----The California Delta of the Sacramento-San Joaquin Rivers is only a short distance east of San Francisco but it is light-years away in its history and setting. Large islands may have a year-round population of six people. This is farm country, and only secondarily a recreational area. Isolation is part of the charm.
-----This was not our first impression of the Delta. We trailered Halcyon into a local marina late on a Sunday morning in late September and landed in bedlam - the last day of Wakeboard Weekend. Five thousand California kids were finishing party time. There had been an ocean of booze consumed, all manner of drugs, a stabbing, and a rape. When we arrived, there was a mountain of trash, hung over kids, and a few deputies littering the marina and RV Park. PA Systems blared raucous 'music' and a few kids were 'dancing' atop houseboats. We couldn't turn around fast enough.
-----"Really want to do this Delta thing, El?" I asked that evening camped alone and in blissful silence on the shores of Woodford Lake.
-----El was watching a lone fisherman drifting by in the dark, without any navigation lights. She was quiet a long time. "Well, the California party atmosphere has never been our thing," she said at last. "But, Chris is a sensible guy, and he likes the Delta. I don't think he would recommend cruising here if he didn't think it would be an enjoyable experience."
-----"But that was a terrible scene today, El" I continued. "If we had arrived there last night, at dusk, it would have been overwhelming. Imagine being on the water with those wakeboard boats - with the skippers drunk or high. They would make the mosquitoes of the north country look like Ladybugs, in comparison."
-----"We won't be cruising the Delta until November. Maybe the first frost will nail those annoying buggers," El said with a smile. "After all, half the attraction is the wet T-shirt and bikini contests - and 35 degrees ought to wrap that up, literally and figuratively."
-----"OK. We'll stay with the plan. But, fortunately we know Chris and can't see him enjoying that party scene anymore than we would," I acquiesced.
-----When we arrived in November, nights were in the 30's and, except for some well-wrapped fishermen, the marinas and waterways were empty. It was delightful. Fall is the perfect time, the locals tell us. Crazies have gone home, fish are biting, wind is down, and the days still warm and usually dry. It was delightful.
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