On a cold Sacramento day we headed out for Oakland -- my trusty Subaru was happy to be on the road and in the open air. I knew the holiday traffic would be a bear and suggested we take the "river road" to the East Bay. Though narrow and curvy -- and skirting the Sacramento River -- I thought it would be an easier route then the always-congested I-80. It was the right decision.
Instead of heading west on I-80, we jetted south on I-5. Honestly, I must confess I am directionally challenged when it comes to north, south, east, and west. I don't know at what point our path turns, but really need to see it on the map to know how we manage to go in different directions and still wind-up in the same place. Oh, well, I digress.
So! The traffic on I-5 was pleasant enough and far less frantic then 80, but our time on the interstate will be limited and I am looking forward to diverting to the river and the wilds of the California Delta. Not far from the city limits we exit at Twin Cities Road (is this west) and begin the peaceful trek past Delta farmlands and across sloughs to River Road. Twin Cities dead-ends, literally, at the Sacramento River. So it's either left or right...or you're in the drink. We turn left (I think we are heading south again) towards Oakland.
I wish I had been able to photograph this journey but we were on a schedule. The photos will have to wait for another time. But the images of the Delta, the winding roads, sparkling waters of the Sacramento, small towns, vineyards and orchards are all burned solidly in my memory. Driving this road is not for the timid. You need to stay focused, which is hard to do with so much beauty and so many interesting things to see. On this particular journey, we don't have time to stop and dawdle. We whiz past all the wonderful places: Courtland, Locke, Walnut Grove. No time for the historic Ryde Hotel or wonderfully funny Ernie's in Isleton...now Isleton Joe's (that's another story). Catching only glimpses of some of the many birds -- egret, great blue heron, hawks, geese -- because I am at the wheel.
What I was lucky enough to witness was the most glorious sight of four horses running...galloping...across an open field. Manes flying. Though clearly fenced in, you could almost imagine them as wild and free. Probably, what we could not hear or see, their owner had rung a dinner bell and they were off to feed.
Thank goodness I opted for road taken on that cold December day.
P.S. Despite the season, we arrived in record time with only a blip of a traffic jam. And the visit to Oakland (one of my favorite cities) was a delight. Another story...another day.