Sunday, March 27, 2011

The Water is Still High…

Just sharing some pictures we took today... Click the pictures to see an enlarged version....

My Mom DSC02766came by this morning to visit and drop off some things that I’m borrowing for a bit to help me with a move I'm making.  After showing her the place I'm planning on moving to we decided to take a drive up the river to see how some of the marinas are faring with the high water. My daughter and grandson decided to come along too, so we all piled into my car and headed up river on the levee road.  The first marina upriver from Meridian is Lovey’s Landing.   All that area you see under water is normally filled with trailers and campers.  Fishermen and women usually live there year round to be close to the fishing.  One of the folks who has been living at Lovey’s is now staying with a friend across the street from me here in Meridian.  From what he told me and another friend, he's planning on renting a house here in town rather than moving his trailer back up to Lovey's when the river goes down.

DSC02767One of the trailers didn’t make it out of the low area before the water level came up...
Most of the rest of the RVs and trailers got pulled out of  the low area to the levee road.. They'll sit there until the water goes back down and the ground dries a bit..
The next marina upriver is Ward's Landing, and as you can see from the picture, they've got the river in their yard too.

 Check out the angle the ramp to the dock is at.. The ramp normally follows the slope of the levee down and across to where the docks usually are, but with the high water, the ramp goes up, bends in the middle and then down again to the dock which is almost at the same level as the higher part of the parking lot.

Just upriver from Ward's is what is usually a dirt parking lot where folks store their boats, RV's and other equipment... All we saw was one lonely sunken boat trailer.

As we drove up the levee road, we looked out across some of the farmland that is underwater... It's not deep, but there are acres and acres under water right now.

The water fowl in the area are loving the high water.  We saw dozens and dozens of snowy egrets wading in the shallow water or flying away from the noise of my 4x4 on the road.  My daughter got a few really nice shots of the birds out the passenger side window.
The trees in this orchard must be terribly confused.  They're in full bloom and absolutely flooded by the Sacramento River.

See that long black thing out beyond the small trees on the "shore"?  It was rushing downriver with the current.. Tree?  Long support beam from something?  We don't know, but after seeing lots of trees, limbs along with that thing floating down the river, no one needed to wonder why there aren't any boats in the river.
The next marina (and the last one we drove past today) is the Colusa Landing.. Just a couple weeks ago, my Mom,  my granddaughter from Utah and  I were there for lunch.  They had sandbags at that time, but not like they have now.  And there wasn't water in the parking lot beyond the restaurant then, either.

I walked down near the water to get a picture of the deck on the river side of the restaurant so my granddaughter can see what it looks like now... When we were there, the water wasn't even close to the restaurant.  Today, however it's close.. And there's evidence that the water has been even higher.  The spot I was standing to take this picture was under water just a day or two ago.
 There's no access to the docks at Colusa Landing right now.. The water is just a wee bit deep...

Well, that's the end of the "tour" for today... After leaving Colusa Landing and the Steelhead Lodge, we headed on in to Colusa in search of a late lunch, which we found... And then back home for all of us...  Hope you've enjoyed the tour of our flooded river!  I may have to do another tour once the water goes down and life returns to normal... Hmm.. Yeah, that might be a nice thing to do with my granddaughters when the granddaughter from Utah comes back to visit this summer.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

The Water is High………

Living alongside the Sacramento River is pretty good most of the time.  Until we get a wet winter like this one.  The streams and rivers are all running high right now..  Today, I took advantage of a break between storms to walk over to the levee to see how high the water is with my own eyes.  And to take a few pictures.. Of course.

And.. Yeah.  The water level is pretty high.  Flood stage on the Sacramento River in this area is at 70’ and according to the California Department of Water Resources website, right now the river level is about 67’.   Thankfully, the water levels are supposed to drop a little on Monday or Tuesday..  So far, from all reports that I’ve heard and read, the levees along the Sacramento River are holding up pretty well.  When the water is high like it is now, the levee districts have people patrolling the levees looking for any problem spots..  The reason the river is running so high right now is that Shasta Dam is dumping lots of water because Shasta Lake is uncomfortably close to capacity and the snow melt hasn't even begun yet.  It's the same situation on the other rivers in the area.  The Feather River is running high because Oroville is dumping water.  The American River is running high as well because the dams upstream are also making room for the snow melt.  Last week I read in one of the Sacramento papers that the summit of the Sierras had received something like 57 feet of snow and it was still snowing.. Hard.  Well, it's still snowing up there today and has been almost constantly for the past week.

Anyway, I thought I’d give you a couple pictures to compare.  Keep in mind that the photos are taken from opposite sides of the bridge and during different seasons…   The first picture was taken this afternoon and the second one was taken last June when CalTrans did a test of the mechanism that opens the bridge.  (Yes, it's a "draw" bridge, it just happens to be on a turntable.)
 As you can see from the pictures, the water level is pretty different between the two.. Be sure to note the difference on the bridge support below the up-rights on the structure.  (Sorry about not getting a shot from the same side of the bridge today.  I tried to go up on the South side of the bridge, but it was too muddy and too slick.  I didn't really feel like crawling up the side of the levee on my hands and knees.. So I used the access road on the North Side of the bridge.. You can see it in the picture below that shows both the river and the road.)

As I stood there watching the water flow past, I spotted a tree (Or the remains of a tree that fell in the river somewhere upstream.) coming down towards the bridge so I waited a bit to see where it was going to go... Under the bridge or get caught on the bridge supports.  This one went under the center span, but it's common for trees, limbs and other debris to get caught on the supports.
It's hard to tell in this image how much higher the water is than the road.  My estimate is that it's about 10 to 12 feet above the road surface.  All over town, the low areas have become pools of water that are seeping in from the river.  Including my own yard.  The back yard is mushy and I don't live right next to the levee.  The "joy" comes this coming week.  The sun is supposed to be out and the weather is going to warm up.  The river level will go down a foot or so, but the seepage puddles are still going to be there.  What does that mean for the little town of Meridian?  Mosquitoes!  It only takes a few nice days to hatch out scads of the pesky insects.  Oh "joy".

Monday, March 21, 2011

Ostrich Races Anyone? Or Maybe Camel Races?

I’m sitting out a “no internet” break because of the weather, so I thought I’d share a few more pictures from the visit to Southern California..  While we were down there, the Riverside County Fair and Indio Date Festival opened.  My Aunt, Uncle, a cousin and her husband, my Mom and I decided to go check it out.  The palm trees that you see behind the magic lamp are date palms and are all that's left of a huge grove of date palms that used to be there.  The groves of date palms are "moving" out of the town of Indio into the desert surrounding the city. 

Of course, while there we just had to watch the races.  It’s been a tradition at the Date Festival for many years to have the ostrich and camel races.  I can remember watching them as a kid when the family went to the fair and I can also remember how funny the guys looked mounted on those big birds..  Well, I have to tell you.  The guys still looked funny on those big birds.  As you can see from the picture to the left, the race guys have a nice little flock of birds.  They also had a few emus in a pen in the back, but I couldn’t get into a good position to get a good picture of them.

Here’s a view of the ostriches and their riders getting ready to race.  If you look close, you can see 2 of the riders getting mounted on their birds.  The 3 guys at the gates are actually trying to keep the gates closed as the birds were bumping hard against the enclosures.

 And... They're off!

About halfway around the track, the ostrich that was carrying the fellow in the white shirt decided it didn't want to run for the finish line.  It stopped dead, nearly throwing the rider off.  Then it started to spin and that did throw the rider off..

It took the rider and two other guys to get the ostrich back under control and headed towards the finish line and the pens.

The ostrich race was followed by a zebra race...

 Then we watched another ostrich race, only this time the birds were pulling chariots.  The fellow in red won the race followed by the one in white that you can see just exiting the starting gate.  The fellow in blue brought up the rear.

Then the race people brought 6 young boys down out of the stands.  Volunteers.  The older boys got to "race" the emus.  No riding, they just chased the birds towards the finish line.  All 3 boys were grinning from ear to ear at the end...  

The 3 littlest boys got to "race" chickens.  They had a much shorter distance to chase the chickens overall, but their race took the longest because the chickens ran every which way and most of the time, not towards the finish line.

The final race was the camel race.  As you can see from the picture, the fellow in yellow had a bit of trouble controlling which direction his camel ran.

 And at the halfway point, the fellow in red was in the  lead with the one in green following in second place.
 And the fellow in yellow brought up the rear. LOL! 

After the races were over, we wandered the fairgrounds viewing the arts and crafts that were entered in the competitions and of course, we had to have a "date shake".  We bought some fresh dates to bring home with us, as well.  We all had a great time at the fair and were ready for some serious sitting down when we left.

And, I see now that I have internet again... Hurray!  One disadvantage to living in a small town that isn't terribly close to a larger city is the fact that we are limited in our choices for "entertainment".  We have no option of cable TV, we are limited to satellites.  We don't have fiber optic cables for our telephones, so we are unable to get DSL for our internet.   The choices for internet are pretty limited.  Dial-up, satellite or wireless broadband.  I tried the satellite route and was very dissatisfied with the service.  It was barely better than dial-up which I wasn't going back to.  So, wireless broadband it is.  Until the weather knocks out the power to the town.  Oh well.  We got our power back yesterday midday and internet came back this morning.  Yay!  Enjoy the pictures!

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Still on the Road & Still Having Fun

2/18 ~ Lets see.  I’m in Riverside at my Aunt’s house.  My Aunt doesn’t have WiFi, so I fixed it.  Sort of.  I went to Walmart and bought a no-contract Broadband card and one of the cards for some time online.  At least I’ll be able to occasionally upload some blog posts while I’m here.  Now, where did I leave off in the last post? Oh yeah! In Palm Springs 2 days ago!

2/16 ~ Once the Holiday Inn moved us to a different room, we had a working WiFi connection and I was able to at least let the family know where we were and what we were up to.  DSC02695Only I didn’t tell everyone what we had planned.   Mom and I had decided that we both wanted to take a ride on the Palm Springs Tram.   The weather report for the day was kind of iffy.  They were expecting rain in the valley and snow on top of the mountain.  It was still nice when we set out towards the Tram station, though.  This picture shows our view back at the base station shortly after beginning our trip.  The gondolas on the tram rotate as you ride up the cable, so your view constantly changes.  DSC02697 Having the gondolas rotate made it a pleasant ride up the mountain because there was no jockeying for position as people looked for things to take pictures of.  We all got to take pictures of the station at the bottom and we all got to take pictures of the cables, the towers and the mountains..   And the view of the valley below.  It was absolutely spectacular.  DSC02700This picture of the valley was taken from the patio at the mountain station.  It was quite a bit colder at the top.  When we walked out onto that patio, I hit a patch of ice and skated for a few inches.  I moved over and followed Mom along the wall of the building where it was dry. 

3/16~ Wow.. It’s been a month since I wrote the beginning of this post. Sorry about that, folks!  Things got a bit hectic when we got back home and then I had my granddaughter come from Utah for a weeklong visit.  It was pretty busy while she was here.. Lots of activities and fun..  For now, I’m going to pass up posting pictures and stuff from the rest of the trip.  Just take my word for  it, Mom and I had a wonderful trip.  We saw lots of neat things, did a lot of fun things and had good visits with friends and family in Southern California. 
Now for a small “rant” aimed at a certain “anonymous” person who keeps posting comments that I will not allow to be published.  Stop.  Now.  I’m tired of reading your little rants/comments.  I will not publish them, nor will you miraculously change my opinion, so you might as well give up.

I do not hate anyone, Phil Spector included.  Keep up your garbage, and I might come close to “hating” you.  See, the thing is, “hate” is an emotion that you have to work at maintaining.  It's not a healthy emotion.  Plus, you also need to know the person you “hate”.  I don’t know Phil Spector, nor do I know his wife so I don't "hate" them.  Mr "Anonymous", I don’t even “hate” you for what you are doing.  But, today, you must be feeling very proud of yourself.  You managed to start a ruckus that got the Phil Spector Appeal thread closed for the night.  Wow.. What an accomplishment.  Hopefully no one got banned because of your “fun”.  Go ahead and keep posting links to my blog… I really don’t care.  The post you keep sending people to is almost 2 years old and has absolutely no relevance to what is going on today.  Ok.  /Rant off.