Perhaps one of the most memorable trips, while living in San Francisco bay, was the unplanned excursion to the Jack London’s wolf ranch in Glen Ellen.
While driving midway to the annual getaway in Mendocino’s Anderson valley (HWY 128), we had an abrupt change of plans. Of course, an unforeseen alteration turned into an enlightening lecture and introduction to one of the most influential writers from my childhood.
We got to see Jack London’s final resting place, his Beauty ranch, and the Wolf house. Unfortunately, the state museum does not transpire the grandeur and world fame that the writer amounted during his short, yet meteoric lifetime of only 40 years.
The most humbling fact that I learned about John Griffith Chaney, aka John Griffith London, was the fact that his ashes are buried under a simple bolder next to his burned down dream house. He was William Hurst’s contemporary. In fact, he worked for him as a journalist.
Here’s Jack’s entry from one of the journals
Feb 13-15: “So cold that it freezes salt water. O, this is a wild and bitter coast … Never thought a sampan could live through what ours did ... crazy … rags, tatters, rotten … how they navigate is a miracle. I wonder if Hearst thinks I’m lost.”
Here is an insightful website describing Jack’s trip to Korea and his colorful description of the events surrounding the Russo-Japanese war.
Jack London State Park with kids
The State Museum at Glen Ellen is a fantastic place to see with older kids since they can appreciate the character of the man who wrote some of the most influential and “character-molding” of the kids all around the world.
I personally never could have ever imagined living in the Contra Costa, SF East bay and walk the same grounds as Jack himself. I got to see the Greek Church next to the Kirker Pass road – St. Demetrios Greek Orthodox Church while attending the Greek festival in the East Bay. Probably attended by the descendants of the Greeks described by Jack in his Tales of the Fish Patrol.
I actually learned how to fish from one of the Chinese descendants while fishing at the Pacifica. Jack described these wonderful people in his tales of oyster pirates and the Fish patrol that he worked at.
We also got to see the beautiful California countryside around Glen Ellen, including the Benzigger Winery and memorable Ox-Bow market, following in the footsteps of Jack himself.
Clearly, I could never aspire to travel as much as Jack, who seemed to have discovered every corner of this world for himself, although I’m quite satisfied with the California chapter of our lives.
I highly recommend to all the parents to check out Jack’s writing since it’s something that has shaped me personally and made me a better human being. I’d like to end on the following quote that resonates with me well.
“I would rather be ashes than dust!
I would rather that my spark should burn out in a brilliant blaze than it should be stifled by dry-rot.
I would rather be a superb meteor, every atom of me in magnificent glow, than a sleepy and permanent planet.
The function of man is to live, not to exist.
I shall not waste my days trying to prolong them.
I shall use my time.”Jack London