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Old 05-22-2019, 10:52 AM   #1
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2019 CA Delta Bridge Boat Tour

I've been considering ways to see most of the CA Delta in the span of a single summer. My training and experience as an engineer, air traffic controller, pilot, and boat owner have allowed my to dabble in systems engineering and physical sciences which have always interested me. Bridges have long intrigued me as examples of engineering solutions in a great blend form and function. I've come up with a plan that will be fun, interesting and hopefully beneficial to others.

Our Delta region is peppered with bridges (and a few ferries) to accommodate vehicle and pedestrian access across our waterways. I'm planning a CA Delta Bridge Tour to include about 25 bridges throughout the CA Delta.

My plan is to record in written, photo and video formats the particulars of each bridge including design and history facts, operational info and boater's perspective on approach and passing to provide a preview to those planning a transit of the area. If the CA Dept of Transportation (CalTrans) cooperates, I'll include text, video or photos of the bridgetender's perspective. Some bridge visits will be by boat and some will be by dinghy, depending on convenience and access. I might even include a lesson on radio use so new boaters know what to expect when approaching bridges for the first time.

The area I'll cover is shaped like a triangle bordered generally by I-5 to the east, CA Hwy 4 to the south and CA Hwy 160/Sacramento River to the west. I will break my tour into two 2-week trips to cover the southern and northern bridges shown on the map below. The area south of CA Hwy 12 will be traveled generally from June 25-July 9 and the northern area will be covered from about July 30-August 13.

I plan to move about the Delta every day or two to cover the vast geography in an efficient but slow paced manner. I will anchor out most nights but I'm willing to consider marina stays when fun, convenient or needed. Of course, there will be a mandatory intermission for the July 4th festivities on Mandeville Point during the days surrounding the 4th of July.

Any and all TFers who are interested in joining me for parts of this quest are welcome. Just send me a PM or email to FlyWright34 at gmail dot com to join in the fun. I'll provide my cellphone number for contact when I'm underway.

I'll use this thread to document the trip as it progresses. If the material I collect can be compiled in the form of a YouTube video, I'll put one together at a later date for public reference. I have also started an @DeltaBridges Facebook Group page and a Twitter feed to publish the photos as well as this hashtag...#DeltaBridges. I'm a newbie to Twitter so it will be another learning experience for me.

I hope to see some of you out there on the warm, fresh waters of the CA Delta this summer!!
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Old 05-22-2019, 11:05 AM   #2
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Sounds like a fun trip Al! Wish we could bring our boat around, but that might be a bridge too far (pun intended)
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Old 05-22-2019, 11:49 AM   #3
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Hereís a preview. The Thornton Road bridge over the Mokelumne River near Walnut Grove and Giustiís Place (restaurant and bar). A great place to be!
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Old 05-22-2019, 11:51 AM   #4
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aka Miller Ferry Bridge
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Old 05-22-2019, 12:04 PM   #5
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Here's my contribution to your bridge collection. These were taken the day before we reached your neck of the woods and met all you guys.





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Old 05-22-2019, 12:11 PM   #6
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Sounds like a great time! Maybe while we’re down your way this summer you can tell us all the stories over cocktails on the dock.
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Old 05-22-2019, 12:18 PM   #7
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Sounds great, John!! When do you expect to arrive in the Bay/Delta?
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Old 05-23-2019, 05:35 PM   #8
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Here's a sneek preview from 10 days ago tied up to the public dock at downtown Rio Vista. The RV Bridge is in the background.

I see my windsock idea is catching on. I saw American Freedom on my way home. I like their style!
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Old 05-23-2019, 06:32 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FlyWright View Post
Sounds great, John!! When do you expect to arrive in the Bay/Delta?
Al,

Since we don't have a schedule or specific time frame to be anywhere, I would say late July, early August. We usually only travel under ideal conditions and we have identified nine stops after crossing the Columbia Bar.

The plan is to act like touristís all the way down the coast and see as much as possible since we most likely wont be returning up the coast.

Look forward to meeting up with as many TFerís as we can along the way.

Cheers
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Old 05-23-2019, 07:40 PM   #10
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I’m in the SF Bay Area. Same marina as Al and Mark. We hope you’re planning on spending a few days here. See you this Summer!
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Old 05-23-2019, 07:45 PM   #11
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Sounds like your timing could be perfect. I'm hoping to be traveling the northern half about that time. IMO, that's the better half!

And, as Ray says, we've always got a slip for TFers at Vallejo Muni Marina. Everyone going into or out of the Delta has to pass our area. It's right on the way where fresh meets salt.
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Old 05-23-2019, 07:57 PM   #12
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Sounds like a great adventure, both boating- and academic-wise.

Have been boating-inactive for many months due to health issue, but recovery is progressing. Starting a 21-day cruise in Alaska via Holland America cruise line, and will subsequently need to address deferred maintenance of the Coot. Anticipating boating again late summer or autumn.
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Old 05-23-2019, 07:59 PM   #13
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That's great that you're feeling up to an Alaska trip so soon. When do you leave? Want us to take the ol' Coot out for a run so the diesel doesn't go stale?
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Old 06-23-2019, 08:38 PM   #14
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Hey Crusty, are you getting closer to our fresh CA Delta waters? If not, when are you heading this way?

I'll be starting out on my first set of bridges at the end of June for 2 weeks. Still looking at the end of July for the 2nd set. Hope your timing still puts you here in late July-early Aug. We have a Taste of the Delta Festival that takes place on Aug 3rd at Village West Marina. It would be a great place to sample the CA Delta food, wine and song.

I'll be there by boat or by car...depending on my lat/long at the time.
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Old 06-27-2019, 12:56 PM   #15
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This sounds great!!!

Sadly I do not have my boat quite yet, but hope to soon. We were just up that way - Iselton to be exact - to look at her. Keep us posted as we might drive up and say hi at any of your stops!
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Old 06-27-2019, 11:19 PM   #16
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I'll update when I get to the first bridge. Finally got my new cockpit cover installed today at the 11th hour. It turned out better than I feared. Learned a few new skills along the way, too.
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Old 08-13-2019, 12:34 PM   #17
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I've been silent the past few several weeks b/c I've either been on the water or on the road.

I just returned from photographing and videoing the 25 CA Delta Bridges in 25 days. What a trip it's been!! I covered the southern half and 13 bridges in July and completed the final northern 12 bridges in August. One of the best parts of the trip was meeting and working with so many of our great Bridge Operators on the Delta bridges. It was an amazing experience that I heartily recommend to anyone who's interested.

In all, I covered 400 miles in the 2 boats (FlyWright and the dink), 60 hours, 150 gallons diesel and 30 gallons of gasoline. One day I put 30 NM on the dink documenting 4 bridges. I had one major failure, the stbd Balmar alternator smoked but that was replaced within 24 hours with a lot of help from my friends, Ed, Lindsey and Jaden. I also came home with a major squawk - my port high pressure fuel pump is leaking diesel and in need of replacement. I spent the second 2 weeks on the water collecting the drips in a makeshift funnel and absorbent lined receptacle for marina disposal but it got me home just fine!

I'll post up some photos and recollections after I get my @DeltaBridges Facebook Group page updated. Lots of great photos being posted there by many local amateur and professional photogs. If you like sunrises, sunsets and bridges, stop by and check 'em out.

Here's a picture of Tyler Island Bridge Operator Tawnee Moore saying Hi from the bridgehouse.
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Old 08-13-2019, 12:51 PM   #18
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Sounds like a great trip, look forward to the write up and pics!
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Old 08-13-2019, 01:20 PM   #19
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I really look forward to whatever you post, it will bring back many happy memories. Somewhere on some hard drive are a bunch of bridge opening pictures that Ann took 15 or 16 years ago, she's a drawbridge aficionado as well. And of course in the Delta, you have "removable span" bridges as well all the different types of drawbridges (some of which don't open any more IIRC, such as the north end of Sutter Slough(?).

Thanks in advance!
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Old 08-13-2019, 03:32 PM   #20
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Yes, George, several of the operating bridges were cannibalized over the years for parts to keep a sister bridge operating and are now considered 'fixed' bridges...as in not moving, not 'repaired'.

Photographing the Delta bridges inevitably captures the Delta life on, under, over and around the bridges. Vehicles, vessels, wildlife, workers and pedestrians become part of the picture so they become part of the tapestry of the California Delta.

My adventure started out as 24 bridges in 24 days but after I started, I discovered that we have a new bridge under construction, the Woodward Island Bridge to replace the aging Woodward Island Ferry. Here are a couple of shots over the curse of a couple of weeks showing the rare birth of a bridge right before our eyes. This is claimed to have one of those "removable spans" but I'm not clear yet how it will operate.

We have lift bridges, bascule bridges, swing bridges and at least one cantilever bridge. Like snowflakes, no two are the same.
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