Sunday, January 29, 2012

2012 Jan 28 - Polar Bear Ride

2012 Jan 28 - Polar Bear Ride

{Underlined items are links to more info. Clicking on them will open a new browser window. Clicking on a photo will open a larger version.}

This year's Polar Bear Ride will be around the Sacramento River Delta with lunch at Al the Wop's in Locke, CA. I want to thank KC who took over half of the photos that are in this Blog.

We meet up at the Chevron/McDonalds on Hwy 12 in Rio Vista.
We had 17 bikes and 19 people for this Ride.
We even had seven (7) VROC members.
Bruce "Biggtwin"   #247.
Me VSP                #5569.
Cranky                #16804.
Phil                    #19198.
KC                      #23847.
Uwe                   #26135.
Mike                   #27964.
We are meeting at the Chevron/McDonalds on Hwy 12 in Rio Vista for an 11:00 AM KSU.
But the Sacramento group delays the KSU until 11:15 AM by being late.
Sonoma Joe, Valerie, Mike #27964 and Mike's son

Phil, VSP and Stan

Cranky #16804 and others

We actually straggle out since there are LEOs on Hwy 12. We will group up in downtown Rio Vista.

The first leg takes us up and back Montezuma Hills Road.
This is Phil #19198 on his Nomad. This photo is from an earlier Ride since Phil rode his new Triumph Tiger 800XC today (his Nomad was in the shop).

We take a rest break about the middle of the Delta Loop in a big parking lot.

Then the back way to Locke and Al the Wop's.

Locke was founded in 1915 after a fire broke out in the Chinese section of nearby Walnut Grove. The Chinese who lived in that area decided that it was time to establish a town of their own. A committee of Chinese merchants approached land owner George Locke and inquired if they could build on his land. The town was laid out by Chinese architects and industrious building ensued. The founding of Lockeport, later 'Locke', was a reality. By 1920 Locke stood essentially as you see it now.

Levee construction originally brought the Chinese to this area, but by the time Locke was built most of the work was in farm labor. Locke had many businesses that catered to the farm workers and residents of this region. In the 1940's restaurants, bakeries, herb shops, fish markets, gambling halls, boarding houses, brothels, grocery stores, a school, clothing stores, and the Star Theatre lined the bustling streets of Locke. At its peak 600 residents, and as many as 1500 people occupied the town of Locke.

On August 2, 1970, Locke was added to the registry of national historical places, by the Sacramento County Historical Society, because of its unique status as the only town in the United States built exclusively by the Chinese for the Chinese.

Locke is no tourist trap, nor is it a ghost town. Its unusual, out-of-the-way charm is genuine. Perhaps it is this authenticity, without any hypocritical overtones, which brings so many out of town visitors to its doors.

Currently, there are between 70 to 80 people live in Locke. Chinese population is down to about ten.

This is most of the Group but I think 4 are missing.

"Al the Wop's", Al's place was constructed in 1915 by Lee Bing and three partners who ran a Chinese restaurant here in Locke. Then in 1934 Al Adami and an associate came up the river from Ryde to become the only non-Chinese business in town. Later Al purchased the building from Lee Bing and continued in the business until his death in 1961. Al had surprises in store for his patrons. Cutting off neckties (much too dressy for Al's), throwing money to the ceiling, and stirring the ladies' drinks with his fingers are just a few. Many stories linger on about his unusual antics.

Al's is famous for steak and pasta. This bar restaurant opens 7 days a week.

Inside the "Dining Room" of Al's.
Mike's friend Ron

Phil and KC

Mike his son and his friend's a couple from Patterson

Rad, Sonoma Joe, Valery and Uwe

Bruce and his Freedom Rider friends

Ron, Cranky, VSP and Phil

The small Steak Sandwich. In the old days the menu was a Steak or a Steak Sandwich.
Grilled bread with peanut butter and jam on the table.

The bar.

After lunch half the group heads home from Locke. The other half ride over to the Grand Island Mansion where we encounter the Ferrari Club of America - Pacific Region who have stopped for the Mansion's Sunday Bruch.
From the Ferrari Club - Sacramento Chapter Web Site:
We were met by the family that owns and farms the land surrounding the annual meeting spot, a place where the club members have faithfully gathered each January or February for well over 25 years. Not too long after the "scheduled" arrival of the members from the Bay, the long string of cars started screaming (literally) around the bend in the Sacramento River levee road. Sounds like quite a few modified exhausts to me - like the F1 race might sound if run along these river levees. Soon, there was a beautiful collection of cars filling both sides of the pavement, as well as around the house and barn of our hosts. Let's see if we can recall the various models present; a new FF, 308GTB's, 308GTS's, a 308 GT4, 355's, 360's, 550's, 575's, 430's, 458's,...what did I miss? Could there have been fifty?

With the Cavallino painted for 2012, the herd of cars was started and moved out to the next grazing spot, The Grand Island Mansion. At the Mansion, a few more speeches and a good brunch was served.
So I guess there were about 50 Ferrari's parked on the levee and around the Grand Island Mansion. It was the most Ferrari's that I have ever seen in one place.

The delta's historic Grand Island Mansion is a uniquely spectacular Italian Renaissance style villa. The Mansion is the largest private estate in northern California, and embodies the finest features of classical architecture and European craftsmanship.

The four-story, 24,000 square foot 58 room villa is centrally located on Grand Island in the lush delta region east of the San Francisco Bay.

The mansion was designed by J. W. Dolliver, the renowned San Francisco architect, in 1917 for Louis Meyers, a native of San Francisco, and his wife, Audrey, daughter of Lubin of the Weinstock Lubin department stores.

Louis Meyers, an Orchardist, built the house as the centerpiece of his Orchard Empire and as a place to entertain his society guests who arrived by riverboat, such as author Erle Stanley Gardiner.

The Grand Island Mansion has recently undergone extensive restoration under the direction of Terrence Black, great-nephew of the original architect, making the private estate the premier facility for weddings, receptions, corporate retreats, business conferences and private events. Immediate plans for the future include full spa services in the elegant style of a bygone era.

Guests can entertain in the private English Hunt lounge and bar, overlooking the spacious interior courtyard Colonnade room with fountains, vaulted ceiling and Moorish arches. The historic house was built by the finest craftsmen from Europe and has five marble fireplaces, inlaid parquet flooring, rare handmade tile work throughout, imported wood paneling, luxurious period furnishings and authentic artwork. Other amenities include a heliport, tennis court, basketball court, private docks and classical Italian gardens.

The Mansion has been featured in such publications as National Geographic, Sunset Magazine, Architectural Digest, Playboy Magazine, Victoria's Secret Catalog, and Macy's Furniture Catalog.

The Mansion and grounds are open for public viewing and dining during the famous Sunday Champagne Brunch, served 10:30 to 2:00, with reservations or by appointment.

The friendly professional staff is directed by Sandras Clark, an English hotelier who combines European tradition with a flexible creative approach to stress free event planning and coordinating, emphasizing personal service with a variety of packages, tailored to your special needs.

A view from the levee above the Grand Island Mansion.

A boat docked at the Grand Island Mansion's private dock.

The following are maps of the Ride:

The first map shows the Ride along Montezuma Hills Road to Birds Landing and back.

The second portion of the Ride is east along Hwy 12 for a few miles to the Delta Loop which takes us past a bunch of River Resorts on Brannan Island. Then the back road into Isleton.

The next stretch of the Ride takes us over to Andrus Island Road a little used and not particularly well maintained levee road. Then back to Hwy 160 for a short while to Locke and lunch at Al the Wop's.

After lunch half the riders head home and the other half ride over to the Grand Island Mansion and then head home.

We had riders from Sacramento, Valley Springs, San Jose, Pacifica, Santa Rosa, Manteca, Patterson, Stockton and Livermore today.