Rio Vista-Delta Ride 2012

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The Rio Vista-Delta Ride 2012: About 40 of us wait for the ferry to let us board. Every 20 minutes, not a minute sooner.

The BSAOCNC (BSA Owners Club of Northern California) sponsor about a ride a month, all year long. That's why I joined. The Rio Vista-Delta Ride is just one fine example. This was the first ride I took with the BSA club after joining a year ago, that was Rio Vista 2011. My '79 T140D Bonneville wasn't ready yet, so I rode my Harley on that one. While I was the butt of a few jokes, most made it clear they were glad to have me there, regardless of the kind of bike I was riding. Fast forward to now. My Bonnie is again torn apart (I actually had it running in between these two Rio Rides) and again it is not available for this ride. So again, I rode my Harley (2008 Dyna Street Bob). And again I was made to feel more than welcome by all. Of course, I've been a member for a year now, so I've made more than a few acquaintances.

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We staged below the bridge coming into Rio Vista, right on the water.


The weather was supposed to be absolutely perfect, the traffic light, the company enjoyable, the Rio Vista-Delta Ride 2012 was promising to be a great ride. When I got up at 6:00 am, it was cold & I hate riding when I'm cold. So, when I left Pleasanton CA at about 8:15 am, I was wearing a T-shirt, thermal underwear top & bottom, a flannel shirt & my leather jacket & 2 pairs of socks, and I was still cold! I regretted not wearing my mask, because my ears & face were frozen by the time I got to Rio Vista. It's about an hour-and-a-half for me, through Livermore, up Vasco Road to Brentwood, Antioch, across the bridge (tolls apply), and on to the Delta. I gassed up in Antioch & pulled into our rendezvous spot about about 9:35 am. The official departure time of the Rio Vista-Delta Ride 2012 was 10:00.

The Rio Vista-Delta Ride 2012:

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Check out this route! It began at Rio Vista (lower-left), wound around Ryer Island, then followed the Sacramento River up one side then down the other. What a ride! Incredible!!


The cool thing about the the Rio Vista-Delta Ride 2012, or any year, is the diversity of scenery. Farms, fields, rivers, people living in houseboats, people fishing off the bank, people fishing from boats, big boats, little boats, lovely little gingerbread houses, picturesque landscapes, abandoned factories...and that river. You wind along following the course of the mighty Sacramento, through tiny towns I've never heard of, and you get lost in the ride, in the moment, in the day. It was wonderful! And riding with old Brit bikes, it was nice & slow, it allowed me to enjoy the scenery, rather than set line up for the next apex.

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All of us packed together like sardines on the ferry as we trudge across the river.


The weird thing about the Sacramento River Delta the Ferry System. Somehow, someone somewhere determined that it would be cheaper to buy, operate, man, insure, fuel & maintain a fleet of ferries 24/7 than to build a few bridges over the river. I can't imagine how it could possibly pencil out, because there is a crew of 2 to 4 guys working constantly to make it all happen. We took 2 ferries this day. We waited in the sun for one ferry to let us board as it just sat there. They only run every 20 minutes and that's that. Once we got the go-ahead, we fired up our bikes & rolled on board, loosely at first, but at the urging of the crew, we quickly tightened up, then tightened up some more. The gate went up & the engine roared, off we went for our 4 minute ride across the river.


I had the pleasure of witnessing an interesting phenomenon that I would normally have been too preoccupied to notice. For once (well, not just once) I was on a modern bike with an electric starter that was a sure bet to start first try. But old British bikes need to be kicked, sometimes after being properly primed, tickled, brought to top-dead-center, or otherwise cajoled. And there is no guarantee they will start when you want them to. Classic British bike owners have a special place in their brains reserved for thinking about what they're going to do if it doesn't start this time. So, as the ferry neared the other side of the river, and as I sat confidently on my 2008 Harley, I watched as the crowd got restless. Slowly at first, they began fidgeting, reaching for choke levers, manual advances or ignition switches, folding out the kick starters. Moments later, all was a fury as 40 guys started jumping madly on their bikes trying not to be the guy that got stranded. Pandemonium followed and I must admit it was really quite entertaining. I enjoyed not being a part of the fray for once. When it was over, everyone got started, some having to rev their bikes to keep them from dying, I touched my started momentarily & off we went down the ramp & up the steep paved ramp to the road on the levy. I smiled as we rode off along a gorgeous tree-lined lane, with the river on our right.

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Hanging out in bustling downtown Clarksburg at rush hour.


We went passed lots of really nice homes, and some cute older homes, and some neat little Courtland, Vorden and Walnut Grove. We stopped in the cute, quiet, tree-lined town of Clarksburg for a rest & some refreshment. Very nice. Then back on board for more riding. We broke for lunch at The Maya Trading Company in Walnut Grove, had a nice meal together, talked, laughed, swapped lies and generally had a great time together. The BSAOCNC is nothing if its not friendly. These are some really nice folks. And serious motorcyclists, but not so serious that they can't have a little fun.

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Just a few of the nearly 40 cool bikes that went on the Rio Vista-Delta Ride 2012, packed tightly around the Maya Trading Company where we ate lunch in Walnut Grove.


Lunch at the Maya was pretty good. I took a chance & ordered the Alligator bits, not that great. But I think everyone else's stuff looked pretty good & I think they enjoyed it. We stayed & talked & laughed for a good long while, then we slowly wandered back to our bikes & a few took off, then a few more, then a few more. I made my goodbyes, jumped on the Harley & left with a group of others, heading toward home. They peeled off at the Rio Vista bridge, where they'd no doubt left their trucks. I was riding my bike home, so with a wave, I hit the gas & headed toward home. What a day...what a ride...I felt great when I got home.

Like I said, these guys organize a ride about every month somewhere in Northern California. And they liaison with the BSAOC of Southern California who have rides all over SoCal. For the complete schedule of events go to our page on the BSAOCNC or go to the club's own website at

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Rio Vista Delta Ride 2012
Last updated 12/16/20