Growing up in the Bay Area we spent a lot of time boating on the Delta. When our family got rid of all the boats, we would take road trips, fishing trips, and photo trips out to some of the islands and towns. It's a part of the bay area that I love and really haven't shown Mario, so I was pretty excited for the trip.
The plan was to drive out to a mansion for a champagne brunch. Tour around the mansion and grounds. Then drive out to Locke...a very cool town on the river lock that had a very high Chinese population in the early 1915 and on.
We arrived at the beautiful mansion and it rocked. The grounds were gorgeous. The rooms were gorgeous. The food rocked and the champagne was plentiful. One thing that I can't express enough is how cheap my sister is. If something is buffet or endless, she will try her hardest to make it a good investment of her money. Example, we used to visit Disneyland she would count how many rides we went on and divide that into the cost of the ticket and try get her hardest to get the per ride cost as low as possible. Put her in a buffet and free champagne and imagine what she can do. They served us all mimosas. She shot her mimosa and then asked for more. Then, when I finally finished my first drink and was asking for my second, she finished her second off and said "oh no my glass seems to be empty". They would fill it up. She'd drink that one quick and then ask the other waiter for a refill. About half way through my second glass, they topped me off. She quick shot back her third glass and pulled another "oh no my glass seems to be empty". Of course they obliged. I lost count of what glass she was on. Now this is where I clarify. This is not a "lets get drunk" thing, this is purely how cheap she is. She wants the most bang from her buck!
Her second point of attack came with dessert. They had bowls of really nice wrapped chocolates. They were not safe. This meant that Lindsay could grab handfuls of chocolates and stuff them in her purse. They could have saved quite a bit of money had they only served unwrapped chocolates...don't make it portable people. The look on the face of the lady next in line after Lindsay was priceless. First, she was all smiles and then she looked slightly appalled. I couldn't help but laugh...the girl is cheap and balsy! I'm sure there are still some chocolates in her purse.
We spent the rest of our time at the mansion sneaking into rooms and checking them out. They have their own bowling alley, he hugest billiard table, a theater, endless rooms, a lodge room, a ball room, etc....it was really beautiful.
After a few more glasses of champagne for Lindsay, we headed down the road to Locke. I was so excited! The last time I had been there was with my dad. I can't tell you how many times we visited this town. We'd spend a few hours photographing and then head over to a tiny island with a picnic lunch. We still have a ton of my dad's photographs from Locke.
We checked out the house with all the toilets in the yard. When people would move into the houses back in the day, the new owners would change out the toilets...because they didn't want to use a toilet that a chinese person had previously used. However, one man thought the toilets shouldn't go to waste. So, he planted a big toilet garden. Tons of toilets made into planters. It was pretty fun. The original owner has since passed away and most of the toilets have been removed, but there are enough there for memory's sake.
I loved when Mario realized the only thing holding the facade on were some straps
We walked the main street. Old western looking buildings with faded Chinese writing. It really is a cool place. It was actually fun to see that the town is a little busier than it used to be. They seem to be making it a bit of a tourist stop.
One spot that is less of a tourist stop and more of a regular spot is the old bar...Al the Wops. My dad had lots of stories about this bar. It's just one of those bars that is known in the delta. I was in the midst of telling Mario about what dad had told us about the bar, there are dollar bills all over the ceiling and a number of ladies panties stuck up there as well, when it occurred to Lindsay that we were actually now old enough to go in the bar and check it out for ourself. FINALLY! If we had more time, it would have been nice to stay for a drink...maybe next time. It was fun to finally see the ceiling we had heard stories about since our childhood. Want to know how all the dollar bills got stuck into the ceiling...give them a dollar and they'll show you.
By that time champagne had started wear off and the afternoon had caught up with us. We all piled back on the bus, closed our eyes and immediately woke up back at mom's community. It was a really great day. I actually can't wait to take Mario to some of the other spots we used to hang out. I'll miss having someone drive us around though...it was nice not having to worry about drinking and driving or just driving in general.
My highlight of the trip? Driving out through the delta, you overlook a lot of farmland. The nice little lady in front of me asked what type of crop I thought one farm was growing.
Me "Oh that's a wine plant"
Cute Lady "Yeah I thought it might be a grape vine"
Me "Oh god, I've obviously been hanging out with my mom far too long when I start referring to grapes as a 'wine plant'! Very classy! Thank you for overlooking that comment."
Between the endless champagne and the wine plant comment, you'd thing we are all alcoholics...
our beloved waiter...the bringer of all things champagne