Monday, May 2, 2011

Sugar Barge Visit, Back on the Road

It’s hard to believe it’s already May! There are lots of ways to celebrate May Day, and I always remember dressing in pastel colors and taking part in the weaving of a May Pole as a young girl. This year we used the day to catch up with some wonderful friends.

We wish we could have taken our motorhome to the lovely Sugar Barge RV Resort and stayed a few days, but circumstances prevented it. We had to be content with just a visit in our car, and lunch with Larry and Carol Jennings.

I’m sure Carol was listening to another one of Don’s stories!DSCN5450

Sugar Barge is located in the Sacramento Delta, on Bethel Island in Contra Costa County. It was such a pretty day and the water looked so inviting, we wished we had time (and the paddles, still in the motorhome) to go kayaking. Ah, well, that will have to go on our list for another time.

Carol gave us a brief tour of the park and marina.IMAG0156

One of the docks at the Sugar Barge Marina.IMAG0154

Restaurant and boat house at Sugar Barge.IMAG0157

Carol and Larry’s site at the resort.IMAG0160

Larry and Carol have a house at Escapees’ Rainbow’s End in Livingston, TX. But they travel for several months every year in their truck and Big Foot camper, towing a Honda CR-V similar to ours. They are quite comfortable in this diminutive RV, and love the freedom it gives them. Check out Carol’s blog RVers in a Shoebox to learn more about their travels and adventures.

The Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta, formed by the confluence of those two rivers, is also known as the California Delta. The total area is around 1100 square miles and includes some 700 miles of waterways. The delta was originally marshland, and most of it has been made usable by hundreds of miles of levees built by Chinese laborers in the late nineteenth century. This made it possible to drain the land and create farmland. Click the link above to read more about the construction and history of this fascinating area.

Map of the Sacramento-San Juaquin River Delta.image

Today, May 2, we began our journey toward the Salt Lake City area. We originally planned to take 3 days to drive the 720 miles. But we pushed on today and drove about 380 miles from Lodi, CA to Battle Mountain, NV. We’re staying at an RV park attached to the Flying J station. There are lots of run-down RVs that probably haven’t seen the road in many years. Several have make-shift insulation creating a skirt around the lower edges, and there’s no control over how much ‘junk’ is left outside on their sites. We’ve probably stayed in worse places, but I can’t remember where! The price is not too bad – $27 – and we managed to get 50-amp service out of two 30-amp outlets by using a device I bought at a rally last year. Don remembered it and took it out of the package for the first time.

Weather was great, traffic was light, and we only had one small mechanical problem. We’ve had an alarm for low air pressure that started twice before, but today it came on twice within a few minutes. I was driving in the Sierra Nevada mountains east of Sacramento, and it was a little scary. Fortunately, I was able to pull into a rest area, and Don called our friend Dennis Hill (see below), who used to own a Phaeton similar to ours, teaches a class at RV rallies where he covers testing air brakes, and has lots of experience with big rigs. He had Don run a test on the brakes, and everything seemed fine. We think the test may have actually cleared the problem, because we didn’t experience it again. Just to gain some peace of mind we stopped at the Freightliner shop in Sparks, NV to have it checked. But Bryan, the tech in the Service Dept, said if we hadn’t had any more leaks of air pressure, there was nothing he could service. We drove on the rest of the day with no further problems.

The mountains were still wearing a cloak of white left over from the winter storms. It was pretty, but we were glad there was no precip or white stuff on the road.



In the photo below, you can see one of the many train tunnels, built to protect railroad tracks from getting clogged by snow, especially in inaccessible locations.


Tomorrow we have about 330 miles to drive to Hill AFB north of Salt Lake, to stay at the FamCamp. There we’ll join Larry and Marilyn Forbes, currently staying at the Elks Lodge in Bountiful, and we hope to sponsor them into the FamCamp. Dennis and Carol Hill, owners of RV Driving School and close friends (they stood up for us when we got married) will arrive Wed or Thurs. Dennis writes a frequent blog (click the link) and posts great photos, especially when using his ‘whale lens’ to get close-ups of wildlife. I’m sure he’ll be capturing some wonderful shots on the trip. These are two of the four couples we’re going with to Alaska. We’ll meet the other two in Dawson Creek, BC on or before May 16, if we don’t run into them somewhere on the road.

Anyway, it’s great to be back on the road again. We’re getting very excited about the big adventures ahead of us! Stay tuned, and we’ll try to share the fun through photos and reports on this blog.


  1. The western slope of those big Sierras have a whole lot more snow on them than the eastern side, that's for sure. We remember taking the train through that tunnel one winter, from Oakland to Reno, stay a night or two, then return. The snowy mountain scenery was splendid!

  2. I've got your blog set to check every day! (Morning Coffee, firefox). We'll be 3 weeks or so behind you!


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