Columbia State Park just outside of Sonora is a gem of a tourist attraction with its stage plays in the Fallon House Theatre in addition to its Main Street "City Hotel" and restaurant, gold panning and an occasional stage coach ride.
The cruising excitement of past years continues to be an integral part of Manteca's history as three longtime members of the community recalled where they were in the 1940s to the 1960s and what they were doing.
MODESTO - The spirit of vintage cars and cruising is eternally captured in Modesto: the hometown of George Lucas and location where famous film American Graffitti was shot just over 40 years ago. While Lucas' famed film may not be in theaters anymore, locals keep the spirit of American Graffiti alive through the annual summertime American Graffiti Festival presented by the North Modesto Kiwanis Club.
If you squint your eyes you can see a little bit of Al Nunes in Paul Le Mat's character from American Graffiti.
RIPON – Commander Ernie Tyhurst of the Clinton McCausland Post 190 of the American Legion has a history of service to his community and to his country during his colorful lifetime. He joined the Legion four years ago and is in his second year in its leadership. He is now a life member.
RIPON – Commander of the Veterans of Foreign Wars' Post 1051 in Ripon, John Franscella, has served three tours aboard the U.S.S. Hancock assigned to the F-8 Fighter Squadron in the Gulf of Tonkin between 1968 and 1970.
While Memorial Day allows locals to take a moment to thank veterans for their service and sacrifice, several veteran organizations continue to contribute year-round to the community. From supporting sober graduate nights to hosting flag retirement ceremonies, veteran societies such as the American Legion support and further the goals of the community through their financial contributions.
LATHROP – Charles McGonegal is looking to boost membership at the Sharpe General Depot American Legion Post 632.
MANTECA – The briefcase sits on a ledge near the front window of the Village Sandwich Shoppe, open and overflowing with folders and paperwork.
The impact the American Legion has had on the lives of veterans – even those who don't know that the organization exists – is unquestioned.
When you visit the famous wine-growing region of Napa, perhaps there is no local attraction that captures the spirit of your journey better than a ride on the Napa Valley Wine Train. Hop on board this historic train and you'll chug your way through scenic vineyards to wine-lover's heaven.
Zombies are on the horizon for the Sierra Dinner train chugging out of its Oakdale station this summer. Also new to the long established attraction that featured a Murder Mystery and a Christmas Train is a Beer Train that is coming in mid-August.
The last time I rode aboard the ACE train was five years ago.
Kick your seat back, look out of the window and witness the hills and mountains of the Central Valley unfolding around you - this is the experience of riding the San Joaquin Amtrak Train.
The area had all of the makings of a perfect western movie set.
MANTECA – There's Pixie Woods in Stockton and Micke Grove in Lodi – places that offer plenty of attractions and recreational facilities for the young.
PATTERSON – Whether kids like to skate, bike, or even rollerblade, the skate park in Patterson is the only place to go according to local skateboarders Abraham Garcia-Ramos and Joel Becerril.
STOCKTON – Pixie Woods Amusement Park was once described as Stockton's own fairyland for the "young in age and young at heart."
MODESTO – "Dad – what are we going to do today?"
Its been called California's Main Street. It splits from Interstate 5 some 90 miles south of Mt. Shasta – the state's most imposing volcano – and remerges with Interstate 5 at the base of the Grapevine that takes you over the Tehachapi Mountains and dumps you into the Southland.
Forget about the Norman Rockwell touchy feely approach to pumpkins.
Since 2007, RAM Farms in Turlock has provided the community with a perfect fall destination filled with pumpkins and a challenging corn maze. Now into their 7th year, the farm proves that it is better than ever by offering even more pumpkins and hours of family fun.
Fantozzi Farms 12th Annual Corn Maze and Pumpkin Patch in Patterson provides plenty of family fun for the community and visitors with colossal corn mazes, a variety of pumpkins, and fun-filled activities.
For those in search of the Great Pumpkin look no further than Countryside Farms.
STOCKTON – Willie Chan entered through the back door of Mr. D's Pizza and Sports Pub.
The Banta Inn in Tracy is famous for the spirits it serves to its bar guests, and infamous for the spirit that is supposed to haunt this popular watering hole.
TURLOCK – For those walking down Main Street after dark, it is hard to ignore the sound of live music coming from downtown's Vintage Lounge and Piano Bar. What's even harder to miss is the long line of people that can be seen on weekend nights, hoping to get in to the popular venue.
MODESTO – The sharp screeches of an old jukebox.The clanking of glasses. The hum of conversation and the occasional outburst of laughter. There's really nothing like a good night out in a bad bar – well, dingy bar actually – where the beer is cheap and the friends are plentiful and the insults and the banter fly around like the smoke-filled air that used to consume the dive bars that dotted the landscape in and around Modesto.
MODESTO – How much for those Superman comics?