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Welcome to Davis

Gerry Peterson's story of a serendipitous potty stop along I-80

Submitted by:  Gerry Peterson, 10/16/06
This entry relates to the past and present
Category(ies) of this entry:  Coming to Davis

“Dad, I really need to go right now,” my ten-year-old daughter pleaded from the middle seat of our family station wagon.

“OK”, I replied, “I will find a gas station at the next exit”.  Heeding the near desperation in her voice, we hurried to the Richards Boulevard exit from westbound I–80.  “What kind of place is this?” I thought as we entered some type of tunnel, “is there really a town here or is Davis simply a place people drive by on their way to San Francisco and Lake Tahoe?”   We located a service station with not more than a millisecond to spare.  While waiting for our daughter to complete her urgent and personal call from Mother Nature, our other five children shouted in unison, “Mom and dad look at that double decker bus.  Can we take a ride?”  And so on that beautiful October day in 1970 our fascination with Davis was about to begin and it continues to this day, 36 years later.

Yes, were it not for a near emergency rest room stop on a Sunday afternoon many years ago, the Peterson Family would have driven right on by on our way back to Concord.  Janice, our six children and I had looked at dozens of houses in the Sacramento area as we attempted to implement our relocation from Concord to Sacramento.   Unfortunately, there were not many six bedroom, three bath homes on the market within the price range of a newly hired state employee. After this unusual introduction we thought more about Davis throughout the following week.  After all, a city having double-decker busses and a university certainly must have something going for it.   We contacted local builder, Bill Streng, who unfortunately was not building any six-bedroom houses at that time, suggested we contact a new builder in town and his architect associate.  During a subsequent trip to Davis we met John Whitcombe and Bill Roe.  The rest is history.

The North Davis greenbelt, only a dream and a promise in 1970, has matured into the community jewel it is today.  Our children completed their K – 12 school careers in the Davis Public Schools.  Our ten-year-old daughter is now a successful businesswoman in Davis. The Peterson Family now includes 18 grandchildren and 3 great grand children – all born in Davis or Woodland.  None of this lifetime of memories, from parent to grandparent to great grandparent, 36 years in the same community – a place with a tunnel at its entrance and funny double decker busses, would have happened were it not for a near emergency rest room stop in October, 1970.

Ah, but history frequently repeats itself.

On Sunday, October 15, 2006 while performing his first community service as a corner marshal for the Davis Bike Club’s annual Foxy’s Fall Century bicycle ride, my 8 year old great grandson suddenly announced, “Great grandpa, I have to go tinkle really bad.”  There were no off ramps in sight and no double decker busses nearby.  I directed him to a large tree near my van.  Next year he will ride in the event.  I will be at the same corner next year with my then 8-year-old great grand daughter.  Next time however, I will drive my friend’s full-featured RV.  I will be prepared next October, for I can already hear her saying, “Great grandpa, I really need to go, right now!”

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