Monday, May 17, 2010

Field Trip: Locke & the River Road

Oh, the River Road!  Such a welcome respite from traffic and noise in the journey from the Bay Area to Sacramento.  The road follows a wide ribbon of the Sacramento Delta high above on the levees, passing Sambucus (Blue Elderberry) sending out fountains of yellow blooms and roadsides of motorcycles neatly lined up, black and shiny.  Smalll towns perch like dragonflies along the side of the levee, each with their own quiet character. 

Inhabited, yet still retaining an air of desertion, the historic town of Locke was worth a stop.  Built by Chinese levee builders (and later farmers), Locke remains an unusual rural Chinatown.  The original buildings remain posted on either side of the narrow main street, hosting antique shops, museums and the strangely famous restaurant "Al the Wop's." 

The building pictured above seemed particularly enchanting considering the odd angles the walls decided to stand, but I also love the arch and its running square pattern.  The lightbulbs and the weathered wood really make it, I think.  Little boardwalked alleyways such as this one led mysteriously between buildings. 

Such a lovely presentation for a utilitarian path!

 I couldn't help but admire the color, patina, font, shape and well... everything about this sign!  So brilliant to pop the letters of "grocery" out like that.

I enjoyed the detour through Locke so much and would love to come back to explore a bit further.  Apparently, they're having a festival (pdf) this weekend.  However, I couldn't shake off the feeling we were being watched.

The kitties certainly make sure to keep an eye on the outsiders!


  1. That was a fun field trip. I lived in the Central Valley for a while, but always took the 'fast road' between here and there, so I've never actually been to Locke. I'd love to go and explore now though. The boardwalk gave me a great idea as to what to do with our old redwood deck boards when we start on the backyard. It just seems like an obvious way to re-purpose them now. Thanks for the inspiration!

  2. I love Locke! I wrote my own post about it five years ago here.

  3. It's one of those Bermuda triangle places that I had never heard of despite growing up in Sac, but well worth a trip! I hope you share your boardwalk with us when its done, Clare!
    I loved your post, queerbychoice! It looked like you were there on a warmer day and it was fun to see the difference in the ambiance than when I was there. I think all the shops you photographed are no longer there, except for the Chinese restaurant.

  4. I've never heard of Locke. And I've never taken the river road, even thought I've been going to Davis regularly this last year to visit my partner. Might make a nice excursion on my way there or back. I have taken the train which has a much nicer view than the 80.