Don’t know exactly what John Fogerty and Credence Clearwater Band had against Lodi (re. their ’60s anthem ‘Stuck in Lodi’…
… but we love it – so much so we made a return burtday backroadtrip to Lodi one year later and discovered a lot of new things! Lots of ‘firsts’ like original A & W and many still-intact original ‘palaces’ from the 1950s and even earlier with five or more diners plus the incomparable Richmaid Restaurant dating back to 1938. While other towns are destroying their pasts, LODI perhaps more than any other town is preserving its colorful , ‘Happy Days’ past . Here One can literally live in the 1950s again!
“Livable,Lovable, Lodi” (town motto)⁵
Amazing how a town like Lodi CA-populatipn 60,000 and only an hour and a half from Oakland , in the San Juaquin valley- can be so cut off from big city ways. And that’s a ‘good thing,’ as they used to say.
Its so refreshing to see smiling, friendly people with no obvious airs appearing to go about life as they did perhaps 60 years ago before the ‘PC’-change that encapsulated America in the mid-60s that haS never gone away- except in places like Lodi, which it appears to have hardly touched.
Despite its status as a significant wine region, best known for its Zinfandels, Lodi is no wealthy area. It would appear to be still supported by the descendants of generations of families that came West in the late 19th and early 20th century via the new railroad- to work on the valley ranches, farms, vineyards and later manufacturing. Maybe not so many farms exist today but definately blue collar with what appears a large Hispanic population that drives the wine industry and manufacturing. Lodi saw a 40% population boom during the 1980s which.
I’ve long been a follower and active participant of BAY AREA BACKROADS. Following would entail watching, first, JERRY GRAHAM’s original presentation of Bay Area Backroads, going back to the ’70s or ’80s and the more recent Doug McConnell. Just like it’s name, the local broadcast on KPIX, channel 5 , explored the unusual and out of the way places in the nine county San Francisco Bay Area. When McConnell took over the show he branched out sometimes beyond the Bay Area. The program went off the air, surprisingly, some years ago. I’ve always enjoyed road trips and we live in one of the best places in the world for them, with Bay Area’s diverse topography and history. I’ve been told, for example, that our East Bay area has more parklands than anywhere it’s size in the U.S.
After ‘Backroads’ went off the air , there were limited programs like ‘Eye on the Bay,’ but nothing to compare. I would soon discover HUELL HOWSER and his CALIFORNIA’S GOLD, shown on KQED, locally and PBS stations throughout California. I liked Howser as much for his most unique, friendly and ‘down home’ personality as the places he would explore and talk about on the show. Sadly, Howser passed away in the prime of his life, late last year and I greatly miss him; Graham, 79, also passed away, recently.
I have already followed some of Howser’s trips-which I call the ‘Huell Hoswer Memorial Backroads Trips- most recently to California’s Delta, just one of many places I had no idea existed in such depth.
So, I have found much joy in the Bay Area (and California) Backroads, thanks especially to Howser. I miss all Backroads shows but especially Howsers’ originals; fortunately , old episodes continue to air (probably due to Howser’s popularity), though I find it a bit disconcerting to watch knowing Howser is no longer with us, though, I must remember he’s here in spirit and the show preserves his legacy with thousands of people still viewing it.
So, we will plan on sharing some of our favorite Backroads Trips in these pages – both as a chronicle or diary, of sorts, for memories (and reminders to take the trips again). Once we get going, we, too, will try to include some interviews with people we meet along the paths less travelled here the Bay Area
We hope you enjoy them, too, and please send along your