JunkyardWhen you’re trying to figure out what to do on a sunny Saturday in Modesto, you may toss around ideas like taking a road trip to San Francisco, Sacramento, or Yosemite. You might contemplate packing a picnic lunch and heading to a park closer to home or checking out a festival or farmer’s market. What probably is NOT on your short list of weekend fun is visiting the local junk yard. In fact, you may consider it highly odd to hear the word “fun” in the same sentence as the phrase “junk yard.” You would be surprised, though.

Treasures Galore – for Cheap

When most people think of a junk yard, they think of a place people go to look for spare parts that they can use to fix their cars, four-wheelers, or boats. Modesto junk yards have names like “E&R Auto Wrecking,” after all. And, it is true, they house the remnants of wrecked cars and trucks. But wrecked cars and trucks are not all that you’ll find in a junk yard. And, wrecked cars and trucks are good for things other than simply providing spare parts to fix a broken-down car or truck.

Savvy and creative artists, teachers, home-owners, and even interior designers can hit the jackpot when they visit a junk yard. Many of the cars and trucks in junk yards are vintage and unusual. They can be repurposed in yards and inside homes. Do you want to put together a “planes, trains, and automobiles” themed room for your young son? You will find props galore at a Modesto junk yard. Use your imagination! Hubcaps hung on the wall as a decoration, a fender made into a headboard … any auto-enthused kid would love that! High-end furniture stores sell pricey race-car beds. Why not make your own?

Artists and teachers also can find a wealth of raw materials when they look around a junk yard. There are metal parts of all sizes and shapes – shiny or weathered. From sculptures to yard art to parts for use in science experiences or building robots in the classroom, hit up a junk yard and you’ll leave with plenty of inspiration.

Let’s not forget about one of the most pleasing junk yard finds for kids: old tires. Old tires make amazing tire swings. Simply hang one from a sturdy branch and swing away. Old tires also have another use: as a workout implement. Anyone who has ever watched the show, “The Biggest Loser” has seen contestants throwing tires or running through obstacle courses made with tires. Buying old tires from the junk yard definitely is cheaper than buying a new treadmill! See? Use your creativity and the junk yard becomes a fascinating and intriguing Modesto destination. Who knew?

A Word on Cars

As noted, junk yards are synonymous with junked cars. But one man’s trash is clearly another man’s treasure. There are all kinds of stories on the Internet and on YouTube about junk yard explorers who discovered classic (expensive) junked race cars, trolleys, buses, and more. Next time you are in a Modesto junk yard looking for a rear-view mirror, hubcap, or fender, keep your eyes out for treasure. Why visit a junk yard when you’ve got a few hours to kill? The thrill of the hunt and the promise of the big score, that’s why! Try it once and expect to become hooked. Junk yard wandering is like extreme bargain-shopping.