Pandemic travels, close to home, on foot, by bike, by automobile…

Pandemic travels, in San Joaquin County, on foot, by bike, by automobile…

Do you want the good news, or, the bad news? The good news is Covid19 vaccines are reaching our community and our health care workers are utilizing the best practices in combatting the virus. The bad news; infections, hospitalizations and loss of loved ones are reaching all-time highs – and Christmas and New Year’s holidays may further wreak havoc with our community’s health.

Hence, once again, I suggest remaining mostly home-bound, limiting your travels to only the most required, and use your holiday and family time (connected to distant loved ones electronically) to research and plan for future travels. And, to whet your appetite for local attractions and special places, a host of Stocktonians offer creative local travel ideas.

Here, Stockton runners take a tour of the Calaveras Trail,
just east of Interstate 5 (photo by Ralph Womack).

Set your sights on walking, jogging or biking to nearby treasures in your neighborhood. Stocktonian Ralph Womack notes, “as to local places in the Stockton area, I still like to run along Bear Creek/Pixley Slough/White Slough pathway because it is easy access, paved and very little interaction with traffic. The only time you cross a street is at the dead-end of Trinity Parkway, Thornton road, Davis road then you continue to where the path is no longer paved at Lower Sacramento Road. It is a pleasant place to run or bike and easily get anywhere from 3-6 miles or more distance if desired”.

Ralph also recommends “Lodi Lake Park is located a small and inviting park with easy access by parking on nearby streets and simply walking in. Upon entering you see others as they get their exercise but, due to trails and pathways around the park and within the nature area, you never feel crowded. It is simply a delightful place to spend some time. In warmer months, swimmers and kayakers enjoy the park.”

Lodi Lake kayakers enjoy this lovely Lodi park just off the Mokelumne River (photo by Ralph Womack).
The San Joaquin Trail in Stockton’s Weston Ranch is a favorite
of Mary Jo Gohlke, who submits this photo.

Mary Jo Gohlke of Stockton’s Weston Ranch offers, “I’ve been spending much of my time during this latest pandemic crisis on the San Joaquin Trail that runs through Weston Ranch. I catch up to it a block from my house. It goes west, forking right about half a mile to a levee, and left past this sign and onward to Wolf Road with lovely San Joaquin River Delta views. Someday I’ll make it to Wolf Road. Right now doing 3 miles a day walking 4 days a week”.

Record photographer/journalist Cliff Oto offers locations for scenic views and fine photos, sharing,it depends on what kind of place you want to visit. If you want to see a nice sunset you can go to Empire Tract at the far west end of Eight Mile Road in Stockton or the Turning Basin of the Port of Stockton, if you want more of an urban/industrial vibe. For something that feels typically Stockton the University of the Pacific campus is a good place; if you want something that’s a little more “not-from-here” then the Japanese Tea Garden at Micke Grove Park might work. A back-to-nature place would be Lodi Lake or the Isenberg Sandhill Crane Reserve off of Woodbridge Road, just west of I-5”.

The sunsets over the Port of Stockton’s turning basin in Stockton
(photo by CLIFFORD OTO/THE RECORD]

Just a bit further a-field, on the edges of our county to the north lie the placid Cosumnes River Preserve (just north of Thornton), and to the south on the Stanislaus River, Caswell Memorial State Park (just southwest of Ripon). Woodbridge friend Gary Pierce recommends Cosumnes River Preserve, noting “it’s a lovely place, almost untouched by the modern world, where quiet paths lead you down to the Cosumnes and Mokelumne Rivers, riparian forest is alive with critters and birds of all types; it’s also a wonderful destination for kayakers or canoeists!”.

An egret lifts off from wetlands at Cosumnes River Preserve (photo by Chuck Higgs)

Stocktonian Dave Frederickson suggests making local merchants part of your travels, “sensational cinnamon rolls and fresh coffee that stirs the soul are among the treats that have kept us returning to Stockton’s Toot Sweets Bakery Cafe for more than 25 years. In these pandemic times we continue to support them. Our focus, in getting through this, is supporting our small family owned businesses such as Podesta’s Groceries, Payters, Whirlows, Martinizing Cleaners, Cocoon Salon – those entrepreneurs who are the core of our community!”.

One of Stocktonian Dave Frederickson’s favorite stops is Toot Sweet Bakery Cafe, on Quail Lakes Drive just north of March Lane.
Aerial view of Stockton’s Meadow Avenue, looking toward Mt. Diablo
and spectacular sunset (photo courtesy of Visit Stockton).
Thousands of lights brighten this home in Lodi on Tiendra Drive
(photo courtesy, Clifford Oto, The Record).

And, in the coming several weeks, tour spectacular holiday light displays in your nearby neighborhood. In Stockton, Meadow Avenue, just west of Pershing, is an annual light-extravaganza, and in Lodi, check the lights like on Tiendra Drive near Mills Avenue, Lodi. Just about any neighborhood in the county has lights to enjoy; take an evening stroll or short drive.

I also connected with our Visit Stockton staff, and once again come away with fresh ideas and new insights. On the visitstockton.org website, you’ll find itineraries for touring movie destinations of eight feature films shot in Stockton, California: classics like Harrison Ford in Raiders of the Lost Ark (featuring the University of Pacific campus), the Hotel Stockton featured in All the Kings Men, University of Pacific again featured in Dreamscape, and a number of Stockton locations featured in the gritty classic, Fat City.  

Visit Stockton’s site also includes a host a fun family event recommendations, such as the six best burger joints in town, the top three disc golf courses, eight stops for best tacos and their top 10 Visit Stockton Blogs of the 2020 year, full of fresh nearby travel stops. You will also find links to the websites of Stockton Children’s Museum, the Haggin Museum, the San Joaquin County Historical Museum and a host of other city and county travel stars.

You are invited to submit: We are seeking your suggestions for California and Western states travel destinations: submit your suggestions, in 50 to 70 words and a photo if you have one to:  tviall@msn.com. I’ll feature some of the best suggestions in my Record articles, and many of the balance in my Record blog. Here are deadlines: for California favorites, December 23; for nearby western states, December 30. We’ll publish these submissions in articles to appear the Tuesdays of New Year’s and the following Tuesday, January 5.

Make the holidays a close family affair, stay close to home, explore the wonderful world outside your front door, and – maybe – visit local attractions. Keep holiday family gatherings to immediate family (for more distant, use Facebook Messenger or Zoom), share your travel ideas and plan your destinations for later in 2021! In the meantime, stick to day-trips where you can walk, hike or bike in our incredible outdoors or do short auto trips.

Contact Tim at tviall@msn.com, follow him at recordnet.com/travelblogStay home, plan future travels, remain resolute!

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