About 10 years ago I worked on a project with two editors at the Grants Pass Daily Courier that resulted in the book, “A Pictorial History of Josephine County.” My research included rummaging through photographs belonging to the Courier’s current owner, John Voorhies, grandson of Amos, who had owned the Courier since 1897.
Amos was a publisher first and a photographer second. Because his original press used water to power it, and because his printing office was on the second floor where water pressure was weak (although he blamed that on the city retaliating for some of his editorials) Amos walked into the Kodak store downstairs one day and bought it outright just so he could move his press downstairs, closer to the water source. With the Kodak store came the equipment, and soon publisher Amos Voorhies became photographer Amos Voorhies.
Grandson John grew up with his granddad and the newspaper. When I asked him, John graciously lent me several dusty boxes filled with the history his grandfather had captured. John didn’t see much value in the fistfuls of photos stuffed into boxes he stored in his office. But for me, the boxes held treasures like the photo of a young Shirley Temple signing autographs in Grants Pass when the car she was traveling in broke down there.
In the boxes I discovered that historically there’s a long tradition of reliable transportation between Grants Pass and Crescent City. Used for travelers, cargo and U.S. mail, the stagecoach was our first bus line. Pulled by three horses, a stagecoach traverses mountains and circumvents giant redwoods in a 1912 photo. It was called the Grants Pass to Crescent City Stagecoach.
I was excited to hear about the brand new bus service connecting us with Grants Pass, Medford, Klamath Falls and points in between. I’ve taken a few epic bus rides and I like buses and trains as an alternative to driving so I can relax and take in the scenery.
Although many of us drive to the valley with some regularity, there are others, I’m sure, who either won’t or can’t drive through the canyon but would like to visit a friend, consult with a specialist or maybe see a Shakespeare play.
Last week I got a call from the new Southwest POINT system’s marketing company representative. His name sounded familiar and before we started to talk “bus” I asked him if he used to handle the Sizzler account. “Still do,” he said. I worked with Cliff Engel’s agency years ago in Grants Pass. In fact, Cliff did me a huge favor once by agreeing to come down from Portland and be a presenter at a newspaper training program I organized. So, when Mr. Engel asked if I’d do him a favor, I didn’t hesitate.
If you have a story to tell about why you will ride the new bus, Engel Marketing wants to know. Perhaps you have family members in Medford you haven’t seen in awhile and the bus has opened up the possibility of a family reunion. Or perhaps you’ll be attending your Grants Pass High School class reunion this summer and want to start the party on the bus. Or maybe your niece is getting married in Montana, and you will bus it to the station in Klamath Falls and catch the Amtrak to Whitefish, with a stop at Glacier National Park.
If you have a story about how this new bus might make a difference in your life, please call, write or email me. Mr. Engel has a few round trip tickets he wants to give away to help make your travel dreams come true.