Sunday, October 22, 2006


I went to school in New York and lived for three years in Colorado. I know what it means to live somewhere that has four distinct seasons.

Here in the Central Valley of California, we really only have two seasons. One is The Season Where Rain Is Possible, the other is The Season Where Rain Is Not Likely. Here, rain is possible from about November to about April or May. There's usually one rain about the first week of June, and then we don't see any again until near fall. If I remember correctly, we had rain the last week of May this year, and then not again until a few weeks ago, where one storm dropped about a third of an inch on the capital.

It was beautiful out today, enough to draw a couple of beads of sweat on the forehead while walking about in the sun downtown.

I found some pictures I took of a swollen Sacramento River earlier this year, late in the winter or early in spring, and I thought it would be fun to contrast those views with the views of today, so here goes.

Old Sacramento is the "Gold Rush" part of downtown, on the Sacramento River between the Tower Bridge (to the south) and the I Street Bridge (to the north). It's probably less than a half-mile between the two bridges.

Here's the Tower Bridge in the rainy season:

And here it is today. Sorry the sun is so low in the sky; it was about 3:30.

Here's the depth marker today; compare it to what you can see in the rainy season picture. They're the white markers in the river below the two towers.

Trees across the river in the rainy season:

And that part of the riverbank today (partially blocked by a barge):

Looking north, here's the I Street Bridge in the rainy season:

And today. For perspective, notice the Amtrak train on the lower deck of the bridge and the car on the upper deck:

Now here's something cool. We have two riverboats that take tourists cruising up and down the Sacramento. They can't get under either of the two bridges. The center span of the Tower Bridge rises between the two towers, but the I Street Bridge turns 90 degrees clockwise to let the boats pass.

Here's the Spirit of Sacramento as it goes by the I Street Bridge heading south towards Old Town.

Directly across the river from Old Sacramento is the former Money Store ziggurat. I think the state leases it for office space now.

After passing the ziggurat, the two riverboats have to turn about 160 degrees to the left in the middle of the river, and then "skootch" into their spots at the dock. Here's the Spirit of Sacramento pulling this maneuver.

Right next to the waterfront is the tourist train, decorated at this time of the year as The Ghost Train.

OK, I'd taken more pictures of the water than I'd planned to, so it's time to head back to the car. On the way I stop in at Candy Heaven, where you're always invited to sample the salt water taffy. I like the red licorice, huckleberry, and banana cream pie flavors. But look what I found there on this trip! Did you ever eat these as a kid? I did! I loved opening the end of the package and pouring some out, for some reason.

This isn't the greatest picture, but if I'm going to show you pictures of my hometown, I've got to show you the Capitol. This is the view from the Tower Bridge, with one of Sacramento's men in blue on horseback in the foreground.
By the way, today's October 22nd. Look how the ladies in the crosswalk are dressed.

And for those of you who live in areas already in the throes of autumn, here's a picture showing that most of our trees haven't even started to turn color yet.

I hope you've enjoyed your tour of Old Sacramento. Come back again some time.


gbradley said...

Great pictures.
My Mom & sister live in Newcastle. not far from there.
I like to take one kid each Summer to visit, one on one time with Dad & Grandma.
We like to go to the Train museum in Old town.

Darren said...

The Railroad Museum is fun. My dad, who spent 40 years working for the railroad, had a great time when he and I went once. My son thought it was ok.

If you haven't been to the Gold Rush History Museum, just a couple buildings towards the river from the Railroad Museum, give that a try.

And have you taken the kids' pictures in front of Governor Schwarzenegger's office?

rightwingprof said...

We moved to Pennsylvania from Indiana. Both definitely have four seasons, but Indiana is in the tornado belt, and the warning sirens go off every ten days or so in the spring (in fact, about a week after we moved here, an old oak tree in the front yard of our house in Indiana was uprooted and crashed across the roof and went all the way through). Rain. As in thunderstorms.

Up here in the Alleghenies, it almost never rains -- we've been here for sixteen months, and we've had ONE thunderstorm. It drizzles sometimes, but storms never get across the mountains. You can stand in the yard and see the thunderheads over the mountain ridge and the lightning coming down on the other side of the mountains, but it never crosses.

Snow from the west likewise does not cross the mountains. The precipitation that does get here comes from the southwest, up through the valleys.

George said...

I enjoyed the splayed out skeleton on the front of the train . . . pretty funny.

carol said...

I have a special connection with Sacto since my uncle moved up there when I was very young so we periodically made the trek up 99 to visit. I have photos taken of me sitting on a cannon in Land Park when I was about 2.

Also I lived on X Street one winter. I kinda liked the rain, and thought the sound of cars going by on the wet Interstate was relaxing. I'm usually in very dry areas so it's nice to know ya got water...the fulness of nature and all that.

rightwingprof said...

There are pics from here in Pennsylvania (not new ones, I'm afraid) here. There are also pics from all the snow last winter, but since it's only 39 degrees here, I don't much want to think about it.

Silenced said...

FLICKS ! Man, I haven't seen (or eaten) those in a very long time.....Thanks for the pictures. Are these to encourage those of us in CA. to vote yes on that bond proposition to fix the levies?

Have a good week.

Creatively Ironic said...

I grew up in Chico, CA. My description of the seasons: "Freezing in the Winter, Unbearably hot in the Summer, and blow-you-down windy in the Fall and Spring. A tube of Flicks used to be a lunch for me!

Darren said...

What's strange is that I didn't even remember the name of the candies. I only remembered the tube.

Walter E. Wallis said...

The idiot who changed the color of the Tower Bridge, [not, thank God, named after Tower Records] from silver to whatever you call it now, should be tossed off the bridge. The I street bridge is a tribute to the staying power of rust. Take care of my city, especially Frank Fat's.

Darren said...

It was silver? As long as I can remember, it was a tannish-gold. When it was repainted a few years ago, the only time in my life when I can remember such a thing happening, polling was done to choose the new color scheme. The original scheme won, but it was made a bit brighter.

And Frank Fat's is doing just fine. Right next to it in Old Town is California Fat's, and there's another Fat restaurant in the Thunder Valley Casino outside of Roseville. And another one *in* Roseville, I think. In other words, the Fat family is doing just fine :-0