City College only school with $120,000 food truck

Kristen Gardner, Staff Writer

A kitchen on wheels, an emergency preparation vehicle and constant project for welders has lived in the City College’s Biology building for over 25 years.

A large truck, simply dubbed the “Woolly,” has been the support truck for geology trips and emergency food service on campus since the ‘80s. It is mainly used for the geology department’s field trips, where students get hands-on experience.

“We are the only community college in California with a truck like this,” said Dr. Robert Gray, geology chair and one of the instructors who goes on the trips.

The truck is custom modified for the college, and specifically the geology department.

“Woolly”, so dubbed after a Mammoth skeleton found on one of the geology trips, is a large diesel truck that has been modified for the use of providing food for a large number of people for an extended time. The truck is stocked and prepared by Bill Harz, supervising lab technician, before every trip. He is also the truck’s main driver.

The truck is equipped with refrigerators, freezers, racks and ovens, and the exterior holds water tanks, a generator for lighting and powering the appliances, and attachments for stainless steel tables to use for serving. The estimated value of the truck is $120,000.

Students from the culinary arts department also accompany the trips to get on-the-field catering experience in “Woolly.”

“Somehow the ‘Woolly’ is able to whip out a gourmet meal,” said Eiko Kitao, a lab technician and volunteer on most of the trips. “The quality of food we get for being out in the middle of nowhere is amazing.”

Listed on the menu for the upcoming trip are dishes like lasagna, tri-tip, teriyaki glazed salmon and a whole bunch of cookies.

The first City College truck was donated by ABC Rentals who fixed up the back of the truck to make it functional with the kitchen appliances.

Unfortunately, the truck couldn’t exceed 50 mph, and it could sometimes take up to 12 hours to get to the campsite.

“It just went so slow. I have pictures of people passing us uphill on bicycles,” Harz said.

So in 2007 Bill Harz bought a new truck.

But this is one of those never-ending projects. After almost every trip there is something to improve, and Harz nurses Woolly until next time she is needed.