Obviously, his attacks were fraught with danger, but he would further gamble with his freedom by making further contact at each payphone. Conversely, this risk would be greatly diminished had he disposed of the 'smoking gun' first, in the case of Blue Rock Springs, the 9-mm Luger, with a change of attire a possible consideration. Had the Zodiac Killer lived in Vallejo, as the majority of people contend, a return journey to parts of this region, including American Canyon, with a ten minute turnaround, would take the killer back to the payphone at the Springs Road and Tuolumne intersection at about the correct time of 12:40 am, when the call was logged. His journey back from Lake Berryessa in a southbound direction through downtown Napa, fortunately for us, sets him on a collision course with American Canyon and the heart of Vallejo once again.
The difference between the second and third crime, is that he used a knife in the close contact attack on Bryan Hartnell and Cecelia Shepard, which undoubtedly would have left him covered in blood. His 'smoking gun' was greater in this case - that being the costume, gloves, knife, blood transfer and the unused handgun - and traveling from the crime scene directly to the payphone was a stretch, if the timeline was to be maintained. He could have simply placed these items in the trunk of his car, but like the Blue Rock Springs Park attack, the unaccounted time suggested he made a deviation off route. Concealing the items in his car or taking these items home, still leaves us with approximately 20 minutes spare time, that needs to be explained. If, like his previous crime, his first intention was to remove any incriminating evidence before placing the phone call, where did he go that fits our timeline - and was there anything we knew about the Zodiac Killer that may give us a clue?
It has been considered that the Zodiac Killer may have been a hunter, hiker or fisherman, or possibly all three, on account of the specific key words he used in his correspondence with police, the locations of his crimes and the weaponry he appeared to have access to. But can we use this line of thought to fill in our missing 20 minutes. Lake Berryessa is 40 miles from Vallejo taking the Interstate Route 29 through Napa. It is a marked change in distance from Lake Herman Road and Blue Rock Springs, if he lived in Vallejo, with many locations en route - suggesting that he carefully selected this as his destination, being familiar with, or at the very least had visited previously.
It lies just 17 miles or roughly half an hour drive due west of Lake Berryessa, heading along Sage Canyon Road towards Rutherford, CA. It has all the familiar features, 'lovers lane' style turnouts, hiking trails, rest areas, parking facilities and more importantly seclusion. In fact, the perfect area for a killer to get changed and possibly dispose of any incriminating evidence, before heading off to the Main Street payphone. The journey time to Rutherford, CA, then heading along Interstate Route 29 to 1231 Main Street Napa is 55-60 minutes, but crucially our killer now has that all important 10-15 minute time period, to rid himself of any link to the crime at Lake Berryessa and place himself in the vicinity of the payphone at exactly 7:40 pm.