Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus!
by Ron Souza
Reprinted from "Crown Jewels of the Wire", June 2001, page 22
Three days before Christmas 2000, my beloved spouse and myself were engaged
in the usual feelings of pre-holiday boredom. This syndrome is usually brought
on with doubts about purchases of gifts for others that may not be fully
appreciated, (who in the world couldn't use a dust buster?) or possibly the fact
that your friends may not come by for the holidays because of future commitments
such as having to put a new coat of primer on their Jeep, and so on! However, in
my case, it was brought on by not being able to go insulator hunting for eight
Because of health reasons, I wasn't able to go with John McDougald, Doug
MacGillvary, Jim Sanders and my son, Joe, on a hunt that I instigated myself.
(See Crown Jewels of the Wire, May 2001.) Now, I'm not only bored, but I am
feeling guilty as well.
After expressing these feeling to my lifelong partner,
she suggested that I may choose one of two options, first: see a shrink; second:
quit moping around and get into the truck! Now, the second option seemed to be
the least expensive, even with the cost of gasoline these days.
Out came the
research material, and with certain adjustments for altitude (because during
this time of year, most high altitude lines are accessible only with aid of a
snowmobile), we chose a finalist using the time honored method of tossing a dart
in a general direction and observe which map you hit.
Okay, enough of this --- the line we chose was installed as a telephone line
between mining operations in northern California, the date of this circuit was
the fall of 1885, and the line material used was purchased from California
Electric Works, San Francisco, California. The line was reached after a two and
a half hour drive from my residence in Roseville, California.
After arriving in
the area, we explored two possible routes for the line. As luck would have it,
we chose the correct one the first time. Within fifteen minutes, Pat and I were
staring at a CD 130 Cal. Elec. Works still in the tree! Now, after finding quite
a few insulators in my time, I still cannot understand the feelings that arise.
The first is elation from finding the thing that you were actually looking for,
and next comes the depression that you won't ever find that one again, it is
Our attempt to solve the depression part is simple, we will not go back
to this line during the year. Also, I will tell you that there are only two
insulators that have been removed from this circuit, one left in the tree and at
least four in the ground in the immediate vicinity. You people who are
interested in finding this line have until 2002 to do so. A few clues will be
provided on the following page.
- The company owned their circuitry.
- There were no Articles of
Incorporation filed with the Secretary of State in California.
- The location
of the line was explained in a newspaper article.
- This telephone circuit was
constructed as a compass heading line directly through forest country and using
very few poles.
- This line is located north of Butte County, California and
south of Shasta County, east of Lake County and west of the Nevada border.
The only rules for this hunt are that no one will be told of the location of
this line by those who have been there, those involved shall not trespass onto
private property without permission, and if they locate this line, and are so
inclined, they might leave an insulator for the next person.
Both CD 130 Cal Elec. Works still in a portion of the tree trunk on the
tailgate of the Souza truck. And more to be recovered. Good luck!!