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Weekend in Old Sacramento

Ronnie

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Year
2010
Boat Model
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For context I’ve done this several times before but had different experiences this time worth noting.

Departed Brannon Island State Park near Rio Vista, CA.

Travelled 50 miles on smooth water to the guest docks in Old Sacramento.
2.5 hours on the water, no stops but plenty of no wake zones.

Lesson 1. Call the docks to reserve space long before you launch. On most weekends after Labor Day space is not a problem. This weekend they closed about 75% of the docks for construction either on the dock, capitol street bridge or both. I ended up getting the last spot available on the outside. $1.50 per foot per night, add $10 per night for shore power. Monitored via video only.

Hotels: There are many to choose from but if you want to stay close to your boat and possibly see it from your room stay at the embassy suites, $200 to $250 per night for the top floor with a river view. It’s a short walk across the railroad tracks and down to the dock or across the street into old town Sacramento. Another option is the river king, a paddle boat converted into a restaurant / hotel, not sure of the rate but the rooms look small, located just in front of/shares the guest dock.
There are many other hotels to choose from within walking distance (15 mins.) of the guest docks, if you don’t have a need to constantly check on your boat, there may be a hotel that better suits your needs and / or budget.

My wife and I stayed at the Kimpton Sawyer hotel next to Golden 1 Center where the Sacramento Kings (NBA) play. It had a nice roof top pool which closes at 7p when the night club on that floor opens. We opted for a room with a balcony and the per night rate was close to $400. We could not stay another night because there were no vacancies as the Dave Mathews Band was performing next door that night.

Lesson 2. Check out things outside of old town Sacramento and consider using alternative methods of getting around. There is a lot more to see than what’s in old Sacramento, like the recently renovated Downtown Commons (DOCO for short), also Mid-Town where there are some great places to eat and the farmers market and street fairs are held here. We took Uber twice to and from the boat at a cost of $6 each before tip. The hotel let us use bikes for free and you can always rent scooters and / or bikes right off most sidewalks. Sacramento is bike and dog friendly.

We departed old Sacramento at 2:30 and took almost 3 hours to get back to the boat ramp.

Lesson 3. Check the weather conditions for the water on the day you leave and the day you return. We had no wind on the way in and constant wind of 15 mph + on the return trip. While in the sloughs towards rio vista speed was limited to 30 mph or less. Once we got back into the main channel near rio vista head winds created swells of 5+ feet with no apparent recurring pattern. It was a white knuckle trip for the last 3 to 5 miles at 10 to 15 mph max, no cruise assist, lots of water over the bow, I was afraid for my wife’s and my safety.

My back up plan was to head to the nearest boat ramp, get an Uber to my tow vehicle and recover the boat from the new ramp.

Boating related costs: $335.50
$20 to cross the Antioch bridge ($5 per axle),
$18 to launch and park,
$36 guest dock fee ($1.50 per foot per night), $210 for fuel (approximately 60 gallons at $3.50 per gallon), $52.50 (15 gallons for tow vehicle at $3.50 per gallon).

Lesson 4. Next time try the train. 3 hours each way and they have a drink car versus 5 hours each way (car and boat) and all the non alcoholic drinks you want plus all the pros and cons of trailer boating.

CE28F479-CB64-4E7E-8193-AE6A8ABF3AE5.jpeg
 

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dzeppos

Jet Boat Lover
Messages
91
Reaction score
43
Points
77
Location
Coto de caza, CA
Boat Make
Yamaha
Year
2016
Boat Model
Limited S
Boat Length
24
For context I’ve done this several times before but had different experiences this time worth noting.

Departed Brannon Island State Park near Rio Vista, CA.

Travelled 50 miles on smooth water to the guest docks in Old Sacramento.
2.5 hours on the water, no stops but plenty of no wake zones.

Lesson 1. Call the docks to reserve space long before you launch. On most weekends after Labor Day space is not a problem. This weekend they closed about 75% of the docks for construction either on the dock, capitol street bridge or both. I ended up get the last spot available on the outside. $1.50 per foot per night, add $10 per night for shore power. Monitored via video only.

Hotels: There are many to choose from but if you want to stay close to your boat and possibly see it from your room stay at the embassy suites, $200 to $250 per night for the top floor with a river view. It’s a short walk across the railroad tracks and down to the dock or across the street into old town Sacramento. Another option is the river king, a paddle boat converted into a restaurant / hotel, not sure of the rate but the rooms look small, located just in front of/shares the guest dock.
There are many other hotels to choose from within walking distance (15 mins.) of the guest docks, if you don’t have a need to constantly check on your boat, there may be a hotel that better suits your needs and / or budget.

My wife and I stayed at the Kimpton Sawyer hotel next to Golden 1 Center where the Sacramento Kings (NBA) play. It had a nice roof top pool which closes at 7p when the night club on that floor opens. We opted for a room with a balcony and the per night rate was close to $400. We could not stay another night because there were vacancies as the Dave Mathews Band was performing next door that night.

Lesson 2. Check out things outside of old town Sacramento and consider using alternative methods of getting around. There is a lot more to see than what’s in old Sacramento, like the recently renovated Downtown Commons (DOCO) for short, also Mid-Town where there are some great places to eat and the farmers market and street fairs are held here. We took Uber twice at a cost of 6 before tip. The hotel let us use bikes for free and you can always rent scooters and / or bikes right off most sidewalks. Sacramento is bike and dog friendly.

We departed old Sacramento at 2:30 and took almost 3 hours to get back to the boat ramp.

Lesson 3. Check the weather conditions for the water on the day you leave and the day you return. We had no wind on the way in and constant wind of 15 mph + on the return trip. While in the sloughs towards rio vista speed was limited to 30 mph or less. Once we got back into the main channel in rio vista head winds created swells of 5+ feet with no apparent recurring pattern. It was a white knuckle trip for the last 3 to 4 miles at 10 to 15 mph max, no cruise assist, lots of water over the bow, I was afraid for my wife’s and my safety.

My back up plan was to head to the nearest boat ramp, get an Uber to my tow vehicle and recover the boat at the new ramp.

Boating related costs: $335.50
$20 to cross the Antioch bridge ($5 per axle),
$18 to launch and park,
$36 guest dock fee ($1.50 per foot per night), $210 for fuel (approximately 60 gallons at $3.50 per gallon), $52.50 (15 gallons for tow vehicle at $3.50 per gallon).

Lesson 4. Next time try the train. 3 hours each way and they have a drink car versus 5 hours each way (car and boat) and all the non alcoholic drinks you want plus all the pros and cons of trailer boating.

View attachment 104785
Great recap of your trip. I had always wanted to do that trip. Where did you hit big swells on the delta? That surprises me- was it wicked windy or stormy? Can’t even fathom that
 

Ronnie

Jetboaters Admiral
Messages
4,949
Reaction score
4,010
Points
337
Location
SF Bay Area
Boat Make
Yamaha
Year
2010
Boat Model
Limited S
Boat Length
24
The water conditions were the worst where the San Joaquin River meets the Sacramento River, near the Rio Vista Bridge, so about 1 mile before the Rio Vista Bridge and the 3 to 4 past it until I got to the bridge near the Brannon Island. It was really windy, I didn’t check the forecast but the sustained winds had to be more than 10 mph. I’m not surprised about the wind, someone installed a multi million dollar wind farm there and the world kite boarding speed record was set nearby there a few years ago. I’ve made this trip upwards of 10 times over the last 10 years and this is the worst water I’ve ever experienced. Had I known it was that bad I would have either driven (now taken the train), cancelled or simply launch out of Vierra’s Resort which is at the start/end of the Sacramento River before it merges with the San Joaquin. No pics of the bad water, my wife was holding on with both hands and so was I. Overall it was still a great trip but I will do things differently the next time around.

Speaking of rivers and river mergers, here are a few signs from discovery park (local party spot for boaters) in / near old Sacramento. In the “discovey Park” explanation of “confluence” pic, I didn’t get much of the image but the brown part at the left edge is the water of the Sacramento River not dirt/ground. It’s easy to tell when you are in/on the water as well. Other than being clearer the water of the American River is much colder to the touch than that of the Sacramento River.

I almost forgot to mention there is “wing dam” that starts at the north eastern confluence point and extends south for about 50 yards or so. It’s meant to stop or slow down erosion so it’s under the surface of the water. I boated over it once by accident, luckily I have a low draft so experienced no damage but the first time I did it other boaters were freaking out and one came over to see if I damaged my prop or out drive.

I B17C6DF9-EF38-422C-99C2-EDBD0224C28F.jpeg
 

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dzeppos

Jet Boat Lover
Messages
91
Reaction score
43
Points
77
Location
Coto de caza, CA
Boat Make
Yamaha
Year
2016
Boat Model
Limited S
Boat Length
24
So appreciated. Always wanted to do a trip up the delta to Sacramento. Your comments are really helpful. I’m definitely doing it next summer - but playing close attention to the weather like you advised
 
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