Visits with Ivan & Dora Part 1

29 May

A Slice of Life

Bill Lites


Ivan,father of DiVoran Lites

DiVoran’s dad, Ivan, was an avid fisherman, one of those “Lives to Fish” kind of guys.  During his working years, he spent as much time as his job permitted, fishing within a driving radius of his home.  When he and his wife Dora lived in Livermore, California, it was the San Francisco Bay and the Sacramento River where he did most of his fishing.

At that time, DiVoran and I lived in Los Angeles where I was attending Northrop University, and we made several trips to Livermore so Ivan and Dora could see their grandkids.  Now I’m not really much a fisherman, but I have fond memories of fishing with Ivan on San Francisco Bay and the Sacramento River.  In fact, I caught the biggest fish of my life, a 75 lb. Sturgeon, and Ivan caught a 104 lb. Sturgeon during one of our trips up the Sacramento River.


On another trip to Livermore to visit Ivan and Dora, Ivan took me fishing on San Francisco bay where together, we caught the most fish (110 total) I can remember.  Of course, of those 110 Striped Bass we caught, we had to release 109 because they measured from 12“ to 15” long, and the limit was 16”, which left us with only one keeper, but boy was that a fun morning!

3Ivan and Dora retired in Vista, California and one of the first trips we made to visit them  there involved Ivan taking me to run his lobster traps.   He had obtained a commercial Pacific Lobster License with the idea of making a fortune selling his catches to the local area  restaurants.

The only trouble with that plan was that poachers were raiding his traps and running off with most of his lobsters.  He had tried everything he could think of to deter the poachers, including enlisting the local sheriff, all to no avail.  The traps were some distance off shore, and no one was able to keep watch on the traps 24/7, and he never knew when the poachers would strike.  But, the lobsters we were able to catch on that trip were delicious!

Bill Lites

Bill Lites

Vista was hot in the summer compared to Livermore, so to beat the heat and be able to fulfill Ivan’s fishing desires, they would pick out a nice “cool” campground at a good fishing location, buy a used 30’ travel trailer and set it up there for the summer.  If the location turned out to meet all Ivan’s “Summer Getaway/Fishing Requirements”, then they would leave the trailer for  the next year.  If not, they would hook up the travel trailer to his truck and move it to another “Better” location the next year.5

There were the memorable summers Ivan and Dora spent in the Puget Sound area.   Dora’s brother Smithy ran a beautiful trailer park and campground on Marrowstone Island.   From Seattle, we had to take two ferryboats to get to the island and then drive several miles to get to Smithy’s Trailer Park, but it was well worth the time and effort.


Ivan and Dora  parked their travel trailer at Smithy’s for several  summers, and Ivan usually helped Smithy with the campground maintenance, while Dora and  Smithy’s wife Waunita took care of the family Avon business.  DiVoran and I would rent one of Smithy’s permanent travel trailers during our visits with them, which was just like camping in a State Park, which as it happened, was just a few miles north of Smithy’s at the Fort Flagler State Park. 7

A day of fishing for Ivan and me on Marrowstone island was; out early at low tide, to collect tube worms, then set off in Ivan’s boat in search of the best Flounder fishing hole.  By the time DiVoran and I visited  them at Smithy’s the first time, Ivan had scoped out the best places to find bait, and also the most likely places to find good size Flounder.  And boy was that fresh Flounder some good eatin’!


8a The other neat thing we did with Ivan and Dora while visiting them at Smithy’s was to go digging for clams.  Ivan knew just were to go at low tide for the largest clams.  We would walk along looking for the “waterspout” from the clam, then run over and dig it up.  It was amazing how deep we had to dig sometimes to get to the clam, and how long their siphon (leg, as Ivan called it) was that they used to spurt the water.  If you like clams, it would be hard to find better eating than those Puget Sound clams.

Ivan and DiVoran

Ivan and DiVoran

—–To Be Continued—–

2 Responses to “Visits with Ivan & Dora Part 1”

  1. Louise Gib son May 29, 2013 at 8:00 am #

    Memories that are treasurable…a great read.


  2. oldthingsrnew May 29, 2013 at 7:54 am #

    Bill, I thoroughly enjoyed reading this one. The pictures are great!


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