Fool me once, shame on you -- Wed, Jan 14th, 2015

Maybe you've heard that old saw, "Fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, shame on me."  Uh-huh.  I don't aim to get skunked again, I promise you!  One year ago, on January 23rd to be exact, Jimmy and I joined a group, led by California Dept of Fish and Wildlife, on a tundra swan tour of the delta-area rice fields near Marysville.  On our own this year, we brought our bikes to ride the quiet back roads and look for migratory tundra swans and whatever else we could see.

The Mathews Rice Drying Towers, where we park and use the restrooms
(pic taken as we were leaving).

We live in Nevada City, CA at 3200' elevation.  35 miles west, the Marysville, CA area is less than 200' elevation. My thinking is that the higher the elevation, the cooler the temperature.  I may need to stand corrected on that assumption.  Last year on our tour, I didn't bring a jacket (because it SHOULD be warmer in the valley than in the foothills), but it wasn't ... I was cold the entire time.  This year, I studied the forecast before we left with our bikes and concluded that the predicted daytime temp of 63 meant I wouldn't need a jacket.  (do you see a pattern?)  I wore bike shorts, a long-sleeved undershirt and a sweatshirt.  Thank goodness at the last minute I added a fuzzy cowl thingee to keep my neck warm.  Well, stupid.  That's all I can say.  A damp, chilly tule fog plagues the central valley delta in the winter, and it certainly was a plague this day!  The fog didn't lift at Noon as it was SUPPOSED to. Consequently, the temp never rose above 51, with a nasty north wind sweeping across the water-soaked rice fields.  I nearly froze to death.  Dumb, and that's all I have to say about it.  period.  Well, except I will add it wasn't foggy in Nevada City!

Looks inviting, huh?  Nope.

For TWO hours we pedaled around on our bikes, visiting horses and birds and chickens and dogs and ducks, geese and swans, and we managed to do okay, all the while hoping the sun would break through the fog.  We figured we'd warm up eventually ....  (I think the horse on the left is laughing at my bike shorts)

Fluffied-up American Kestrel.

This SMART man wore his sweat pants over his bike shorts.
hmmmm   But, he was cold, too.


Tundra swans in the fog.

Don't think there's a body of water in America that doesn't harbor American Coots.

Aha!  Around 2 pm, the sun began filtering thru the fog.

The rice-drying towers in the distance. 

Two handsome beauties, off by themselves.

We watched a couple of crows chase a red-tailed hawk.

Lots of Northern Pintail ducks in this pond.

In this one, too.

So, we did warm up a bit when the sun showed itself, but the fog never fully dissipated, making for some pretty hazy pictures.  We did enjoy being out on our bikes, but -- let's face it -- it is a lot more fun when the weather is better.  Next year?  Well, next time we go, I'll take gloves, boots, and a down jacket, even if the weatherman predicts 80 degree temps!!

They're beautiful.
The End.


  1. My goodness, you sure get some wonderful pictures!

  2. I don't think I would have lasted as long as you did. I hate being cold.

  3. Gotta say it, the coldest I have ever been is in the tule fogs of central California. Never never go down into that stuff if I can avoid it. 30 degree tule fog is colder than 10 degrees and snow in Rocky Point. I was so happy to get back home to Oregon after my four year work sojourn in the California foothills. Stay up there in the trees where it is a little bit warmer! And yes, your photos are delish!


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