Delta Rat Scrapbook – by Bill Wells

Delta Rat Scrapbook

PICYA Delegates Luncheon

The Stockton Yacht Club hosted the Pacific InterClub Yacht Association meeting and luncheon. The clubhouse was packed with representatives from yacht clubs all over the Bay and Delta. To start the event, we had a gourmet lunch served from the galley. After a little confusion about which club was the club of the year, Joan Marsh accepted the award on behalf of the Pittsburg Yacht Club. Two new directors were announced: Michael Proctor of the Berkeley Yacht Club and Karen Lyle of the Golden Gate Yacht Club.

Joan Marsh accepts award for Pittsburg Yacht Club.

Marin Yacht Club

Morris Lum had dinner at the Marin Yacht Club in San Rafael, “They have over 100 boat slips for sail and powerboats. There are tennis courts and pickle ball courts. They have paddle boards, kayaks and youth sailing activities. At the mouth of San Rafael Bay just a stone’s throw from the San Quentin resort area.

Bill Gargan and Mike Procter. Photo courtesy of Morris Lum.

“They just got new chefs and the food is amazing. This evening, I had their celebration dinner of roasted brussels sprouts, French green beans, potato salad, coleslaw, tomato creole bisque, fried catfish, red beans and rice, along with crawdads, Jambalaya of andouille sausage and chicken, shrimp etouffee, corn on the cob and pecan pie.

Paul Simmons and Tina Milani.
Cajun food at the Marin Yacht Club. Photo courtesy of Morris Lum.

“The Vice Commodore, Tina Milani and her husband Mark the Port Captain and Tracey, their Club Staff Events Coordinator, made sure I was well tended as a visiting guest.” Mark said, “this is what they eat on Chinese New Year in New Orleans” in that other Delta region of the U.S. And this year the NFL put the Superbowl to coincide with the Lunar New Year. This is so amazing, another party. So, for Sunday Superbowl snacks, it was most impressive. Starting with fried shrimp, pork sliders, mini burgers, fried wings – hot and BBQ, homemade chili, giant dogs of apple chicken sausage, and add in all the veggie and cheese platters with a giant bowl of house made guacamole. And two styles of melted cheese tubs to make nachos. I am happily stuffed with two days of Marin Yacht Club chef food.”

Party at the Marin Yacht Club. Photo courtesy of Morris Lum.
Port Captain Melissa Marvin.
Linda & Gary Gordon.

Village West Marina & Resort

The resort held their Summer Kickoff Party in early June. It was out on the point at the Riverside RV Park on a beautiful Saturday afternoon. Tim Fontaine greeted us as we walked up. Marina berthers and friends of the marina were invited.

General Manager Tim Fontaine.

We first checked out the car show. There were mostly hot rods and customs, but Dan Gorham had his 1932 Ford sedan there. I think it was all stock; it had the flathead four-banger motor, mechanical brakes, wire wheels and mohair interior. It was a beautiful car, but when I see a stock car I start thinking about what it would be like to put in a modern V8 and upgrade all of the running gear. I would guess that would be sacrilegious nowadays, but back in the era when I grew up early Fords were the raw material for hot rodding. Plenty were repowered with V8 flatheads and later with modern overhead valve motors. The early transmissions and rear axles would not take a lot of abuse, so more robust ones were installed. You could buy the parts needed to upgrade your vehicle in mail order catalogues and local speed shops. Eventually, people started replacing the solid front axle with Mustang or other front suspension. The hot rods and customs today are superior to the machines from the 50s and 60s and on par with recently manufactured vehicles.

Dan Gorham with his 1932 Ford.
1934 Ford hot rod.
Custom Mercury Cougar.

There were plenty of other interesting automobiles there too. I guess my favorite was a small block Chevy-powered 34 Ford Coupe painted a semi-gloss white. There was a nice Mercury Cougar on view also.

Davids New York Style Pizza was serving several kinds of delicious pizza. There was beer and soft drinks to wash it down. Lodi Burgers was scheduled for later in the afternoon with bacon cheeseburgers and cheese/avocado hot dogs – yummm. Mike Saliani was scheduled to perform on the stage from 1700 hours to 1900 hours. He was to be followed by Triton Taylor at 1900 with top 40 hits.

Windmill Cove beer truck.

Once again, a great party put on by the Pellarin Brothers and their resort staff. Village West is the standard by which Delta Marinas are judged.

Ko-Ket Resort

JP Morais hosted the Delta Chambers mixer at the resort on the east bank of the Sacramento River in a shady grove near Isleton. Terry McDonald was just in from his property in LaPaz and J Mills interrupted his sailing adventure for a trip back to the Delta. After cruising the Sea of Cortez, he has left his boat at a marina in Costa Rica while he takes care of some business up here in the Delta. Thom & Wendy Foulks just returned from Florida where they attended the birth of their first grandchild. Leon John Edalgo was born to Chantelle Edalgo (Thom & Wendy’s daughter) and her husband, John Edalgado in May. Congratulations to the parents and grandparents. Martha Esch was there promoting her Locke Tubing Society. If you want to have some fun go tubing with Martha, she is the life of the party wherever she goes.

A young lady relaxing in a chair at Ko-Ket Resort.

The outdoor deck is very shady once the sun gets a little low near the horizon. For boats there is a nice guest dock and you are only a short run to Rio Vista and Walnut Grove. You also have access to Sacramento, Steamboat Slough and Georgiana Slough.

Laura, Terry, J and Trish.

Stop by the resort; they have cabins, glamping tents and RV spaces right on the water. The Island Bar & Grill is an excellent spot to get a snack, meal or a cold beer or drink.

There is a lot going on the weekends, on Thursday there is trivia, tequila and pastrami sandwiches. Friday you have weekly Tiki cocktail, handmade pizza and beer. Saturday – Hawaiian sliders and beer. Sunday – carne asada tacos. Don’t miss this great spot.

Martha giving a local woman a pitch on the Locke Tubing Society.

Taste Of The Delta

There is still time to get your discount Taste of the Delta tickets online at This is the 21st annual event and it will be held on Aug. 10, from 1300 hours to 1600 hours. Windmill Cove Resort is the shady spot on the bank of the San Joaquin River near Marker 34 on the Stockton Deep Water Channel where folks will gather to try samples of beverages and foods from all over the region, all in one spot at one low price. There will be an auction for many items that you can’t live without. Live music will be provided throughout the event.

Taste of the Delta 2023.

This is the party you wait for each year, so don’t be left out; get your tickets now. Vickie Baumann started the event many years ago (when she was real young). It has been held at many great spots around the Delta; Tower Park, Ryde Hotel, Village West Marina & Resort, as well as several times at Windmill Cove. It looks like the 2025 event will be at Delta Diamond Farm in Isleton.

Korth’s Pirates Lair Café

I popped into Korth’s Café for a clubhouse sandwich, French fries and iced tea and met the new staff. Jennifer, Samantha and Lindsey are charming young ladies and eager to serve. My lunch arrived quickly and I wonder why I seem to get hungrier while I eat. It was an excellent lunch and gave me enough energy to work on my boat for the rest of the day. I got a chance to understand the operation a little. I am confident the trio will do well and be an asset to the café and marina.

Samantha, Jennifer and Lindsey at your service.

The café is a great stop if you are cruising the lower Mokelumne River. It is a short walk from the Korth’s guest dock or the fuel dock. When I walked in, Marina Manager Tom Tate was having lunch with Ernie Wilkinson; I got to talk to them for a few minutes before they had to leave. Ernie has his business located just down the street at B&W Resort and says he is having a very busy summer servicing local boats. He is an expert mechanic on gas and diesel engines. Give him a call at 916-263-5905.

Isleton Crawdad Festival

I was unable to make it to this great event but my associate, Daniel Witte was able to stop by on Sunday. There was a little confusion to start. The vendor that had helped put on the festival last year pulled up stakes and had a competing festival at CalExpo on the same Father’s Day weekend as the Isleton Crawdad Festival.

The Isleton Crawdad Festival is the original and the best and you are helping to support local small businesses. They had a reported 10,000 pounds of crawdads, plenty of beer and soft drinks. Oysters Oh’ La La was a hit. According to my sources, these aren’t your average oysters – they are gourmet and served hot, dripping with secret sauce, aka Liquid Gold. Head Chef & owner, Mr. Oyster Man, came all the way from Amite, Louisiana to be part of the festival.

Fresh crawdads at the festival. Photo courtesy of Daniel Witte.

Daniel files this report: “The city of Isleton held their annual crawdad festival on the weekend of June 14-16. Though I only attended the third day, from what I saw of that it appeared that the event had a large turnout. Everyone at the event had a smile on their face and was excited to be there. Even with the large turnout, there was plenty of parking both regular and handicap. The parking was well marked and easy to find. The handicap parking was directly in front of the city docks which made for extremely easy access to the festival.

“There were a lot of great food and drink trucks at the event selling everything from Cajun food like boiled crawdads and jambalaya to great beer. Since there were so many food trucks, the lines were very short and the service was extremely prompt. My favorite of all the foods was the crawdad boil. The crawdads were well seasoned, easy to eat and extremely flavorful. In addition to the food and drink trucks, there were also dessert trucks with everything from ice cream cones to milkshakes. One thing that was nice about the ice cream cones was that they had a Styrofoam bowl at the top to keep the ice cream from leaking out while people ate. Besides the food and drink booths, vendors were selling items such as hats and shirts. In fact, the local tattoo shop was right next to the festival so people could get tattoos while enjoying the party.

“The festival consisted of three music stages, each of which had umbrellas with seating and tables so people could sit and enjoy the music. The area in front of the stages was left open so dancers could get their groove on. Two of the bands we listened to were the Zydeco Mudbugs and the Big Chiefs. Between the bands, I liked the Big Chiefs better because they had more of a country beat to their music and did a lot more singing. The Cajun music reminded me of many years past when we used to attend the Jazz Festival in Old Sacramento.

“One of the most interesting items I saw at the Crawdad Festival was the antique fire truck brought out by the Isleton Fire Department. The truck had a big bell that was used for clearing traffic in addition to an old-fashioned mechanical siren. Considering how fast fire engines go to a fire, it is amazing to think that back in the day the firemen rode standing on the bumper on the way to a fire rather than buckled into seat belts like now. By having an old fire truck, people today were able to see how fires were fought many years in the past.

“As the summer continues, there will be plenty of events around the Delta and Bay coming up. Please come out and enjoy all that the Delta has to offer.”

There you have it. The Isleton Crawdad Festival is a Delta tradition.

Runabouts On The River

The annual Antique & Classic Boat Society (ACBS) of Northern California/Lake Tahoe held this popular event on June 29 at the Stockton Sailing Club. This is a do not miss event for all boat and car lovers that has been going on since 2016 (I think). The highlight is the several dozen wooden runabouts with builders like Stephens, Chris Craft, Gar Wood, Besotes – you get the idea.

Greg Risso, Sim Risso with their Besotes runabouts.

The San Joaquin River in front of the club was brimming with classic runabouts taking people for rides. If you looked out over the river you would feel like you had slipped back into the last century. It was glorious. The sound of high-powered boat engines is music to anyone’s ears.

One of the first people I saw when I arrived was Greg Rizzo, owner of Garlic Brothers Restaurant in Stockton. I met his brother Sim; they each had a beautiful Besotes there. Greg’s was powered by a Chrysler 440 cubic inch wedge and Sim’s was powered by a 426 Hemi. Next to them was another Besotes once owned by their father that they grew up cruising the Delta on. Sim’s had been caught in a building fire recently and suffered some damage. You would never know it now after being restored, she looks new. He even found a period windshield to replace the one that melted in the fire. Besotes were built in Stockton as many of you know, and they are a legendary no-nonsense performance runabout. When you ordered the boat, you could specify the engine you wanted with Cadillac and Chrysler being the most popular.

Hemi power.

You could definitely get your fix of wooden boats at this show. I got there fairly early and it was still packed. As I walked the dock, I heard many folks talking about waterskiing behind and cruising in these beautiful pieces of art. Richard Dunn had his classic Stephens runabout on view. I did not see him; he generally tries to avoid me when possible.

Phil Acosta & Richard Schwager.

After inspecting the boats at the dock, I sauntered up into the parking lot that had been taken over by boats on trailers, classic cars and hot rods. I ran into Phil Acosta who I had not seen in a few years; he is still working on boats. Richard Schwager had his classic Jeepster there. Tony Faso had his 1960 Lincoln Continental convertible on display. There was a 1957 Lincoln Continental, to me one of the most beautiful automobiles ever produced. This one had a subtle metalflake paint job which made it even more beautiful. Dan Gorham had his 32 Ford on view. John Garza was there admiring the boats too. Eric Koster of J&H Marine was one of the principals of the show. I finally tracked him down as I was getting ready to leave and complimented him on a great event.

Tressa Gaye and the Bone Shakers.

Live rock and roll music was provided by my friend Tressa Gaye and her group, The Bone Shakers.

This was a fantastic event and I’ll be providing more information in the September issue, so stay tuned. I’m sorry if you missed it. Be sure to come next year.

Coastal Cleanup Day

My friend Vivian Matuk of the California Coastal Commission is asking for help. “The California Coastal Commission and the California State Parks Division of Boating and Waterways invites all boating facilities, boating groups, sailors, anglers and water enthusiasts alike to celebrate the aquatic ecosystems we love by joining the largest volunteer event in the state and the world, California Coastal Cleanup Day (CCD.) This year, we are celebrating the 40th year anniversary of this unique event on Sept. 21. Remember, the event isn’t limited to the coastal region; there are cleanups taking place all over California – from the coast to the Sierra region and from San Diego up to Modoc County.

“Want your boating facility to be part of the biggest international volunteer event in the world? It is very easy: Contact Statewide Coastal Cleanup Day Boating Program Manager, Vivian Matuk at or 916-764-0989. We will connect you with your local county coordinator who will help us to plan your event and provide you with cleanup materials. You can establish a cleanup site and make a difference. This event could be only for your tenants, staff and families, or you can open to the public. Not ready yet to be a cleanup site? No worries, we can connect you to your nearest cleanup site. Last year alone over 45,762 volunteers removed 376,308 pounds of trash and recyclables from our waterways, beaches and lakes.”

Mare Island Bridge

The Mare Island Drawbridge got stuck in the down position in late May. The City of Vallejo was able to contact the original builder of the bridge to help facilitate repairs. This bridge is on the Mare Island Strait/Napa River with a vertical clearance of about 12 feet when down, which makes it hard for larger boats and all sailboats to get upstream.

“The existing Mare Island Vertical Lift Bridge is a tower drive vertical lift that has an antiquated electrical system. The system utilizes Westinghouse AC 500 drives, which are obsolete, and are no longer manufactured nor supported.  Hardesty & Hanover (the original builder) has reached out to a specialty subcontractor who is familiar with these drives and can provide technical support to the City of Vallejo’s current, on call, contractor.”

For you technical folks, here is what the Coast Guard says about the problem: “It is believed that the Regulator’s reverse pulser (RP) control card of the AC500 West Drive failed. The resistor also shows overheating damage. This part of the RP board helps to control SCR 1THR for Phase 1 reverse direction. Before the RP Board is replaced, the cause of failure needs to be found.” As of this writing, repairs have been completed and the bridge is back in service again.

Steamboat Slough Bridge

The Coast Guard has submitted this advisory also. Caltrans will begin major mechanical and electrical rehabilitation of the Steamboat Slough Drawbridge across Steamboat Slough on July 15.  

Therefore, from 0600 hours on July 15, 2024, through 0600 hours on Dec. 30, 2024, the draw span of the bridge will be secured in the closed-to-navigation position and will not open for vessels for any reason.

When closed the bridge provides 20 feet of vertical clearance at mean high water. Vessels able to pass through the bridge while closed can continue to do so at any time.

Steamboat Slough is a major shortcut if you are travelling between Rio Vista and Sacramento. It got its name from steamboats using it. It saves about nine miles.

Be Safe Out There

We are well into the summer, and there have already been some avoidable tragic deaths on the water. Two women have drowned recently in local rivers. Emergency responders say the swift currents and cold-water temperatures are factors in the deaths. All children and most adults should wear personal flotation devices when they enter the water.

The recently released U.S. Coast Guard 2023 (nationwide) Recreational Boating Statistics shows some good news on the boating safety front, with fatalities falling to 564 from 636 in 2022, and overall incidents decreasing from 4,040 to 3,844. Nonfatal injuries also dropped from 2,222 in 2022 to 2,126 in 2023. According to the Coast Guard data, most accidents involve open motorboats under 26 feet, personal watercraft or kayaks. Operator inattention, operator inexperience and alcohol are factors in many accidents. Personally, I wear a PFD when I am underway, and I also refrain from alcohol use unless I am tied to the dock at night.

Every year we have a few explosions on gasoline-powered boats. These are invariably caused by explosive fuel vapors building up in the bilge and being ignited by a spark from somewhere. When you refuel, it is important to turn all power off, and when you finish, run your bilge blower for at least five minutes and use your own nose to check for vapors. I think all fuel docks nowadays require the vessel operator to fill their own tanks. It eliminates problems like a few years back when 60 gallons of gasoline was pumped into a fishing rod holder or when a dock attendant pumped 20 or so gallons of diesel into the holding tank on my friend Stephens’ yacht.

Update: Just as I am getting ready to send this off to the big editor in the sky, I hear on the news that two more people have drowned in the American River…

WaterFraud Update

Governor Newsom released his annual State of the State message in late June, a few days before the end of the state’s fiscal year. Among many other things he claimed that the Delta Conveyance Project (DCP) diverting the Sacramento River around the Delta will help the environment. We are still asking him and other state officials to give us a few examples of where a project like this has not destroyed the parent waterway. We have been asking this for 15+ years, going back to the beginning of the current water war. The closest we got to an answer was a few years back when the director of the Department of Water Resources said, “you can trust us.” No, we do not trust you.

Dr. Jeffrey Michael, Director of Public Policy Programs and Professor of Public Policy at the University of the Pacific, published his Review of Delta Conveyance Project Benefit-Cost Analysis, debunking much of it. “The Department of Water Resources (DWR) claims its latest benefit-cost analysis of the DCP (2024 BCA or benefit-cost analysis) two supports a decision to build the DCP, because the analysis has a benefit-cost ratio of 2.2. Dr. Michael points out that the cost to benefit ratio for agriculture the benefit-cost ratio is 0.39, an estimated 39 cents in benefits for farmers for each $1 in cost. If agricultural entities don’t buy into the project that would leave Metropolitan Water District of Southern California to pay 75% of the cost of the project.”

The seismic risk claimed by the DWR has been debunked over and over throughout the years. But, if you assume there is a water delivery interruption caused by an earthquake “the benefit-cost analysis finds the seismic reliability benefit is very small relative to the DCP’s cost and is a very small fraction of the estimated benefits.”

There you have it – more lies and misinformation spread by our state officials in defense of the biggest boondoggle ever perpetrated in the United States. You may have heard recently that the White Sturgeon is being considered for the endangered species list, this following Charleton H. Bonham’s of the Department of Fish & Wildlife (CDFW) announcement that “Prohibit(s) the take and possession of Chinook salmon in the Sacramento, American, Feather and Mokelumne rivers and their tributaries.” Oh yes, it also looks like the Delta Smelt, a small fish that has been on the California Endangered Species List since 2010, is now extinct in the wild. Maybe at a minimum we should find some competent people to manage our natural resources in the state.

Scott Artis, executive director of the Golden State Salmon Association says the top cause behind the salmon collapse is a “horrendous water policy.” 

Irish Pennants

Sadie Freed celebrated her birthday with a party sponsored by her spouse Jason. Blair Hake attended and sent us this image. Sadie is beloved in the Delta; she helps out as a volunteer at many events. When she was manager at a local KOA campground, she was featured on the television show “Undercover Boss.” She did a stellar job with customer service and customers loved her. Happy Birthday Sadie!

Mike, Sadie, Mark, Jason, Audrey & Blair. Photo courtesy of Blair Hake.

Jerry Wolfe advises us to try the new “TNT” cocktail at Garlic Brothers. According to him, “it’s dynamite!” And you can’t beat the $4.00 spaghetti night every Wednesday. Tell them Jerry sent you, and you’ll get a free hug. Greg Risso and his team have been serving great meals and cocktails at Garlic Brothers for a few decades now, drop in about sunset to see the spectacular view.

The Mei Wah Beer Room in Isleton is now serving Handshake Pilsner from Break Even Brewery in Amador City. The brew is made with hops from Hoppin’ Racoon Ranch in Clarksburg.

Rotary Club of Clarksburg is teaming up with the East Sacramento Chamber to bring you Ribs & Rhythms at Miner’s Leap on Sept. 21. Snap the QR code for ticket options and/or learn how to participate in the Rib Cook Off competition!

The Corinthian Yacht Club is holding its fourteenth Annual Classics at the Corinthian Classic Motor Yacht Show. The Corinthian Women of the Corinthian Yacht Club have set the date of Sept. 21, from 1400 hours to 1700 hours for the show. The Classic Yacht Association will be well-represented at the event. The club is located at 43 Main Street, Tiburon. I suggest that you go down and make a day of it. There are some charming restaurants in the town, all within walking distance of the yacht club. Sam’s Anchor Café is one of my favorites and is right on the water. The women in my family enjoy shopping in the local boutiques where you can always find unique items. The weather is almost always agreeable in Tiburon and the narrow winding streets make you feel like you are in some European small town.

John Paval standing at the start of Route 66. Photo courtesy of John Paval.

Local Stockton bachelor John Paval is making a summer trip via land yacht. At the last report, he was in Chicago standing where Route 66 begins and preparing to head west, following the famous highway. He is driving his custom van, which is equipped for living aboard. He plans to have a leisurely trip across the U.S. to the terminus of the highway in Santa Monica. I will give you an update when I learn more.

The Point Weber Sea Scouts are still looking for support. If you have time to volunteer to help they can use you male or female. They can also use financial support to help keep their fleet of small boats running. This is a worthwhile program that helps our youth. I grew up on the plains of Sacramento and we did not have Sea Scouts, but I was in the Boy Scouts from age 11 to 15. We had a great scoutmaster, George Gray, a retired Air Force Colonel. We were hellions but he kept us in line and off the streets. Every year we went to Camp Harvey West on Upper Echo Lake. Back then, there were still glaciers back in Desolation Valley, and the snow would still be on the mountainsides going down to the lake. The water was frigid but most of us managed to get our swimming merit badge, canoeing merit badge, and many others. I failed the sailing test; Mike Collins and I set out downwind across the lake in an El Toro dinghy and when we got to the other side, we could not figure out how to tack back. We had to be rescued by a powerboat and were banned from using the sailboats for the rest of the trip. Anyway, if you can help out the lads and lasses, please do. You can contact the ship at

Happy Birthday to Terry McDonald!

There is plenty of summer left, let me know where the parties are. I can be reached at or 916-869-9141.