Venture to the Southern Golden Country in the Sierra foothills for a rewarding stay in one of the charming historic towns along scenic Highway 49.
It's a city with a small-town charm. And that's just scratching the surface when it comes to the mining of all the visual and historical – among many other things – attractions that draw visitors in droves to the city of Jackson nestled in the heart of the Mother Lode. The proof is in the numbers. While this quaint and quiet city in Amador County is home to just 4,300 residents, the number swells up to more than 15,000 on the weekends when the tourist traffic is at its busiest.
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.
The annual Stockton Delta Reflections Light Boat Parade has been canceled for this year.
The forecast for the Christmas season calls for snow and ice in Lathrop and unique traditions in Manteca such as a wild game feed all the way to Santa's Wonderland at Bass Pro Shops to the oldest running twilight holiday parade in the Northern San Joaquin Valley.
Tis the season for parades, festivals, and - of course - Santa Claus and for those looking to get on the nice list this year, Turlock and its surrounding communities have them covered when it comes to holiday events and parades.
The small-town feel of Ripon is no more apparent than with the advent of the Christmas season and the lighting of the festive trees at the Veterans' Museum Park and at the Mistlin Fountain at the 99 Freeways Highway 99 recognizing the Hospice Foundation.
So what are we doing for Thanksgiving?" my girlfriend asked.
It is nothing short of a miracle that 19-year-old Tyler Murphy
Not too long ago, Jason White and Lisa Perez took their road bikes out and took a spin along San Joaquin County's wine country region.
LOCKEFORD – It starts with the meats.
Although a majority of individuals only drive through Hilmar as a means to get to Interstate 5, the small community in Merced County has proven to be much more than a pit stop along the way.
KNIGHTS FERRY - It is a magical time along the Stanislaus River.
It's an eye-opening revelation of what Central Valley vets suffered in their Vietnam service where they felt they were braving their fears in combat for their country as they witnessed many of their comrades dropping to their deaths beside them.
On July 7 1944, Charles "Chuck" Walker vividly remembers being sent on a long-range bomber escort mission over Hungary. Just as the young pilot was focusing on driving off German Messerschmitt 109s, his plane was hit in the left engine. Mistakenly, Walker separated from his squadron, which left him weakly in the midst of a number of German aircrafts.
Private First Class John Burch Mooney, Jr. received a number of decorations during his time serving with the 35th Infantry Regiment during World War II, including an Asiatic Pacific Campaign Medal, a Philippine Liberation Ribbon with one bronze star, a Good Conduct Medal, and a World War II Victory Medal.
Paying it forward.
One of the best decisions Denise Johnson ever made was joining the military.