Central Valley Woodies
A National Woodie Club Chapter
2007 Event


Twenty of our favorite wooden cars gathered under the trees on March 10, 2007, at Reedley College, Reedley, California for the first ever Woodies in the Valley. The about-to-be-formed Central Valley Woodie Club hosted woodie friends from all over California on a clear spring day in the “nation’s fruit basket.” On the West (known as best) Coast, woodies are typically associated with surfing and most of their owners live in or near beach communities. However, these vehicles were also work vehicles and therefore have a heritage in areas where our food is grown. Woodies in the Valley furnished us city folk a chance to view a part of our state and a part of our country that many of us seldom visit other than as motorists passing through.

Reedley itself is several miles away from Highway 99, the older of the two great North/South highways traversing California’s several hundred mile long Central Valley. Reedley is between the larger towns of Fresno and Visalia. The southern half of the Central Valley is sometimes known as the San Joaquin Valley, associated with the river of the same name that drains the great west slope of the southern Sierra Nevada Mountains. The fertile soil, hot summers and cold (though not frigid) winters create a climate ideal for the growing of
many fruits and nuts (which most of you thought grew only in Hollywood) including, for example, almonds, peaches, nectarines, plums and many others. The southern portion of the San Joaquin is also a significant producer of cotton.






Many native Southern Californians, including this author have never or very seldom stopped other than for a meal or to re-fuel their vehicles in the central part of our home state. Although the weather is better, it is in many ways reminiscent of the Midwest. I now hope to visit more often.

Wayne Yada, soon to be the president of Central Valley Woodies once it is chartered, and his able assistants including Ernie Crotty, opened the festivities for the show at 9:00 a.m. Goodie bags were distributed at the entrance to all vehicles, including, perhaps the nicest item ever included amongst the delights received by entrants at such an event. All of us were given a laser-engraved wooden plaque depicting a reasonable likeness of Wayne’s 1950 Ford and commemorating our host club, the place and the date of this inaugural. Thanks of all participants are owed to Brian Blain of Blain Hardwoods for donating this item.

The brisk morning air was soon punctuated with talk of how we got there, whether the flathead made it over the notorious “Grapevine,” where to eat, how nice it was to park on a spacious lawn plentifully sprinkled with shade trees and how smart and good-looking we all were when we were younger. Sounds of the 60’s, for those who remember the decade, were played through the sound system, Wayne provided commentary and members of the new club happily sold raffle tickets and mementos, including a nice “gambler’s” hat that actually fits large heads. The public was there in significant numbers to “ogle” over our wooden cars.







In addition, during the day the show caught the eye of several passing car, motorcycle and even bicycle groups that stopped. A “tri-five” Thunderbird club paid a visit, a competitive “tri-five” Chevy group gazed enviously upon our wooden vehicles, Harley visitors smiled their approval, bicyclists arrived on carbon fiber steeds worth many thousands and woodie enthusiast (and NWC member) Pete Cowper brought his Austin Healy. All were welcomed.

Here I would like to digress. Rosemary and I enjoy walking, so we strolled through most of central Reedley. Local motorists were incredibly polite to pedestrians, almost always stopping if we even looked as if we wished to cross a street, pausing to give us a smile and a friendly wave. We encounter little of that on Market or Wilshire or Beach. The attitude was certainly refreshing and indicative of our treatment the entire weekend.

Shortly after 2:00 p.m. the show broke up and most of the participants were led on a tour of the “Blossom Trail.” Before we departed though, Wayne, who is in the printing business, furnished every vehicle owner a framed photograph of his/her vehicle taken that day at the show. The staff of Premier Color Graphics came into the Reedley office that Saturday to print and assemble these items. Now that makes a guest feel welcome.

The “trail” includes a number of local roads, well marked, that lead the drivers through spectacularly flowering orchards. The colors are varied and beautiful. The event photographers periodically set up along the road and all the event participants (and others) have the opportunity to see the photos taken at the various stops on the cruise at the photographer’s web site:

Jon Doss'


Bill Gerrard's "PrimaryColors.com"

Prints are also available for purchase on both of these sites for reasonable charges.

There are also more amateur photos at Wayne's
"Pbase" photo site.

All the while on our cruise we marveled at seeing our food being grown. The farmers and their crews work very hard to supply us with sustenance. While enjoying the colors, we observed that a tremendous amount of hard, hand labor goes into every peach or apricot or walnut. Along the river bank we saw “homes” that reminded my wife of Bombay, making us thankful that we are so fortunate as to own a “toy” car and worrying us about the plight of those who depend on piece work citrus picking who will have none to pick because of the recent freeze. Although they have almost nothing, these residents of the area were most welcoming and generous also, across languages and boundaries, geographic, racial, ethnic and lingual. At one gorgeous orchard we halted the cruise. I observed in front of me two Fords, bearing California license numbers 51WODY and 51WUDY respectively. That furnished an interesting aside to a beautiful photo stop.

What could be more like taking the family for a cruise than a stop at a Foster Freeze? Yup, we stopped at the one in Sanger, California while on the “trail.” We all love that soft ice cream it seems. At my request Wayne took a photo of Rosemary and me to show everyone the two wonderful “party favors” every woodie owner received at this event. We all too soon returned to the college where many of us said our good-byes and the remainder enjoyed a lengthy recounting of a great day at a local pizza emporium. I speak for all of us when I say “THANK YOU” to our hosts, and especially to Wayne for the incredible effort he made to make this day the great success it was.


Bill Sampson









For more information about "Woodies in the Valley" or the Central Valley Woodie Club, please make contact below:

Central Valley Woodie Club
324 S. Santa Fe St., Visalia, CA 93292
info@valleywoodies.com or wayne@printingonline.com







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