US West Coast Drive with Two Cousins: to Tulare, California

July 17, 2017

Breakfast on the OD Ranch

There is nothing like breakfast on the deck at the OD Ranch. Miss Lois, ranch matron, rustled up some grub for us greenhorns and Jerry, ranch foreman, served us outside where the breeze was light, the temperature was perfect… and the smoke from the wildfire in the distance was clearly visible.

The wild fire started yesterday and was about 15 miles (24 km) away. The updraft that the flames generated created a white cloud billow that extended upward beyond the gray smoke. By the afternoon today, the fire had consumed 11,000 acres (44.5 sq km) and was not yet contained. It is another glimpse of Mother Nature’s dark side.

Pius and I left at about 9:15 am for our drive to visit with our cousin, Pat Hillman, in Tulare, California. It was a warm day even in the car as we drove into the sun for over 3 hours. Pat greeted us with lunch and then a tour of the J. D. Heiskell Feed Mill in Pixley, California.

One of the J. D. Heiskell Plants

It is an incredible operation and is one of the largest facilities of its kind. J. D. Heiskell Feeds is number 4 on the Forbes list of privately owned companies as they operate 18 plants in 11 states.

Pat and Pius

We returned to Pat’s home and she and Pius had a long conversation about Admiral Elmo Zumwalt, Jr.  and the destroyer named after him. Admiral Zumwalt went to school with Pat’s husband Dale Hillman (now deceased) and the Hillman and the Zumwalt families have been very good and close friends through the years. Pat had previously done her research and had many questions for Pius about his Swiss upbringing, family, career, and interests. It was such a wonderful afternoon!

Later, on our drive north to our destination of Fresno, California, the outside temperature reached its “high water mark” for this trip of 110 degrees (43.3 C). Surprising to me is the fact that there is quite a difference from 100 degrees (37.8 C) and 110 degrees (43.3 C) on the body.

We have adjusted our itinerary for tomorrow to skip the portion of our trip to San Francisco and across the Golden Gate Bridge, Sausalito, and to Muir Woods. Pius used to work in Silicon Valley and has been across the bridge before, so we decided that we need a break from our intense driving schedule. Our destination will be back to Redding, California… about a 5 hour drive from Fresno.

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About storiesretoldblogger

I am an Elkhart, Indiana native and became interested in applying video to history when consumer video cameras were first introduced on the market in the late 1970’s. My production company, Stories Retold, specializes in preserving oral history, traditions, and values with video. Primarily interviewing individuals, I sometimes document families, and on occasion document an entire community. My niche is developing a personal relationship with clients which helps me to tell their story just the way they would like to have it told. Everyone has a story worth preserving, and I enjoy discovering interesting stories from people with whom I come into contact on a daily basis. In years to come, these videos will be priceless as they portray original stories complete with visual images and actual voices filled with all the primary material and emotion that was intended to be. I gain a strong sense of personal satisfaction with each completed project whether it involves an individual or an entire community.
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1 Response to US West Coast Drive with Two Cousins: to Tulare, California

  1. jkattau says:

    I just love this play by play of your trip!

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