Life at the Running Y

Life at the Running Y
Life at the Running Y

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Sacramento Delta


We headed for the Sacramento Delta area last weekend, not so much because it was a chosen destination, but because there was an RV park there listed on our Coast to Coast resorts membership. Mo decided that we really didn't want to keep this particular membership going and we had some points to use up. That is the main reason for not keeping it actually, the reservation requirements and the point system. We are a bit more spontaneous than the membership supports, and would have a hard time keeping track of points and places and such. Not too many Coast to Coast parks in my part of the world here in California, either, so this one was the closest, a place to try for a short one- nighter on a weekend.

The best part of all of it however, was a chance to pull the MoHo out of her parking area, and get it all cleaned up and pretty again. She hasn't had any movement since we got back from our 24 hour run to Klamath when it was below zero. Next weekend we are planning a trip to Big Sur with friends, and didn't want to be embarrassed by what we may have forgotten about all our bells and whistles. Besides, she needed a good washing, anyway. Any reason for a trip will do.
The Delta Shores Resort is on the Mokelumne River, about 6 miles south of Isleton, CA. In spite of the fact that both of us have been in California off and on for more years than we can count, neither one of us had actually been to Isleton. The weather was perfect, with high 70's to lo 80's and clear sunny skies. Just about 90 miles from my home in Jamestown, so the trip didn't take long. After winding around over bridges and low lying fields and following the narrow dike roads along the Sacramento River, we came to Isleton, river town.

http://www.crawdadfestival.org/ The town was established by Chinese shortly after the gold rush, when the immigrants didn't get rich on gold and decided to remain to build the dikes and levees that turned this area from wet marshland and tules into productive farmland. Isleton itself was settled in 1875 when the wharf was built and the people had access to the outside world. It burned twice, and was finally rebuilt in 1926, with tin covering the wooden buildings to supposedly protect them from fire. The Chinese influence in the town is a big part of it's history, and then later the Japanese came to work the extensive farming industry that grew there as well.
It took us about an hour to walk the town, check out the buildings, and try to hear each other over the roar of the Harleys that dominated everything. Music poured out of the little bars and cafes lining the street, and bikes were lined up all along the road. Those delta dike roads seem to be as popular with bikers as some of the winding mountain roads near where I am living now.

As we left town, what I noticed most was the friendly feeling in the neighborhoods of small cottages. Lots of front porches and lots of people sitting on those porches on a Saturday mid afternoon in the sun. Friendly camaraderie was the order of the day. A few miles across the very flat farmland led to the rivers and dikes and to our park. http://www.deltashores.com/resorts-delta.php

Now what. Hmmm. We didn't bring the car this time, because the whole purpose of the trip was to try out everything and be sure it all worked. The park itself was big and shady with nice large sites on grass. That was the catcher, that lovely green soft grass. After reading a few reviews about this place, we knew that it may be a problem, but things didn't seem that soft, the ground was dry, and so we started our first project, leveling. On the trip home from Texas after Mo bought the Isata Touring Sedan (Dynamax), http://www.mcmahonrv.com/dynamax-isata.htm we leveled a few times, but never really looked at the instructions. This time we thought it might be nice to try reading them, and so we followed them until the left rear leveler decided that it would be fun to bury itself into that soft grass. After a frustrating hour, with Mo digging the thing out in about 6 inches of clearance, we finally managed to get all four levelers back up and moved the MoHo to what seemed to be a place that was a bit drier. So much for the first hour of the afternoon.

What the heck. We came here to be sure everything worked, and by the time the weekend was over, most everything actually did. Almost everything that is, except the automatic electric steps. They worked fine all weekend until just before we left on Sunday. Then, no matter what we did, they wouldn't open. It's a big jump up without that step, and after all the other little things that we had to figure out, this one was just one too many for Mo, who just decided to wait until we got home to try and figure it out. After some reading and a phone call, the troubleshooting guide was right, check for fuses, and then check for loose wires. In this case it was just a loose wire under the chassis. The steps actually run on the chassis battery not the house battery, so the fuses are related to the chassis rather than the coach. So far, many of our little glitches have been associated with these kinds of relationships and knowing just what needs checking for each component. All's well that ends well, however, and the steps are working fine.
We laughed a lot, though, while trying to figure out the television and the fancy surround system, with 2 remotes and a gazillion buttons. No cable at this park, and the famous quote of the day was our host saying jauntily, oh you don't need cable, your satellite will work just fine here. Hmmm again. We don't have a satellite. And of course, there was the blank look at the microwave while trying to figure out how to heat up a cup of coffee. We hauled wood on the back of the MoHo as well, but we are learning that most of these RV parks don't have options for campfires. Another reason to dry camp in Forest Service or BLM campgrounds. I guess we still are operating under the concept that we are "going camping". Well, camping with a very very comfortable bed, at least.

There were a lot of big rigs in the park, one of them next to us. The sites are all back-in sites, so when you are set up, you could be looking right into your neighbor's sitting area, and our neighbors were having a delightful time watching us do our setup thing. We gave them the very best laugh of the day, however, when I decided it was time to try out the new chili pepper string lights on our awning. Lucky for us, the awning worked just fine, we hadn't opened it since Mo got the rig since most of the trip home was so windy. After watching me do the lighting thing, they asked how long we were staying. I thought they would burst when I said, "One night". I explained, it's a practice trip and we are making sure everything works!

It isn't really a place to be without transportation, though. For people like us who like to hike and kayak and bike and such there really wasn't much around there to do. The main recreation on the delta is related to boating, and mostly big boating and fishing, and I wouldn't have wanted to fight all the noisy big boats on the river for kayak space. We did walk up to the water and enjoy the evening light and watched the ducks and birds and fishermen. The park has a nice marina associated with it, but it's a few miles to anything that is of any interest unless you have a boat there.

I think the best part of the whole weekend was the smell of newly cut hay. New cut hay is something that I associate with first cutting hay in the 30 years or so that I lived in North Idaho, and it's usually around the 4th of July. Here it's only April, and I couldn't even be sure that this was the first cutting.
The soils all around us were organic deep delta soils that had a water table just below the surface, and produced some really lovely alfalfa. I slept to that wonderful fragrance all night and woke to the dewy, slightly foggy morning with that freshness full in my senses. Of course, we made sure the Fantastic Fan did it's in and out thing and that the air conditioner worked, and the heater worked, and checked out all the little things that we hadn't had the chance to check on the way home from Texas. It's amazing to me that these rigs are such tight closed systems, in a small space, that have all the complexity of a home, maybe more. It's important to be sure that everything works before the warranty runs out at least!
Instead of just going home at mid-day, we traveled a different route, up HWY 88 to Jackson where gas was only 3.69 a gallon instead of 3.73. geez. Then to town where there is a great parking area on the right side of HWY 49 where we had all the space we needed to park and walk downtown to the ice cream shop and the best kitchen shop in all the Mother Lode. http://www.biggestlittlekitchenstore.com/aboutus.shtml
I drove home the rest of the way down HWY 49, famous for it's hills and curves, and the MoHo did just fine, as did I. It gave us another chance to try her out in different kinds of situations on hilly narrow roads.
All in all a good weekend, short and fast, and now we are ready to really head down HWY 1 to Big Sur for a real camping trip where we will have a campfire and cook outdoors!