NorCal Voyagers
July, 2003

The July event was set up by none other than our good friend and past V. P. MR Bob Webb. Bob had us set up with not one but two tours in Fairfield Ca. The first tour was to the Jelly Belly Candy Co, just off of HWY.12. We and I mean by that myself, my wife Betty, Cecil Anderson and his first lady Della Wright, arrived at the parking lot just about five minutes before nine O'clock, We being crippled up and all and Cecil having to walk due to a wrecked Trike, came in my SUV. First class all the way. We hung around and shot the breeze with George Rogers and Jim Kramlich, whom I haven't seen since last years Triangle Rally. We had only been there about three or four minutes, when everyone started showing up. Rather than name them all, I will just say we had 15 members and 4 guest, for a total of 19 people. A very good turn out if I do say so Myself. The building opened up at 0900 and some of us had to pay a visit to the little room with the running water. After that was accomplished we all got in line to do the tour.

There was a young lady standing there just waiting to take us on the tour. She took us up stairs and gave us a little pep talk, and some of the rules & regulations for doing the tour. No photographs were to be taken. She said something about Willey Wonk-a wanting to get his hands on some of their secrete recipes so therefore they couldn't take any chances. She led us all through the factory, she showed us at least 5 videos on how they go about making the little jelly belly's. I can't remember how many pounds of sugar they use a day there. But I can remember enough to know I would love to have some stock in C&H Sugar company. And it wouldn't hurt to have some stock in a couple of corn syrup company's either. I think she said it takes 9 days to make a batch of jelly belly's. But they make about a billion of them at a time. At the end of the tour they give you a small bag of Jelly Belly's and tell you if you want sugarless, take them down to a counter somewhere on the first floor and exchange them for sugarless. After the tour was over she directed us to the candy counters. I saw the chocolate counter and that was it for me. I bought 4 peanut clusters with milk chocolate and hid from my wife until I had eaten them all. Boy were they ever good, nice and fresh too. I'll bet I didn't gain an ounce over four pounds on that tour. We all sat around shooting the breeze for about 30 minutes, until Bob got everybody rounded up. He gave us all directions on how to get to Joes Buffet over on Texas street.

Everyone got to Joes ok and we all ordered what we wanted and they put us in a back room all by ourselves, I ordered a Pastrami sandwich with a side of macaroni & a Pepsi. I'm afraid I will now have to admit I now have had a sandwich larger than I could eat. Dagwood Bumstead would have been very proud of that one. I think everyone in the room was very surprised at the quantity of food and the quality too. It was very good. The restaurant wasn't all that clean. But I will have to give him credit, they are in the process of remodeling the place, and I'm sure it will look much better when they are through with it.. I won't discuss what was covered in the meeting since I have already typed them up and everyone will receive a copy of them anyway. But I do want to say this, as of yesterday I hadn't heard a word from the man that makes our shirts for us. But Good news. He called me this morning and said he was back from the big fires in Arizona and New Mexico, and that he would have our shirts to us on Tuesday the 15th of July. I will meet him in Casa DeFruita on Tuesday evening or Wednesday morning, and take delivery of them. For those of you that have shirts and caps on order, I will send you out a list of what you ordered and how much you owe the club. What ever the cost is you must add $5.00 for shipping. Or you can pick them up at the August meeting. Also remember to make the checks out to Nor Cal Voyagers.

We all left Joes and headed for the Annheiser Bush brewery which is straight west of the Jelly Belly factory. We all met in the parking lot and went in all at one time, They had a guy standing there waiting to take us on a tour of the facility, They first took us up to the tasting room, and gave everyone two cups of beer, the beer of our choice. Those that drank beer, did so with great gusto. A lot of them just had water. My God don't they know that water will rust your innards and plug up the piping. Anyway they showed us two short films while we drank our beer. After that they gave us some safety glasses and said follow me and stay inside the yellow line AND keep those safety glasses on. He did a slow walk through the plant, took us in a room where we could finally hear something he said. He explained some of the things they did to make such a good beer. And again no picture taking. They were afraid Hamm's would steal their secret formulas they have been using for 130 years. Now why I say would Hamm's want to steal their formulas when they have the sky blue waters of Minnesota to make their beer with. They took us down into a room that they keep at 42deg's all the time, here they do the beech wood ageing process, this puts the carbonation in the beer and makes it bubble up. I think he said they have to keep it at this temp for around 20 days. You would wonder how they can make enough beer to satisfy the thirst of us drunks or sots, which ever you prefer. The secret to this is the tanks they do this in hold around 100'000 gallons each, and they have 48 tanks on each floor x 3 floors = 144 tanks x 100'000 gallons =14'400.000, if my math is right. I think that would keep some of us in beer for a week or two, don't you? After the brewery tour we all went outside took a few more pictures and shook a few hands and did some serious hugging and said our good by's.

I think Bob did an excellent job on this event and I also think he deserves some well earned accolades. Bobby you did it up fine young man. We are waiting to see what you do to beat this one with next year. I would also like to remind everyone that anyone can set up an event anywhere they wish to set it up at. Your back yard, in Tahoe, San Francisco. It doesn't matter as long as we can get there in one day and sometimes even two days will work. In December we will be asking for at least 12 members to volunteer to choose a month and set up an event in that month. For January & February I think just have a nice sit down dinner and a meeting some place would do, since it's so foggy here in the Valley, Plus it's pretty cold at that time too. So please give it some thought. It won't cost you anything except maybe some time, and we all have some of that we can spare. Also the elections are coming up in Dec and the Nominations in Nov. Please give some thought to running for an office. It only takes about 2 hours a month and on some of them it doesn't even take that. I have been doing 90% of the work ever since the club was formed. I did this because I'm retired and have the time to spend. Plus I love this club, I started it, fought for it, and kissed a lot of butts to keep it going, and I wont stand by and see it fold. And I would expect any member to do the same. Now let's get our acts together and get some officers in office to run this club properly. We only have two ways to go and that's up or down, and to me down isn't an option. If you don't run for an office because you don't think you can make every meeting, Don't worry about it. You have a President and a Vice President. All you have to do is call him a few days in advance of the meeting or event and fill him in on what you have going in your department, It's that simple. Think about it. OK. That's about it for this month, ride safely, keep the rubber on the ground, the plastic in the air, and may the Lord ride with you. Cheers. Uncle Ray