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

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