Mobile Home Life in Colton

In no time we had completed the three years in Gordon's home in Cottage Street, and he and his family were due to return to Loma Linda from his mission in Peru. We therefore began house-hunting, so as to be able to let Gordon have the full use of his home on his return.

Without much difficulty we acquired a Mobile home in Reche Canyon, and there we spent over three years of delightful living.

By way of explanation to the uninitiated, a mobile home is every bit as comfortable and practical as a regular and orthodox home, being mobile only by virtue of being built on a frame like the chassis of an oversized motor car, complete with wheels, which permits of its being moved from one place to another if necessary. The mobile park in which we lived was about five miles from Loma Linda University, so it was rather well positioned as regards going to work, and getting around in general. The exotic city of Los Angeles was just an hour away by car, San Diego and its attractions only one and a half hours distant, Disneyland about the same, and Marineland and Palm Springs Aerial Tramway, the Riverside Raceway and Ontario International Airport all within easy access of our home.

Our park was very nicely designed, and beautifully landscaped with palm trees and flowers along many of the asphalted roads. There ware nearly two hundred mobile homes in it, and some of them really elaborate. Ours was just a regular two-bedroom, one bathroom expand type, with adequate living room, dinette and very nicely fitted kitchen. It was heated by gas and cooled by an evaporative type roof cooler. All in all, it was a very comfortable home and we were happy that we decided to purchase it.

The view from our front and side porches was quite fantastic, being built as it was in a sheltered yet elevated canyon, with beautiful hills on three sides, and the city of San Bernardino way down in the valley below.

Reche Canyon was really in the city of Colton, with Riverside, San Bernardino, Loma Linda and Redlands all neighbouring communities.

One of the many amenities enjoyed at our new location was a large heated swimming pool in addition to a smaller therapeutic pool, in which the water was kept at a temperature of 105 degrees Fahrenheit. There were many other recreation facilities like pool tables, indoor shuffleboard, bridge (Contract) and other card games. Dancing was often indulged in by the residents in the large clubroom, and events like pot-luck dinners, bingo, movie and colour slides and various other kinds of entertainment were regular features at the very adequate recreation centre built around the swimming pool. At least once a month parties would be organized to visit parts of South California by bus and Emma and I have had the pleasure of going on many of these tours, visiting such sights as the "Queen Mary" now a museum ship permanently berthed at tong Beach, and the very famous Huntingdon Gardens, library and the glorious Japanese Gardens there.

During the early fall of 1970, Emma and I went on our first camping vacation ever. It was a rather bold step to take, considering we were a couple of sixty-year olds, but it was really another great adventure which added just so much more "highlight" and interest to our lives.

We were good friends with a couple who lived in Baldwin Park, - the Cherry’s - and the four of us decided to go on a week's camping in the Yosemite National Forest, located in the High Sierras. The trip required a bit of planning, but fortunately, our friends owned a Volkswagen camp mobile with sleeping accommodation for four in two separate rooms. This recreation vehicle also had running water, a sink, refrigerator, folding table and chairs, a chemical toilet, and a butane operated cooker. There was also a generator which could supply limited electric current for .lighting when necessary, after the motor of the camp mobile was shut off.

The journey to Yosemite via highway 395 took us through very picturesque country. We went past Mount Whitney (4,500 m), climbed into higher country, and passed close to Mono Lake, entering the national park by way of the Tioga pass. We reached our destination at camp 11 (eleven) at about 9.00 pm. and had to use our auxiliary lighting to erect the tent which was the second room in our sleeping arrangements. The other sleeping room was within the vehicle, whereas the tent was a lean-to room, using the outside of the camp mobile as one of the walls for the tent. It was a new experience sleeping under the pines and among the redwoods, but we were so tired after roughly twelve hours of travelling that we had no difficulty falling soundly asleep.

Yosemite national park was fully equipped and very extensive. There were many campsites and completely fitted with all amenities included heated bathrooms and toilets. There was a very ornate visitor's centre and ample shopping facilities. By virtue of its location in the high Sierras, the air was intoxicatingly sweet and pure, and it was sheer joy to inhale it. The mornings were quite cold, and on one occasion when I read the thermometer, it registered 30 degrees "F", just below freezing point. We toured most of the area, stopping at the most scenic spots to take photographs. It was our privilege to observe through a telescope, the climbing effort of three mountaineers part way up "El Capitan", a steep and almost rectangular mountain which towers above the Yosemite landscape.

Yosemite El Capitan

One day we motored to the edge of "Glacier Point" which is approximately one mile above the valley floor, and from which we had a majestic view of "Half-Dome" mountain, so named because it resembles a giant half dome. It is assumed that this formation was the result of those cataclysms of nature during the glacial period eons ago.

Early one morning we were awakened by a great rattling noise when a large brown bear was seen searching through the metal garbage bins near our camp. At somewhat of a risk, I ventured forth from the safety of our vehicle and shot a couple of pictures of our "visitor", one of which proved to be quite sharp, and which I still prize in my collection of colour slides.

800px Brown bear

Towards the end of our week's camping we drove one day into the "Mariposa Grove" and took a conducted tour on an open trailer through some of the world's most majestic redwoods. Again I took pictures here, and they were truly great ones.

After approximately one week of this very exciting vacation, we left for our homes via freeways 99, 5 and finally number 10, bringing back with us memories that we will forever retain, until time with us shall be no more.

In 1971, Emma promised our daughter Marsha, who lived in Guyana to spend the Xmas holidays with her and her family, and to this end she took on a baby-sitting job with friends in an effort to help defray her expenses. In November of that year, therefore, she left for her own home town and flew via Mexico, Central America down to Trinidad where she over-nighted, following the next day on to Georgetown. It was the first time since our marriage that we would be separated. Emma planned to be away for two months.

Fortunately, life in a mobile home is quite simple compared to life in a conventional house, so it was easy to make do during her absence. Gordon had, in the interim, taken a specialization in Public Health at Loma Linda University. He had also sold his Cottage Street property, and had gone to live in Paradise, Northern California. It required eleven hours travel by car to get to his new home, so visits to him were rather infrequent. During Emma's absence however, I did go and spend two weekends with him the first being on Thanksgiving Day - by car, and the second was the Xmas holiday, when I travelled by plane to Sacramento and was collected there and taken to Paradise, one and a half hours away.

I got into my first automobile accident during my first visit to Paradise, when, on returning to Reche Canyon, I was rammed from behind on highway 99 near to the town of Modesto. The car I was driving belonged to a friend, and it was somewhat damaged, but we were able to continue on our own power back home. No one was injured. After spending a pleasant two month holiday in Guyana, Emma returned to California on New Years day 1972 and I collected her at the Los Angeles airport. We were happy to see each other again.

Apart from the very enjoyable time spent with Marsha, Emma was able to obtain a pretty good idea of what life in Guyana was like after an absence of twelve years. We were really examining the possibilities of our returning there to live after my retirement. I was now 66 years old, and thinking of retiring at the end of next year.

I made two very important resolutions for the New Year, one of which was to prepare for, and become an American Citizen, and towards this end both Emma and I commenced to take a course in American history and government. The other resolution was to visit England, spending our time between our other daughter Maureen and her family in Greenford, Middlesex, and Michael, our second son, who, along with his family, was also living in England, preparing for his degree in English literature at the University of Kent.

The spring weather this year was truly delightful, so I chose a long weekend and took Emma in our car to San Diego on the Mexican border where we spent a couple of days in a Hyatt motel. There we enjoyed the glorious setting close to the Pacific Ocean, with the beautiful beaches and seascape of this most south-westerly area of the United States.

We also took the opportunity of going on a three hour cruise of the San Diego Bay where hundreds of units of the first American fleet are stationed. We passed close to all types of craft, submarines, aircraft-carriers, destroyers, cruisers - you name it and you'll find it in this harbour. There was a public address system on the tour-ship and a description of all we passed was given.

800px San Diego Naval Base

We went by the impressive sweep of the Coronado bridge on both the outward and the return journey during this three hour trip which carried us a little way out into the blue Pacific Ocean.

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