Self Portraits at Kondos Gallery at Sacramento City College

There is a gem of a gallery at Sacramento City College, the Kondos Gallery. Each month artists Suzanne Adan and Michael Stevens put together a different and interesting show with local professional artists. In October the theme was masks, and from November 6 through 26 it is Self Portraits.

Jim Adan's self portrait; Mr. Driftwood! at Kondos Gallery

Jim Adan’s self portrait; Mr. Driftwood!

This month’s show includes self portraits from Gregory Kondos, Jack Ogden, Michael Stevens, Tony Natsoulas, and Julia Couzens. The gallery has odd hours: Monday through Thursday 12:00 to 4:00 p.m. and Friday 12:00 to 3:00 p.m. Sign up for the announcements with stevens@scc.losrios,edu to attend the openings on a Thursday from 5:00 to 7:00 p.m.

The gallery is located in the art department of the Sacramento City College, 3835 Freeport Boulevard in Sacramento. There is street parking 27th and 10th near a coffee shop and sandwich place. And a short walk to the gallery.

Sandhill Cranes Return to Central Valley

Sandhill Crane Conference

Sandhill Crane Conference

The greater and lesser Sandhill Cranes are flying into the Sacramento and San Joaquin Valleys for the winter. To kick off the birdwatching season for cranes, the Sandhill Crane Festival is November 7-9 in Lodi. There are numerous birdwatching excursions as part of the conference.

The Sandhill Cranes are going to be in NorCal through February and you can plan your own independent birdwatching trip.

Here are a couple of opportunities in the Delta you may want to pursue:

Cal Fish and Wildlife Sandhill Crane Wetland Tours of Woodbridge Ecological Preserve

Cosumnes River Preserve viewing sites (map) includes Staten Island

These birds are really cool and you can see them from the road with just your eyes or a regular pair of binoculars. The best time is at sunset when they fly back to their nesting areas.

Breakfast at the Black Bear Diner

Mini Volcano with all bacon at Davis Black Bear Diner

Mini Volcano with all bacon at Davis Black Bear Diner

I was looking for a classic breakfast—you know, the hearty kind farmers might eat. More eggs, bacon and potatoes, not so much fancy omelets and frou-frou French toast. I drove to Woodland last weekend and enjoyed the Savory Café, yet that is a ways to drive for breakfast. This Sunday in church I remembered the Black Bear Diner. It is a technically a chain with locations in eight states. In the Delta you can find a hearty breakfast at Black Bear Diner in Tracy, Oakley, Suisun City and Davis.

The coffee is good and Doreen was a friendly, efficient waitress. The restaurant was full of families eating before or after a soccer game. I ate at the counter rather than wait 20 minutes for a table. I went for a smaller version of the classic breakfast and it was delicious.

It’s Time for a Peach Shake at Whitey’s

I say, I say, I do believe the peach is the best fruit of summer. Blackberries give them some competition. Peaches are just so juicy, naturally sweet, and delicious eaten fresh, in pie or cobbler, or in shakes. 

Peach shake at Whitey's

Px stands for Peach Shake, which stands for yum!

This brings us to the West Sacramento institution of Whitey’s drive-in on Jefferson Boulevard. Right now they are serving up peach shakes. Four dollars and eighty-six cents for a large that easily becomes supper on a hot Sacramento Valley evening. After a stressful day of work that ended with a tense meeting in Clarksburg, there is nothing like a peach shake from Whitey’s to make a gal feel better.

Emotional eating? You bet!

Good Eats at Bud’s in Dixon

Bud's Pub Grill and Catering

Bud’s Pub Grill and Catering in Dixon is an institution. One worth a visit. I have enjoyed several breakfasts and one lunch. The quantities are generous and the bacon and steak a superior quality.

Dixon has an interesting downtown with businesses you might expect in a farming town. Then it has strip malls, a WalMart and fast food places all along I-80. You may only know Dixon from its charmless development along the freeway.

Dixon’s downtown is worth exploring if you go to the Dixon fairgrounds for the May Fair or Lambtown, USA.


Cycling Montezuma Hills Road

While driving to Oakley for a meeting I noticed the rolling hills near Rio Vista. A light bulb turned on, “Biking hills!” To prepare for my multi-day rides in Yorkshire in July, I have been driving to Folsom for hills. This morning I drove out to Montezuma Hills and Birds Landing Roads. Montezuma Hills Road

I set off with some trepidation. I decided to ride 5 miles out and then turn around and cycle back on the same road. Montezuma Hills Road is well paved to serve the windmill farms that dot the hills. I immediately began pedaling up a hill alongside curious sheep staring through barb wire.

The journey out was a challenge but the last 3 miles was all downhill. Of course this means uphill on the return. Also from a car I did not factor in the wind. Afterall, there is a reason for all of the windmills. With the wind at my back I was flying downhill. On the return I went as slow as 7 mph into the steady breeze. (I wondered if my computer has negative numbers if I started rolling backward.)

I rode 5 miles out in 15 minutes and back in 35 minutes. The ride boosted my confidence. I did not have to stop once except to take this photo. Shifting gears is still challenging. I am going to consult the used copy of “Greg LeMond’s Complete Book of Cycling” for tips.

After I loaded my bike rack, I slowly turned my car around. A woman cyclist appeared from Montezuma Hill Road so I waved and called out, “Where did you ride from?”  Rio Vista.  She stopped and she explained that she and 2 friends were riding to Collinsville and back. They often windsurf in Rio Vista but since the wind was not strong enough, they decided on a training ride. One is preparing for a triathlon and the other two for the Vineman Aquabike.

I am definitely going to research riding from Rio Vista to Collinsville and back. Hope Sarah Harriet can go with me next time. And, after a quick consult with Joe at Freewheeler I learned to improve my gear shifting. Good thing because I would not want to be stuck in my big gear for my first ride with the Davis Bike Club tomorrow.

This blog first appeared on Adventures of American Julie at


Big Break Regional Shoreline in Oakley


Big Break Visitors' Center

Big Break Visitors’ Center

The Big Break Regional Shoreline has a beautiful visitors center that offers exhibits, meeting space and space for an science education program. A short walk from the visitor center is a 1,200 square foot interactive map of the Delta (on the ground) that demonstrates water flow through the region.

It is part of the East Bay Regional Park District (most impressive park system in the state!).  The park has the facilities to enjoy a picnic, fish from the pier, launch a kayak or canoe, or birdwatch.

Next to the town of Oakley on the shores of the Sacramento/San Joaquin Delta, on Highway 4 near 160, near Antioch and Rio Vista.