I prefer winter and Fall, when you feel the bone structure of the landscape — the loneliness of it, the dead feeling of winter. Something waits beneath it, the whole story doesn’t show. ~Andrew Wyeth

Thursday, October 11, 2012

One more river... and home.

This is the Rio Vista bridge that spans the mighty Sacramento river.
This is highway 12 and a very busy section of this road. It's kind of the hub for the roads in and out of the Delta. If you are coming from the east and you stop at the light before the bridge, you can go south to Antioch, north to Isleton and many of the  islands, sloughs and tributaries of the Sacramento River ,or over the bridge and into Rio Vista.
 Highway 12 runs from San Andreas in the foothills ( in my neck of the woods), through Fairfield, the lower part of Napa Valley, Sonoma and Santa Rosa, and joins highway 1, the Pacific Coast Highway, somewhere near the town of Bodega.  If you travel along this road you will see some of the most beautiful areas of Northern California and its many different kinds of terrain.
This is where the Sacramento river widens, blending with the San Joaquin River and heads down into Suisun Bay... Then into San Pablo Bay and finally, San Francisco Bay and the Pacific Ocean.

Rio Vista is where a lost whale named Humphrey, swam to in 1985. It's a heart warming story that you might like to read about HERE.
Humphrey spawned a book, tourists and songs for a while. We were living down river in Antioch at the time and this was a big exciting adventure for everyone. We were all invested in this whale's welfare and hoping he would find his way back out into the ocean. He did.

This is the side of a building in the downtown area. Interesting painting... but I was too close as we drove by.
 I think this is the end of Main St.  That's the river on the other side of the wall. You are looking east.
 Same place... only looking northeast toward the bridge.

This was the initial reason for our road trip. This is a house that was for sale and "C" wanted to take a look at it.
It's a small house, downtown, within walking distance of just about everything. But... it was in a state of disrepair and would need a lot of work before anyone could move in. Besides, this was a few hours after she had seen her dream home in Isleton. We checked it out , decided that this was probably more work than she wanted  and we moved on.
This time we stayed on the west side of the river and drove up to the end of the road and the Ryer Island Ferry.
This is what the Delta is all about. Before there were bridges... there were ferries. This was the only way you could get from one island to another... and still, the ferry is the only way to get to some of the islands.
We were the first car to arrive at the terminal and we had to wait for about 15 minutes. It was very hot.
 I took some pictures (What else would I do?). We gave Max some food and more water. He was happy in his back seat digs.
The Real McCoy II arrived.
 We all squeezed in.Then this school bus pulled in next to us. This was too close for comfort and the bus driver almost took each car's rear view mirrors with her as she drove on to the ferry... We had a moment of panic but there really was nothing we could do. We couldn't just back out. We were kind of committed to the trip.
 When we reached the other side of the river, "C" wisely let the bus go first. This was a smart move because it veered toward us and drove off on our side of the road. We were guessing that this might be a "driver in training" but we didn't want to cause trouble, so we gave her some distance and turned the opposite way at the top of the road.
This was an small inlet with a very old fishing boat that didn't look sea worthy anymore but was still afloat, a dredge in the distance and what looked like maybe a house behind the trees. I saw an Italian Cypress tree which wasn't native to this area. A beautiful place that seemed to be deserted. I think there was a "for sale" sign near the water.
 These islands would be a very isolated place to live. Not many people out here and kids have to take a bus to school everyday with a crazy bus driver. But... it would be quiet and peaceful... and I'll bet the fishing is fantastic.
We went around the island and found another ferry. The school bus was nowhere to be seen. And now we know that FED EX goes everywhere.
 This ferry took us to Grand Island.
 It was so beautiful out there.This ride across the water made me want a boat. Think of the access to good fishing holes. The Prospector would be in fish heaven.
It was cooler on the water. I don't think that I would ever be too hot living out here. All one has to do is jump in.
This ferry was different than the first one. It was pulled by a cable from one side of Steamboat Slough to the other side. It was a smaller ferry, but we could see the river better and it felt more like being on a boat.

We stopped at the Grand Island Mansion where our son and daughter-in-law got married... July 28, 2001. Was it really 11 years ago? Oh my, how time goes by. 
 This is the most beautiful place for a wedding there every was.

This gazebo is where they got married... in this garden, with our family and friends all sharing the day with them. Where a butterfly, as if on cue, flew over everyone and stayed through the ceremony.
 It was a beautiful day that we will never forget.
A perfect wedding day.
 It was good to see this lovely place again. It brought back wonderful memories.

"C" and I crossed the river one more time. We saw the school bus ahead of us on Grand Island Rd. We followed her for a while stopping at each farm while she let children off. We kept our distance. Didn't want to get too close to the bus driving diva on those levy roads. Then we took a sharp turn, drove over the river and  headed back to Sacramento on the River road.
We saw a sign and knew we were headed in the right direction.

It was a fine day. A little too warm, but when we got home we collapsed into "C"s lovely, air conditioned apartment and as for Max?...
He went from this...
To this.
And he took a nice long nap before dinner.

I may be driving down to the Delta more often if my friend decides to live "on the river". We'll see what happens. When I got up the next morning she had a big smile on her face and I could hear her humming "Delta Dawn" in the kitchen.
Sometimes you just need to find a special place. A place that speaks your language and makes you happy.
Sometimes you have to listen to that inner voice. The one that says, "Go for it".

"To know what you prefer, instead of humbly saying "Amen" to what the world tells you you ought to prefer, is to keep your soul alive."  ~Robert Louis Stevenson~


  1. nice...it is cool to have those places that speak our language for sure....cool painting...would love to see it all....i love street art like that...and the ferry riding is cool too, ha...some neat stuff along the way as well....we love to explore and find new places....

  2. This post really did make me homesick for my home state. I enjoyed traveling with you and C. Hope she finds a nice place to live by the river so you can go visit and fishing with her. Have a blessed day. Madeline

  3. I just got back from ferry riding as well! Two days on Saltspring Island (more on that later).
    What a gorgeous spot this is! A boat is defintely in order if you lived here.
    By the way, I love that new app you have for turning photos into paintings! drool drool

  4. Wow! What a trip. Thanks for taking us along. It's been forever since I was on a ferry. Last time was somewhere around the Princeton area, if I remember correctly. Hubby took me there long before our kids were born, we might even have still been dating. Cool about the butterfly. There was one flying around the flowers at my hubby's memorial service, that lots of people commented on. Seemed so peaceful and sweet.


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