Nothin’ much happens

We wake up leisurely and head off to breakfast at Steamers.  We’d thought they were just a coffee and pastry place but they have a good breakfast menu and I had the best yogurt, fruit and granola bowl ever!

Neither Rick nor I remembered to bring shampoo…well, he never remembers so I’m the one who forgot to bring shampoo.  We need to find a store in Old Sac that sells sundries.  And apparently, there aren’t any.  None, not one of the stores sell that sort of thing, so we have to find a hotel and check out their gift shop.  You’d think there would be at least 1 store that sold the sorts of things that travelers find themselves in need of, but no.

At the first hotel the gift shop is closed for either lunch or a bathroom break.  Of course it is.

There’s a museum a block or so away,  Crocker Art Museum .  Part of it is housed in a lovely old mansion but since the interior has been remodeled to house art, Rick isn’t interested in seeing how they ‘messed up’ the original interior…too sad for him to see that…so we’re off to another hotel to see if their gift shop is open.  Although we do first check out their gift shop and I find a little something for my sis-in-law Ruth’s Christmas stocking next year!  Tee-hee

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Part of the Crocker Art Museum

The next hotel’s gift shop is open!  It is!  Yay, we can now wash our hair!  OK, just Rick is washing his hair, I’m not washing my hair.  The marina doesn’t have shower or laundry facilities for boaters, dang it, so we are stuck using our boat’s shower.  Its the first time we’ve used the shower and it works just fine.  We have hot water and EVerything!  But there isn’t the pressure I need to power  through my hair!

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You know what I mean?

Rick has one chore today and that’s to finish getting the mast anchor lines attached.  What are they called…oh, right, ‘stays’.  There are 4 of them, 2 angled back (aft) and 2 angled forward.  Every time we come up to a bridge that’s too low, we have to unhook the front ones and lower the mast.  Its not difficult because they have quick-release fasteners so its not a big deal…especially now that we’ve done it so many times!

Its so different doing things on this boat than on the sailboat.  The sailboat I felt like everything was just this side of panic.  I was always on edge thinking of contingency plans if something happened.  Plus I always had to jump off the sailboat onto the dock and despite the fact that it never ever ever happened, I always worried that I’d trip over cable rail at the bow – which was where I was jumping off from – or trip on the uneven surface of the old docks

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Not QUITE this bad, but almost!

 

or the cleats on the docks,

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These always have my name on them!

or fall into the water and get crushed by the boat as it pulled into the slip!  Seriously, I’m ridiculous.  My husband is McGyver and I need not be in panic mode!

After that little bit of work is done – of course, we got the stays on backwards and had to redo them – we go ashore and wander around the stores.  There’s a fancy theater at the Downtown Commons (DOCO) and we always plan to see a movie when we’re on vacation.  Believe it or not, we still haven’t seen Star Wars…which is rather pathetic cuz when we were first married we’d stand in line for hours to see movies like that.  Now, our time is worth more, I guess, or being among the first to see or do something isn’t all that important…or maybe our priorities are completely wrong and we should again stand in line to see epic movies!

At what point in your lives did you stop standing in line like that?  …for the most popular toy for your kids?  …for concert tickets?

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Monopoly Millenium in tin box!

I called all over the place to find this Monopoly game for my kids and, even then, failed and had to buy it after Christmas, instead…oh, the heartbreak…I’m pretty sure the boys were damaged for life.

 

We have dinner on the boat and its superb smoked salmon that a friend of my mom’s gave to us.  Oh, so good!

After that its a quiet evening in the cabin with the blinds pulled down most of the way.  Another bummer about this marina is that its a public dock, so anyone can wander down it.  Usually you can walk on the dock all the way to the other side of the bridge and back up to shore, but for the New Year’s Eve event they’ve removed a piece of the dock so boats can be on both sides of it.  Its a popular dock, too, so people are walking around till 11pm or so.  That’s OK, since we always lock up when we leave Maggie but still, irritating to have people peeking in all the time.  Since Maggie is unique, we get a lot of that.

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On a less crazy weekend…image via Wikipedia

I’m in my jammies loving the lounging around, reading a book, when I feel Maggie lurch a bit like someone’s come onboard.  And, indeed, someone HAS as the back cabin door opens right beside me.

A sweet drunk young man introduces himself – Darren – and asks how we’re doing and we chat for a bit.  He’s looking for a party and there is definitely NOT one going on in this boat!  He wishes us a good night, closes the door and meanders down to the next boat and then the one after that til we lose sight of him.

Ah, another adventurous day on The Maggie!  😉

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Makin’ our way to Old Sac

Our next day headed toward Old Sac, we catch a nice current and we are going 9 knots!  Highly unusual, since our usual rate is about 7.5.  That means the current is pushing us about 1.5 knots faster than usual, whoo-hoo!  At this rate we’ll be there in no time!  And by that I mean before dark, most likely, probably.

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Chuck is laying in the sun on the dashboard in his widdle bed, not quite as skittish today.

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We are seeing hardly any other boats on the water – its like a ghost town around here.  After about 4 hours, we finally see a lone kayaker.  I wave enthusiastically, he’s like, don’t interrupt my stroke, lady, but he waves anyway…

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It is so beautiful in this neck of the woods, er, delta.  The levees, or dykes?, are lovely, not just piled up rocks with some random vegetation like in our area.

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This looks practically abandoned but it has indoor storage for boats, there’s an elevator for putting boats on trailers and hauling them into the building

Random thought, what is the difference between a levee and a dyke…gonna look that up right now…please hold…OK, the two words are interchangeable, they have different provenances.  Levee came to New Orleans when the French created levees there and Americans adopted the word.  The word ‘dyke’ probably came from the Netherlands, although there was a word ‘dic’ in England and perhaps…nevermind…too much about that, right?

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So much debris in the river can cause a lot of damage if you aren’t careful, as attested to by this mangled ladder!

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For most houses you can only see the top story or maybe just the roof, but this one is on its own wide peninsula.

Rick and I are talking and I hear a funny sound, cocking my head I realize someone is honking at us…eek…we’re hydroplaning right though a marina!  There wasn’t a sign but common sense tells us to slow down, even land lubbers know that.  And, we were going all of 7 knots, which is a horrible 8.6 knots!  We immediately slow down.  Oh, there’s a sign, at the other end of the harbor.

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Another sunken boat – we saw 3 of them on this trip.

We have taken down the bimini and the mast so that we can slip under most bridges without asking them to raise for us.  Nervously we (OK, I’m the only nervous one) motor up to one of them.  Many of the bridges have a sign showing the current height of the bridge above the water, but some of those signs are missing.  We also use a Delta Boating website that provides info on bridges, height and high and low water, who to call, hours of operation.  It isn’t always perfect information (for instance, it doesn’t let us know that one of the bridges is virtually-permanently closed for repairs – and the operator, why bother having an operator, anyway!, says in a snarky manner that we should have looked at the Coast Guard’s weekly newsletter for updated info on bridges, hazards and navigation info.  Well, yes, now we know).  The Delta Boating website shows a bridge as having 3 more feet of clearance that is actual, so we are REALLY glad we took down the bimini and mast.

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There’s someone in there at the ready to lift the bridge when necessary.

 

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It looks like we could step off the boat onto the bridge!

 

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Starting to lose our light

Its starting to get to be dusk and we are almost there…almost there, almost there and THERE it is!  What a pretty sight the Tower Bridge is all light up.

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No trouble tying up to the dock, there aren’t numbers for spaces or anything, so we figure we’re to snug up to the boat in front of us to make room for whoever comes in later.  The next morning we’re asked to snug up even more because a large houseboat will be coming in.

As soon as we are tied up and woman in a fancy black cape-coat comes up and says Nice Boat, then starts to attack us for rocketing through her marina down the river.  Yikes, sure we should have slowed down earlier but we didn’t ignore the horn and we aren’t a wake boat, for heavens sake.  But, we hadn’t been paying attention so we let her have her say, apologized profusely and let her feel superior.  On our way back to Discovery Bay, I tried to figure out which boat is hers.  There’s a derelict houseboat and a sharp-looking catamaran.  Hmmm, which one do you think?

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I took this pic to show the big tugboat behind the little one.  Does this wake look bad?  I can’t recall the specific location and speed of this area.  This might be the one where we were, ahem, irresponsible.

 

After settling down the boat, we wander through Old Sac to find a place for dinner.  Yum, Round Table…

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Winter Vacation on Ms Maggie

For the last, oh, 30 years or so, we’ve taken the week between Christmas and New Year’s Eve off.  There was so little work, our employees had nothing to do and they wanted to be elsewhere so we’d give them paid vacation during that week.

Our kids were in school and they always had that time off, so we’d go somewhere to get warm, like Death Valley or Palm Springs or San Diego.  Yeah, Death Valley!  Its an intriguing place and you could easily spend 4 days there hiking, off-roading, checking out the historic sites and buildings.

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Closed until 2020 due to flood damage 😦                       photo from Death Valley website link above.

ANYway, this time, the kids have their own lives (oh, I’m tearing up at the thought!) and we now have a trawler, so we wanted to go where the river could take us AND where there would be fireworks!

Turns out Old Sacramento  is a (mostly) great place to go via boat.  Have you ever been?  Its another fascinating place because of a) its history b) lots of fun shops and restaurants c) Railroad Museum d) Jazz Festival e) RailFest f) historic Delta King riverboat hotel g) Underground Tours h) fireworks i) car museum j) Crocker museum and MORE!  And its right down the street from the Capitol building.  They even have a karaoke lounge, which Rick wouldn’t let me near…

So, in order to stay at the Marina, we had to put our names in a figurative hat and see if we were one of the lucky few allowed to dock there.  And we were first on the waiting list and someone cancelled, so we GOT IN!  Yay!

Day 1 of our trip to Old Sac:

We leave later than we’d like.  We drove back home from Visalia where we spent Christmas with our 2nd-born (he was on-call and stuck staying local), pulled the boat around to the house and went to the grocery, loaded up the boat with all our junk necessities and ‘boom’ its too late to leave and get very far before the sucky dark descends.

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We head out anyway, we can get part-way, at least, and we are on the road, so to speak.  We decided to bring the cat with us.  We have a new litter box and food bowls and a harness and leash for him.  Just before we shove off we bring Chuck onboard.

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A little skittish as we leave the dock, but he’s not freaking out so, yay!

Once we speed up, Chuck pretty immediately high tails it for the v-berth.  Its not quite as noisy up there and he can cuddle among the sleeping bags and luggage.  So far so good.

There is a huge flock of birds sitting on the water and we are headed their way.  Small birds, Coots, black with white beaks.  As we motor close they begin running on the water to gain flight.  They are so funny.  I tried to get a video of them running along but failed.  I got a stupid photo of them, which is not the same, darn it.

But LOOK, I found a video on YouTube of one little guy running on the water – now picture a hundreds of them!

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From the National Audubon Field Guide

We are stuck taking longer than we’d like because one of the bridges is too low and has had mechanical failure so it no longer raises for boat traffic.  I somehow think it won’t be fixed for awhile, if ever, cuz cars would have to detour a looong way around and its a much-used road.

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A common sight

We won’t be able to make it to our planned 1/2 way point of Rio Vista if we don’t try a short cut and its getting dark soon.  With spot lights and head lights in play, we make the attempt via one of the many sloughs that connects the San Joaquin River with the Sacramento River.

FAIL

We are heading down one of the many sloughs that goes to the Sacramento River when Rick (me, too) feels Ms Maggie hit something.  The chart shows no danger and deep’ish water (not 30′ feet but plenty deep for us) and I’m thinking crapcrapcrapcrap.  Since we were going very very slow, Rick is quick on the throttle and puts it in reverse and we back out of the mud, thank the good Lord!  Mud!  Not on the chart but that’s the way it goes.  Gotta be vigilant – even with a depth sounder and a navigational chart, things can happen.

As a result, we are heading back down the slough and will motor a little further to our good old standby, hello Pittsburg Marina!  We arrive safe and sound and everyone is happy and relieved.

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Bread with olive oil, vinegar, parmesan and a chicken salad

The Air Shows!

Now we are set for the 2 days of airshows, Saturday and Sunday, with a group of people each day.

Saturday is Pam, Paul, the Andys, Susan and Daryl.  That morning we pop over to the grocery for the usual snacky foodstuffs and expect everyone around 10am.

Once everyone is on board and the snacks are stashed (and instructions for the potty given), we head over to our planned anchoring spot.  The weather is fantastic, gorgeous and clear.  Wearing a jacket is fine, no need to bundle up like crazy.

We have 1 casualty, Pam.  She is getting seasick and takes some Dramamine to help.  In spite of the non-drowsy pill, she ends up taking a nap at the bow, while the rest of us watch the show.  She is a real trouper for sticking it out.  Everyone else had a great time!

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Pam (don’t tease her) looking miserable, Andrea and Paul.  That’s Susan’s head behind the bags of snacks.  I’m bummed I didn’t get a pic of the entire group.

During the course of the afternoon more and more boats showed up on the bay to watch the different shows – Canadian Snow Birds – very striking colors, a couple acrobatic bi-planes, the Patriots (GO Patriots!  They are out of Byron, which is in our neck of the woods), the United 747 being retired (sponsors of the show), and finally, the stars of the show, the Blue Angels.  By the time the Blue Angels were there it was pretty crowded.

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Stunt paratrooper inside the acrobatic bi-plane swirls

We were all mostly anchored and swinging at the mercy of the current and waves.  Once in awhile someone came close enough to us – or vice versa – and it was pandemonium.  There would be a scurry of activity as we rushed to push another boat out of our way or toss fenders over the rail to cushion the blow.

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If it weren’t for the smoke trails you’d have no idea what this pic was about!

 

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Snow Birds in action

Once the show was over we pulled up anchor and made our way back to the marina – along with a hundred other boats of all shapes and sizes.  AND during this entire time, the Rocket Boat, the ferries and the tour boats were doing their thing.  Contributing to the mayhem.  Their wakes are really wakey…

 

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Check out that sharp turn!

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They are actually orange and white and so striking!

It was incredibly wavey.  I mean BOUNCY like we’d rarely seen before.  We had drawers and cabinets slamming open and shut and, yes, Pam still trying valiantly to keep her composure with all the up and down and side to side and up and down and up and down and…well, you get the picture… Pam’s a boater from the Delta, we didn’t consider the difference between Delta and Bay boating.

When the boat really started rocking, I picked up a tray of food and handed it to my sister, Susan, to hold…she turned white and shook her head.  She was ‘this close’ to losing her lunch, too.  I am a bad sister, I hadn’t even noticed.  She was able to keep it together, though.

Andrew had stayed up top on the flybridge.  The boat was rockin’ side to side, he guesstimated about a 30 degree angle.   I was trying not to think about my first-born son (and father of my future grandchildren) up there, all alone, hangin’ on for dear life!

So many of us all headed in the basically same direction, with the ferry and tour boats are stuck waiting for the parade of boats to get out of their way.

Once we got back to shore we went to dinner with the Andys (our son Andrew and d-i-l Andrea, the Andys, get it?).  So nice and relaxing and we were able to sit outside, in San Francisco, in October!  OK, there might have been an outdoor heater in the area, but still.

The 2nd day was much like the 1st day, but with a different group of people.  Rick’s brother Ron and parents, Harvey and Jan.

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Harvey, Jan, Ron, Rick

 

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Oh, we did learn from the day before and didn’t head back to the marina right after the end of the show.  That made a huge difference in the size of the waves so the ride back wasn’t so rocky.  Then we went to dinner at Ron’s house, with its fantastic views of the city and Ron’s excellent cooking!  His wife, Ingrid, couldn’t come that day cuz she was out of town, darn it.  I can always count on her taking terrific pictures, much better than mine.  She uses a real camera!

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This is crowded, honest…

 

 

The next day we we woke up to this:

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The smoke from the horrible fires in Napa and Sonoma had covered the bay.

Later we discovered Mom and Dad had left some things on board, so we boated over to Benicia and met them there.  What took them an hour took us 2.5 hours!  But we had more fun!

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Then we stopped in Pittsburg again for gas, to pump out the holding tank and to return the gate/restroom key we accidentally stole a few days before.

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It was a mostly uneventful trip except for a little shortcut that took us by a dock where a couple men came running out of their work sheds yelling at us!  At just that moment we saw a sign on the dock that said Restricted Area.  We weren’t stopping at the dock so who cared, honestly, but apparently, that entire slough is restricted because of ammunition being stored there?  Funny, no signs or mention of it on the chart.  Oh well, it was exciting for them, I’m sure.  Something unusual happened that day!

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Dredging is an ongoing job, keeping the channels open for container ships.

So that’s our week, Fleet Week.  Fun, friends, family, food, adventure.  Hmmm, I need a word for adventure that begins with F in order to keep that alliterative phrase going.  Got one for me?  😉