Day 2: Hunting Along the Northern California
I had to go up to work at
my employer's location again today... so I decided it was a great opportunity to
try looking for the missing collar pieces to the warty top I found last
Thursday. Got off work and drove again, so I was able to get out
to the line again. Two hours of light... I hoped it would
be enough. Changed clothes, and got my stuff together. This time I
had bug spray!
I decided to circle around the hillside below the line to approximately where I thought the area was and then head up hill to the site where the warty top was. That way if the base pieces rolled downhill further, I might find them. Since I was in a slightly different area than I'd been before, I was not certain exactly where to head up the hill. As it turned out, I was pretty close, but turned up slightly too soon. As I was heading up the hill, I was suddenly confronting something I was not expecting to see!
This is getting surreal. I am really wondering if I am dreaming, this is just too weird. I snap off a bunch of pictures, and then lean down to brush away the leaves. Could it be whole??
This is looking very good! If the crown is good, this will be a major milestone! I still can't believe this. I turn it over...
At last!!! A complete gutter top that isn't messed up! I still wonder if this is really happening. As I continue to examine it, I see only very minor damage. A few minor nicks around the rim, and a small chip along the conductor groove... I am convinced that many of these kinds of chips happened when removing the platter from the kiln, because the glaze ran down and stuck to the kiln shelf. I notice the base is very cleanly split off right where the threading plunger starts on the inside... a common weak point. It was a very clean break. I wonder where the rest of the base is? I look down hill and to the left I catch a glimpse of glass...
It is right next to the multi-trunk tree to the left. I walk down there.
It looks good... I hold my breath... and pull it out.
I have just found a WHOLE GUTTER TOP!!! OK, it's split at the neck, but I am still stunned. I have to sit down and check to see that it fits. Of course, I know it will.
It does. I do see
that there is a small piece missing at the break... but for the most part, it is
a clean break without edge chipping. This is just beyond reasonable
expectations. I think that this must have been a whole insulator when the
line was dismantled, that was simply rolled down the hill. Years of
weathering, possibly freezing, must have broken it. It is in an area that
does freeze, but not extremely hard. I spend the next 30 minutes or
so raking around for the small missing piece, but I never do find it.
I may have to try again sometime.
As it turns out, this one
was almost directly downhill of a pole site. It is the same pole as
the half-platter I mentioned on the previous trip report. The third
insulator is near the pole, also in pieces. I still wonder about the
missing parts, I bet they could be found with searching. But I came to
look for the warty collar pieces, so I keep moving. It is interesting that
I can now account for all three insulators from this pole.
I find the warty top place, and it is not far away. Knowing now that all three insulators are accounted for, and looking at the slope, I am convinced the warty one came from the next pole. I spend a long time looking up and down the hill, and locate the approximate location of the pole, but I never do find any trace of them, or the rest of its glass base. I am not giving up though. Further up the hill I find the pieces to a second insulator, it is the one that I mentioned in the first trip report that was way off to the side of the pole site. I am now convinced they also came from the pole up higher. So that makes two out of three insulators accounted for.
Where is the third?
By this time I am running
out of light, so I head back to the site of my find. After walking around
I am struck by the fact that on previous trips I have been above, below, and on
both sides of the place where it was. How I missed it on those
previous trips, I just can't understand.
After getting home, I clean it up and take a few more pictures. It is a 4-1 marking, with a date stamp of Nov. 14 1900. The base is unmarked. It is completely uncracked, with only a few very minor chips. A pretty color... it is a most excellent specimen, certainly the best I have found for condition. I can't help thinking that as I write this, it happened only 5 hours ago!
M-2795 Hunt: Back to Day 1