River cruises are available on the Spirit of Sacramento. Some trips are available in winter but a weekend schedule is only available April through October. The original Spirit was lost to fire in 1996 so the vessel that you can now see is a replacement, originally the Becky Thatcher of Cincinnati. While she might not own the original name, Mistress Becky certainly has spirit. She made her way from the Mississippi to Sacramento, under her own steam, via the Panama Canal, a journey of 8,500 miles. Her sister ship, the Matthew McKinley, is available for private charter. For more information see this web site.
The largest vessel, the Delta King, is a rather different prospect. She worked the Sacramento - San Francisco route from 1927 to 1940. After serving as a troop ship and barracks during WWII she was allowed to become derelict and sank in San Francisco. She was rescued in 1984, towed to Sacramento and renovated. Nowadays she works only as a hotel, restaurant and theatre. The menu looks good and I hope to try it out some day. Kevin has a hankering after staying in the magnificent Captain's Quarters suite, but when we will be able to justify spending $400 a night on a hotel room is another matter. See the Delta King web site for more information.
Also visible from the riverfront are two rather unusual bridges. Because Sacramento used to rely so heavily on river traffic any bridges that were built had to be able to accommodate shipping. This means having some means of getting the bridge out of the way. On one of the bridges the central section can be raised and lowered thanks to chains and pulleys in the supporting towers. The other bridge pivots on its central pier to allow boats to pass. If that isn't clear, take a look at the photos and it should become obvious.
by Cheryl Morgan
February 22, 2001
From journal Sacramento & Folsom: Heart of the Old West