Red Headed Stepchild
(The Barrett family memoir of Navy Life)
by Sophie Ruth Meranski with photos


+ Yrick Gamache-Dubois
Bon voyage, Mon Ami! To: Yrick Gamache-Dubois - I hope you made it to Astoria Oregon by the Pacific county bus line yesterday afternoon and are managing to get buses or rides down Route 101 along the Oregon coast and Redwood Highway to San Francisco. I was researching that area from Aberdeen southwest to Raymond, South Bend, and Ilwaco, where I think there are camping areas at Fort Canby,and then across to Astoria. I have not been in that Pacific county area but am researching whether I could camp out cheaply. I often go down to Aberdeen and Hoquiam on a very inexpensive day trip and back to Port Angeles the same night. Sometime I will spend a night down near Ilwaco and the Columbia. I have many friends down around Hoquiam and Aberdeen. I am going to E mail friends in Utah and Kansas and see if they might be able to put you up overnight on your trip home to Quebec. There are many people in Massachusetts I will tell you about, perhaps you could say hello if you go that way. I spent a good deal of time in Lincoln City on the Oregon coast. If you see the DeLake Bowling alley, the Greyhound bus used to stop there in 1990 but no longer.I have been in the Sip-and-Sand Restaurant, which had nice fish but would be expensive for you. I like the family who run the bowling alley, though I don"t know their name. Their son used to be a volunteer firefighter and became an Emergency medical technician driving an ambulance. You porbably won't be in Portland Oregon - Andy Ligatich, who just graduated from Forks High School this spring is studying to be a firefighter, and his father is a Portland firefighter. Andy used to kick the punts and extra-points for the Forks football team last year, and he did track. In Reedsport, Oregon, I met a family Tom Shurtz and his son Craig. Actually I met Craig first while traveling in 1995. He is in Utah now I think. I think they might help you out through their church in an emergency. Tom Shurtz makes wildlife pins for neckties and other purposes, especially fish and elk. He took me to see an elk refuge on the Umpqua River a few miles from their home at Camellia Court, in Reedsport. He used to work at the International Paper Company Mill north of Reedsport. His five children are a few years older than you. In Coos Bay, halfway down the Oregon coast, there is a chamber of commerce, where you can get maps and tourist information the way we did in Aberdeen before we went to the bus terminal. It is south of the Greyhound terminal. If you want to see what there is, ask somebody in Coos Bay where the tourist center is. Have a good trip and let me know if you have problems, or I will be glad to have any news.-John Barrett === Monday July 30, 2001. YRICK Gamache-Dubois age eighteen of Quebec City HITCHHIKING From John Barrett On Friday, July 27, while traveling from Forks down the west side of Olympic Peninsula past Kalaloch on Pacific Coast thru Humptulips Valley to cities of Hoquiam and Aberdeen, for six hours I had the enjoyable company of Yrick --pronounced 'Eric'-- Gamache-Dubois of Quebec City, who has hitchhiked across Canada, including Rocky Mountain parks and up the Alaska Highway to Anchorage, Homer, and Mount Denali, and then to Vancouver, B.C. and across to Port Angeles and then spent Thursday night outdoors in Forks. He probably was too late for the last bus south- hitchhiked down to Kalaloch had trouble going further in evening and came back to Forks. So I met him before the 6:50 AM West Jefferson county bus south, and we had a very fine six-hour visit, until I directed him to the one=pm bus southwest from Aberdeen into Washington state's coastal southwestern Pacific county, the Raymond-South Bend,-Ilwaco area- with bus connections toward Astoria Oregon across the Columbia Rive. When I met him, he was carrying a big sign indicating San Francisco was his destination. He hopes he may proceed as far as San Diego before returning home to Quebec around end of August. His primary language is French, and he completed high school in January.Hobbies include volleyball and drawing-painting. I told him how my father and mother and I made a six-day visit August 11-16, 1963 first to Montpelier VT, Lake Champlain, Rouse's Point, NY, then Montreal, Three Rivers along St. Lawrence River, then Quebec City, then southeast by farming Beauce Valley and across to Jackman Maine and near Moosehead Lake and Mount Katahdin to Camden Maine, where we met my father's Boston Latin School classmate John Carroll Poland and his wife Lucile. I do not know the exact date or itinerary of Yeric's trip home, but I am inquiring whether friends might be able to put him up for an evening, perhaps get him to mow their lawns, dust etc, give him a meal, etc. He is very mature and likeable and in a fairly intensive six-hour conversation came across as intelligent, communicative, and without obvious bad habits. He was carrying a sixty-pound pack and survived long distance travel in Canada and Alaska, tho he was slightly apprehensive of social conditions he might run into in American cities or along superhighways. At the very least, I hope you will all remember him in your prayers, and I expect to keep in touch by E mail and then letter when he gets home again to Quebec. I expect he is probably now somewhere along Route 101 on the Oregon coast headed for redwoods and San Francisco. He checked E mail at Aberdeen library on public computers, - I do not know how often he will be checking his e mail the next few days, but anyone interested can E mail him at If you would like to offer him hospitality, you can do it directly or authorize me to send your E mail, telephone number, and/or address. I have told him to contact me if he has problems and to come back here to Port Angeles if anything goes wrong on travel connections or otherwise. When we know his route and schedule, perhaps we can suggest church facilities, hostels, or place near college campuses that would be worth visiting. I shall be sending this to several E mail correspondents, and then I may add details for people in key areas like Utah and Colorado and Kansas, which are likely to be on his route home. I know many people are away from home on vacation. I don't know if we will make contact in time for Califormia people to meet Yeric, or if he will go up the east coast near Fairfax VA, or Baltimore MD or Boston - he did mention he expects to go thru New York en route home to Quebec - [it might be difficult to avoid] So people can read this message and see if the "shoe fits" them and they feel 'a calling' to meet and encourage Yeric. I believe he will do all right, but some of you might enjoy meeting and helping him. He brought back many old memories of my study of the French language, my family's 1963 trip to Quebec and our 1947 tour in California, and my times in Oregon 1990 and 1995, and days in Maine and northern New England through Camp Kabeyun. So those who feel moved, please contact Yrick directly or tell me what degree of interest you may have.--Thanks-John Barrett