Article from the 11/11/2016 Catalina Islander

"THE INFAMOUS BUMP GATES"
 
Since becoming "Catalina's Official Greeter", March 10, 2014, when the Chamber Of Commerce assigned me to greet the cruise ships and cross channel carriers, I have answered 59.304 questions.
THANK GOODNESS THE ELECTION IS OVER!!!  The following volunteered along with me on Catalina  to guarantee that our American Democracy stays strong; Pam Albers, Father Bill, Jim/Sue Cheek, Sean/Jill Connor, Jani Hall, Karl Huggins, Alene Mack, Theresa McDowell, Bruce Moore, Becky Morrow, Zella LeSeur, Joan Moses, Paula Patterson, Denise Radde, Leslie Shannon, and CeCi Spale! NOW LET'S GO ABOUT THE BUSINESS OF GETTING BACK TO NORMAL AND BECOMING FRIENDS AGAIN!
How about those "Cubbies", who, when owned by the Wrigley Family, had their Spring Training on Catalina, 1921-51!  Hopefully we will be able to get these "World Series" Champions, first time in 108 years, to Catalina to show them how much we LOVE them!  "4th of July Grand Marshalls"!?!  Just thinking out loud!
Speaking of winners, how about our Avalon High School "Lancer" football team!?!  21 straight wins since 2014 and now undefeated and "League Champions" focusing on  the second consecutive year of CIF CHAMPIONS!  Support this remarkable team!
CORRECTION:  In my October 28 column, I stated that Johnny Windle died on May 15, 1999, instead of May 5 that was pointed out to me by Johnny's daughter, Sue Bray!  SORRY!  Check out any of my past columns, www.catalinaislandman.com
RUMOR IS WRONG:  Volleyball courts on Pebbly Beach WILL NOT be removed, but will remain with the Basketball Courts!  GOOD!
Wendy (Baker) Hein, along with others want to know when I will go back to writing my other column, "CATALINA TIME CAPSULE"!  As soon as the new Museum Director, Julie Perlin Lee, feels the time is ready for me to once again have access to the newspapers.  Visits our new Museum, Metropole Street! 
The 3-hour PBS documentary, "WEST OF THE WEST", covering the history of our eight channel islands, with a very good segment on Catalina (including yours truly), is only available in Avalon at the "Steamer Trunk" and the "DC-3" (Airport).  If you don't live on the Catalina, send me a check for $23, P. O. Box 1533, Avalon, CA 90704 and I will mail you a DVD.
 
For as long as I can remember, "bump gates" were strategically situated around the Island to keep the bison from going into human inhabited areas, but allowing cars to traverse. That was the concept, but I have seen frustrated bison cows see their calf on the other side and so have charged/rammed the gate and are able to get through.  The gate had an old automobile tire situation so as to be in the middle of the road and a little above the headlights of a normal vehicle.  The object was to aim so that the tire would be more or less centered in the middle of the vehicle.  You would then need to stop about 10-15' from the gate and then MOVE to hit the gate in such a manner that it opens COMPLETELY, allowing you time to go through.  If you hit it too hard, it would bounce back too fast and hit your side.  If you didn't hit it hard enough, it would simply scrape your side as you tried to pass. YOU HAD TO KNOW THE KNACK!  You can see one "disarmed" on the Middle Ranch Road leaving the Ranch heading for "Eagles' Nest". 
 
Whenever I had an unsuspecting audience (passengers), I mischieviously turned the experience into a "Disneyland E-Ticket" (if you are not familiar with this reference, ask someone older, much older)!  When the posted sign along the road warning of a "bump gate" coming up quickly, I would always divert the attention of my unsuspecting "subjects" by saying that I saw a fox, bald eagle, bison, elephant, whatever, on the other side of the road to keep them from preparing themselves for what was coming up ahead.  Once past the sign, and my friends "never the wiser", I would apologize that I had made a mistake about the critters.  Stopping the recommended distance from the gate, I would then complain, "Looks like they forgot to open the gate again!"  I then asked the passenger who was riding "shot gun" to please get out and open for us.  When he/she opened the passenger door and was starting to get out, I would yell, "Oh, what the heck!  I'll  just break the gate open!"  THEN I WOULD REALLY GIVE IT A "BUMP"!  Everyone would usually scream, especially the one hanging half way out of the van, which was the reaction I was going for!  (O. K., SOMETIMES I CAN BE ROTTEN!!!).  When they saw the gate bounce back behind us they realized they had been "HAD"!  Generally they would laugh out of relief, but on occasion, especially if one of the passengers has a bad back or other medical issue that I am was aware of, they can get down right ANGRY!  Mrs. Walk, I am STILL sorry about your back!"
 
Approximately 1989, I was asked by a good friend, Carolyn Bostrom (she would later marry Malcolm Renton), to take her Grandson, who was also my Godson, Arthur Edmonds, age 10, to Two Harbors to go fishing.  I was to pick up a friend of Arthur's, who wanted to go with him.  When given the address, I realized that this was the home of my good friend, Packy Offield, and the young passenger was going to be his son, Chase.  At this time, Packy was the President of the "Santa Catalina Island Co." and the great-grandson of William Wrigley, Jr.  Packy and I go back a LONG way, to the time when he was a high school student at the "Toyon School".  Chase jumped into the back seat and we made our journey to hopefully good fishing grounds!
 
When we got to "Middle Ranch", we came across the first "infamous" gate.  For Arthur's amusement, AS WELL AS MINE, I hit it especially HARD!!!  The second I hit it and barely got through before the gate CRASHED back, just missing the side of my van, I remembered WHO was in the back seat!  I immediately stopped and looked over my shoulder at Chase.  In fear that when he got home he might "spill the beans" to Packy that I was abusing the gates.  "I'm sorry that I hit the gate so hard; I promise NOT to do it again!"  "Heck, my Dad hits those gates A LOT HARDER than that!"  MY "GET OUT OF JAIL FREE CARD"!  (If this doesn't ring a bell, ask the OLDSTER who helped you with the "E-Ticket" explanation). 
 
The gates are now kept open permanently so NO MORE BUMPING.  I'm sort of relieved as the last time they were functional, around  2003, I was testing out my new '71 VW Van, which I had just purchased, on one of them and pushed my front end in a bit (I'm the aqua one with the coral stripe, if you want to check out my story!).  THAT'S WHAT I CALL "KARMA"!