The Gold Rush Ship that Inspired Kerry’s Game

gold-rush-apollo-packet-ship-ad2I was living in San Francisco when I left corporate to pursue a career in fiction writing.

I love technology but there’s only so many times you can watch technology solutions go from distributed to centralized and back again and increases in processing speed don’t make humans work any faster.

When it came time to pursue a publishing contract, I had a lot of material to choose from.

I’d been hauling a box filled with notebooks and typewritten manuscripts, along with napkins, paper plates, and other scraps of paper with poems and other material all over the country as I moved around.

Not satisfied with any of the choices I went out for a walk to see if I could find inspiration in the city.

Many writers keep every scrap of writing thinking “I might use it someday.”

I stopped for lunch at the Old Ship Saloon.  Over a bowl of chili, I asked the bartender if there really was a ship buried beneath.  After providing a bit of historical background he suggested I visit the Maritime Sailor’s Museum.

“That’s where you’ll learn about the Barbary Coast and the ships.”

That wasn’t all he talked about.

“Some of the staff have heard noises when there’s no one around or footsteps overhead when the place is empty.”


My trip to the museum was fruitful.  A weekday, the place wasn’t busy and I was fortunate to have the docent to myself for the afternoon.  As I walked home I contemplated the fact I was walking on what used to be the San Francisco Bay and very likely, gold rush ships buried beneath.

Landfill put in place to accommodate a quickly growing city buried dozens of ships abandoned by their captains and crew as they rushed to search for gold.

I thought about the ghosts who were trapped between time.

For many ghosts, time stands still.  They see the present but for them it is still the past; the time when they were last alive.

By the time I got home I knew  I I had my story.

It is very cool to see that The Arkansas has [again] been found and that Bill and his crew are still providing good food and beverages at The Old Ship Saloon.  Stop in if you get a chance.

Who knows what you might hear?



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