A few weeks ago I wrangled my way into what I hoped would be a pretty interesting day: a trip up the Petaluma River on board the Grace Quan. I didn’t actually have to do much wrangling, but a sail on a full-scale reconstruction of a Chinese Shrimp Junk is no small feat in my book and what I’d assumed would be a lovely afternoon ended up in the realm of grand adventure. Apparently some people get to live this joy on a daily basis.
Started out in China Camp where the Grace Quan currently resides. When she’s not there, you can usually find her over at the Maritime Park, which is how I was able to make my presence on this particular voyage.
If you haven’t heeded my advice thus far to make a visit to China Camp, you should. Its got that nostalgic air I’m always running on about and is another great example of a place that went from a living, breathing entity to a State Park without losing too much in the process. Sit on the dock and say hello to Frank who lives there still and whose mother, the venerable Grace Quan, lent the junk her name.
And we’re off.
Cheese and grapes and salmon-stuffed tomatoes and glorious sunshine.
Our winsome captain, Mister John C. Muir.
I think I found a new acreage of dreams.
Karnell the Hun.
Sean the diver.
Billy rowed out and paid us a visit. Rumor has it he used to spill the wine with Fleetwood Mac, but I was naturally too awestruck to elicit a validation of this fact.
Sunny days and boats, late nights and Rhiannon.
I could get used to this sort of life.
A distant humming suddenly turned into a tiny plane buzzing by overhead. I think I was too excited to actually be alarmed by its proximity.
Turned out to be another friend of Mr. Muir’s. Couldn’t help feeling like something out of Raiders of the Lost Ark, what with the Junk and the river and all.
So many neat things to explore. It appears I’ve found a new place to dream about.
The raising of the bridge and we’re into Petaluma.
The Petaluma River Fest was the reason for our voyage and a handful of lovelies were already there. This one supposedly belonged to Colleen Moore, the silent film star of whom F. Scott Fitzgerald remarked “I was the spark that lit up Flaming Youth, Colleen Moore was the torch. What little things we are to have caused all that trouble.” If only he knew the trouble of getting home from Petaluma…
And how does one get home from Petaluma? If the way you went is not the way you’ll return, I’d advise something less tricky than a ride to San Rafael, a missed bus, a cab ride to the Golden Gate Bridge, a hitched ride across and a long walk through the Presidio’s brambles. Or maybe I wouldn’t. Sometimes a good adventure calls for a stout heart, and offers a chance to drink wine where wine isn’t usually drunk.