 70s we could get plums and apples for baking and canning, but no more.
Modern times.

Ernie Branscomb said...

I agree with you in that the state was trying to get out of the responsibility to maintain it. The reason that they gave were all of the above, but the main reason that they gave was that the pavment would harm the redwood roots.

I remenber being quite taken aback, because I had never heard of such a thing before, and I still have not seen any evidence to prove that theory. Indeed some of the most robust and healthy redwoods that I know of are surrounded by pavement.

I personally talked to Roy Schmunck and he thought that he had them beat, because Emanuel Fritz was willing to state that the pavement would not harm the trees. Fritz was accepted as the worlds formost expert on redwoods, but they lost.

The people that were pro-pavement removal discounted Fritz as a senile old pro-logger forester.

This was also the first time that I became aware that special intrest groups seldom talk about the real issues. There always seems to be a hidden agenda that is seldom clear.

Robin Shelley said...

Here I am off subject again. Awhile back, I asked about tofu burgers made in G-ville 16 years ago & someone suggested contacting a Martha Devine who made a sloppy joe-type sandwich. I'm wondering if "Martha" is really "Margaret"? Any help would be appreciated.
(I have Bill Staples' info, Ernie - thanks!)

suzy blah blah said...

Martha Devine aka Granny Green Jeans
to find her call the north coast environmental center in Arcata
(707) 822-6918

Robin Shelley said...

Thank you, Suzy. I will send the info on.

Ross Sherburn said...

I'd like to tour Reed Mountain sometime!

spyrock said...

that bus looks pretty cool, you could just do ernies tours. drive around and explain to people what happened where. charge them enough to make it worth your while pay the gas and maintenace but not too much. my dad could have done something like that all day long. he was real good with directions too always telling me that it was quicker going some other way.,

BusBigBoy said...

Anyone know where that bus is? I'd like to preserve it if possible as a historic sightseeing bus. Rich at