Riding the Plank of the Wooden Road
By Tom Morrow
Back in the early nineties I had written several notes on the plank (or wooden) road that was an early-day foundation through the sand dunes of what would become U.S. 80 just west of Yuma. The planks were the width of a car (mostly Ford Model T). It kept vehicles from getting mired in the sand.
While a number of older readers remember hearing about the wooden road, some had driven over it. One or two readers sent me photos of the road as it then existed and what little is left today.
One Oceanside reader called to tell of a 1929 trip he and his bride-to-be drove from National City to Yuma in a 1924 Maxwell. During that hot August elopement trip they met a number vehicles going each way.
“When we’d meet another car, one of us would have to get off the road and let the other pass. Then both drivers would help the other get back on the road,” the reader explained.
When I wrote about this particular story, one of the Blade-Citizen’s copy-reader called me at home and wanted clarification as well as a little verification. The young 20-something voice wanted to ask questions about my note on the Wooden Road.
“I’d like to talk to you about your column for tomorrow morning,” the copy-editor said. “Do you mean to say ‘a wooden road,’” the young woman asked?
“Yes,” I answered, explaining in detail what I already had written in the column. I told her how primitive roads were back in 1929. Paved roads were scarce and there certainly were no Interstates.
“You mentioned a 1924 Maxwell. What was that?”
I explained it was a popular car of that time. I explained further, it was made even more famous through a radio show. “… it was the car Jack Benny drove.”
After a few moments of silence, “Who’s Jack Benny?”
Did I mention this corner of The Paper also serves as a teaching tool?
ONE DAY I got a call from a woman who immediately launched into asking a couple of questions. She didn’t identify herself.
“Oh, you know me. I read you every day.”
WHILE I’M musing over past column efforts, I might as well unload some things that bug me. Is there anyone out there who, like me, hates it when you’re rushed to make a decision at a fast-food restaurant? I don’t always know what I want when I walk into one of those places. No matter how far back I stand, there’s always a perky young person at the cash register, eager to punch those picture keys that quickly deliver your meal. Yes, I want it fast, and I want it cheap, but I don’t want to be rushed while deciding.
SCAG SEZ: “It just occurred to me that boxers are one of the few people who can wake up and find themselves rich.” – Cecil Scaglione, Mature Life Features
If you have a comment or a question, shoot me an e-mail at: firstname.lastname@example.org.