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Cruising the Backwaters of the California Delta

Program Number: 13957RJ
Start and End Dates:
4/30/2014 - 5/3/2014; 4/26/2015 - 4/29/2015; 4/29/2015 - 5/2/2015; 5/3/2015 - 5/6/2015; 10/11/2015 - 10/14/2015; 10/14/2015 - 10/17/2015; 10/18/2015 - 10/21/2015;
Duration: 3 nights
Location: American Canyon, California
Price starting at: $698.00 - Price may vary based on date, departure city
Program Type: Science & Nature Activity Level: t (see description)
Meals: 7; 3 Breakfasts, 1 Lunch, 3 Dinners    
Meal Options: Vegetarian    

Aboard a comfortable custom vessel, refitted for educational cruises, voyage through the back waters of the California Delta and learn about the region’s cultural and natural history. From the Napa River to the historic city of Napa, through the Carquinez Strait, past Glen Cove, Port Costa, Benicia and into Suisun Marsh experience a treasure trove of human history and abundant bird life with a highly regarded naturalist.




Highlights

• Follow in the wake of early pioneers as you view much of their early infrastructure and learn about the early development of California.
• Discover the WWII history of the Napa River and the Suisun Bay from Mare Island to the Ready Reserve (“Mothball”) Fleet.
• Enjoy the remote backwater habitats dominated by red-tailed hawks, egrets and diverse plant species.



Activity Particulars

Walking up to four blocks over flat walkways with some gravel to and from boat docks. Climb a few stairs to enter boat.



Coordinated by Road Scholar.




American Canyon

Located in southern Napa County, 35 miles northeast of San Francisco, American Canyon is known as the gateway to Napa Valley and some of the finest food and wine in the world. It sits between the Napa River to the west and the Sulphur Springs Mountains to the east.



Accommodations
Recently refurbished full-service hotel.

Road Scholar Instructors
These instructors are participating on at least one date of this program. Please note that changes may occur.
Chuck Walker

Chuck Walker was born in Orange County back when there were still orange trees there. In his younger days, he traveled through Mexico and Central America in his trusty Volkswagen, explored Europe, and later retraced the route of ancient caravans through Turkey, Iran, Afghanistan, Pakistan, India and Nepal. He has lived in Mexico, spent a few years on a timber ranch in California’s High Sierras, and now resides in the sleepy beach town of Cambria, working as an interpretive guide at Hearst Castle.
 
Ronn Patterson

Ronn Patterson is a naturalist, marine biologist, student of whales, professional photographer, teacher and writer. For more than 25 years, he has led natural-history trips to such places as Africa, the Amazon, the Andes, the Galapagos, Baja California and Mexico. He has worked as a wildlife biologist in Alaska and been a member of the scientific committee of the International Whaling Commission. Ronn is a professional skipper and captains his boat, Delphinus, nearly 10,000 miles each year.
 
Meals and Lodgings
   Fairfield Inn & Suites
  American Canyon, CA 3 nights
 Fairfield Inn & Suites
Type: Hotel
  Description: Fairfield Inn & Suites Napa American Canyon is the gateway to Napa and Somona's finest wineries, art and antique galleries, chocolatiers, spas, golf courses and award winning restaurants. The hotel is centrally located to San Francisco, Oakland and Sacramento airports. The hotel is located on Highway 29, the world famous Napa Valley Wine Trail, close to Highways 80, 12 and Highway 37 main thruway to Marin County, Sonoma Valley Wineries, historical Mare Island and Vallejo's ferry terminal. Downtown historical Napa, Napa Junction, Ox Bow Marketplace and the Riverfront are easy driving distances.
  Contact info: 3800 Broadway Hwy 29
American Canyon, CA 94503 USA
phone: 707-643-3800
web: www.marriott.com/SFOAC
  Room amenities: Room amenities include in-room coffeemakers, hairdryer, iron / ironing board, refrigerators & microwave, well-lit work desk, two phones, TV with Comcast High Definition programming with HBO, small living room area with twin sofa bed and wet bar and high speed internet access in all rooms.
  Facility amenities: Features include 80 all-suite rooms, a business center, an exercise room, an outdoor pool and spa. On-site parking is complimentary. Deluxe breakfasts feature breakfast sandwiches, fresh waffles, cereal & fresh fruit. There are also on site laundry facilities. The Fairfield Inn & Suites is a non smoking hotel.
  Smoking allowed: No
  Elevators available: Yes
  Additional nights prior: Call for rate The Fairfield Inn & Suites does not offer a discounted rate to Road Scholar participants for pre and post program stays. Reservations for early arrivals or stay-overs should be made directly with the hotel. Be sure to mention that you are with the Road Scholar group for that specific week.
  Check in time: 3:00 PM
  Additional nights after: Call for rate The Fairfield Inn & Suites does not offer a discounted rate to Road Scholar participants for pre and post program stays. Reservations for early arrivals or stay-overs should be made directly with the hotel. Be sure to mention that you are with the Road Scholar group for that specific week.
  Check out time: 12:00 PM


Travel Details
  Start of Program:
Hotel check in and program registration is between 3:00-4:00 PM. The program activities begin with a reception at 5:30 PM. You will be staying at Fairfield Inn & Suites that night.
  End of Program:
Program ends after breakfast at 8:30 AM. Hotel check out by 12:00 PM. You will be staying at Fairfield Inn & Suites the night before.
  Required documents:
The Road Scholar Health & Safety Form is required. Participants are asked to complete a Participant Information Form.
  Parking availability:
Parking is free at the hotel.
Transportation
To Start of Program
  Location:  American Canyon, CA
  Nearest city or town:  San Francisco
  Nearest highway: Interstate 80
  Nearest airport:  San Francisco International (SFO), Oakland International (OAK)
  From End of Program
  Location: American Canyon, CA
    (Additional transportation information same as above)
Travel Details
 

American Canyon- Fairfield Inn

 

From Airport

 
 

Service:

 

Car Rentals
Advanced Reservations Required

   

If you are interested in renting a car, the following is a list of national rental car companies. We recommend that you make reservations in advance. Parking is complimentary at the hotel. Alamo 800-462-5266 Avis 800-831-2847 Budget 800-527-0700 Enterprise 800-736-8222 Hertz 800-654-3131 Thrifty 800-847-4389

 

American Canyon- Fairfield Inn

 

From Bus Terminal

 
 

Service:

 

Taxi
California Taxicab
phone: 707-645-1000

 

Per Person/One Way:

 

$22-28
Prices are subject to change.

   

The nearest Greyhound station is 8.5 miles away in Vallejo, CA. For schedule information, contact Greyhound Bus Lines at 800-229-9424. Contact California Taxicab to arrange transportation to the hotel.

 

American Canyon- Fairfield Inn

 

From Train Station

 
 

Service:

 

Taxi
Yellow Cab
phone: 925-372-9292

 

Per Person/One Way:

 

$60 (from Martinez)
Prices are subject to change.

   

The closest Amtrak train station is 19 miles from the hotel at the Martinez Station Building located at 601 Marina Vista Avenue in Martinez, CA 94553. There is an Amtrak bus stop in Vallejo at Marine World but service may be limited. Contact Amtrak at 800-812-7245 for schedule information.

 

American Canyon- Fairfield Inn

 

From Airport

 
 

Service:

 

Commercial Van/Shuttle
Fairfield Airporter
phone: 707-428-1234
Advanced Reservations Required

 

Per Person/One Way:

 

$52-62 (depending on pick up time) per person for two travellers; single rate: $95-115
Prices are subject to change.

 

Travel Time:

 

Approximately 1 hour. Could vary due to traffic. 

   

Prices are subject to change. Prices reflect using ride share (sharing the van with other travellers). If you would not like to use ride share, prices vary and can be up to $175 per person, depending on time of day. To make reservations contact Fairfield Airporter directly.

 
Driving Directions
  Fairfield Inn (American Canyon, CA) from Los Angeles Take CA-170 N toward Sacramento and merge onto I-5 N go 293 miles Take Left fork onto I-580 W toward Tracy/San Francisco- go 36miles Take exit #44B/San Jose/Sacramento onto I-680 N toward Sacramento/Walnut Creek (Portions toll) - go 30 miles Take Left exit #58A/Benicia/Vallejo onto I-780 W (Toll applies) - go 6.6 miles Take exit #1B/Sacramento onto I-80 E toward Sacramento - go 3 miles Take exit #33/Napa/Novato/Auto Mall/Columbus Pkwy onto CA-37 W toward Napa - go 2 miles Take exit 19 Sonoma Blvd towards Napa/CA Hwy 29 and turn Right on CA-29 N Donaldson Way is the last major intersection you’ll pass through on CA-29. On the right you will see the Gaia Napa Valley Hotel. After you pass this hotel, get into the right turn lane. Turn right onto Antonina Ave. The hotel will be on your left. Note: The hotel sign is hard to see. From Los Angeles: (390 miles / 6 + hours)
  Fairfield Inn (American Canyon, CA) from Oakland Take highway 880 North to I-80 East. Travel I-80 East. Take exit 33. Keep left off exit, following signs for Napa / CA-37. Merge onto CA-37 W. Travel 1.9 miles. Take exit 19 towards Napa/ CA Hwy 29. Turn right onto CA-29. Drive 2.3 miles. Donaldson Way is the last major intersection you’ll pass through on CA-29. On the right you will see the Gaia Napa Valley Hotel. After you pass this hotel, get into the right turn lane. Turn right onto Antonina Ave. The hotel will be on your left. Note: the sign for the hotel is hard to see. 42 miles / 45+ minutes
  Fairfield Inn (American Canyon, CA) from Sacramento Travel I-80 West. Take exit 36 for American Canyon Rd. Turn right onto American Canyon Rd. Travel for 3.0 miles. Turn right onto CA-29. Travel 0.4 miles. Donaldson Way is the last major intersection you’ll pass through on CA-29. On the right you will see the Gaia Napa Valley Hotel. After you pass this hotel, get into the right turn lane. Turn right onto Antonina Ave. The hotel will be on your left. Note: the hotel sign is difficult to see. 60 miles / 65+ minutes
  Fairfield Inn (American Canyon, CA) from San Francisco Travel I-80 East. Take exit 33. Keep left off exit, following signs for Napa / CA-37. Merge onto CA-37 W. Travel 1.9 miles. Take exit 19 towards Napa/ CA Hwy 29. Turn right onto CA-29. Drive 2.3 miles. Donaldson Way is the last major intersection you’ll pass through on CA-29. On the right you will see the Gaia Napa Valley Hotel. After you pass this hotel, get into the right turn lane. Turn right onto Antonina Ave. The hotel will be on your left. Note: the sign for the hotel is hard to see. 49 miles / 55+ minutes
  Fairfield Inn (American Canyon, CA) from Santa Rosa Travel 101 South Take exit for CA-37 East Napa/Vallejo Take exit 19 Sonoma Blvd towards Napa/CA Hwy 29 Turn left onto CA-29. Drive 2.6 miles Donaldson Way is the last major intersection you’ll pass through on CA-29. On the right you will see the Gaia Napa Valley Hotel. After you pass this hotel, get into the right turn lane. Turn right onto Antonina Ave. The hotel will be on your left. Note: The hotel sign is hard to see. 45 miles / 65+ minutes
The prices listed for commercial services and facilities that are not included in the program cost, such as airport shuttles or extra nights lodging, are subject to change without notice. Since Road Scholar cannot guarantee the accuracy of these prices, we strongly suggest contacting the companies directly for the most up-to-date information.


Daily Schedule

Day 1: Reception, Introductions and Orientation to River Excursions
(Wednesday, April 30)
   
 Afternoon: Hotel check in and program registration is between 3:00-4:00 PM. The program activities begin with a reception at 5:30 PM.
 Dinner: Reception, followed by dinner.
 Evening: Orientation: Meet your expedition leader and a local birder who will be your guides throughout your journey up the backwaters of the delta! They have an abundance of information to share with you and both have a fun way of sharing.
   
Accommodations: Fairfield Inn & Suites
Meals Included: Dinner

Day 2: Suisun Marsh Abounds with Wildlife/Mothball Fleet/Lunch in Suisun City/Olive Oil and Benicia
(Thursday, May 1)
   
 Breakfast: Breakfast in the hotel
 Morning: Journey through the Carquinez Strait, past Glen Cove, Port Costa, and past the Mothball Fleet which is a floating museum of government and military ships. We will continue our boat trip through Suisun Marsh to Suisun City. Suisun Marsh, the largest brackish marsh on the West Coast, abounds with wildlife. Listen to an expert on the area as you visit this amazing eco-system.
 Lunch: Walk to the restaurant of your choice in Suisun City.
 Afternoon: Following lunch we will visit a wildlife rehabilitation center in Suisun City. We will then take a coach to a family owned Olive Oil farm for some tasting followed by a visit to the charming historic town of Benicia.
 Dinner: At the hotel.
 Evening: Enjoy a fun night with the leaders from your cruise!
   
Accommodations: Fairfield Inn & Suites
Meals Included: Breakfast, Dinner

Day 3: Sail Into the Heart of the Wine Country
(Friday, May 2)
   
 Breakfast: Breakfast in the hotel
 Morning: Take a guided boat trip up the Napa River and sail into the heart of the Napa/Sonoma wine country with its quaint-but-sophisticated towns. Enjoy the remote backwater habitats dominated by red-tailed hawks, egrets & diverse plant species. Lectures will include eco-system and wildlife habitat discussions.
 Lunch: From the dock we will head to downtown Napa for lunch at a restaurant. You may choose to walk 5-6 blocks on flat surfaces or walk 4 blocks and take a bus the additional blocks to downtown.
 Afternoon: Return trip on Napa River back to the hotel - continue to explore these interesting backwaters.
 Dinner: At hotel.
 Evening: Evening program on a stealthy wildlife inhabitant of the area!
   
Accommodations: Fairfield Inn & Suites
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 4: Departure
(Saturday, May 3)
   
 Breakfast: Program is over after continental breakfast at the hotel. Final room check-out by 12:00 PM.
   
Meals Included: Breakfast

Free Time Opportunities
 
  American Canyon, CA Baylink Ferries to San Francisco
Leaves from Vallejo Ferry Terminal. Leave your car there and let one of Vallejo’s high-speed catamaran ferries whisk you across the bay in comfort. Go ashore at either the San Francisco Ferry Building or San Francisco’s Fisherman’s Wharf where you can "shop-’til-you-drop" at PIER 39. There you will find over 100 shops, restaurants, and attractions, as well as ferry connections to Alcatraz, Sausalito and Tiburon. Vallejo ferries also service Angel Island State Park, where you can take a tram tour of an authentic Civil War camp and the old immigration station on the island that prompted people to refer to Angel Island as the "Ellis Island of the West." Call 1-877-643-3779 for more information. For additional information, visit www.baylinkferry.com
  Jelly Belly Visitor Center
Jelly Belly Visitor Center is located at One Jelly Belly Lane in Fairfield, CA. Here you may step into their factory and smell the aroma of chocolate, apricot, cinnamon, pineapple, or whatever is being cooked up that day. During the 40-minute walking tour, Jelly Belly guides will show you a real working factory where they cook up to over 150 different sweet treats. Learn the secrets to how they create the legendary Jelly Belly bean, and discover why it takes more than a week to make a single bean. See taffy, chocolates, and wild gummy critters in the making, too. For more information, contact Jelly Belly at 1-800-953-5592. For additional information, visit www.jellybelly.com
  Mare Island Historic Park
The Mare Island Historic Park Foundation offers two-hour tours of Mare Island. For more information, contact the Mare Island Historic Park Foundation at (707) 557-1538. As the first United States Naval installation on the west coast, Mare Island and the now closed Mare Island Naval Shipyard have seen it all. From canvas to coal to oil to nuclear power, from sailing ships to steamers to atomic-powered submarines, Mare Island has played an important part in American, Naval, and Vallejo history. For additional information, visit www.mareislandhpf.org
  Napa Valley Wine Trail
The Napa area is home to many of the most famous wineries in the world. There are two roads that run along the Napa Valley beginning in the town of Napa. Highway 29 is the main artery from the city of Napa to Calistoga and can be extremely busy on weekends. On the eastside of the Valley is the less traveled Silverado Trail. Many small country road intersect the Valley. These are picturesque roads with many beautiful views of the vineyards. For additional information, visit www.winecountrygetaways.com/napa_map.html
  Napa Valley Wine Train
The Napa Valley Wine Train is a leisurely 3-hour journey through the beautiful wine country of Napa Valley in meticulously restored vintage rail cars. Not just a train ride, but a culinary experience as well. The Napa Valley Wine Train's winery tour packages provide a full Napa Valley experience. Learn about wine tasting and sample local Napa wines with their wine educator in the station. Board the train and enjoy a freshly prepared three course gourmet lunch. Relax as you journey alongside beautiful vineyards and world famous Napa wineries. Then disembark, and participate in private tours and wine tastings on one of three outstanding winery tours. For more information, visit www.winetrain.com or call 1-800-427-4124. For additional information, visit www.winetrain.com
  The Vine
The VINE, the region's fixed-route bus system, provides safe, affordable and accessible transportation for all residents and visitors in Napa Valley. With its community shuttles, it's easy to enjoy the best of what Napa Valley has to offer. Take the American Canyon Transit and transfer to the VINE and head to Napa or to the Vallejo Ferry Terminal where you can board a ferry to the City. For additional information, visit www.nctpa.net/vine.cfm
Important information about your itinerary: Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy and completeness of the information featured on this website. Itineraries are based on our best information at this time. Circumstances beyond our control may require us to adjust itineraries or other details. We regret any inconvenience this may cause and appreciate your understanding. Information will be sent to you from your Program Provider approximately three weeks prior to the program start date. The prices listed for commercial services and facilities that are not included in the program cost, such as airport shuttles or extra nights lodging, are subject to change without notice. Since Road Scholar cannot guarantee the accuracy of these prices, we strongly suggest contacting the companies directly for the most up-to-date information.

Suggested Reading List


The Ohlone Way: Indian Life in the San Francisco-Monterey Bay Area


Author: Malcolm Margolin


Description: With clear and accessible language that is alive and at the same time deeply informed, this well-loved classic vividly recreates the lost world of the Indian people who lived in the San Francisco Bay Area such a short time ago.



Birds of Northern California


Author: David Fix and Andy Bezener


Description: Learn about 320 species of Northern California birds in fascinating detail. Descriptions, illustrations and range maps help you identify birds and understand their habits.



Forgotten Fleet: The Mothball Navy


Author: Daniel Madsen


Description: A pictorial history, this handsome book takes a rare look at the fleet behind the fleet, U.S. Navy ships in mothballs.





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